Last night I caught a glimpse of the trailer for Last Days, Gus Van Sant’s portrayal of Kurt Cobain’s… well, last days. Though I’m not as much of a Nirvana fan as I used to be, their music brings back pleasant memories of my first (and last) flatmate in Prague – Marek Srazil.
Marek and I shared a flat in Vrsovice (a neighbourhood that literally has the shittiest streets in Prague, IMO), near the KD Eden, just down the street from a skinhead bar called “Septic Tank” according to Marek’s translation.
Marek was the leader of a power-trio called The Ignu, which was primarily a Nirvana revival band, but also did some original material as well (including the classic “Mergy’s Death” and “I Feel a Fucker”, both of which were edited by yours truly). He rehearsed in our two-room flat, playing and singing at full-blast along with a stereo that had a karaoke function. I spent many a weekend typing poems, stories, and of course the Great Prague Expat novel (which is actually finished) to Marek’s Cobain-like roars, howls and shrieks. And having sung Nirvana songs at karaoke myself, I’ve got to say that the boy had one hell of a talent – I can barely manage to get through “Smells Like Teen Spirit” without losing my voice. Marek could go full throttle for a 90-minute gig.
Ah, those were the days: dealing with three cats (one neutered male and two still-intact females – ever seen a couple of female cats go getting it on at the foot of your bed? If not, that’s definitely for the best), chain smoking, power-drinking and power-toking, overflowing bins, rholik and turek breakfasts, spam soup for lunch, sardine-and-ketchup pasta for dinner, crawling carpet stains, cold showers, crazy friends, crazier girlfriends… a couple of middle-class guys in their late twenties playing skank, yeah.
Feeling sentimental, this morning I devoted some surfing time to finding out more about Last Days. According to the web site (which is in French), the movie was released in France last Friday. I have no idea how long we’ll have to wait for it to hit Prague.
Judging by the trailer, the film looks interesting. While Last Days is a work of fiction, the source is obvious in the same way that Velvet Goldmine drew strongly from various phases that both David Bowie and Iggy Pop (and, I believe, Lou Reed) went through.
Speaking of VG, after seeing the film I thought that any major movie about Kurt Cobain would see Ewan McGregor playing the lead. Michael Pitt looks convincing as a tortured grunge idol, but he also looks a little too Leo DiCaprio; i.e. a prettyboy playing skank. Which isn’t so bad, I guess – everybody should play skank, at least until the clothes get too itchy.
Here’s a comparison (McGregor on top, Pitt on the bottom, Cobain in the middle – I would do left-to-right, but I have no idea how to work with the code). In fairness to Pitt, check the Last Days website for better shots.
P.S. No that’s not an unreleased Nirvana track playing at the Last Days site, it’s Michael Pitt.