Stay in the shade

I’m reading Everett True’s fascinating insight into the muddled world of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana at the moment and what rings the loudest (apart from, no doubt, the ears of anyone who caught them play) is that the whole grunge thing exploded at just the right time – for the musicians, for the punters, and for the record labels. Heck, before Cobain and his cohorts came along we were being force-fed MC Hammer in balloon pants. In just the same way that Manchester and Liverpool and New York and Sheffield have spurned great eras in music – only for those eras to run their course and shift direction – so too did Seattle. Only with more volume. And more hair. For all his flaws (and like all of us, there were many), Cobain was a truly complicated character, a hybrid of ideas and ideals, tortured by success yet craving it nonetheless. Sure he’s been mythologized to a large extent but, then again, so have all of the ’27’ club. Nirvana defined a movement. They gave the slacker generation a voice. And while Cobain’s lyrics apparently meant little to him at the time they were written. I’m sure Tori Amos, and countless others, would disagree with him now about their potency.