This is my medicine. This gorgeous creature. These rare ones from the Mojo spread are wonderful. I have a lot to thank Tom Sheehan for. Tom capturing Jim in front of a Canadian flag back in 1982 changed my life immeasurably some 34 years later. I will be forever thankful.
The other by Peter Anderson is a great action photo.
On the morning I was travelling down to England, I had this thought in the shower (I tend to have a number of thoughts in the shower…not all of them clean. Lol). I was thinking about how Graeme Thomson had referred to Jim (and his performing style back in the day) at the reading/conversation with John Dingwall at the Mitchell Library as “feline”. And I had these images in my head…
And then these words came to my head. And I kept saying them over and over so I wouldn’t forget them and then, once I was out of the shower, I could write them down. Of course I forgot and only remembered once I had got to England and had nearly arrived at my friend Ruth’s house. Lucky my phone has a little notepad app. I quickly typed it out…
That photo by Peter Anderson….that’s the cobra coiled in the wicker basket, the music working its magic to have him swaying out of the metaphorical basket to hypnotise the crowd. Jesus! He’s divine…
I’ll enjoy my Covid induced fantasy. Thank you! 😜😉
I’m grappling with whether I should just put the whole Mojo article up but I think I better wait until the next issue is available. In the meantime, apart from the article itself, and the piece on the new album (and Jim calling his dad a count – minus the ‘o’ – I love it when it’s used as a term of endearment. Lol) these photos, along with Jill’s magnificent cover photo, are my faves.
Oh…there’s a point. I’ll post Jill’s words from within the opening pages of the mag. She said a very lovely thing. Read below.
So much to tell, so little time. Back safe and sound in Glasgow but now assignment number four looms large. I have a week to get to grips with Plato, Socrates, Laches and Nicias – but just for tonight, I’ll think about “ArKERRmedes” and baths and being dripping wet.
I’ll try and make time for a review of the gig tomorrow but I have much study to do. No promises. Until then….a tantalising glimpse of the latest Mojo magazine. EUREKA!
I’ve come up with an idea. For wanting to be able to interview Jim and knowing that as much as I would like for it to happen this blog is NEVER going to be seen as ‘professional’ enough to get the chance to interview him, then…let’s examine, dissect and discuss things he has said in other interviews, either past or recent.
To begin with, two recent interviews come to mind. One is from 1989 and the release of Street Fighting Years. There is a part of this interview I found most surprising! One, for the Jim Kerr of 1989 to say such a thing, and for the feeling that the Jim of 2022 most likely not being in agreement with the Jim of 1989 in the present day. I’ll come to the second interview in a moment, but for now, let’s discuss the first.
The piece of footage should automatically play from the correct point but if it doesn’t, play it from 06:55 to hear what he says.
I’ve never heard him be quite so… I’m not even sure what words to use here? Humble…dismissive…doubtful…offhand…. Yeah, I’m not really sure what the right word to put here is. My point is, it seems a statement very unlike Jim to make in terms of his songwriting, “I don’t think I do a very good job, but it’s the best I can do.” I was genuinely astounded by that.
I guess one could argue he’s not talking about his songwriting, his lyric writing, per se but more his overall contribution to the band dynamic. Perhaps he is trying to talk in broader terms as he seems to suggest that what he feels is his contribution to the art, the ‘product’ of Simple Minds is to ‘package’ the music in the best way possible. That still makes that statement one that I would have never expected to hear from him. Its tone and its sense of doubt. Its modesty and … humility.
It’s not something that feels very forthcoming from the Jim Kerr of 2022, and I don’t think the Jim Kerr of 1979 had it. The Kerr of 1979 had nothing to lose though. The Kerr of 2022 has an Ivor Novello, 60 million album sales, a 20 album back catalogue and countless successful chart hits and tours to counter any of the doubt that would ever creep in. So, the Kerr of 1989 should fall somewhere in between, right? So, why does he not seem to? Why would he say something like that in 1989? They’ve just had their first UK Number 1 single with Belfast Child…let alone what has come before it – some dozen other UK Top 40 hit singles (EveryHit.com). Was it purely an exercise in humility? To stay grounded? Perhaps. Who needs to show modesty now with the wealth of accolades to one’s name, right?
The second piece of conversation I saw that piqued my interest came from a video clip from 1998. Jim is doing this piece to camera about the recording of Neapolis and talking about Glitterball and what it’s about (interesting to hear how he described what the song was about – made me hear the track with fresh ears it has). He then talks about … inspiration and guidance I guess one would view it. He says, “I would love to put together some place where people are taught – not really taughthow to do things but maybe helped to believe in themselves more. I think belief is everything.”
The clip should (again) play from the right point but if it doesn’t, view it from 03:05 to narrow out the piece.
I felt that this is what Jim tried to do with me back in the mists of time. He … I was going to say ‘obviously’ but it was never obvious to me… I’ve never really been able to accept it…but there must have been something in why he gave such … credence to my art…to me? I have always dismissed it as he was ‘just being nice.’ I’ve never understood it. I’ve never felt worthy of it. And because of these things I feel as though I have made him feel so very tired of me. Because I just kept on trying to prove my worth. To feel justified, vindicated…accepting of it. And it absolutely made me fall in love with him. That part of it has never, ever gone away. I don’t think it ever will.
So, these two statements almost cancel each other out in my interpretation of things. To say that “belief is everything” and then to say of your own artistic ability “I don’t think I do a very good job…” I guess it’s the “…but it’s the best I can do”, that is the key. I never ever feel like the things I do ARE the best things I can do. I always feel utterly inept and am always questioning my ability to do anything. If I enjoy doing things, it’s half the battle won. It’s usually the enjoyment I derive from it that spurs me on with things rather than any real sense I am any good at it. Like now, for example, with uni – it’s the enjoyment I derive from the discovery of things – learning new things every day that spurs me on. Am I actually anygood at learning? Do I truly have any academic ability? Will I ever get to be anywhere near where I aspire to be? Probably not. In all real likelihood? No. So, this is where I need to learn from Jim. It shouldn’t matter to me. I keep having to remind myself ALL THE TIME that ‘the race is the prize’. That the growth comes from the learning – not the university degree at the end.
I feel rather sad that instead of some kind of ‘academy’ that Jim was pondering wanting to put together in that video clip from 1998, what he actually ended up doing was establishing a hotel. I think Taormina probably had enough of those to be fair. I like the idea of a Socrates style academy. SocKERRtes – yeah. Lol. Doesn’t really work as well as ArKERRmedes. It could have easily been the ArKERRmedes Academy – or even better, the ArtKERRmedes Academy! Lol. I’ll get my coat.
On a serious note, that academy would have been grand. And on a personal note, I need to keep reminding myself to hold fast, to stay positive, to back my ability, to BELIEVE in my potential. To have faith in myself! I can’t keep expecting people to show faith in me if I have none of it myself! And if I keep believing that I CAN’T do it, or I won’t be any good at it, then I’ll just compound that belief won’t I?
So, there are two questions I’d ask Jim: Where do you think the line between self-belief and complete delusion of one’s own ability lies? And, what happened to the ‘belief academy’ idea? Answers on a postcard some day? I wish!
But of course I need to be in a room with him for at least half an hour for that to happen…or challenge him to an online game. Pffft! Like that’ll happen! I’d whip his ass anyways! (Scrabble talk at the end, in case you’re wondering what I’m on about.)
The one thing I took away from the talk between John Dingwall and Graeme Thomson at the Mitchell Library during the Aye Write festival was Graeme talking about persistence.
“You need to be persistent,” he said. He did mean it in a rather specific context. (How to get Jim to move away from anecdotal tales and into actual rarely discussed facts – or at least his version of the facts – when interviewing him. Pfft! Chance would be a fine thing with that happening! Me interviewing him, I mean.) It can apply to many other things, like my study, for example.
When it comes to people and my asking them for interviews, I find the persistence thing hard. Assertiveness doesn’t come naturally to me. I feel like I am badgering or being a pest. I only dare to be moderately persistent, if such a measure exists.
I’ve approached someone for an interview and I am trying to be positive about it happening. Just this morning I am reminding myself that I’ve yet to be turned down for an interview (one exception, actually…but it was genuinely ‘pie in the sky’ wishful thinking on that one anyway. It’s subsequently happened, albeit one question at a time and only about three questions in. Lol). Jaine Henderson initially did turn me down. I had nothing to show for it then. No history of interviews to show to her. She took a big gamble with me and I am ssooo grateful that she reconsidered and allowed me to interview her.
Every potential interviewee I approach I am apprehensive to do so. It takes me a heck of a lot of gallus to ask. Asking Graeme at the beginning of the year? I was still so nervous to ask. I fear that ‘going out on a limb’ impulse it takes to ask.
A few times I have had to be a bit persistent. I guess I needed to be a little with Jaine. When she declined though, I thought that it would be no good to be persistent. It was a no and that was that. No one was more surprised than me when she contacted me to say she’d reconsidered and would like to do it. I was gobsmacked!
I guess you also need to weigh up the situation and the person. When it came to Bruce Findlay I felt he’d be more…accepting of some persistence. That he’s spent a lot of time being around pushy people that he’d be used to it. Almost expectant of it.
I think I end up using my persistence for things where I expect the rejection and can try and have fun with it – asking Jim out on dates, for example. (Not that I’ve done THAT for a long while. Lol. Asking him for an interview though…?)
Trying to use persistence for interviews? That just eats away at my fear and feeds the angst and guilt I feel. I am always starting on the backfoot. The rank amatuer with no right to be asking ANYONE for an interview! For me to ask in the first place takes such daring.
I am going to be hopeful that my success rate of those I’ve asked agreeing continues and that another “Priptona Talks…” interview will be on the blog shortly.
In the meantime, Graeme’s advice on persistence did get me through my most recent assignment and will hopefully help me in other ways. I just need to work out how I tell when persistence becomes badgering or pestering. I hope I know the tipping point.
I know I shouldn’t…but HOLY SHIT…Jim Kerr in 1981 is the most beautiful, most extraordinary thing I have ever seen in my life. (I still love you, Jim! I would NEVER say ‘no’ – not in a bajillion years! … this is why he hates me – I’m ssooo fucking superficial!)