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Daniel Chan
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Elliott Smith, A Fond Farewell...

21/10/2007marks the 4th anniversary of singer/songwriterElliott Smith’s death… I am surprised to find that his death is currently still an "open case", with the police no closer to solving the case.

Below is an article about the mystery that surrounds his death, raising questions about his weapon of choice... 

The mysterious death of Mr. Misery…

No one was too surprised when Elliott Smith - a boozy, druggy Oscar-nominated folk singer who had talked openly about killing himself - was found dead. But then the coroner's report raised a chilling new possibility: murder.prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /

 

No one could honestly claim to be surprised when they heard Elliott Smith had committed suicide. Plenty of folky singer-songwriters have a reputation for making introspective, melancholy music, but none quite like Smith's. To some critics he was Mr Misery - a pun on Miss Misery, the song from the soundtrack of Good Will Hunting for which he was Oscar-nominated in 1998. He was the "unhappiest man in the land", a singer you didn't so much listen to as commiserate with.

 

According to his friend, singer Mary Lou Lord, Smith was the heir to the tragic mantle of her former boyfriend, Kurt Cobain: he was making records for "the sad kids". His gloom was more than sulky posturing: when Smith sang about heroin addiction or alcoholism or depression, he was singing about things he had experienced first-hand.

 

The cover of his second, eponymous solo album, released in 1995, features a grainy image of bodies falling from a high building. Another, 1996's Either/Or, was named after a book by Kierkegaard, in which the philosopher posited that the aesthete would eventually find himself in a state of despair. As one tribute article wryly noted, you couldn't say that Smith didn't warn you.

 

That is not to say the circumstances of his death were not shocking. On Tuesday, October 21, 2003, Smith apparently had an argument with his girlfriend, fellow musician Jennifer Chiba, at their home in Silverlake,prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /Los Angeles. As the row got worse, Smith threatened to commit suicide.

 

Like most of Smith's close friends,Chibawas used to him making melodramatic threats about ending his life. After all, this was a man who, when he decided to relocate fromPortlandtoBrooklynin the late 1990s, bade farewell to hisOregonfriends by informing them that it was likely he would never see them again because he was "probably going to kill himself".

 

Chibaignored him and locked herself in the bathroom. She then heard a scream. Returning to the living room, she found Smith standing with his back to her. When he turned around, she saw a kitchen knife sticking out of his chest. Smith had stabbed himself in the heart. Despite emergency surgery, he was pronounced dead 20 minutes after arriving at hospital. He was 34 years old.

 

Never lost for an opinion, Courtney Love called it "the best suicide I ever heard of". Although killing yourself in this way is uncommon - according to the LA Coroner's Office that dealt with Smith's death, less than 4% of suicides in 2001 and 2002 were due to "sharp force trauma", and most of those were wrist-slashings - it is not entirely unknown. You turn the knife sideways and plunge it between the ribs. It is an extremely painful way to die, a last resort for people so low they no longer care about themselves…

 

[Strangely enough, Courtney Love was a one time suspect in Kurt Cobain's apparent suicide, is she trying to tell us something?]

almost 17 years ago 0 likes  3 comments  0 shares

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english, cantonese, mandarin
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Hong Kong
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September 21, 2007