We Jumped The Gun – Again – Still Not LIAD Anniversary, YET!

Yesterday I was out-anoraked.

Jim had posted about it being the anniversary of Life In A Day and smuggins here felt a little bit pleased with herself that he was acknowledging the correct date of release. Well, so I had deluded myself. (And obviously he had thought so too…)

The holy bible that is Dream Giver Redux had a Zoom press release from the time showing that the album had been set for release for April 13th. Well, obviously Bruce and Brian had done what I did months back investing in my Mott The Hoople ticket, and neglected to take in that it was Easter weekend.

And as my anorak friend had pointed out on SMO FB, it was indeed Easter weekend on April 13th, 1979. He had said in his comment that in the New Gold Dream tour program it showed the release date to be 20/4/1979. I admit to looking at my scanned copy of my signed version of the program, and there it was! He also said he had seen a subsequent Zoom press release showing the revised date.

I am happy to declare I have been well and truly outdone in the anorak stakes. Lol

Happy 40th Anniversary – Life In A Day!

Someone:
It’s quite manic the way it starts then sounds traditional rock. Almost pub rock. Post punk. But “poppy”. I love that little “doo wop” bit too. The magic of a song that sounds catchy and upbeat, but if you take note of the lyrics…there’s a slightly different story going on. But we’re looking for life beyond those potentially boring “teen angst” years. Adulthood has dawned. “You’re running home before the morning light. There is a new age that has just begun.” Leave the angst behind, Ruby.

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Life In A Day:
Synth washed opening but still steeped in post punk. It does wear its influences boldly this song. Already those more industrial sounds are there. It’s in the atmosphere conjured up by Jim’s lyrics. I always say that Factory is like a lyrical LS Lowry painting – Life In A Day is its predecessor. Some days I really enjoy listening to Life In A Day…other times it leaves me feeling a little despondent, and I am unsure as to why that is.

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Sad Affair:
This has always been the weakest track on the album, for me. I’ve never really taken to it. This to me is the track that sounds most “Boomtown Rats”. The one I think of first when I am reminded of Jim’s feelings when he first heard the album being played back once they got their hands on the final cut. That feeling of “Oh, we’ve fucked up with this. This isn’t us! This is the Boomtown Rats!”

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All For You:
In 2014, when I started my exploration of the Simple Minds back catalogue, this song really made me sit up and take notice. The first one on the album that I truly went “ooh, now…THIS is interesting!” over. I know Jim has a soft spot for Someone, but I do for All For You. Had this track not piqued my interest when exploring the SM back catalogue a second time over, then…well, I would probably NOT be doing this post, or even running this blog!

Pleasantly Disturbed:
The title could not be more aptly applied to a song. I mean, that title sells it perfectly. Starting with a quiet yet low rumbling slow drum beat and cracked jagged guitar riff…it’s wonderfully atmospheric and moody. It conjures up a similar feeling in mood to one gets from Riders On The Storm. A dark, oppressive and gloomy rain-washed street. The genius of adding violin to it…I mean, who came up with that? Charlie? Well, if he did, he cursed it subsequently through the years from having to continue to play it when performing the song, while never feeling he had the true virtuosity for it. From the moment it starts, it just feels on a different level to any of the other songs on the album. And unlike most other tracks on the album in which they didn’t quite capture their live sound right, or John Leckie didn’t quite capture their essence – it worked for Pleasantly Disturbed. If anyone you meet ever dismisses early Simple Minds as a serious musical force of nature, play them Pleasantly Disturbed. And if they’re still not convinced, then they are beyond salvation. Pity them.

No Cure:
I suffered such a love/hate thing with this song. I used to abhor it! For a long time I would skip it entirely. Then when out in Oz and getting into the habit of listening to SM on shuffle mode each night, it played a few times and I was roused to semi-consciousness to listen to it. Too tired to grab the iPod and find the skip button, but awake enough for the song to filter through, a change of heart started to happen. Things actually ended up turning on its head and I went from utter intolerance of the track to absolutely falling head over heels for it! I couldn’t get enough of it! It became a constant earworm. It was stuck in my head for WEEKS. And I played it over and over! Lol. The title of it, once again, became so apt. Jim is a master at this stuff, he really is. For of course, the song had been previously known by the title Cocteau Twins, until Jim decided to tweak the lyrics and retitle it. Having read up about Cocteau Twins and its beginnings…Les Enfant Terribles… oh how it makes some weird sense of why I had this love/hate grapple. Knowing its history, I find the song strangely alluring and ever so sexy. It may have been “tidied up” but the words pertaining to “the game” are still there.

Chelsea Girl:
What a riff. So simple but so full of intent. Speaking of songs that are sexy. I do find this sexy too. Seriously, if I had been of their age, I’d have fancied Jim from day one. I’m still not quite sure exactly what I am meant to make of the “Chelsea Girl”. Is she a prick tease? Or a floozy? Answers on a postcard…

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Wasteland:
I find Wasteland a wonderfully obscure Kerr lyric. A song I am not really sure I know much of what it’s actually about. Looking at the lyrics I have no real clue. God I love you, Jim Kerr. You are a puzzle! The songs may feel like puzzles to solve to you…sometimes I think you pass them directly on to us! “Solve that one, peeps! Try and work out what I’m telling you here.”

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Destiny:
Also a curious one. Seems as if it was a much meatier thing when it was called Sweet Things. I am going to assume by how the lyrics read, it is a look at the life one has laid out for them and a defiant rejection of it. “Can you hear me, can you see. I don’t want this destiny.”

Murder Story:
After All For You and Pleasantly Disturbed, this is a song I really fell in love with quite quickly. I love the drama of it and despite the title and the tone of this song, there’s an element of fun to it. And I just love the way it ends. All the layers of Jim’s vocals clashing and sounding cacophonous and him singing alternates of “it wasn’t me/it was me”…then with that final trio of shouts of “IT WAS ME” and then it just comes to a halt.

 

 

A LITTLE NOD TO THE B SIDES

Over all as an album, it’s a good debut. It’s solid. And yes, I somewhat played Devil’s advocate asking Bruce Findlay if he felt that some songs were “too old”. It doesn’t quite hit the mark in some elements. And they probably weren’t captured quite at their full potential the first time round with John Leckie, but they and he quickly made up for it. And Real To Real Cacophony is by no means faultless either, but it improves upon a good stepping stone.

The album certainly has a maturity to it. I mean, heck, the average age of the band at this point is 20. TWENTY! They’re babies! Jim and Charlie are actually still only 19 upon its release. If I do that “compare them to U2” baloney and compare Life In A Day to Boy – the maturity of Jim’s songwriting over Bono’s is just chalk and cheese for me. While on Boy (even just the album titles reveal all you need to know!), Bono is writing about The Electric Co and Stories For Boys, Jim’s writing about the daily grind of city life, murder, drug use, mind games between young adults, conquests (or lack thereof). It’s young men, not boys.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not dissing Boy. I love Boy. You can’t knock I Will Follow, and I love An Cat Dubh and Into The Heart, A Day Without Me and Shadows And Tall Trees contains my favourite line in the entire album “Mrs Brown’s washing is always the same”. Boy will always have a soft spot in my heart, because I grew up with it. My brother had a copy from 1980, so it has been with me since I was 10 years old.

Life In A Day never bowled me over completely, but there are gems contained within it. It probably didn’t feel that way at the time, and thank god Simple Minds came into being at a time that they did and with Bruce as their mentor and ultimately manager because he was never going to abandon them. They were given the time to evolve artistically and become truly great. They held such promise and it was there for all to see. Life In A Day, though not perfect, showcases, with a bit of “hit and miss” what Simple Minds were capable of. Their tender and tenuous beginnings. It’s an album strong enough to enjoy from start to finish. The only track I used to skip was No Cure, and I ended up falling in love with it.

Give it a listen today. Have a bit of a nostalgia trip and say “Happy Anniversary Life In A Day!”

So…I Cannae Ask To See Him?

What the hell did I do wrong, now? I was only trying to be light-hearted. Have a bit of fun. Is it “irrelevant” to ask to see a current pic of the lead singer of your fave band? Was it deemed rude? I didn’t swear. Any sense of innuendo was VERY THINLY LACED (he was the one who was topless in the pic I was referring to…the Jan 17th pic of him holding his Paddington bear mug. I wasn’t the one putting the product placement in).

There are some weird decisions of what gets deleted that takes place on SMO FB. I genuinely don’t mind…I just find it bloody confusing. I’ll post something that I think will last all of five mins up on the visitor wall before it gets taken down (and expect it to be deleted) – ie: my captioned pic of him doing his flat-on-his-back-from-knees-down thing that he does (gotta work out a more succinct name for that move!) and Derek Paterson looking on at the side of the stage bemused. Jim went ahead and turned that into a post on the main SMO page! No one was more stunned than me by that one…

Then another time I’ll post something that I think is pretty darn innocuous (like last night) – ie: could I please see a pic of you, Jim (thinly laced meaning of “I miss you and I just want to see you”) and THAT gets deleted???!??!

It would make sense if there was some kind of consistency with it. Like, “you cannae ask this, this and this”. I mean there are very OBVIOUS things that I would never post or ask, etc. It may not seem it to some, but I DO have a moral compass!

Anyway…sorry…I was just once again left quite miffed having wanted to just make a little lighthearted gesture that I was missing him.

Nae mind.

The Value Of Recording Yourself

Cherisse’s best bud and fellow drummer extraordinaire, Emily Dolan Davies, shared a piece of advise several months back in a YouTube clip and I followed it last week and it is already proving invaluable.

I felt silly, yes! I felt silly for taking it along with me and I almost just left it in my handbag because I just thought I’d seem like a crazy thing but I am already SSOO glad I took it with me!

Right, so – Emily’s piece of advice – her biggest piece of advice for any drummer learning (or pros getting stuck on new techniques they wanted to learn but it wasn’t going in) … and she was adamant on it. Record yourself!

And she said she wished she had taken the advice earlier than she did, and wished that she had known of or thought of doing it when she started out.

Based on her saying that, I took a little Zoom recorder with me to my lesson with Cherisse on Wednesday. And as I say, I almost left it in my bag and said nothing. Too scared I’d sound a flake for wanting to record myself after one bloody lesson.

But already my circumstances are making this invaluable. I can hear myself getting the hang of things on playback. Yes! I’m appalling! My time-keeping is woeful but I know listening to it back that these are things that I can improve on with practice.

I can go over things from the lesson. Just listen to them over and have it sink in.

I have no kit, but I can hear beyond that what I need to practice on. It has given clarity and focus to the things I need to work on.

And I know I am only two lessons in and I know I will always be learning. But before I played back Wednesday’s lesson this afternoon, I would just be doubting myself.

I AM awful. My rhythm sucks! But I can hear it in myself that I pick things up fast. Well, I sound as if I do. Am I deluding myself? I hope not! Will I join a band in the future? Doubt it (but never say never)! But if someone down the line asks me “got any special talent?” I may just have enough bravado in a year or two to reply “yeah. I play drums.” I would love that.

And Cherisse is so fab and just SSOOOO encouraging. Honestly. She just makes me believe I can do this. It’s just so good. So, so good.

So, if you think it’s nuts. Don’t! Hearing myself back today, and hearing what I need to practice on until the next lesson, etc… I don’t feel like I’m some time-wasting dreamer. I can obtain some decent level of skill here. If I am willing to put the hours in. To practice (anyone around Luton willing to give me some time on a kit to practice on?).

I love it! I want this! Thank you so much, Emily, for this advise.

The Best Lyricist? NO CONTEST!

Billy Sloan when presenting his weekly Saturday night show for BBC Radio Scotland has a theme every week, as part of listener participation. This week it was who do you think is the greatest songwriter/lyricist and an example of two lines that you believe perfectly encapsulates their prowess.

Now, whenever I mention SM my things usually get overlooked, so I tend to choose other things. But this week I was ADAMANT that I was going to plumb for Jim. Other than Bowie, Jim is my absolute lyrical god! It is why I do the art that I do. It all started from wanting to show his lyrical talent. Yes, there are others I love too. And had I said Bryan Ferry or John Grant, I’m sure my nominations would have been read out…but because I chose Jim? Nada!

Well…you don’t get an Ivor Novello award for nowt!

And Jim sounds kind of dismissive of how Simple Minds used to write songs because “We didn’t know how to write songs. We didn’t know any songwriters.” Well, good! Because you were fabulous and unique and it made you stand out from the crowd!

I’m going to be a little disparaging now and say that *I*, personally, wish you hadn’t “found the formula” in some ways. Because now most SM songs are “verse – chorus – verse – chorus” and I miss things like Citizen and Careful In Career and Capital City….and other songs that don’t start with “C”. Lol. I miss that unorthodox structure.

Twist/Run/Repulsion – so good, you wrote bloody lyrics TWICE OVER for it! Lol. Who writes a song like Twist/Run/repulsion now? No one! Not even you yourself, Jim!

So, yeah…I’m sure I was laughed out of town by anyone else seeing my comment on the Billy Sloan Show FB page…but FUCK IT! You guys just don’t know fucking genius when you see it! I do!

Oh, and he still writes fab…don’t get me wrong! I just kinda wish it didn’t seem quite so…formulaic sometimes, that’s all. He can still surprise. A song like Utopia is a prime example. Silent Kiss too. The structure of those two, in particular, hark back to the former Kerr style of songwriting. As long as they are still there. As long as he can still surprise…while also being masterful at “the formula”, he’ll always have my vote.

Anyway, I don’t really know what this post is about other than me just doing a fist-shake at Billy for snubbing my suggestion of Jim.

Yes! He’s busy and can’t read everyone’s suggestions out! But one guy had suggestions read out FOUR TIMES last night!

I will ALWAYS fight your corner, Jim. I know you don’t need it…but I will fight it anyway. I don’t tell you much these days how fucking amazing you are as a songwriter…not in so many words…I always hope the art conveys that. I tell you enough I adore you and think you’re hot AF! Lol. But…getting down to brass tacks. The thing I admire you for, love you for the most is those words. The songwriting. The visual cinemascope you put into every Simple Minds song you add words to.

The Calming Influence

I worked on this earlier this evening. When I need to just….unwind…relax…get meditative, the art does it. The digital art does it. Jim does it. Focussing on him. Exemplifying his beauty. I know! I am solid gone. But today I don’t care.

He is the best medicine I know. I can’t express how calming and soothing working on these things can be. It’s therapy, medicine, meditation all rolled in to one.

I get so absorbed in it. The focus is solely on this. No external forces seep in.

Maybe that’s what I need with me? It worked when going to Glasgow in January! When I start to feel one of these vasovagal syncope episodes happening (if it is indeed what they are?) I need Jim’s voice to calm me. Perhaps I should have gotten my iPod out at The Stranglers gig (JJ may have thought me rude AF standing there listening to someone else…but if had helped?) and had just honed in on Jim?

I’d say “I’ll try it next time” but shit…I don’t want there to be a “next time”. Though in all likelihood there will be. And I’m hoping and praying that the next gig I’ll be at, HE WILL BE THERE! (Next gig is Trevor Horn at the RCH, Glasgow)

Anyway, this has gone a bit personal again. I just wanted to express how lovely and calming tonight’s artwork was, and how much this man soothes me yet can make my heart race at the same time.

I adore you, Mr Kerr.
(Psst – don’t tell him that! His ego fills Glasgow already. Lol – And why not…LOOK AT HIM! Beautiful!)

A Short Personal Note

The past few days have been quite a bit of a topsy turvy affair. I was hoping to do reviews of both The Stranglers and Stewart Copeland gigs that I went to over these past few days today.

One might be a little awkward to do too much of a review for, sadly. The other should be fairly full. Both I hope to post tomorrow.

Today I’ve been to the GP and received an initial diagnosis that is something I will just have to deal with. The GP thinks I have vasovagal syncope which is basically fainting due to sudden drops in heart rate or blood pressure. Nothing much else to be done for it, it seems. But I am booked in for a blood test and ECG at the surgery on Thursday morning. Nothing concrete about my diagnosis until these things are done and analysed.

I must admit that the notion that this is something like this, and there is not much else to be done, and I just have to deal with the psychosomatic effects of feeling the onset of it and just having to “ride it out” scares the frigging bejaysus out of me. It feels like what would happen to me through the worst of the whooping cough years ago…when I could feel my airwaves blocking up and my not being able to do anything about it and eventually pass out through lack of oxygen to the lungs.

To be conscious of it happening. To be alert to it, yet have to use my own recovery techniques to prevent a full attack is just so scary. Obviously I am failing miserably to override these factors. Quite how I actually stop my own heart rate dropping or my BP from falling I can’t quite fathom.

I am going to have to rethink certain things when it comes to gigs and stuff. Seated venues wherever possible. Most likely goodbye to the front row at the barrier at standing gigs. Yay!

Kids! Listen to me. Just…live life NOW. Don’t do what I did and live like a fucking hermit half your life and never go anywhere or do anything. Take it by the horns! Do all that you can. Do everything in your power to enjoy what you have and live life to the fullest.

Life is far too short. End of personal talk.

On with the blog as it stands tomorrow.