A Change Of…Terms?

Where do I start? Well, I start by saying – the blog ends up being my safe place for a moan…a gripe…a whinge. Mostly because I know Jim doesn’t want to hear it. I appreciate that.

Well, I kind of expressed, briefly, in the comments about the use of the phrase “longterm” – like how I had my gripe that got me into a WHOLE HEAP of trouble about “real fans” – ooh, at least he steered clear of THAT! Lol

But I elaborated on my gripe here. I often do. And go on about wishing I could be his “penpal“…in a sense. (I could easily cut his hair. I cut my OH’s hair most of the time.) That I’d love to interview him for the blog. That I wish “discs and doughnuts” could actually be A THING – just one time – between the two of us. Also, I go on about how I miss him pretty much every day he isn’t on Facebook. Lol.

I just crave the connection I felt was there some time back.

I’m a clingy, lovelorn, emotionally retarded fuckhead – I know! (Honestly, Alasdair Gray’s writing speaks sssooo fucking much to me! I’m there most of the time thinking “Know how you feel, Al. You’re speaking my language, friend!” Geez, I wish I had got to meet him now! Damn!)

Something happened though. And when that “something” sometimes happens, I forget to give a word of thanks. A “thanks for listening”…for taking it on board. For making me feel like…I have a voice, I am still being listened to. Appreciated. That my feelings matter. That you still care. Maybe? Hopefully? Perhaps it’s all still just delusional wishful thinking…

But just in case, Jim…thank you! Coincidence, no doubt. Wishful thinking? Most likely. Even if so, the “change of heart” post was greatly appreciated.

And well…hey fans…feel like trying to get your story in the book? Expressing your “Sense Of Discovery” of Simple Minds? Here’s your chance! You have just over a month to submit something. I think this may be one HUMONGOUS book!

Ever since reading this morning’s post, this has been the earworm…

The Longterm?

How does one define how ‘long’ the longterm is? I ponder because in Jim’s post today he talks about the “Book Of Brilliant Things” or whatever it’s going to end up being called. The fan-based SM compendium.

“….we are looking to create something to which all longterm Simple Minds fans will hopefully want to contribute their stories.”

Well, that wording makes me feel precluded from it immediately. “Longterm”. How long is longterm?

To me it by its very definition means a substantial number of years. And given that, my not quite six years of fandom would hardly qualify as “longterm”. Thirty plus years, perhaps? Had I stayed with them from 1985, definitely! I have certainly tried cramming 30+ years of fandom into these past near six years. I have probably got a bigger collection of memorabilia and been to more gigs than a lot of “longterm” fans.

But that is by the by, I guess. Because the yardstick seems to be a measure of time. Not money, emotional investment, affinity….or some deluded sense of affinity one felt they may have had.

I’ve told the story so many times now, I’m not even sure I have the heart to tell it any more in all honesty.

It’s all there in my art anyway. And if any of THAT was used or printed? Well…that would be the most amazing thing ever. But even to have had Jim share it on the SM FB page back in the day when he liked it and he wasn’t sick to death of me….

That will always be a treasure. It means more than just about anything else I’ve ever done in my sad, pathetic existence on this sphere.

He replied to someone today about needing a hair cut. “Cut mine and I’ll be your penpal.”

Jesus! Can you just stop being a tease?!

*sigh*

Better still…I’ll try and stop being a “try hard” and go away. Shuffle off…well…at least the SM planet, as someone suggested (and not just of the SM planet, either!) I do some time back.

End this silly “affliction”. I blame John Francis Lawson and David leaving me far too soon.

I need to find that self-worth I had found for myself somewhere along the line. As fake as it was. Sadly some of it came from you, Jim.

An “enthusiast” is good…but an over-enthusiast, no matter how else it appears to the contrary is, ultimately, undesired.

Strange Days … Indeed!

And, well…just in case Sir disnae see it on the SM visitor wall (as it now behaves rather oddly these days and can’t be viewed via the FB app – at least I can’t view it – maybe I have been blocked from it? Dunno!) Anyways, I did post this to the SM FB wall but on the silly notion that Jim comes and peruses this utterly sycophantic, lovesick blog then…

So I open the (digital version) latest edition of Uncut magazine and there’s a piece about Richard Strange in it. Simple Minds even get a namecheck as being a Doctors Of Madness support act back in the day. The short piece discusses Strange’s … memoir? I guess it would be. Also in an audio form on his website it says. But I am sure you are already up on all of this, Sir? If not then, you’re welcome. 👍🏻😊

First Tear Forms In The Right Eye…

I posted this on the Simple Minds Facebook page, but thought I’d also put it here in case it is deemed too “off topic” and gets deleted.

Such a weird concept this thing about tears and the way the fall from the eyes. Maybe it’s a fascination for Scottish men?

Anyways, here’s what I had posted on SM FB (with the pic attached)….

t’s a curious thing. I am reading Lanark and this is the second time Alasdair Gray has used language like this. A reference to tears and them falling from either eye. The first time my mind instantly thought “first tear forms in the right eye, this is the eye that’s crying first”. And just now again reading this passage. I started to wonder who influenced whom, or if it some uniquely Scottish thing to think of how tears form and whether they only form from either one of the eyes, etc.
Of course both things (Lanark and 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall) are released in 1981 but having watched a documentary on Gray a few nights back, he had been writing Lanark from the 1950s so I’ll assume his words came first.
Anyway, I found it a curious thing. Just wanted to share.

Visual Treats

Well, for me anyways. Quite a number of photos I hadn’t seen before in the pages of this little booklet.

I’m sharing most of the previously unseen (by me) photos within. A few of them have been around before but I just liked scanning them and having a perhaps better copy than I previously did.

I’ve tried to clean some of them up. The print quality of the booklet wasn’t the best so I’ll try to share good, clean scans of the photos.

For now though…

An Independent Socialist – A World In Gray

Please do not be fooled by the blurb you see attached to the video! There really isn’t too much talk about the then imminent Scottish Independence referendum. It really is all about the remarkable Alasdair Gray. A man I wish I had been aware of, learned about and began to have some kind of – albeit without any actual personal interaction with – affinity for while he was still living.

There is a sadness I feel that, having moved to this amazing city just a few short weeks before, that Alasdair left us at the end of December in 2019.

Yes, you have to pay to watch the film – documentary – but if you love art, love the murals around Glasgow, have ever read Lanark or 1982 Janine and loved them – see that mural at Hillhead subway station each day (I can’t tell you how many times I have passed it by already and never realised it was there – with great shame) …

Just watch it.

Even as I am still finding my way through Lanark, I take in all the places I recognise. A number of them are local or not very far away. I even found myself reading a letter to a local paper he had submitted about wondering what was to become of Sighthill (the general area, not the cemetery – that wasn’t the topic of Gray’s letter) It is literally just up the road. Just go down to the end of the adjacent street, past the bowling green, round the corner, past the speedway track – up Finlas Street turning into Carlisle Street, until it meets Keppochill Road – and there you are. Sighthill Cemetery. Three weeks ago I didn’t even know it existed! There is NOTHING to mark it out on Google Maps. A few times coming down the A803 from the city centre by car or on public transport I could see there were some graves but I had assumed it was attached to a churchyard – not an actual full cemetery. A cemetery so vast that – as far as I am aware, only the Necropolis is larger (although trying to confirm this with research would indicate Sighthill is larger in acreage so I am a bit confused). Needless to say it is a large expanse and perplexing not to be revealed on a map!

Gray within the pages of Lanark seems to mention a street nearby, Ashfield Street. There is only one Ashfield Street in all of Glasgow. A few Ashfield Roads but no “street”. Only this one. It must be it! And there is talk of Riddrie where he grew up and the area that is now know as Robroyston but was once Garngad – all not terribly far away, further over to the east and north of us on the other side of Bishopbriggs.

But I shall stop waffling and let you watch it! I found it enthralling.

Lanark Last Night

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I have just started Lanark. Only just. I’m not the fastest reader and I started much later than I wanted to, which meant my eyelids already were starting to get heavy barely one chapter in. I managed two. Lol. And am already attributing the identity of Sludden to a certain someone. Lol. And I would be any of those hangers on – apart from Gay – I should be so lucky! Or Rima (she has standards – it seems so far anyways). So I guess it only leaves me to be Frankie – most likely – or the other one whose name escapes me (irony!).

Anyway! Early days.

But I am already wanting to explore the world of Alasdair Gray so much more already as a consequence of those couple of chapters of Lanark.

So very later last night, after listening to a new episode of The Archers (now caught up with the real world – Ambridge is now in lockdown too) – and a very emotional yet beautiful Desert Island Discs with Charles Hazlewood as the castaway – highly recommended listening by me, not always easy, granted! (I still keep wondering when the frig they are going to get Jim on there!). I then put in Gray’s name in the search wondering if the BBC had done any adaptations to his books, etc, so thought I’d see what a search of him would bring up.

Well, it brought up this in the search results. A wonderful interview with BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth. I didn’t know what to expect from it when I started listening. I had assumed Gray would sound very dour and “Weegie” for one – but I found his voice mesmerising and beautiful. He has such music in his voice. A beautiful burr and lilt that I just was not expecting – almost as if he sang as he spoke. As a consequence, as enthralled in the interview as I was, I found myself drifting off to sleep halfway through, to awake again for the final few minutes and the talk of the hardships of making a career from art – making a sustained paid professional income from artistic pursuit.

His final goodbye was pure music, and rather poignant for this must have been one of his final interviews. He passed away at the end of December last year.

I fell in love with him. He sounded like a magical being. Like a pixie or elf or something. Little did I know my flippant little line to Jim the other day about “starting a book at chapter three – seems like my kinda guy” would ring so true.

You can listen to the interview via BBC Sounds HERE