Selling History

Left me in two minds this article — always enjoyable to have to debate something internally before deciding where one stands, far too many kneejerk positions floating around in my head.

So, a few months back we covered the tale of recording studios and Nirvana ( — I admit I forgot about Devonshire Sound Studios, another one to vanish into history, still going but not a name deemed worth preserving. Here’s a few photos of it as it stands:

Salami Studios-AKA Devonshire

Anyways, the lady in question flagged (and, honestly speaking, overegged) the link to Nirvana and the phantom presence of Kurt Cobain to draw attention to the property being sold. My first reaction was a weary sigh at Kurt being used to sell something but then I paused and revised.

As far as I can see the advertisement is entirely honest in stating the ‘not quite’ nature of the connection, both fair and reasonable in the ‘made you look’ vibe, essentially is doing very little beyond citing the limited history of the property. It’s reasonable that mentioning the fairly recently (and tragically) dead as a talking point gives a ghoulish air to events but I can’t think of a reason why that vague discomfort has a more noble claim over how we should feel.

I’ve walked the streets of London, stood where Guy Fawkes’ co-conspirators were hung, drawn and quartered (as an aside, beautiful procedure; hung until almost dead, cut down, revived, then sliced from throat to crotch with a white-hot knife allowing the executioner to haul your inside out with the crucial point being to hold your heart before your eyes so you saw it before you died. Then, next, hacked into four quarters and despatched to various points in this reserved and charming isle to give others second thoughts about any plans they might be hatching.) I’ve been up to the Tower of London and seen the burial place of Anne Boleyn. I’ve scoured the Internet for a few shots of the house in which Kurt Cobain died…It’s all voyeuristic in some way, a proximity to a thrill of some sort, just coated in a curious legitimacy in some cases.

Then again, potentially I’m just discussing one of my own moral quandaries; am I profiteering from the death of Kurt Cobain? If, by some miracle, Dark Slivers: Seeing Nirvana in the Shards of Incesticide exploded and I sold…4,000 copies, let’s say, that’d mean a profit would occur. Is it my goal or ambition to make a profit? No. Am I content if I make a loss? Yes. Would I like to avoid that if I can? Heck yes. Would I like as many people as I can interest to read the book? Of course. So have I taken advantage of the good name of Nirvana (and Kurt Cobain) for ulterior motives? No, I genuinely feel I’ve written a book that’s worth reading, I truly believe I’ve uncovered a certain quantity of new information and my ambition is to convince someone to change the entry on LiveNirvana:

As for the advertisement…Sheesh, there’s too much defence of orthodoxy, guarding the sacred flame when really lambasting people for things is far less creative or constructive than getting on with building something fresh.

I’m still unsure I’m totally comfortable with what has been done here but I don’t oppose it either — there have been far more egregious frauds perpetrated on the Cobain name, by sources and organizations who could have done far better, far too much rubbish printed or released for me to sweat over one successful house sale. Kudos to taking the time to uncover the history of the area — in one hundred years who’ll know or even remember?

Selling History


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