Surprisingly astute advise in this month’s Cosmo.
|—||Caitlin Moran on big pants in The Times (via Jezebel)|
|—||Caitlin Moran, How To Be a Woman (via hardtobeasaintinthecity)|
|—||How to Build a Girl - Caitlin Moran (via feebandmisadventure)|
The Times, 6/6/97, Friday
Prince of Darkness
By Caitlin Moran
Life was hard for Jeff Buckley. What will be hard for the rest of us is getting through our own lives without him
There is a hole in your record collection that will never be filled - it looks as though Jeff Buckley is dead. Only one album into his career, Buckley was already approaching legendary status, so laughably beyond any ongoing musical scene it was untrue.
Buckley was a touch of the Dark Stuff. He chronicled the rabid black poisons of love, life’s extreme moments, the queasy dialogue of dreams. He was the new Van Morrison, the next Kate Bush, someone whose extraordinary vocal range and musical versatility would spark an astonishing career.
But yesterday week, while working on the follow-up to his 1995 debut album, Grace , which won him Rolling Stone magazine ’ s Best New Artist Award, Buckley and a friend, Keith Foti, wandered down to a Memphis marina with a portable stereo and a guitar. They played and sang for an hour, before Jeff decided to swim out into the Mississippi River, fully clothed. He waded into the water, still singing, and tried to cajole Foti into following him. When the wake of a passing boat splashed the marina, Foti rescued the stereo and placed it on the bank to keep dry. When he turned back, Buckley had disappeared, apparently sucked under by the wake of the boat. Buckley was 30.
The son of the revered US folk-rock god Tim Buckley, Jeff had a troubled upbringing. In his short life, Tim Buckley released eight albums, a witchy brew of folk, rock, jazz and blues. Although critically acclaimed as
everything short of the cure for cancer, Tim’s record sales were in the low thousands, and he took to drugs for comfort like a child sucks its thumb. Tim left Jeff’s mother when Jeff was six months old.
Jeff’s mother, Mary Guibert, immediately hit the road, chasing work wherever and whenever it became available. Their rootless existence, said Jeff, “gave me strength, insight, resolve. At the same time, it depleted my understanding of what it’s like to have a home, or even your own dog for more than a year.” Tim Buckley was 28 when he died of a heroin overdose in 1975. Jeff had never met him.
Mary married again, but the pressures of work meant Jeff was left to bring up his younger brother. “I feel I was born old,” he said in 1995. “I don’t wake up and feel happy if it’s a sunny day. You get happy in five-second
bursts, and then you wait for the next five-second burst. I’ve always felt I know too much to be happy.”
As his father had, Buckley turned to music for release and redemption. “To feel the music soar through you changes you utterly,” he said. “It changes your posture: you raise your chin, throw your shoulders back, walk with a swagger. When I sing, my face changes shape; it feels like my skull changes shape.”
When Buckley sang, it wasn’t only his skull that changed shape. Audiences melted in front of him, and the first few rows would buckle when he kicked up one of his vocal twisters. He could go from full-frontal Kurt Cobain scream to operatic lullaby in a breath.
Starting his career in crowded folk cafes in New York, Buckley would start off singing soft and low, pulling the audience in with impassioned whispers, before snapping into vertical take-off and stripping the paint from the
Within months, he was signed by Sony. His first album, Grace , was astonishing. Although the production veered towards big Queen-like rock at times, the occasional dose of guitar bombast couldn’t swamp the ambitious scope of the album; the dolorous, harmonium-led hymn of Lover, You Should Have Come Over still sounds like spring rain after a funeral. Dream Brother , dedicated to his father, is a queasy, nightmarish examination of Tim’s life, an echo-laden mourning which never concludes or resolves.
Buckley sounded like a scared child, lost in endless darkness. On Grace’ s release, a herd of adjectives was lassoed into the Hyperbole Corral. Buckley’s haunted eyes and pop-royalty cheekbones stared from countless magazines and, while he loathed the star-system and the fuss, Sony prepared itself to guide the career of a high-sales prestige artist.
However, various rumours started to circulate through the industry. Many concerned a suspected heroin problem - and Buckley’s behaviour certainly became erratic. He told of dreams in which a sculptor took a razorblade to his skin, and started plaiting and twisting the strands until Buckley became a living, immobile work of art. Work on Grace’ s follow-up was delayed. Buckley told his band to leave town while he wrote new songs. Last December, he posted a note on his Internet Website, explaining that he was “in the middle of some wild s**t right now. Please be patient. I’ll come out of my hole and will make bonfires out of ticket stubs come the autumn.”
But the last concert was probably to an audience of one, on the banks of the Mississippi River, eight days ago.