Songs Are Like Tattoos:’s 13th Anniversary (2023), Joni Mitchell, Blue

Songs Are Like Tattoos:’s 13th Anniversary (2023) is 13 today.  That’s nothing to be blue about!

It’s a lucky 13 today!

June 3, 2023 marks 13 years since I first hit the “Publish” button over on the now defunct back in 2010, launching my new identity as Various Artists along with what was then called the My Life — In Concert! blog.

Since then, I’ve looked back or reported on over 130 artists’ live performances along with many other blogs and podcasts, spanning 1975 through the 2020s.

I opened this stand-alone blogsite about a year or so after launching on, and published on both platforms until OS closed in spring 2015.  As that was where the bulk of my audience was, I largely put the blog on ice until I revived it in its current podcast form in February 2020.  Its new audience continues to grow!

In 2021, I started the My Life In Conversation video interview series with creatives.  After a pause, it’s returning shortly with several new guests in both video and podcast form.

And Thank You CBC London Morning, Michael Brooke’s A Tranquil Passage, and Colleen and Chris Catania’s Live Fix for having me on your programs or podcasts.  Thanks also to Marc Hodgkinson’s #The500Blog for inviting me to write the piece on The Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat.”  (There’s also links below to Velvet Underground and Nico anniversary playlists as well as Cale and Reed links below.)

You can read or listen to my Introduction for an overview of what I am doing here and with the podcast.

Back on OS, I started a tradition of celebrating my anniversaries by creating a graphic based on an album cover where I love both the cover and the record.  For 2023, I’ve decided on doing my own VA take on about as perfect an album that has ever been, or will be, released: Joni Mitchell’s Blue, from June 1971.  I chose it as one of My Top 15 LPs for the writing call-out over on OS back in 2010.  If ranked, it would probably be in the Top 5.

Songs Are Like Tattoos:’s 13th Anniversary (2023), Joni Mitchell, Blue

After making her shock live comeback at last year’s Newport Folk Festival, Joni will also be playing her first ticketed gig in decades a week from today on the 10th, at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington.  It will be interesting to see what famous guests may pop up.

All the best, Joni, and great to have you back.

I will eventually be podcasting/blogging about my one, amazing time seeing Joni live for Concert no. 096. Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter: Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Corel Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Friday, October 30, 1998.

Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Corel Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Friday, October 30, 1998,

Indeed, there are a few hundred more shows coming to  Stay tuned!

Thank you for reading and listening!


Here are all of the anniversary covers and their original inspiration:


One Year Anniversary … Crivens!
Original Album: Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
I went with the North American version of the cover as that is the one I own and played a 1,000 times. I had yet to start up the stand-alone blog so it was a strictly anniversary. Never Mind the Bollocks also appears on my Top 15 LPs list.



It Takes Two: My Second Anniversary
Original Album: The Beatles’ A Hard Days Night (1964)
I added my pen name to this one. Nice to see the back of the head of our much-missed cat, Thurston.



Three Is A Magic Number: My Third Anniversary
Original Album: Talking Heads’ Fear of Music (1979)
I also wrote about the Heads playing possibly the best set I have ever seen at Heatwave in 1980, and reflected back on the whole day/weekend in a 40th Anniversary podcast..



Four & (Hopefully) More: My Fourth Blogiversary
Original Album: Judy Garland’s Judy at Carnegie Hall (1961)
I was trying to remain upbeat about OpenSalon’s then-perilous future at the time of this post. Sadly, hope wasn’t enough and this turned out to be the last anniversary cover ever posted on the site as it went belly-up in late winter, 2015.
As for Judy, she is among the list of 20 (ok, 21) artists I wish I’d seen and never will.



Take Five: My 5th Anniversary
Original Album: Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation (1988)
OS is gone and no longer mentioned. I posted this one entry and then it was largely siesta time for this project until this year (2020). As for Sonic Youth, this album is another one in my Top 15. They are also coming up many times in this series, down the road.


Blackstar: MLIC’s 6th Anniversary (Belated from 2016)
Original Album: David Bowie’s Blackstar (2016)
This graphic was created at the time but it never got published as I had too many fires to put out.  And just like my life at the time, the graphic is fittingly upside down.  I have also written and/or podcasted about seeing Bowie in 1983 and 2004.  I’ll also be podcasting/writing about seeing him in 1987, 1990, and 2003.


Getting Better: MLIC’s 7th Anniversary
Original Album: The Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
I admit, it’s getting better. While the larger world was in its early dumpster-fire stages, my personal life took a massive swing in the opposite direction, something long overdue. I did manage to work on and publish this anniversary image at the time, also marking Pepper’s 50th. 8th Anniversary Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti

In The Light:’s 8th Anniversary (Belated from 2018)
Original Album: Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti (1975)
While this was the time of a very sad event, the passing of my father, the rest of my life continued to throb sunshine, basking me in the positive light.  Ah, balance!  I thought I’d pick this cover as I went through a period during this year of replaying Physical Graffiti repeatedly.  For months.  I kind of haven’t stopped.
And with this title for the entry, I now celebrate the actual series rather than my anniversary as an blogger/podcaster, as that was OS-based to begin with. AnniversaryCovers Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs

The Things We Did & Didn’t Do:’s 9th Anniversary (Belated from 2019)
Original Album: The Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs (1999)
did try to restart the podcast in early 2019 but didn’t go ahead with it as I wasn’t satisfied with my initial results, and then got super-busy with school.  It would take a second kick at the can a year later to get it right.  And here we are. New Order Substance

Ceremony:’s 10th Anniversary (2020)
Original Album: New Order’s Substance (1987)
For my 10th, I thought the elegant austerity of New Order’s classic 1987 compilation would make a perfect ceremonial visual. 11th Anniversary Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers

Rolling Right Along:’s 11th Anniversary (2021)
Original Album: The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers (1971)

I stuck with the Stones’ most iconic cover for my 11th anniversary.  For the podcast’s first anniversary, I podcasted/wrote about seeing—and standing directly across from—Keith Richards in Detroit in 1988 in Episode 23/Concert no. 51, Connection: Keith Richards & the X-Pensive Winos, Fox Theatre, Detroit, Michigan, USA, Thursday, December 8, 1988.

The Stones themselves will be coming up with Concert no. 61, Start Me Up: The Rolling Stones with Living Color, CNE Stadium, Toronto, Ontario, Sunday September 3, 1989.


Miles Ahead:’s 12th Anniversary (2022)

Miles Ahead:’s 12th Anniversary (2022)
Original Album: Miles Davis Sketches of Spain (1960)

Sadly, I never got to see Miles live, and he is one of the artists featured in Episode 11, You Won’t See Me: 20 Acts I Wish I’d Seen.


Next On Stage –>  I am jumping back further into the past as I recall a cabaret show that happened between my first and second “official” gigs (Roxy Music at the London Arena on February 5, 1975 and Bob Seger at the London Gardens on May 19, 1978).

I saw the cabaret in Portsmouth, England, in August 1977, and it featured early-60s popster Susan Maughan, she of the 1962 hit, “Bobby’s Girl,” and possibly the legendary Tessie O’Shea.

Because the show has live music elements, I am going to revisit it for the podcast.  However, I had initially planned to discuss it as part of upcoming compilation episode but have instead decided to make it a stand-alone episode.

The EP’s Special Guest is my 96-year-old mother—we’ll call her Vera Various Artists—who attended the cabaret along with me and my late father.

My mum shares her vague memories of the evening, including that she feels the legendary Tessie O’Shea was on the bill.  If my mother is right, then boy do I wish I could remember that.  I wouldn’t have known who she was then but I sure do now.

We do both remember humourist Pam Ayers and the Famous People Players being part of the show.

My mother also recalls the venue itself, the Portsmouth The Hippodrome but also The King’s Theatre in Southsea, as she grew up in Petersfield, but later moved to Portsmouth after marrying my dad, and both my elder siblings were born there.

In the interview, she discusses listening to the radio as well as records in the UK as a girl in the ‘30s, and also music and live shows she enjoyed after to moving to Canada in the mid-50s and onwards.

I also talk about my experiences on this trip in the ultimate UK punk year—1977—amid the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

Tune in for dangerous radio batteries, hanging out in British record stores to hear the latest releases, what double album of my mum’s drove me nuts in the ‘70s, punk rock mania, not seeing The Sex Pistols, and what Ethel Merman was really like live.

That’s all coming up in Episode 31, Concert no. 001.5, entitled UK 1977: VA’s Mum on Ethel Merman and Susan Maughan at the Portsmouth Hippodrome and the Music of Her Life + My UK Trip Amid the Year of the Punk Rock Explosion and Silver Jubilee.


18. (EP 26) I Keep A Close Watch: John Cale, Fryfogle’s, London, Ontario, Canada, Monday June 13, 1983

The Velvet Underground & Nico @ 55: VA’s Anniversary Playlists

RIP Lou Reed: “Between Thought & Expression Lies A Lifetime”

15 Favourite LPs


© 2023 Various Artists

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