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
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
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.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?