Skip to main content


I was too young for the death of Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.  I remember John Lennon's death, of course, but it didn't hit me that much.  I was 16.  But, on my 28th birthday, April 8th, 1994, Kurt Cobain's body was found - that I recall.  I no longer listen to Cobain's music very much.  It is part of who I am, like The Beatles, Metallica, AC/DC, The Stooges, The Smiths, Simple Minds, Joy Division, even Prince, but the music is too rich, too intense, for the everyday listen.  But 20 years ago I was very sad.  It felt like a personal blow - a bit like PSH's recent death - for Cobain was really the spokesperson for my generation.  Why?  Well, he seemed to come from a broken suburban home where abuse, failure and madness had played their part; he had low self-esteem; he loved punk, but he also loved indie (Pixies) and the canon (The Beatles); he even name-checked Leonard Cohen, a Canadian - and, oddly enough, he was very witty.  Also, as befit the Gen-X slacker moment, he didn't care about fame, or money, he actually loved creativity and saw self-expression as something necessary and urgent.  He wasn't, of course, a poet, but compared to the Britpop pack across the water, he sure as hell behaved like one.  Cobain was a visionary genius.  And, in about ten songs, he nailed his mix of humanity, compassion, vicious irony, and pop culture nous in ways that made his band the greatest American group of the 1990s. I suppose I am the Cobain who survived - unsung, to be sure, in comparison, but like many young men of my time I am suddenly on the cusp of 50, and Nevermind seems a long time ago, a time Outofmind more than anything.  Bittersweet to think of it, but I once thought I was dumb and everyone was gay.  And we all drank Pennyroyal Tea.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…