Kurt Cobain Suicide
I remember on the 5th April 1994, flicking through teletext (remember that?) on my TV and saw the headline 'rock star dies in gunshot blast' ... I idly selected it to see that Kurt Cobain had apparently taken his own life. My reaction was basically 'who?'. I had been heavily into rock and especially the punk era, but after the energy and excitement of punk, I had become tired of the vast majority of rock music and was listening predominantly to Leonard Cohen along with Joy Division and a lot of Jazz.
I thought no more about Cobain until I accidentally came across the MTV 'Unplugged' tribute which was shown on TV. I was instantly taken by the quality and warmth of many of the songs and decided to find out more.
The more I heard about Nirvana, the more I was taken by the music and it was great to hear a rock band that I could relate to again at last. It was also not an easy time for me personally and thoughts of suicide had crossed my mind and although I was probably a long way from actually doing anything about it, there was a certain excitement about being in control, albeit with a negative outcome.
I read more and more about Kurt and the more I read, the less I saw him as a rock musician but as a thoughtful and sensitive person who probably did not have the inner strength for the pain that he was feeling and the pressure of the music industry.
There is a section in a book I read where Courtney Love suggests that he gives up music and works more on his art but he refuses and I sometimes wonder what would have happened if he had done this. But then I remember again that he wasn't just an artist but a very human being who suffered from painful stomach complaints and was also quite likely a depressive, and I realise that it probably would not have made a difference if he had been a bank clerk instead of a rock musician, the result would probably have ended up being the same.
But sad though his death was, it did make a big difference to my own life. As I mentioned, it hadn't been an easy time for me and a friend of mine had given me a buddist magazine which I had promptly stuck in a drawer as I had no interest in religion. However I read a little later after Kurt's death that he had had a buddhist funeral. I had no idea what type of buddhism it was but it reminded me of the magazine.
I dug it out and read it and it seemed to me to basically be about changing our lives and being empowered from within so I gradually started to practise it.
Although my buddhist practise is somewhat patchy at the moment I can only offer gratitude to Kurt Cobain, not just for the music he made, but for the change he made to my life and that whatever happens to us after death, I hope that Kurt is happier now.
As a postscript on a personal level, I have finally, after numerous attempts, started to play the guitar and am building up the confidence to do a small gig possibly early 2013 ..I have no illusions about being a rock star (at 52!) but have been inspired by many of the 'demo' versions of Nirvana songs that are on youtube. I use these as a starting point for my songs but as I can't sing like Kurt or play guitar very well, you wouldn't know it!