Kurt Cobain’s lighter changed my life

Like a relic from a latter day saint, possession of a hallowed smoking accessory once owned by the Nirvana frontman turned mild-mannered student Scott King into the rebel artist we know today

On November 11, 1989, Nirvana played their first ever gig in Berlin. Nineteen-year-old Scott King, visiting the city for the first time, chanced upon this gig and had what he calls a “semi-spiritual experience”. When King caught Kurt’s lighter, it set him on the road to becoming an artist, and more importantly, a collector of rock memorabilia.

In this film by Paul Kelly, King reveals the significance of the event and the highlights of his collection which also includes a plug adaptor that once belonged to Marty Rev from Suicide and what may be Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant’s last, solar-powered, calculator. Treasures indeed.

King muses on the cultural significance of the lighter that is due to be exhibited in Berlin and subsequently tour Europe:  “If – for example – a disposable lighter had been tossed to me at Wembley Stadium by Chris Martin, Bono or Enya – even if it looked exactly the same as this one – it would in fact be very different, because of its history,” he argues. “This one is important because it belonged to Kurt Cobain, not the banjo player from Mumford & Sons.” Quite.

The film ties in with this year’s upcoming Pop-Kultur festival in Berlin. Details here

Scott King interviewed by Professor Mathew Worley
Filmed and directed by Paul Kelly
Second camera and sound recordist Fred Burns
Produced by Moritz Schmall

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