Return To Oz Is Off

Sadly inevitable. Too much uncertainty around. And, for me, this tour was off last year – even though it had initially been rescheduled for the end of this year. I wasn’t going to be travelling there. And I had resigned myself to the fate of money squandered. I didn’t like my chances of selling my tickets on. So on a personal note, I am thankful for the tour cancellation because I know I will get refunds on my tickets now. I am grateful not to be resigned to swallowing up another loss of funds. Small mercies.

I feel for my friends there. Australia is a loooong way and not everyone can just get on a plane and travel to the other side of the world to see the band they love. A few Aussie fans have been fortunate to do that, but there are some who would never have those funds or opportunities. My heart really does go out to those guys.

I hope Simple Minds will make it back out there again sooner rather than later. In the meantime – don’t be disappointed with the band, or their management, or the promoters. They have done all they can to try and get these things to go ahead. They are losing their livelihoods and the live music scene around the world is on its knees! I know Jim and Charlie and the rest of the band will be as disappointed and disheartened as the fans.

It’s this bloody pandemic. It’s Coronavirus, Covid-19…whatever you want to call this absolute cockwomble of a thing! And government ineptitude by and large. You know, the whole world. EVERY COUNTRY could have done with the leadership of New Zealand. Every country could have done with a Jacinda Ardern as their leader. Had every country stayed locked like NZ did, then maybe just MAYBE we’d not be in the state we’re in right now the world over. But we’ll never really know.

I hope you are all staying safe and well.

A Toryglen Mural?

I wished those flats at Prospecthill Circus still existed. And that I had the talent to actually paint this on the side of a building rather than have it exist digitally and only imagine how it could look on a wall – painted directly on it.

Imagine approaching Glasgow City Council to get this painted somewhere? It would be amazing!

That reminds me – I need to go and have a look at that Shuggie Bain mural painted on the side of Barrowland on Friday.

UPDATE: I worked on creating this (photo below) this morning and was about to post it on my own Facebook timeline when I though, “Oh, maybe I should post it to SMOG. I few people might appreciate it. It might get the odd like.” HOLY SHIT! I think it’s going to end up being probably the most popular thing I have ever posted on there! Wow!

Even if I do say so myself, my photoshop work is pretty darn convincing.

Minds Music Monday – Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call – Recording Begins

In a small village called Little Chalfont, in the Buckinghamshire countryside near the town of Amersham…. five band members and a producer that they (the band) admit to having slight reservations about (they wanted Todd Rundgren but he only worked out of Sigma Sound in New York and Virgin deemed the idea too expensive to hire him, then it was proposed they use Martin Rushent but he was unavailable, or Steve Lillywhite but he was deemed too expensive also at that point in time) enter a recording studio and started to record what would be, for me, quite possibly their most remarkable album(s). There may have been trepidation to start with. And it may have continued to be fraught with indecision, but what sprang forth from it, in hindsight, is…wondrous!

Steve Hillage sounded the least authoritarian producer you could wish for, which one could argue wasn’t what a still fledgeling Simple Minds needed at that point – their three album recording history with John Leckie meant that it was an entirely unknown dynamic for the boys when they entered Farmyard Studios with “old Cabbage Head” to record their 4th and 5th albums. They sounded as if they needed the discipline that Hillage lacked giving them – at the time – but it also released something profound too. Perhaps a modicum of freedom that they needed? Yes, it meant they were indecisive about which songs to work on, but wow! I mean, talk about spoilt for choice when you feel your hands are tied and say “we’ll take them all in!”

📸 Rupert Hine with Andy Scarth at Farmyard Studios
– curtesy of ruperthine.com

Perhaps this is why we’ll never see a Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call boxset? Do we have it all already? Well…I can’t imagine that is true! Just last night on the Dream Giver site I read about demos that were recorded at CaVa Studios in Glasgow. And when I interviewed Jaine Henderson a couple of years back she had told me that initially Love Song was offered to her by Jim to perform and record. Imagine it! What would be their biggest hit of the time – until Promised You A Miracle is released 12 months later – might not have even been a Simple Minds hit! Jaine wasn’t persuaded. She wasn’t a singer or performer.

I’m guessing those CaVa demos are what ended up on the Silver Box set that Virgin brought out in 2004? There are demo versions of Love Song, The American, Careful In Career and Sweat In Bullet on there – as well as (dare I mention it?) the forgotten Life In Oils – which fell somewhere between the tracks of Empires And Dance and Sons/Sister. Already too much new stuff they were working on as the Sons/Sister sessions started, it got ditched, much to mine and John Leckie’s consternation.

They nearly called him (Leckie) back into the studio, they ended up so directionless with Hillage – but would we have ended up with what now feels like such a rich tapestry? The album needed to formulate and end up shaped in the way it was. A bulging overspill of creative energy. A band oozing with an abundance that sees them on the cusp of something grand. You can feel it. You can almost taste it! With long hindsight, and even with its (SUBTLE) imperfections both Jim and Charlie value it for the creative tour de force it was.

For your listening pleasure – a fantastic recording of them made in San Fransisco while they were on tour. Recorded by Frank Gallagher, no less, and aired exclusively on Billy Sloan’s radio show for Clyde Radio back in July, 1982. I’m assuming the recording was made the previous November as they played San Fransisco on November 7th, 1981. They didn’t tour the U.S. again until 1983 and SAF was no longer on the the setlist by then.

Enjoy!

Source material from simpleminds.org and ruperthine.com

Priptona Talks – To The Anchoress

The new album by The Anchoress, The Art of Losing, is the follow up to debut release Confessions Of A Romance Novelist.

Under her everyday name, Catherine Anne Davies, she had been a touring member of Simple Minds since 2015 and also toured as support for the band as The Anchoress during their UK leg of the 2017 Acoustic Tour.

Co-producing and co-writing work also in 2017 and touring as a guest artist with the Manic Street Preachers, as well as featuring on the track Dylan & Caitlin on the Manics’ 2018 release, Resistance Is Futile.

October, 2020, saw the release of her collaborative album with Bernard Butler, In Memory Of My Feelings. The album received many plaudits and could well be nominated for the Mercury Prize this year.

As a writer, producer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist and solo artist, Catherine is quickly amassing an impressive body of work.

It was a huge honour to have Catherine agree to an interview for the Priptona blog.

Please enjoy Priptona Talks…To The Anchoress.

The Art of Losing is out now and available HERE

The Anchoress On Front Row

Catherine Anne Davies – aka The Anchoress was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme on Tuesday night. In case you missed it, you can listen here. This will remain a permalink of her interview.

I listened in live and it was very good. She was very eloquent, esp. when giving her response to the arts funding boost offered in the latest budget. A mere piss in the ocean. Then again, they dared only give NHS nursing staff a MEAGRE 1% pay rise. Oh, all that money saved from leaving the EU was going to go STRAIGHT into the NHS. Was it just…

Anyway, the wait is nearly over! The Art of Losing is out on Friday, and the Q and A with Pete Paphedis for Rough Trade will happen on Friday evening as well. This is going to be some album launch!

In the meantime, here is the Front Row interview for your lugholes to enjoy.

DARK FLOWERS NEWS! New EP Arriving March 19th – FULL Album To Follow Later…

The Dark Flowers (aka Paul Statham and friends) are set to release material in a few weeks time, featuring guest vocalists that we know and love.

First to launch will be E.P. “Death and Desire”, released on March 19th and featuring guest vocal performances from Gabriella Cilmi, Shelly Poole and our very own Anchoress. Lead track off the E.P. is titled Death Valley 69 and features David J and Char on vocals.

Even more exciting news, still, will be a follow up release of a full album by Dark Flowers later in the year called Indian Summer, which again features The Anchoress on guest vocals as well as FOUR TRACKS with Jim on vocal duties!

I nearly wet myself when I read this!

Paul was extremely kind to allow me to hear one song some time back which features both Jim and Catherine in a duet and it is wonderful. I will say no more! My lips are SEALED! But to say I am excited by the news of this album’s imminent release would be somewhat of an understatement! I am doing all I can to remain composed enough to type out this post. Lol. It’s probably riddled with mistakes as a result.

You can read lots more info on The Dark Flowers HERE and find links to pre-save the E.P. for streaming upon release date.

Happy days!

Oz Music’s Big Loss

One of the biggest names in the Australian music industry has passed away. Michael Gudinski created one of the biggest record labels in Australia – Mushroom, and it had on its books just about every Australian music artist or band you’d ever wish to name.

From Skyhooks to Split Enz to Kylie Minogue, many a musical act has at some point either been on the Mushroom label, or had some dealing or other with Mr Gudinski.

He also set up Frontier Touring, one of Australia’s largest tour promoters and was responsible for getting a wealth of worldwide acts to make the long-haul flights Down Under to tour the country and play live.

The Australian music industry owes a lot to him. He will be very sadly missed.