I had been pondering doing this for some time, once I felt my collection had been big enough to deem it worthy. Probably the past 18 months or 2 years, but we were so crammed in our place in Luton, it never really seemed doable.
Then we moved to Glasgow, had much more space to display things, Coronavirus happened and Classic Pop took a break from publication.
When they returned after several months of lockdown and seeing them on their Facebook page appealing to readers to put their “superfan” stories forward, I thought I’d finally take the plunge. I emailed them, saying what a fan I was of Simple Minds and showed them a sample of my collection.
They were interested, asked me to fill out a little questionnaire about my fandom and to submit several more photos, including a head shot of myself. All lovingly submitted with care a day later.
It went quiet. Although they were back in action after lockdown, and having recently gone to publishing monthly prior to lockdown, they seemed to have return to a bi-monthly publication. One issue had only just come out, so I was hopeful I had timed it for inclusion for the next issue.
The next issue came out at the end of October and I thought “Oh, wouldn’t it be timely if it was printed in this issue for my birthday?! That would be ssoooo awesome!” Sadly, there wasn’t even a Super Fan article within the Nov/Dec 2020 issue. I was a bit gutted but thought they would publish it whenever they were ready.
In the meantime, the Heart of the Crowd book was just 5 weeks from publication and that hopefully I’d have that to be excited about.
In recent days I had been wondering when the next issue was due.
This morning, I see the postie make his way up the path to the front door. I wasn’t really expecting anything at all. Just some junk, or a bill or two. I heard what sounded like a magazine drop onto the doormat and went to collect it, hoping it was the new issue of Classic Pop (I’m also subscribed to a drumming magazine).
To my joy it was! But the big question was – well questions were: had there been a Super Fan article put in this issue AND more so, would it be MY story?
I went to the “Contents“ list at the beginning of the magazine…and there…
ERMAGEEEERRRRRRRD! A belated little Christmas bonus! And a lovely little extra to ring in the New Year with.
The icing on it is to see my Hunter And The Hunted piece printed in there as it didn’t get to be printed in the Heart Of The Crowd. I am so happy to see that in there.
I never wanted it to be seen as a boastful thing. It was why I grappled about even doing this for so long. But I am proud of my collection and why I am an avid enough fan to collect things. It’s much more than material possession for me. it is so much more about the band and the music and what it means to me and the importance it has in my life.
The whole “Super Fan” thing still doesn’t sit entirely well with me. All of us believe in some degree that we are ALL the “biggest fan” of our favourite bands and artists – and we all are. And there is the stigma of what happened in the summer of 2018 that makes me tread rather warily around the notion of the “super fan” – the “mega fan”, uber fan… diehard, “real” fan.
I’ll never really know what makes a fan a “real” fan – but whatever actually defines it…I am real enough. I live and breathe this band. And they make my existence a happier and more enjoyable one. I can’t remember life much pre-Simple Minds. But life since the summer of 2014 has been … wonderful – even in the darker periods amongst that. They bring light to darkness.
Back in May I had a chat with Ronnie Gurr at Hanging Around Books about a photo of Jim that I would have liked to have gotten a copy of from the photographer who took it, but I looked into their prices (without enquiring with them directly) and saw they wanted over £1000 for a print!! 😱😱
The conversation moved on to the topic of a Record Mirror cover, and the use of a photo of Brian McGee in his undies that Ronnie had taken when with the band on tour in Germany in the late summer of 1980.
He said to me “this (see below) is the photo I submitted for the cover, but they went with the one of Brian instead.”
I sat looking at the screen in a mixture of awe and disbelief. Awe that such a fabulous photo of Jim had been stowed away unseen for so many years, and disbelief that the editor at Record Mirror snubbed the use of this photo for one of Brian in his togs!
Not only that, but the music mag then goes on to erroneously name Brian as “Mike McNeil”. Geezo! They don’t even get the erroneous name correct!
Anyway, 40 years down the line, I was in fangirl raptures to see such a wonderful photo of Jim. Since seeing it, I have been hankering for a copy and over these months I have every now and then been virtually nudging Ronnie for a copy of the photo.
AT LAST! The day arrived yesterday. I received three photos in total. The photo above of Jim which measures 10×8 inches, the black and white group photo below of the band on the flight staircase, which measures 7×5 inches, and the one below that of the band by the Berlin Wall, which measures 6×4 inches.
All three are wonderful, new and fairly rare treasures. All three photos were taken by Ronnie. But of the three, of course that one of Jim (for me) is the most highly prized. It is now in a frame by my bedside. The b&w band photo is framed and sitting atop the other bedside drawer.
If you would like to get prints yourself, you can contact Ronnie via email at: email@example.com
All of the photos featured in the Hanging Around Books photozines are available to order as prints. You can view the catalogue of books available by visiting hangingaroundbooks.com (just click the link!)
I love these photos! There were some photos shared on the SM group page by photographer Etienne Tordoir and he linked to his archive of photos on the facebook page that is linked to below on this post.
On that page were photos he took of SM performing at Ancienne Belgique in Brussels on March 29th, 1984. The photos of Jim – especially his interactivity with the crowd – are just beautiful! Look at all those hands reaching out for him.
There are some photos surfacing showing the way the look and layout of the book “Heart Of The Crowd (A Fan History)” is like. The photos look really lovely, as does the layout of the book. With the release of the book now only a week away, it is getting all rather exciting!
Back in May, Ronnie Gurr messaged me. I had shared a photo of Jim and was saying how much I’d love to get a copy of it from the photographer that took it, but they seemed a pretty big name these days and were asking $1500 a print. And I REALLY don’t have that sort of money.
I didn’t name names. Ronnie was intrigued as to who it was. We got to chatting and somehow ended up on the subject of magazine covers and I mentioned the cover of the Record Mirror from 1980 with an erroneously named Brian McGee (they named him as Mick!) on the cover – in his briefs.
Ronnie told me that the photo of Brian isn’t what he had submitted to be the photo on the cover but it was actually a photo he took of Jim that he thought was better suited to it. And by heck, was it! I was in absolute agreement. I guess the Record Mirror editor thought people would want to see a band member pretty much in their “all-together”…but…well, unless it WAS actually Jim, not me!
Anyway…these photos shared of the book show the photo that Ronnie shared with me. I have just been sitting on this image for months, so desperately wanting to show it but thinking better of it.
I could have asked Ronnie’s permission to post it here but I really didn’t think he’d be wanting me to share it. And, I still have a clearer version of it (still just a snap of it he took on…his living room floor, I guess, considering the carpet I can see in the image I have of it). I still won’t share that one though. It isn’t mine to share. But I hope you can see from how it has been photographed in the pages of the book that it is well braw.
Jim looks gorgeous, as always. I just want to run my fingers through all that hair! OMG! You beautiful man, Mr Kerr! 🥰🥰🥰
Just ONE more thing to be excited about the book for. And I await the chance of getting a really decent copy of this photo from Mr Gurr. He tells me the New Year. I’m counting the days! Tick tock, Ronnie!
UPDATE: currently (and as much as it pains me to link to this site) the book is showing at a discounted rate of £31.19 on Amazon – click HERE to pre-order from the site.
A short piece in the latest edition of Uncut Magazine about Dana Gillespie and her new book.
They spoke to her early on in the MainMan podcast series, in which she pretty much described herself as David Bowie’s f*** buddy – well, I guess a bit more than that – but she was emphatic that she was NOT his “girlfriend”. Merely more a friend who just happened to be a girl. “And, sometimes we got a bit…horizontal.” Needs must. Lol
It actually sounded like from her telling of it, that they felt quite kindred and enjoyed a very artistic tete-a-tete. Her relationship with him was certainly vastly different to that of Hermione Farthingale. And it endured for far longer. They remained life-long friends.
A shame the reviewer was off the mark with his interpretation of I Know but other than that, it’s a pretty great review. This album has been awash with plaudits. All richly deserved, of course. It is well braw!
Over the past week, I feel the word “punk” has been sullied by a couple of people. One retrospectively. Let me explain:
In a previous post here on the blog, I talked about a letter that John Foxx had shared on his FB page. The letter was from David Bowie to Tony Visconti of a shopping list of new singles and albums DB was keen to get his hands on. Within it he talked about punk and flippantly used the words “pink, peak poak, pan” and then said “Oh, yes. PUNK” in brackets referring to the shop that Visconti may find the records that were on said shopping list. I felt DB’s flippancy was about the stupid labels and pigeonholes we place upon things – but I could be wrong? Perhaps by this time for Bowie “punk” was indeed a dirty word?
The other has been in recent days. A fan on SMOG talking about the influence punk had on early Simple Minds. He seemed to talk about it with much disdain. Saying stuff like “thank God you guys moved away from punk.” I didn’t get involved in it because, well…to each their own what they think about particular genres of music. I thought their ideas and opinions were rather misguided but…it’s not my place to educate anyone on anything. He ruffled enough feathers to even have Jim himself (? It’s a bone of contention, actually. I was led to believe by a certain source that this account *is* genuinely Jim but…I dunno. Who knows? I’m trying to get myself away from all this “hanging on his every word and feeling like my life isn’t worth living if he doesn’t speak to me” bullshit that I keep cycling through endlessly and doing my own fucking head in with!) reply to him.
The guy followed it up with a further post about the hypothesis of what/where/how things would have panned out for SM had they stuck with punk. This was when I came in on things.
For one, punk started much earlier than its deemed apex in 1977. I definitely hear and feel and get a sense of punk from Velvet Underground recordings. Listen to the album with Nico – the Warhol banana covered one. Where is the maestro musicianship on that? Tell me! No one plays THAT well on it. Lou Reed is not exactly the best singer in the world. Nico does that kind of – and there is an actual German word for this that eludes me right now – “speak singing” she does. The only one that sounds like he tries to hold a note when singing is John Cale. The Velvet Underground is DEFINITELY punk. In its truest context. That the music, the story, the telling of the tale is MORE important than the musicianship. Or that…it’s okay not to be perfect, if the message is conveyed right.
Because, Lou might not be the best singer in the world – but he’s a poet and a realist and an orator for the time. And, a damn incredible songwriter. A filter. A channel for the message to be projected through.
Likewise, Nico may not have the voice of an angel, as such – but she certainly conveys emotion and she makes you take notice.
The Stooges were formed in the late sixties. Iggy Pop by much touted definition is deemed the “Godfather of punk.”
The New York Dolls were punk. Well, perhaps straddled punk with aspects of glam. I mean, nobody ever sees Slade as glam in terms of their musical output compared to their wardrobe. Well, for me it’s the same with New York Dolls. To me they are 100% punk. They just didn’t dress punk.
The Ramones – punk all the way. But there is sssoooo much rockabilly in their sound too. Listen to Rock n’ Roll High School, FFS. It’s far more 50s throwback rockabilly to my ears than what the UK brings forward as punk.
And as I said to Philip – there is so much more to the word “punk” than a strict musical styling. It’s a culture. A mindset. An ethos. An attitude. A banner. A proclamation.
And there’s also one of its earlier exponents too! MC5 – Kick Out The Jams! Released in 1969, my friends. NINETEEN SIXTY NINE!
When I saw Alice Cooper last year, they were on the bill of support acts as (as they are called these days) MC50. They still have it.
Punk, as a word that became a touchstone, is ssooo much more than music. Look at all that it gave to a generation of the UK as a result! An attitude, a mindset that said “I have creativity inside of me. I don’t need a fine arts degree to be told I am good at this. I’ll get ahead and make my own way!” It gave the working classes freedom to believe they could express their creativity and pursue a future in the arts without – one: feeling they needed a financial foundation – because frankly – there was NOTHING to lose and two: that they should suppress what they feel they want to express due to their background.
Vivienne Westwood is punk.
John Cooper Clarke is punk.
Smash Hits magazine is punk.
Postcard Records is punk.
Factory Records is punk.
The Hacienda is (was) punk.
Anything that you can think of…not just in music…all if it that comes out from the late 1970s, it’s all rooted in that punk spirit.
As Jim said in his reply to Philip: “without the punk ethic we would never have begun and evolved into Simple Minds. That is a fact!”
Punk was a gateway to so much more.
Photo by the wonderful Laurie Evans
Is it a dirty word? It seems to be for Philip. Why? I’m not quite sure. I just don’t think he sees the fluidity in the word itself. To him, I am guessing “punk” is this awful style of music that he doesn’t like very much and that’s that.
Oh, but it is ssssooomuch more than that! It is all of the above! And – it is Simple Minds! Even their name is rooted in punk. Yes, it may have come from a David Bowie song but…just listen to it. Really take in what the name sounds like.
I’m not sure I have put this post across as I wanted to. SOMEONE came along throwing a spanner in the works this morning – distracting me with a post just as I was getting my brain cogs in motion and piecing together this post – making bullet points to it and giving myself a bit of dictation on my phone so I would stick with how I wanted this post to go.
Oh, well. He can disturb and distract me whenever he likes! I shouldn’t be bloody complaining that he distracted me now, should I? Geez! Lol. Cry out for the man’s attention and then when I got something from him, I’m there saying “Fuck off, Jim! I’m busy. Do you mind, pal?!” Lol. Hilarious!
And hey, I just remembered – I’M “Punk”! Lol. This silly nickname my brother David gave me many moons ago. When he wanted to antagonise me. Wind me up. He’d call me “punk”. With a kind of spit of disdain he’d say it to me. “Go away, punk”, when I was annoying him. Lol. Oh, god I loved him! ❤️
Today I awoke (or as Jim would say it, “wakened up”) and the sky was still in a deeper hue of dawn for a star to be visible. I wasn’t expecting that. It was quite bright too. Obviously. Bright enough for me to see it without any optical aid and in my ever fading dwam.
Although I know it wasn’t a shooting star, I wished upon it all the same.
“Star light, star bright / I’m the star you see tonight / And I wish I may, I wish I might / Be in your dreams tonight”
Today I feel a little brighter. The sky was brighter this morning, even if still in that deeper hue of dawn that it will be in until the clocks go back next weekend.
I am giggling at things and finding the funny side again.
Acceptance plays a big part in things. It’s that old adage – “(Insert your choice of deity here) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Basically, I’m trying to stop being a dumb fuck. Lol. In the meantime, I wanted to share this. I was taking a keek at the latest Uncut magazine when I didn’t quite take in the title of Elvis Costello’s new album. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to how I initially read it…