by Steve

Kurt Cobain with a catI’m sure the internet is awash with eulogies to Kurt Cobain, who died seventeen years ago today. However, I thought I’d add a few brief thoughts anyway.

Beyond the obvious profound and human loss, there is still a lot for us to miss about him.

Here was one of the biggest rock stars in the world, yet here was someone human, likeable, believable, gentle and honest.

Here was someone willing to use his position to shine a light on obscure indie bands and long-forgotten bluesman. He wasn’t going to hog the limelight, he was going to share it. I discovered so much through Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. In some way, I am the man I am today because of a beat-up cassette copy of Nevermind, and everything else that followed.

Here was someone willing to rail against the machismo present in rock music and the wider world, and offer an alternative. He would bait jocks in songs, he would have feminist leanings, and well, he’d happily wear a dress on stage.

He was the alternative, the underground, the leftfield, right there in the mainstream and he made us feel less alone. We could be different. Without putting too fine a point on it, he made it cool to not be a dick.

I also miss the humour. It is easy to overlook how funny he was. There was a mischief, a refreshing lack of pomposity. To open the follow-up to the huge, generation-defining, multi-million selling Nevermind with the lines “Teenage angst has paid off well, now I’m bored and old” revealed a mordant, deadpan humour that cut through all the bullshit of the music industry and beyond.

He wasn’t there to lecture. He was one of us. He was on our side. But it was perhaps too much to ask of him. There’s been nobody like him since. And, oh, those songs…