Seven Days of Positive – Day 105

In Joni Mitchell, Music, Older women on January 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm


Today was totes cray cray. Running around like a loony, trying to do everything at once.

After years on newspapers – including one memorable spell editing a daily diary on the Evening Standard – I’m used to pressure. I can remember being so busy in those days, I didn’t have time to go to the loo.

But today nearly threw me.

I think I just about got everything done, but not all quite to my standard, which I really don’t like. That is just not how I roll. It goes against every grain of my editor brain.

It’s why editing books is such torture for me. It has to be-ee-ee-ee-ee perfect. I’ve got four planets in Virgo, what can I tell ya?

But among all this, I stumbled upon the latest in fashion’s love affair with OLD.

Saint Laurent have co-opted my number one goddess heroine, Joni Mitchell as their latest face. Part of their music project.

This comes the day after Joan Didion was announced as the new ‘face’ of Céline.


Why am I not feeling quite comfortable with all of this? I just can’t help finding something ever so slightly patronising about it. I need to ponder more on this subject.

Meanwhile, I have cleansed my palate by watching Joni on Youtube. The first one, Urge for Going, is an early song I only discovered a couple of years ago, which is akin to someone finding a lost manuscript by Jane Austen for me.

Listening to this song is like reading a novel to me. It’s so spare, but there’s endless depth. I can see it all.

There’s one particular line in it which makes me swoon:

‘I had me a man in summer time, he had summer coloured skin.’

This is a very early version. The one I have is more recent and I prefer it. Her voice is less quivery wivery and my favourite line is a bit different in this version, not quite so good.

And here’s a couple more, because you really can’t have too much Joni, can you?

I know every line of every song on her first eight albums off by heart.

  1. The current obsession with older models smacks of tokenism, but it’s a start. Once the fashion pack have dumped the oldies in favour of The Next Big Thing, the rest of the media will pick up the theme…and once they see the positive reaction/feedback from ladies of a certain age enjoying their ‘moment’ they will keep running it, because that’s where the money is.

  2. I like seeing these older women but I do understand how this can be seen as patronising. We need to see a diverse range of women in all age groups, from all ethnic background etc. then I think it would appear less patronising.

  3. Hi Maggie – never ever too much Joni – ever. X

  4. Actually I don’t find the old thing patronising – it feels inevitable and a relief xx

  5. Hi Maggie, thanks for raising the Joan Didion photo. I was shocked when I saw this. It breaks my heart, this poor lady, so fragile and vulnerable, and the glasses askew. Please, people, let’s not make this about ideology. There’s no dignity here, no honouring of who she is, of who we all are.

  6. Advertisers finally responding to “where the money is” in a realistic way. Will be interesting to see if the baby boomers spend more with the models in same age group. I have Pluto and my Sun in Virgo with Gemini rising. BX PS I love the Joan Didion photo

  7. My first reaction was FUQ yeah about time! But then I gave it some thought, and like you, found it patronising—time will tell, but I feel they are treating “old” as a trend. Like black women, or dwarves (is there a PC term?) being used in campaigns or on the runway—just as a novelty, rather than becoming mainstream and accepted. Think about it–they are perfectly happy to trot out a Japanese model (for example) when they want it as a “look” but you are never going to see one as the face of a major foundation campaign. If they want to use older models with wrinkles, that’s excellent but they need to KEEP doing it, and use them with and alongside other age groups, ethnicities, body types etc. Beauty is diversity, but when a particular “type” becomes flavour of the month it IS a bit disempowering. It seems to say “You were beautiful last season darling, but this year, if you’re not a sixteen year old swedish blonde, sorry, you don’t make the cut”. Let’s see how long the trend lasts for….

  8. Me thinks Joni or Joan would never allow themselves to be disrespected. So no…I don’t think they’re being patronised. They’re part of their own celebration….all power to them…and you…and me!



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