Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is
a mental disorder characterised by
the obsessive idea that some aspect
of one’s own appearance is severely
flawed and warrants exceptional
measures to hide or fix it.
BDD and eating disorders were a part
of my life from a very young age, and
throughout my teenage and early adult
BBD and eating disorders can be
misinterpreted as vanity or attention
seeking behaviour or even ‘just
a phase’. In fact they comprise a
complex mental health problem that
often takes on a life of its own
I’m 34 now, and I realise that I’ve put
my body through an awful lot, I’m
actually surprised it still works, to
be honest. Growing up was painful.
My childhood wasn’t pleasant, there
was a lot of trauma and neglect, I got
bullied at school and I had very low
self-esteem. My dad had an affair
when I was 18 and made me keep it
a secret from the rest of our family.
I later became the pawn between my
parents during their messy divorce,
which caused irrevocable damage and
has had a profound effect on my own
I grew up in a household where you
weren’t allowed to feel. There was
never space to get upset. You just had
to motor on.
Food for me represents “the mother”
- love, affection, security, survival and
reward. Humans replace their need or
desire for any one of those factors with
food as a way of filling the emptiness
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You can hear Joni’s blue longing
throughout this record. Starting out
with All I Want, she’s on a lonely road,
she’s in love but it’s complicated.
She hates her lover and she loves him,
the poignant line “Oh I love you when
I forget about me” cuts like a knife
in its brutal honesty. Little Green
absolutely crucifies me. It’s about
her long lost daughter Kelly who was
put up for adoption when Joni was
a struggling artist back in Canada,
hence the name green, a play on Kelly
On Carey, the tone becomes lighter.
Joni is singing about another
romance in a far off place. It seems
transitory and fleeting but she sings
about it tenderly, the wind coming
up from Africa, beach tar on her toes
and copious amounts of wine at the
mermaid cafe with her mean old
As we move into Blue the album’s
title song, her longing and reflections
on this gilded era of music becomes
apparent. Lots of laughs but the
darkness underneath threatening to
take them all into the deep dark blue,
this song for me represents the duality
in creative life. On the outside it can
all look so beguiling but in the inner
sanctum it can be truly lonesome and
The summery California tinted
landscape takes a departure on River.
The piano dancing around Jingle Bells
and Joni crooning about a winter
landscape and how she wished she
had a river she could sail away on,
this song we feel her reflecting on
her own personality, her omission of
being selfish and hard to handle, and
how she pushed her lover away by her
behaviour is one we can all relate to.
Joni’s poetic language literally flows
like a river in the entirety of Blue. I’m
taken to far off places, invited in to
view her dancing the night away, to
see glimpses of her profound sorrow,
get carried away with her romances
and feel her joyful spirit radiating
throughout the record.
Yet she never gives too much away.
Just enough so that you can see
glimpses, like peeking through a
keyhole, so we can relate and mourn
for our own sorrows and hers, she
captures the colour blue perfectly...
blue with sorrow, blue with joy, and it
comes to mind that Joni’s blue indeed
is the warmest colour.
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It doesn’t feel like a stretch to call Martha Cooper an early pioneer of graffiti art.
Born in Baltimore in the 1940’s, given a camera at age 5 by her father, and a student of anthropology, the scene was set for something interesting to happen.
Driving through the Lower East Side in 1970’s New York, searching for ways to use up her film before developing it at the end of each day, a chance meeting with a child called Edwin opened a portal to another world. Edwin showed Martha his notebook full of drawings and asked why she didn’t photograph the graffiti on the streets of New York. She answered the call and today, Martha has produced a body of work that has been exhibited globally.
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