Believe what you like

Believe what you like


norman lebrecht

March 26, 2010

Courtney Love, widow of the late Kurt Cobain and supposedly ‘the most controversial woman in the history of rock’, has a powerful interest in Sir Edward Elgar’s voyage to South America, in the New Economic Foundation, in Japanese pop music and in a movie about Lourdes.

That, at any rate, is what we are meant to believe from the statement that Courtney Love is the guest editor of the Film and Music section of today’s Guardian newspaper. These are the items that she chose for inclusion from the weekly pile of submissions.

Nothing, as anyone in newspapers will confirm, could be further from the truth. Ms Love lent her name to the Guardian, along with a portrait by Sam Taylor-Wood, in order to promote her forthcoming release, Nobody’s Daughter. She had about as much to do with the editing of the Guardian section as I did with the syntax of the Gospels. Her role in the newspaper process is pure make-believe – and newspapers keep wondering why they are losing credibility.

Not that The Times is any better. It splashes a front-page picture of Abba, the Swedish pop group, on the speculative hint in an interview that they might, maybe, who knows, have a one-off reunion. Here’s the quote on which the pull-shot is based:

“Yeah, why not?” said (Benni) Andersson, who now owns a farm where he breeds horses.

“I don’t know if the girls sing anything any more,” he added. “I know Frida was in the studio.”

He added later: “It’s not a bad idea, actually.”

And that’s a front-page picture story. Is there no depth of desperation to which a newspaper will not stoop in order to sell a few hundred extra copies?


  • Michael Hann says:

    Dear Norman,
    I am the editor of Film&Music. I’m afraid you are wrong. Courtney Love specifically requested a piece about time banking and how it might be applied to music. It’s unfortunate you chose that example to illustrate your point, for in fact she wanted that to run at greater length: it’s a subject she is most preoccupied with. She also requested we write about Elgar when asked for a subject for classical music.
    Of course, she didn’t edit the section in the conventional sense of commissioning every piece, and editing every word. But every feature in today’s section was the direct result of suggestions she made during a long meeting we had in February. And, for example, Neil Gaiman’s article about attending the Oscars would not have come about had it not been for Courtney’s influence with Neil.
    I’m afraid your suppositions about what a pop singer might be interested in and have knowledge of are wrong.
    Michael Hann
    NL replies: Dear Michael
    I stand half-corrected. I make no suppositions about the interests of pop singers and am very glad indeed to know that Courtney Love had more input than I suggested. I will circulate your reply widely to adjust that assumption.
    However, if Courtney was the active editor, which editor would lead with a piece about herself – unless she was a pop singer on a self-promotion tour?
    That, Michael, you must surely agree, is not what an editor does?
    all best