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Tag: Joni Mitchell

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The only other place on it she could’ve imagined going was San Francisco, and that had since the big bonding at Monterey definitely become too close. She was disconsolately sitting on the beach in Venice, with no idea what part of the world she should even think about heading for, when her eyes alighted on the nearby Marina del Rey. This was where David was going to moor his boat once he’d had her transferred from Miami.

It was an impulse decision. It was a sanctuary.

Unlike her arrival Juno’s departure from LA didn’t happen the proper way, and moments later she stood on the deck of the Mayan, the wooden schooner David had bought, at her mooring in Miami. Another couple minutes and the boat was leaving the calm waters of the harbour, with Juno at the bow as poised and empty-eyed as a figurehead.

For more than two months she washed up and down the Keys in the company of only her crystal ball, addicted to a show she was no longer part of. She never set foot in LA herself. David didn’t miss his boat. In between presenting Joni at parties like a magician whipping a musical rabbit out of his hat, he was producing an album for her. Jackson finally made it out of the lodge, along with everyone else, when Electra turned off the money tap, and moved back into Billy and Judy’s house, licking his wounds. No album had been recorded in the wilds. But gradually Juno saw spring announcing itself in the canyon and a new light rising in Jackson’s eyes.

On the day of the equinox she docked at last. The port was Key Largo. Two years had passed since she’d first sang Joni’s song. She wandered the streets, still adrift. Emerging as if from a dream at sunset, she looked around to find she’d strayed onto the wrong side of town. Dark eyes were rapt in dark corners, but obviously nobody approached her. At the far end of a street she saw the water in the last light. The sun stopped glistening off of it that moment. Still restless, Juno walked east towards the sea. Where the street met the empty quay was a bar. It had no name, unless it was called Esta Noche: Ojos De Brujo, as per the stained board on its wall. Warlock’s eyes tonight, translated Juno. Fat chance. Probably some kinda card game.

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Barry was right on his heels. ‘Well, looks like you gonna walk, sunshine, ’cause I sure as hell ain’t givin’ you a ride. Have a good trip!’ With that and before Jackson could open his mouth he slammed the door shut.

‘I’m sure I will, for a change!’ yelled Jackson at the silent lodge.

He waded down the front steps, past Juno behind her log pile and onto the marginally less submerged nearby track. His adorable face looked brittle, and clearly not only because of the cold.

Juno knew that a couple miles on, where the track met the highway, the road was clear. Traffic was infrequent, but something or other did pass every now and again.

She just couldn’t let it happen. Jackson was already nearing a turn in the track, with a steep rise on one side and a gorge on the other, when a mighty sheet of snow crashed down out of nowhere, firmly blocking his path. It was all over in a heartbeat, and not one of his silken hairs was out of place.

After standing stock-still before the soundless white wall for what must’ve been minutes, Jackson turned back to where the lodge sat waiting under a leaden sky.

Tears were rolling down Juno’s cheeks as she allowed David to take Elliot’s call.

 

December 1967 was an exciting time. The Stones’ new album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, was eagerly awaited, and all things Sergeant Pepper were still riding high. LA was abuzz with anticipation of the amazing masterpiece the Beach Boys had been working on all year.

Juno spent her days running through scenarios over and over. She could find another unknown singer and start again. She could become, say, a manager or publicist. She could do anything she wanted, really. The city was putty to her.

But every option that involved her staying also meant either doing serious Magic to Jackson or seeing him look at her with that wariness in his eyes again. So when the mother of all zone alerts went off early in January, she knew what she had to do.

The second time in her life Juno departed somewhere leaving hardly a trace. It was the least painful alternative she could think of. Her divine face was a deluge of tears as she stood across the road from her favourite place and put a blanket spell on the Troubadour, for everyone who’d ever stepped through its doors to forget all about her.

Juno’s time in LA was over.

Joni Mitchell had arrived.

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Joni was back at the Living End in Detroit, just about to go onstage. Beside her stood the other guy who’d been a fixture since October. Around the same time Joni’d come by David she’d also acquired a manager. Elliot was his name, a real sharp dude with a large nose and a thinking man’s forehead.

‘I really reckon I should go soon,’ he was just saying to Joni. ‘David hasn’t answered the phone all day.’

‘I’m sure there’s a reason,’ Joni replied. ‘He only just got home. So you really think he’s right?’

‘Yes,’ said Elliot firmly. ‘LA’s definitely the place to be.’

It was then that Juno knew she’d have to do it. She’d have to take Joni out of circulation.

Joni clearly figured it was a good idea to start her set with the song that was currently a hit. She sang about angel hair and feather canyons, Ferris wheels and fairy tales coming true, and all the things that stood in the way – clouds and circus crowds, tears and fears, life being a work in process where things are lost and other things are gained every day. 

Even though Juno’d endlessly heard the song on the radio lately and the air had always sharply contracted and swelled, this was as nothing to the steadfast unfurling, the very concrete infinity she now breathed right into her soul. The entire audience clearly felt the same way. Joni’s songs clearly couldn’t be sung like this by anyone else.

It was then that Juno knew she couldn’t do it.

 

Just before Christmas Elliot landed in LA. Juno went to see Jackson that day. She’d been keeping tabs on events at the lodge and knew that things had steadily deteriorated there. There was a lot more drug taking than being creative by now. Smack was making an appearance. A bunch of Troub groupies had also found their way to the wilderness, and it hadn’t taken Barry long to become some kind of crazed decadent ringmaster. He was so high that, worst of all, he’d started playing people off against each other every time a semblance of musical activity was attempted. Jackson and Ned were barely speaking, as Ned was refusing to be used. Jackson on the other hand was continuously fried and just went along with everything.

Or so Juno thought the morning she called on the lodge. She was shivering behind a pile of snowed-under logs outside, trying to decide if she should be a plumber like last time or attempt something new, when the door opened. Onto the porch scurried Jackson, carrying his guitar case and looking unkempt.

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Juno refused to regard this as meltdown. While she just knew that as long as she kept Cass and David under a spell they were somehow lost to her, like everyone else she’d ever directly inflicted Magic on who wasn’t singing or playing an instrument at the time, Jackson was safe. Jackson was in a mountain lodge, real removed from everything. Juno was confident that she could still fix this.

 

David stayed away, which suited Juno. He and Joni were getting it on, predictably. In between he managed to buy the boat he’d gone to Florida for and sail some. Eventually he accompanied Joni back to New York where she now had a place.

After lots more deliberation Juno put a blanket spell on Wildflowers, for anybody who came in contact with it in any way, shape or form to forget instantly that Juno’d ever sang Both Sides Now and Michael from Mountains, the second of Joni’s songs on the album. That way the modified spell on Cass was redundant and Juno could let her go to some march in Washington she’d been on and on about. No matter, Juno figured, if Cass ran into Judy Collins there, who seemed to have made these kind of events her main habitat. Juno was thus also able to embark on a frenzy of hootenannies and performing at parties, with two songs dropped from her repertoire obviously. Some nights she felt reassured and others she didn’t. But Jackson was still at the lodge and still safe. By the time he came home everything would be fixed.

David returned to LA in December. Juno met him off the plane and switched spells, and everything seemed real normal. If she didn’t look at the small empty space in his eyes.

As her number one priority was to avoid doing Magic directly to Jackson at all costs, she now did what she’d been putting off. She went to see Joni.

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It wasn’t the first time. Joni’d got around a bit that summer. She’d constantly moved back and forth across the border and had even been to England, to support The Incredible String Band. But Juno had always been able to prevent their two worlds colliding.

She now yanked out her crystal ball. Maybe Jackson… he wasn’t that close to Canada, but you never knew…

Joni was setting up in a club. She definitely wasn’t anywhere near Canada, for she was wearing a summery dress… Juno scanned the club between shaking hands ’til she could read its name in neon behind the bar. Gaslight South. Gaslight… as in The Gaslight coffee house in New York? She hadn’t known that they had another place further south… South. Oh NO.

She was too late to catch him in the street. He’d already gone inside and Joni’d already started playing. He looked like he’d been hit by a hand grenade. There was no time…

Wham. She’d lost David.

 

As usual Juno’s book had absolutely no advice whatsoever. You couldn’t let regular folks know that something beyond their understanding was going on or you’d damage your powers, but that was it. She went ’round Cass’s place, changed the spell as planned and dragged her out to the Troub. There Juno sang her short set twice and broke hearts all night.

She was still in bed the next morning when she found a solution. She’d put another zone charm around Joni, for folks to forget all about her, Juno, the moment they crossed it, and recover their recollections while failing to recall Joni on moving away. The zone around Joni would only have to be the size of a club as she hadn’t made any records. Where Judy Collins was concerned, Juno’d just have to busk it. For a start she’d keep her album out of LA.

Juno bounced out of bed and turned on the radio. She all but dropped when out of it tinkled Judy Collins’s voice, singing Both Sides Now, one of Joni’s songs from Wildflowers. And her heart sank further when the DJ announced afterwards that the track was rapidly rising up the nationwide charts.

 

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The first thing that came to pass was Jackson going away again. Barry had finally got Electra to part with money. He, Ned, Jackson and a bunch of Billy’s hungry roomers decamped to a mountain lodge the company had rented, in the middle of nowhere in Northern California. They took some technicians and an engineer with them, planning to record an album right there, real stripped-down, real removed from everything…

Juno’d got no time at all to miss Jackson before Cass said to her in early October, ‘Look, somebody gave me this!’ They were alone on Cass’s veranda, and even the leaves on the trees seemed to freeze as Cass produced a record from under her wicker chair. Juno knew right away that something had to be wrong. The album was Wildflowers, Judy Collins’s latest. ‘Funny, two of your songs are on here,’ Cass went on. ‘Says on the credits they’re written by a Joni… what was it, something… That your new stage name?’

Bang. She’d lost Cass. Before Juno knew what she was doing she’d flung out the spell. Cass smiled at her. ‘Let’s go inside, sweetheart, and talk to the others some.’ She got up and held the fly screen open for Juno, all the while looking at her with eyes that said she had no idea Juno sang.

Juno was still wondering how to keep Cass and David apart when David got the sack from the Byrds. It came as a surprise to no-one who’d lately talked to his bandmates. But it gave David something to talk a lot about at Cass’s that night, and the following day he took a flight to Miami. Since he was fancy free now he was going to buy a boat. Not that there weren’t any for sale in LA, but off he was anyhow.

Juno took a deep breath and went home to think. After hours and hours of playing out all kinds of different moves in her head, she figured that the best thing would be to modify her spell for Cass to forget all about Wildflowers and hope for the best. Judy Collins wasn’t that well known. She wasn’t Joan Baez or anything.

That was exactly the moment the Laurel Canyon zone alert she’d put around Joni went off.

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It remained that way for their entire first set. They did the usual standards together and Chuck sang backup on The Circle Game and Michael From Mountains, but there wasn’t much in-between chat. Nobody in the happy room seemed to mind.

Joni and Chuck spent their break talking to different people at opposite ends of the bar, and after half an hour reunited on the stage. Ry sipped his coke while Juno still hoped for a new song.

She didn’t get one, and Joni hadn’t even done Juno’s favourite when the couple took their final bows. ‘Mooore!’ cried the whole audience. Chuck wasn’t moving, but Joni picked up her guitar again and strummed a few chords. ‘No, not that one,’ Juno saw Chuck mouth. When Joni didn’t stop he left the stage.

Juno got her favourite song. While it didn’t go with the season something told her it might be fitting all the same. Joni sang about summertime being over and getting the urge for going as Chuck and his guitar flew into the spring night.

Minutes later Joni was shutting her case when another tall and real handsome dark-haired guy in a black polo neck rushed in through the door as fast as Chuck had left. He made his way to Joni, who was standing near Ry’s chair. ‘Oh, man, sorry I missed you guys,’ panted the newcomer and kissed Joni on the cheek. ‘Been in the studio all day.’ He looked around. ‘Chuck gone?’

‘Yeah… Hi Tom,’ said Joni. Her voice sounded strained. She gave Tom a little smile. ‘So, how you been getting on in the studio?’

‘Oh, you gotta listen to this!’ Tom pulled a tape from his shoulder bag. ‘Not mine, they’re demo tracks. Got them from this guy I know at Electra. There’s a song on here I’m definitely gonna cut. Shadow Dream Song, it’s called.’ Ry spluttered a mouthful of coke all over himself while Juno’s mind spun into freefall. ‘Guy from LA,’ continued Tom unconcerned. ‘Guy called Jackson Browne.’

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That night Juno visited the place with the silver walls again. There was another party. Strange people were converging on Jackson in the harsh light as usual. The droning music was louder than ever. Coke was everywhere.

The band stopped and the blonde girl took the mike. Her name was Nico. She could’ve been Joni’s older sister. She beckoned Jackson to join her. He walked up to her unsteadily, all eyes following him. He picked up a guitar. They sang Jackson’s song again, These Days. As her dark voice rang out Jackson fingered a strand of his soft hair.

She seized his hand and pulled him with her through the sea of faces to the lift. The doors opened and they stepped inside. The ashen-haired guy joined them and watched through his large shades as she sank to her knees before Jackson. The doors closed.

Juno would’ve given anything for a sleeping nightmare.

 

Joni stayed in the US this time. After Philadelphia she and her husband moved on to a club called The Living End in Detroit, and then to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

One balmy night in late April Juno, who’d been keeping basic track of them in her crystal ball, decided to go see in person what they were up to and where they were headed. Another song or two would come in handy, too.

The audience consisted mainly of students. Everybody seemed in a good mood, and the smell of cut grass and new departures blew in on the breeze every time the door opened. Candles flickered excitedly on the tables.

From his seat right up front Ry watched Joni and Chuck settle onto the stage. Somehow it took them a long time. They had two high stools to sit on, and kept on shifting them back and forth and adjusting their guitar straps. Juno couldn’t help feeling they were kind of shifting and adjusting around each other. They weren’t talking a lot.

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Juno had one hell of a lotta Magic on in the spring of ’67. She had to vet her audience, keep Horace on the ship, monitor everyone’s tour schedules, and now that Jackson was gone she also needed to feed the cats and maintain tabs on him and Joni. Luckily Joni spent most of her time back in Canada right then. The closest she got to NY City was Philadelphia. Just to be on the safe side Juno put a Laurel Canyon zone alert around Joni, so she’d be notified if the two worlds were in danger of colliding.

 

All this Magic had Juno on a roll. Without Jackson for company she began to amuse herself by causing gratuitous havoc. She pretty much tormented Neil now, and soon Stephen into the bargain. On top of Neil’s regular troubles both guys’ lives seemed to consist of nothing but flat tyres, emoting chicks, bum trips, exploding amps and undercooked dinners. No wonder the rifles and tomahawks were out.

But their plight was as nothing compared to Juno’s every time she paid a flying visit to New York. Jackson was in trouble, and while she fretted over what to do she vented her anguish on everyone crossing her path. The luminaries of her scene were her own private show during that volatile spring. Nonstop obstacles were encountered by everyone, folks kept on ending up places they weren’t supposed to be, and stages were positively dangerous to set foot on. Before long the Mamas and Papas’ last rest of domestic harmony was in tatters and the Turtles had lost half their members, while David just couldn’t seem to get along with anyone anymore.

After all that what she did to Mick Jagger seemed harmless. She ran into him on Cass’s porch one long Sunday. She was on her way in when the fly screen opened and out stepped the Rolling Stone himself. Juno’d seen him around a couple times before as the Stones now often recorded in LA, but they’d never been introduced.

Mick took in her statuesque figure and her long golden mane. He clearly liked what he was seeing.

‘Hello,’ he said. ‘I was just about to…’ – he scanned Juno’s mock-Victorian flowery dress and crystal pendants – ‘… do my meditation. Care to join me?’

‘Sure,’ said Juno. She’d been to New York that morning, and her mind was racing to dredge up some mischief when a noise like a whole bunch of Ferraris roared up the hill.

It was a whole bunch of Hell’s Angels.

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The summer lasted and lasted. Another band called The Doors caused a stir at the Whisky. They only played the club a couple weeks, rotating top billing with the Springfield, before being fired for the singer sharing his x-rated feelings for his mother onstage. But not before being signed, obviously. Record companies seemed to have taken the Californian weather to heart, smiling on the righteous and the bold, on natives and settlers, old hands and newcomers alike.

This particular record company was Electra. They’d missed out on the Byrds and the Springfield and were recruiting on all fronts now. Billy the Columbia guy became Billy the Electra guy in the fall. This could only be good news for Jackson, who was pretty much living in Billy’s house in the canyon full time and the favourite among all the hungry guests. The piano on Lookout Mountain got played every day.

Soon it looked like both guys’ efforts were paying off. Jackson had written dozens of songs by now, and got to demo most of them for Electra in the new year. But all that happened was that Buffalo Springfield had their first top ten hit. For What It’s Worth caught imaginations all over the country, being a response to the LAPD’s attempted crushing of the growing anti-war vibe among the long-hairs on the Strip. There were half a million marines in Vietnam now, and nearly everyone you talked to knew someone who’d been killed.

Jackson wasn’t crushed at the continuing lack of a deal, but he seemed close.

‘I’m splitting,’ he said to Juno one morning in March. They were dangling their feet over the edge of her porch, watching Ezz and Tomson hunting birds.

‘Whatcha mean?’ asked Juno.

‘I’m going to New York. Me and Greg. It ain’t happening for us here.’

Juno was mortified, and yet more shocked to realize it was the fear of missing Jackson that scared her no end worse than the danger of him running into Joni.

She knew she didn’t want to stop him or make a record deal appear out of lumpy air. All she could do was watch. And keep watch.

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A new band called The Buffalo Springfield was billed to play. When the five members hit the stage the reaction they drew from the crowd was mixed, even though they hadn’t yet played a note. The murmurs and hisses were caused by their clothes. Looked like half the band had stepped out of a Western. Cowboys and Indians were both represented. Fringed jacket, Stetson, the lot. ‘Neat,’ said David. But as soon as the lights went on full and the guys lifted their heads both he and Juno gasped. ‘It’s that wise-ass, what’s his name…’ hissed David. ‘Stephen… something. Who’d be in a band with him?’ Juno could’ve given him a partial answer to that, if she’d been able to speak right then.

For the leggy Comanche with pudding-bowl hair who hovered a little apart to the left of his bandmates was none other than gawky Neil, who’d clearly left Sugar Mountain for good. How had he wound up in a band here without David or her knowing? Why did everyone have to come to LA?

Buffalo Springfield were the Byrds in heat. They had not one but two lead guitars, played by Stephen and Neil, which tore into each other in a way that was somehow a lot more charged than that of Brian Jones and Keith Richards. Although they weren’t real tight yet they brought the place down. Juno’s neck hairs were frozen stiff and the air had solidified to deep space.

‘Whaddaya say?’ said someone behind David and Juno. ‘Bitchin’ or what?’ It was Chris, the Byrds’ bassist. ‘Phhhhh…’ said David, before his vocal chords seemed to fail him.

 

Juno got to meet Neil real soon, as Chris’s enthusiasm steamrollered David’s opposition and the Byrds hired the Springfield to support them on their upcoming Californian tour. Neil’s stare wiped the floor with Jim’s. Juno somehow felt that doing Magic directly to him, as to Joni, was a border she definitely didn’t want to cross, and resolved to try and stay out of his way for now. Maybe he’d bug off again.

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The day David came back Horace Fillmore, a reclusive LA painter, was met aboard the Ataraxia by a most attractive young lady who introduced herself as the hostess for his deck. She apologized profusely for his cabin not being ready yet, but as Mr Fillmore had decided to join them on such short notice, which was her pleasure and no problem at all of course, it would take another little while to prepare. She later apologized a second time when the previous occupants’ name turned out to be on the welcome note tucked into his complementary fruit hamper. This, she hastened to explain, was due to this charming and very generous couple having also changed their plans at rather short notice. It appeared that the purser had yet to update his records. She removed the note reading ‘Mr and Mrs Forsythe’ and wished Mr Fillmore a pleasant stay. On settling into his cabin Horace briefly had the strange feeling that he’d forgotten something… not why he was here, obviously, which was clearly unimportant, no, it was something else… why was it he kept on thinking about cat food?

 

Almost immediately after Juno moved house she and David started drifting apart. It was she who wanted freedom more and more. There were so many houses to hang out at, so many hoots to play, so many guys with guitars who adored her songs… In her head they were pretty much her songs now, although twice Ry had to go hunt Joni down on the East Coast for more. And obviously there was Jackson, even if he and Juno never more than held hands and something about how he looked at her when she played had a way of reminding her that these weren’t her songs at all. David pined a little at first, but the Byrds were real busy being excited about their less commercial new sound, and, besides, there were so many people’s places to hang out at, so many gigs to play, so many chicks who adored his band… Nevertheless they still saw quite a lot of each other, particularly at Cass’s place, and it was David who was in the Troub with Juno in mid-April, the day she got the second biggest shock of her life.

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They turned into another side road. ‘This is Lookout Mountain Avenue,’ said Jackson. Juno stopped dead. Among pines where the two roads met stood a large wooden cabin. For the first time in a year and a half something stirred memories of home. Maybe that was what it was about this place, Juno mused. It was rustic and tropical, in a city and remote, a little like Canada and a little like California, everything rolled into one. She sure could understand why everyone came to live up here.

‘Neat pad, isn’t it?’ said Jackson, watching Juno. ‘It was built by Tom Mix. Way back. C’mon, Cass’s is this way.’

On they walked along Lookout Mountain, to their right the densely green canyonside, and in the sun to their left the city of angels, mellowed by mist, with the ocean beyond.

They were still holding hands when they came upon the cottage. With its steep roof that almost touched the porch floor it seemed to be snuggling into the mountain. Vegetation was hugging it on every side. The moment she set eyes on it Juno lost what little interest she still had in the cool house on the beach. This was the closest thing to a witch’s cottage she’d ever seen.

Again she stopped dead in her tracks, then let go Jackson’s hand and took a step towards the house. ‘Yeah, I know,’ said he behind her. ‘It’s the one I’d go for, too, around here.’

‘D’you think anybody lives in it?’ asked Juno, merely to say something normal, ’cause the house was clearly occupied. But she sure wasn’t worried about that.

‘I reckon so,’ said Jackson, putting his arm around her shoulder and pointing to two cats rolling on the ground in the front yard, their paws in the air. ‘C’mere, pzz pzz kitty-kitty,’ he went, crouching down. Both cats ran to him. He tickled them under their chins and between the ears as he read the name tags on their collars. ‘This one’s called Ezz,’ he said after a moment. ‘Funny. And here we got… Tomson. Good to meet you, Ezz and Tomson.’

Little did he know that it would only be days before he should meet them again.

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The Sunday before David came back she found herself strolling up in the canyon with Jackson. It was afternoon, and the first time she’d ever been for a walk in anything approaching countryside. They’d been at Billy’s when Jackson had suggested they head up on foot to see Cass. Since everything they’d done together over the past couple weeks had been real fun, Juno’d readily agreed. Things always seemed to turn out right with Jackson around. Something always seemed to happen, and yet he was also a lot more… relaxing to be with than David.

Emerging from their side road they hit Laurel Canyon Boulevard and turned left up the hill. Juno had no idea how far it would be. She’d only ever done this trip in a car. It was an LA spring day and the warm sun flashed down on them through palm and pine branches as they followed the turns of the road. Jackson took off his shirt. ‘Isn’t it amazing?’ he said.

Juno was more than ready to agree where his chest was concerned but not so sure if that was what he’d meant, so she just went, ‘Hmm…’

Jackson took her hand and gently pulled her around. And there below them, distant as if in another world under a dome of glittering haze, was the city. For a brief moment Juno really felt as if she was above things, beyond time, hand in hand there with Jackson in this high shady garden and nothing but the fresh smell of eucalyptus in her head.

They stood like that until Juno noticed the music. It seemed to come from all directions, some piano here, a waft of mandolin there, and maybe it was because she was holding Jackson’s hand that somehow it all blended together perfectly with the rustling of the branches and the birds’ singing into the canyon’s own melody that rang around its leafy walls.

‘Who is it?’ she finally whispered.

‘Its… everybody,’ replied Jackson. ‘Everybody lives up here now. We just passed Danny Hutton’s house, Frank Zappa’s down that way, Arthur Lee’s a little further up now, most of the Monkees have been here a while…’

They leisurely carried on up the road which got steeper and a little narrower. The valley became even more wooded and lush, and the sun’s highlights kept on dancing on Jackson’s head as the scented air bathed Juno’s mind. The music continued. They were still holding hands.

Juno didn’t know it, but her times with Jackson were the reason she would have anything left in her coffers at all.

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Everything was different in the spring of ’66. David never went to any gathering of people without Juno anymore. He’d stand there in his cape and Borsalino and present her to the crowd like a magician whipping a musical bunny out of his hat. Ry had to go see Joni at The Chess Mate in Detroit, where she played with her husband. Luckily she had two more songs of her own. Juno sure liked the attention. All the guys and even some of the women now looked at her a little like David had for the first time that day on the lawn. And the stars or occasionally the sun that got to look through the cupola could see new and amazing sights. Not only did David keep on asking who this Michael in one of the new songs was but he never stayed out after gigs anymore. Juno got the feeling that if it had been an option he’d even have brought her along on tour.

By then she could’ve had Gene’s seat. He’d freaked on a plane on the runway. Anybody would have, wedged between David and Jim, as Jackson said. It was clear he didn’t mean the onboard seating arrangements. The Byrds pressed on without Gene.

Juno enjoyed herself while David was away that time. Going out on her own had never been such fun. She moved from the Troub to the Unicorn to a party, playing the three songs, basking in admiration and her new reputation for being super-friendly too, as afterwards she always went up to chat to the few folks she didn’t know. If they had any connection with the East Coast or Canada they’d experience a sudden partial blank on leaving town. Meanwhile Jackson took her places she’d never been, like the Big Bear Lounge in Huntingdon in Orange County, where he did a spot at the hoot, or to the jam sessions he played in at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Long Beach. Other days they spent at Billy the Columbia guy’s house near Cass’s in Laurel Canyon, which seemed to be the new asylum for every hungry musician in the state. All of whom loved Juno and her songs. Cass loved her too and Juno loved hanging at her place, now that she wasn’t into being a hostess anymore. If she was totally honest, that time while David was away Juno enjoyed herself… more.

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She went upstairs to the bathroom to steady herself a minute, and picked up a guitar from the parlour on her way back.

Jackson was sitting with his back to a tree while David lay stretched out on the ground. Without a word Juno sat down halfway between them, guitar ready. Jackson sleepily opened one eye. David didn’t stir.

She shut her eyes, called on the Magic, transcended time and space, amplified her spell and began to sing.

The effect was instantaneous. She hadn’t even got to the first chorus when Jackson was on his feet and David had flipped up as if electrified, his mouth hanging open. All over the yard folks were rising, their eyes and ears wide.

Singing about how you couldn’t return to from where you came but just had to keep on going, Joni’s voice rang out through the patterns of sun and shade under the old trees in the canyon.

Afterwards there were several seconds of total silence. Cass was first to speak. ‘Wow!’ she said. ‘And I didn’t even know you sang!’

‘What chord did you do over the neck like that?’ asked Ray, one of the English guys.

Jackson moved towards Juno as if in a trance and crouched down beside her. ‘That was beautiful,’ he said simply, but his voice sounded funny. Emotional.

‘Thank you,’ said Juno with a modest smile. ‘I wrote it when I should’ve been painting.’

This statement jerked David into partial life. The power of speech still seemed to elude him, but he took the guitar from Juno and shakily played a few chords. ‘G,’ he then said to Jackson in what could only be called total shock. ‘It’s tuned in an open G!’

He finally turned to Juno, real slow. ‘Why’d you never say?’ As well as utter amazement there was a new tenderness in his voice, and Juno hated to admit that he looked at her like never before.