From the makers of Uncut magazine – a WHOLE 124 page special edition on the Velvet Underground, and their individual members. I have only taken a quick glance through it so far – but it looks pretty extensive…and dare I say possibly more insightful than the documentary?
I am still finding myself aghast that with every “Top 10/20 Films Of 2021” list I see, the VU documentary doggedly gets placed ahead of The Sparks Brothers film. The mind boggles!
Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying the doc was shite. I’m just saying it wasn’t as good as The Sparks Brothers and in my list of top films for this year, there ain’t no way on earth I am putting the VU doc above The Sparks Brothers doc. No way, no how!
Of course, already the highlight of the whole magazine, before I have even read it, is a piece by Jonathan Richman. The love keeps blossoming, yes! Oh, yes.
I have a bit of a mish mash of stuff to catch up with on here. Just, general music news and observations over the past few days. All to be brushed upon shortly. I’ve been delayed in getting to the topics coming up because on Sunday I was out pretty much all day with not much opportunity to post prior to leaving home. And yesterday I was just in an exhausted state. Physically knackered and tired, but also in the brain fug that comes with it, not in any real state to be writing blog posts with any kind of clarity.
Hence two wordy posts today. First the rather extensive one about the Warm Digits set at the Stag & Dagger in Edinburgh on Sunday, and now this general catch up in the world of Simple Minds and associated acts.
Firstly on the Friday was a special Drumathon fundraising for Children In Need. BBC weather presenter, Owain Wyn Evans, came up with the idea and Cherisse Osei was involved. All through Friday drummers took turns to do stints at the kit and raise funds for CIN. The highlight was a mass drum-a-long to the BBC News countdown theme.
You can still donate HERE. Children In Need is on BBC One this Friday (Nov 19th) at 7pm.
Saturday night I tuned into Billy Sloan on BBC Radio Scotland. His special guest for the show was none other than former Dreamboy and Springburn local done good, Peter Capaldi. After some 40+ years in the musical wilderness, Peter has released his debut album titled St Christopher. His interview with Billy was a great one. He discusses getting back into music, the making of the album, the songwriting process, his acting career and highlight roles like playing The Doctor and Malcolm Tucker and meeting Burt Lancaster on the set of Local Hero, and of course he talks about The Dreamboys, the Hellfire Club, Jaine and David Henderson, and meeting Craig Ferguson and Craig becoming drummer for The Dreamboys.
As I was heading out for the day in Edinburgh, there was a post from Jim on SM FB. Something about tartan shorts. Nah – not the pledge for him to wear some (and nothing else!) on the stage next year (goddamnit!) – but more to do with the construct of time and how time can feel both fleeting and protracted, dependent upon all the other sets of circumstances you find yourself in at any given moment. An hour feeling like a minute when in the company of a pretty girl (or that five minutes when you’re with that man that you bloody swoon over every single second of the day…how that feels like it is gone with a click of the fingers) – I wouldn’t know. Or conversely a short passage of time feeling an eternity. Billy Sloan’s interview a few weeks previous with Patti Smith springs to mind – of her telling the story of waiting on a phone call from her then boyfriend – later to be husband – Fred and how they only got the chance to talk on the phone once a week. He’d call at a prearranged time, but this one week he hadn’t called at the arranged time. An hour went by, then two… while she waits for him to call, she writes her section of lyrics to Because The Night. “Have I doubt when I’m alone / love is a ring, the telephone” – that line symbolic of her waiting on her call from Fred. Actually, the whole song is for him, she said.
Jim shared a rather different anecdote – one to do with boxing and Ken Buchanan. There was Einstein in there too. And there he was expressing the duality in him that I love – the brains and the brawn. “Brawn” I guess being rather overly complimentary of me as he describes his 12 year old self as being “whippet thin” and me thinking “you were still a whippet 10 years later – ya sexy devil – ggrrrrrr!!!”, more than a little conscious of how sad a fact it is an old, fat ‘coo’ like moi should be crushing on wee skinny boys (of then) like Jim. Talk of a 12 year old “whippet” had me thinking of one boyfriend I had for all of five minutes.
Should I share this sad tale of woe here? Ah, go on then! Why the hell not?
When I liked a boy…really liked a boy, I was NEVER going to wait for him to ask me out! (Sometimes I think the 51 year old me could really do with the gallus that the 11/12 year old me had for certain things!) Boys. I was boy crazy from… I dunno when. I can’t EVER remember a time in which I thought “Boys?! Eewwwww.” Nah. NEVER happened!
I’m in my final year of primary school – so I’m 11, turning 12. The boy in question was called Rodney Johnston (it is VERY rare for me to remember names of people I went to school with, so there’s some insight already about how fixated I was with him). Over the year, I asked him out several times, either directly, or indirectly. Every time a knockback. And…not just a subtle knockback, either. I mean…he made it pretty obvious after a while that he was NOT interested. I eventually stopped asking, starting to realise I was flogging a dead horse.
Several weeks later, lo and behold, he’s asking ME out!? Whaaaa? I was suspicious. Had he been dared into it by his mates? Why the sudden turn around? Was I gullible because I still fancied him? Probably. OF COURSE I SAID YES! So…we arrange “a date”. I’d visit his place and we’d hang out.
The day comes. I am SSSOOO excited! It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining, it was warm. I’m almost sick with excitement when I get to his house. “I’ll meet you by the back gate” he said to me when we arranged my visit. So I’m there at the gate waiting for him to appear. I can hear him approaching but before he gets to the gate, the family dog arrives at the gate. I put my hand over the gate to pat the dog and just as I do Rodney rounds the corner from the side of the house, sees what I’m about to do and shouts “NO! DON’T TOUCH THE DOG!” Just as the dog starts to take a leap and a snap of my hand. I retrieved my hand, but not quite in enough time to not get done by the dog’s bite. I still have the scar, though it is very pale now, on the pinky finger of my right hand. The dog sliced the top third of my right pinky finger open. Blood went everywhere. Rodney ran inside and got his mum. I was driven home and then driven to the local GP. I got five stitches to my wound. I didn’t have any other dates with Rodney.
The dog wasn’t a whippet, in case you’re wondering – but an Australian cattle dog – or “red/blue heeler” as they are known (depending on colouring). I had a fear of cattle dogs from that day on. Not really any other dogs. Just the red and blue heelers.
Rodney himself was the whippet. A skinny boy.
I have such luck with boys. Lol
I mentioned in my comment on the “tartan shorts” post about how that miscorrelation of time happens to us fans too. That a Simple Minds gig can feel like it lasts minutes. That it’s over before it has begun. The American is the signal indicative of that feeling for me. The American usually heralds the beginning of the end for me.
When someone asks why you would want to go and see your favourite band gig after gig, time after time – this is why! This is the biggest reason why. Because – time doesn’t behave itself! “Only with you life moves so fast – when I’m with you life moves so fast.” Don’t you know it, Jim Kerr! You were grappling with the construct of time even all the way back then.
Finally – a post on Instagram last night from Joe Donnelly, talking of new Caezar music in the making. All on course to be released early next year, with a summer tour to follow. Wonderful stuff!
That was a rather wordy catch-up! And a bit of “Priptona’s Life Story” piece right in the middle of it there. Oh, well. I had nothing much else doing on this Tuesday afternoon.
I had shelved going to this Stag & Dagger event for quite a while. Once Warm Digits had announced a gig in Glasgow, I felt there was little need for me to see them a few days before in Edinburgh. They weren’t headlining the show which made me aware their set would be short, so I had settled on just seeing them in Glasgow and then seeing them in their home city of Newcastle. To have them play in Glasgow would be the ideal.
Sadly the gig had to be cancelled a couple of weeks back so that meant putting the Stag & Dagger back on the gig list. I had planned to go alone. I had booked a place to stay overnight, then decided that seemed an unnecessary expence – Edinburgh isn’t THAT far from Glasgow, FFS! So I cancelled the night away.
Late last week I got a promotional email from ScotRail detailing a ‘BOGOF’ travel deal. Between Sunday and Thursday for the next two weeks, one adult could travel for free across the whole ScotRail network with one full ticket paying companion. With that I asked the OH if she wanted to accompany me to Edinburgh seeing as her travel would be free (you know these Cancerians – they never say no to a bargain, or a freebie. Lol).
When it came to the Stag & Dagger, my only intent was to see Warm Digits. I’d have perhaps liked to have seen Billy Nomates, but there weren’t any other acts playing I was that familiar with. To see Steve and Andy was all that I was worried about.
The day started well. The train travel was smooth. No worries getting the train at Queen Street. We arrived from Ashfield on platform 3, and the Edinburgh express was there ready to depart a few minutes later on platform 4.
We did a bit of wandering, not too much sightseeing. With Covid and lockdowns, our exploration of the rest of Scotland has been quite limited. The only time we’ve been to Edinburgh together so far was to spend a couple of hours at Portobello Beach. We just went straight to the beach and didn’t go into the city itself. So it was a bit of mindfuck,when the OH reminded me that it was her first visit to Edinburgh – the city itself – the Royal Mile – in 20 years.
After a bit of a wander about aimlessly, we went and had a bite to eat. I coaxed her into the Cafe Andaluz we had passed by.
We were back out by 4pm and the light had faded to deep dusk. It’s Sunday, 4pm, the light is fading, I’m not wanting to walk too far and the boys aren’t on until 7.30pm – what are we gonna do?!
Wander some more! We went down to Cowgate so I could see where the venue was, and exchange my ticket for my wristband. We went down to Grassmarket and wandered about there for a while. I didn’t want to abandon my OH to wander the streets of Edinburgh alone for three hours, but I didn’t want to move far from Cowgate. She’s not a drinker and at this point in time she’s still not wanting to be indoors in more confined spaces for longer than is necessary so just whiling away some time having a drink in a bar wasn’t on the cards. I was feeling bad for even suggesting she accompany me at this point in the afternoon.
By 6pm my feet are feeling weary and I want to sit down a while so my legs aren’t aching TF by the time Warm Digits’ set starts. Me and the OH depart company.
I catch up with first Steve and then Andy in the venue around 6.30pm. Both of them welcoming me like they’re seeing an old friend. These guys are far too lovely to me! There wasn’t too much of a chance to chat as the act performing before them got under way. Bit hard to have a convo in the middle of a gig. Perhaps a chance to chat later?
The act before them, Pet Shimmers, finished their set at 7.15, giving Steve and Andy just about 10 minutes (once Pet Shimmers had removed their kit) to set up. I was getting flustered just watching them! Such a tight schedule to set up, perform your set, then get all your equipment back off the stage ready for the next band to do it all.
Technical issues started. Gremlins had been let loose. The bass feed wasn’t coming through the channel it needed, so they had to do a rework, and then Steve’s laptop – where the graphics are, so well as that bass feed was kept dying. Trying to get that all sorted meant their set started late, and there was no time to run over so their set was cut short.
They played Feel The Panic, End Times, One Track Groove (Living Stereo) and Growth Of Raindrops.
It was LOUD. I stood to the right of the stage, so I was right in front of the amp stack on the right side of the stage. I ended up with tinnitus in my right ear. For a while there I was worried lasting damage had been done. I’m still not sure whether lasting damage hasn’t been done. Since then things have not sounded quite right…
Yeah, incredibly loud and very distorted. But Pet Shimmers were sounding distorted too and that was at the very back of the venue. A shame. And not down to them that they were sounding like that.
A good catch up afterwards. A bit more of a chance to talk and blether on. Both parties were apologetic for varying reasons. I felt for them so much. Esp. Steve – his frustration and disappointment with the technical issues growing ever visible on his face. But they could at least play something and didn’t have to leave the stage not being able to play anything.
Steve very kindly offered me one of their newly added lines of merchandise – a Warm Digits t-shirt, which I will wear with absolute pride as, if not just Glasgow’s biggest Warm Digits fan, then perhaps even Scotland’s…maybe even the UK’s?! Lol. I don’t know. But I know I love these guys and I can’t wait to see them again next month at The Cluny in Newcastle. It’s all set to go! I have my ticket. And I have my travel and accommodation already sorted. I am really, really looking forward to it!
An arduous journey home followed. A depressed OH (not very happy with hours of hanging about Edinburgh in the dark with nowt to do), a wrong route back to Waverley station, a slow “all stops” train back to Glasgow. No trains running on the Anniesland line at that time on Sunday evening. A bus to Milton that didn’t arrive when it was scheduled to, then a cab home from the city and in the door at 11.30pm.
And knackered after my version of a dance at a gig and nearly 15km of walking. But to see them for just that short space of time made it all worthwhile.
ROLL ON NEWCASTLE!
I just took a few quick snaps on the night. No other footage. But here is a live version of One Track Groove they recorded many a year ago for you to enjoy.
I’m not sure anyone is today. I feel absolutely shattered.
You see, I went to Edinburgh yesterday to see my second favourite band in the entire universe. It was a long way to go for what was barely a 30 minute set, but it had been so long since I saw them play, I was just happy to be there and see them. Even one song would have done!
And Steve and Andy are always so lovely. Greet me warmly and let me chat with them and make me feel like they are as happy to see me as I am to see them. Anyway, more on that in another post to come.
It was a tiring day anyway. Lots of aimless walking and a longer journey home than anticipated. So today I feel completely deflated and drained.
When my spirits are low, a song like Light Travels is just the antidote to that feeling. The matter-of-fact lyrics are sometimes what is really needed. “Things get better after things get worse.” IE: Buck up kid, it won’t always be this bad!
And before that “hello, hello – is anybody home?” line there is “But there’s no need to worry” – and I have only taken in the true context of the next line! I used to think that line a bit rude, you know? Because people say that to someone who is “zoned out” – distracted and deep in their own thoughts and not really paying attention to what is going on around them. Say, if you’re talking to someone and are expecting a response from them and one isn’t forthcoming, you’d usually say “HELLLLO! Is anyone home? Wakey, wakey!” and wave a hand in front of them to try and coax them out of their perceived reverie.
But I have just realised that what could be meant by it is (because of the line before being “but there’s no need to worry”) – DID YOU HEAR WHAT I SAID!? DID YOU JUST TAKE THAT IN!?
THERE’S NO NEED TO WORRY! So stop.
It’s uplifting because it’s a song reassuring you that you are not alone. We all have our ups and downs and the world still keeps turning. Light just keeps on traveling through the universe.
My favourite lines in the song are “words unravel out of all of us / they arise / they refrain”. I understand why Jim and Charlie wanted this Sean Kelly track – it’s beautiful.
And for the Acoustic album, they turned it into something even more beautiful again. It was a bonus track on the Acoustic vinyl album – both it and Speed Your Love To Me were, for me, (along with the cover of Richard Hawley’s Long Black Train) the standouts of the whole Acoustic album.
If you today, like me, feel the need to be uplifted and reassured…listen to Light Travels and feel yourself somewhat healed.
The badges I very gratefully received from a fellow SM fan in Vancouver were in multiples. I asked if they were okay with me giving some of the badges away and they were happy to allow me to do that.
I didn’t want to come across as ungrateful for the wonderful, kind thing they did for me. But I wanted to share in the love. I was just bowled over to see my artwork turned into badges!
So, here we are! These four sets of badges below will be given away. All you have to do is throw your hat in the ring…if you see this on Facebook, like and comment. Share the post if you like. Let me know your favourite badge. If viewing on Twitter, you can reply tweet or share tweet with comment. You can enter via Instagram too.
You can also do that here via the blog. Just click on the “leave a comment/ X comments” text at the bottom right corner of the post and let me know which of the badges is your favourite.
Basically just make yourself known!
You can enter by midday GMT – Monday, 15th November (this Monday coming). I’ll choose 4 winners at random to receive one of the four sets of badges shown. (The sets will be awarded at random.) Open to anyone worldwide.
I had heard about the infamous Glasgow Apollo stage and its height. Some people had accused others of making the stage sound higher than it was. I had always been intrigued to see it and get some idea with my own eyes. I had never seen a photo of it – until today!
OMG! I don’t think many people were exaggerating about its height! It has be be at least 10 feet tall. Maybe 12 feet. Geez Louis! I’d have NEVER seen Jim standing at the front there!
Even the first few rows of seats wouldn’t really see that much. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted a front row seat there! I can see why people stood on the chairs in there now!
Anyway, the photo was originally posted by the Glasgow Chronicles FB page. Just wanted to share the image here.
Several weeks back, a wonderful lady in Canada sent me some badges that were designs featured on the 40 Years heart badge.
Today I received another package of badges from her, this time with images of my art on the badges. I am ssooo happy and thankful! I have never seen any of my art printed on badges and they look AMAZING…even if I do say so myself!