Today is Nirvana Day. Spent most of the morning at home, on a gray couch, viewing Brett Morgen's "Cobain: Montage of Heck". Finished downloading it a few days ago. But only had time to watch the whole thing today. Loved the film's dark moments - Cobain's teenage angst about his parents' divorce and that embarrassing sexual misadventure, those first rapturous forays into the rock band culture, his heroin addiction, his suspicions about his wife's infidelity - and how all these blended well with snippets of the cute, and the ordinary, and the happy. Those crazy doodles and jottings from Cobain's mangled notebooks gave a rare peek to the the guy's tortured mental life, as well as to his creative (albeit chaotic) genius. Horrific images of mutilated dolls, drawings of monstrous figures and gory scenes, those angry words and lines that have been violently covered with cross hatches, blasphemous and irreverent statements, are mixed in with the lyrics of famous Nirvana songs, old concert videos, audio recordings, and animations.
A few more things have to be said, noted about those animated sequences. Never did like these kind of materials in the few movies that I've seen recently (such as in one installment of the film adaptation of this literary series about some teenage wizards and witches). But this time, the animated portions of Montage of Heck really did a good job filling in for those undocumented episodes in the grunge hero's brief existence on the planet. And artistically at that, with this one meditative, almost spiritual scene of a rainy night in the forest, accompanied by Cobain's restless guitar playing - a rain drop from the forest's canopy crushing what looked like a flower growing at the foot of this tree, the purple petals turning to black.
Then watched Nirvana's unplugged New York session in the evening. It took me just a few hours to download a fairly decent version through Torrent. Been listening to the album for decades now. The magic has not faded a bit. The video in fact heightens the whole experience even more. You've seen videos of those wild performances, with the band members destroying their instruments and doing all these crazy stunts on stage, and then you are given this relaxed scene of Cobain and band mates amidst flowers and candles - Cobain's soul-baring and gut-wrenching singing providing this excruciating contrast. And you find yourself transported to a different plane. One of those very rare occasions when a rock performance is able to effect an enigmatic movement in one's inner experience. My own favorite tracks are Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam, Lake of Fire, All Apologies, and Where Did You Sleep Last Night. Each of which could probably inspire and provide enough materials for a full blog entry here in Red Planet.
So what's next after today? Well, perhaps it's a Grunge Month. I've already downloaded several iconic albums from the era. Some creative energy starting to flow back through these old brain cells, made stagnant by the daily grind at the office and this most recent bout of depression and insecurities. Mind, bathed in loud and sludgy music, urging the body to rock on.
(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)
(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)