In Defence Of Courtney Love

Oh lord – even Courtney Love’s trusted lawyers are trying to escape her leash now. Earlier this week, the legal bods of Pryor Cashman pleaded for mercy at the LA Supreme Court when they claimed they couldn’t carry on representing her, such was her unreliability. Add them to the ever-growing group of people she’s supremely cheesed off in recent months, then – an enemies list that currently includes Dave Grohl, her own daughter and even the cuddly cast of The Muppets.


Now, nobody – least of all Courtney herself, you imagine – would claim she’s a saint. But I still find something immensely depressing about the online bile heaped upon her whenever she makes the headlines; snarky comments that, even by the always-vicious standards of internet trolls, seem excessively harsh. Take the comments on one recent NME.COM article. “The RSPCA should have your mother put down out of pity,” harrumphed Jacob Von Bird in response to Frances Bean’s calls for her mother to be banned from Twitter. “Can’t this woman just go away and die somewhere?” added Corin Mason. Charming.


Well, as everyone’s favourite spinach-quaffing cartoon sailor Popeye once said: “I’ve had all I can stand, and I can’t stands no more.” Because despite all the tabloid-baiting headlines, Courtney’s one helluva intriguing figure, and one who should be celebrated. Here’s the three key reasons why:


1Rock stars are SUPPOSED to do daft things

Accusing Dave Grohl of seducing Frances Bean was a little silly, as was claiming that Kermit and pals had raped Kurt Cobains’ legacy. But, I ask you: would you rather have some well-meaning but dull-as-a-dishcloth indie boys mumbling bland nonsense, or a singer who defies logic by claiming her daughter’s cat was devoured by a mountain lion? Give me the latter any day of the week.

Then there’s the curious double-standards about Courtney’s antics. I don’t know whether it’s just people being dim-witted or outright misogyny, but it’s odd to see her dragged across the coals while some of rock’s other colourful characters get nothing but a cheeky ruffling of their hair for their debauchery. Keith Richards, the ol’ scamp, admits that he sniffed his dead Dad’s ashes, but that’s just a great rock’n’roll lark; Pete Doherty’s visited Her Majesty’s courts so often that he’s practically got his own parking space, but it’s okay, because he’s a “troubled poet”. Where is the consistency, folks?


2A lot of the flak is based on myths and misinformation

“She broke up Nirvana!” boo-hoo the grunge obsessives, with trembling bottom lips. “She only married Kurt so she could be famous!” whine all the Cobain-worshippers. “He wrote all her best songs anyway!” sniff the know-it-all snobs.

Sigh. In reverse order, then: the rumours that Cobain helped pen the majority of Hole’s second album ‘Live Through This’ have been dismissed by all involved as cobblers. By the time the pair got hitched, Hole already had their debut LP ‘Pretty On The Inside’ under their belts – a record, I might add, that garnered a shedload of great reviews. And while I’m no doctor, I’m pretty sure the reason Nirvana didn’t do much post-‘In Utero’ is because Cobain shot himself in the face, and not because his wife was some shrewish hybrid of the Antichrist and Yoko Ono.


3Hole were, and still are, amazing

Really, this should require scant explanation. Sadly, though, I’ve lost count of the number of Courtney-inspired debates I’ve had where the following exchange – more-or-less verbatim – has occurred.

IGNORANT SWINE: “I hate Courtney Love, she should just fuck off. She just coasts off Nirvana’s fame.”

ME: “Hole made some utterly amazing albums though, didn’t they?”

IGNORANT SWINE: “I wouldn’t know mate, I’ve never listened to them.”

For the record, then: ‘Pretty On The Inside’ and ‘Live Through This’ are two of the finest albums that grunge spawned, and possibly the 90s as a whole. ‘Celebrity Skin’ isn’t quite on their level, but still has some corking songs.

‘Nobody’s Daughter’… well, yes, that’s a bit of a stinker, but no-one’s perfect. Either way, though, Courtney’s responsible for some of the most thrilling records of the last coupled of decades – and it all seems a bit pathetically churlish to ignore that, just because she’s become a bit of an easy target for keyboard warriors.


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