Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love
When documentary-maker Jacques Peretti began a project about the final days of Kurt Cobain, his approach to Courtney Love was met with a firm rejection: ‘I don’t want to do the rock widow thang anymore.’ But, like or not, and as Dirty Blonde readily acknowledges, this is her destiny. No matter how many times Love reinvents herself from scuzzy guitar queen to haute couture madame, or from Earth Mother to bitch on heat, she will forever be known as the woman who somehow carried on after her husband blew his brains out in April 1994. That she had to overcome the further trauma of her bass player dying from an overdose three months later would be enough to tip anyone over the edge.
Getting that stuff down on paper is one thing, but to make it coherent is another mission altogether. As this rigidly apologetic collection shows (not only her own introduction but Carrie Fisher’s preface and the afterword from feminist critics Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards go to great pains to explain why it’s Love’s damn right to air her private scribblings), making sense of a complex world is no walk in the park. Not enough of the book is even readable and staring at her rambling doodles induces a migraine about as welcome as a headful of Hole. The pictures, though, tell a story all of their own, about the lonely neglected child and confused teenager, on to her brief period as a nuclear unit mum and beyond, into the Versace years. The cover image, of a possibly unconscious Ophelia, tragically, effortlessly, says it all.