Got a treasured piece of music memorabilia? These fans do
Greg Prentice thought it might be fun to give Nick Cave the shits.
It was 1984 or 85, at a pub called Terry Page's in Sydney. Greg was 19. He'd had a few beers and was standing near the front of the crowd at a Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds show.
Cave had a waist coat on, with pockets on either side.
In one pocket: a $2 note (they still existed at the time). In the other pocket: a beer coaster.
Cave got down close to the audience, and Greg saw his moment.
"I made a snap decision and took the beer coaster instead of the $2," Greg recalls.
"It wasn't until I got home the next day that I pulled this thing out of my back pocket [and] had a look at what it was I actually had."
Collectors and super-fans are ubiquitous in music
There have been super-fans and collectors for as long as there has been popular music.
Some have many hundreds of varied items; others have just a handful.
All, it seems, see physical artefacts as a symbol of their connection to an artist and their work.
And for many, their devotion to a particular artist has greater significance than just the enjoyment of music.
Lynne Trute's Nick Cave collection includes more than 1,700 pieces — tapes, records, posters, items of clothing, and more.
"I actually didn't like Nick Cave when I met my husband, and I first started going to gigs, in 1984," she tells Double J's Tim Shiel.
"When we lived together I used to ban him from playing The Birthday Party because it was just so out-there, compared to everything that I had heard before."
It's just an overwhelming passion. It's really been like the soundtrack to our life.Lynne Trute, Nick Cave collector
One day, she heard 'Tupelo', from the 1985 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album The Firstborn Is Dead, in a record store, and it changed everything.
"I had to crawl home and say, 'Darling, I actually quite like [this].'"
Ms Trute and her husband, Andrew, have been gathering Cave-related items for three decades. The collection made the trek across the seas when the couple moved from the UK to Australia in 1994.
"Half of our stuff that came over was the collection," she said.
Ms Trute said Andrew was driven to do it. It became a passion, an obsession. And she went along for the ride.
"They have, over the years, come to us to ask 'how do I play this song again'," Ms Trute said of the band.
"It's just an overwhelming passion. It's really been like the soundtrack to our life."
'They've become kind of like an extended family'
It's not just Nick Cave lovers.
There are avid fan communities online for all kinds of artists — Beliebers, Lady Gaga's Little Monsters, and others.
It's amazing — the artists don't realise the type of communities that we create through our music.Owen Lambourn, member of the Kylie Krew
The Kylie Krew, a Kylie Minogue fan group, have known each other for 15 years — they met at shows or while camping out in line for concert tickets.
"One of the things that stands out for me, being part of the gay community, [is] she put her whole career on the line," Owen Lambourn said of his devotion to Minogue.
"It was the HIV epidemic, and a lot of people wanted to distance themselves from that. There was a stigma.
"She went out there, she was a supporter of the community ... That's what does set her aside from her peers."
The Krew is also a support mechanism for its members, extending beyond anything to do with the pop singer.
"One of the girls in the Kylie Krew at the moment, her son is battling terminal spinal cancer, so we have been sticking by her and showing her as much support as we can," he said.
"It's amazing — the artists don't realise the type of communities that we create through our music."
An early draft of a classic song
The beer coaster Greg Prentice plucked from Nick Cave's pocket turned out to be lyrics to a song that had not yet been released.
They would later appear, in slightly different form, as 'Stranger Than Kindness', a track from 1986 album Your Funeral... My Trial.
"I have an early draft," Mr Prentice says.
"I have the proto-Stranger Than Kindness.
"It's kind of like where you see those films where people are time-travelling, and they say 'don't meet yourself, it'll disturb the space-time continuum'. Possibly I did something like that.
"I can just imagine a very pissed off Nick Cave thinking 'bloody hell, I had those lyrics, they were all written down'."