Let’s Rock!

A wonderful friend of mine in Oz – Wendy – has done these amazing rock paintings for me.

When she showed me the progress of the New Gold Dream themed one a few days back, I cried my eyes out. I knew she was working on a silhouette of Jim but I wasn’t expecting that amazing NGD cover background on the rock. I was overwhelmed.

Today she shared photos of both completed rocks with me and I absolutely adore them both.

They will take several weeks to get to me all the way from sunny Queensland, but they will find the most loving home here when they arrive in not-quite-so-sunny Glasgow.

First Tear Forms In The Right Eye…

I posted this on the Simple Minds Facebook page, but thought I’d also put it here in case it is deemed too “off topic” and gets deleted.

Such a weird concept this thing about tears and the way the fall from the eyes. Maybe it’s a fascination for Scottish men?

Anyways, here’s what I had posted on SM FB (with the pic attached)….

t’s a curious thing. I am reading Lanark and this is the second time Alasdair Gray has used language like this. A reference to tears and them falling from either eye. The first time my mind instantly thought “first tear forms in the right eye, this is the eye that’s crying first”. And just now again reading this passage. I started to wonder who influenced whom, or if it some uniquely Scottish thing to think of how tears form and whether they only form from either one of the eyes, etc.
Of course both things (Lanark and 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall) are released in 1981 but having watched a documentary on Gray a few nights back, he had been writing Lanark from the 1950s so I’ll assume his words came first.
Anyway, I found it a curious thing. Just wanted to share.

The 70 Cities Curiosity….

I’ve posted this on SMO…but in case he misses it (as if he’s going to see it here! Pffft!)

***I’m currently playing catch up listening to last night’s Billy Sloan Show on BBC Radio Scotland and he just played 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall.

And, seeing as I am meeting tight lips and closed (Simple) minds about Sons And Fascination and Semi-Monde, I might as well go out on a limb and see how far I get asking you about my other quizzical line that I just love hearing every time it plays.

“When the other side of midnight calls / remind me I’m glad to be here”. I always find that curiously downbeat for you, Jim. Because it’s not saying “I’m glad to be here” but “REMIND ME I’m glad to be here”. That’s a very different connotation. That portrays…I dunno…heaven forbid should I say it? … Cynicism!?

It always conjures up a post-gig scene for me. A quiet after show soiree and you not being particularly interested in being there.

I mean…most of the lyrics in the song are pretty left field anyway (I mean…who cries from the right eye first?…I’m not taking a shot, I adore your lyrics. I think you know that by now…if you don’t then…well…erm…🥴🥴🥴) but that line has always stuck out in particular for some reason for me.

Dunno why.

Anyway…just thinking out loud. As you were, Mr Kerr.***

(It’s a REALLY old one, that lyric piece. Made at mum’s. That’s her clock.)

Why I Love…70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall

Firstly that little playful synth at the beginning. Almost like a little jingle. Then, just such GRINDING ax work from Charlie. One long grinding chord. I always think it sounds like an angry cow mooing loudly. Lol. I know! And each time it grinds, I join in “MOOOOOOO!!”. And after each guitar grind, a thwacking drum beat.

Jim comes in, with what’s probably up there with HATH as one of his more….ambiguous set of lyrics. Really abstract lines like “first tear forms in the right eye / this is the eye that’s crying first”. I mean, say whaaa…? Jim? But this is why I love him as a songwriter!

Sometimes he can seem a bit…”formulaic” now. And I don’t mean that to sound in any way disrespectful. He’s honed his craft. But he tends to like to stick with the tried and tested formula these days of verse and chorus. And he still delivers magic under that formula (Spirited Away, Blindfolded, Kill or Cure, Concrete And Cherry Blossom are just some examples)…but he delivers SSOO well in abstraction. From Simple Minds most recent album offering came Liaison and Bittersweet. These two songs were particular highlights for a lot of fans from 2014’s Big Music release. And many were also up in arms that these two tracks were only available as part of the Big Music deluxe edition.

Liaison and Bittersweet (in particular) seemed to go back to that ambiguous formula. If it was INDEED a formula. Not really so much lyrically…they have structure lyrically (and they are both SEXY AF and Jim is promising MORE sexy songs on the new one! One song that’s rumoured to be on the new album is called A Silent Kiss) but they don’t follow the strict verse/chorus structure, which I like!

But getting back to 70 Cities. This seems a real Charlie and Jim piece to me. Charlie is ALL OVER THIS with all different kinds of amazing guitar pieces. Those grinding cow like moos, soaring wails, jangly riffs during the “going somewhere / getting some place / going somewhere” lines. I love the way Jim’s accent comes out in those lines! Esp. on those “going somewhere” lines 🙂 “gue-ing” 🙂 

It’s oviously a song about seaching and exploring. He still has that explorer thing going on with his lyrics then. Oh, but the ambiguity is GREAT. 

Best line in the song? “When the other side of midnight calls / remind me I’m glad to be here”. That’s quite a dour line for our boy by then. But I love it! I’m sure most would take that as a depressing line. It sounds low, forlorn. But to me it has an optomism. 

But there are intangible elements to it to me. Getting down to brass tacks, what *is* the song about? “Follows in love / love brings the fall” – the trials and tribulations of human love? Love of exploration and searching? “He wants the world / screams everything. She’s a country / feel for life.” I’m never really sure.

And the fade out! Those shouts from Jim. Grrr!

(And don’t get me started on the song to follow!)

In summery. Guitar in bucket loads and fabulously oblique lyrics. A Kerr/Burchill classic! (Not saying it was written only by them – that’s not what songwriting credits suggest….but, well…Jim certainly would have written the lyrics…but I can only surmise how much of the music Charlie wrote alone.)

I couldn’t link to a copy of the album version on YT (well, only that stereo difference one…and half of Charlie’s guitar is missing on that!), so let’s have a 5×5 version instead (just to remind me that I wasn’t there – and how fucking HOT DANG! Jim was on that tour!). Sir even does the shouts at the end! He was in party mode that night. Sexy Sir! Grrrr!

And that is why I love…70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall

 PS: The pedant in me watching this kept thinking “please, Jim…STOP POINTING AT YOUR LEFT EYE!” Lol. I can’t help myself. I’m TOO literal (anal).