Friday, 26 June 2015

Back from Hiatus (Part One): Heavier Than Heaven


I’ve been away for some time, not that you have probably noticed because this blog has no doubt grown weeds around it and had a couple of windows smashed in by local kids so you just moved on. Anyway, there are plenty of reasons for my hiatus and I could spend time talking about some of the distracting challenges that I had last summer, or the fact that I’ve moved house this year... or even the shocking events that took over everything over Christmas.

I won’t though. At least not right now – there’s plenty of time for that later. I wanted to come back in with a few thoughts that I had recently when reading a couple of books. At this point I should just mention that I have a habit for picking things up after the event at a time to suit. There are countless films I watch when I can be bothered, which might not necessarily be when they come out or even within the first couple of years. Same with books and music and TV shows. Often this is down to circumstances (like I can’t get to the cinema – a big issue in recent times) but it can also be down to apathy – I’ve rarely been sucked in by the Zeitgeist but it does haunt me once it’s been discarded by everyone else. Anyway, in this instance, I picked up a couple of books that I didn’t bother with a decade or so ago when they were released – the first being The Journals of Kurt Cobain and the second being the Heavier Than Heaven biography.

I suppose I was motivated to do this by the prospect of watching a couple of the up-and-coming / soon-to-be-released Nirvana biopic/film docs and the Journals book is one of those things you can flick through casually, providing you are willing to suspend the idea that it does seem a little intrusive. Heavier Than Heaven on the other hand is an all-consuming piece that really takes something to digest...a little like Baldrick’s poem is starts out bleak, becomes depressing in the middle and the less said about the end the better. Owing to the fact that the end is a known and inevitable outcome it really takes it out of the reader, but then anyone who is a fan of Nirvana’s music will have read it or will want to read it. I had avoided both because the problem with that band is that they became so “owned” by the media and fans alike that it was difficult to maintain a personal connection with their music when the whole world was putting them on a pedestal – and this was even true in the late 90’s and throughout the 2000’s when these sorts of releases were published and various anniversaries were reached. Anyhow, the partial misery of reading of Kurt Cobain’s chronic heroin abuse and a spiral into complete and utter hopelessness and depression has been tempered by the re-discovery of his music, which on the rare occasions that it happens is a great joy: you get the music presented as new once more with the fact that you own the back catalogue and are familiar with the story. It’s partly nostalgic but also a pleasant haunting – like an encyclopedia in which eras can be cherry-picked, blended and dipped into without the all-encompassing chains that come when living through the time itself.

This probably sounds a little too whimsical and essentially I could surmise by simply stating that iTunes is great, but there is a convoluted point, which is that this has provided me with a one hand a retrospect and on the other a chance to compare eras: the early 1990's as a fan of music, film and art vs the present day. Hold that thought...

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