Seattle, on a bench next to Kurt Cobain’s house overlooking Lake Washington, 14 February 2014, 1.30pm
I hadn’t actually planned to linger around. It’d been on my list after visiting Jimi Hendrix’ graveside but I’d figured time wouldn’t allow for the Hendrix trip today, so I went to the house where Kurt Cobain had … well … in need of a better word … lived and eventually died. Getting there looked easy. Jump on the bus no. 2 from 3rd/Pine and get off at 38th. Then ask someone local for Viretta Park or, well, ‘that house’.
Turns out that was easier said than done. The area is a kinda disturbingly posh and quiet neighbourhood. I found it somehow eerie as soon as I stepped off that bus. There are lots of dark trees around, some houses seem like kitschy replicas of places in gothic novels and there simply are no people in the street. It feels a bit like taken out of a dark fairy tale, but then, cars still pass through and real Seattle is still buzzing in the background. Fittingly, I had switched my playlist from Ancient Warlocks to Nirvana – music that even now, sitting here, strikes me as unfitting for this kind of place.
After having stumbled around a few quiet roads, I finally managed to ask a guy with a dog if he knew where ‘the house’ was. Of course he did. He even went the same way, so I rushed along, listening to what he had to say about the neighbourhood (a destination rather than a pass-through point of Seattle; that’s why it’s so still). He didn’t seem particularly friendly but he did point me into the right direction. He also mentioned that lots of actors and music execs were living in the area, to which I replied: ‘Yeah, it strikes me as bigwig country’. He didn’t seem amused. When I finally turned to him to say thank-you, his likeness to John Malkovich made my heart jump. I kid you not! Anyone know if Mr Malkovich lives in Seattle?! Freaking weird!
Anyway, I found the house which is hidden behind big trees and bushes and a massive gate, so all you can see from the park next to it is the rooftop. Walking around I found a well-used path that leads up to the wooden fence. Needless to say, it’s full of graffiti but you can actually take a decent photo of the house from there.
Then I sat down on this bench and the somber mood that lies over this location finally got to me. This is where a person shot his brains out. And the way the grey clouds hang low, the trees don’t move and the air is still, it feels like the whole place is still in mourning. It makes me feel really sad just sitting here and looking at that rooftop with Kurt’s voice in my ear. I think I better get back. I don’t like feeling like this.
I’m glad I came here anyway. Kurt’s music has been such a big part of my life; it just feels right to pay my respects that way. However, next stop: Chad Channing. I prefer my rock stars alive and happy. 🙂
PS: …and then I had to do something punk rock! Funny, how body and mind work in sync. Let’s just say, there’s lots of woodland and no public toilets in that area, and leave it as that. The sun came out afterwards, though, so I’d say Mr Cobain approved 😉 Take that, bigwigs!! Haha!