Walk Between Worlds Anniversary And The Continued Viability Of The Physical Format

Yesterday was the anniversary of the release of Walk Between Worlds. It’s been four years now! Where the fuck did four years go?! Bejaysus! Simple Minds fans back in the early days must have felt ssooo spoiled – an album coming out EVERY YEAR! TWICE A YEAR in 1979 (Life In A Day and Real To Real Cacophony) and 1981 (Sons And Fascination and Sister Feelings Call). Not to mention all the touring that went on in between. Holy fuckaroli!

At this point in time four years ago, I was recouping from a whirlwind visit to Glasgow to be at the HMV in Argyle Street for the album signing. Us fans were all lined up early. I was maybe third or fourth in the queue. That’s the WRONG place to be for an event like that. I soon learned – the rookie that I am – when it comes to signing events, you want to be towards the back. More time is afforded to you then when you get to the front. Instead of what happens to those at the front of the queue, which is to be hurried along. 

As we are stood there waiting inside the store, Jim and Charlie enter the room from my right side. Jim sees me in the queue and says hello to me. I immediately want the ground to just envelop me whole. I was standing their with my OH and with Alison Carroll. I’m in my heavy raincoat. Undrerneath I am, for me, “dolled up”. I am a complete nervous wreck. I can remember both my OH and Alison saying to me “do you want to take your jacket off?” “Nah, it’s fine.” I didn’t want to make a fuss or cause a scene. All I could see in my head was the commotion I’d make, handing all the stuff I was carrying over to them, taking the coat off, then getting all the other stuff handed back to me and it all just being a ruckus. 

Can one be both hot AND cold at the same time? Because it was a freezing day and that was also partly why I didn’t want to take my jacket off. But I was warm in the store. I was just, as I say, a wreck. I just wanted it over with. All this stuff is racing through my head standing there as we are waiting to be passed by Jim and Charlie. “He probably thinks I am the saddest, grossest thing he has EVER seen. I look like Edith from Still Game standing there in this coat. A fucking bag lady! Look at me! With all this shit in my hands. What do I look like?! TAKE YOUR FUCKING COAT OFF! YOU IDIOT! Why did you even bother to wear this fucking dress if nobody is going to see it?! What am I going to say to him? Don’t forget to ask if they’ll sign the Virginia print!” Ya da ya da. On it went.

Do I have good memories of it? Yes and no. The bloody sherbet straws thing will forever be immortalised. Stupid. Just stupid. I wish I had some really sharp, funny thing that I did or said or whatever. But no…I’m there looking like a bag lady and throw him a bag of sweets. WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING? Socially inept to the highest degree. I couldn’t have been any less cool if I tried. 

Anyway, the retelling of that nightmare was fun! 

I guess that is why maybe he didn’t check with me on how to spell my name? Either he thought “near enough will be good enough” or he believed he could remember it. Or…he genuinely thought that’s how it’s spelt. Or, that is how Larelle looks when he writes it? Nah – because he has spelt it out clearly on the Hunter And The Hunted piece. He probably was just sparing me the hell of tripping over my own name to spell it out. 

ANYWAY – enough mental scars of that day. (And I am willingly putting myself through MORE meet and greets!? How?!)

Since then, there really has only been two official Simple Minds releases – the 40: The Best of 1979-2019 album which saw the release of For One Night Only, and then just over two weeks ago with the release of Act Of Love. There have been a couple of side projects. A release of a symphonic version of Alive and Kicking in 2019, as well as Trevor Horn’s Reimagines The Eighties album in which Jim, Charlie and Mick MacNeil collaborated with Trevor for a recording of Brothers In Arms.

Other than those lean morsels, it’s been slim pickings. And it’s been a long wait from October, 2019 to January, 2022. 

In Jim’s recent interview with Mark Millar of XS Noize, he alluded to the idea that there is so much new material that has been recorded, we COULD see a double album!! Sons/Sister for the 21st Century? Dare we even dream it?!

Also with that, he was being very pragmatic about even hinting at a release date of new material. So many factors in the mix. Least of all the state of the production of vinyl records right now. 

We need to be honest with ourselves with the future viability of the production of vinyl. It’s not a sustainable thing. It’s not a clean process and not something that as environmentally conscious people we really should be reverting back to. Nostalgic ideals can definitely have negative effects. CD production is probably only nominally cleaner. As wonderful that the experience of listening to things on a physical format is – we really need to weigh up whether it is TRULY worth it. Would you prefer to wait another 12-18 months to hear new Simple Minds music for the sake of having it on CD or vinyl? 

Digipaks were great ideas. And there is no reason why that can’t be done again. I think Simple Minds were pioneers when it came to that kind of thinking. To be able to go to a gig and then at the end of the night, leave the venue with a SD card with a recording of the gig on it? Fucking brilliant! Why did they stop doing that, I wonder? 

Why not Simple Minds be the pioneers AGAIN!? Jim stick with his “fuck nostalgia” line of thinking and ditch the physical format like they have done with Act Of Love? Continue with that. Please!

I know it’s tough, people! But, honestly, when you think about it, how many of you actually sit and play your vinyl records every day? I bet that the majority of you still don’t even have a turntable. We can have everything but! There can still be lovely presentations of the thing. Something that arrives in a 7” or 12” presentation package? Take a look at these examples below. Lovely little presentation boxes. That one of the Greatest Hits+ Live, with that military pilot statue figure on the cover of Empires And Dance then used as a colourful shaped USB stick is just INSPIRED! Even if what we got wasn’t anything at all physical when it comes to receiving the music – that it was just an access code for downloading. It could be done – and it could be presented in a wonderful way – so it still is something collectable and a wonderful keepsake. It doesn’t have to be wrapped up in the environmentally damaging nostalgia trips of owning and playing vinyl records or CDs. 

Just a thought. 

Back to the excitement of the thought of the new music itself. And the notion that, unlike Mr Kerr taking of the previous release of Walk Between Worlds and that being “less is more” with there only being eight tracks on the standard issue CD, Jim in his ever mercurial fashion is now talking in terms of “more is more” – and the proposal of a double album! And with him being as mercurial as he is, I am taking what he says with a pinch of salt. It is just supposition on his part. Something to incite a potential frenzy amongst the fandom.

By the time it comes to pass. If we will be asked to wait about for physical format releases, wait for the end of this tour, etc, etc, it’ll by then be nearing five years and another Olympic length wait.

We’ll see. We can but see.

Finally, Happy Anniversary for yesterday, Walk Between Worlds.

This is still my favourite track from the whole Walk Between Worlds recording. Not filler!

Kraftwerk – Steel Band Style

The OH sent me this link the other night (yes, I know. We can communicate via social media even when living in the same house). Knowing how much I love Kometenmelodie 2, she guessed I’d love this steel band cover of it. Which I do. It’s gorgeous!

I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying!

Enjoy.

Minds Music Monday – Something Different – Until Next Week – Kant Kino Tantrum Remix

Normal service for MMM will resume next week, but until then I’d like to share a special gift from my mate Baggers. Kant Kino is one of my favourite, if not my MOST FAVOURITE, Simple Minds instrumental. Only problem is, it’s so short!

“No probs. I’ll sort it!”, said Baggers to me and lo! He sent this (audio link below) to me not long after. A few days before my birthday in 2017 as a gift. He called it the “Tantrum Remix”. Lol

So, in lieu of being prepared for another Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call themed post for this week, I am sharing this lovely extended version of Kant Kino.

I missed the chance to check the building out in 2019. I had it all planned out; going to Germany with Ruth, seeing The Stranglers and making my way to selected spots around Berlin. A pilgrimage that never got to take place.

Alas. Maybe one day…

New Year In Melbourne

With now just one week left to go here in Australia, time and the opportunities of spending time with them – friends (as well as the money required for destinations to travel to/back from) – are precious.

I was really hoping I could get to visit friends in Melbourne and Adelaide whilst here. Sadly I had to forego the Adelaide trip early on as fares weren’t as affordable as I was hoping… just that time of year, you know? And even Melbourne wasn’t looking great, but after days of trying to work out a time to fit it in, I booked a flight to Melbourne to go down on New Year’s Eve and return the following day on New Year’s Day.

Ally met me at Avalon Airport. We hugged for the longest time. We drove in towards the city centre and stopped for coffee along the way to her home. And cake…

I met two little tubby tornadoes in the form of the pet bulldogs.

Ally soon had me labelled ‘the dog whisperer’. Lol

New Year’s Eve was low key and quiet. I drove Ally and her husband, Steve, nuts with my endless squeals of delight as the trams went by as we made our way to a vegan restaurant in Fitzroy for our evening meal.

Mushroom ‘squid’, spicy tofu bao buns and vegetable gyoza on the menu for starters and a katsu (which really didn’t resemble a katsu much to me) for main.

A stop off at a local pub on the way back – I had a beautiful tasting Four Pillars g&t – and we were back home about 9pm.

We talked and watched some SM. We brought in the New Year watching Jim and having a wee dram (an actual drambuie) at midnight.

A relaxing start to the morning on New Year’s day. Coffee and breakfast in bed.

A trip to the city centre, a stroll along the banks of the Yarra, lunch, a short tram ride and then it was time to get to Avalon for the flight back to Sydney.

A very fleeting visit – just on 30 hours and it was over. But it was worth it for that precious time with my beautiful friend.

Ally – I love you to the moon and back!

Happy New Year to all who read this silly old fan blog. Thank you x

What A Night, Old Fruity

Well, I was freaking out that I wasn’t going to make it for the 6pm arrival time as I was still at the house waiting for a taxi to come collect me at 5.40pm. It’s Saturday night in Glasgow… traffic will be heaving! But it was mercifully fine. I still can’t quite get my head around the fact we are as far (or as close… depending on your perspective) from the city centre of Glasgow as we were in our old house from Luton Town centre. My taxi fare into the city was £6. We were at the Old Fruit Market in 10 mins.

I arrived and spotted one Mr Ronald Gurr at the bar. I sidled up and said hello. We chatted a bit. He asked me after a while “do you know where you’re seated?” “Nope. I have no idea.” “You could be seated with them”, he says to me. “Pfffft! I doubt that!” “Well… you never know”, he says.

As it was, I was seated at a table with Ronnie himself.

There wasn’t much of a view from my seat to be honest. £150 paid to see f*** all – it was starting well.

A couple of hours in Ronnie says to me “they’ll be on at midnight”. Whaaaa???! It wasn’t even 8pm!

I was also kept company by Rita and Nicolle. It was great to be with fellow SM fans.

A pit stop to the ladies halfway through the night and I walked by a table that some of the band was seated at. I waved to Cherisse on my way by and she stood up and stopped me to say hello. We chatted briefly and I chatted to Ged briefly also. It was so lovely of Cherisse to stop me and say hello. Much too kind.

Rita, Nicolle and I were just wishing the hours away until they received their award and would be performing.

Finally… after many awards handed out and quite a few auctioned off items for the Nordoff-Robbins charity, the final award of the night was given out.

Jim was gracious in his acceptance speech and then handed the mic over, rather unexpectedly, to Charlie. “I haven’t got anything to say. No one understands me anyway!” Lol. Bless him. Poor Charlie.

They then went straight into performing three songs – Waterfront, Love Song and Don’t You (Forget About Me). The crowd were loving it, and Jim had everyone (some ladies at the front in particular) eating out of the palm of his hand as usual (nothing ever changes).

Bruce Findlay was also there last night. He had earlier in the evening handed out the “Living Legends” Award to the Incredible String Band – one of his all time favourite bands.

He stayed on and was watching SM perform. And I could see Jim acknowledging Bruce during their set. It was a lovely moment to see.

I have no footage or photos. My phone stayed firmly in my bag all night.

There is some official photos around. Reports of the evening in the media, etc. I just wanted to just take it in and enjoy it.

It’s been a tough old week but this was lovely.

A little less of a feeling I am persona non grata once again by a few would be nice… but, you cannae have everything I guess.