Halloween’s Coming, Halloween’s Coming. Skeletons will be after you. No they won’t, but at least it gives me a half-arsed excuse to post some Nirvana on here for the first time.
I like Nirvana a lot. I’ve been going through something of a reunion with them every day in the car to work this week. They blow the cobwebs off before a hard day at the coal face, that’s for sure. Nevermind still sounds freakin’ A or awesome or whatever superlative those college frat boys would use to describe it back in the day. That the band became globally massive because of it (and ultimately why Kurt Cobain chose to blow his stupid brains out a few years later) is not up for debate. In 1991, music lovers needed something new and, unless you were Luke Haines (see Wikipedia, buy his book) Nevermind arrived at just the right moment in time. In my own wee part of the world Joe Bloggs flares had become recognised as the joke they always were. Morrissey quiffs that had already been outgrown into crappy bowl cuts (mine included) were looking for another new hairstyle to approximate. Reni hats had been put to the back of the drawer and wouldn’t see the light of day until the wattery fart that was The Second Coming. I’m sure your own wee part of the world was no different. Nirvana’s Nevermind blew all that away. And how. But you knew that already.
I worked in Our Price when Nevermind came out. I had been there for 2 weeks. The album sold out the first day (the Our Price buying team at Head Office were notoriously frugal with first day orders – we probably had 5 copies to sell). The distributors couldn’t keep up with demand and it was a full week later before we had any more copies in stock. Round about this time, Nirvana played Glasgow University’s QM Union. An old throwback to the 70s rep visiting the store put the store manager plus 3 on the guest list for the gig. Magic. Except that the store manager didn’t want to go. “Heavy metal shite” was what he said. Seeing as he was the only driver, the fact that it would be a late show and that none of us knew anyone with a floor to go back to in the wee small hours, none of us went. I’m still pissed off about it to this day. Aye, Hollins. I’m talking about you.
Anyway…..On 31st october 1991, Halloween night itself, Nirvana found themselves playing to a hometown crowd at Seattle’s Paramount Theater. Nevermind was only about 2 months old by this point. Nirvana had just returned from a triumphant British tour (Grrr) and the band were far from the jaded, cynical version that would tour subsequent albums. Their set was captured by the sound desk in all its ragged punk glory. It was such a good set (see below) and recording that it was once mooted as an official live Nirvana release. The version of School from the show made its way onto the b-side of the Come As You Are single. If you have that at home, you’ll know how pristine, exciting and definitive a recording this is, but the rest of the tracks remained in the vaults until some enterprising bootleger liberated it and put it on the internet.
Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam
Floyd The Barber
Smells Like Teen Spirit
About A Girl
Been A Son
On A Plain
A band who’s quiffs defiantly stand proud to this day – Glasvegas do Come As You Are. Downbeat, slow and wee Glasgow ned-like in delivery, it’s something approaching aural methadone (I imagine). S’good! Here ye go.
After Kurt Cobain killed himself, Julian Cope took out full page ads in the UK music press denouncing Courtney Love. The ads were brilliant. I’ve searched in all the darkest corners of the internet, but I can’t find a picture of any of them. I’m sure Cope wrote a whole big long rant, but I can’t find anything other than the quote I used to title this piece:
‘Free Us From Nancy Spungen-Fixated Heroin A-Holes Who Cling To Our Greatest Groups and Suck Out Their Brains.’
But, yeah, you knew that already.