Tag Archives: Obituaries

Looking Back At Nirvana

Kurt Cobain

KURT COBAIN WAS NOT a generation’s representative, a spokesperson, or even a rock star. Many tried to press him into these and other molds, much to his frustration, but it happens that he was a songwriter always on the search for a new sound. When he died, by medical estimation on the fifth of April in 1994, some (among them R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe) believed he was about to abandon the grunge formula for which he had become known. There is evidence he was about to quit music altogether. In any case, the posthumous album, MTV Unplugged in New York, is the best indication we have of the band’s unrealized prospects. Perhaps Nirvana’s most accessible and widely known recording, Unplugged is an accomplished example of musical understatement, disclosing Cobain’s intuitive ability to compose songs (or in the case of The Vaselines, Meat Puppets, Lead Belly, and David Bowie covers, select them) which complement his particular vocal and playing styles.

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Margaret Thatcher was the enemy of the tepid, mushy middle

Margaret-Thatcher

AMONG THE GOOD Riddances this past week were exhibitions of ill grace from British citizens not yet born in 1979, the year Margaret Thatcher captured the office of Prime Minister. It happens that 1979 is a year I recall vividly — from the retreat of Pol Pot to the televised campaign ads of former California governor, Ronald Reagan, boasting (ironically, as it would turn out) his reduction of the public debt, to the Iranian hostage crisis. To remember the flavour of those days is to begin the accounting of Thatcher’s political successes.

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