Saturday, 22 October 2011

Grunge is not dead.

I was trying to avoid the obvious blog post but whether you’re a Nirvana fan or not, there was no escaping the 20 year anniversary of Nevermind. Every blog, newspaper, magazine and radio station touched on the big occasion. I managed to hold back for nearly a whole month but while I stifled through trend after trend that was somewhat ‘Kurt-inspired,’ with Nevermind blaring in the background – it’s hard to talk about anything else.

Again, Nirvana fan or not, there’s no escaping the re-explosion of grunge. Whether you were walking down the street, tuned into MTV or flicking through the latest copy of Grazia. It’s all been the same; over-sized sweats, ripped jeans, dip died (and unbrushed!) hair and Converse.

On September 24th, 1991, four days after my third birthday Nirvana launched their breakthrough album, Nevermind and last month was of course the twentieth-anniversary of the album. This has given me (yet another!) excuse to talk about everything Kurt Cobain and everything grunge. I’ve given up resisting the temptation.

I’m Team Kurt. Nevermind has pretty much always been playing, regardless of where I was or what I was doing; I was doing it with Nirvana in the background! I rarely go a day without listening to a classic or two. You know the one’s I’m talking about; ‘Smells like teen spirit,’ ’Drain you,’ or ‘Come as you are.’ Two whole decades later and I’m not even close to being bored of the album.
 This got my thinking. Who from this decade would I be listening to in twenty years time?

I can’t think of anyone that will be remembered the way the old boys are. Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Beatles, the list is pretty endless and they’re all still iconic, influential bands and artists even today. Everyone at some stage in their life has listening, downloaded or at bare minimal heard of these artists. I don’t think it’ll be the same for the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, or Kings of Leon to name but few. Today they don’t stand a chance.

But there has to be a reason why I’ve had Nirvana on repeat for pretty much my entire life (I know I’m not alone on this one!). For me, it’s because Nevermind will never age. Seven thousand, three hundred and something days on and the music still feel current, the lyrics are still important to me and it makes me feel and it still sounds; young.

My days are spent searching for new music; whether it’s at gigs, muddy festivals, or flicking through MySpace pages (Yes, they still exist!). I whole heartily think that this is down to Nevermind, the album that as corny and as cliché as it sounds; changed my life. When I started to understand the riffs, the emotion and the intensity behind each of the tracks from Nevermind, I realised that I no longer wanted to listen to what was on the radio, I wanted something more, something that wasn’t as easy to find. I wanted authentic music, not the mass-produced or over commercialised crap that’s out there today.

Since the anniversary of Nevermind, the album has hit the charts again, Urban Outfitters launched a ‘Nirvana’ Collection and Nevermind exhibitions are popping up all around the world, and all of that is before you even begin to count the number of kids walking round in vintage Nirvana tees on their back.  

In August, I headed to Reading festival, top of my priority list was the legendary Nirvana 1992 screening. I was pretty much stunned as I battled my way through the crowds of Nirvana fans to get in eyes shot of the screen.  All of us had seen this screening before, I’d go as far to say that half the people saw it live in ’92 yet there we all were, at a festival, crammed into a tent watching the 27-song set on a DVD, while twenty steps away there five other bands playing live.

Everyone in the tent was singing at the top of their voices, there was a real irrepressible energy within the tent. I don’t know how many other bands could get that sort of reaction over a DVD. Magic.

My background is Fashion; it was only last year that I graduated from Nottingham Trent with a BA honours in Fashion Marketing. 18 months on, I feel further away from Fashion than I ever have. I don’t remember the last time I walked around shops trend seeking, or taking pictures of window displays, I don’t remember the last time I spent hours (And I mean hours!) panicking over the perfect outfit for just about every occasion.

The time when my evenings were spent at Fashion shows, in high heels talking about Alexander McQueen and speculating about what Sir Phillip Green had up his sleeve next, are long gone. I now live in the world of the geeks; I talk about apps, social media, software updates and Super AMOLED Plus screens (But only ever in 140 characters!). When I talk about big brands now, it’s usually about something they’ve done on Facebook.

Despite the shift in my lifestyle, I can’t help it, one way or another it always comes back to fashion. As I sit in my room wearing ripped denim shorts, shredded black tights, a faded Metallica tee with an over-sized check shirt and beaten up Converse, I realise that grunge is by no means dead. Trends come and go but grunge has been around since Kurt made it mainstream.

For me, the kids and bands that created grunge were so uncool that they were beyond cool.  Kurt was all about second-hand-stores, hand-me-downs, beat up sneakers, flannel shirts and jeans. None of which is massively different from what we’re seeing at the moment.

In this house of mine, that I don’t have but have been designing for the last few months I’ll have a Michael Lavine grunge print on the wall, right next to a print of Kurt. I’ve already started looking for my Kurt one and bonus-dependant will be getting this bad boy by the end of the year.

So that’s it, yet another post on Kurt Cobain, Nevermind and grunge.

1 comment:

  1. love this post. my thoughts exactly. grunge sister for life!