What’s the most fun you can have listening to the radio? For the last two weeks it’s been catching Courtney Love’s Women on 6 Music. Stripped across Monday to Thursday at the end of each night (all eight episodes are now available on BBC Sounds) the Hole front woman has been telling her life story from childhood to stardom, and from marriage to Kurt Cobain to his tragic death and beyond.

With podcaster Rob Harvilla as her sounding board, the result has been wild, scrappy, amusing, inevitably self-obsessed, revealing, maybe not always 100 per cent accurate and, now and again, haunted.

It was also seeded with insider anecdotes. Love tells us of visiting Marlon Brando’s dirty house and attending Joe Strummer’s funeral (No, Love says, she didn’t throw herself on the coffin despite reports to the contrary), and even going to the Playboy Mansion for a Limp Bizkit album launch. Uggh. (Love agrees: “Trips to the Playboy Mansion were always pretty gross. Even if I was treated well, I saw who wasn’t.”)

And we hear her discuss her addictions, her bad relationships - “I tend to get involved with red flag men” - her friendships with Lana Del Rey and Michael Stipe, her years as a stripper, her late husband’s favourite records and the time she shared a trailer with the actor Woody Harrelson who banned her from playing any PJ Harvey. “None of that angry vagina music,” he told her.

Love, who now lives in London, has no filter. Erectile dysfunction even came up at one point (ahem). And of course everything’s ultimately all about Courtney.

“I know this is a really egomaniacal journey,” she said after dipping into the diss songs that have been written about her. (There have been a few; Love has always been good at making enemies.) The music choices were great; a thrilling cacophony of female voices, from Stevie Nicks to female London drill artists.


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But it’s the life story you stay for. Even setting aside the awful circumstances of Cobain’s death by suicide (now 30 years ago) Love’s biography has always, fair to say, been a bit messy. As a kid, she recalled, “I watched Last Tango in Paris with my parents and they wouldn’t let me watch The Cher Show.”

Throughout, Love was all bravado and outspokenness. But now and again you got a glimpse of her vulnerability. There’s a moment at the end of episode six where you can actually hear it as she talks about Kurt’s death in passing.

And sometimes the transitions from panto pop star to real human are so quick it takes a moment to catch up. In the last episode on Thursday Love started talking about how she doesn’t like handling guns on film sets.

Then suddenly she switched lanes. “And you know, if I had been smart with Kurt, I would have run here [London] where the dope was good and there’s no guns. That’s going to haunt me forever.”

Last Sunday night Radio 4 aired a documentary about the London Nail bombings in 1999 that culminated with an explosion in the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho on Friday, April 30 that year, killing three people and injuring 83.


Fragments: The London Nail Bombings told the story through the words of photographer Chris Taylor who just happened to be in the area with his camera that night and Jonathan Cash who was in the bar when the bomb went off.

Cash’s testimony, quietly spoken, was riveting. And horrifying. Entering the pub that night the two bombs that had gone off in Brixton and Brick Lane on the two preceding weekends were on his mind.

“I went to the bar, bought a drink and my foot touched what I now know to be the bag. And I thought, ‘Oh, my God, it could be a bomb’” Cash recalled thinking.

“I walked away to this high table and rationalised that I would be OK. I recall thinking the previous two bombs happened on a Saturday. You don’t think these things could ever happen to you.

“And then the bomb went off at 6.37pm.”

Cash came to, covered in blood and debris, with a hole in his back and another one in his shoulder.

“I got home about maybe ... I don’t know, 10, 11, I can’t even remember. And this core of friends stayed with me until about 8am the next day. One friend brought round a bottle of champagne. He said he was saving for a special occasion. I said, ‘What’s the special occasion?’ He said, ‘You’re still alive.’”

The Herald: Ryuichi SakamotoRyuichi Sakamoto (Image: free)

Listen Out For: Sakamoto - Art is Long, Life is Short, Radio 3, Sunday, 7.15pm

This week’s Sunday feature takes a look at the life of the late Ryuichi Sakamoto, Japanese electronic music pioneer, composer and film star, who appeared in Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, opposite David Bowie, a film for which he also wrote the score.