40kg of Books, 5 Staircases…And Too Excited to Put Shoes On

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To those of you to whom I owe a book – TODAY IS THE DAY! They arrived yesterday so right now, 14.28, they’re in the post to you!

With the ebook online, with the paperback first edition delivered into my hands, that’s round one of the Dark Slivers saga kinda concluded. How to describe what’s been involved… Well, to speak to publishers one needs an agent. To get an agent one has to send a proposal consisting of multiple pieces of requested information, formatted precisely as each individual agent wishes and, of course, no agent wants to be mass mailed so each proposal has completely different requirements intended to show that you’ve put in the elbow-work just for them. I considered it a good day’s work if I managed to finish three proposals (this was my weekends draining away in May-July). The agents will reject 90% of what’s before them. That’s before a publisher sees anything and rejects another 90%. I gathered a beautiful dozen or so rejections – too niche a topic, too much of a fan’s book, too many Nirvana books.

The reason to acquire a publisher? Because only a registered publisher can acquire ISBN numbers. My publisher did consider whether to help me register as an independent publisher then we decided it was too much faff and came to an arrangement on his royalty rate. The ISBNs are curious too; you can only buy them in batches of ten – at a cost of £125 in the U.K. Oh, and did you realise ebooks need a separate ISBN to a hardcopy book? No, neither did we. So that’s two ISBNs needed – which given the cost of printing in the first place is another expense on top. Not to mention, can you imagine how irritating it is to be all ready to go…Then to have to lose a day returning to one’s incredibly busy designer (West Coast America while I’m in U.K.) to ask if she can change the ISBN on the PDF before upload.

But what the hey. With an ISBN, the printer can now (for a price) print a barcode on the back of the book. Without a barcode you can’t sell a book in a shop. Fifty quid. Speaking of printers, well, understandably they have their needs; 3mm bleed, margin sizes, file type, text aligned this way and that – two files, cover separate to text. And yes, if you have more than a certain number of pages in full colour then the cost doubles (we’re talking several hundred pounds), likewise, if you print above A5 size then the cost, again, doubles so my original funky size wishes (I admit it! Gillian G. Gaar! I loved the size of Entertain Us so much I wanted it to be that size…) had to drop. Plus, Jesus…Hardback printing is crazy. Out of sheer vanity I fancied having a set of 25 hardback copies but the costs were astronomical…It’s important not to lose your mind when doing this yourself. Unless you’re a millionaire. Which I’m not. So I didn’t.

In the background I had to speak to an intellectual property lawyer to discuss the legality of quoting song lyrics – the answer being that if you’re writing a musical critique then quoting lyrics is essential and therefore totally legitimate. If, however, I was to take an entire verse, and place it at the start of a chapter, without it being integrated into the text or the discussion THEN I’d have to pay a charge to whoever owns the rights. Are you keeping up with this? This is what my life has been full of for months now, that’s alongside writing the book (72,000 words) and the blog (35,000 and counting…) He also pointed out the tax rules and regulations to me – which was good to know. Turns out I’m unlikely to make enough profit here to need to declare anything – yay not being a millionaire (again)!

Oh, epublishing…Leaving aside that bit where Amazon take 30% of the revenue (and where whatever I set the price at they add the tax onto the price so you, the consumer, pay the tax on the ebook and the book ends up weirdly priced), their system is quite slick. Compared that is to iTunes – I would need to be a U.S. tax payer to place a book on iTunes. But what the hey, it turns out part of the agreement with Amazon is that the ebook on their site must be at least 20% cheaper than the hardcopy or any other version available. Plus there’s that bit where they hang onto any money for two months earning themselves some lovely interest on each ebook sold before handing anything to the authors, yep, Amazon has epublished neatly sewn up. I’m still sure the wave of self-publishing hype articles this year were all thanks to Amazon (and others) tapping up their media friends to write nice things…

My designer has been a superstar, above and beyond in every way – it did make me chuckle when we discovered that the super-sophisticated design package we’d used to create the PDF for the publishers was TOO sophisticated for Amazon (credit to Amazon, their uploading and previewing portal is really slick, genuinely impressive.) We tried PDF, we tried ePub format…And came to the horrible realisation that we’d have to go back to the Word file…Which meant taking a full weekend to insert each correction we’d made to the PDF back into the Word file. Then check each graphic, check each chart, reformat, review, do it again…Two days gone.

 BUT. Rant over. Suddenly, Wednesday morning I log in and get to see my book up and running on the various Amazon sites and it feels wonderful. Thursday, sheer luck I’m in when the postman dials the flat and asks if I’d mind coming down and fetching the 40kg of books in two boxes because there’s no way his back will survive the journey up the stairs…And I run down barefoot and hump both up one after the other because I’m so thrilled to see them. And today, this lunchtime, when I hand over the postage money and, having signed, numbered and inscribed a message in each copy, I send out the first load of books to people have been good enough to support me…That felt good. And I truly hope they enjoy. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

McCartney/Nirvana Update

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmZw9e0vciM

Plenty of footage on YouTube – corrections to previous ‘first take’, Pat Smear along too. They played a new song called ‘Cut Me Some Slack’ and seem to have left it at that. Phew!

Looks like an enjoyable enough evening – a poppy enough new song. I’ve always wondered what that move is called where guys on stage play ‘to each other’ (you’ll know it when you see it) and why its visually effective.

Courtney is restrained enough in her comments – nothing particular to worry about…The Lennon preference is a fair one if we’re talking reasonable comparisons to Kurt Cobain:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/12/courtney-love-paul-mccartney-nirvana-not-amused_n_2289015.html

All Respect to McCartney…But.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/dec/12/paul-mccartney-kurt-cobain-nirvana

Please imagine the first paragraph of this post as a morass of colourful swearing interrupted by attempts to draw breath and come up with something that beats the imagination of the previous elaborate expletive. It was looking ever more likely these past few years that the surviving members of Nirvana (version circa 1990-1993) were ever more likely to get together more formally. A charitable examination would compare it to the period of time it took Johnny Rotten to become comfortable playing Sex Pistols’ songs while on tour with Public Image Ltd, then the ongoing time before the surviving Sex Pistols were able to get back on stage together. Alternatively, perhaps the span of time prior to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant getting together for the No Quarter collaboration and then the, eventually, stage appearances of the remnants of Led Zeppelin. It takes a while before one’s own past feels like a costume one would wish to inhabit again.

On the other hand, a less charitable view would be that gazing into one’s past happens once one’s inspiration, one’s vision of the future, runs dry. Kurt Cobain is a fair example of that (in my view) given the covers he played, the originals he (apparently) was practising in his basement, the calls to family members not seen in a decade, addressing the suicide note to his childhood imaginary friend… Again, Johnny Rotten is a good example — by the time he began singing the odd Sex Pistols’ song he had shed the whole of the first (and best) edition of PiL and was about to start the long decline in PiL’s creative energies that led eventually to the Sex Pistols reprise. In the case of Foo Fighters…With all due respect to a really cool bloke, it’s a long time since Foo Fighters set the world alight musically and a while since they had a new musical idea. It’s understandable, to me, why Dave Grohl might be open to looking back to Nirvana. Krist has barely been involved in music in years yet has recently looked like a man more than happy to acknowledge his part in the most important rock band of the past few decades. Paul McCartney meanwhile is a very pleasant bloke, a surprisingly underrated musical and lyrical talent compared to his former Beatles’ comrade John Lennon, and a willing collaborator with anyone going. But. He’s also a guy with a voice now on its last legs if the Olympics 2012 performance is anything to go by and one who hasn’t had a genuinely fresh musical thought since before Nirvana even existed.

I have a feeling the story is being over-hyped; a one-off charity performance with celebrity friends (see the Living Like a Rock Star post from last week) likely consisting of a couple of the softer-edged Nirvana tracks, a smattering of Foo Fighters songs plus some Beatles classics is a perfectly worthy endeavour but, no, it isn’t a reformation. And in the end, it’s harmless. Given Kurt’s respect for The Beatles, having Paul McCartney sing is songs would probably tickle his ego no end. The fact that it turns Nirvana into a slightly fluffy cabaret act doesn’t bear thinking about…Just focus on the money for a good cause and pray no one gets it into their heads to call it Nirvana, or, worse, to persist with it beyond this one-off display.

1992-1994: Maps

I don’t want to lose whatever respect or credibility I’ve earned with you but I confess I’m listening to Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted for the first time ever today. Apologies for delay too, office systems down so all a bit chaotic.

Now…As promised, the conclusion of Nirvana U.S. touring in map form! Though not the Salem of witch trial legend, it still seems neatly coincidental that Nirvana’s most testing year would commence in a town of that name. While previous years have taken me two or three slides to capture, the whole of 1992 can be taken in one:

1992_Shows

I even abandoned the naming convention I’d previously adopted given Salem is the only ordinary looking show on the map. Nirvana essentially abandoned America for the full year; two TV shows, two benefits, two secrets. If it wasn’t for the thirty days out in the Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii), and the smattering of European festival shows, it’d be entirely possible to declare the band missing, presumed dead. I’m being gentle including the TV shows.

It does explain some part of why, despite Nirvana being an American band, something like Reading 1992 should loom so large in the popular imagination; the entire peak of Nirvana’s fame, as far as live concerts went, was spent off abroad at these kinds of show. Reading would have been one of the view shows all year where a massive press contingent could be guaranteed. It’s precisely the reason Britain receives tonnes of U.S. news; there’s lots of footage and reportage, it’s therefore cheap to buy and as a result we all get to learn it.

1993 was basically more of the same; America’s finest nowhere to be seen — I’m being kind including Saturday Night Live just to expand the engagements:

1993_Jan-Sept_Shows

That changes, however. The map becomes almost impossible to follow given how much the band crams into the final months of 1993. This is the most extensive touring Nirvana has done in the U.S. in their entire history. Looking back at past posts, at the maps for 1991, 1990, 1989, there had been big tours before but the scale and coverage achieved this time around was unprecedented. Of course, one thing to point out is that this kinda touring isn’t exactly uncommon for bands — this was the age of multi-year tours taking place, show after show… Nirvana staying out for the best part of three months was long by their standards. Having kicked off in Arizona (red line) the band took the obligatory pop over to Canada between Ohio and the start of the North-East U.S. visitation (blue line, November) and then the criss-crossing of central and western states in December:

1993_Oct-Dec_Shows

1994 was the usual post-Christmas smattering of appearances. On this occasion, however, given the finality of ensuing events, it seems apt that Nirvana should retreat so far into their own past. The map needed to show the band’s U.S. presence in 1994 barely needs to show more than the map for 1987, or 1988—they hop across the borders of Washington State to two locations, they head home, then gone:

1994_Shows

 

Aging Gracefully

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83331.html?hp=l13

In their heyday, Nirvana were atypical rock stars. It’s heartening to see that Krist Novoselic, as much as Dave Grohl, has persisted in evading the lame clichés, the tedious spectacle of mainstream rockers behaving like grey-haired apes. I talked the other week about Bruce Pavitt’s continued efforts to support grassroots music (his book Experiencing Nirvana will split profits with The Vera Project http://www.theveraproject.org/) — it’s another case of a denizen of the grunge scene continuing to make a worthwhile contribution to things that are important to them.

In the case of Krist, his long involvement in political causes is well-known particularly from his publication of the exceedingly readable Of Grunge and Government. At the time of Nirvana, Krist arguably formed the band’s heart contributing substantial amounts of its humour and leading the band into several of its political engagements notably against censorship laws and the raising of substantial funds for Serbian rape victims. To see him move on to the FairVote organization (http://www.fairvote.org/) has been heartening.

The generation that had come of age in the time of mass movements wrote the script regarding Generation X; they defined the youth of the late Eighties and early Nineties as some kind of passive, uninspired and morally/socially disinterested mass. This was always a simplification, one that could just as easily be applied to any generation, based on an inability to comprehend a generation that didn’t use massive organisations as their key method of political expression. That reaction was certainly real; it was a move away from bodies that imposed a set persona and character upon their followers. Instead individuals were equally capable and willing to commit time, money, energy to causes — they just didn’t feel that being in favour/against one issue meant they were part of a single congealed mass (left wing, right wing, etc.), nor that it meant they automatically agreed with other related or unrelated causes or issues.

The ‘slacker’ tag overlooked the fact that the scene from which Nirvana emerged, and a substantial amount of work within the alternative music scene, was focused on causes not as easily reduced to mass appeals for cash. A lot of the ‘new politics’ couldn’t be solved that way given they were about attitudes rather than the presence or absence of a political permission, or a physical element. Krist exemplifies Generation X, showing the forebears of modern activism that, despite not lining up alongside the megalomaniacal LiveAID style of action, a generation wanted to seek change and had decided to do so by focusing locally, attending to the lives of those around them rather than to distant abstracts, and were attentive to things that were less photogenic, less interesting to TV news, but were no less worthwhile.

This doesn’t, of course, mean that there weren’t weaknesses in the political nature of the generation. The absence of a specific organisational identity — such as a political party, a cohesive movement with an administrative core, a trade union, a web of think tanks or entities (as existed for the U.S. Conservative Movement) — while laudable in theory (anti-hierarchical! Individualistic! Open to opinions and debate!), made it very difficult for conversations to take place with the wielders of actual power. In a world run via conversations between organisations, where organisations act as the proxy for individual voices, it’s hard for diverse cacophony to have an impact. Again, however, the trajectory of Nirvana — or perhaps Krist specifically — shows a move from individual awareness, to initial actions (marches, protests, concerts, speeches) to committed organisational politics via a defined body.

I take the message of Nirvana to be to engage positively and soulfully with the world. Seeing Krist Novoselic use his middle age, not to turn into another embarrassing wreck, but to fight for something…It’s good to see Nirvana’s heart still beats.

Dark Slivers: eBook Arrives on Amazon Tuesday 11th December (AM)

Greetings.

Back to maps and Nirvana fun as soon as possible – consider this an intermission – but Dark Slivers: Seeing Nirvana in the Shards of Incesticide has just been uploaded and finalised on Amazon and will be available in all territories (as defined and permitted by Amazon – don’t ask, they’re masters of the language of Legalese) from sometime tomorrow morning.

The paperback will be ready for delivery this Friday. The main email address is NirvanaDarkSlivers@gmail.com but alternatively feel free to write to nicksoulsby@hotmail.com and I’ll get back to you. You’ll be delighted to hear the book is 0.341kg including packaging so postage costs will not be excessive. To anyone who has already ordered, I’ll be writing to you tonight confirming the postage cost given by the Royal Mail website plus £0.50p to cover the packaging.

As soon as Amazon activates the ebook page I’ll add the links to the ‘About’ section of this blog and give notification on Facebook and Twitter.

Best wishes!

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Nirvana in the U.S. 1991 – Maps

These maps take time, apologies for the delay!

The onset of major label time did break up Nirvana’s touring activity, the band barely made it out of the West Coast for most of 1991. In some ways this was the key Nirvana trend, long periods of localised activity, sticking to ‘home turf’ for months on end: Tour_Jan-Aug 1991

Of course, compared to 1987 to mid-1989 that ‘turf’ did now extend all the way down through California with Washington State only soaking up a certain amount of time. The band’s trip round the U.S. in September-October followed a regular pattern with the path set so that after running in circles in the North-Eastern states, most of October was always bringing them closer to home:

Tour_Sept-Oct 1991

 

Kurt Cobain and Lyrical Meaning

There’s a late 1993 interview on YouTube in which Kurt Cobain, when asked about the meaning in his lyrics, straight up denies his lyrics have any meaning raising his hand in the air and declaring “swear to God brother…”

If he means, “I don’t intentionally write meaningful stuff” he would still be playing loose with the truth; he admits over and again to songs having a story line or an autobiographical element, he just refuses to do so in a uniform way or without disclaimers. If he means “my songs have no meaning” then he’d be either (take your pick) wrong, lying or willfully self-deceptive. It’s a well known fact that, at least after his early writing visible on Incesticide, Kurt often mashed lyrics together at short notice. Again, however, that wasn’t a uniform writing pattern. There’s no evidence of how long the songs written in late 1990-early 1991 took to write but they were written at home, in private, not in the run up to album recordings or on the spot at rehearsals.

Also, the key point is that ‘meaning’ isn’t automatically entangled in authorial intent. If an artist writes a song and deliberately makes it about a specific topic (i.e., Sweet Child of Mine was written, deliberately, as a wistful love song hence the focus of all the lyrics) then fine, its about that topic but it doesn’t mean that the images used aren’t tied to other ideas in an artist’s work. The other way to void meaning would be to do a William S. Burroughs style cut-up in which all lyrics are found and thrown together from other sources – the author doesn’t write any of them. But even Burroughs arranged those cut ups into narratives and stories that he did, deliberately, construct. Therefore authorial meaning was returned to words that didn’t originally have any.

In the case of Kurt Cobain, the fact that he wrote fast, that he wrote things on the spot, actually brings us closer to interior meaning. Why? Because all the words and images poured onto pages came from his internal world without being warped or corrupted by deliberate intention – these words and images were what spilt out of him.

This is why, when studying Kurt Cobain’s life and works, the same themes occur again and again whether in lyrics, in diary entries, in his suicide note, in the authors he payed homage to or in his art work. He didn’t deliberately set out to write more songs about rape than about heterosexual sex – but that’s what came out when he sat down. He didn’t mean to write numerous songs in which the character is restrained, bound, under control – but that’s what came out.

A good comparison would be to query the meaning of a quality film. The Godfather is a film about the Mafia. Well, yes! True! …But it’s also a film about the bonds of family, about inheritance, the corrupting of good intentions…And on top of that it’s a film displaying Hollywood’s love affair with glamorous violence and crime, its relationships with organised crime (the tale is that the word Mafia is never used because the makers were pressured by associates of local crime families) and also the influence on screen portrayals of crime can have on individuals who have modelled themselves on it since then. Kurt Cobain’s lyrics aren’t Transformers; all surface explosions and no depth. Kurt Cobain’s lyrics bear comparison to detailed cinematic work.

The quest for meaning has given too much credibility to his own statements regarding his ‘meaninglessness’ while simultaneously every Nirvana fan looks at In Utero and can add up countless personal references and links to other songs in the Nirvana catalogue. Its part of the reason I adore Kurt Cobain so much; I think he’s, inadvertently, one of the most psychologically honest artists ever to breach the mainstream world and the linkages and connections between songs written across his entire career are quite stunning to behold.

Dark Slivers: First Copy Arrived Today

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The very first copy of Dark Slivers: Seeing Nirvana in the Shards of Incesticide arrived – all 260 pages, 15 chapters and 72,000 words of it. Nick is a very happy boy indeed.

I’ve taken a few quick photos on my phone, the main batch of the first print run will arrive next week ready for despatch at the end of the week. I’ll post later today about some of the logistics involved in reaching this but for now…A story.

This is copy 1/100 or one of one hundred. It’s the very first copy of my very first (and likely only) book. It represents an entire year of work, night after night spent up ’til all hours tapping away, revising, revisiting, discarding, solidifying. It’s the first physical result of the hard work of Maureen, my designer, and Ben, my publisher. A bunch of people asked me if they could have number one of one hundred and I refused them – I was keeping it for myself…

…Until I received an email from a young (teenage?) girl in Italy. She has been wanting to find something for her sister’s boyfriend. What she wrote was “I know a special person, my sister’s boyfriend, who has been like a big brother to me. Christmas is coming and though I don’t you, I’d like to get a copy for him.” Frankly, I just found that really cool. I think there’s a choice in life, some people say life is sh** or life is horrible but I think that’s because they expect nice things to just happen when actually life is fantastic if time and energy is spent hunting those nice things down, making them happen and doing things that will make people smile.

So I’m delighted to hand copy 1 of 100 to her. Frankly I feel good knowing it goes to a cause that is worth more than my ego and a place on my book shelf. Everyone who has pre-ordered, I’ll be giving you the postal cost tomorrow then, if you approve, requesting payment next week. Your copies will be in the post end of next week.

…But guys, I’m having copies 2, 3 and 4! 🙂

Loving that cover more and more…

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Living Like a Rock Star

It seems that the idea of ‘a rock star’ has been whittled down to a final form easily recognised and described by everyone. It makes it hard, however, to recall how recent the clichés involved are. The entire industry of pop music, let alone rock music (a 1970s creation), didn’t exist until the mid-1950s. In retrospect the worship of Elvis, or the hysterical reactions to The Beatles seem hard to comprehend but in each case these artists were the first of their kind, there was no mould to be filled early in their careers and, afterwards, no template for what a mid-career music star should do or should behave. The association with sexuality (albeit a gentle sexuality at the time) began with Elvis; the drug connection (while quietly present within jazz) surfaced in The Beatles; the wildman image was already appealing and became a core part of the identity we’re describing here thanks to The Rolling Stones.

The Seventies solidified and deepened the ideal that had been forged. The drugs became omnipresent and almost celebrated as a sign of wealth and decadence. The sex became essentially a form of public display with groupies and orgies replacing the quieter awareness that flocks of girls were surrounding the stars. The bad boy image was fleshed out with destructive acts carried out on musical instruments or hotel rooms, flirtations with black magic or Satanism or whatever other flavour of the month would rile people. Again, while historical precedents can be found in the blues (whether Robert Johnson selling his soul or Lead Belly’s repeated arrests for violence) these elements only cemented into an identity at this point, one that would be worn like a uniform in the Eighties rock scene.

Punk stripped down the musical style and rejected the increasing move to omnipotent and untouchable rock god status — yet it did so by retaining the focus on certain core pieces of the, now established, identity; the violence, drugs, sex, the bad (and photogenic) behaviour all wrapped up in a package designed to appeal to an audience on lower budgets. Punk didn’t produce a brand new rock star image, it selectively embellished the existing one in the interests of accessibility – anyone could do it and it doesn’t take much effort to mimic something sordid. The same era also saw the question posed, for the first time, what does an aging star do? The answers were semi-retirement (Lennon), finding God (Dylan), vast over-indulgence (Elvis) or increasingly soft and friendly tunes and plenty of quality-lite collaboration with friends (Jagger, Bowie, McCartney) with the occasional death to spice it up and make it dangerous again.

The Eighties didn’t revolutionize this image; the Eighties were basically a blending of aspects of punk with the now stable vision of the rock stars. What occured instead was a constant escalation into cartoon realms; who could do what, with whom, who did the most – the image of the rock star reached its grand finale. With the mainstream model so rigidly defined, it was the first time there had truly been an underground bubbling away, an all-encompassing term for bands that departed from the image that would be promoted, funded, given access to recording facilities. A lot of the older generation, who had set the model, were now so firmly established that they were now core to the pop scene rather than living separately in a rock ghetto.

Nirvana’s ‘revolution’ was therefore less a case of a fundamental musical shift, it was about the change in the image. The music itself was a merging of existing styles, definitely radio-friendly, not that divorced from existing rock modes. But Nirvana explicitly rejected the rampant sexism, the charmless and nihilistic violence, the self-aggrandisement (marrying models, flagrant consumption, extroverted partying, fast cars…) It didn’t make them saints, or pure beings, but it was the first time a female-friendly, pro-gay rights, enlightened rock image had been projected in an uncompromised fashion since the age of The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Nirvana knew it too, they spoke again and again about their opposition to, and difference from, the established view of what it meant to be a rock star, how it was the music that differentiated them from heavy metal, how bored and played out rock was. The glitch in what they were saying was, however, that their problem was not one of music — it was about the entire concept of what being a rock star was. Nirvana didn’t tear down rock music, they tore down the ROCKSTAR.

Having shown how false the image was, it was impossible to put the idea of the rock star back together again. Kurt Cobain personally killed the heroin chic that had ruled since the early 70s by being brought low and, in the eyes of many, destroyed by it all within barely two years of the early 1992 peak of fame. The decline was so fast it retained the ability to actually shock; from peak-to-trough it had never been so swift or so submerged in sordid detail — the junkie baby rumours were important for a much broader reason which is that it killed the sense of deviant fun that had somehow survived even Sid Vicious’ ending (at the time seen as an overdose.) There had been drug deaths before, there had been long declines, but there hadn’t been many deaths while still firmly in the spotlight, few cases in which the grossness of the experience had been so visible to the public eye and so indefensible. It was hard to celebrate the drugs.

Kurt simultaneously wrecked the idea of the all-conquering rock God by abdicating his throne; rock stars didn’t quit, they were immortals who could only be destroyed by outside forces. Kurt Cobain ruined the ideal of the rock star as the most fun a man (almost always a man up to that point) could have by never ceasing to show he despised it. Others had reacted to fame by retreated from the spotlight but it had seemed an affectation that could only be afforded by the very rich; one they’d repent when they needed the income or attention and in the meantime they’d sit very nicely in their penthouses drowning in entertainments. Kurt was the biggest rock star in the world and just at the crucial moment when everyone was looking his way…He laid waste to a few of the clichés. It was fitting that his suicide came with both heroin and a bullet; symbol of hedonism and metaphor of manliness forever stained all in one fell swoop.

There’s not really been much since. Billy Corgan was the last rock star of the old mould but only on record, in person he was very much the new generation intent on hauling down the idol of the ROCKSTAR. The components of the image — drugs, hedonism, sex, self-aggrandisement, destruction — are all still there but the arms race that had flowed from the fifties onwards had ceased when Kurt Cobain one-upped the entire world. There was no way to top what he did, nor to restore the pieces he showed were simply laughable. The baton passed to the world of hip hop which has been busy running through a remarkably similar and tired tale at high speed from initial revolution, through excess, into cartoon, division into mainstream and underground, finally coming ending up indistinguishable from pop music and certainly with not an ounce of rebellion left in it.

Its why the article below stirred a certain nostalgia in me; it fondly reminded me that revolutions rarely demolish what came before, they either adopt them or mutate them into tweaked shapes.

Alternative all-stars join the 25th anniversary of Dinosaur Jr’s You’re Living All Over Me

Rock star guests, casual collaborations among old friends who share vanity labels and private studios, tributes to their own history, the ability to toss half-baked projects out on name alone, diversions into other business ventures and kids kicking off their own bands…It may be enacted by bands I adore, but it all feels kinda familiar. And all with the same friendliness the Travelling Wilburys or Live Aid brought to a previous generation.