Of course, the “Best Photographer” award for 2020 COULD go to someone for their work that had to wait 40 years to be seen – Mr Ronald Gurr…and the offering below….
But I jest…at least on offering up the award – but the photo is still just absolutely fabulous!
In response to his post today (his “Best of 2020”), here is…part my response to his choices, and part a broader explanation of mine.
And here is my response to him of my choices that I left in the comments of his post. (With replies to him kept in.)
Best Album : In Memory Of My Feelings – Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler Best Single : Fools Tomorrow – Warm Digits (with a VERY close runner up being Bitter Tang by Michael Rother) Best Cover Version : Absolute Beginners – Steve Harley Most listened to song : New Gold Dream 12” German Mix (HONESTLY! Played usually 3 times over most mornings for the past several months)
Best Book : I haven’t read any new books other than…the obvious – but I really, REALLY want to read Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart Best Photographer : Chris Leslie/Disappearing Glasgow – DITTO! Best Podcast : The MainMan podcast (Mr Francis Gallagher’s a very close second!)
Best Film : Haven’t seen a film all year – apart from one documentary (see Best Docu) Best Series : Not watched a series, either (how does a man who doesn’t like telly watch a TV series? *confused face*) Best Documentary : Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm Best Gig : Oh, Jim! Don’t do this to me!!! Let me pre-empt it by saying Copenhagen was BRAW! And…you know…I’m a very lucky girl for seeing both shows, I know! But I saw Bryan Ferry the week before! And…well, that was amazing too! But…for, venue, setting…uniqueness of the experience, band performance – it has to be Field Music at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (sorry, Jim! It was REALLY close though)
Best Journey: COPENHAGEN! Best Decision : To go to Copenhagen – ALMOST decided against it. Best Meal : Cafe Andaluz, Edinburgh Best Drink : IRN BRU (I’ve got the taste for it now)
Worst Moment : How long you got? Biggest Disappointment : The halting of the 40 Years+ Tour WITHOUT A DOUBT! Person I’d Most Like To Have A Drink With : My brother, David. (He’d drink me under the table and I’d love every second of it!) Person I’d Least Like To Have a Drink With : The EX president.
Biggest Thrill: Seeing Loch Lomond with my own eyes.
That’s it…on the spot, without much time to think.
Even just the way the interview started. Even BEFORE hearing the start of the interview, I knew it would be awesome. But…just the start. The ringing phone, and as soon as the phone is answered Frank saying “give me a one-two” and Jim saying…well, I won’t spoil it.
But it had be grinning like a loon from the get go. And the smile didn’t leave my face for the following 50 odd minutes.
A lot of the stuff Jim has said before, of course. And when you listen to EVERY interview he does, you’ll hear the same things over and over. But it never gets old. He never seems to tire telling them. There is always the same level of enthusiasm in his voice and in his relaying of the stories and the telling of the tales.
And…I fall in love with him AGAIN. Over and over. It all goes round and round.
I guess the thing that sunk in this time, even though he has said it before is that…he’s right. To have done what he has done. To have that relentless drive to make a success of it. To push on. To not be defeatist. To use the knock backs and set backs, and the things that would put other mere mortals on their knees – it takes “a type”. You need to be “a type”. Luck…and to be “a type”.
I think it is singularly the thing that makes me love him most of all, is that he IS that “type”.
You know…yes! I do fancy the pants off him for the aesthetic, esp. of the younger man – I won’t lie. That’s where the lust and sexual attraction is – but that’s the thing too. The thing that makes him sexy AF probably actually ISN’T his looks, per se, it’s everything. The whole sum of his parts. That drive. That ambition. The absolutely stone-faced, dogged, utter infallibility of him!
There’s a bit in it in which he said to Frank that he remembered a time that Frank gave him “a serve” as we’d say in Oz. A kind of “dressing down”. I won’t go into a lot of detail because I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment of you guys listening to it. But the end of it was Frank saying to Jim, “What are you gonna do about it? Go home and cry to your mummy?”
You know. I would have. I did. I would do. I was weak. I have always been weak. And my weakness shows in a life barely lived.
But he took it as fuel. He took it as fuel to push on. To just…stick at it and make the most of a shit situation. To not let it get the better of him. Defeat him. He’d knuckle down. He’d get the thing licked.
And I guess this is why I attach myself so much to Jim. Because he just…he makes me feel alive. He gives me oxygen!
He’s just a million beautiful, positive things. Passion, drive, energy, talent, brains, beauty. I love him to pieces. I just do. Retrospectively, from point dot. From that young upstart dreaming the dreams of getting the band together until the present, Mr “Elder Statesmen” who you can hear when he talks still has that buzz of that 16 year old kid.
It’s why I wish more than anything to be his friend. I just want to be around him. I just want to bask in his light. He’s like the sun.
But…he’s a winner. And as a winner, he likes to surround himself with fellow winners. Hence, he would want absolutely NOWT to do with me! Loz from Loserville.
I could listen to him talk all day, every day. I could happily bask in his light all day too. Just to feel some of that sun.
I wrote this years ago, about him. It hasn’t changed. I still feel exactly the same.
I was buzzing for ages afterwards, mulling over it all in my head. Smiling, trying to drift off to sleep, hoping I’d dream of him. Dream of sitting around talking to him. Or perhaps walking and talking with him? My friend Stephen has planted this whole being “taken up The Trossachs” idea in my head…as the ultimate dream. As if! As if he would.
I tried to settle and get to sleep and thought, “Geez, I wish I was Frank!”
You can find the details of Frank Gallagher’s Soundman Confidential podcast in my previous posts.
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!
I might be in the minority here (well, not on my blog, I guess – majority of one – but maybe any of you guys that visit here might not be in agreement) but I really like this.
There’s a kind of softness to it that I like, and he’s done a fab video for it. It’s a braw wee cover. Top marks, Darren 👍🏻😊
The only mark against I’d give is for him getting my favourite line of the song wrong. He sang “can’t see the road for the trees” but it is actually “can’t see the road for the tears” which is just one of the most beautiful lines Jim has ever written and it always makes me think of this interview I read when he was talking about writing the song and looking out of the tour bus window and I remember him saying something like “I can’t see the road for the tears, Charlie”. I think it might have been when some crew members had a road accident in Canada? Not sure. But…it was just a beautiful, emotional thing to read.
Jim can seem the softest, sweetest man sometimes. The reason I adore him so much. I can’t help it. I see so much beauty in him. It’s never just the aesthetic. It’s the heart and soul too.
It has been a little over 10 years since Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler first decided to team up with each other and work on producing music together. They quickly felt they had the makings of an album together. Little by little things came together, building on their work together when time allowed. A few years down the track with Catherine working on her on solo career as The Anchoress, and then being part of the touring band with Simple Minds and in between those things juggling with continuing work with Butler on what would become In Memory Of My Feelings. Talk about multi-tasking!
The album was all but completed for a number of years. Davies and Butler suffered knock backs. Record companies would show an interest and then inexplicably go cold on the idea. But both Catherine and Bernard knew they had a diamond here! They just needed someone else to see, feel and hear it! Enter Pete Paphides and his newly established record label, Needle Mythology. He knew the gem that was before him. And so, with one last little hiccup along the way (the test pressing of the album causing a problem which meant a one month delay from the initial release date of September 18th), Friday – at last – saw the release of In Memory Of My Feelings, on vinyl, CD and in digital format and through streaming services.
Was it worth the wait? My opinion – a resounding YES!
The Breakdown: It’s beautiful melancholia. Catherine has a knack for that. Its sparse chords and mirrored vocal harmonies exude fear and regret but…there is light. The best melancholic songs always bring a hope with them. There is hope. It ends in hope. There is love. Strength. And the offering of courage.
Ten Good Reasons: It has been my earwarm all day! There is sass and sensuality and sultriness. Relationships when they hit the rocks and flatline. Do we push on? Is there any sense in doing so? That’s what I hear in this song. Again, impeccable harmonies and fabulous guitar work from Butler. The final 30 seconds of the song is just…perfection. That repetition of “what a mess we’re in” and then the ending piano chords. Geez…I know that is something. Or is a nod to something familiar but I can’t put my finger on it! (Catherine might tell me if she sees this?)
Sabotage (Looks So Easy): Rocking. Just – pow – straight in! Intelligent lyrics. Just punchy and ballsy. Again full of sass and attitude. We’re not gonna take deceit lying down.
In Memory Of My Feelings: It’s like three songs in one! What a break up song! Just, the musical weaving and blending, ducking and diving. The harmonies! My god, the harmonies on this album are flawless! Delivery on the lyrics “because you can’t take it back / you’ve done it now / and that is that” during the bridge breaks (right term?) are just beautiful. This could be my favourite track on the album. It just has such layers to it. And the dark and light of it. It interplays with mood and colour. Light and shade. It’s fabulous!
I Know: Or is THIS my favourite track? THE HARMONIES! I want to die! And with Butler’s guitar riding it all underneath…geez! It really is a beauty this one. Tenderness. Such tenderness to it! A love that is blossoming yet already faltering? Everything is all tentative. It’s beautiful, this. Just really beautiful.
Judas: LET’S ROCK! Just to dry up those tears shed from the beauty of the previous track. It’s a rollercoaster, this album! A rollercoaster of gems! Just absorb the sensuality and sultriness of this one. And just eat up that jangling guitar. Sell it to me, brother! (I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. Lol)
No More Tears To Cry: It’s almost a gospel tune. What fabulous lines “here in my mouth / here in my heart / is the place where the hunger starts”. And fabulous guitar work for BB. Esp. on this track. His guitar work is strongest on this. Great middle solo. Oh, it’s SSOOO good!
The Waiting Game: I don’t usually hear much of Manic Street Preachers influence on Catherine, but I hear it really strongly on this track. Abandonment? It’s the worst! It’s the daisy petal game, this song. “He loves me. He loves me not.” We’ve all done it, even if just metaphorically most times…picking them petals off the daisy. Life is a waiting game…for buses, trains, planes, people to tell you they love you and want to be with you. This song is catchy AF.
The Patron Saint Of The Last Cause: When you don’t feel you are worthy of anyone’s attention or interest or kindness. Melancholic again, but delivered to sound lighthearted. “Hey, I’m a fuck up. Don’t be bothering yourself with me” to an upbeat tune.
F.O.H.: Again, those bloody harmonies. Hell! And then…
To be honest…this is the only track I am kinda grappling with. I don’t know what to make of it still. I am not saying I don’t like it. I just don’t find it so easy to express how I feel about it/what I’m getting from it. The jury’s out a little…but that’s okay. If we say this is one only song I am really not gelling with that well with then, that gives this album a massive 9/10!
The Bonus tracks:
Live To Tell is a stellar version of the Madonna original. Much more emotional to me. Catherine’s vocal performance utterly perfect. Lovely space left on the track too. Excellently executed. Better than the original.
The Patron Saint Of The Lost Cause (Harmonium Version) the air of lightheartedness on the album version is diminished somewhat by the barebones harmonium sound. It isn’t a bad thing. I really like both versions.
Why this album was such a long push to get to be released is truly perplexing having listened to it several times now. The rejecting record company’s loss and Needle Mythology’s gain. Congratulations to Catherine and Bernard. And well done to the both of you for having the courage of your convictions to know that what you had produced here deserved to have an audience because you were both SSOO right!
In Memory Of My Feelings is a very strong album. Great lyrics, fabulous harmonies, musically “on point”. Everything just fits.
I can’t recommend this album enough!
It’s near faultless.
It has to be a 9/10!
A couple of little snippets from the latest Mojo magazine – Jim’s fave offering from the Bunnymen and In Memory Of My Feelings gets reviewed.
P.S. I wish I could be as unaffected as Jim is at the thought of someone not thinking of me with the fondest of thoughts – as the idea of him feeling that way with me (ie: he cannae stand me!) makes me want to cry my eyes out.
The Anchoress (aka Catherine Anne Davies) has been releasing rare and previously unreleased tracks on her Bandcamp page each month during lockdown. The latest one is a previously unreleased track called You Don’t Know What Love Is that, in all honesty, could have slotted right into the theme of the album Confessions Of A Romance Novelist but just didn’t make the cut.
But we can hear it now. And you can buy it! But you need to be quick! There’s only about 12 hours left to buy it! It’s a marvel. Grab it now!
Click the image to be taken to The Anchoress Bandcamp page!
Some videos, the book I discuss in one of them, as well as the talk of it being Kerrsday and my favourite photo of the most beautiful man on earth! (Yeah…I know. Whatever. I adore him. Fuck it. I don’t care anymore.)
Also, on another note, I have just discovered that Bowie’s Ouvrez Le Chien live album is only available to stream and as a digital download. Fucknuts!