Let’s try and reset the clock and think of the good things.
Before I start that – thank you to Sage, who commented on a previous post with some rather apt – as her name suggests – sage words.
I’d like to think I am intelligent enough, and I know what needs to be done but I am obviously very emotionally stunted. So, I can have all the analytical, rational and lateral intelligence in all the world but if I can’t keep my emotions in check, or I struggle to rationalise my emotional wellbeing, that’s when it all falls apart.
I will post below here what Sage has written to me. They are words I know are true and right. I wish I had the emotional intelligence and resolve I need right now.
I need to apologise to Jim.
For one final time I am going to try to explain this as best I can. I don’t know why I feel so compelled to explain this, I just do. Maybe somehow to just rationalise it for myself as much as anything? I don’t know.
I hate for it to be misconstrued that I am IN LOVE with Jim and that I wish to be with him. IT IS NOT THAT! It really is not that! I do love him, yes. But it is a love of adulation, not of lust or desire (and lust and desire isn’t love anyway). Any notion like that is tied up with Jim in the past. The young Jim. The 22/23 year old Jim that I confess to being visually and aesthetically drawn to.
It is not how I feel about the Jim of the present. The Jim of the present is more where the emotions lay. It’s a romantic love, but not in a way that means I wish to be with him. I will never claim to know him. I don’t. And I never will. That’s the bitter pill. That’s the thing that causes the pain. That I would like to actually know him and have him be fond of me and see me as a dear friend. A friend. Nothing more! Not a lover. Not a girlfriend. Just someone that he would like to talk to on occasion. Someone who he’d think of during the day, pondering “I wonder how she’s doing? I hope she’s okay?” and then would get in contact to see how I was. That’s it.
But I am aware that even that is A LOT. That it’s a lot to ask and I can wish for that as much as I like but if he doesn’t feel that way, if there is no element of him liking me or trusting me or wanting to allow me in, then…it can’t be forced. I can wish for it all I like – until I make myself sick with it.
I am sorry, Jim, if it seemed or felt as though I was endlessly making demands of you. My naivety in thinking that positivity between us would have us feed each other. But it can’t work like that when only one person is providing the positivity. And I guess you have given me plenty of explanations as to why you are where you are and I am where I am.
You radiate light and warm, generosity and humour, wit and charm. You’re articulate and a lot of the time erudite. But maybe that is all public persona? I never felt that it was. One can only act for so long.
I am just me. Just one person. Just one fan in… how many fans? How many people wanting your attention? Wanting – and I hate this term, but I guess it applies – a piece of you? And you as one man, JUST “a man” (as several people like to remind me time and again), can only spread yourself so far.
I started typing out this post downstairs in the dining area of the living room, but I have now moved upstairs to my bedroom. The little bit of “office” area of my bedroom. Where I am hoping to keep looking after this blog. I look up just over and above the screen of my PC and this is what I see.
Sunshine. He is sunshine. He just radiates it. Warmth and beauty. And I just want to bask in it – constantly! I want to bask in the glow of him. And that should be enough. To look at the beauty of him. To bask in the sunshine of him. For it to be what it was when I wrote this that follows…
“…You are tantalisingly tangible
Yet I don’t really know who you are.
I find you intoxicating
And will be happy
Spending all the rest of my days
Drinking you in from afar.”
I need to find that place again. The place in which I never made demands. The place before Hunter And The Hunted. The place before he knew my name. Knew who I was. Knew what a stupid, pathetic creature I am.
I need to stop beating myself up. And I need to stop wanting him to be things he can’t be.
Right about this time seven years ago I’d be making those tentative steps again (after trying in 2006 and it not really going anywhere) to try and get a handle on the Simple Minds back catalogue. Listening to Life In A Day. It really was a slow burn (“stay – I’m burning slow”) but of the handful of songs that seeped their way in…the first to take hold was All For You. I loved the guitar riff. It’s a rather more “traditional rock” piece from them, with a standard verse/chorus song structure, which is actually fairly unusual for Jim to write that way during those early years. I love the backing vocals also. His voice is a higher register at that point but I find it soft and sultry on that song.
It was the seed that germinated what I was to become as a Simple Minds fan.
I wish I could start again. Wipe the slate clean. Not get so…invested in it. Perhaps have stayed away from going anywhere near the band’s Facebook page? Oh, but had I done that? Well, I wouldn’t have met the beautiful people I have met. I wouldn’t have some of the friends I have now. Including the one whose pictures of “Mr Sunshine” are on the wall just above.
And I wouldn’t have the good and wonderful and happy memories I have of Jim. Perhaps for a time he actually DID like me? He made a fuss enough. But was it actually of me? Of Larelle, or just “the new fan”. That I was just an object of curiosity and intrigue for a time until I shared everything about myself and there was no intrigue left. No “enigma”.
And…I do this too. I do this far too much. I overanylise and “overthink”. I read too much into things and I put into them a degree of importance that just doesn’t exist, or only exists for me alone.
But I feel like Jim gave me a strength. He gave me a strength and a belief in myself that I had never had. And the things it allowed me to do no doubt seem minuscule to many, but for me they were momentous and profound. And I loved him for it. I loved him for freeing me from the things I felt restricted by.
But I guess it has come full circle and now I feel somewhat imprisoned by those feelings that at one time felt so freeing and liberating. Because I keep craving those things.
He has NEVER bored me. He has never made me tired and he has never stopped being a curiosity to me.
I live in hope that my awareness of my emotional stupidity is the thing that sees me through it. But I also fear a feeling of a loss. That I need to walk away from it all. That before I drown, I should try and get myself out of the water. Instead of just praying he’ll reach out to me with a hand, with a fingertip to say “I won’t let you drown.”
It’s like… I want permission. I want permission to love him. I want to know that it’s okay that I do. And that he doesn’t see me as odd or strange, or thinks I’m weird or an idiot, or worst of all – pities me. That he understands. That he cares that I care! But how can I expect that of him?
I don’t know where I go from here. I feel I should talk about it because… because supposedly it helps to talk? I worry about “exposing” myself.
Sharing the things that make/made me most happy. This is how it started. I titled this “And Then It Continued…” but this is really how it started.
I loved this “artwork” so much. And I couldn’t believe that he liked it as much as I did. For that I will be forever grateful. I wish it would have got printed in the Heart Of The Crowd book. It was all I wanted in there. Just the piece. Not even any words. But for want of the photo of it being printed – the words had to suffice.
Does he still have his copy on a wall? I can only ever hope. Or lie to myself that yes, it’ll be there. Somewhere.
I know my copy is still on my bedroom wall. And always will be. All the days of my life. It’ll be going nowhere. And I guess that’s the thing.
In my vlog post yesterday in discussing my visit to the record fair on Saturday – I mentioned that I had picked up a copy of Ken Lockie’s album The Impossible. I had very little knowledge of what I was buying. Only the vague idea that somehow Jim was involved in it. That he provided backing vocals on it was what I believe it to be. On that hunch I bought the album when I saw it there in the rack.
Even the guy whose stall it was was flummoxed when I presented him with the record asking him how much he wanted for it. Flipping it over and perusing it he says “where did you get this?” (ie: from where within the boxes on his stall had I retrieved it.) I showed him where. “Is he Scottish?”, he enquires further. “Erm…maybe? I’m not sure.” It was like the blind leading the blind. (In actual fact he’s a Geordie.)
When I got home, I looked over the sleeve notes. I see Jim’s name on the back, still at this stage none the wiser as to what his exact role is. I also see to my surprise the name Steve Hillage on the production side.
And here we are! Yes! This MMM has yet ANOTHER loose Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call link. I’m not sure of the timing of the release of the album – most things about it just show a release date of 1981. Jim’s appearance on the album on the credit notes shows he appears “courtesy of Simple Minds”, so I am guessing it was released as Simple Minds were still negotiating their deal with Virgin?
It’s a bit of a “who’s who” list of guest appearances on the album. I mean, geez, Nash The Slash is on the track with Jim! John McGeoch and John Doyle (both former bandmates in Magazine and later in The Armoury Show) both guest on the album as well. And former bandmates in Cowboys International appear too.
So I guess this is where Jim got his first exposure to “Old Cabbage Head” as a producer? I really would love to ask him about it. If he had any recollection of it at all. I mean, was he even in the studio with Ken to lay down his BV? Or was it just done elsewhere? Another studio in another part of the country? Did he meet Hillage then? Or was the meeting up with Hillage not until they actually started working with him on SAF/SFC? I guess these questions are like peeing in the wind and will have to remain as ambiguous as his lyrics. Guesswork.
The sum of Jim’s contribution is on this track linked below. The lead single off the album – Dance House. Lockie of course returns the favour by being a backing vocalist on SAF/SFC.
I’ve got to say, this track has become quite the earworm – hence the artwork it inspired last night. Enjoy!
There is a path that leads me here to this post. A path that was an unexpected but wonderful stroll. The stroll continues, still. I’m not sure how much of this I can explain. Best to keep it a bit cryptic and vague. We love ambiguity – ain’t that right, Jim?
Suffice it to say one thing led to another.
There is a Sons And Fascination link here. Or should that be “Sons And Fascist Nations”? An explanation of that in due course.
A couple of my most prized possessions in my Simple Minds collection are copies of albums produced for the overseas market. One album released for the U.S. market via Stiff Records was titled Themes For Great Cities and was a compilation of tracks from Real To Real Cacophony (Premonition) to several tracks from Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call. The other is a version of the Sons And Fascination album released by Virgin Records for the Central American market.
There are patterns on the cover. The artwork by the one and only Mr Malcolm Garrett, with photography by Peter Anderson. You can see shapes and a figure. I could see a figure on these covers.
Then there is the reissue of I Travel by Virgin Records in 1983 which bares a photo of Jim, taken by graphic designer Garry Mouat, on stage in motion as if marching. “In central Europe men are marching” always springs to mind seeing that cover. What I never really took in is what appears in the overlay of the photo of Jim and I didn’t see it properly until Malcolm was kind enough to show me this…
I did see that something was overlaid on the photo of Jim but what I didn’t know was that it was a variation on the figure seen on the Stiff Records “Themes” release and Mexican version of SAF.
I also missed the very obvious figure on the Sweat In Bullet sleeve art. Mostly due to the fact the figure has the head of a photo of Elizabeth Taylor.
And so…why did I alter the title of the album to “Sons And Fascist Nations” earlier, I hear you ask? Well, here’s the thing. In talking to Malcolm about the album cover photoshoot with Sheila Rock and asking him about the cars, we got to talking about other art relevant to the Sons And Fascination period. He told me about certain things that inspired some of the cover art. This included him telling me about the image above and that it was inspired by similar figures like it that had appeared in a book he had seen. The book in question is called “Mostra Della Rivoluzione Fascista”. Issued in 1932 to be a compendium to an exhibition on Fascist propaganda – a “celebration” of the 10th anniversary of Mussolini’s march on Rome. Seemingly exhibited in a building erected specifically for this solitary purpose – also known as the “Mostra Della Rivoluzione Fascista”. The exhibition proved so popular that it extended beyond its initial intended six month run and ran for two years. It was seen by almost 4 million visitors by its close towards the end of 1934.
You can view selected pages of the book by clicking HERE
I will state here Malcolm’s initial reluctance to have me write and publish this post and he had approval of this before posting. And I do understand the reluctance. You wouldn’t want to be seen condoning Fascism! But it’s about art and the aesthetic and not the political. Well, that is how I see it. This post nor we as individuals are condoning Fascism! But when it came to the use of the “Marching Men” (as they have come to be called during our conversations) and the line in I Travel “in central Europe men are marching” (long since changed by Jim since he now always sings “all over men are marching”). It conjured up the exact imagery used on the Virgin released I Travel cover.
I missed the image of the Marching Man on the Sweat In Bullet cover, yes, and I don’t see the link quite as obviously as with I Travel but listening over some of the lyrics then… it could be “ambition in motion” or to “grow in size” or to “grow more / take more” that makes it fit?
Either way, all four covers featuring the Marching Men are striking and impressive. And they certainly make a statement.
Another short point – as I was researching to do other posts that were SAF/SFC themed, I shared an article from New Sounds New Styles printed in 1981. Ian Cranna interviewed Jim for the piece. Check out the magazine layout! Guess who was behind the layout of New Sounds New Styles? Yes! You got it!
By this point, the band had only appeared on the back cover of their albums. On Life In A Day they were on the back cover and also on the back of Empires And Dance. Inner sleeves too. But only the inner sleeve of Real To Real Cacophony. Not up to this point on the FRONT COVER of an album. Not until Sons And Fascination. They were reluctant and the images of them are somewhat obscured but the images reflect the movement and motion of the music contained within. The “travelogue” musical sensibility of the album. It was a masterstroke. Perfectly encapsulating the audiovisual.
I find the whole aspect of the cover art for the Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call albums and singles…erm…fascinating. And if I do then I thought others would too.
Below are a couple of YouTube clips showing footage of the Mostra Della Rivoluzione Fascista, including a modern day (in Italian) look back at the exhibition as well as footage from the time of a visit to the exhibition from Mussolini himself!
A massive thank you to Malcolm Garrett for allowing me to tell the story of the Marching Men images and what inspired them into being.
As promised in a previous post about Boys From Brazil, here is information about the Kensington Roof Gardens. The tenancy was held by Virgin Limited Edition since (despite some erroneous information saying it was 1982) 1981.
I think Simple Minds must have been one of the first bands on the label to make use of the space, having promotional photos for Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call done there with Jill Furmanovsky. As well as shooting the video for Sweat In Bullet in the Spanish part of the gardens.
Along with that, Love Song was shot inside the Babylon nightclub. I have always wondered where the Love Song video was filmed and only as I was researching for the post on Boys From Brazil did I see information on the wonderful Dream Giver Redux about the Kensington Roof Gardens. As I said previously I was aware of a Branson/Virgin connection with the location of the SAF/SFC promo photos and the Sweat In Bullet video but thought it was Branson’s private garden or gardens at the Manor House. And I had no idea that the Love Song video was done at the same site as the promo photoshoot and the video for Sweat In Bullet. I had always just assumed it was some nightclub in Glasgow or Edinburgh.
You can read about the Babylon nightclub by clicking the photo above.
Back to the gardens themselves. The gardens were designed in the 1930s so now it is entirely understandable to me why it feels to have this certain…air of sophistication around it. And the way the Minds boys are clothed and photographed for the promo photos ties right in with that aesthetic. They look so bloody glamorous! I love those photos, and Jim looks as hot AF. I mean, they look like they’ve swanned in off the set of The Great Gatsby or something. They look amazing!
I’ve added a couple of videos about the gardens sourced from a really insightful article about the gardens that you can look at by clicking on the photo of the Spanish part of the garden below. There are a couple of older Pathé News clips you can watch of the gardens in 1938 and 1949, just check along the right hand side when you click on the article. All their resource information is down that side in columns.
And for good measure, I added the videos for Love Song and Sweat In Bullet here in the post for you guys to enjoy and maybe see things in a slightly different perspective now.
It’s a shame it’s currently closed. But there seems to be plans afoot to have it open back up again. I think a new tenant has been found. Stay tuned!
I never shared this one properly before, so here it is fully scanned. God I love those Sheila Rock photos. Jim is utterly lickable! Him being photographed without a shirt on (not that you can tell it much from the way it’s printed in the magazine) is ALWAYS a bonus! 🤤🤤😛😛😛
And so you can use the zoom feature better, I will add the pages again in a gallery – then you can click on the thumbnails and use the feature on the bottom right of the page to see the full scan.
I am very proud to know this lady and call her my friend and to do the tiny bits of work I do for her. It’s a privilege. And I don’t know how she puts up with my endless sycophantic, forlorn “I love Jim” crap but she does and it means the world.
So here I am, on this blog, waxing lyrical about the lady whose photos of Simple Minds and of Jim have always been and always will be my favourites. But not just those, so many others of hers too. And not just of pop stars and punk bands, either.
You can read Virginia’s interview with Artefact magazine by clicking the photo below…
You can always check out Virginia’s social media pages on Facebook and Instagram – just search for “Virginia Turbett Photography” on FB and IG to find her. Prints are always available to buy via her website at www.virginiaturbett.com
Today we commemorate the achievement of Simple Minds being at No. 1 in the US chart in 1985 with the ubiquitous Don’t You (Forget About Me) with some archival camera trickery. Or is it? Did she take a tumble? Did Jim trip her up? Or…as I suggested to her…did she finally fall under his spell? Lol. No! This is the lady who told Iggy Pop she was too busy working in her dark room (she was working when he called to be fair) to go and “hang out” with him!!! (I know!!!) I doubt Jim had much of a chance.