Here We Are Now by Charles Cross is a fascinating book. Twenty years after Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Cross takes a look at how Nirvana and Cobain changed the world, from music to our own region to how we talk about suicide.

For me, the most fascinating chapter was where Cross took a look at the towns most associated with Cobain, his birthplace in Aberdeen and the city he’s most associated with, Seattle. Of course, Olympia is in that mix too. Cross’ own biography of Cobain includes five chapters set in Olympia, spanning arguably Cobain’s most formative years between 1987 and 1991.

Screen shot of Nirvana – Live in Olympia

But, in this trio, Olympia has always been the silent partner. Olympia isn’t like Aberdeen, it isn’t the town that he was born in, isn’t the town that is the source of Cobain’s legendary youthful angst. It also isn’t Seattle, a town with a profile large enough to envelope Cobain’s legend as soon as it was ready.

Cross seems to acknowledge this silent partnership when he mentions Olympia only in passing in his chapter on how Seattle and Aberdeen have been impacted by Cobain twenty years on. In this chapter, Olympia is a bridge between Cobain’s Aberdeen roots and his false association with Seattle. At least using Cross’ logic, if Aberdeen spit Cobain out and Seattle sucked him up (once he was good and famous), Olympia was the only place Cobain was truly at home as an artist.

But, that is a pretty over-wrought statement.

Cross in Here We Are Now wasn’t making a point about what city impacted Cobain the most. He covered that in Heavier Than Heaven. In this most recent book, the equation is the opposite, what city was most impacted by Cobain?

And, it is worth asking that question about Olympia.

So, if Aberdeen has finally come to terms with their troubled product and have embraced him as a part of their own culture. And, Seattle has become one and the same with a certain type of everyman do it yourself music culture. What is Olympia’s Cobain impacted legacy? How did 1987 through 1991 and Kurt Cobain impact Olympia?