Monday, November 27, 2006


Dirty Blonde......

Back in London I couldn't resist getting a copy of 'Dirty Blonde' - the published snippets of the diaries of Courtney Love, my fave rock goodess along with PJ Harvey.

A few reviewers expressed the belief that the item was too personal to be published. But then she's always been a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, it's part of her whole persona. A creative mind is revealed, intelligent and thoughtful although rather confused and messed up at times, as you'd expect.

It can be said about rockers that they are not simply musicians but works of art in their entire persona. Their lives can be read as works of art.

A cynic may dispute this, and believe me to be a dupe of the consumer celebrity culture when I say this. But I believe there to be a difference between musicians with some talent (although we may dispute which rockers have talent and those who lack it) and the mindless celebrities who are famous for simply being idiots on reality shows. That kind of celebrity is instant, but the celebrity of a serious rocker is not.

The personality of celebrity side by side with the talent (of art, music literature) appeared to have been first personified by Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter with her endless self portraits in her floral dresses. Although I'm not her greatest fan, it would be wrong to suggest she was talentless or broke no ground in the way of art. Her self revealing paintings were a new trend in the sense that they directly attempted to depict what was in her psyche.




It appears that Courtney Love gets slammed quite often for doing through music what Kahlo did via art. The feminist movement has claimed Frida, regardless of the fact that she was not herself a political feminist. Nor was Sylvia Plath, another feminist heroine. Love does in fact describe herself as such, but the movement does not quite know what to do with her, for obvious reasons.

8 comments:

Dave Hill said...

Well, Liz, that's quite a (blog) makeover. Took me rather by surprise!

Liz said...

Thanks Dave. I upgraded to Beta.

Dave Hill said...

Well done. And one day, when you've a lot of free time on your hands, you can explain to me what that measn. And also how to forward an email - I find that rather challenging too....!

Gracchi said...

I agree with you about celebrities with talent versus those without- you get the feeling with some Belle and Sebastian would be a great example that they'd really prefer not to be celebrities but just ot make music whereas others who need no namecheck wouldn't mind what they were- actors, musicians, models, reality TV- so long as they were famous.

As for feminism- I'm a man so it might not be my place to comment- but in one sense could feminism be described not merely as a political program but also as a program to recover women's experience of life. For so long what we have are only male experiences of life- so most novels are written from a male point of view and of course its important that men continue to give us an impression of their experience of the world. But feminism is about saying that men have an experiecne of the world, and that's half what goes on, but women have another- the other half- and consequently women who express through art their subjective sense of the world are in a sense part of the feminist project of trying to understand not only the male but also the female expereince of life.

Sorry rather convoluted and don't think that says quite what I meant to but I hope it gets to something about why someone like Plath, not a feminist, could still be a feminist icon.

Liz said...

Hi Gracchi,

I do see your point and I think that is why Plath and Kahlo are feminist icons - they expressed viewpoints which had been marginalised. So they could be considered part of the project in that sense - but the thing is they would not have considered themselves to be! Kahlo was a political communist who painted about her inner life, Plath wrote about how she felt. A bit like PJ Harvey - she writes songs from a distinctly female perspective yet explicitly states she does not align herself with any feminist cause. I believe Patti Smith made similiar remarks, along with Chrissie Hynde.

For that reason I believe it to be a little problematic when a political movement claims people as it's own who did not align themselves with it's cause in their lifetimes. They cannot do it with Polly or Patti s they are still living and would complain - but Plath and Kahlo are dead so they cannot.

CrackerLilo said...

I agree with what you said about celebrities with talent versus ones without, and feminism's too-enthusiastic claiming of female artists, too.

My wife has a crush on Courtney Love; I have a feeling that some of the pictures in that book will make up for my displaying a nude painting of Sinead O'Connor in my blog for a while.

(This is Jayelle at AL, by the way. I'm liking this blog!)

Liz said...

Hi Jayelle, I'm glad you like this blog!

I hope you wife enjoys Dirty Blonde...

Gracchi said...

I think broadly we are in agreement- what you've said is true.