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Nirvana Glasgow setlist goes for £5625 at auction

Nirvana, from left, Krist Novoselic, Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl. Picture: Getty

Nirvana, from left, Krist Novoselic, Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl. Picture: Getty

  • by MIKE MERRITT
 

A HANDWRITTEN set list of a Glasgow concert by cult group Nirvana has raised almost double its £3000 estimate at auction.

But a sword from the Scottish-based movie Highlander failed to sell.

The Nirvana set list, written in black marker-pen by band member Dave Grohl, was taped to the stage by the late Kurt Cobain’s mic stand during the group’s performance at Queen Margaret Union in 1991.

The list is complete with dirty footprints from the sole of a trainer along the bottom edge where Cobain possibly stood, said auctioneers Bonhams, who sold it for £5625 after a battle between two telephone bidders on Wednesday.

The successful buyer is based overseas.

“According to the vendor who was at the Glasgow concert, at the end of the gig he asked a member of security for the set list which the guard ripped from the stage next to Kurt’s mic stand,” said Sarah Gubbins from Bonhams who will sell the item in London on June 25.

The grunge band found breakthrough success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from its second album Nevermind which was released in 1991.

Following the success of Nevermind, Nirvana was labelled “the flagship band” of Generation X, and Cobain hailed as “the spokesman of a generation”.

During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression. He also had difficulty coping with his fame and public image, and the professional and lifelong personal pressures surrounding himself and his wife, musician Courtney Love.

On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. The circumstances of his death at age 27 have become a topic of public fascination and debate.

Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, has sold over 75 million albums worldwide.

Cobain was inducted - along with fellow Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Grohl - into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, the first year in which they were eligible.

Bonham’s entertainment memorabilia sale will showcase over 300 items of iconic rock, pop and film history. Highlights include guitars, stage costumes, personal items, letters, props and behind-the-scenes photographs of the stars of the 1950s through to the present day.

It includes a selection of Beatles memorabilia linked to the film A Hard Day’s Night - such as a tailored suit that was made for John Lennon estimated to sell for £20,000-30,000 - and a 1967 deep cherry red Gibson SG Special guitar owned and used by Pete Townshend of The Who,

It is the most valuable lot in the sale and carries an estimate of £30,000-40,000.

Most of the guitars were destroyed when Townshend famously smashed them to smithereens on stage during his performances. In an accompanying letter, Townshend writes that this guitar”...it must be one of the few passing through my hands, which has survived without getting smashed...”

There was another Scottish link to the sale.

The double-edged steel blade sword prop from the film Highlander was offered with an estimate of £10,000-15,000. The sword was made for Clancy Brown as Kurgan and was obtained by the prop master for the film, John Allenby. It was the only steel blade produced for the film.

But it failed to reach its reserve price at the auction.

The 1986 blockbuster - which starred Sir Sean Connery was partly set in the highlands of Scotland.

Christopher Lambert and Connery starred in the original, which also featured music by Queen.

French actor Lambert played Connor MacLeod, an immortal who fought his first battle in the Scottish Highlands in 1536.

He goes on to combat other immortals on the streets of New York City in 1986, killing them by cutting off their heads.

Connery starred as Spanish sword fighter Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez.

Scenes were shot at Eilean Donan Castle, at Glen Coe, Glen Nevis, Loch Shiel and on the Cioch, a pinnacle of rock in the Cuillin mountain range on Skye.

 

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