There's only so much coffee you can drink before staying up for that forty-eighth hour turns out to have been a bad decision. Possibly you should have seen that one coming, but by that point it's too late. Your eyeballs hurt, you have a headache and a toothache and you're seriously considering murdering each and every person on the planet one by one, tearing off your own lower jaw with your bare hands and beating the last one to death with it. But you must stay up, because there are Things That Must Be Done. So you keep torturing yourself, forcing yourself to stay awake until the sleep madness takes hold, and the line between dream and reality becomes slightly blurred.
That, you must understand, is the mindset in which the following narrative takes place. And also the condition in which I'm writing this, which is why any attempts at proofreading or grammar correction will be met with a level of indiscriminate violence worthy of a CIA drone strike. By this point, all higher brain functions have been reduced to the level of 'Node. Must node'. I'm compelled to write, and I have only a vague recollection of why. You are along for the ride in my descent into insanity and/or passing out on my keyboard. Please keep your hands inside the node at all times.
I was on Urban Outfitters' website. Look, I'm not proud of it, but we all have failings, right? One of mine is to look at fancy boots I can't afford. Is there a point to be made here about rampant consumerism? Probably, but all week the media here have been talking about moral decay and greed and at some point between then and tonight this reached saturation point, along with my concentration and my patience. It's the last one that became relevant, though, as I happened to click through to something called The Cobain Collection. I shit you not, that's a real thing. I may have to pause for a minute to let all the people who spent their teens wearing flannel catch their breath.
Urban Outfitters, if you don't know, do not tend towards grunge. It's hipster central, in fact. Not Kurt Cobain's people, it's safe to say. So my first reaction was the nagging sensation that I might be imagining this. It was quite existential, until I hit Google and found a Tumblr full of aging Nirvana fans being outraged by it. What made the whole thing more incongruous still was that it wasn't as if the Cobain Collection was some kind of grunge pastiche. It has a ring with a stag head. A pocket watch necklace. An ankh. A tank top with the seven deadly sins printed on it in French. The sole concession to anything other than hipster normality is an oversized Nirvana-branded T-shirt, as modelled by a painfully thin girl with carefully less-than-neat hair. It sells for 32 of your finest pounds, and the description reads thusly:
You'll definitely smell like teen spirit in this short sleeved Nirvana face print tee (in a good way obviously).
Pinch me, I must be dreaming.
I suppose someone must have licensed that. The whole thing leaves me mercifully bemused, on both sides. Kurt Cobain was a talented musician, but I'm fairly sure he doesn't warrant a cult in his memory, and you can hardly call it too soon. Conversely, it's pretty craven to use the association to flog completely unrelated tat. But this is the same mechanism that has Flavor Flav on reality TV. Nothing stays controversial for long before somebody co-opts it. At least hipsters generally have an advantage, in that they co-opt things before they're controversial, then make them so with their utter lack of perspective or common decency. In that respect, Urban Outfitters are behind the times. Unless they're being ironic. It's hard to tell these days.
To close, something else that came to mind when I saw it; a conversation I heard about between an indie bookshop employee and a customer.
"Hey, Hemingway killed himself, right?", says the customer.
"Yeah. With a shotgun."
"You got any?"