Minds Music Monday – Space – Johnson Somerset Mix

I wanted to choose Space today because – I always wish to see Jim in my dreams. I spent the past few years before going to sleep, making that wish… “Please! When I go to sleep PLEASE let me dream about him. If I can’t get to be with him and spend time with him like I’d love to in real life, at least let me have it in my dreams. Please just let me dream of being with him!”

It rarely ever happened. And I honestly don’t know when the last time I dreamed about him was. I gave up asking. He’s as sick of me in my dwam state as he is in real life, it seems.

I don’t think I had ever heard this Johnson Somerest mix of Space before today. He always makes good mixes, some are naturally better than others, but I don’t think there has ever been one I haven’t liked.

Jim – I am trying to give you space, I really am. The last thing I have ever wanted is to bore you rigid. I fear that I have. So I am trying really hard to stop that from happening. But you post things and then…I just want to talk to you! And then I just pray that you’ll respond to me. Interact with me. Throw me a bone by responding to me.

And then I sound all super needy and clingy and I hate myself because I know that kind of stuff is stuff you detest. As I said before – to be enthusiastic is great, but to be OVER-enthusiastic is undesired.

Today is also the anniversary of something else that I don’t really want to think about or have happen ever, ever again. But it doesn’t stop me from living further back in the past. He started his post today with a quote from Kierkegaard …

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward

Soren Kierkegaard

I don’t feel like I live too much forward. I spend too much time in the past. Steeped in what feels like “halcyon days” when the art was good, when I felt like I was going somewhere, when I felt that affinity, though perhaps it was a dwam too?

GAH! I’m so sick of myself! No wonder he’s sick of me too! If I’m not living in the past, I just want to live in dreams…

“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.

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…

The Anglophile – A ‘Discs And Doughnuts’ Playlist

This one started germinating from the idea of two things – the response to the “Antipodean Greats” playlist and that love of music from the UK that I always had too. “The Mother Country”, old “Blighty”. As the Australian nation post WWII looked to align itself firstly with America and then in more recent years as part of southeast Asia, my personal allegiance was still with the UK – particularly musically and culturally.

The other was Jim’s choice of Life In A Northern Town for his June playlist. As much of an affiliation I had for the UK musically and culturally, it wasn’t necessarily somewhere I desired to live when I was growing up. It always looked so bleak and dreary. Despite the bleak appearance though, it still managed to appeal. “Life In A Northern Town” may not have seemed very aesthetically appealing, but in other ways there was a draw.

Cars – Gary Numan

It’s synch pop bliss. And I was always conscious of it coming out of the UK. The synth based New Wave sound was very obviously very UK centric to me. Cars is probably the epitome of that sound for me. That final minute is just heaven. It gives me goosebumps every time. Always just does something to the senses. Never fails.

Dreadlock Holiday – 10CC

Brits abroad. That’s Dreadlock Holiday. It always used to be on the radio this one. Feels kind of odd to go for this track but it just came to me as I was thinking about what songs seemed typically “Brit” to me. I was so very tempted to add Godley and Creme’s An Englishman In New York as well – if for nothing else than the splendiferous video that accompanies it.

Ghost Town – The Specials

Seemed to sum up how Britain looked from the outer. Bleak, drab, rundown…deserted. Not exactly a song that English Tourism would be clamouring to use for an advertising campaign. Lol. And now the song has resonance again in a whole new light. Life is constantly cyclical. Only certain aspects change.

Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

1984 Probably the height of my love for 80s music and the vast majority of it is coming from the UK. I guess there are some exceptions. Australia was a real melting pot of influences – taking in music equally from the USA and Britain. The preference for me was always the British stuff. FGTH was HUUUUUUGE in 1984 and into ‘85. And the first thing that made its way to us was Relax. It took quite a number of years before I saw the “other” video (the one I chose here – seems rather sedate now). The one I remember when first recalling hearing the song is the one done with the laser lights. I loved Frankie and Holly’s voice just absolutely knocked me for six.

I could have chosen Ferry Cross The Mersey but…nah.

Eurythmics – Here Comes The Rain Again

Rain. It always seemed to be raining in the UK. If it wasn’t raining, then it had just rained or was about to. The skies seemed permanently grey in any footage I ever saw coming out of the UK. Very rarely did it ever look sunny.

God, how I wanted to be Annie Lennox as a 13 year old! She was tall, androgynous, and she looked beautiful. Nothing I was ever going to be. The one thing I always wanted to change about myself (apart from weight – but that I could alter and do something about) was my height – or lack thereof. I ALWAYS wanted to be tall. If I had been at least 5’8” tall, I’d have been happy. Wasn’t to be…

Big Country – In A Big Country/Wonderland

I couldn’t decide which Big Country track I wanted. I love In A Big Country. As opposed to England and its urban drab dreariness – Scotland seemed beautiful and mystical. You don’t really get sold Glasgow. Alasdair Gray was spot on in Lanark. No one ever “sold” Glasgow to you. They sold the Highlands, the munros, the heather, the kilts, the lochs – Brigadoon. Big Country were rock music Brigadoon. They fed you it, still. Stuart Adamson with guitar effects like bagpipes. So…I think I was initially sold it with Wonderland. I bought it as a 12” single and then bought The Crossing after that. So, I’m not purely an “Anglophile”. But…try and find an equivalent phrase for Scotland and you see how Anglo-centric the UK is! Scotophile? Hiberophile? Caledonophile? Albaphile? Which would you choose? Answers on a postcard.

The Clash – London Calling

Political punk that always rang a chime with me.I can’t say I am the BIGGEST Clash fan. Never sought out their music too much. Had a 12” copy of Should I Stay Or Should I Go back in the day. Always loved Rock The Casbah too. They just had that very London centric kind of sound – even though there are ska, reggae and rockabilly leanings in the fusion of musical genres.

Adam And the Ants – Stand And Deliver

Although Adam had that kind of meld of the Native American meets pirate look thing going on – it was so very obvious he was from London and so Stand And Deliver plays up to that kind of thing. “The dandy highwayman” – Dick Turpin et al. Prince Charming played up to it to a degree also. It just has that skewed “cheeky chappy” Londoner thing about it. Playing up to aged stereotypes.

Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK

Well if you properly research your music history, then you know that punk – purely as a musical genre – started out in America. But punk as a concept, as an ethos, as a culture as a way of life DEFINITELY took hold in Britain. And the one band most lauded as taking the ethos and running with it are The Sex Pistols. I guess you could choose anything from Never Mind The Bollocks – but the obvious choice due to the playlist subject is Anarchy In The UK.

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

The first thing that knocked me for six was the sound of Jimmy Somerville’s voice. And then it was the video. As a 14 year old girl who probably wasn’t even aware if she knew any gay boys at the time or not, I was just floored by that video. I mean, even still for that time, it was brave to highlight such a thing. I mean in the same year Queen release I Want To Break Free and do their video and the U.S. fans just DUMP them. And although gay rights was a worldwide thing, it was obvious the video was UK based. So the song has a UK centric sensitivity to it for me.

The Police – Synchronicity II

The picture of domesticity. A highly “dysfunctional” family – as they would be called. “Another suburban family morning / grandmother screaming at the wall / we have to shout above the din of our rice crispies / we can’t hear anything at all” Sting writes. It’s a bleak picture. It could be anywhere in the modern western world, really only for the chorus that pertains to a Scottish loch “many miles away”. I guess it could be Europe somewhere – but more likely England, and more likely northern England, perhaps near Sting’s childhood home in Northumbria. It conjures up that bleak, dreich imagery in its wording for me and the drama of the music. And…just, a moment to say that – as a drummer, I worship the ground Stewart Copeland walks on! In my dreams I would be even ONE TENTH the drummer he is! OMG!

Tubthumping – Chumbawumba

I’m not usually much of a victim of misheard lyrics as I will study songs and I am usually pretty good and taking lyrics in properly. But in this case, the northern accents got the better of me and I did mishear the chorus as – and it makes absolutely NO grammatical sense! Lol “I get knocked down but I get up again and I’m hanging on a cheap guitar”. Lol. I KNOW! As a joke I still end up singing it like that. So, yeah…it’s just an anthem, really, innit? A celebration of pub culture, essentially. Something oddly uplifting about it too in that – correctly worded here – chorus “I get knocked down but I get up again and you’re never gonna keep me down”.

Blur – Parklife

It’s just…London, innit? All the “cool Britannia” stuff of the mid to late 90s. The bands of the time and the whole Oasis v Blur thing. In that contest it was Blur for me. Oasis didn’t do as much for me – though I liked Don’t Look Back In Anger, Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova. I suppose I just preferred Essex boys to northern lads – musically then, perhaps. The other groups I liked at the time were Supergrass, Pulp and into the early noughties, Elbow – though after getting a copy of Newborn, I didn’t really stick with them much. Guy Garvey certainly has a way with words though. I also loved the more dance and trip hop stuff – Massive Attack, Faithless, Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim.

But, back to Parklife…it just kind of sold a stereotype then – pallid Brits in the sun. And, well, due to Cool Britannia and the closing down of the more industrial aspects of Britain, it started to look cleaner and began to seem more aesthetically pleasing. It wasn’t just the music now that was appealing, it was how life was looking here. We had just ended 13 years of Labor government in Australia in 1996 and the UK finally had a Labour government come in in 1997. The future looked bright. It looked better.

The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset

A homage to London and the Thames. London was not a part of the whole “Anglophile” thing that particularly appealed. It seemed a big scary, dirty place. And even after my first visit there shortly after I moved over, I felt very “meh” about it. The place I fell in love with first in the first few weeks I was here was Bath. My partner has relatives in Bristol and a cousin was getting married 4 weeks after I moved over. A bit of a baptism of fire, that. Going to a big family wedding when we’d barely been married a year ourselves. We stayed a weekend in a B&B on the outskirts of the city and had a day in Bath. The weather was glorious and warm and the architecture of Bath floored me.

It took a while…but slowly there were aspects of London I grew to like. The convenience of getting there from Luton was a HUGE plus. Erm….the West End. Theatreland. The museums and art galleries. The fact it is a cultural hub. From being absolutely indifferent to London, over the years I found the little hubs and things I liked about it. And certainly being by the Thames (particularly along the Southbank) was one. I never wanted to live in London though. NEVER. Luton was more than close enough.

London is definitely no Glasgow! Thank fuck for that!

You can also listen to the tracks as a Spotify playlist here…

Dan’s My Man! Wonderful In Young Life – Live At Last.

This amazing young man, Dan Crouch, has been sharing some piano solo covers of Simple Minds songs on the SM Official Group page. He had done fabulous covers of Hunter And The Hunted and most recently The American. And because he had covered The American it had me thinking that maybe he would be willing to try Wonderful In Young Life.

So I asked him….explaining away that it really hasn’t ever been performed live and that when I had a reply from Jim once about ever being done live, Jim pretty much dismissed it outright.

Bless you, Dan! Bless his cottons socks! He only went and done it and it’s GORGEOUS! I was crying my eyes out watching it. Just from…well, the joy of seeing it, Dan’s wonderful interpretation and the fact he actually DID grant my wish. What a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Thank you so much, Dan! You are…wonderful 😊❤️

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