Tribute to Venus Carmichael


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LA Arrival

There are lots of gaps in Venus’s life story so far: and even more frustratingly, she doesn’t post them in any sort of time sequential order on her blog. So, week by week, I intend to try to sort that, by going through what’s on there so far, and posting links up here so all her other fans can see it.

Of course, if she suddenly gets active again and posts more, the whole scheme will be full of holes, but, hey, it’s a hippy thing, right?

Anyways, next up is the story of her arrival in Los Angeles, and how she came to stay in the now-fabled Canyon area…

“Laurel Canyon was the place to be in those days, when I first moved Stateside in 1970. Not that we realised that at first: we were too busy living it. Then some journalist joins the dots and realises for us that, hey, in a few square miles of real estate, you’ve got Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Jackson Browne, Mama Cass, Joni, Carole King, Frank Zappa, Canned Heat, and hey, who are those country rock boys, what’s their name, the Eagles? They’re going to be something, aren’t they?

Well, not all of them were there at the start, and some of ’em left before the others appeared. And there were lots of other musicians there too, ones that only ever became footnotes in some book somewhere. I should know.”

To read more, go here.


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Venus’s Life Story (as far as we can make out so far…)

So, while Kelly and I work on some new songs which have, yet again, mysteriously turned up at her door by unknown means, I’ve been thinking. Venus’s own blog, which she randomly contributes to, has some tantalising glimpses of her life story: but they’re in no particular order. And I thought it might be easier for everyone to read if they were.

So what I’m going to do is, every week publish the start of one of the blog entries on here, with a link to the rest of it. It’ll be a bit like getting her life story in instalments, but not quite as organised (and we may have to back track if she surfaces again and publishes something out of sequence)

Ready? Here’s the earliest chronological entry I can find on the blog. It’s called ‘Waking Up To Dylan:

Bob Dylan at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, it must have been 1966. Julie and I were 16, for goodness’ sake. We’d made it down from Arbroath, don’t know how. I think we told our folks we were staying with Julie’s sister in Edinburgh or something, but instead we blew everything we’d been saving for a year, and got the train to Manchester. It was the first time either of us had been away from home.

First half of the concert was the Sermon on the Mount for us. Just Dylan, his guitar, and a concert hall full of his charisma. I remember him playing ‘Visions of Johanna,’ and it was like nothing we’d ever heard before. The chords looked simple enough, but the lyrics! How on earth could I remember them? In the interval, I tried writing some of them down on the back of my ticket, with a pencil I’d liberated from school. The ticket wasn’t big enough, of course…

To read more, go here.