More From Laurel Canyon, Fiona Apple and ‘In My Room’

Thankfully I’ve managed to keep most of my pandemic related thoughts to myself around here of late. I’m all pandemicked-out, so instead have been enjoying writing about some new musical discoveries. Most of these discoveries have come about via telly, which I seem to have been watching an unhealthy amount of recently. It feels wrong, but my regular trips to the cinema/theatre are in abeyance, and trying to meet up with with friends is becoming a bit of a logistical nightmare. With the nights drawing in and the weather getting a tad colder, it’s quite comforting to curl up on the sofa with a cuppa and a full set of remotes – Hopefully I’ll not start morphing into a Maris Piper anytime soon.

Before the rules changed (yet again), I’d been regularly meeting up with my friend Eve, as we are working our way through The Affair, that award winning drama starring Ruth Wilson and Dominic West. Somehow I’d missed it when it aired first time around, but it had been mentioned in the comments boxes around here in relation to a particular song, so I got curious and thought I’d give it a whirl. I should have known from the title there would be many, many scenes of a sexual nature, and although I’m no prude, it can be a bit awkward watching such shenanigans with your ‘walking buddy’. Now that we can no longer meet indoors here in Scotland, my blushes will be spared for the foreseeable, but as we both intend to carry on watching it independently, we’ll still be able to discuss the latest twists and turns when we meet up for our weekly walk outdoors. Such times.

And here is where a wonderful bit of synchronicity has kicked in. I have really been enjoying the show’s theme song, Container, but only took note of who recorded it last week. It was Fiona Apple, an American singer-songwriter who was new to me, as I seem to to be firmly stuck in the last millennium when it comes to such things.

Fiona Apple

How good is that? Fiona also wrote the song and in the first line she is ‘screaming into the canyon’. Over the last week I have spent much of my time revisiting the music that poured forth from the artists who lived in California’s Laurel Canyon in the late ’60s and as well as the documentary written about last time, I’ve also watched Echo In The Canyon fronted by Jakob Dylan, son of Bob.

The young Bob and Jakob

He looks and sounds uncannily like his dad at times during the film, where he and a selection of other musicians cleverly intersperse candid interviews with performances of some of the most memorable songs from the era. One of these guest musicians was my new discovery, Fiona Apple. I was bowled over when they got up on stage to sing the Brian Wilson song In My Room. Short, but oh so beautiful.

In My Room by Fiona Apple and Jakob Dylan:


Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys had been a Laurel Canyon resident in the late ’60s and despite starting out writing songs that represented the youth culture of southern California (basically surfin’, surfin’ and more surfin’) it soon became obvious that Brian was a bit of a musical genius, the like of whom doesn’t come along very often. Their album Pet Sounds, written and produced by Brian, was released in 1966 and is often cited as having inspired the Beatles to make Sgt. Pepper.

Apparently Brian had been an agoraphobic during his teens and had refused to leave his bedroom for some time. The song was written from the perspective of a teenager who felt safe and comfortable there. I’m pretty sure DD doesn’t have agoraphobia, but the amount of time she has been spending in her old school bedroom since returning home is concerning me. She is studying, and possibly doesn’t want to interfere with our routines, but as for many other young people who may not have work right now and can no longer be with friends, it just doesn’t feel very healthy at all. Maybe why I’ve been affected by the song so much.

Although it’s the Fiona Apple/Jakob Dylan version that I’ve fallen in love with this week, I can’t go without sharing the original by the Beach Boys themselves. Lots of screaming from the girls in the audience, but I think we still get the sense of it (and a lovely boyish smile from Brian at 0:35).

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I may have over-egged the pudding about how much television I’m watching, but with many other leisure-time activities still unavailable to us, it has become a bit of a saviour. I’m trying to avoid watching rolling news channels nowadays and instead am finding escapism in quality dramas and documentaries – Why so many people flocked to the cinema during the war to watch Hollywood musicals I suppose.

As for DD, she is currently ‘in her room’, but hopefully she’ll join us to watch Gogglebox later on, which always raises a smile. The world in 2020 – We work from home on laptops, socialise via Zoom, and sit in our living rooms watching television programs about other people sitting in their living rooms watching television programs. Like a wacky hall of mirrors, it really doesn’t sound healthy at all does it?

The ‘Stars’ of Gogglebox

Until next time….

In My Room Lyrics
(Song by Brian Wilson)

There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
But I won’t be afraid
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

11 thoughts on “More From Laurel Canyon, Fiona Apple and ‘In My Room’”

  1. Speaking of The Beach Boys: There’s an interesting song called Feel Flows. Do you know it? It’s on Surfs Up, a Beach Boys album from the 1970s. Last week I heard Feel Flows for the first time in a long while. The lyrics seem messy to me, but the song has a beautiful arrangement and tone. It can carry you away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Neil – No I don’t know that one, just as I didn’t know In My Room until last week but just shows you, always something new to discover from the past and always more appealing to me than much of the new stuff being released. Will investigate.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’d enjoy it – It’s a totally different animal from the one I wrote about last time but just as enjoyable. The musicians who got together with Jakob Dylan are all excellent and their versions of these old songs are wonderful. Yes, even more telly I know but it is becoming a bit of a life-saver.

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  2. I once smashed up a rental car in West Hollywood (at the intersection of Melrose & Fairfax) – within spitting distance of Laurel Canyon. I must have been California Dreamin’. The attending officer from the LAPD said that every vacation has a story and this was mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, well – That’s quite a vacation/holiday story. I wonder how much of Laurel Canyon you were able to visit, if any? I’ve never been and with things the way they are at the moment I’m not sure when we’ll ever get round to the trips to far-flung places that had been planned. The holiday fund is now being used for bl**dy shopping which galls me.

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  3. You know, I’ve never knowingly seen a photo of Jacob Dylan, he certainly takes after his dad! – and I agree that version of In My Room works well. The film sounds v good too. Like you, we seem to be watching a bit more telly at the moment, and I’m not quite sure why that’s happened as my days are the same as, or if anything busier than, they were before this whole situation. But I’m thinking there must be more quality stuff being shown on various channels now, maybe it’s coming into its own as a response. We don’t have Netflix, but recently discovered we can access Sky Arts for the first time, and there are a fair amount of music docs on there which have been quite good (although, as Mr SDS recently commented, it is a bit ‘Art Lite’ – a couple we viewed recently were very formulaic and spelled out the basics, probably aimed at younger viewers who didn’t already have a background on the featured bands).
    I hope DD is doing okay and will feel like coming out of her room more soon too! Perhaps she just gets comfort from being in her private haven – is she generally quite a private person? (I’m just thinking of how I was when I still lived at home with my parents, very much a bedroom girl!)

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    1. Hi – It’s uncanny how similar he looks to his dad in some of the footage and although he sings the songs a whole lot better than Bob (in my personal opinion), he still comes out with lines make him sound very similar. If you manage to watch it or catch bits of it on YouTube I think you’d enjoy it.

      As for my viewing habits, I think there’s just fewer opportunities to do other things at the moment so rather than spending 4 evenings a week watching telly, it’s more like 7 nights. The family are getting fed up with me though, as every time I see a crowd scene or people in a bar, engaged in a bit of canoodling (?!), I keep remarking on how we can’t do that any more. At some point we will only be able to watch old stuff as nothing new will have been made for a long time – There are two Sunday night dramas on the go at present that must have been made last year, but after that they are bound to dry up. I just spotted SkyArts on our telly last night actually so it must have been added recently – Funny that, ‘Art-Lite’. Will have to investigate.

      As for DD, no she’s not a private person at all and is just missing the life she used to have, with her own place and a friends to meet up with. It’s a bit galling to find yourself back home in your mid-20s, but she’s not alone. Although this is tough for all of us I think the younger generation have been hit hardest in that their way of life and prospects have changed entirely.

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      1. I really wish the best for DD. I think you’re absolutely right about how tough it is for the younger generation and I really feel for them. I heard an interesting discussion between two university students on Radio 4 earlier today, and they were such intelligent, savvy young women, having to deal with all this chaos but staying hopeful and keen to have future careers where they can make a difference to the world, I was inspired and actually rather reassured by them. They do get a raw deal.
        I’ve been wondering too about what will happen when we run out of programmes and they can’t make new ones… maybe we’ll just have to adjust to a slightly different kind of drama presentation for a while, it seems the soaps are managing it, although the absence of canoodling is glaringly obvious!
        As for Sky Arts, glad you found it too – we watched progs on Cream and Creedence Clearwater Revival on there which were both pretty good (learned a lot from the Creedence one about John Fogerty which I didn’t know). Also Guy Garvey’s ‘From The Vaults’ is proving v watchable. Yes, definitely worth your investigation.

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  4. I’m so glad you’re enjoying The Affair. It does take some pretty bizarre twists as it goes along, but worth sticking with it for a very emotional finale… quite a long wait till you hear “that song” in it though.

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    1. Just getting to the end of Season 1 so a fair bit to go but love the way each episode is split into two, telling the story from both perspectives. Led me to discover Fiona Apple too who all of a sudden is popping up everywhere. Thanks for the heads up.

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