Cobain Unseen

If you buy one thing to learn about Kurt Cobain, this should be it:

The text is written by the same guy who wrote “Heavier than Heaven,” Charles Cross. Chuck, I’m hearing. I wonder if that’s a nickname to bug him. Chuck it is. To the author; if you find this entry and my photos of the book, and it violates some copyright law or pisses you off, send me a note and I’ll pull this entry. But really dude, I’m promoting this book. I think it’s awesome.

My only complaint with Heavier than Heaven was the authour’s excessive editorializing, contaminating what would be an amazingly detailed biography with his *opinion* of Kurt, calling him obsessed with smell, sexually insecure (as though that’s unusual) criticizing the grammar and spelling in his journals (gee, I hope my readers understand that a blog is basically a journal, written stream-of-consciousness and often unedited) coming up with really odd interpretations of Kurt’s songs that just make us say, “Really? That’s what you got? What song were you listening to?” The sheer volume of details Chuck gathered about Kurt’s life is phenomenal, however. Respect, dude.

What I love about Cobain Unseen is there is a lot less editorializing, and so many beautiful photographs of Kurt, his environment and his work. There are amazing details such as replicated copies of award certificates, concert fliers, a recording of Kurt reading from his journals, stickers Kurt drew himself, photos of his art pieces, photos taken of him with people he loved and by people who loved him. I feel like this gorgeous collection of visuals do a better job of communicating the spirit of Kurt’s work and life than any collection of text could possibly do. Let the art speak for itself.

In flagrant disrespect for copyright laws, I’ve taken a few photos of the photos in the book to share here. I justify it by telling Cobain fans to get your ass onto the internet and order a copy of this book for yourself. It’s a fascinating work of art unto itself.

Pullout concert promo tickets on computer stickers which Kurt drew himself. Apparently these can still be found stuck to walls in clubs around Olympia.

Sweetie almost had a conniption when she saw this photo: A few months ago, she told me about a dream of being in a small, extremely cluttered room with Kurt, and he played her mix tapes with yellow labels. It was these exact tapes. That is frickin’ weird.

This is my favourite art piece, Kurt’s own head among dolls heads. I can’t say exactly why I love it.

This shattered Madonna with tiny infant dolls, set into a suitcase. Again, the imagery, the layers of potential symbolism. I just love it. It’s the kind of thing Kurt liked to do, create something shocking and see how it affected other people. As an artist, he was a lot like Yoko in this way; his art created a mirror by which people could see themselves. I believe this is why so many people have such wildly different interpretations of Kurt’s songs and art; they’re seeing their own reflection, when they think they’re seeing Kurt. I can understand why Kurt hated being asked to explain his lyrics; you see what you see, everyone’s different. He just created the piece; the interpretation is up to you, and none of his concern. (Well, except when you decide an anti-rape song is a pro-rape song, then he’ll clarify, disbelievingly.) I’m not sure Kurt did this as intentionally as Yoko executes her work, but who the hell cares anyway. It’s art. Chew on it. Experience it.

Kurt wearing John Lennon glasses:

Kurt with his sister Kimmy and Aunt M? (damn, I forget her name) You can just see all the love in this photo.

So there it is, Unseen Cobain teaser. Forget the Cobain commemorative converse sneakers, the “road worn” Cobain edition Fender guitar. Get this book. It’s great.

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2 thoughts on “Cobain Unseen

  1. Wow…. I’m buying this book immediately. You know what’s interesting?? The Beatles had an American album cover yanked from production because of the imagery on it ( brought upon by Johnny)….. It was The Beatles posing with all these broken baby dolls, raw meat, and them dressed as butchers. Kurt did the same thing with the baby doll heads…. so interesting. BTW::: I think the pic with Kurt and dolls is mesmorizing and beautiful as well.

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    • There are also pics of some art pieces Kurt created out of doll parts, flowers, hair and meat. Pretty intense.

      In that pic of Kurt wearing the John Lennon style glasses, in the background there are beatles figurines glued to the top of the amp, and if I recall there’s a beatles poster in the background. He had a few beatles posters and he’d graffiti them; they appear in a couple of photos in the book.

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