Poor Spencer Elden. Not only does the chap have to live with his "unauthorised" baby pic on the cover of Nirvana's breakthrough record Nevermind – the image has now been immortalised on the streets of Adelaide via GPS exercise tracker Strava.
In case you missed it, Nevermind, one of the greatest guitar albums ever made, turned 30 on Friday (feel old yet?), but the anniversary has been soured somewhat by the sleeve art's subject suddenly deciding he doesn't like his infant body being exposed on the shelves of every record store in the world.
Elden has sued the surviving members of the punk power trio – drummer Dave Grohl, now of Foo Fighters, and bassist Krist Novoselic – and the estate of late frontman Kurt Cobain, along with a number of other defendants, for sexual exploitation.
Regardless of the merits of Elden's claim, it remains an iconic cover on an iconic album, and "occasional Strava artist" Peter Stokes decided to celebrate the landmark by riding 150km to sketch the outline of the "Nirvana baby" across Adelaide, South Australia. The result can be seen here.
He told Guardian Australia that he imposes images on top of mapping software, then follows the route on his bike, adding: "Nirvana has its place in my record collection... When this album came out I was in high school – I was about 14, and that's when you're forming your love of music."
Nevermind certainly fits the bill as "formative" for many. Until then, no one had linked pop hooks with raging punk/metal instrumentation quite like Cobain and co, who stumbled on a sound the media described as "grunge". The tag took off as an easily packaged and marketable genre in itself even though other bands tarred with the label rarely sounded alike – compare Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains, for example.
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The sophomore album cemented Nirvana as one of the biggest bands of the early '90s – a second coming of the Beatles. Sensitive and introverted Cobain couldn't cope with the strains of fame and took his own life in 1994. Even worse, an indirect result of grunge is that we had to suffer insipid cookie-cutter schlock rock from Creed and Nickelback for years to come.
Anyway, happy birthday, Nevermind. We shall never see your like again. You can check out more of Stokes' Strava work – including animals, dragons, and obligatory cocks – on his Instagram. ®