Monday, July 09, 2007

I'm paid good money not to be ignored

I'm about to admit something here: I don't hate Courtney Love. I know, isn't everyone supposed to hate her?

Sure, she's a completely delusional, lipstick smeared, liposuction loving, botox injecting, peroxided to the shithouse, bitchy, slutty, fame-whoring, Lying, over opinionated, messy, allegedly talentless crackhead. But I don't hate her.

I can't say I love her either but I sit somewhere between appalled and fascinated on Courtney Love. I get this distinct feeling about her that for a lot of people she's the girl you fuck but don't ever tell anyone about. As a big Nirvana fan the pairing between Kurt and Courtney seemed a little strange to me - she was always so volatile and explosive in her pain and lashing out at anyone who would listen whereas he was contemplative and kept the pain in his stomach. Maybe they each complimented that side that each of them lacked. I don't know.

I remember reading Kurt say this

They actually tried to beat us up. Courtney and I were with the baby in the eating area backstage, and Axl walked by. So Courtney yelled, "Axl! Axl, come over here!" We just wanted to say hi to him--we think he's a joke, but we just wanted to say something to him. So I said, "Will you be the godfather of our child?" I don't know what had happened before that to piss him off, but he took his aggressions out on us and began screaming bloody murder. These were his words: "You shut your bitch up, or I'm taking you down to the pavement." [laughs] Everyone around us just burst out into tears of laughter. She wasn't even saying anything mean, you know? So I turned to Courtney and said, "Shut up, bitch!" And everyone laughed and he left.

That was of course, about the run in between Kurt and Axl Rose at the MTV Music Awards. I remember reading that and thinking that Kurt and Courtney sounded sort of like a team - which is cool. Then of course there are the rumours that she stole his songs, cheated on him and had him killed. You can't win.

When Kurt died she both crumbled and then built herself up out of the ashes like a Phoenix. If you were paying attention around that time the whole thing was utterly heartbreaking and amazing at the same time. Did she exploit his death? Yes probably, but I don't know if it was all her choice either - not even Kurt could get away from the media (try as he might) as they, (he so eloquently put it) 'raped' him. The spotlight was always going to be on her post-Kurt. Perhaps Courtney raped them back, or held up a mirror so her spotlight reflected brighter than ever. In any case she was both crucified and revered by the media - they simultaneously praised her and then stabbed her until the bile came out..then they praised her again.

I was entering my mid teens when she exploded everywhere and I guess you could say I was angry at the world. The same year that Kurt died my own father died too - and the music around that time was shall we say - appropriate - to feed my own feelings of displacement and anger at life. Courtney Love was nothing if not relevant.

I listened to and enjoyed Hole's early albums Pretty on the Inside and Live Through This (rather crassly released a week after Kurt died) as well as My Body the Hand Grenade. I read her interviews in various Rock magazines trying to piece together a coherent picture of her, and of Kurt I guess. I just couldn't - she was too random. Sometimes she was eloquent and clever and other times she was just a mess. A complicated woman to enjoy. Maybe it was just easier to hate her - she was oft accused of being ugly or fat, or a feminist or a plagiariser, or talentless, an exploiter and annoying. Yes, much easier to hate her but ...I couldn't.

She was too interesting to hate. Always falling apart and then sewing herself up again. She said what she thought and to hell with who heard about it. I've lost count of how many people there have been that deny they had anything to do with Courtney, but there she was again, spilling the beans on everyone. Plus, she never seemed afraid of being 'un-lady like' (try writing whore and slut on your arm and see where it gets you in the lady stakes) - except when she put on a suit and let Barbara Walters interview her. Soon after that, the hair became more natural looking, the makeup applied properly, she started crossing her legs and keeping her boobs in - and of course, lost about 20 pounds. That's when she came across as afraid.

This is interesting about those messy women - not being feminine means being loud, obnoxious, messy, opinionated, out of control, ugly and fat - all of which Courtney, pre-Barbara interview was accused of being. And of course, all of which could be used to describe a great deal of male rock stars. There is an incredible double standard which Courtney herself has addressed on numerous occasions. For a girl, not being feminine will get you laughed at, or worse infamous instead of simply famous. The double standard is never more apparent when someone like Courtney goes from a mess to a prize. Suddenly no one had a bad word to say about her - she was Milos Forman's IT girl and Vanity Fair wanted to do nice interviews with her for once. It didn't do her persona any harm mind you and she knew what she was doing. Musically she was nothing at this point, in my opinion she lost it when she put on the suit - but then again, finally she was accepted,even if it was only for a short time.

But musically speaking there's another can of worms...

There aren't that many women who can delve into rock music without sublimating their guitar holding with pristine femininity. The accepted kind of female rock musicians look like Hollywood starlets - think Gwen Stefani, for instance - now there is also the look gritty in 3000 dollar jeans look. Love conquered and addressed this with a kind of whorish child image (Kinderwhore as it was termed) - too small dresses, ripped panty hose, mis-applied make up, turned in feet. She looked like a 3 year old who had gotten into mummy's drawers but acted like a male rock star - maybe she was just drug fucked and it wasn't intentional at all - though much of Love's antics did seem intentional.

She held her guitar like it was her penis - that is she held her guitar like male rock stars hold a guitar. She totally eclipsed her male co-writer Eric Erlanderson in presence and voice. I remember her saying once, to explain her behaviour that her gynecologist diagnosed her as having too much testosterone. Granted - that's how she acted it's just that she was held more accountable than her male co-horts. The one big difference between her and any male rock musician out there was that she wasn't afraid to be political when it came to gender.

Hole's first LP Pretty On the Inside was IMO loud, messy, confronting and brilliant. Kim Gordon produced it and I have a hell of a lot of time for Kim Gordon. Then she took up with Kurt and was accused of stealing Kurt's music to write the album Live Through This. Again, another confronting and brilliant album (no matter who wrote it). Post-Kurt, Hole was busy on the touring bandwagon etc, and so they released My Body, The Hand Grenade a collection of b-sides, covers and rare tracks - eclectic and enjoyable (also The First Session and Ask For It). Then she took up with Billy Pumpkin (again) and was accused of not writing her album Celebrity Skin. Personally I think if you don't want to be accused of writing an album then this would be a good one to be accused of not writing, Billy is credited on many tracks but except for a few great songs, it's a stinker. Then there are her solo efforts. I can't say I've bothered with them. I've been disappointed with her for a while. What can I say? I miss the volatile mess.

She's been linked with people like Michael Stipe, Billy Corgan, Evan Dando, Alex Cox, Edward Norton, Evan Dando, Trent Reznor, Rodney Bottum, Kim Gordon, Jennifer Finch, Kat Bjelland. Some of those people *hate* her with a passion some of them will defend her forever. There must be something about her, eh?

Currently she has botoxed and lip suctioned her way into oblivion. She's been trying on that conforming cloak again but it's not working - she is now absolutely the kind of mess that isn't going to work at all. It's a different kind of mess to the one she started out with. It's like she has no idea who she is anymore. Or maybe I have no idea - in any case - I can't connect. Lots of people hate her but I don't. I can't say I enjoy her current musical flavour though but once upon a time she was really exciting. It's hard to believe now, I know, but I guess you just had to be there.

Teenage Whore - Hole

Violet - Hole

20 Years in the Dakota - Hole

click for song

Drown Soda - Hole

Click for song

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