20,000 DAYS ON EARTH: REVIEW – Australian rock star Nick Cave spends his 20,000th day on earth in the company of a camera crew, Ray Winstone, Kylie Minogue and various collaborators.

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s surprisingly affable rockumentary shows the brilliant and gloomy songwriter in a variety of staged encounters in his adopted home of Brighton – including a toe-curling psychiatry session, the making of an album, preparation for a concert, lunch with a collaborator and various anecdotes from a career that has always managed to maintain a cult status while occasionally bobbing – like a murder victim wrapped in plastic sheeting – into the mainstream.

Full disclosure: I am a huge Nick Cave fan, having followed him from The Birthday Party through to the Bad Seeds. I saw him when he was touring The Good Son and never looked back. His albums are almost without exception fantastic, his film scores are exceptional, especially The Road and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and his two novels are awful, but I’ve dutifully read both. He even had a short stint as an actor in the amazing and underrated Australian prison film Ghosts of the Civil Dead, directed by fan and collaborator John Hilcoat as well as an appearance as himself in Wim Wenders’ masterpiece Wings of Desire.

I felt some trepidation watching the film, with the feeling you might get before meeting your hero, but the film pulls off the trick of at once being intimate and yet perpetuating  the image of the austere, brooding and unapproachable songster. A layer of darkness is undercut by mundane business, typified by a shot of Cave en famille munching pizza with his twin boys, and watching television. This being Cave, he’s not watching Strictly Dancing, but instead the final shoot out of Brian De Palma’s Scarface.

In short, if you like Nick Cave the film will be a welcome companion piece to The Road to God Knows Where. And if you don’t you’ll be baffled by the whole project.


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YORKSHIRE – Only hours after news that Paul Giamatti is joining the cast of Downton Abbey for Season Four, it was also revealed that the ‘Muscles from Brussels’, Jean Claude Van Damme will also be appearing, although it is as yet unclear as to whether he will be making a permanent addition, or a special one off appearance.

The action star spoke excitedly to Studio Exec this morning:

My character is Alphonse DuBois. I am a member of the Belgian aristocracy but I have fallen on hard times and I arrive at Downton as part of a troupe of entertainers. I’m the clown Monsieur Chuckles. Unbeknownst to the Earl the house has been surrounded by dirty thieving Ninjas, intent on stealing the family silver, and this is where my character really comes into his own, cheering up the family once the Ninjas have gone with all the silver.  

Julian Fellowes, the creator and producer of the show, said that they were very pleased to have Monsieur Van Damme aboard.

He really is the most charming of chaps, and when he has a couple of drinks he comes out with the funniest stories about Kylie Minogue and Roger Moore. Really ripping stuff.  

But aren’t you worried the influx of Hollywood faces will compromise the dramatic believability of the show?

What what what what? Oh, dramatic believability! Ha! Yes, quite.

Downton Abbey: Season 4 begins this Fall.