The #rumbles continue…
The #rumbles continue…
Glasgow is now a city I am longing to live in. The first time I visited Glasgow was in November, 2016. I felt an instant affiliation with the place. It had been many years I had wanted to visit Scotland’s most populous city. My first (and subsequently ONLY one up until that point) visit to Scotland had been a 16 hour whirlwind visit to Edinburgh and, to be honest, Edinburgh really didn’t do much for me at the time, and so I had always wished to see Glasgow to compare and contrast.
Well, it only took me another 15 years to get to Glasgow! It was a “freebie”. I had auditioned and secured a place on quiz show Fifteen To One, so my trip was all expenses paid. I arrived on the evening of November 5th – Bonfire Night. I was up on the 11th floor of the Jurys Inn on Jamaica Street. I may not be a “kid called hope” and the only reason I was holding out my hand was to film the view of the Clyde from “this highrise land”. And I wasn’t seeing the Northern Lights, but I was seeing fireworks being fired off all over the south and east sides of the city. It was beautiful.
Obviously my soundtrack for that night WASN’T Oh Jungleland but Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel.
The first thing I did when I arrived in Glasgow was to get a cab to the Old Dumbarton Road and to Tantrum Doughnuts. I bought three of them to go so I could enjoy them once I got to the Jurys Inn. As I waited for the taxi to come and collect me and get me to the hotel, I was offered a cigarette by a very dishevelled (in all likelihood homeless) but kindly gent. “No, I’m sorry. I don’t smoke, but thanks for offering anyway.” Even a Weegie that hard on his luck would offer a complete stranger a cigarette. Was I a little scared? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. That section of Old Dumbarton Road at that time was not exactly teeming with people and it was already dark and I was alone. Despite feeling a little vulnerable, I felt a huge sense of being welcomed.
Anyway…on to the song itself!
Uplifting from the get go with a fun little keyboard melody and a great guitar riff from Mr Burchill. Subtle yet perfect basslines from Mr Giblin and immaculate Gaynor drumbeat.
Only Jim could make a bleak and cold winter in Glasgow sound romantic “you’ve got the long nights” – put a parentheses of lines around it “you’ve got the love drugs” and “you got the heartbeat that spirals to heaven” and you have an irresistible romantic image of the city.
It has been a favourite Simple Minds song since I first heard it back in 1985. The only album I ever had of Simple Minds’ for many years was Once Upon A Time. I played the whole album regularly once I had it…but I never really kept up the momentum of being a Simple Minds fan. Never felt compelled to explore the back catalogue. Lost touch with them after a year or so after OUAT was released. Remember liking Belfast Child a few years later…but that was it.
Oh Jungleland to me is much more a homage to Glasgow as a whole. Waterfront concentrates more on the Clyde to me. Mr Kerr may tell me otherwise.
It’s uplifting and gives a sense of belonging. It feels like it says within the context of the lyrics…“This is my city. My people. It’s the city that made me.” The place has a beauty all its own. I see it every time I’m there. And that phrase…the city’s moto has never been a truer symbol of a city I have ver seen “people make Glasgow”. They do.
They place I grew up in is an area of south-western Sydney called Busby. On a street called Ayrshire Street. The family surname is McInnes (that’s the Scottish version of the spelling, either this or Mac). I have a mixture of Irish, English, German and Aborigine (the Scots blood is in my siblings – I should have actually been a Lawson, but took the McInnes name for convenience – well, more had it foisted on me). I can’t tell you what kind of annoying hell that was growing up – having the name Larelle – which NOBODY in Australia seems able to pronounce properly! – combine that with McInnes – then put Ayrshire Street, Busby into the mix and I DREADED being asked for my name and address over the phone! At least in person I could just ask for a pen and spell it all. Phone calls that I knew I needed to make where these questions would be asked became ritual “Larelle = L – A – R – E – double L – E. McInnes = M – C – I – double N – E – S. Fifteen – ONE FIVE Aryshire Street: A – Y – R – S – H – I – R – E street. Busby = B – U – S – B – Y. I DO NOT miss those days! And, yes, I still do have to do spelling of my name and address, but now in the days of the Internet, not so much. Phew!
Back then I would have NEVER foreseen the notion that one day I would be moving to Scotland. It was never really something on my radar. There was always more of an allure to the UK, culturally. The music in particular. I think I would have described myself as (erroneously) as an Anglophile. But I suppose the pull was stronger to England, initially. But the pull to Scotland gained more force. And over the past 10 years became a pipe dream of getting out of England and moving to. But it never seemed something remotely tangible until about 12 months ago.
So soon, somewhere in Scotland will be home. And with any luck, “Oh Jungleland” will be the place I call “home sweet home” – or as a little plaque I saw in the market stalls in Merchant City on my most recent trip up had said “Hame Sweet Hame”. I was SO tempted to buy it, but I didn’t. Hopefully the market seller will be there in several months time when there is a wall to hang the plaque on.
And that is a rather personal account of why I love Oh Jungleland.
My mum is 81 today – and tomorrow I finally go to That London (to The Strand – yes, I think of Roxy Music EVERY TIME I say it or think of it) to get my new passport sorted.
So, here’s the thing. I was working on social media and my work took me to Instagram. The name Tom Sheehan pops up. A photographer. I thought “His name seems familiar to me in terms of having worked with Simple Minds. I’ll go to the blog and search for him and see what crops up.”
Well, blow me down! What cropped was Melody Maker from November 27th(!), 1982 – and photos of Jim in various poses with a Canadian flag.
HUNTER AND THE HUNTED! My HATH art piece! It was Tom’s photo on the cover I had used for it.
I contacted him on Instagram. He probably thinks me a prized idiot. And is probably highly pissed off I used his photo. 😞☹️
I went on to explain the significance of it for me. What the piece I generated meant. Jim’s reaction to it…everything. And how much I would love to get an original print of the photo. I have no idea if it’s possible. He probably won’t even take me seriously. He may never respond to me.
I can’t afford to buy a print from him yet. And even if it is the only one I ever buy from him…I have to get it! I really hope he can sell it as a print. I have since been to his website and he does sell prints, but whether I can get one of Jim from the MM cover remains to be seen.
I’ll approach him again when I have the money to buy.
A fantastic book filled with photos and stories of gigs featuring many bands that have played in Scotland over the peak period of 1974 to 1990 – including many local bands like Johnny and the Self Abusers and Simple Minds – could be published – with your help!
A crowdfund has been set up to get the funds needed for publishing the book and there is only a few days left for it to reach its target. Below is a clip of Chris explaining more about it.
Please pledge to the crowdfund if you can. It would be so great to get this book published. If you’d like to pledge, please click the LINK HERE – but be quick! Time is running out! The crowdfund needs to reach its target by August 8th.
I have to say…things is quiet on the SM front, and I do miss Mr Kerr.
I hope things are okay. One can’t help but worry. I guess it isn’t our place to be concerned.
It’s one year to the day since the opening Grandslam gig at Maidstone in Kent. Mixed feelings still of the gig, only having been allowed back on to SMO the week prior. The cynic in me can never help but think it was just tactics (having my block from SMO revoked). I wish for more than anything in the world that it wasn’t.
My lasting memory of the day will be of meeting my beautiful friend, Ally, and us in an embrace singing along to Someone Somewhere In Summertime together. A magic memory. ❤️❤️❤️
I obviously didn’t film it at Maidstone. I was swept up enjoying the moment with Ally, but I recorded them doing it at Leeds the following weekend.
After not a super long but very solid night’s sleep, I awoke to see…although an overcast sky, high clouds and dry conditions. It seemed promising. I looked at the forecast which seemed to say although it was dry now (around 8am), it wasn’t going to last and it would be a dodge of sunshine and showers for most of the day.
I had to check out of the hostel by 10am, so after some social media catching up, I got myself ready and out the room at 9.45. The weather was still dry at that point but had clouded over quite a bit more.
I stopped in for breakfast at the Bucket List Cafe up on Cambridge Street. I had scrambled eggs served with toasted sourdough and a very strong but very nice latte (and a second). By the time I left the cafe the weather had turned decidedly “dreich” and only got heavier as I walked along. I stopped under some shop facades because although I was protected enough by my umbrella, my cloth backpack wasn’t and I was getting worried about how wet things inside of it would get. The rain eased after several minutes and I walked onwards to the Kelvingrove.
My plans had chopped and changed over the weeks prior to arriving in Glasgow. Initially I wanted to see the Linda McCartney Retrospective, take in the Clyde, go down to Barras and Merchant City, have something to eat at a Cafe/Bar called Mono (with a fully vegan menu), then go back up to the Cineworld to catch a film before getting on the red-eye coach back to London. Then I thought, maybe with it being summer and the potential for good weather, I could go to the cathedral and then necropolis instead of the exhibition.
It was all change again when the weather seemed uninterested in playing along. So on I went to the Kelvingrove. Along the way, as I was making my way along Sauchiehall Street, just as I am walking by Royal Crescent, along comes this man on a bike. He’s in full MAMIL regalia and helmet…but there was something in the eyes. As he rode past me, he looked at me. I was drawn to those eyes. There was something familiar about them. Wishful thinking, I am sure…for one hopes that every street corner they turn into that you’ll see a familiar face. One hopes the serendipity would allow such a thing. It did with Derek once. Up in Glasgow for the Walk Between Worlds album signing, me and the OH were making our way back into the city from up the West End. As we’re walking down Argyle Street, who should we see walking along in the opposite direction but Mr Forbes. Well, I spotted him anyway. The OH was none the wiser. Lol. Did I make myself known or say hello? Hell no!
Anyway…Jim in lycra? Jim riding around the city on a bike? Naaaah! Doubt it.
The weather was still pretty dreich by the time I got to the museum, so the right choice was made. I left my bag in the cloak room and wanted to sit and have a coffee before going into the exhibition, but both cafes in the museum were heaving – it had just gone midday. The exhibition itself seemed relatively quiet and had no queue to go in so I decided to get straight on with it.
As you enter, you’re greeted with photos of a young Linda before her photographic career takes off. One or two self-portraits and then very early work of her capturing the Rolling Stones in New York on the Hudson in 1966 and some images of The Doors taken in 1967. To my surprise there were two wonderful photos of Linda that had been taken by Jim Morrison on display. I have to say, based on those two photos alone, Morrison himself wasn’t too shabby behind the lens!
Obligatory as it would be, there were several of her earliest photos taken of The Beatles and of Paul on his own. And there were also some absolutely stunning photos that Paul had taken of Linda.
The next room focussed more on later Beatles photos, mostly ones taken at Abbey Road, one of when Paul and Linda got together. And there were early family photos of Paul and Linda together and of Paul with Heather, Mary and Stella.
Elsewhere there were two sets of displays of polaroids showing intimate family life. Wonderful colourful images of the family on holiday and of local life in the places they went to. Life on the road, touring.
In the final room was a display of work dedicated to Scotland, incorporating family life on the farm as well as everyday life for the locals.
It was a really extensive retrospective with a lot to see. I really enjoyed it. I grabbed myself a few postcards from the gift shop on the way out.
As I left the museum I thought “Oh well, I’m down this way, might as well have a doughnut.” I walked over to the store on Old Dumbarton Road but it was quite full and still quite warm from the heat of the previous few days. I decided against it and headed on down towards the Clyde.
By the time I got down to the Clyde, the clouds were parting and the sun was making a full appearance. And by the time I got myself down to King Street and to Mono, the clouds were high and distant and the sun was glorious. It was quite warm inside Mono, so I thought I’d indulge in an alcoholic drink. I looked at the specials on the board and saw among the options a kumquat margarita. I knew kumquats are citrus so I thought it would be a rather refreshing thing to have on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It was delicious. I could have easily had another had they not been expensive and had I not feared getting tipsy. For my main I had the Schnitzel – served with roast potatoes (they didn’t seem roasted rather than boiled, with skins on) miso mustard cream, salad and beetroot chutney. It was really nice. And I indulged in a dessert of apple cake, served with a scoop of ice cream on top. It was all really delicious and the decor inside is nice. I’d definitely go there again. And there’s a music store within called Monorail. I had a look around, but nothing took my eye.
After leaving Mono, I headed for Gallowgate and to Barrowland. It was the only point I had to get my phone out and refer to Google Maps. I knew I wasn’t far from there but I couldn’t quite get my bearings. I wanted to go to Barras so I could see the “Oor Ziggy” statute. There is a bucket trail on again this year. Last year it was penguin statutes and this year it is various decorated versions of Oor Wullie. The weather being as it was, I didn’t get to see as many Wullies (pun absolutely intended!) as I’d have liked. Lol. But I did see some. And I now realise, I missed seeing the one with Jim’s name on it. Damn! But I did get to see “Oor Ziggy”. Below are the Wullies I spied while I was up there.
I walked back through Merchant City and the market and had a quick perusal. I didn’t really see anything I fancied. Well, I saw one thing. A little plaque that said “Hame Sweet Hame” that I was tempted to buy to hang in the house that will be our hame that I hope we’ll buy within the next 12 months or so.
Another pit stop for an ice coffee and then up to the Cineworld for a film. I was hoping that, to tie in with seeing the exhibition earlier in the day, I’d get to see Yesterday. I got to Cineworld at 6.45 and the next screening of Yesterday was on at 7.50. It wasn’t due to finish until 10.15 which would have cut it fine for getting over to the station for my coach at 10.30. I thought it best not to chance it. With few other options and with at least 3 hours to waste, I decided on seeing The Lion King instead. I know! Lol. And I am sad to say I really did enjoy it. It has been really well done.
I grabbed a bottle of water for the journey home (and was armed with sesame snaps and a bag of marshmallows that I had bought earlier in the day) and was over at Buchanan Station at 9.40.
It was a long journey home…but it was a wonderful weekend.