Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 170: “...I really don’t know life at all....”

HARRY: What is this we’re listening to?
KAREN: Joni Mitchell.
HARRY: I can’t believe you still listen to Joni Mitchell.
KAREN: I love her and true love lasts a lifetime. Joni Mitchell is the woman who taught your cold English wife how to feel.
HARRY: Did she? Oh, well, that’s good. I must write to her someday and say thanks.

That’s a vignette between two of the UK’s finest acting talents, Emma Thompson (Karen) and Alan Rickman (Harry), from the uneven Richard Curtis film, Love Actually (see blog from the archives date 25 April).

I don’t know many male friends who have Joni Mitchell albums in their CD collection (apart from my bricklaying friend Pete), but most of the women that I know have Blue and/or one or two others. My anima (and Pete’s for that matter), must be more prevalent or “higher” than that of your average bloke, I guess, for I owned copies of The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975) and Hejira (1976), when I was 17 going on 18. The “anima”, by the way, was Carl Jung’s term for the feminine part of a man’s personality; the part of the psyche that Swiss psychologist Jung felt is directed inward and is in touch with the subconscious.

In Love Actually, Richard Curtis continues the Joni Mitchell theme and uses an orchestrated version of Both Sides Now, to moving effect, in a scene which finds Emma Thompson’s Karen character, cruelly duped by her husband, the carpet of life pulled from under her feet. It’s a film moment that I would swap for nought, as heavy-handed as I could label it. This small moment of screen time touches me so, that I would protect it to the death from that side of my film brain that screams out “it’s all wrong”!!

The film was made in 2003 and so, twenty-seven years after my last brush with Joni, she was able to pick up where I’d left off and begin my “emotional education” once more; Joni harbours no animosity because of my absence. The play count on my laptop’s iTunes, tells me that I’ve played this purchased version of Both Sides Now, 78 times, a similar orchestrated version of A Case of You, 47 times; Amelia clocks in with a respectable total of 31 nudges and the Diana Krall version of 'A Case of You' (from her Live in Paris disc) has hit a healthy 40 plays, which I think is inaccurate because I’ve listened to it countless more times than that.

So there you have it, Joni has dibs on a musical and emotional part of my heart and always will have; in my little fantasy world I would marry her off to Nick Drake and have them give birth to a love child that would sing the early works of Elton John: Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters and Tiny Dancer.

So man-up my fellow man and admit, that like me, you are just as smitten, just as bitten, by the strains of Joni songs that are there for you, in those reflective emotional moments of your life.

Day #170 Tip: Listen to Joni
It may seem like not much of tip but believe me, it is; in fact, if truth be known, it’s probably better than the 169 other snippets of advice that I’ve offered up: go to the iTunes store, shell out your $2.19 and buy the version of Both Sides Now, from the album of the same name and listen to her.

You tell me something else that you can buy, so inexpensive, that will give and give and give and give and give, asking nothing of you, that will last a lifetime?

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