Guilt Rock: Klosterman, Cobain and Myself

It’s 1:17 on my watch and I catch myself online, thoughtlessly switching between social networking sites, waiting for bland notifications – hoping that anything remotely exciting turns up. I must be kidding myself. Might as well write something here, since it’s arguably more fulfilling than falling asleep. It’s such a bitter form of refuge – Brandon Flowers said that.

I finished reading Chuck Klosterman’s Eating the Dinosaur some days ago. I’ve yet to get a copy of Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and Chuck Klosterman IV. Spare me for being behind. I feel I must have them if Dinosaur amused me. Klosterman’s writing got my attention because he knows about so many things and writes about them so adeptly and smugly, you feel you don’t really know the things you think you know. Less than an hour ago, I reread his segment about David Koresh and in greater interest, Kurt Cobain. It’s interesting because (a) I am a Nirvana fan (not extremely hardcore, but hardcore enough to grab books about Cobain, a shirt with him on it, etc.) and (b) I’ve read Heavier Than Heaven, Kurt’s biography written by Charles Cross. Cross’ perspective made me mellow up to Kurt’s character and weaknesses. His portrayal of the Nirvana frontman exposed his soul and frail humanity. Klosterman just about hardened Cobain at the edges, exposing his flaws rather abrasively. I’m not saying one of these guys is more credible than the other. I just find it enriching to be able to see both points of view.

I subscribe to the school of thought that believes In Utero is the better, more artistically sophisticated (there’s probably a more apt adjective out there) record than the all-famous Nevermind. Klosterman thinks otherwise. He says it isn’t so different musically and lyrically. In Utero was made during the period where Nirvana were enjoying fame and fortune. Everybody knows that they were supposedly anti-commercial and all that, and paradoxically, that’s what made them big. Klosterman labels In Utero asGuilt Rock” because Kurt in particular, was in an awkward and sad state – one of his greatest weaknesses was that he couldn’t quit caring about the opinions of people. He was too conscious of himself, and of the world. He felt eyes and ears were always on him. Klosterman stated that self-hatred is common among artists and I agree. I’m sure Kurt was no exception to this. Suddenly, being the most popular rock star wasn’t so easy. Neither was being rich, considering the principles he tried so hard to adhere to.

Anyway, what do I think I’m doing, talking about a man I will never really know? Just killing time, I guess – but that doesn’t stop me from discussing the matter another time. I’ll be surrendering to bed in a while. Maybe I’ll listen to Bleach before I drift to sleep. or Nevermind. or In Utero.

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