Once Upon A Time …. I Liked It

It was 36 years since the release of Once Upon A Time yesterday. I find it an anniversary that usually passes me by without any fanfare. Unlike April for Life In A Day. Or November for Real To Real Cacophony. Or even my birthday for Big Music (seemingly deemed to be early November these days as its release but I received my pre-ordered copy on my birthday in 2014).

But especially in September when we get the run of anniversaries just a day apart – Empires And Dance, Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call and New Gold Dream.

This is starting to sound like I am big on anniversaries and know them all….but I don’t. Once Upon A Time is a case in point. It slips my mind every year. Probably because of the time of year it happens. Ten days before my birthday. I’m usually preoccupied with that.

In 1985 I got the album for my birthday…I think. It might have been for Christmas….I have an appalling memory! I know I wanted it though and I did receive a copy of it for either of these occasions. It was the first Simple Minds piece of music I had ever owned. It SHOULD mean more to me! I SHOULD remember the date. There SHOULD be some significance to it, but alas….

Why? Why is that? Honestly? I think I have just grown weary of it. Which is sad. I feel sad that I feel like this. I didn’t feel this way about OUAT in 2014. But the whole Simple Minds back catalogue was so new to me then. I felt a nostalgia and a reverence for the album then. 

Move forward to 2021 and I can’t even play the album these days. Or more, I have little interest in playing it. Unlike with Real To Real, EAD, SAF/SFC and NGD – all of whose songs I never tire of. I just can’t bring myself to listen to Once Upon A Time.

It kind of scares me how tired of Alive And Kicking, Sanctify Yourself, All The Things She Said, and even the title track Once Upon A Time I have become. To a lesser degree it affects Ghostdancing and Oh Jungleland. I Wish You Were Here has been played minimally enough not to be too affected. And when I played the album back in the day I would always skip Come A Long Way anyway, so that’s pretty unaffected too. And I have grown to appreciate the song in recent years.

I rarely talk in the negative like this about Simple Minds. Well…I try very hard not to talk in negatives, anyway. (We are the “meek and unambitious” and we shall not have our voices heard!) But…I do feel mournful that I have grown so weary of OUAT – for without it, I may never have become a Simple Minds fan at all! Either the fairweather fan I had been since the day of its release up until the summer of 2014 – or from that point on until the present day in fervent fandom.

I hope my love returns. I hope with enough of a break, and the passage of time, I will feel able to listen to it once more. It might depend on certain changes to the live setlist though – or my not going to any more Simple Minds gigs. Or fewer of them. I don’t know. 

As soon as I had posted my piece about the “Seven Year Itch” and not really listening to them at all much, it turned it around and I was listening to them again. Maybe just posting and the airing of this will have me listening to OUAT again?

Stranger things have happened…

Simple Minds – Special Rock – Belgian Magazine – 1985

Won this magazine on eBay. Came from a seller in Belgium. I have scanned the whole magazine and will share it soon. In the meantime, I just wanted to share the images that I scanned of the magazine. I tried to clean them up and stop them from looking like little black and white Lichtenstein’s. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been. Some I’ve never seen before, hence I was so keen to get this magazine.

Enjoy!

Etienne Tordoir was obviously on the set when they were recording Someone Somewhere In Summertime and Glittering Prize for that Belgian TV music show. Nice to see a still photo from that.

And I’d never seen half of those Corbijn photos from the OUAT recordings in New York. I know several of them where in the tour program, but some of these I had never, ever seen. Not sure who’s with Jim in the studio photo, whether it’s Bob or Jimmy or neither of them as it really doesn’t look like either of them – but I don’t know who else it would be.

I’d try and ask Jim but… there is just no point. He’s not around. And I am really not wanting to go anywhere NEAR the fan pages at the moment. And, well, he probably wouldn’t remember or be able to tell who it is anyway.

Maybe if someone else knows? Answers on a postcard.

Minds Music Monday – I Wish You Were Here

It’s the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend in the UK. This involves participants observing their garden – or a local patch of nature – for an hour and recording all the different species (and highest number of each in one gathering) of birds in one hour.

I will probably take part but I know already that my tally will comprise mainly of black backed gulls, feral doves and magpies. But there may just be the odd blue tit, house sparrow or robin – if I am lucky!

It had me thinking about references to birds in Simple Minds songs. Obviously the first one I thought of immediately was Wonderful In Young Life with Jim referencing “crowded swallow skies”.

I felt it too obvious to choose Wonderful In Young Life (again!) for MMM – we all know how much I love it!

The next song that came to mind was their recent cover of Richard Hawley’s Long Black Train. A bird reference right from the opening line – and several more within.

I have now been grappling over which to choose from the others. I needed some help to jog the memory. Song titles were enough to jog the memory while others came to the fore as I made my way to the Dream Giver “songs” section.

Woman is one I could have plumbed for “picture of some strange tattooed bird on her thigh”. Geez, that song is sexy AF! And I loooove Charlie’s guitar on that. But, no. As much as I love Woman…another time.

I pondered If I Had Wings….but it never has been a song that I have ever really been too drawn to. It’s quite mystical with pretty ambiguous lyrics…which I usually love. I don’t know. Reading the lyrics compared to the musical structure of the song, and reading Jim’s words about how the song came to be – it just doesn’t seem to work. The music and lyrics seem disjointed and mismatched. Just my feeling on it. And, well there is no actual mention of birds anyway.

I was left with two big contenders – Wall Of Love or, the song I have finally decided to go with. And there’s a special place for me for Wall Of Love, thanks to Valentine’s Day and SM being in NZ in 2017, and Jim choosing to use some fan art I had done for the song to thank the crowd at the gig in Auckland that night.

But in the end I have gone for this. It started to play in my head shortly after Wonderful In Young Life, because I pretty quickly heard the line (after having just heard “a crowded swallow skies” play in my mind) “birds of a feather always stay together, and never separate no fear”. So it had to be…

I Wish You Were Here…

Stumbling Along….

Had never seen this image of Jim backstage at Live Aid before. Thought it was worth sharing.

Embed from Getty Images

The Lasting Legacy Of Live Aid?

There were some fantastic positives resulting from Live Aid. Largely that, a bunch of muso’s with giant, inflated egos could actually leave their egos and performance bills at the door and do something for the greater good – en masse. (A few exceptions, granted “buy my new single, Vive Le Rock” still remains a cringeworthy one.)

It was interesting seeing the look back and memories people had of the day. But has the actual reason and significance of the occasion been left behind?

One shining legacy IS that musicians more than anyone else in the arts and cultural stream these days seem eager to club together and raise awareness and money for certain causes. But has that eagerness diluted things? Has it diluted the importance of Live Aid itself and its reason for being?

A few people talked about the ticket price. “Wow! All those acts for £25? Amazing.” Well, actually, it should have been hundreds of quid when you think about it – esp. when you consider what the money was for and where it was going.

Another comment I saw said “such a wonderful day for freedom and peace”….? Eh? Either you had mixed up your concerts or ….

This is why I am pondering whether the reason behind Live Aid has been lost on a new generation. That, as us kids of the 80s look back, we are so in awe of the talent on display and of the music, we forget to pass on the reason it happened.

It’s still happening around the world – in truly apocalyptic and horrendous fashion. sustained and deliberate.

Where are the musicians clubbing together and pulling together like this for Yemen? Where innocent children are starving and dying daily? Not fashionable enough? Not considered urgent enough? Have you SEEN what is going on over there?!! Should I be daring to compare Ethiopia to Yemen?

Parents – I have one request. That every year when the anniversary for Live Aid comes around and you reminisce about a world in which a band of musicians in the first world could pull their resources to create the biggest charity event the world has ever seen to raise funds for possibly the worst famine the world has ever seen, that you remind your kids that the day was for THEM – the famine victims. Those in East Africa, suffering on a scale that, mercifully, your children are unlikely to experience.

Jim Kerr – In His Own Words – Record Mirror 1985

We’ve always had an Art School tag…I don’t even think there is an art school in Glasgow.

Jim Kerr, 1984 on Simple Minds

I do NOT believe for a single second he’d have said that! I mean, geez, the Glasgow School of Art is one of the city’s most famous buildings! They even played there in the early days as far as I am aware. If he said it, he was trying to be contrary and funny, which was obviously lost on the magazine! Lol

Also can I just say – the thing about him saying Chrissie being a friend – and more? Oh…I dream! Well, I dream JUST to be a friend. Geez! Just friendship would do. Anything else is beyond pie in the sky. “Friendship” is pie in the sky enough!

I took close up scans of the pics as well. Pretty sure the one of him holding the mic is one of Virginia’s.

I’m post some more as and when.

Visual Treats

Well, for me anyways. Quite a number of photos I hadn’t seen before in the pages of this little booklet.

I’m sharing most of the previously unseen (by me) photos within. A few of them have been around before but I just liked scanning them and having a perhaps better copy than I previously did.

I’ve tried to clean some of them up. The print quality of the booklet wasn’t the best so I’ll try to share good, clean scans of the photos.

For now though…

Minds Music Monday – 35 Years At Number One

Lol. Well, a slight exaggeration there. But it was on this day 35 years ago, that Simple Minds scored their (as til now) only U.S. Number 1 when Don’t You (Forget About Me) topped the charts there.

To celebrate at the time, Jim got drunk in France, ordering champangne for everyone in the hotel bar. And why not?

Anyway, happy chart-busting anniversary “La La La Song”. Here it is, planting the seed for the “Bongos On The Beach” tour that happened a few years after this performance on radio.