Come As You Are Ghosts in The Machine

Text: Stuart Buchanan

Kurt Cobain spent the last days of his life on Lake Washington Blvd in Seattle.

It’s an affluent part of town, and the house is a stone’s throw from Seattle’s grandiose private tennis club. I visited the adjacent Viretta Park, from where you can see the top of Kurt & Courtney’s house, poking above the trees. The greenhouse in which Kurt took his life was knocked down by Courtney before she sold the place. He was cremated and his family holds his ashes, so the park – with its graffiti strewn bench – acts as a makeshift shrine. I was an admirer, rather than a fan, of Kurt and Nirvana, and thus I was quite taken back when I found myself momentarily overcome with emotion. I arrived there as an impartial observer, but something took hold of me, albeit briefly. Perhaps it was simply knowing that such a profound death occurred within a few meters of where I stood. Perhaps it was the reminder that Kurt was only 27 when he took his own life. Perhaps it was the knowledge that depression can be such a cloying, persistent and horrific state of mind for many of us and that there but for the grace of something, go I.

‘Kurt Cobain Memorial Bench’ (CC BY 2.0) by Bart Everts

‘Ghosts in the Machine’ is a regular column dealing with the unique and intimate ways that artists become iconic figures in our life. We are open to submissions of 200-300 words.


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