Tattoo by Fish, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City
So, this tattoo, number sixty-one, is off of Nirvana’s third and final studio record, In Utero, from the song, Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle. The song is a tribute to Frances Farmer, a late 1930s, 1940s film and stage actress who ultimately fell from grace due to alcoholism, depression and mental illness, several times involuntarily committed to mental institutions.
To me, the song kind of reflects the idea that one can’t simply be sad and fucked up. If you’re sad and fucked up, you’re damaged, broken. If you’re damaged, broken, you have to be locked away until you’re fixed. After Farmer’s first arrest, she was physically dragged from the court-house shouting, “haven’t you ever had a broken heart?” She felt persecuted for suffering a common life experience.
At some point, sadness stops being kind of a romantic source of creativity, and becomes a pure burden, heavy stones on your chest, even a punishable offense. I think Kurt Cobain saw these things in Frances Farmer’s life, and in his own.
When I got this tattoo, last January or February, everything in my life started going completely sideways. I was losing my health, my personal assistants, Monica, everything, and it all just hurt. Being sad had never hurt so much, being sad had never been so empty, and completely useless. I had no energy to fight, I didn’t feel like anything in my head was worth writing. I felt so absolutely, seemingly endlessly dark inside.
Hence tattoo number sixty-one.1 comment
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