The facts about Cobain, 20 years, whatever

I deliberated about jumping into this morning’s Kurt Cobain media orgy. You know, dead 20 years, voice of a lost generation, grunge sociology, I-remember-where-I-was-when-He-died, blah blah blah. There are stories and thumbsucker columns everywhere.

I didn’t ever interview the Nirvana front guy, or even see the band live. My brother did, twice, and he said they weren’t anything to write home about.

When they were together, I thought they were okay, but I didn’t listen to them as much as I listened to the Stooges, or the Pixies, or the Breeders (who were the bands Cobain liked best, by the way, and in that order). Personally, I thought Nirvana was kind of derivative, and insufficiently punk (two of the criticisms Cobain had of Nirvana himself, by the way).

So why even acknowledge today? Well, for a good thing and a bad thing.

The good thing about Cobain was that he did what Johnny Rotten and Joey Ramone did, 18 years earlier: he saved rock’n’roll. In the Seventies, as I wrote in Fury’s Hour, rock had become “self-indulgent, technically-perfect, coma-inducing arena rock that offered up bands with about as much emotional commitment as an annual report.” Rotten and Ramone killed corporate rock’n’roll in 1976 or so. And then, when rock culture started getting evil again, Cobain did the same thing – in 1993 or so.

That’s the good thing, I think. The bad thing about Kurt Cobain is he was just another junkie who killed himself with junk. Like Elliott Smith (who was a greater songwriter, and who I still miss very much), Cobain came to love the sting of the needle more than he loved the writing of a really great song. So he died. That’s it.

I could say something, at this point, about the hypocrisy of the 40-and-50-somethings who condemn Rob Ford for his substance abuse issues – but who previously regarded Kurt Cobain as sort of cool for his – but it’s a waste of time. People are always going to be highly selective about the facts they rely upon to justify the bullshit of daily existence.

The facts about Kurt Cobain, as selected by me, are these: he saved rock’n’roll.

But he didn’t, or couldn’t, save himself.



Since I was a kid – since this day in 1972, in fact, when I started writing a daily journal – I have always taken note of April 4, and said to myself:  “April 4.  Dr. King.”

Today, 46 years ago, Martin Luther King was murdered by a racist in Memphis.  Dr. King was a giant of man, the one who – as I write in Fight The Rightanticipated the message at the core of the Occupy movement, among other things.  While his message continues to resonate across the decades, the violence of racial hatred continues unabated, too.

It’s April 4, and so I give you some of his most remarkable speech.  Surveying the pygmies who now crowd the public stage, I don’t think we will see the likes of him again.

A statement by the lawyer to my friend Laura Miller, who is smart, decent and honest, and doesn’t deserve the crap being thrown at her

Given that we’re paying attention to the OPP’s mistakes, this morning, this is appropriate:

It has recently been reported that Laura Miller, a former Deputy Chief of Staff in the Ontario Government, had refused to cooperate with the Ontario Provincial Police in an ongoing investigation.  The source of that information is the OPP. For the record, Laura agreed to cooperate in the investigation at all times.  Laura spoke to the OPP in September before asking me to facilitate the interview.  The assertion that she refused to cooperate is false

If folks want to know more, they can contact Brian Shiller.

But the OPP’s insinuation that my friend refused to cooperate? It’s bullshit.



Ipsos’ headline

And it’s a really, really good one.

Quebec Liberal Lead Grows (37% Vs. 28% PQ) in Final Stretch
With Nine Point Spread, Liberal Voters Least Likely to Change Their Vote Before Election Day
Couillard Chosen Over Marois, Legault as Best Premier

Here’s what Ming Pao says about Olivia


To wit:

“Her supporters packed the church in St. James town….media coverage comparable to a star level athlete. In the political world, we hardly see such high profile media coverage.”

I’ll buy that.