Jim’s July Playlist – The Reaction

“The dogs are impatient for attention….” he opened with. Pretty obvious metaphor there. It wasn’t lost on me, I just tried to brush it aside yesterday.

Anyway, I thought with the whole deluded continuation of “discs and doughnuts”, I’d post my reactions to Jim’s choices this month.

Will O The Wisp

I must confess that I really was unfamiliar with the folklore tale behind it. I knew it was a term but really didn’t know anything about it and felt compelled to look it up. It didn’t escape my attention that a variation on the character is known as “the Spunkie” in the Scottish Highlands. Maybe that is where the alternative term for “having spunk” – ie: to be gallus and have attitude and bolshiness – comes from?
Anyway, on to the song itself. After one listen…I’m not sure. Very few songs capture me after a solitary listen, it has to be said. Those that do are pretty damn special. The only judgment I can pass for now is that I probably prefer other Pet Shop Boys songs to this. But I will give it a few more listens…it may lure me in…

Israelites

To be honest, all I could think of initially is this!

But in all seriousness, it’s a great reggae/soul/gospel fusion. Obviously political too – well, to my ears it has a political slant.

She Sells Sanctuary

I have to admit as much I have enjoyed hearing the song over the years, it was a rare one that escaped my knowledge lyrically. Most songs if they grab my attention I’ll educate myself on lyrically. I guess for this I just liked the tune and was happy for Astbury’s lyrics to be just gobbledegook to my ears.

She’s A Mystery To Me

What is NOT to love about the Big O? Geez, the man could sing the phonebook and have you crying tears. An immaculate falsetto too – used to perfection to end the song. My mum bought a copy of Mystery Girl for herself. I had bought a copy of You Got It as a single and she had to trump me. Lol. She loved him. I think she may have even seen him perform live but I am not so sure now – and I can’t really ask her. We were both so saddened by his passing. A great loss at still a relative young age.

When Jim mentioned that semi-conscious half sleep, half wake state, I had to comment about Alasdair Gray, Lanark, and my discovery of the word “dwam”. Reading Lanark, I have been made aware of so many words I had never heard before and “dwam” was just one of them. And because I had never seen/heard it before I had to look up its meaning and I instantly fell in love with it.

7994D6CC-DDA3-4A47-AF2B-D087AF822217

Let The Good Times Roll

The Cars are one of those bands that I dabble into now and again and enjoy listening to a “best of” and then they languish again. Much like how it was for Simple Minds for the longest time. I am only familiar with “the hits” and the use of Drive showing the footage of the Ethiopian famine at Live Aid – forever synonymous with those images. Ingrained on the conscious. As much as Ric Ocasek is seen as the main head of the group, it was the songs with Benjamin Orr on vocals that are my faves – Let’s Go and Just What I Needed, as well as Drive, of course – but all the songwriting is Ric’s. Favourite line is from Let’s Go “she’s got wonderful eyes and a risqué mouth” – combined with Orr’s delivery of it – I just find it damn sexy.

Hey, but it’s Let The Good Times Roll that we’re on about here. I’m surprised Jim didn’t relay the story of the signing to Zoom/Arista as part of it because he had mentioned in the past that as part of the celebration of Simple Minds signing the Arista deal, they went to a Cars gig and it was another reason why the song has resonance with him – as for Simple Minds the “good times” were indeed about to roll.

Kooks

It’s such a fab song. And what a gift David gave to Duncan writing this for him. He and David had such a wonderful relationship. It was heartbreaking seeing Duncan on Twitter announce his imminent fatherhood and the sadness he felt that David wouldn’t get to experience being a grandfather. 😦

The song is just a lovely “you and me against the world, kid!” anthem. Both kitschy and beautiful.

What Jim said of Bowie’s Glastonbury performance I agree with. It actually seemed quite lacklustre and David himself just didn’t seem in the right place for it. His music of the period fell a bit flat for me. He had released album ‘Hours…’ several months prior and I wasn’t keen on it, to be honest. Move ahead three years and Heathen could not have been any different! To me, Heathen is on a par with Low as my all-time favourite Bowie album.

Back to Glasto…I’m not sure what it was beyond the music. His voice seemed weak to me. He had given up smoking. Iman was pregnant with Lexie and so he was trying to stay away from the “cancer sticks” – sadly it seemed to be somewhat to the detriment of his voice at the time. I’ve not watched the performance since the time. I never wanted to go back to it. I was seeing the hype over social media last weekend and I wasn’t particularly fussed. And I certainly didn’t want to put my head above the parapet and express my disappointment with the set back then. Perhaps I should watch it on iPlayer to see if my opinion and feeling has changed?

Almost exactly 12 months later I got to see him live for the one and only time – seeing him at a day long festival at Old Trafford cricket ground called Move. He was top of the bill. Suede were on before him. There were several other acts on the bill – the other highlight being The Divine Comedy (another man who could sing the phonebook and make me swoon – Neil Hannon). The weather was dodgy during the day and when Suede arrived on stage the heavens opened. Brett Anderson did his best to distract us in the crowd from the downpour but we all looked like drowned rats by the time David appeared. When he did appear, the gloaming sunlight returned – as if we had been joined by God himself. I was soaked to the bone and freezing cold, but I didn’t care. He was wonderful.

Thunderstruck

Oh, I have an aversion to Brian Johnson fronted AC/DC, I really do. I can tolerate Back In Black, but after that, I just find them a parody of themselves. To me, Johnson is a mimic of Bon Scott – and not a good one. “Cartoon rock” is a summation I’d agree with. Not when Bon was around though! Not on your nelly.

So, along with the glockenspiel and triangle, we can add “air-drums” to Jim’s calibre of “instruments” he can play? Lol

Thank god I got me a real kit last week! Jim can probably play his air-drums better than I can play my real ones right now though!

CCA1E7DC-EDFB-4335-BAF0-D71513919F95

The Joke

And so we go from the ridiculous to the sublime. Oh, you are too right, Mr Kerr on this one. The emotion in that lady’s voice?! Wow. Nothing else to add.

You can listen to Jim’s playlist here…
(Check Simple Minds FB for his explanation of the choices.)

 

Let’s Rock!

A wonderful friend of mine in Oz – Wendy – has done these amazing rock paintings for me.

When she showed me the progress of the New Gold Dream themed one a few days back, I cried my eyes out. I knew she was working on a silhouette of Jim but I wasn’t expecting that amazing NGD cover background on the rock. I was overwhelmed.

Today she shared photos of both completed rocks with me and I absolutely adore them both.

They will take several weeks to get to me all the way from sunny Queensland, but they will find the most loving home here when they arrive in not-quite-so-sunny Glasgow.

Fiddling With The Kit

I’m starting to get to grips with the new kit. Need to do some height and space adjustments to get it right in the sweet spots I want it in.

Some audio below of me fiddling about. You can hear some of the plethora of sounds you can get from the module settings. The are 10 styles of kit to choose from and then many variations from there.

For those wanting to know exactly what the kit is, it’s a Yamaha DTX452K

 

 

200703-174602.mp3

 

“RockField – The Studio On The Farm” Documentary To Air On BBC Channels!

The documentary on the famous Monmouthshire recording studio is set to air simultaneously on BBC Two Wales and BBC Four on Saturday, July 18th at 9pm BST.

Below is a trailer on the documentary – with a tiny snippet of Jim discussing Simple Minds’ meeting with David Bowie and Iggy Pop while the band were there recording second album Real To Real Cacophony in 1979.

I have been hoping this would be getting a UK airing at some point. Really looking forward to this one.

Bye Bye 2020 – 50th Birthday Bash And The Year Of Gigs.

In exactly 4 months time, I’ll be turning 50. This was meant to be my big celebratory year. You only turn a half-century once, right? (Thankfully!)

So…I decided that this would be the actual LAST HURRAH! The big final bash of a mass of Simple Minds gigs. I go to places around Europe and then the final “holy grail”. The culmination of it all. The place I have prayed I’d be able to see them play in since becoming mega fan – my home city – Sydney. But why stop at Sydney? Melbourne is only an hour on the plane, and cheap enough to get to these days. And I bloody love Melbourne – so there too. And, although I am not a fan of wine or outdoor festivals much (depends on several factors!) I thought I’d go to Bimbadgen in the Hunter Valley too.

The gigs kept mounting up. Copenhagen was meant to be JUST THE FIRST in a year full of SM gigs.

Paris, Bordeaux, Leeds, Dublin, Glasgow – then down to Blenheim Palace for the Nocturne gig – the over to Taormina (roped into that one as I was) a month after that – then a cluster of late summer UK gigs, Aberdeen, Edinburgh (Summer Sessions), Newcastle – then finally the trio of Australian gigs. FOURTEEN in total!

And other gigs besides Simple Minds. More Warm Digits gigs. John Grant. Crowded House. Jimmy Webb. Primal Scream. The Stranglers. Probably others I have forgotten.

All kaput! All…with any luck…happening in 2021. Except…some of these gigs may not be able to take place for me personally in 2021. Yes, I’m sure Jim will be crying into his lemon zinger at the thought of me not being at as many gigs next year. Lol. Given the face I was getting towards the end of the Copenhagen gig, I highly doubt he’ll miss seeing my face.

Hey…”nemesis” took over. (I have been listening to Bettany Hughes’s podcast about “The Ideas That Make Us” – a kind of philosophical history on the ideas and language that makes up modern civilisation – so in the context of “nemesis” in ancient Greece – I am using it in the correct context.)

So, I lick my wounds. I take it on the chin. I have my “woe is me” moment. Count my blessings and get the fuck over it.

Move it forward a year. Crack on.

In the meantime…

Minds Music Monday – All Tomorrow’s Parties – Greatest Ever Cover?

The more I listen to it, the more I think it might just be. If not, then a very close second to Street Hassle. So…what is it about Simple Minds covering Lou Reed songs that makes them so wonderful?

Jim’s worship of Lou? Does it give an extra sense of “duty”? Does he just…care more? Wants to do an even BETTER job on a Reed composition than any other? Well…it’s not just down to Jim that makes these covers such gems. It’s the music of them too. Charlie and Mick making a gorgeous piece for Street Hassle and then Gordy doing his bit for All Tomorrow’s Parties.

It’s what I love most about ATP. There’s a beautiful melancholy to it…melodious melancholy. And I just ADORE Jim’s voice on it. There’s just such a tenderness in his voice. And a tone to his voice that harks back more to Sons And Fascination/New Gold Dream period Jim. The nuances and tone – just really beautiful.

Neon Lights gets shat upon so much by the fans. Most refer to it as “Neon Shites”. I was guilty of it too. I dismissed it rather quickly when I became a mega fan. But I decided to give it more of my time when it was reissued as part of the Rejuvenation box set. And I am glad I did. Granted, it still isn’t perfect – but it certainly isn’t the out and out turkey most fans seem to feel it is. The biggest gem of them all, for me, being this beautiful version of All Tomorrow’s Parties.

To me it gets more and more beautiful with each listen…