8.56 – Pre Study Time

Mornings between 7.30 (roughly the time I get out of bed most mornings. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later…like this morning) and about 9.45 are mine. In terms of setting myself up for a study day … well … any day, really.

I’ll take a glance around social media, see what’s what. Check out if Jim has posted (yes! That happening seems forever ingrained now…as much as I try not to give it that much emphasis anymore, or be so…chained to it….enslaved by it). Drink my coffee(s), eat my banana. Then maybe, time allowing, do some colouring in (yes! My current addiction is a “colour by numbers” app) OR …. write a blog post.

This morning when I checked out Facebook I saw that Billy Sloan had put out his latest posts about the week’s show coming up. The topic for this week? About specific periods or time referenced in songs. I added my choices.

The first has been an earworm for the past day or two. It is one of my all-time favourite Bowie tracks and I have probably posted it here once or twice before. It’s just so beautifully melodically melancholy. I love the drum breaks on this too. And David’s vocal performance on it is sublime. Those lines that work as the song’s chorus “we never talk anymore / forever I will adore only you” – beautiful. Just beautiful.

Jim doesn’t know what he’s missing with Bowie’s Heathen album, he honestly doesn’t…

My other choice and it came to be incredibly quickly, given I haven’t listened to it in I don’t know how long …. U2’s 11 O’Clock Tick Tock – the Red Rocks version. Sad teenage fangirl confession time! I genuinely have no idea how many times I watched that Under A Blood Red Sky Red Rocks gig. I’ve still never been to a U2 gig – I probably never will go to one now – unless they decide on a special run of nostalgic intimate gigs….the stadium spectacle is not something that attracts me.

But Red Rocks? Well, I’ve seen it so many times, I could convince myself I was there. I borrowed the video as often as I could from the local video store – I think I had it out on near permanent loan for about 12 months, until I could afford to actually buy my own copy. Commercially produced VHS tapes like that were bloody expensive when they were sold in the early 80s! Mega bucks for teenage kids.

11 O’Clock Tick Tock was a bane for many years – esp. during my teens. Many times I would skip that song and that bit of video because I was INCANDESCENTLY JEALOUS of that girl that gets pulled up on stage to dance with Bono. Never mind that he was already married! (Perhaps I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m sure I must have done…) And never mind the sky being blood red…my face would be watching that footage. As I say, sometimes it would be more than I could bear and I would fast forward through it.

But even just hearing the song on the album, I could visualise it all in my mind. I wanted to be her more than I can even express! She was beautiful…slim…she could dance, not be self-conscious…and Bono hugs her and swings her around in his arms – I’d have died! And he’d have had a hernia trying to lift me! Lol (I was probably not anywhere near as big as I thought I was then…I don’t know. It’s not as if I was beating guys off with a stick or anything. I have enough digits on my body to count the number of times a guy came up to ask me out. I was usually the instigator of these things as I feared my Miss Havisham future too much to wait for any guy to do it.)

Now I don’t view it with any of that envy. Not as me now…but I can still feel it all bubbling away inside the teenage me. That longing. For ANY guy to want to … feel that way with me, want to dance with me, hold me… just for those few fleeting minutes. Even if I was never ever an afterthought to him. Meh! What does it matter, eh?

Off I go to study. The mention of Miss Havisham? I am about to finish off my week of study on Dickens and A Christmas Carol.

Minds Music Monday – Sleeping Girl

UPDATE: 8th Dec, 2021. This post has been edited from the previous posted version.

A “modern” enigma this song is for me. I have placed the word “modern” in quotation marks as the song is now almost 20 years old which for me brings it into the more recent Simple Minds bracket. Anything pre-2001 is “old” Minds. Anything post-2001 is modern Minds.

Usually I am happy for the ambiguity to remain with a Simple Minds track. I love that Jim’s lyrics are open to interpretation and that songs very obviously mean different things to different people, but we unite in the acknowledgement and agreement that this band is like no other for us. 

I don’t want to get bogged down in the mire of what I think of the Cry album in general. Suffice it to say I think it rings very true to where the band found themselves at the turn of the millennium. Set adrift. To use an old adage “up shit creek without a paddle”. Cry is a metaphorical “life raft”. It helps them out but it doesn’t quite get them to shore – not for me personally anyway. It’s only my opinion and feeling, of course.

There are things that keep them afloat, for sure. For me, the absolute pinnacle of the album is Spaceface. I will never have a bad word said against that song. Ever! This song dragged me out of such dark places time and again.

Disconnected does a similar thing. It wasn’t a song I warmed to initially but that soon changed. And it is amazing how that can happen. But I think the days of a “change of heart” with a song are now gone. I like what I like now when it comes to Simple Minds’ output pretty solidly. 

Recently I have grown tired of certain songs and they have been on a listening break for a while. In fact, dare I say the whole of Once Upon A Time is on a listening hiatus for me as I feel genuinely “overexposed” to it all now.

I also don’t listen to the whole Cry album because of my “prejudice”. This reminds me of my exchange with Jim about David Bowie’s Heathen album. I guess Cry is my Heathen, eh, Jim? From memory I think you said you liked “Everyone Says Hi” from Heathen, but little else? (I talk as if he is reading this. Lol. Sooooo deluded!) Well, I guess that’s me with Cry and Spaceface (and Disconnected and Sleeping Girl). 

Back to Sleeping Girl itself and the ambiguity of the lyrics. On Dream Giver there is only an attempted transcript of lyrics as none have actually been published. I kind of like that Jim tends to not want his lyrics published. I understand the reason behind why he doesn’t – if he still holds firm in the belief and justification he had in them not being printed in early SM days “they go with the music”, ie: he felt to single them out by printing them would turn them into poetry and separate them from the music. That’s fair enough. But conversely, you write the lyrics because you love words. They ARE meant to mean something. Not just to be heard merely as music, with music. If so, then you might as well sing in “vocalise”. Jim’s feeling on this must have changed by the mid 1980s because we wouldn’t have the lyrics we have on Street Fighting Years if he didn’t want his lyrics to say something. To have meaning. For people to find a meaning and definition to them.

I like that Sleeping Girl is mystical. What exactly is going on in that song? What is this “violation” Jim talks about? Are we meant to interpret that observing a “sleeping girl” without her knowledge is therefore a “perverse” act and in turn a “violation”? 

I had recently been in conversation with a friend about observing someone in sleep. The beauty of it. The beauty of the sleeper. We are at our most vulnerable during our sleep. I think that vulnerability plays on the waking mind a lot. I will be very open here about something that happened to me a lot during my teens and into my early 20s. I’m not sure how often these kind of dreams invade other womens sleep. It’s not something you find yourself discussing with your female friends. Well, I didn’t. One, I didn’t exactly have many friends. Two, how does one bring up this subject in conversation? 

The vulnerability of sleep meant that in my teens and into my 20s I often dreamed of being raped. (EDIT)

These days I just look at it objectively and think I was a raging, hormonal, sex-starved Scorpio (all those astrology things you read about Scorpios – take it from me, they aren’t overexaggerating the whole “lust” thing with our zodiac sign). 

(EDIT)

Anyway! I digress, some…

“Sleeping girl / I wish you could tell / this violation

Sleeping girl / I want you to smile / confirmation”

Is that – “I want you to feel or sense that I am watching you while you’re sleeping, and I want you to let me know that you feel it”? 

If so, then that’s goddamn fucking sexy! 

Also if so then it is very much on a par with the conversation I had with my friend about watching someone as they sleep and the feeling of the perverse that it triggers. You can’t help but feel you are invading someone’s vulnerability. 

Another friend I have spoken to more directly about the song in particular interprets the lyrics with a far more innocent view. I don’t know how they can view it quite so innocently given the language Jim uses in the lyrics. Perhaps it says as much about the dark recesses of my mind as it does about her more innocent interpretation? For I would hardly describe this friend as “innocent”, but perhaps a little more…restrained than myself when it comes to certain actions.

In summing up this overexposed Minds Music Monday, I find the song both musically and lyrically incredibly sexy. Vocally too. Those “Sprechstimme” lines Jim delivers as a kind of chorus – holy moly! *melts into a puddle*

Minds Music Monday – Disconnected

I have been back listening to a random shuffle mode playlist of Minds songs over the past couple of nights. Perhaps my “Seven Year Itch” has been quelled? 

Sometimes I get distracted. My thoughts wander. As I am so familiar with some of the tunes, and this will sound awful – but….you can “zone out”, if you know what I mean? Definitely not confined to Simple Minds songs! Mostly they just insight a thought or a memory and the mind wanders off in thought.

As it did last night. 

I admit to not being the biggest fan of the album Cry. I find it hit and miss. Many fans see it as the first “return to form”, yet bizarrely for me, I see it more as the dip … almost like they are trying too hard to get back to fluid creativity. It feels … forced. Which makes sense, given where we are in the Simple Minds timeline. For me, the next album (Black And white 050505) is the “return to form” that exponentially builds up to Walk Between Worlds.

As for the Cry album, there are exceptions – I ADORE Spaceface. It is my “go to” happy song. That should have been my “drugs song” choice for Billy’s show last weekend. I’m sure Jim would say it actually isn’t about drugs…but the lines within “she don’t need no rocket ship / just close(s) her eyes and takes a trip / baby’s big on aviation / baby loves a levitation” and the chorus, “she’s a spaceface floating round / she’s never coming down” NEVER COMING DOWN (ie: she’s as high as the proverbial kite, man)

Spaceface makes ME “high”. It’s awesome. 

The other song on the album I have grown to love is Disconnected. 

So, last night it plays and I am listening to the words, thinking “everybody needs to feel respected / not disconnected” – I wish! I do wish…Mr Kerr. “I don’t wanna hear the sound of your wide world when it comes crashing down” – okay then. Block your ears, Kerr! “I can only help you if you’re sure you wanna keep me hanging round” DUH!!!!! Like you have to ask, boy-o! 

And then I start thinking … this is all a bit of a contradiction, isn’t it? “Everybody needs to feel respected” – but then “I don’t wanna hear the sound of your wide world when it comes crashing down”…??? What happened to “Everybody needs to feel respected”???? 

I ended up thinking about it quite philosophically in the end. And came away from it feeling like the “Everybody needs to feel respected / not disconnected” line was a MASSIVE oxymoron compared to the rest of the lyrics. 

I guess I’m not meant to take them LITERALLY – us overthinkers tend to do that kind of shit, eh? We’re a bit of a drain and a drag like that. 

So…the only line I feel I can take from it is “Only in my dreams I feel protected / this is reflected in all that I believe” – not even sure I can take the second part of the line  – just that first bit. And when I talk of “dreams”, I think I mean the word very differently to how Jim interprets it and uses it. Dreams are on a par with ambitions for him, I think. Whereas for me? Dreams are “pie in the sky” wishes that will never come to fruition – or those actual “nocturnal visions” that happen to many of us somewhere, some time in our lives (as I appreciate that not everyone believes they dream, or feels they have dreams…as in actual visions during sleep).

Would I be “respected” for my own definition of dreams, I wonder? 

I am still pondering the “meek and unambitious” post as well. That left a mark. I felt the same things happening when listening to Disconnected, as the feelings that happened with the “Ambition” post. 

Ambition isn’t a dirty word. And I fully understand why the word “ruthless” is placed with it. To be “unambitious” may indeed be “unsavoury” – but it is usually, as far as I see it…a side effect of ill mental health. I don’t know anyone who sets out to be DELIBERATELY “unambitious” …. but hey ho. What do I know? I’m not a psychiatrist. 

Anyway, this is getting overly-philosophical for a MMM post. Let’s just enjoy Disconnected.

Minds Music Monday – Floating World Duo

Art & Talk has been busy leading up to Easter and gave us TWO gigs from the Floating World Tour of 2002 to enjoy over the weekend period.

One is a 10 track FM Broadcast from Amsterdam. The other, from 10 days later, is a full setlist gig at a winery in California.

I haven’t listened to either of them yet, but will do in the days to come. I’ve had another task at hand, which has had me going over gigs from my favourite period – forever stuck in 1982. Lol

I guess there’s trepidation for me, as I start to hear conflicting things from the fanbase for gigs around this era. Early SM gigs are pretty much universally lauded, as much as they are now (with only a small contingent of sour puss’s brandishing all the same old tired-out drivel “the band ain’t the band any more. They’re like a tribute act these days” ya da fucking ya da), but during this kinda of middling period, they seem a bit more hit and miss. But I won’t know unless I listen to them myself! One man’s meat is another man’s poison…as the saying goes.

Not much new content from the band performed with this tour – we only hear Spaceface from the first gig, and One Step Closer is added for the second. It smacks of not being TOO assured of your new output to only have a couple of newbies in your setlist.

Anyways, enough waffling – get your lugholes round them!

Embracing The “Minds Music Monday” Suck

As I have said in the past, there are few Simple Minds songs that I can’t really warm to. When I tried to put it in mathematical terms from the number of songs I overtly avoid and skip and just can’t listen to as opposed to the rest of the SM catalogue, it was about a 7% to 93% ratio. So, you know…7% of over 300 songs means there are only about 20 songs in their whole catalogue I am like that with. I’d say that is a pretty healthy ratio and not in any way disrespectful or conversely overtly sycophantic.

I don’t really talk about these songs much. I did recently mention the repelling reaction I have to the LITCOL version of Promised You A Miracle. I can listen to (and adore!) the original 1982 New Gold Dream version of it (and its various remixes) until the cows come home. Also plethora of other live versions. A favourite live version is on 5×5 Live – hearing Jim break out into a giggle within the first verse always brings a smile to my face. But the 1987 live version? No can do. It really is a VERY strong aversion and I refuse to listen to it.

But this post isn’t about that particular Minds song. It is about me waking up with the TRUE meaning of an earworm. An annoying song that you can’t shake, that constantly plays in your head. Of course, an earwarm is great if it is a song you love. “All hail to the earwarm!”, we think when that happens. But when the opposite happens one tends to think, “Brain, why must you treat me this way?! This is torture. Please stop!”

This morning I woke up with an earworm. What, for me, is a bad earworm. To begin with, I have quite a love/hate relationship with the album Cry. I love certain songs on it. One of my absolute favourite songs in the entire Simple Minds catalogue – Spaceface – is on it. And for many fans, and I guess even to Jim himself (and perhaps Charlie also), the album marks a kind of “renaissance” of the band. So, for that alone I give it due reverence. Do I listen to it? Erm…not as a whole album, no. Not from start to finish. Certain songs sit uncomfortably for me. I’m not sure why.

An example of this is New Sunshine Morning. I see those that love it get an uplifting buzz from it. My friend, Yvonne, adores it. I think she actually likes the acoustic version, New Sunrise, even more again. She couldn’t make it to the Walk Between Worlds signing in Glasgow in 2018 so I asked her would she like me to try and get something signed by Jim and Charlie. Her choice was the New Sunshine Morning single. That’s what the song means to her. And I guess for quite a few others that like it.

I am not saying I hate it! I don’t dislike it. I just wish I felt the uplifting aspect of it that those that like it seem to. All I hear is a lament. It sounds sad to me. And painful. And some of the lyrics unsettle me. I actually find it hard to listen to. The music definitely sounds uplifting and positive, but the lyrics jar with that. I don’t know. Music and its effects, like all things in art, is subjective.

But, enough of examples. Let’s get to the crux of the matter.

Last night I went straight into sleep mode. Settled down without listening to any podcasts or music. My iPod Touch stayed stowed away in my top bedside drawer. I slept wonderfully soundly but awoke with a quite unexpected earworm. A Simple Minds earworm. That in itself is not unusual, but the choice of song certainly was. It was a track off the Cry album. Not only that, it is the track I like least on said album. I took an almost instant aversion to this song, and I’ll try and elaborate as to why.

One: it just doesn’t sound like them! There has always been a signature sound to Simple Minds – be it Mick’s keys, or Charlie’s guitar, Derek’s bass, or Mel’s drumming. Jim’s voice! There’s always been a pretty noticeable marker. Perhaps not VERY early on when they were finding their feet and their own signature sound…but even within that. Even when they were finding their feet, there was something in their sound that marked them out. This song gives them NO identity.

Two: It’s 2002 (perhaps maybe 2001 as the song is being recorded?) but it sounds like a 1990s throwback! I mean, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that other than – the 90s have barely ended and it isn’t time for a nostalgia-tripped throwback! As a result of it sounding like that, it just makes them sound like every other band in the 90s – but it’s noughties!

Three: Jim’s vocal. On this song it really, REALLY grates on me. It’s just…I dunno…it’s not usually the way he would sing.

Four: The lyrics. You know…I had to look them up because Jim’s vocal actually doesn’t make some of them clear. And then I see it’s one of lil’ bro’s songs! Having read them, I can’t say I am warming to them any more. And I do really like other compositions of Mark’s. I love Happy Is The Man and Angel Underneath My Skin was a fab addition to the WBW deluxe edition.

And while I was pleading with my head to “switch that bloody thing off!!” this morning. Lol. In an exercise in “embracing the suck”, may I present to you…