Tag Archives: joni mitchell

It just sickens you.

The internet is rife with corruption, disrespect and dirty, dirty porn. This will come as news to noone. However, I’ve been finding more and more evidence of this web-age paradigm corrupting mainstream media and our children!!

I found this disturbing and wrong programme schedule on my beloved http://www.tvguide.co.uk/. CBeebies is obviously under the control of some massive internet paedophile ring headed by an ageing Jabba the Hutt, out to brainwash your children’s minds into thinking it is the norm for older gentlemen to act in such a way:

paedotv

And even the Dutch are not immune to the internet’s hegemonic deconstruction of values. Case in point, this interview (and part two) with Easy Realism Regular Reader Joni Mitchell (she must be. I mean, come on, everyone Googles themself at least once a day). The Dutch translation clearly reads: “She is a slut and a slag. Because of the internet. And there is nothing we can do to stop it”.

slut-and-slag2

Look at the pain on Joni’s face. There IS nothing we can do to stop it. Won’t someone please alert the Daily Mail?!

star-wars-jabba-the-hutt_lALL YOUR CBEEBIES ARE BELONG TO US!!!

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The Desire For Spare Change

One really great thing about getting piso mojado at a party or wherever – beyond banterously passing out in a hall and screaming “AH TELT YE! NAE ANGLES!!” at everyone who passes, a vain attempt to line up every one of my friends in efficient, linear patterns – is the sense of freedom from being boxed in.

I feel boxed in, specifically, by paranoia explored in the last blog I posted. I feel a need to change major things in my life, turning this blog into some retro Me-Decade soapbox; but getting piso mojado offers a solution. That’s right – this is yet another epiphany-hangover blog.

I was at Px’s place lastnight for New Years, with a massive bottle of gin, two semi-frozen bottles of tonic water and a bottle of cheap cava (which apparently tasted like cat pee, but half a litre of gin has left me only with the memory of opening the bottle), and left this afternoon with Drew, Robert and Angela. I woke up in bed between the latter two of my taxi accompaniers, with no memory of actually getting there. Wonderful.

When we got back to Angela’s and split off home, I went to sit at the bus stop to smoke. Obviously no buses today and I wasn’t going anywhere, I just didn’t want to go home yet.

As a coda to yesterday’s paranoia blog, the piso mojado epiphany-hangover solution presented itself in my MP3 player’s random song function. I decided the first song I heard would set the tone for 2009, while sitting at the bus stop with my Marlboros staring at looming “TWENTY’S PLENTY” road signs. Pretty ominous considering this is the last day I will spend at the age of twenty.

But twenty is not plenty, goddamnit! The songs that played, to set the tone for 2009 said so!

1. Take It Easy by The Eagles.

This song really sets up the whole ideal world I proposed in the previous blog – I need to stop analysing everything until it becomes meaningless and painful, otherwise I will not get anywhere at all and probably lead myself into a completely pointless mental breakdown.

2. Something In The Way She Moves by James Taylor.

I never really explored this in the previous blog, but 2008 was blighted for me by a couple of rounds in the ring with unrequited love. It would be nice to find someone this year like James has in this song, to focus my thoughts on in a more tangiable and less damaging way than I did in 2008 – otherwise, again, I’ll be heading for a pointless nervous breakdown.

3. White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane.

This was another point not really mentioned in the previous blog – but touched upon in The Desire For Change: getting really trashed. This whole blog is based on the facilitating use of alcohol and whatever, and to get through this year’s proposed ups and downs, I am pretty sure I will need one pill to make me larger and one pill to make me small – at the very least.

These were followed by another couple of ominous songs – Going To California by Led Zeppelin and Close Your Eyes by James Taylor (again! What is with that random function Taylor bias!?). Taylor’s song was written for Joni Mitchell, and Zeppelin’s was written about her. I think it is pretty safe to say that 2009 playlists – when not on the random function – will be dominated yet again by Joni. I honestly believe that her music has made me a deeper person, for good or for bad; and one song of hers – which did not play at the bus stop today – contains some lines I will have to take to heart even more seriously than I have done in the past: Refuge of the Roads. The whole poem is an incredible, lengthy and encompassing piece of advice, but I will just highlight the verses relevant to me right now.

“Heart and humor and humility”
He said “Will lighten up your heavy load”

There was spring along the ditches
There were good times in the cities
Oh, radiant happiness
It was all so light and easy
Till I started analyzing
And I brought on my old ways

A thunderhead of judgment was
Gathering in my gaze

In a highway service station
Over the month of June
Was a photograph of the earth
Taken coming back from the moon
And you couldn’t see a city
On that marbled bowling ball
Or a forest or a highway
Or me here least of all
You couldn’t see these cold water restrooms
Or this baggage overload
Westbound and rolling taking refuge in the roads

The whole point of this poem is that all people are insignificant – but painfully intelligent – beings who make something out of nothing. The thing that damages us most, psychologically, is overanalysis of every little detail and being unable to focus on properly living life to the full. Mitchell’s entire Hejira album is about depression through loneliness and overanalysis. This song gives a true – if impractical – cure to depression: true, because this solution would work, but impractical as it is so hard to override the program of overanalysis drilled into our brains.

If nothing else comes from 2009, I endeavour to push out the overanalysis and just get on with getting on. In the Refuge of the Roads, I will find freedom from being boxed in by my own fruitless analysis.

Pritt Stick

This blog has been known to include elements of amateur philosophical discussion. Today, I present to you the most amateurish philosophical notion thus far.

Lastnight, I dreamt of Bertrand Russell. That’s right, Russell of the teapot worshipping crowd.

I am not Russell’s biggest fan. Being a philosophical phillistine, I don’t need to be.

Lastnight my ignorance manifest itself in a dream of Russell, brought back to life in the body of what can only be described as decomposing Bette Davis.

Imagine – haunted by my own subconscious.

Even in my dream, I knew there was something wrong; some tacit gender issues afoot. Women aren’t called Bertrand! Thus I am now adding both Russell and Davis to my list of Dreamed About Celebrities.

Surely everyone has one of these? Please let me know – especially if your celebrities inhabit the bodies of other celebrities.

So far, mine include:

David Bowie – twice. Once in a press conference, where he was playing tracks from a new album to a selection of journalists on a black grand piano – pretty much like his appearance in Extras; except that he sang The Jean Genie (at my request) instead of Fat Little Journalist. In my second Bowie dream, I was in the front row of a festival he was headlining. He totally looked at me.

Similarly, I met Alanis Morissette at a rock concert. Thankfully she wasn’t playing, just in the audience. She told me to shut up because I was trying to grab her attention. She just wanted to rock out.

I have never dreamt of Joni Mitchell. Sometimes her music plays in my head while I’m asleep, so she gets a special mention on this list. IMDB include soundtrack contributors, so why shouldn’t I?

I dreamt also of Annabel Goldie, months before even considering interviewing her. I was on a train, and she sat next to me. I had started interviewing – on the sly – when she turned her attention to another guy with Downs Syndrome, and I lost my interview. Obviously speaking to the disabled would look far better for this otherworldly politician than some second rate Fat Little Journalist to any REAL media players who may have been watching.

Since then, I really did interview Annabel; and haven’t been able to look a downie in the face. God I hate them.

Rejecting Capitalism

I really want to watch a certain music video. I want to watch Joni Mitchell’s 1985 video for her single Good Friends, which had existed for a number of months on YouTube but has been taken down due to a copyright issue.

I want to watch Joni wandering through her kitchen, surrounded by cats and cacti, smoking a cigarette. Then sitting in a café with Larry Klein, smoking another cigarette. Then in Larry’s car smoking yet another cigarette during a nonchalant argument. Then watch weird, abstract objects like cars and love hearts,  constructed out of what looks like papier mache, fall from the sky in unconvincing motion. I want to watch middle-aged Mitchell’s rather good, artsy, and relevant – if neither slick nor glossy – attempt to capture the minds and papier mache hearts of the MTV generation.

I could easily dig out my Dog Eat Dog vinyl, which features the song; or even stick to the medium of YouTube and listen to the song with a picture of the album cover as the only visual counterpart to the song. However, I specifically want to watch the video: even though I was born three years after this single was released – and don’t really recall a lot of music vividly from before I was about 12 years old – this song and its accompanying video somehow remind me of my life when I was too young to properly engage with life.

I am not downloading illegally – and am not discussing illegal downloading. I am talking about watching a video which has been uploaded to the internet without the consent of the artist’s record company’s consent – not actually illegal; just frowned upon because no money is being made. 

My problem is that I cannot understand why it is frowned upon. Even taking a capitalist point of view, sure, money is not being made by having these video available online; but by having YouTube take an offending video offline, no money is being made either. The specific video I am talking about – Good Friends – is not available on any DVD and is so old and niche that MTV would never play it now anyway; so by taking it off the internet, it is out of public view.

Even more perplexing is that it could be argued that taking these videos offline is actually damaging to the music industry’s capitalist system. Having music videos available online is like PR for the artists – the record companies will spend money on having a video created specifically for television; so having the same videos available online – posted by an independent uploader, acting as a PR agent without requiring a fee – gets the artist out to new markets. Sorry, new viewers. I think record companies are scared of these free PR agents, acting altruistically* for the company’s cause, because altruism is a concept which goes against the capitalist ideals of big business conglomerates. It could be argued that it takes the creative control away from the owners of the video (even though the videos are not manipulated in any way and are uploaded as they are seen on – and have been approved by the record company – for television), but more likely, they are just upset about not being able to control the advertising that surrounds the video when it is watched over an independent YouTube user’s page.

*I experienced severe onomatomania when trying to recall this word.

Just to illustrate how YouTube and now-illegal downloading of music can actually serve record companies in a positive way, I got into Joni Mitchell through a combination of both media. I would not fork out £10+ on an album I did not know I would enjoy – I do not have money to burn – and I am not interested in spending a small fortune buying 99 plays of every new song I come across from iTunes or wherever. I have only a few Joni Mitchell albums on CD – but own most of her back catalogue on second-hand vinyl. I am not sure how much of the money I paid for my second hand albums went to the record companies – hopefully none. The only reason I would hope for money to go to them would be for them to see that Mitchell’s music is still alive and relevant with a new generation, regardless of how the mainstream has ignored her for years. However, since they could hardly be said to be forthcoming with goodies such as Joni’s classy 80s videos, I am more than happy for my money to circulate straight into the pockets of those nice guys at Missing.

That YouTube cannot display certain videos is just a microcosm of the larger, more important problem of illegal downloading on the internet. Again, the same arguments apply: illegal downloading in fact helps sales, regardless of what we are told by record execs via the media. This brilliant – and now infamous – article by Janis Ian, one of Joni Mitchell’s contemporaries who questions the capitalist system of the music industry as much as Joni herself, explains the indiscrepancies of the current illegal downloading situation in explicit detail; written by someone far closer to the heart of this industry than I would ever want to be.

The cyber-pessimists at the head of record companies should be taking note of what Janis Ian and so many others are saying. Music and videos should be free and unpoliced on the internet. The internet is the last medium where music is at least partially free and unconnected to the capitalist hegemony of the music industry. This availability should be allowed to remain as it is – minus the draconian laws surrounding free downloads; and not be ruined by the blinded-by-money heads of business.

Besides, music should be for pleasure, not for capital.

Sarah Palin Naked – Haha Made You Look!

I have about a week left of my summer holiday. According to my five year plan*, this is my last education-centric summer holiday; yet I have done nothing whatsoever to mark this event. Now, because I have, essentially, been hanging around my bedroom for months; I can’t wait to go back to uni. So much so, in fact, that I have twice called one of my lecturers – at her home – in as many days. Isn’t that wrong? Isn’t that stalking?! In any case, there is a new intake of first years on my course. I am going into fourth year, and my first task as a degree-wielding Citizen of the World is to help the new students run a completely amateur newspaper. Isn’t that fun!? Isn’t that wonderful!? Because there is a surprisingly large intake of first year students this year, the task of my fellow graduates is to weed out the weak and scare anyone not up to the challenge – of becoming a proper journalist within three years – off the course. We are to be hard, unflinching task-masters, whipping our slaves while the lecturer watches; filing her nails to a fine point. I feel like I am Darwin with a knife, proving his own theories by slaughtering an entire island of endangered birds.

*I don’t have a five year plan; I do not believe I am capable of planning beyond about five months ahead of myself at the best of times. Five years ago, my five year plan had me in a coffin circa-2006.

Speaking of journalism, it is not often that I come down on the side of the Labour party, but I actually applauded Siobhan McDonagh MP’s call for a Labour leadership challenge. She was interviewed tonight on Channel Four News and I thought she – for one thing – had a good argument (that Brown was not elected, and because of that, he has not had to lay out his policies; so people – including his own MPs – do not know exactly what those policies are) and – for a second – was able to hold her own in the face of a very tough interview. I felt that Samira Ahmed was needlessly argumentative in her interview, since Ms McDonagh was giving frank and concise answers to difficult questions. I do not agree with the standard, aggressive-interviewer journalism that is all over television. Even when “grilling” very biased types such as politicians, there is no need to bound into an interview, teeth exposed and clenched. I hate watching Paxman-style interviewers, who seem to be more interested in bravado than answers; in showing up an interviewee as weak and “below” the interviewer than actually hearing their side of the story. I understand that perhaps some people do tune-in to televised news in the hope of seeing an argument; but I think this is just more evidence that news broadcasts are being needlessly dumbed down. I read an interesting comment piece in this week’s Sunday Herald, where Joanna Blythman attributes the Guardian’s huge interview last week with Alistair Darling (where, to paraphrase, the Chancellor of the Exchequer claimed that the economy was doomed and that we are all fucked) to good interview techniques. None of this all-out, I’m-better-than-you bravado; Darling was relaxed by the journalist and felt at ease to be candid and truthful.

Actually, I also applauded Darling’s honesty during the Guardian interview. It is strange that people complain that politicians do nothing but lie, then when one does tell the truth, people complain about that instead. How very British of us! That is, however, two applauds for Labour in one week. They’re obviously going up in my estimation!

At present, I am reading a combination of books which are making an interesting collage-of-concepts in my head. The death, despair, deceit, disorientation and derangement of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot is mingling with Sheila Weller’s half-cocked decision to write a triple biography of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon in Girls Like Us. The latter is a very good biography of all three women, however it is laced with feminist thought and strung together with the could-or-could-not-be idea that these three women are somehow linked beyond having fucked James Taylor. The former is a masterpiece that has changed my opinion on organised religion. Strange to read them at the same time, I tell you! Add to that Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, Sylvia Plath’s The Colossus and snippets from the middle chapters of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and the odd page-long revelation from Lloyd Whitesell’s The Music of Joni Mitchell*, and you’ve got yourself a headache worthy of Prince Myshkin himself!

*I refuse to start actually reading the latter two books before I’ve finished the others; otherwise I will never finish any of them. I always get into this mess. I’m physically unable to read one book at a time. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

In any case, I am now ready for uni, what with my crazy conspiracy theories; angry left wing rants; an abundance of up-their-own-arse books; the ability to type; and anything else that seems requisite that has been mentioned in this blog, then subsequently forgotten during the outro. I also have a swish new Manbag that makes me look less tranny-more man; and a new haircut which makes me look less student-more downy; since I did it myself during what can only be termed an epiphany at five in the morning, using a pair of old scissors and two mirrors used in tandem. Long live DIY!