I was most amused to see a letter in the paper the other day saying what a double standard it was that *known drug user* Nick Cave got the highest award in the land (ARIA Hall of Fame, in case you didn't know) and yet sports peoples' careers were ruined for the same behaviour, and then "blah blah woof woof" the usual role model crap was bleated out... I don't know, I tuned out.
There were so many ironies I didn't know where to start. First of all, there was about as much effective barbiturate action in Ben Cousen's recent drug bust as a decent cup of hot chocolate, although he does have some solid and more admirable form. That aside, it's like this: sport has RULES and music doesn't, so the first issue is cheating, and unless Nick Cave is accused of chart rigging, he's off the hook. Sport is exact and music is not. That's the RULES.
25th hour, 99 Luftballoons, eight days a week and a 6" gold blade embody ambiguity and imagery, but a 100 metre sprint must be exactly that. The only rules about form and drugs in the music game are that if you want to charge your record company for (ahem) "extra gear" in the studio, you better make sure the A&R guy and the MD are getting some. Of course it makes sense to have drugs when recording, if you are paying a few grand a day for the studio, a few hundred extra to allow everyone to want to work all night makes sound commercial sense. It's performance enhancing for sure, and potentially bottom line enhancing as well - just like sports sponsorships for winners.
It's that mythical win-win situation, and we all know winners are grinners, or maybe that's just the ecstasy kicking in. Speaking of the West Coast Eagles and Andrew Johns, I'm pretty sure Nick Cave doesn't know the Don Henley Eagles or Daniel Johns, let alone these other namesakes. And nobody mention Willie Mason, you will just confuse him as he probably doesn't know either of them.
Some drugs are performance enhancing and some clearly aren't. Boony is supposedly a better cricketer because of - or despite - being able to sink 52 legendary tinnies on a flight to London. I would like to see someone attempt a long jump record after shooting up some smack. People like Iggy, Nick Cave and Lemmy, or Jackson Pollock and Brett Whiteley for that matter, have such incredible reserves of energy and talent that can't be blunted by those sorts of bad drugs, and that's one reason why people are in awe of them.
In the rock arena where endurance counts, smack doesn't affect them and some good speed can really kick things along. You can't say that about the AFL. I have seen the TV ads, some kid smokes a joint and then can't pass the ball! Pussies! Anyway, this kind of music award comes with a begrudging respectful lifetime achievement aspect i.e. "we actually thought you'd be dead by now". Nick Cave hilariously asked for his MTV nomination to be withdrawn in his "my muse is not a horse and she is on no horse race" letter, probably on the basis that MTV is to music what KFC is to chicken.
When Neil Young was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame he replied "no thanks, I think it's full". The Sex Pistols knocked back their Hall of Fame nomination, possibly seeing the irony in giving Sid Vicious a lifetime achievement award, although it also possible they saw it as a Goody Goody award, in which case Nick Cave is actually eligible, as a retired "known drug user".
Sportsmen who try to be rockstars and vice versa are sad and sorry. Everyone knows that Pat Rafter should not pick up the guitar and Nick Cave should not run a marathon (or pick up a guitar for that matter). It's not a competition but if it was I reckon Iggy could snap Kosta Tsuyu in two; and how about the irony of our latest sporting hero, a world champion STONER?
Sport and entertainment generally shouldn’t mix, although the image of Robert Forster in cricket flannels is compelling. I say keep up the double standards, and never the twain shall meet, unless it’s putting Warwick Capper and Peter Andre on Are You as Smart as a 5th Grader? at the same time.