Jennifer Knoch is an Editor for ECW Press in Toronto, Canada (she worked with BBP Editor-In-Chief Andy Burns on his forthcoming book Wrapped In Plastic: Twin Peaks) We asked Jen what she’d recommend for Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide. Here’s what she came up with.
If you’re in a gift-buying panic, take consolation in this: that hard-to-buy-for mother-in-law, boss, teacher, or grandparent is probably a Joni Mitchell fan. Not sure? Do they like music? Art? Trail-blazing women? You’re still set. Think of that scene in Love Actually where Emma Thompson admits Joni “taught your cold British wife how to feel.” (Forget about the cheating and the crying to “Both Sides Now” that followed because there just isn’t enough eggnog to manage that.)
Anyway, here’s the story behind your save-the-day, holiday-hero, can’t-fail gift . . .
Late one night in 1966 at Toronto’s Riverboat coffeehouse, Malka Marom, a successful singer of international music, encountered a talent that left her reeling. A young woman, hair draped over her face, was singing songs that touched her so profoundly she realized she needed to end her marriage. Malka rushed up to the young woman after her set and told her she was going to be a big star. When indeed that was the case, Marom, now an interviewer with the CBC, called her up and got a rare interview in 1973. (So rare, in fact, that a young Cameron Crowe used a bootleg of the interview to get his own interview with Led Zeppelin, who were big fans of Joni.) After that interview, the women became friends, and remain so over forty years later. Two more interviews followed, one in 1979 and one in 2012.
Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words reproduces those three interviews, and offers an opportunity to be a fly on the wall during a candid, thoughtful, far-ranging conversation between two old friends. As the two women discuss art, success, creativity, love, independence, sacrifice, wealth, integrity, and more, readers can gain some rare insight into one of music’s most brilliant creative minds. Even in casual conversation, Joni can be touching and poetic: “Freedom to me is a luxury of being able to follow the path of the heart, to keep the magic in your life. Freedom is necessary for me in order to create, and if I cannot create I don’t feel alive.”
Illustrated with paintings and photographs that span Joni’s career, this one is a showpiece worthy of a coffee table.
And as a bonus, the book has a festive connection, because
“It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace . . .”
At any time during or after the holidays, Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words is the perfect river to skate away on.