I know it’s probably not a healthy way in which to live one’s life, but occasionally I find myself asking the question: What Would Courtney Love Do? If I need to feel brave, it helps. If I need to behave myself, not so much.
My love for C Lo is long-haul and well-documented. Obviously. So here are some more little love poems to Ms Love Cobain, and how I can basically measure my life in Courtney.
When I was 13, I saw ‘Doll Parts’ on the TV and I fell in love. It was genuinely like a lifeline when one was kind of needed.
When I was 15, I started going out to gigs at the Shepherds Bush Empire and finally putting my privately-honed Courtney persona into action – I dyed my hair blonde (mistake), bought a white fur from the charity shop, and started wearing unflattering make-up. I have never felt so cool in my life.
From 17 to 21, the rock n roll drama caught up with the intent. I took up chain-smoking and bad boyfriends, just like my idol. My most-read book (along with Plath, Sexton and Genet, obvs) was probably Poppy Z. Brite’s biography of the great lady – to this day I still prefer a biography that’s written like a novel and perpetuates rather than debunks rock n roll myth. I was so disappointed when I read a Keith Moon documentary that explained how he had never really driven a car into a swimming pool at all – I never want to feel like that about Courtney and luckily will probably never have to. Louise and I planned to follow in her footsteps and move to Japan to become strippers. Wrote reams and reams of notebooks that mainly centred around imagery of glass coffins and lockets and dying swans and blood-filled shoes.
22 – thankfully, I entered what I like to call the ‘People Versus Larry Flynt’ stage, where you learn how to cherry-pick and sit at the grown-ups table when you need to, preferably in couture. My life was, and remains, the (infinitely more boring) equivalent of being best friends with Michael Stipe.
At 28, I finally saw her live – was in the same room as Courtney Love, breathed her air and touched her ankle and cried and basically had a weird communal experience that was the fulfillment of a long-held dream.
Which brings us to the present day, and the newest strand of my ongoing C Lo obsession. This is:
It’s amazing. Despite many ups and downs and changes not for the better, I (predictably) think that Courtney is one of the most stylish women in the world. She has that brilliant thing where she can change from California Goddess to New York Hispter to English Lady in the blink of an eyelash, without – most crucially – losing any of the elements that make her essentially Courtney Love.
Obviously I am biased, because her style has had such a bearing on my own wardrobe over the years. I may have grown out of the babydoll dresses that I didn’t fully understand and my mum wouldn’t let me leave the house in, but I am and will forever be someone who thinks that a Peter Pan collar and a strong lip will always be the epitome of style. I also still covet her incredible legs. Most of all, these days, I wonder if copying her Tudor Rose tattoos would be a tasteful tribute or a big fat effing mistake? Also, could I justify the expense of buying one of her dresses, much in the spirit of the Frances Farmer frock that she hunted down and wore to her own wedding?
Whatever your views on the above, it’s a fascinating insight into a fashion chameleon and a weird old international life.