Sunday, 16 February 2014

Kurt Cobain

Aberdeen, Washington's first Kurt Cobain Day is being held this week on Thursday, February 20th. Writer Chris Nickson, author of the Emerald City crime series set in Seattle, remembers him...

This April it will be 20 years since Kurt Cobain killed himself. Think about that for a minute. 20 years. In that time Seattle’s changed in remarkable ways – not least having a football team that won the Super Bowl and a soccer team to be proud of in the Sounders. Music has moved on, too, and the legend that was Nirvana has become burnished in gold.
20 years.

Grunge has gone and been revived, empires and kingdoms have fallen. And this years, two decades after its most famous son died, Aberdeen, Washington is having a Kurt Cobain day on February 20. It’s taken them long enough.

I’m not here to rehash the story of the band; my friend Charles Cross has managed that perfectly well in his definitive Cobain book, Heavier than Heaven. But I remember the sense of grief all through the Seattle music community after the news came out. There was a kind of numbness, maybe more among fans who’d taken the albums to heart more than anyone. An era really had ended.

I saw the band twice. Once in the early days, before Dave Grohl joined, in a club in Pioneer Square, probably the Central. They were good and they had potential. The second time, if I recall, was in a venue near Re-Bar whose name I don’t recall. By then they’d improved. If there was a shambles, it was deliberate. They were loud, punchy, and committed.

Their success came as Seattle was riding a wave. In the early ‘90s, with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, the city led the world musically. Just a few years before it had been named America’s most liveable city. Its time had come, quite a feat considering two decades before it had seemed on the verge of extinction. 20 years, again.

I’m not the world’s biggest Nirvana fan. Never have been. I liked them but there were others things that moved me more. I never interviewed Cobain or Grohl. I did meet bassist Krist Novoselic once, for a feature on his post-Nirvana band Sweet 75. We had lunch at the Deluxe on Broadway, and out of that I ended up doing a little work for his political action committee, JAMPAC. No big thing, I was one of many.

Nirvana really did change everything. The rules, the ethos of success. But sometimes the boundaries are too strong to break down. You form a band and you want people to hear what you’ve done. You want them to like your creation. The problem, perhaps, was that too many people saw themselves reflected in Cobain’s songs. He couldn’t be everything to everyone. Maybe he found it hard to know just who he was anymore.

In the wake of his death another friend of mine wrote a book about him. Dave Thompson’s Never Fade Away was completed in a remarkable seven days. Amazingly, it wasn’t exploitative, but a very sympathetic portrait of a talented man.

And now it’s two full decades since Cobain went. He was born and raised in Aberdeen, one of the few from there to break out and make his mark. The word ‘legend’ is overused, but he’s become one.

So, Aberdeen, what took you so long? - Chris Nickson

"West Seattle Blues", second in Chris Nickson's Emerald City trilogy, publishes later this

Photo of Kurt Cobain by perishparish.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day - the horror!

Happy Valentine's Day from all at Creative Content! Just for fun, we thought we'd share some of our dating horror stories... enjoy! If you're still looking for your valentine, for today only we're giving away Alison Norrington's "Pulling Power! Pick Up Tips for Guys" and "Pulling Power! Pick Up Tips for Girls" free for Kindle. 

I remember meeting an attractive Bulgarian physicist – intelligent, intense, dark good looks - and I was thrilled when he asked me on a date. He was taking me to Lake Arrowhead for the day and he picked me up early. I opened the door to find him standing there in a white shirt, white hotpants, black socks, black patent leather dress shoes ... and a Tyrolean hat. I was very young and very shallow – so I’m afraid I made my excuses... 

Then there was the gorgeous Columbian doctor. When I met him (standing in line for theatre tickets), he was out on a ‘date’ with his elderly mother. I thought it was so sweet. But when she came along on our first date, I decided that maybe there shouldn’t be a second date... (Paging Norman Bates... Norman Bates, line 1, please...)

Then there was the Australian lawyer who, halfway through our date, got pulled over by the police and arrested for some outstanding warrant – leaving me stranded in Los Angeles, without transportation, at midnight! 

 (I know it seems that I only like foreign men – but in the end, I married an all-American boy... Well, an all-Italian-American boy!)

Here are some dating horror stories my male friends have shared with me:

Mr ‘X’ from the UK told me: “Yes, I’ve experienced lots of horrors, but one in particular is a warning to anyone who thinks of settling their nerves with alcohol!
I had secured a hot date in London and we had arranged to meet at Waterloo station. I had visions of a romantic stroll along the South Bank followed by supper in an intimate Soho restaurant. All very tasteful. Feeling slightly nervous though, I'd mixed myself a gin and tonic to drink on the train (disguised as sparkling water). In hindsight, I was a little heavy-handed with the liquor. After an interminable journey, I emerged onto the platform, no longer nervous but rather worse for wear. I eventually located my [unimpressed] date and lunged towards them like a wounded animal. My everlasting memory of the evening is descending the steps of Waterloo station on my bottom and giving verbal abuse to anyone who dared look at me. Sadly, but not surprisingly, I never heard from my hot date again.”

Mr. ‘Y’ from the US told me: “I went out on a first date with someone the Friday before Thanksgiving weekend.  Pleasant enough movie date.  They called the next day to say they had gone out to buy a turkey and all the trimmings – and were so looking forward to spending our first holiday together as a couple... Doo, doo, doo, doo. Doo, doo, doo, doo....”

We hope you have a lovely day! 

Image by Dan at HCT Creative