All hail the now-defunct Dallas institute of weird and wooly media, Forbidden Books and Video. It was in a scuzzy neighborhood down by the fair grounds, which was perfect for a place where bored high school kids could rent Romper Stomper, Nekromantik, El Topo, or similarly mind-warping movies. They sold obscure CDs from England, serial killers T-shirts, and really effed-up books back before Hot Topic or Amazon or any of those joints.

In college, a friend introduced me to Nick Cave, specifically The Birthday Party but also his Bad Seeds stuff. I didn't get it. It was over my head. First he's screaming, now he's moaning, now he's releasing bats. What the hell? I wanted to get it, but I just didn't... yet.

And then one summer when I was back home, I hit up Forbidden Video and came home with Wings of Desire. It was hard to stick with the German poetry and the thoughts of strangers in the library and the street, but soon it all clicked. Oh, Columbo and his cup of coffee and cigarettes. Bruno Ganz as the angel Damiel watching his object of desire Marion swing on her trapeze, alone in her trailer. And the very best parts, my favorite parts, when the solemn black and white film flashes to color -- when Damiel sees what it would be like, or could be like, to be human. Two of these scenes are when he follows Marion to a club where Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are playing. She thinks she's alone in the crowd, but she's not. (An interesting sidenote -- fellow Aussies and Bad Seed compatriots Crime and the City Solution also played in the movie. Mick Harvey and Rowland S. Howard were in both bands.)

I was 19 or 20, lying on my living room floor late at night with the TV flickering in front of me and my friends when Nick Cave and his amazing crazy pompadour and Southern drunken circus music and ill-fitting suits suddenly all made sense. Of course Damiel wanted to trade his wings in for Marion's trapeze.

Appropriately for the movie, the two songs the Seeds played were "The Carny" and "From Her to Eternity." The pissed-off looking dude is Damiel's friend Cassiel (Otto Sander), an angel who decides to keep his wings. He hears Nick Cave thinking, "One more song and it's over. But I'm not gonna tell you about a girl, I'm not gonna tell you about a girl." But then of course he approaches the mike and says, "I'm gonna tell you about a girl..." And the music starts again.

This is at the end of the movie, but stops just short of showing the climax.