This man! Sometimes I pour scorn on him and piss on him…well…that’s how it’s feeling today. I adore him above all else…and he has more talent in that fold on the upper corner of his left ear that I fetishise so much than I have in my whole entire being.
And there also…I will be flippant in my explanation! I can’t help myself!
The last thing I ever want to do, esp. after what happened in July, is piss him off or upset him. So I need to be mindful and careful and observant. I usually am. Ninety five per cent of the time, I am.
One, a couple of days back – someone left a comment on a post about the Rejuvenation box set asking whether albums will be released separately as “I really don’t want Neon Lights on vinyl”. Inwardly my reaction was polared. Firstly “Man, you were brave to put that comment here on SMO!” – secondly “I hear ya…but, tough! We’ve got it.” – lastly, and in devil’s advocate mode of making a suggestion of what he COULD do with his unwanted copy of Neon Lights, I shared a YouTube clip of the scene from Shaun Of The Dead in which the main protagonists in the film use vinyl records as weapons to attack zombies. Obviously THIS IS NOT something I would do myself – although faced with actual zombies…who knows? I have a copy of Neon Lights on CD…and it is coveted and held securely in my boxed treasure trove of Simple Minds music, merch and memorablia. I’m not using the CD as an onion slicer.
With today’s post, Jim reminded me that, although it may not still be completely my cup of tea, within its origins for being, I do need to give Neon Lights due respect. That the concept of it was born out of respect for those musicians and artists that SM themselves hold dear. And that, without them and without wanting to emulate them, there would be no Simple Minds at all!
I had already been having those feelings myself. With the album being available to listen to on Spotify, I dived in again. I also added it to the playlist of my mega SM content. I have a complete playlist on Spotify. Literally EVERYTHING Simple Minds. Everything SM related goes in it….Dark Flowers stuff is in there, Lostboy! tracks, collaborations, all sorts.
I fell asleep giving it its first listen when it was back on Spotify…and I don’t mean that to sound disrespectful…it’s just the time of day I start listening to music, and the setting in which it happens. It was around 2.30am and I was in bed, snug as a bug in a rug. I gently drifted off as Jim was telling me “how good” Gloria makes him feel (lucky cow she is! Lol)
I stirred and awoke for a few moments to take in and be mesmerised by All Tomorrow’s Parties. In a dreamy half-sleep, it sounded dreamy and beautiful. Jim’s voice wonderfully emotive, as if the ghost of Nico was haunting it.
From then, I let shuffle mode do its work and surprise me. It did with Bring On The Dancing Horses and then Needle And The Damage Done.
When I first became “uber” SM fan, and first listened to Neon Lights, I liked The Man Who Sold The World – Charlie’s guitar playing is unreal and I liked Jim’s vocal (though I still twitch when he delivers “foreign land” rather than the correct lyric of “form and land” – but that is me being an anally retentive pedantic fuck). I also liked Dancing Barefoot. But beyond that…? Besides…I wanted SIMPLE MINDS…not “Simple Minds does…” – I still had a whole back catalogue to explore. And I was falling head over heels in love with their very own magic. I didn’t need to hear them cover others. Not a whole album’s worth!
But, you know…one of my very favourite Bowie albums is Pin-Ups. It’s always been a bone of contention between me and my OH. She can’t stand it, but I bloody love it. You go out on the street now and ask 100 people who did the song Sorrow, I bet all 100 would say David Bowie and not the original artist. It was Bowie covering The Who that got me listening to them. To me most of the songs were IMPROVED by being given the Bowie sprinkle of gold dust.
So, why should it be any different with Simple Minds? The more I listen, the more I am being won round.
And the way Jim writes about it. That period of time in the history of SM, how the album came to be…WHY it came to be…IT MAKES SENSE!
I missed both embryonic stages of Simple Minds. I missed the initial one because I had only a few years previous stopped being an actual embryo myself, and I was stuck down at the arse end of the world…a heady mix descendent of Germans settled in Adelaide, Irish immigrants in country southern NSW, and native Aboriginies from that same rural NSW setting. Think Sidney Nolan paintings of an outlaw with a huge metal bucket on his head…the skewed romance of it all. “Such is life.”
The “Renaissance” of Simple Minds was happening just after I “upped sticks” and moved away from the arse end of the world to arrive in “The Mother Country”. It would take another 14 years for me to finally say “WE NEED TO FUCKING LISTEN TO SIMPLE MINDS, YOU AND ME! A PROPER DIVING IMMERSION!” You and me being – myself and my own psyche.
Better late than never.
I understand the importance of Neon Lights as a consequence.
From the bottom of my crazy old heart, Jim, thank you for today’s post. Thank you for just bringing it home. ❤️❤️