Nostalgie Jim

I’ve never seen this interview in its entirety. I’ve only just started watching it now.

An hour to interview him?! IN MY DREAMS! Interesting he admits to be nervous. Can’t ever imagine Mr James Kerr Esq. being nervous! When he was being interviewed in 1979? Yes. In 2009? Nae chance…

Oh, how I wish for that hour though.

Never.

Gonna.

Happen.

The Glasgow Magic

Well, this is just a little bit awesome! Crowded House are gonna have to do a bloody good job next week to get near SM for best gig I’ve experienced (so far!) at the Hydro.

Buzzing to see When You Come live though.

Consitently Persistent?

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.

Warning: Melting Fangirl Alert!!!

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!)

THIS FOOTAGE IS JUST GOLD!

Look. At. Him!!!

Divine. Just divine…

I have no other words…

Interviews Abound – Bruce, Billy and Graeme with Grant Stott – Jim with Chris Hawkins (sitting in for Craig Charles)

Two interviews took place almost simultaneously yesterday. One pre-recorded, the other live.

The live chat happened on BBC Radio Scotland. Grant Stott was hosting The Afternoon show and during the middle of the program, he spoke to Bruce Findlay, Billy Sloan and Graeme Thomson about the book and Simple Minds. You can listen to that interview and chat directly below.

The second interview was on BBC Radio 6 Music. Chris Hawkins was sitting in for Craig Charles and he spoke to Jim about the release of Act Of Love and the anniversary of the Simple Minds debut gig at Satellite City in 1978. Jim was at his loquacious best – although the interview was brief, it was highly entertaining. You can listen to that interview below.

I hope you enjoy them both. I know I did.

Billy’s Smug Mate

Well, well, well…look what we have here! This week on Billy Sloan’s Show on BBC Radio Scotland, SOMEONE is going to be Billy’s guest. A day after I conduct my interview for this wee blog. (No! I’m not interviewing Jim! In my goddamn dreams. But the person I AM interviewing is relevant to the content of this site…very much so. My lips are otherwise sealed.)

Now…how the fuck am I meant to concentrate on MY interview on Friday with knowledge of THIS now? Come on! Talk about test a woman. Jeez-o!

Look at him! Smug as you like! And I don’t mean Billy! 😁😁😁

It seems things are warming up quite nicely at SMHQ. GOOD! We could do with some cheer at long bloody last!

Not much else for me to say but…tune in to BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday night from 10pm GMT.

I’ll be there!

Photo courtesy of Billy Sloan Show FB page.

Review – The Velvet Underground (Documentary by Todd Haynes)

I think this documentary ended up posing more questions than it answered. 

Firstly, it doesn’t sugarcoat the notion of Lou Reed being….well…actually perhaps they DO sugarcoat it. Because what became obvious was that to label Reed “troubled” is somewhat of an understatement. I actually started to wonder how anyone managed to work with him. Certainly John Cale was finding it difficult towards the end of his part in the Velvet Underground story “if you were nice to him, he only treated you worse”.

The one thing I’d say to Jim after seeing this film is when you say you’re not worthy of tying Lou Reed’s bootlaces – you do yourself a MASSIVE disservice, Jim Kerr. You really do! 

The film starts with a quote from Baudelaire – “Music fathoms the sky.” That immediately had me thinking of Jim for in the New Gold Dream tour program, he’s given the name “Kid Baudelaire” in brackets. Attributed from Adam Sweeting? A nickname the rest of the guys give him? Who knows?

A Warhol film image of Lou Reed appears fairly early on. Just that straight-at-the-lens, nowhere-to-hide portrait shot, the camera rolling for several minutes. A childhood that didn’t sound overly loving, but they talk to his sister Merrill and she makes the counter argument of it being easy to pin all of Lou’s troubles on his childhood and upbringing. 

Several minutes later we move on to a similar half of the screen moving image portrait of John Cale. This is how little I admit to knowing about The Velvet Underground and its individual members – I hear John Cale speak and….he sounds like he usually sounds….with a New York twang. And then, he speaks again and sounds WELSH! Like, a proper Valley boy-o! 

I know! I should know better than this. I should be more knowledgeable. A lot of the time I do feel incredibly ignorant about a lot of things. 

A lot of the film centred towards PRE-VU. Lou and John and how they got into music the way they did, their influences, and how they met and formed The Primitives. 

All of that I found good. Sterling Morrison remains a mystery. Moe Tucker seems a very lovely woman. Doug Yule seemed a very fitting replacement for John Cale. 

It flowed well up to the point we got to when Warhol became involved and Nico joined the group. Then, for me, the documentary became a bit…rushed. It spent a lot of time on the preamble but then not much time on the Velvet Underground itself, once a modicum of success came.

Also, whenever they played Venus In Furs, it was DEAFENING! Venus In Furs was ssooo much louder than anything else within the audio, other Velvet songs, people speaking, etc, etc. It was a real wallop to the ears.

I kind of came away a bit…unfulfilled by the experience. I wanted more and something different. I probably wanted to learn more about Lou Reed than I did. I certainly wanted to learn more about the band than I felt I did. 

What I did learn though (or had confirmed to me) is:

  • The Velvet Underground are definitely punk. They are the TRUE pioneers of punk. Forget the “avant garde” schtick, although that does apply too. They’re punk.
  • John Cale is Welsh (I know! Lol).
  • Lou Reed was a douche canoe (at least at that time) and I honestly don’t know how anyone worked with him.
  • Delmore Schwartz was a massive influence on Reed.
  • Jonathan Richman is a sweetheart, and just about the only person to say something nice about Lou. And it explained why The Modern Lovers’ Roadrunner is ssooo much like Rock ‘n’ Roll to me. (Though it is meant to be a homage to Sister Ray – shows you how familiar I am with Sister Ray!)
  • Nico was a drifter. Lost, trying to find purpose in her life.
  • Warhol gave us “celebrity” and fame for fame’s sake. He’d love Love Island and Big Brother, and probably Gogglebox too.
  • Without Warhol no one outside of NYC would have heard of VU.

So, last night, in bed. Wanting to listen to some music to help me drift off to sleep, did I choose the “Banana Album”? Or White Light/White Heat? Or The Velvet Underground (aka album three)? Or Loaded? 

Nope!

I chose to listen to The Modern Lovers – the original set of recordings from 1972 that were finally released in 1976. 

And to paraphrase words from Roadrunner “I’m in love with Jonathan Richman”. We could all do with keeping that childlike wonder. Oh, man. Even in the documentary – you just want to reach in through the screen and hug him!

In summary of the Velvet Underground documentary. Did I enjoy it? To a degree. Did I find it insightful? Again, to a degree. Did I enjoy it as much as the previous music documentary I saw (The Sparks Brothers)? Naw.

If I was to give it a mark out of 10 – where the Sparks Brothers doc gets a firm 10/10. The Velvet Underground documentary gets a 7/10. The best bits were the interviews with John Cale, Moe Tucker, Jonathan Richman and Mary Woronov. 

It wasn’t quite what I had hoped for or anticipated. For one I didn’t expect to come out of a Velvet Underground documentary thinking “Aawww, Jonathan Richman – he’s sssooo sweet!” Lol

Can I recommend it? I guess. If you’re a REAL diehard Velvets fan, it probably isn’t going to give you much more of an insight in all honesty. Novices interested in the band and the period and wanting to know more…you might learn some stuff, but for me personally, it didn’t completely fill the remit.

And so, I shall leave you with this, influence of an influence that leads to an influence. And I love a fade-in!

The Seven Year Itch?

It’s been seven years. Seven years since I became that rabid “obsessive”. Seven years since the world of Simple Minds truly opened up to me. 

I was reminded of the fact of how…embedded in this new-found “obsession” I was by a post that appeared in my FB “memories” a couple of days back.

The memory in question was going to see Nana Mouskouri at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The memory was a reminder of how wonderful that new-found obsession felt. How much I loved discovering those treasures and being floored by them and truly just not being able to get enough of them. Devouring the music greedily and just playing stuff again and again and again and wondering if I would EVER tire of listening to them. 

I worry that, over time, the love for Jim has vastly overtaken the love for the band, and for the music. It was already strikingly obvious that was probably happening in 2018 over the whole “real fans” affair and my blocking from the band FB page.

Years passed and it never seemed to get old. If anything I would get incrementally more and more obsessed. When I was out in Oz with mum in 2015/16, the music was my comfort and solace at night. I was petrified of being at my mum’s house at night. It felt like the most unsafe place to be. The only way I found I could settle myself down and try and get to sleep was to play Simple Minds on Spotify. Play them on shuffle mode. Just…the sound of the music, the sound of Jim’s voice. Sometimes I would play some interviews as well. The interview Jim had with Billy Sloan – that was a recent discovery then, and I played it often when I was out in Oz. It soothed me – and it would make me happy and also would make me cry too, because he’s being “just Jim”. Just this normal guy talking to his pal. And the thing I’d play the most – the bit of it I’d play most is this bit (it should autoplay from the correct point – if not 3min 16sec mark) – his laugh. It is just the most beautiful sound in the world to me.

The memory of that Nana Mouskouri gig reminded me how absorbed in the band and the music I was. Thinking about that coach journey home from London and listening to that Spotify shuffle mix and Boys From Brazil coming on and being in love with it! The song. The music! The lyrics. Astounded by what I was hearing. Even though I celebrate my fan anniversary on Jim’s birthday – it was closer to the end of July in 2014 when I started listening to their back catalogue intently. So by the Mouskouri gig I am maybe 8 weeks into my fandom, at most!

I haven’t felt compelled to write a post out like that and share it on SMOG for…I don’t know how long! Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call posts aside (which were just links to blog posts) – it’s been several months since I had posted like that on SMOG – probably not since sharing my mocked up mural of Jim on there. 

I think because…I’m missing it. I’m missing that joy of being a fan that is starting to erode away. The Sons/Sister 40th Anniversary pulled some of that into focus, on a personal level. But on the flip side, I am feeling quite cut off and set adrift.

Apart from SAF/SFC and bootlegs from around 1981/1982, I haven’t really been listening to too much Simple Minds at all lately. As the years of my fandom went on, I used to wonder if I would ever tire of listening to them as intently as I have done all these years. Worried what it would mean for me if that time ever came. I was never sure it ever would. A couple of times it did happen for brief periods…but it was mostly a kind of “forced circumstance” thing. Like with the “real fans” episode. When that was happening, I found it hard to listen to anything. After a time I could listen to early stuff but I couldn’t listen to later stuff. To Walk Between Worlds. It was all too attached to Jim. 

I’m worried I’ve grown tired of listening to the music. Even things I really love! Albums I really love like Empires And Dance. I’ve been looking through Spotify over the past week or so and I am finding myself thinking “Do I *want* to listen to Simple Minds? Aw naw, you’re good”, kind of thing. Then I think “well maybe I’ve just grown a bit weary of the studio stuff…what about a bootleg?” and I’ll look at my list of bootlegs and think equally “Aw, naw. You’re good.” It’s kind of terrifying me because I have never actually felt like this!

I’m worried I am too deeply entrenched into attaching my feelings for the music with other things. The vibe from the fanbase. The vibe from Jim. I mean…I’ll love Jim for as long as a summer’s day. Never seem to tire of him (though I really should – for sanity’s sake). Lord knows he probably wishes I’ll fuck off and leave him alone. I can’t erase that feeling as it is no doubt true. Either that, or he really doesn’t give a shit either way. I don’t know which feeling is the worst to grapple with – dislike or indifference?

And I wish there was some news or just SOMETHING coming along! It’s a long wait until March! Not from this point in time – but from the time the wait has started. And I know Simple Minds have taken breaks like this in the past – but they haven’t been forced upon them, or us as fans. With gigs and the music industry starting to get back on its feet now, the lack of anything from SMHQ feels like a gaping chasm! 

Was it just me that found it highly ironic in Jim’s post about (potentially) having tea with Colin Hay last week that he mentioned watching Hay’s online gigs? I mean, really? Talk about rub it in, right?! To be fair – I have watched only one of these kind of gigs – a Field Music one, and it suffered technical problems, so it isn’t something that overly appeals to me. And I am guessing, and had guessed from very early on that the idea of this kind of thing didn’t appeal to Jim much and that SM fans had a snowball’s chance in hell of seeing anything like it from them. Fair enough. I wasn’t going to push the argument. But where was the imagination? Where was something that said, “well, we could do THIS!”, etc?! So, we got a little performance for Christmas – for charity, so that was great, and some Spotify playlists from Jim until he escaped his Glasgow lockdown prison? And I KNOW they’ve been working, so…why not throw us something from those sessions? Why not? In the meantime we get reschedule after reschedule and the Oz/NZ fans get a full tour cancellation. 

Jim…can you not appreciate how disheartening it has been for us?! Is loyalty NOT a two-way street? It is great to have you at least corresponding with more regularity. But this is why I felt so disheartened at seeing your reply to Colin Hay last week. It shows you’re looking at the band FB page and if you are looking – why not engage with us more?! 

We love you and we’re missing you. We’re missing seeing you live. And it seemed like you were going to start engaging with us again. A post back in early August titled “White Hot Days” seemed to show a little bit of interactivity with a couple of fans and I thought, “Oh, he’s back! He’s really back!” And, as I say it’s been great that you’ve been posting more of late, but…

Anyway…I’m pissing in the wind. As if you visit here and will see any of this anyway. 

I’m scared that my passion is waning. That my love for this band is dying out. I mean, surely this is the death knell, right? When you no longer feel that compelled to listen to the music any more? 

Do I still ogle Jim? By heck I do! Do I listen to him talk? Listen to interviews and watch videos? The interviews, yes! The music videos…sometimes. 

This is genuinely the first time I have felt this…waning in the passion of listening to the music. For the past week listening to anything else but Simple Minds. 

I had been through a similar thing with David Bowie. Before Simple Minds, Bowie was my “go to” for everything. And I listened to him A LOT…and it waned when they came along. I listened to Bowie less because I had SM. But now I barely listen to either of them.

That memory of Boys From Brazil on the coach ride home is such a wonderful, special memory. I don’t want creating new memories like that to come to an end.