Ode to those left behind by Kurt Cobain.

Film Muse Kurt and Courtney (1998)

I'm in this weird melancholy state right now. I left my home to go back to college today. My boxes have be emptied, and I'm back as a sophomore at "State U" (managed to forget my computer chord somehow...but all is well). I don't feel that freshmen anxiety anymore - perhaps that's where the melancholy kicks in. Instead I feel a bit lost - but not in a bad way. I'm hoping that something will spark my interest here. I'm no longer wanting to reject my education, I just hope I can get what I need- if that makes any sense.

Since I'm in this "life searching" vibe, I remembered this documentary filmed by the BBC called Kurt and Courtney (1998) dir. Nick Broomfield. I really liked this documentary because of it's performative mode construct. There are no answers to this film. None at all. Broomfield mentions theories about Kurt's death (speculations of Courtney's hand in it, etc), but by the end of the film, everyone just sits in awe and wonders why someone with so much passion and thought would decide to off themselves during the peak of their career.
 To be honest, I never jumped on the Kurt Cobain fan girl train (trust me, I know that sounds douchey). Nirvana's music was at first too much for me to handle. To this day - hearing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" makes me cringe a little. But that was my first taste. I soon lulled to Nirvana's slower tracks, "Dumb", "Polly", "Something in the Way", and even "Pennyroyal Tea". I realized that my conservative distaste for Nirvana's loud sound was the perfect opportunity to prove myself wrong. As I looked into Nirvana, I realized that Kurt regretted the "fuck you" teenage mentality that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" perpetuated. Maybe not regretted, but grown out of. I think it had something to do with him having a daughter, finding love, and seeing the world's purer side. 

What I loved about this documentary was the interviewees. You can see the pain in their eyes when they recall memories of a younger Kurt. An insecure, shy Kurt. Broomfield interviews Tracy, Kurt's first girlfriend of 3 years. She seems a bit apprehensive in the interview, which is relieving.  She haphazardly takes the crew around her house, adorned with baby dolls and intriguing artwork- some of which was made by Kurt himself. She mentions how Kurt used to wear layers and layers of clothing to appear bulkier than he actually was, because of bullying.  I felt a blow on that one - the fact that they'd known each other that well for him to show his insecurities.  The fact that she witnessed his pain and awkwardness like that and they still maintained their love. I don't know, that part got to me. It's hard to explain. 
Some of the interviewees are bitter too - just another aspect of how people see others. Here is Ross Rezebek, now foe of Courtney Love. The punk rock Bowie lookalike didn't end up making it big like Courtney, despite their close company in Portland. Apparently, they first met when Courtney threw a drink in his face, denouncing his poser ways. Brilliant.

(Not going to lie, this song is sick)
Then we have Dylan, Kurt's best friend. This one fucked me up real bad too (methy vibes). Dylan skeptically accepts the interview with that appears to be a beer in hand. "If you were his best friend..." Broomfield keeps reiterating, as if Dylan should have known Kurt was going to off himself. This interview was awkwardly intense. People often speculated that Dylan had something to do with Kurt's death because he was a part of the group that found Kurt dead. 

"They were both constantly trying to hide it (drug abuse) from each other" - Dylan on Kurt and Courtney.

"Put it this way: If I seriously thought Kurt had been murdered...If I'd thought Courtney was involved... you know if I thought someone-...  they'd be dead by now - flat out. I would kill them if I thought that was the case." -Dylan on Kurt's death.  

The never before interviewed nanny of Frances Cobain was in this film. Holding a beer, pupils dilated, looking visibly depressed and distraught, the nanny says:
"There was just way too much "will" talk" 
"He was more caring than let to be" 

It is obvious that she doesn't like Courtney, in fact, she thinks she drove him to suicide. 
"If he wasn't murdered, he was driven to murder himself"

But the person that I have the most compassion for is Mary, Kurt's aunt. Throughout the film she is interviewed, playing back old recordings of a 2 year old Kurt singing "Hey Jude", and later screaming what sounds like early Nirvana. She sits there, listening to the recordings in her awesome '90s denim on denim outfit, smiling. Her smile turns a bit - from exhaustion, from sadness, who knows. She is the one this post truly goes out to. 

In one of the last scenes, we see her singing to her junior high class in an embarrassingly cheesy and beautiful way. Her students put their head in their hands. I want to shout: DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK IS TEACHING YOU RIGHT NOW? HOW MUCH PAIN SHE HAS PROBABLY GONE THROUGH? HOW MUCH SHE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT YOU AND HOW MUCH YOU PROBABLY DON'T EVEN CARE???

Okay. I'm done. I just have a lot of love for this woman. It's something that I can't explain through writing. You have to see her face - that's where the emotions lie. You have to hear her words. You have to experience her love for Kurt.

With that, there is my version of an ode to those left behind by Kurt Cobain.
-Lauren Rose
Curbside Fashion 


  1. Hi Lauren,
    great Post. I can really understand how you must be feeling right now. I'm in this nostalgic 90's phase (once again ;) ), too and am currently rewatching all episodes of the fantastic 90's MTV series "Daria".

    Also, if you want to get another angle of view of Kurts life, I can completly recommend "About a son". It's a documentary consisting only of interview parts with Kurt.

    1. Hey Jane!

      Thanks for the comment! I feel like I've seen bits of it before, but I totally want to see it the right way now. And yes - 90's nostalgia foreverr
      -Lauren Rose

  2. Shalom uv'racha Lauren,
    First of all, I must say that I'm a huge admirer of yours, but I won't get into all that right now! Do you own a copy of his journals that were published? It's a great piece of art that really takes you on a trip into the beautiful, fragile mind that is Kurt. I own a copy, but I have gotten all that I can get from it and if you are interested, it would be my pleasure to pass it on as it was passed on to me. Let me know!

    1. Shalom Yishai!

      I don't! I didn't even know they were published?? It sounds really beautiful already. If it's not too much of a hassle I'd love to work that out!
      Thank you!

      -Lauren Rose

    2. It would be my pleasure :)
      Do you have a mail address that I could send it to as a packgage? Otherwise, we could work something else out. My email is jtforsblade@gmail.com

    3. Yes! I will email it to you as soon as possible. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
      -Lauren Rose

  3. Hi lauren!
    I had actually watched this documentary yesterday and your summary/description is spot on! I loved how he didnt give the documentary an end bc in reality there rlly is no end we never realy will knowwhy kurt kille himself or even did and i really liked how the documentary captured that. Also i love your youtube vids keep doing what your doing!

  4. I just want to let you know as it is to me quite obvious that you have not seen or read much else on Kurt, Courtney and Nirvana, to notice that this documentary is quite old and some of the stories are quite unreliable.

    The so called "nanny" is NOT the main nanny of Frances. In fact, I have doubts in my mind she ever was. The main nanny was Michael "Cali" Dewitt. Who by the way is pictured on the CD of In Utero. Cali lived at Kurt and Courtneys' for a long time. And so did technically Cali's girlfriend. Cali was one of the few people Kurt and Courtney trusted at times when the fame got really bad and stories started to leak to the media. Cali and his girlfriend did at times have friends over while nannying and I bet that this is the closest this so called "nanny" got to being a "hired" nanny. If she ever was in their house. There is a reason why Cali the trusted friend has chosen NOT to sell his story and talk about his friends in that kind of way. The so called "nanny" in this documentary, however, is unidentified. She is by far not a reliable source.

    But dont have me wrong. I know there are some nice stories in the documentary by Mary, Tracey, and Alice. They have talked in other documentaries as well, and are trustworthy in my opinion. At least, they have good intentions doing the documentary. Also, unlike the unidentified nanny, they all knew Kurt.

    A final thing. Dylan was not a part of a group that found Kurt's body. An electrician man from a security company did on the morning of April 8th when he was at Kurt and Courtney's house to instal an alarm. However, Dylan bought the gun Kurt killed himself with. That may be why some people have been suspicious. Not that I am though.

    1. Also, if you ever want to read a good book about the band. Read Nirvana: The True Story by Everett True. He was the music journalist who wrote about Nirvana and the "grunge scene" for European music magazines. He is the one who rolled Kurt on stage in a Wheelchair at the Reading Festival in 1992. He knew both Kurt and Courtney, and other musicians and friends of theirs personally.

  5. cali was the main nanny but they did have a lot of other nannies too.
    many ppl know courtney was controlling and arguing with kurt a lot in the last mths of his life.

  6. They went through many nannies, so Cali may have lived at the house for a few years, but doesn't mean he was always the nanny.