Time To *REALLY* Knuckle Down, Kid!

I won’t be doing any more of these posts. Not for a while anyway. And by “these posts” – I mean discussing my study – here. What I *will* be posting here, I don’t know. I’ll ponder further in a moment.

Yesterday I submitted assignment number five for the year. The dreaded ‘reflective student progress’ essay. Thank fuck it was only needing to be up to 800 words long. I think I managed to write something objective and positive, with an optimistic outlook – but it really didn’t come easy.

These past few weeks – Covid, recovering from it, working on assignment number four, feeling like I had a real breakthrough with it, being really happy with what I submitted and then the result I got and the HUGE knock that gave me…it was tough!

Then to top that all off and follow it with having to objectively review my own academic progress? It wasn’t easy. My tutor was incredibly encouraging. She commended me on my diligence and told me the fact that I am even still committed to the module and actively studying is more than what most do at this point in this module. That the module has a high dropout rate and the fact that I am still studying speaks volumes (words not verbatim, but general gist).

I don’t want to be another dropout statistic!

The assignment is worth the lowest of all the percentage marks of the module at only 10% – it was important to do in a self-analysis sense, but I am not at all concerned with what kind of mark I got for it. Genuinely.

There is one assignment left, and its submission on September 6th wraps up this module. My study might continue from October, depending on the next module I take and whether I am eligible for student funding again.

In the meantime, I am three weeks behind with study! When I left for the gig at Blenheim Palace, I was a week ahead – just to highlight how far I have fallen behind. From this weekend (30 July), it should be summer break – one week off – but NOT for me! I will have only two weekends off until the final assignment is submitted. The weekend of the SM Edinburgh gigs, and the weekend of Strathaven Balloon Festival (26-28 August). That’s it!

Today begins the “knuckle down” and the final slog! I have a LOT to cram in within the next six weeks – but I am up for the challenge! There’ll be plenty of crises of confidence (can someone with NO confidence HAVE crises of confidence?) but I will spare you any of that talk here.

As a result of how much study I do need to catch up with, I can’t promise much content here on the blog, but I will try and keep things going to some degree.

Anyway, best crack on! Time waits for no man.

Images shared are of my ‘learning journal’. Something it was recommended we keep but I had as yet been keeping. I have started now and can truly see its benefits.

See you around September 7th!

The shadow of my arm when taking the photo of the cover adds to the art, don’t you think?
My handwriting NEVER improves…

The ‘Family’ and the Black Sheep


I wish I could believe this. I wish it felt this way for me, but it rarely has. There is a distinct and marked bias towards fans that have been around for a long time. To espouse the notion that there isn’t…? I myself don’t see it. 

I entered the Simple Minds fanbase with a LOT of trepidation. I was scared of exposing myself to yet another ‘clique’. I had enough of ‘cliques’ at school. (When I was there.)

I have made amazing friendships! I mean, geez, one of those lasting friendships sees a friend of mine having been living with me for the past several months (and continuing still). Without Simple Minds, we’d have never met. I guess we bonded from both being ‘Johnny-come-latelys’. Birdy didn’t rekindle her love for SM until 2013, and myself, just a year later. 

For me? I was fairweather at best before that. Only ever invested in buying one album (Once Upon A Time – actually, it was a requested gift) and would borrow albums from the library (thank you, Andrew Carnegie!) if I wanted to listen to other things of theirs over the years. 

I have had mixed dealings with other fans. Some great friendships, but also the opposite of that. You can’t like everyone, and you can’t be liked by everyone. This fact I am aware of and accept. And I feel that the band members themselves can blow hot and cold…but I guess that’s fair enough. I’m sure feeling pressured to be “on” all the time gets…wearing. 

Factoring in all of that…I don’t feel much a part of things right now. I have felt this way for several months. I don’t feel keen to input much in any of the fan groups I am a member of – and I am only a member of three these days when I used to be a member of…I don’t know how many! Lol.

I feel ostracised from the fanbase (and the band) and I feel reluctant to push my blog at all – esp. at the moment as the content is such a mixed bag and seems to be veering further and further away from being a Simple Minds blog – and I wish this wasn’t so. I’ve always felt a surge of cringing in pushing my blog, always fearful it would come across as posturing – which I guess it is. You’re excited to share this thing you spend time creating. And if you feel you’ve got a scoop, then you’re excited to share that too. But all that is gone. All that bravado and gallus – it’s just all gone. 

My blog now feels like my retreat. My ‘quiet place’ for expressing my love for this band. For a long time I felt a reciprocation went on – I loved them like no other band, and they appreciated my devotion – but I am just one hen in a battery farm coop. 

I certainly don’t feel the kind of reciprocation Dan feels. But then, why should I? I haven’t been around since…nineteen canteen. I am NOT WORTHY. I can’t travel back in time. I can’t start my fan journey from the point that I wish with all the hindsight in the world I *could* have started it from! 

In Gordon’s post, he asked what our favourite fan images have been so far… there have been a few for me. And one of my own. It’s not even the best photo but it has a significance for me that I feel reluctant to elaborate on. I wanted it to say something to me within the context of what is going on in it. For one – Jim is smiling – I can’t express how important that is because I genuinely feel as if I don’t really give him many (any) reasons to smile. I’m smiling too, but I otherwise abhor the way I look in the photo. I didn’t even care about the photo ops on the meet and greets…they were only ever a means to an end of getting a fleeting bit of time in the presence of someone I wish I could be allowed to have all the time in the world with. 

Other than my own crappy photo, it would be this one (below mine). I just like the atmosphere of it, and the anonymity. It was taken in Porto in April.


Happy Birthday Mick MacNeil!

This will always be one of my most cherished memories – and quite possibly my favourite photo I have ever had with any member (past or present) of Simple Minds. Humility and grace – this man has it in spades!

Happy Birthday, Mick – you wonderful man. 😊❤️

The Alchemists – New Gold Dream (Full Article)

For anyone who didn’t get to read last month’s Mojo magazine article featuring Simple Minds and the “seminal” New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) – then here is the full feature below.

For full viewing options, click on the main header of the article (if you are at the blog’s main home page), then click on the individual smaller images to get resizing options for reading.

Enjoy!

P.S. Does contain a C-Bomb from His Kerrness…



Black Cold Night

Today’s post from Jim – much like yesterday’s…I can feel it ramping up. I get that he loves Italy…but I always feel like…something kind of ugly overtakes him whenever SM play there. Something … “unattractive” happens. All the bravado and the smugness creeps in.

Today when I read the post I thought “Geez, you’re sounding like the MP who said “anyone who can’t function in this heat is a snowflake.” Well, fuck you, cuntface! (the MP, I mean…just to clarify)

I lived for the first 28 years of my life in one of the hottest countries in the world, and when the heat’s with you for several months each and every year, then…you just endure. You have to. You have little choice. But the temperatures that will be experienced in the UK – particularly in England and Wales – over the next couple of days are truly unprecedented.

I’m in agreement with common sense here. After the whole Plato ‘Laches’ study I did for my assignment – I am not going to condone ANY ‘foolish endurance’ right now. If you don’t have to go to work – don’t. If you can keep yourself inactive and cool, do so! Don’t be a hero.

Leave the heroics and foolish endurance to the likes of Kerr – a man willing to play at a concert in 45 degree heat, in a jacket, so as to “not let the fans down”. Well…what WOULD have let the fans down is if you’d have died on stage! But what do I know? I’m just a weak (not so) little snowflake.

I always breathe a sigh of relief as an Italian leg of a tour comes to an end and humility returns. Bravo!

This photo (below) sums up what happens during the Italian leg of a tour…

I rest my case.

📸 Marco Pitucci

Assignment Result…

Well, it was a great year in music… ‘72. I wanted it to be something that took away some of the sting from missing the Tao gig, but it’s just added to it.

I was ssooo proud if this piece. But there we go. “Pride comes before a fall” – that’s what they say, right?

A normal person…who had to get an extension from having gone through Covid, would be more than happy with a 72 given the circumstances that they had around the assignment. Not me! I am hard on myself. Very hard. And a 72 does NOT feel good enough.

I know I am always bad with getting my results, but this feels worst yet. The critique makes sense and I understand what elements I have missed out on and feel angry at myself for missing them or just…not getting it.

So…what do I do next? Tackle philosophy AGAIN? Shit…I dunno!

Am I learning? Am I growing? I genuinely have no idea today…

Off Topic: A Day Out In The City

I hadn’t been in the city since coming home from England after the Blenheim gig. And prior to that? For some time to hang out in there? Dunno when the last time was… the end of May, probably. My afternoon out with Michelle for her birthday.

Promised myself a day in there all week while the house was Birdyless. It didn’t happen until yesterday, the day of her return. Demotivation has taken quite the stranglehold of late. I guess having had Covid has not helped the situation at all.

It’s horrible to know what you need to do to get better but…you just feel so…unable to enact the change! That’s what true depression does. Nothing in life incentivises, no matter how much you are wanting it to.

The study definitely has its negative sides, as it allows me to be physically lazy and have the excuse of not getting out “because I’m studying”. Except, right now I’m not even doing that, either. Still not got back to it after completing my assignment. And I have yet another to submit in 10 days time. Another one I am not looking forward to doing.

Anyway.



Yesterday was lovely. We (myself and the OH) saw a film called Brian and Charles at Glasgow Film Theatre. What a beautiful, heart-wrenching, yet ultimately uplifting film it was. I think you need to be a real empathetic soul to appreciate the quirks of it. I loved it. It’s just beautiful.



Afterwards was a quick wander around Locavore in Garnethill, enjoying a coffee “al fresco”. As we made our way over, I noticed a sign for St Aloysius Church just up around the corner back on Rose Street. The banner read “open every day”. I thought, well if it is, let’s go and have a wee keek.



Well…I was bowled over. Those Catholics…they sure know how to decorate a church! I can only assume from what was inside it all dated post-reformation? I do love the iconography. Many saints acknowledged, from St Ninian, to St Columba, St Margaret, to St Mungo – with small statues of St Theresa and St Anthony. I couldn’t help but think of Alex Harvey with the “please do not touch me – St Anthony” wording underneath the statue (although I think Alex would lose the ‘not’ in the wording. Lol).

It was a lovely afternoon. Various photos following. Click on smaller images for better views…


Today I Feel Sick… Last Night In Tao

There’s been no escaping the endless deluge of photos and videos from last night’s gig. I feel a fool for having not tried to move hell and high water to go. But, I convinced myself it wasn’t the “important place”. That it wasn’t the “be all and end all.”

Birdy was kind. Telling me that I had been “sorely missed” and “should have been there”, but, alas, I was not.

My friend, Michelle, had my “bird’e eye” view. I’m sure she won’t mind me showing you the position she ended up with. I can’t really bring myself to think about it being “my spot”.

Next time? We’ll see. The distraction of working on my assignment helped, but I had submitted it by midday on Monday. So the distraction ended just when I needed it to most.

I’m trying hard not to wallow in self-pity and think about next month instead, the Princes Street Gardens double gigs, and that I am going to get one hell of a good mark for my assignment! (If I don’t, then I really will despair.)

To make it worse last night…I couldn’t sleep and had a toothache.

Anyway…onwards and upwards…

P.S. Looks like someone packed his lunch away. 😜🤣🤣🤣 Keeping it safe from wandering digits, I guess.