Lodger At 40

Today is the 40th anniversary of the release of the Lodger album by David Bowie. A rather jumbled up travelogue of an album. The travel theme running heavily through side A of the album with: Fantastic Voyage, African Night Flight, Move On, Yassassin (Turkish for Long Live) and Red Sails.

Side B’s theme alters and shifts back to menial points of life, work, home, family…death, mental illness, domestic violence – the only slight thorn in the side is Boys Keep Swinging as it seems more tongue-in-cheek with its theme. Well, DJ is to a degree too. But there are darker themes explored in Look Back In Anger (mental illness/death) and Repetition (domestic violence).

It sadly ends with a rather inferior version of Iggy Pop’s sublime Sister Midnight in Red Money. Compared to Sister Midnight, Red Money feels derivative. I never used to mind it much. I wasn’t aware and got into Iggy until after I heavily got into David. As the years have passed, I am always far more appreciative of Iggy’s side of the Bowie/Pop collaborations, it somewhat pains me to say.

Although seen as being part of the “Berlin trilogy”, it was actually recorded in Montreux, Switzerland and mixed in New York. I always found it curious it was put in a trio with Low and Heroes. I have always felt the trio SHOULD be, at least more musically, Station To Station-Low-Heroes.

Here’s to Lodger! “The hinterland. The hinterland. We’re gonna sail to the hinterland!”

From Disheartened To Determined: This Week’s Drumming Practice

I am booked in for two hours drumming practice from midday and I get to the train station a few minutes before 11am for the 11.21 train. Except…the 11.21 train is cancelled, and there is a train to London at 11am that would eventually get me there on time (a service going direct to St Pancras International. I’ll have to turn back on myself to get to Mill Hill but it would still get me there before midday). But I need to collect my tickets from the machine first. That takes a couple of minutes. The train has arrived in the meantime and is sitting on the platform. I try getting through the barrier with my ticket but it won’t let me though. I have to call for assistance and wait to be let through the barrier. Seconds tick by. By the time I am finally let through, the train doors close and even though it is still at the platform and stationary, I can’t get the doors to open.

I miss the train. I contemplate getting on the next train to St Pancras but toss up whether I’ll actually get there any earlier than waiting for the next all stops train after my cancelled one. I decide it’s best to wait for that one. I end up 30 mins late. Bum!

The rehearsal room is great. A good size. Nice and bright. A great kit set up. All good. Those things really made a difference compared to how it all felt last week.

I felt much better at the kit this week.

Towards the end of my session, I decided to film myself for a few mins. I don’t really know why. I watched it back when I got home and decided to share it on FB. An exercise in being a glutton for punishment, I guess. To thicken my skin. To say “Yes, I know I’m shit…but I WILL get better!” To show progression!

That’s it! In 6 months from now….a year from now…I can watch this clip back and say to myself “Remember when you were shit? Or when you felt shit? And you didn’t think you were going to get any better? Look at you here! You didn’t think you were going to be doing the things you are doing now back then. You’ve progressed. And you will continue to progress.”

I want this! I want to be able to play to a standard. Do I want to be able to join a band? Unless I get REALLY good…no, not especially. That’s all too late. But I want to be able to play good. It’ll take some time to get to that standard. A minimum of a couple of years. Possibly more at this age. I’m old!

“Aunt Fanny” (“personify your inner voice – make her an old, cantankerous aunt” a lovely fellow SM fan offering me support suggested to me this week) has been muffled some right now. (I chose Aunt Fanny, because that is what I resolve to give her of myself and my time – sweet Fanny Adams.)

I know I have a while to go, and Aunt Fanny will try and make her voice heard ALL THE TIME, but if she goes on too much, she will definitely be shown the door!

Anyways…here’s the clip. Enjoy!

Roll on next week!

Burning Both Ends – Ollie And Moonie

I’m still regularly checking out BBC Radio for drama. Radio plays and book readings, etc.

Earlier in the week, I listened to this on…well, what is now BBC Sounds app (I’m still using the iPlayer radio app at the moment).

“Burning Both Ends: When Oliver Reed Met Keith Moon”. Originally broadcast in 2011, it had recently been repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

I enjoyed it and thought I’d highlight it. Check it out. Just click on the image to go to the page to listen to it.

Slow News Sunday Summary – April 28th

Well, seeing as most days there is not much to report, I have decided to coin the SM “Slow News Sunday Summary”. A look at what morsels have been reported via SMO or other related avenues during the past seven days.

  • Cherisse on tour with Kelly Jones in June/July
  • Sir’s been to Sicily
  • Sarah’s Saturday night gig
  • Rejuvenation albums now available individually as singles

On Wednesday it was officially revealed by Cherisse on her social media that she will be playing with Kelly Jones (Stereophonics’ frontman) during his solo tour of the UK in June and July. A fan had heard an interview with Jones on radio saying that he was “interviewing” a drummer to tour with him and that SHE currently plays for Simple Minds. A rather large giveaway, but I was remaining nonplussed about it until word came from Cherisse herself.

I had a drumming lesson with her on Thursday and we talked about the news. She said some fans got into a panic, asking her whether it meant the end of her time with SM.

Have no fear, peeps! She’s just grabbing the opportunity for some gigging while there is SM downtime.

Also taking the opportunity to explore other musical avenues during the SM downtime is Sarah Brown, who was a guest of a group called Casca, playing a gig last night in Camden. I would have loved to have gone, but honestly, I cannot reiterate how skint I am right now. But I would have loved to have gone and shown some support.

Jim had a few days in Sicily earlier in the week. Some downtime for him from a busy schedule of writing, etc… all actually very elusive as to what else he’s doing other than him saying he’s “writing”.

Anyway…mustn’t dwell on how quiet it is, eh? And actually, I SHOULD be thankful because I have sod all money to do anything with … and that would be FAR worse! If they were touring around and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Speaking of things that cost money that I can’t really do anything about…
After now having released the Rejuvenation box sets and having had us all invest in those (well, those of us who could…), the albums and CDs are now available to purchase individually.

I am now in absolute dilemma mode. A huge part of me wants the box sets because of the packaging. Another part of me says it means I can invest in the vinyl that I was most interested in getting from the box set with a smaller outlay spread over time. The CD/DVD box set I definitely DO want to invest in. But it is going to have to wait.

Until next week, folks…keep it Simple x

The Stranglers – O2 Academy, Bristol – 28th March, 2019

It was quite a hike from Luton to Bristol. First a trip to London, then on from there to Bristol. I arrived at 3.45pm and met up with a friend shortly after.

We had a bite to eat at the Boston Tea Party at the top of Park Street. A nice place. Looks deceptively small on the outside, but has plenty of seating upstairs. I needed to fuel up before the gig, so had a chai latte, a veggie burger and chips.

We queue outside that venue around 6pm. We were met with a few other fans after…and the queue got progressively longer. Another friend us in the queue around 6.40 and we were let in a few minutes before 7pm.

Support act was Dr Feelgood. A curious support in that there is not a single original member of the band within the group. But they were great all the same. Great musicianship. The singer was quite a showman but at least he was animated and not standing about looking like he’d prefer to be elsewhere.

The only two Dr Feelgood songs I know are Milk And Alcohol and Roxette and they performed those. The only thing I’d say as a negative was, although the overall sound level was great, the singer was lost in the mix. He was too low. Couldn’t much hear him either singing or playing the harmonica. Other than that, the set was great and I really enjoyed them.

All good. Everything going well.

Just a short break and then out come the boys. We were in a prime position, right in front of JJ. I filmed a bit here and there and have one complete song of them performing set opener Tank.

All was going good. The following day was Dave Greenfield’s 70th birthday, and my friend, Ruth, had made a special celebratory banner for him. After a few songs, Ruth produced the banner from her pocket and we held it up against the barrier. JJ noticed it and nodded approval, then he went over and got Dave’s attention and pointed it out to him. A short while later, Baz noticed it too and asked Ruth to throw it up on the stage to him. Baz then clipped it to the front of Dave’s keyboard stand and it stayed there for the rest of the gig.

About half way through the set I was starting to feel unwell. Light headed and just…not sure of myself. A little overheated, but it was so cramped in there, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my jumper off.

I sat down and would have probably revived myself had I been allowed to stay there a few mins, but security guard came over and told Ruth I needed to stand back up, that it was too dangerous for me to sit at the barrier. I stood back up and I was not too bad initially. JJ checked with me that I was okay and I had mouthed to him I was fine and gave him a thumbs up. I was just trying to keep calm and ride the feeling out…but it didn’t work and after a few minutes I was out for the count. I shared the footage on the blog of what ensued.

I could feel myself being pulled over the barrier and feel being carted off. I was conscious again and saying “Guys! I’m okay!” Lol. Obviously NOT okay, but at least conscious again. They took me out a side exit and sat me on the ground for a few mins. They then got me a chair and I sat there for a few more mins. I was allowed to go back in but had missed a few songs. It was so crowded, I was right at the back and I wasn’t going to risk trying to get to the front and get reunited with my friends.

I didn’t stay in the venue again for too long. There was a bar out the front and some seating, so I just sat and waited until the gig was done.

The Stranglers are ALWAYS top class. They are never anything else. Set was great, I mean the actual stage set…the set list of songs were too. Some songs as a fan but not “uber” fan I was unfamiliar with. And there were a couple of new tracks played and I caught a bit of one of them.

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They’re a stellar act. The venue is small, intimate, and on a personal level, could do with a bit of ventilation. Great otherwise though.

I’ve seen them at least once every year now since 2016 and this year I may end up seeing them twice, all things boding well!

You’ll NEVER be disappointed at a Stranglers gig…even if you do find yourself fainting in the middle of it.