How we met: Sebastian Horsley & Nick Cave

Yorkshire-born Sebastian Horsley, 37, an artist, was ejected from St Martin's School of Art. He supplements his income by gambling in casinos and on the stock market, and lives alone in Mayfair. His latest exhibition, `The Flowers of Evil', inspired by his experience of diving with the Great White shark, is currently on show in London

Born in Australia, Nick Cave, 41, began making records at the age of 19. With his band, the Bad Seeds, he has made albums such as Your Funeral ... My Trial. His novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel, a tale of murder and incest, was published in 1989. Currently recording a new album, he will be directing the South Bank's Meltdown festival in June

NICK CAVE: Four years ago my girlfriend at the time decided my excessive behaviour was intolerable and that I should leave the nest. She had also started to see Sebastian, which caused me concern. I hadn't met him, I just knew he was out there. So I went round to his house with the idea that I would cut his fingers off, or something similar. I rang the doorbell and was greeted by a man in a pale pink velvet suit and spats. At that point I realised my worries were unfounded and that someone had obviously got to him first. He invited me in and we began talking about art and literature, and it soon became clear that we shared interests other than my girlfriend. I think that's the thing that separates men from women; put two men in a room and they generally tend to like one another. That evening we went to a restaurant. I was on the wagon so I watched him consume two magnums of Champagne and expostulate on the problems of the world.

I remember the first thing that attracted me to Sebastian was that he guffawed, something that is becoming obsolete. Sebastian is single-handedly saving the guffaw. Also we shared a similar self-deprecating sense of humour, which was important, given the absurdity of our situation. After that I would see him around, but we didn't become firm friends for quite a while.

A few years ago we went on holiday to Morocco with a friend of mine, Simon Pettifer. It was funny, because Simon is so into his spiritual journey that he hardly exists on a physical plane, whereas Sebastian's spiritual journey revolves around going to the off- licence. We spent most of our holiday sitting in a bar talking about God and T-Rex. Back then Marc Bolan was Sebastian's god and my god was God, so we discussed that at length. Our belief systems are very different: Sebastian is an atheist, but the first I've ever met whose spiritual tradition doesn't just come from a lack of imagination. We're both creative people, but I believe my creativity comes from somewhere else, and he doesn't. He has a great work ethic and really applies himself to life. For a nihilist, he's very committed to living and works very hard at it.

On the first day in Morocco I went out to the pool. People were lying around dressed in bikinis and Sebastian was lying there wearing a black suit, shoes on, reading a book called Suicide. He really hangs on to his own sense of self. I have a fair amount of trouble making friends because I distrust people's motives. But because we were thrown into this situation, and then ended up together in a small Moroccan town, there was no escape. We really became friends during that holiday.

Underneath Sebastian's brash and brutal exterior there's an even more brash and brutal interior. But there's also a vulnerability about him that I like, it's quite difficult to see though. I generally like that in people, especially when their attempts to become other than they are can be epic. He's also very entertaining and generous to a fault.

Certain friendships come and go, but I honestly think ours will remain. I think a good friendship allows the other person freedom to be however they want and I appreciate that in people, as they need a certain amount of patience and tolerance with me. I'm not a particularly good friend in the sense that I tend to let friendships drift. Not because I don't value them, but because life gets in the way. I appreciate the ones like Sebastian, who understand that and don't take offence.

SEBASTIAN HORSLEY: We met four years ago, when I was trying to get off with Nick's girlfriend, and I invited him out to dinner. He was clean and I wasn't, and when we first met I don't think we particularly got on. He wrote a song about me at the time which was really aggressive. It was three minutes long - basically "You're a goon", repeat to fade. I was really flattered because I didn't think I was worth hating. I'd heard so much about Nick before I met him and had an impression of him as a dark, menacing character. What surprised me was how sweet he was and also how much of an old-fashioned gentleman. Our friendship took time to come together because we were always at different stages of intoxication and non-intoxication. That quiet development is something I really like about it. My past friendships have often exploded and become intense very quickly because of drink or drugs. Our friendship has been pretty much clean-based and because it built so slowly it's very real.

A couple of months after our initial meeting we went to a mutual friend's painting show. When we left, Nick took my arm as we walked through the street. That's the sort of thing I would do, and I felt a real sense of warmth and tenderness. It was a holiday in Morocco three years ago that really sealed out friendship. We had a marvellous time; Nick really makes me laugh and we share a gallows humour. Nick has the winning combination of vitality and vulnerability. If someone's just vulnerable and emotionally incontinent it's awful, and if someone's just vital and arrogant then that isolates me. I think sometimes he has trouble understanding that he's a lovable person.

Nick's a very spiritual person. So am I, although I pretend I'm not. I use the word "futility" a lot which really annoys him. Maybe I should take this opportunity to say: "Nick! Life is futile!" Nick believes in God, and I believe in myself. I also believe passionately in nothing and he always pulls me up on that. But we both believe that a work of art has to reflect the dark side.

We share vanity, ambition and oxygen, though Nick would probably deny he was ambitious. I thought I was vain until I met Nick. My vanity is worldwide, his is cosmic, which I love. Sometimes he wants all the attention and doesn't realise that I want all the attention too. He's incredibly scatty. Ask any of his friends about "I'll call you back": you can call him with the most devastating news and he'll never phone back. It's not a callous thing, it's just that he's in an extraordinary world of his own. Maybe he finds there's not much point in leaving it.

Sebastian Horsley's `The Flowers of Evil' is at the Grosvenor Gallery, London W1 (0171 629 0891) until 23 April

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee