Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

I’m still grappling about a trip home. There’s so many elements of it up in the air. Things seem to have calmed a bit back home. Mum is doing okay….in relative terms. My sister is feeling a little better…some tentative good news on the family health front is having her feeling not quite so helpless about things at the moment. She says for me not to rush home…and well, I can’t go any faster right now anyway. Limbo continues at least until prior to Christmas, most likely. Then air fares will probably be extortionate by then…and, seriously? The thought of Oz in Jan/Feb and even into March just makes me want to sit in a refrigerator.

The one thing Brits say to me when they realise I’m an Aussie, “but don’t you miss the weather?” HELL, NO! Actually….there’s a point…if you want some idea of what hell would feel like….visit Australia in January or February. Shit, it must have been strangely mild when the First Fleet landed there. How the hell did Arthur Philip not go “I don’t think this is right! Have we landed on the surface of the sun or something?” Lol

As time progresses, I keep fearing I’ll miss gigs that I’ve already invested tickets in. I mean…I see John Grant in a couple of weeks, so if I miss seeing him again in February, that won’t be so bad…but I am really, really getting into The Lemon Twigs right now. And I am kicking myself for not seeing they were playing at The Lexington after being at the Green Man festival.

My ticket to see them at Saint Lukes in Glasgow on Feb 22nd arrived just a couple of days ago. And their Roundhouse gig is five days after that.

I have Stranglers tickets booked for Bristol at the end of March as well…but of the three acts booked so far…I really want to see The Lemon Twigs. They are just so awesome sounding live. And the D’Addario boys…they are such interesting performers…Michael in particular is just…out there nuts! But how Brian counters that is equally interesting. Brian is cucumber cool and fairly still and has the softer voice, but Michael is restless, kinetic, erratic. I really want to see them!

But…if I have to miss them, I have to miss them. If it doesn’t work out, it’ll be bad luck. Oh, but look at what I’ll be missing! (My earworm tonight.)

Memorabilia Mountain

Or should that be “memorabilia MOUNTING”?

I have made an acquisition for the first time in MONTHS! I’ve had Minds memorabilia collecting on hold for some time. And I’ve so desperately wanted to add things to my collection and share them here. This is just one thing, for now, and once it arrives in the post, I’ll scan it properly and share it here.

I haven’t spent much on it. But it was sought after for one: being an Oz music mag, but being sold by a UK seller and two: having pics of Jim in it that I’d not seen before. It’s a bit creased buy hopefully (even if I have to do it quite literally) I should be able to iron them out.

In a couple of weeks, I am visiting Virginia Turbett to put together another list of photos for printing. And this time it may not just comprise of SM *cough* Jim Kerr *cough* pics, but XTC, Bowie and Iggy pics too. But there are three photos of Jim that I definitely HAVE to peruse (ogle) again just…to double check them 😉

I won’t be able to make the order for a little time off yet, but at least I will have made firm choices on what I want. All strictly for the PRIVATE collection, of course!

I plan to have SOME sizeable collection. I dare say after a while, only Virginia herself will house a larger collection of her photos – well, at least of Simple Minds…erm… and/or Jim, anyway.

Love Is Magic – John Grant (Review-ish)

I’ve not bought the album yet and had my first listen to it proper on Spotify last night. This won’t be a strict review, just a general mulling over of my first impressions.

I was already familiar with three tracks, the title track, He’s Got His Mother’s Hips and Is He Strange.

At last week’s talk about the album, John said his favourite track was Metamorphosis so I was intrigued to hear it. He seemed to suggest others thought it an unusual album opener. I don’t have any judgement on that…no experience of setting tracklists so I wouldn’t know. It certainly feels like a juxtaposing “two songs in one” affair, with those almost “stream of consciousness” verses jarring against that middle refrain. I like the way it works.

The title track took a while to grow on me. The thing I am loving, along with the overall assult of synths, is the drum sounds coming from Budgie. I may have this info wrong – I can’t double check it, but I am going to assume he plays drums on some tracks. I can’t find personnel info about the record. Budgie really does have a style of playing I like. He’s certainly going to be playing with John live, so I’m looking forward to that.

Tempest I think may just about be my fave track on the album. There’s a kind of simplicity to it I like. There’s not so much an assult to the senses going on…which makes it seem more epic…contradictorily.

Preppy Boy’s fun.

Smug Cunt…well, the title sounds kinda Carry On…but once you get past the sniggering of him using the most explosive of expletives…it really is a rather cutting and vitriolic track. Smug Cunt is NOT meant to be taken lightly. Not by how it sounds to my ears anyway.

He’s Got His Mother’s Hips on the other hand is pure funkadelic Grant. Diet Gum continues that sarcastic playfulness he’s so good at.

Is He Strange sounds like it could have been off Pale Green Ghosts, really. A proper ballad, and possibly the most “synth light” song on the album as he has actually reverted back to piano for it. On first listen with the track, I liked it to begin with and then the track just lost me about half way through. It kind of just…meanders. I dunno.

The Common Snipe…well, any song that is referencing birds is going to reel me in.

Touch And Go I have little recollection of, to be honest. I can’t really make any comment on that.

Overall…I’m liking it. I had seen some not favourable reviews of it…but equally some very good ones. It’s dividing opinion.

On first listen…I don’t think the album is as strong, lyrically, as previous albums have been.

And I said this wasn’t going to be a review? Lol. Well, it has kind of ended up one. But it’s all down to personal taste. And that is the absolute beauty of music streaming services now. You can listen to things, check them out before you decide to commit or not.

At the moment, I think I’ll be buying the album. It works as a cohesive unit. It can be jarring at times, sonically…but I like that. I like to feel on guard. It does fall away at the end for me though…well, upon first listen anyway.

I’m gonna give it a few more listens and come back to this…what is now a review and see how things change, or IF they change.

I shall leave you with track three, Tempest…


The Dreaming…

That is going on with this info…

Imma just gonna leave this here and just…CROSS EVERYTHING!

Initially I was thinking about seeing him in Berlin next year, for Bowie Berlin bucket list mega tick off…

Oh, but if Bryan did Oz…and SM were there too?! HOLY FUCKING FUCKNUTS!

Theatre Marquee Signs

One of the things that keeps capturing my imagination on this American tour are those wonderful marquee signs that many of the venues in the USA still use. It’s a simple advertising technique, but it looks really beautiful in its odd way. Maybe it’s just a nostalgia thing on my part? But I just find them gorgeous. I’d love to be standing outside, posing for a pic underneath one…

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#SimpleMinds at The Fillmore

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Minds Music Monday – Criminal World

There’s always a bone of contention in the fandom about Good News From The Next World…well, I suppose that whole “wilderness” period for Simple Minds fans that seems to go anywhere from 1992 to 2005…depending upon your taste.

The “low” period, for my personal taste, happens much earlier. My personal “wilderness” period is when they are, seemingly, at the height of their power…from 1987 til 1992.

At least they have never, ever been afraid to experiment and try things. The mark of great artistry, surely?

Look at Bowie as a prime example of trying just about every genre of music.

It can be a scary process for an artist, I’m sure. You need to have cojones the size of watermelons – but, if you have that much needed self-belief in what you’re doing, you must have faith that the vast majority of your fanbase will see it too. And if not…if you lose some, you’ll gain others. The “swings and roundabouts” of life.

I’ve always been a fan of Good News since first listen. And Criminal World is my favourite track from the album. Sure, I love Hypnotised too…and She’s A River…though I got quickly fatigued with it. It’s weird how some songs just end up feeling overplayed and a weariness creeps in, where others you just never, ever tire of them (for me…Boys From Brazil, Wonderful In Young Life, New Gold Dream, Love Song, The American, Hunter And The Hunted…among others all fit that bill).

I kind of wish, due to being a Johnny Come Lately that other songs from Good News would get a live airing….but we’re at a point now that if any songs from it get an airing, it is most likely only going to be the singles from the album.

Jim continues to promise diversity in the set lists…but is it diverse enough, still? Again…it just has me mourning missing the 5×5 Live tour. What a complete stroke of genius that was. No one would be more pleased than me if there was a “hey, for all you Johnny Come Lately’s – here’s another 5×5 tour!” In my eternal dreams. I would sell my kidneys…MYSELF (lol) to be at every gig possible. But…it isnae gonna happen.

Anyway, this has turned into a bit of a diatribe…so…anyways…Criminal World. Enjoy!