Saturday, February 13, 2010

Courtney Love: Part of the union

Here's a funny thing. When someone like Courtney Love turns up to address the Oxford Union, the press dutifully treat it as if it somehow confers a confirmation of intellectual rigour on the guest. The BBC do it tonight:

Love, singer in rock band Hole, followed in the footsteps of Michael Jackson and former US president Bill Clinton by speaking at the forum.

Michael Jackson might just give a hint that sometimes having an act which pins you in the tradition of a bear riding a bicycle can be enough to get you in. They've also had Gerard Way, Sally Gunnell and Kermit The Frog.

As bookings go, it's a bit like being invited to talk to Clive James. While you might find yourself sat in a library talking about Heidegger, you're just as likely to be sat doing a pretend satellite link-up with a humorous singer.

Courtney, though, clearly feels she's been called in for her brain and not her likelihood to fall in the trifle, and - at least on reports so far - managed to come across like a teenage girl trying to impress the technical college lads with the breadth of her knowledge.

From a personal perspective, though, what really matters is the likely effect on Milton Keynes house prices. It's not good news:
Love, who went to Summerhill boarding school in Suffolk and later lived in Liverpool, described herself as "Amglish".

"This is where I want to live, either Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire," she said.

Try Bedfordshire, Courtney. Or Northamptonshire. Leicestershire, maybe?

In other Courtney Love news, the other half of Frances Bean's trustees, Laird Norton Tyee Trust Company have subpoenaed the records of the trust fund. They appear to be investigating if Love has "misappropriated" funds.

Well, she did seem quite convinced that someone was dipping into the money.

Nobody, as yet, has made any formal allegations, and Love has not been accused of any wrongdoing.


Jim W said...

It was a fairly entertaining evening. She talked a load of shit mixed in with a few decent anecdotes and endless namedropping: you simply wouldn't believe the A-list movie roles that she's turned down.

Kept going on about coming to Oxford as a teenager with the Bunnymen and being impressed by the "black bricks". (Crumbling masonry?) Has apparently "been off drugs for seven years thank god" although my Popbitch updates would suggest otherwise.

Apparently she never realised she was entitled to Nirvana royalties after Kurt died which is why she recorded the Hole albums - to support his and her families.

In a pretty much unprecedented move she demanded that all questions be submitted a day in advance and then called from the floor. Which led to some horrendously inane and bland platitudes along the lines of "How do you feel about acting?" and "Rolling Stone called you [presumably culled from the first line of her Wikipedia profile] the most controversial woman in rock - is that true?" Yawn.

But overall she was good value with more people turning up for 'that woman who was married to the dead guy' than for Ken Livingstone. An extended metaphor involving mispronounced classical characters was what you'd want from a washed up rockstar. Castigating the audience for not reading Malcolm Gladwell was cringeworthy. And bloody hell, finding out she's still only 45...

It's bizarre that schlebs keep falling for the trick of turning up to speak in return for a meal and the prestige of standing in the Union debating chamber. Though we're going to milk it while we can. Does have its downsides - if the person sending out the RSVPs has bad taste: speaking between Chris Huhne and David Nutt is, er, Incubus.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

@Jim W
Thanks for that - and talk about keeping the best for last. Incubus?

Anonymous said...

When you say "Incubus" you mean the demon, yeah? I mean it couldn't be anything else. Could it? Oh dear...

Jim W said...

Yeah, you're welcome to my membership card for that night... *

In a delicious twist the rumour doing the rounds while waiting for her (twenty minutes to stumble down the stairs from the President's office?) was that she was a replacement - a favour called in to placate us students when they announce that another of this term's "big names" has cancelled on us.

Who was she supposedly replacing? Duffy. Amazing.

*Actually... a genuine offer on the off-chance that anything interesting comes up.

danbutt said...

"Kept going on about coming to Oxford as a teenager with the Bunnymen and being impressed by the "black bricks". (Crumbling masonry?)"

Not for the first time, this work is not necessarily Ms. Love's own, as she's clearly borrowing here from the English Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne:

"How ancient is the aspect of these college quadrangles! so gnawed by time as they are, so crumbly, so blackened, and so gray where they are not black... The quality of the stone has a great deal to do with the apparent antiquity. It is a stone found in the neighborhood of Oxford, and very soon begins to crumble and decay superficially, when exposed to the weather; so that twenty years do the work of a hundred, so far as appearances go. If you strike one of the old walls with a stick, a portion of it comes powdering down."

The best work on this issue is, of course, W.F. Oakeshott's "Oxford Stone Restored: The Work of the Oxford Historic Buildings Fund 1957-1974". I realise that regular xrrf readers will obviously be well aware of the work of the OHBF, but thought I'd mention it now for the benefit of any youngsters who have come here on the "Facebook".

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