I’m having a bad few months with men. Courtney Love knows.
I listen to ‘Violet’ everywhere. On my first encounters with Live Through This, I managed to miss it – ‘Credit in the Straight World’ and ‘Jennifer’s Body’ were my favourites, and I barely registered the opening track at all. Then, a few weeks ago, somewhere on my commute to work, it clicked.
“And the sky was made of amethyst.”
I have never seen a sky made of amethyst, but I know what it would look like. It would look like those opening three chords.
I started listening to ‘Violet’ on the tube, on the train, on the escalators at Waterloo, in the office (as loudly as I could get away with). I’d walk up the stairs mouthing the opening words. Every time the bass broke in, I’d ache a little – pleasurably. If I was at work, I’d stop for a second and let it wash over me, let Courtney cough up her smoker’s vocals and sink into a smile.
My colleague caught me, eyes closed, taking it in. “Angry lady, Courtney,” he remarked.
“And the sky was all violet. I wanna give a violet more violence.”
He didn’t understand.
It’s a solidarity between women which enables identification with Courtney Love. Even if Kim Gordon thinks she’s a sociopath, she has a unique take on womanhood and power that enables a dream of disavowal – an escape into a world where I could seize back some of the power from my feminised interactions with men. Especially in sex.
“I’m the one with no soul. One above and one below.”
There’s always been a shameful part of me that embraces and enjoys the power in my “no”, the power I have to take and give nothing back. I rarely indulge it, so ‘Violet’ serves as a bloodlet for that desire. Courtney Love relishes the power to say “fuck you”, and for 3 minutes and 24 seconds, I do too.
“I told you at the start just how this would end. When I get what I want, I never want it again.”
My iPod keeps filling with angry women who know.