Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Perils and Pleasures of Late Junction

It's late at night (After 10pm - at my age this is late, something my younger siblings may find amusing) and I'm listening to Late Junction on radio 3 (surely another sign I have reached a certain age). Through my work-shattered brain, the lobes of which have been jumbled a little more by the introduction of a glass or two of fine ale, something is twinkling and squawking in a rather engaging manner...

...on further investigation the next day I discover the ear/brain teaser goes by the name of Joanna Newsom.

She's playing her new album in the shop right now. Yesterday Marie described the album as "awful" and "like listening to pub drunks singing songs from Annie". I had it on quite loud as I was pottering about before opening. Then I noticed someone waiting outside the shop. I pulled myself together saying things like "only a couple more days then they'll all bugger off and leave us lonely and yearning for them through January" before hauling up the shutters, stretching a smile across my face, yelling "morning".

"Are you open?" says the Austrian blonde.

"Yes, go right in" say I, and she does.

I finish opening the shutters then remember our Joanna is now singing to my first customer of the day.

I'm back in there in a flash but Joanna is the only one screaming (something along the lines of "desire, desire deeeeeeeesire" as it turns out.) I reduce the volume to a more civilised level and wait. A few minutes of happy browsing later the lady comes to the till with a book on soups and an imported book about Rodin with text by Rilke.

"Lovely books" she says.


We pause as the credit card machine checks her financial situation, something I cannot handle. I am forced to make conversation.

"What do you think of this album?" I ask. "I bought it the other day and I'm still trying to work out if it's brilliant or rubbish".

"When I first came in I thought it was lovely. But this song's a bit weird..."

In fact there are only five songs on this album and they are all pretty long. It's the same song as when she came in though quite hard to tell.

She leaves happy.

Next customer is the bloke from Flutes Plus down the road. He doesn't seem to notice the music at all. Phew.

Anyway, what's the point of this post?

What I want to know is this.

Am I just infatuated with this weird woman because the Christmas season has pushed me over the edge? Or is she truly brilliant?

Or have I just spent too long reading A Glastonbury Romance?


  1. Actually I described it as Bjork singing songs from Annie, and yes, it is awful.

  2. Marie - that was artistic license!

    So far:

    Joanna is Brilliant 0

    Joanna is rubbish 1

    Come on you Psych Folk lovers!

  3. Would that be Ys? Hurm. I have to be in the right mood. Sometimes, it's amazing. Sometimes, it's unbearable.

  4. Ok I mate that:

    Joanna is Brill 0.5

    Joanna is Rubbish 1.5

    But since I'm the ref and they are notoriously dodgy I'm going to make it 1-1

    Come on you Psych Folk Lovers!

  5. We tried Joanna Newsom on the shop floor stereo once when I was working at a stationer's... She lasted five minutes, if that, before the snide customer comments outnumbered all other forms of verbal communication put together and we had to put some reality-show winner or other back on.

    Unfortunately none of the remarks were as eloguent as 'Bjork singing songs from Annie'!

  6. You can never have enough of John Cowper Powys. I'm on page 136 of Glastonbury Romance now and don't want it to end. I will immediately seek out a copy Joanna Newsom CD after work today.

    Late Junction and JCP what a combination.

  7. I think Joanna's scored a couple there:

    Joanna is Brilliant 3

    joanna is Rubbish 2

    Come on you Psych Folk lovers!

  8. She's an acquired taste, though one that can be strikingly enjoyable. I got into her via George passing me 'Peach, Plum, Pear' which just takes my breath away each time I play it. In a good way and not actually taking my breath away as otherwise I would be dead. Less good.

    Anyway, thumbs up for JN from me!

  9. She shoots...she scores...

    Joanna is Brilliant 4

    Joanna is Rubbish 2

    This is turning into the kind of match where everything is black and white and the shorts are very very long. Is that the Maestro on Joanna's team? I think it is! Go on Johnny have a pop!

    Come on you Psych Folk lovers!

  10. Well I went out and bought the Joanna CD and listened whilst dropping off to sleep with Glastonbury Romance crushing my chest. Perversly I really enjoyed most of it