There’s A Minds Music Monday In There Somewhere! – Destin(ation)y Glasgow

We read what we want to read, don’t we? Even with the text there written out in black and white, we can still end up interpreting things as we want to – can’t we? 

It’s really great to have Jim posting daily again. I actually can’t quite believe he’s posted THREE DAYS IN A ROW now!

Why is it that when you just start to feel like you’re ready to move on with things – when you finally get to the point where you know you have to quelle the desire for something. When you’ve finally lost all sense of hope for anything….that the one thing that you wanted begins again? Refreshes. Resets. 

Jim now posting again every day. Is it a test? 

I can’t deal with the ebb and flow. I can’t deal with the constant emotional rollercoaster. 

The post today. I think I misread a bit of it. I thought he was saying he was back in Glasgow. My stomach did somersaults! My heart pounded away in my chest. 

WHY SHOULD IT MATTER? 

It doesn’t matter. He might as well be on the moon. It means nothing. But just the idea of him being in closer proximity. Just, physically feeling nearer. 

I’m only sharing this so I can write things down. So I can keep my mind active. I can flex my brain and try and keep the creativity from synapsis to fingers on keyboard typing away. To try and say something. But I get scared over the things I share. I get petrified as to how I come across. 

My mind always goes back to a time in 2017. Towards the end of the Acoustic tour. Me and Birdy waiting outside the stage doors of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Patiently waiting for Jim to appear. 

I had some gifts, you see? We had been to the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum that day and I bought some things that I wanted to give to Jim. Little trinkets. Tokens of…

Anyway, when he finally appeared, he said he couldn’t stop. That he had to go. But I just wanted to hand him the gifts. Literally just hand him the bag and go. I regret what I did because I felt what I fear I seem to everybody – the mad stalker woman. I chased him down. Implored him to stop, tugged at his jacket sleeve when he was within reach. 

To this day it fills me with dread, his reaction. I have never felt like he was joking or being flippant (perhaps he was? I pray he was!). He looked around and he said “I’m scared, I’m scared.” 

I tried to think really fast. I was somewhat out of breath and I just said. “I have something to give you.” “What is it?” I didn’t want to give away what it was – silly, eh? And it would have been time consuming to explain, so I said in my haste to allow him to move swiftly on, “Gifts. They’re just gifts.” I held out the tote bag the things were in. Noth thinking the encounter would play out like this, I had actually brought the tote bag for myself. He looked at the bag, saw the British Museum logo on it and said “Now, this I like to see.” 

“I went to a Hokusai exhibition today”, I said. By way of giving him a hint as to what was inside the bag without revealing exactly what was in there. “How was it?”

“Wonderful. It was wonderful.”

And that was it. 

I remember it all because I remember mostly his initial reaction. “Here comes the psycho stalker fangirl.” I don’t even want to be deemed that! Ever. 

So, I feel guilt for the butterflies and the somersaults and the palpitations that the thought of him being back in Glasgow brings. That thought of proximity and closeness. Nearness. Because…he may as well be a million miles away. It actually makes no difference at all. 

I should be writing a Minds Music Monday post. I was formulating an idea of what I was going to do for MMM this week, but it all flew out the window. 

I need to remain positive! Those butterflies and somersaults? They quickly turn to nausea. The thoughts of his reaction and thoughts of me turn me to sickness. I used to feel liked. Now I just feel reviled. All the time. I can’t change it so I have to overcome it. I have to know that I am better than that! If somebody thinks that way of me, then that is just how they feel and I am not in control of that. 

He spoke of destiny today. I have to be in control of mine. I need to be optimistic and positive. To believe in myself. There are so many who show faith and belief in me. I don’t know how they do it when I can’t even believe in myself!

Today my application to the OU took another step forward. I should know by the end of the week if I can go ahead and enrol in my course. If I can’t, then we’ll have to go back to the drawing board. If not the OU, then somewhere. I WILL be studying next year! I WILL be a student somewhere! Gaining skills. Honing my (at the moment) tenuous craft. 

I’ll continue to make preparations. Work out a study plan. Form a routine and have it functioning before the academic year begins. 

It’s time to put an end to squandered chances! 

“I don’t want this destiny.” Not the one that means I give up on another chance. I want to grab it with both hands and give it all I have. Redirect the butterflies and somersaults. Use the nausea for good. MAKE IT WORK! 

Believe in better. (That’s some bloody company slogan, isn’t it? Samsung? Who uses that? Answers on a postcard.)

Here’s to destiny and all that it may hold.

Minds Music Monday – The American – 40th Anniversary

Released in May, 1981 – while the band are still busily recording the Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call albums, the first of the singles of the album is rushed out.

But as “rush jobs” go, it has been a mainstay in the Simple Minds live set…well, since even BEFORE it was recorded in the studio and released as a single.

Well, so the Dream Giver site says but when I look at setlists from the March tour I see Sweat In Bullet on the setlist and not The American. Also there is a mention on the page about the March ‘81 tour that Careful In Career and Love Song had been written earlier in the year and already getting live airings. Which makes The American an odd choice for a first release single. Why not Sweat In Bullet or Love Song? I guess the desire to give a thirsty public something completely fresh and new won out (though you’d have thought only the small-ish contingent of die hard Minds fans would be the only ones familiar with the new tracks from the March setlist?).

Anyway, I suppose I’m splitting hairs. The point remains that the single is braw (“very good” for the non Scots reading this). And if only Simple Minds would give their still incredibly thirsty fanbase new material like this these days – and this quickly! No such luck. It’s all such a corporatocracy now. Music as “commodity”. No. We release singles as one new song tagged on to a “best of” album. Yet ANOTHER “best of” album. Sorry, but, yeah. I never like to criticise the band much but, one “new” song attached to a “best of” album, and a whole tour based around that?! Well, in retrospect, maybe a pandemic was just what this band needed to get a bomb up its arse and think about just WHAT their fanbase wants or DESERVES.

I’m sure Jim will not be best pleased with what I have written just above. But then again, he probably doesn’t give two shits, which is how things have felt this past year in the Simple Minds fandom, to be honest. YES! He keeps talking about new material and a new album, but then it gets handed over to record company fucking bureaucratic red tape shit. FUCK! JUST GIVE US SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO BEYOND PROMISES! JESUS CHRIST!

Hey ho. I guess the Minds story will come to an end soon enough anyway, so why does it matter?

*shrugs*

ANYWAY! The American! Let’s celebrate The American. The rush job of a single that still has the fanbase singing their lungs out to this day. I can’t be begrudging ANOTHER “hits” tour when I have so much love for songs like The American now, can I? It has appeared on many a tour over the years, with short rests during the Street Fighting Years and Real Life tours and just the odd absence from there.

There is a demo version of the song that got a release on the 2004 mega compilation, Silver Box. It’s all pretty much there. The final studio release was refined and honed.

I find the 12” extended version of the song much better than the album version. The album version is great too, just…a bit short. Still, I guess everything that appeared on Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call was pushing for space. So much so that the LEAD single from the sessions doesn’t even get put on the lead album but on its twinned “sister extra”.

The 12” also gets a highlight on the wonderful Themes sets – on Volume 1 of the releases. As well as that, in the late nineties, there is an “Interference Mix” of the song released. It remains a solid favourite of mine of the Simple Minds remixes that have been produced.

The earliest live appearance I can find on a bootleg is at the Futurama 3 gig at Bingley Hall in Stafford on Sept. 6th, 1981. The infamous one where Jim is “as crook as Rookwood”, as we say in Oz (ie: feeling very unwell). It’s audible, to the point where it sounds to me that Jim sings “here comes the meds” during the second run of the “chorus”. There is a lot of dead air where he normally would be singing. And Derek gives the sign off at the end of the song for the end of the gig. I guess Jim is off puking again by this point?

Another favourite involves “early days” footage of the band on French TV performing it live. Jim is partly clothed in my favourite combo, in his riding boots and baggy white troosers. (And in a fairly figure-hugging white t-shirt as well – his chest looks frigging awesome! OMG!) He also does some wrapping of the mic cord around his elbow and he just makes shapes and is just the sexiest thing alive! Beautiful! He’s beautiful.

But I digress!

The most “recent” (some recent to my ears anyway) versions I have really enjoyed have been the live acoustic version (not the studio version on the Acoustic album – that never really sat well with me for some reason) but also the version I heard from the Good News From The Next World tour. It was a return of the song on the setlist after an absence of some eight years. I heard a version of it from the gig at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on 10th September, 1995. Jim actually sings all the BV lines! The “across a curved earth / Nassau club days / in collective fame / the eventful workouts” lines. I nearly lost my shit hearing it for the first time. It was late at night but inwardly I was shouting, “HE’S DOING THE LINES! HE’S DOING THE LINES!” Lol. I was ssooo happy!

In light of what I said earlier in this post, The American is one song I would be happy to keep on the setlist. It is a firm favourite of mine at gigs and one I am guaranteed to dance and sing along to. But I would be absolutely OVER THE MOON if more tracks from Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call were performed. The only tracks with almost concrete affirmation to stay on the setlist are, The American, Love Song and Theme For Great Cities. The only other track I’ve had the privilege of hearing performed live in front of me from the albums is This Earth That You Walk Upon. I’d love to hear Sweat In Bullet or Sons And Fascination itself, or Seeing Out The Angel or In Trance As Mission. Anything really.

Speaking of “rush jobs” – the cover! Malcolm Garrett was given just 48 hours to come up with something for the cover of the single – his first design for Simple Minds. His time at the cover design helm for the band saw a number of iconic covers produced, the pinnacle of these, for many, being New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84). But the start of the working relationship with Assorted iMaGes the band had was through the first work of The American. The cover holds personal significance for me, given how Malcolm collected the images together and how I make my own art.

Overall, the 12” version as well as many live versions are my favourites of The American, so for this week’s Minds Music Monday, let’s say happy (almost!) 40th anniversary to the AMERI-AMERI-AMERI-AMEREE-AMERICAAAN!

Memorable Tours?

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An interesting post on SMOG from a long-time fan, reminiscing about the Floating World tour of 2002.

It gives a little pang of envy. I know this person has been relatively close to the band in the past. They have stories to tell. Lovely memories. You know…it sounds like more than just “band and fan”. A thing that I had always dreamed of. A thing that I sometimes kidded myself I had, you know. Not overtly so! It’s just that yearning of reciprocation. You love the band, so you hope the band loves you too. “She is your friend, until the bitter end.” But it can only go so far. And I just want more than I can have. It’s that simple. But even that little bit I *did* feel I had is all but gone.

I’ll shut up about it!

Anyway, said fan asked what our favourite tour was. He had talked about this tour like the “gig hop” tours I’ve been on. Following the band around, seeing them all over the place. But again, his experiences were back in “halcyon days”. Soundchecks you didn’t have to pay for to experience. Time just hanging out with the band after shows and stuff. Like, not just a quick signing and a photo op, but a chat at a bar or restaurant. Talk that went into the wee hours. A number of fans have these stories.

Anyway, I think his gigging goes back to 1986? Or maybe ‘89. A long way back anyway. But the Floating World tour was his favourite, he said. Others chimed in with 5×5 Live…just to make me spit even MORE chips!

I gave it a second’s thought. Of my EXTENSIVE range of tours, Big Music (technically one gig, though I saw them twice in 2015, the second was a festival slot, so not strictly a Big Music tour gig, I guess), Acoustic and Walk Between Worlds…I dunno. I have to discount Big Music, it was just two gigs – but that first ever Simple Minds gig at Cambridge will always hold a special place. And of the other two, Acoustic and Walk Between Worlds – both were amazing for differing reasons. But I guess Acoustic just pips it because…just…meeting Jim and hearing him say my name at Bristol and…yeah. All that silly “falling in love” business. Lol. But for WBW there was the album signing, Barras and the meet and greet at Colchester.

But who knows what this year will hold? I am on a MASSIVE 12 show hop-a-long, seeing them in six different countries (seven, if you separate England and Scotland). Let’s see where the wind takes us…

Happy Anniversary Bristol Toblerones – Plural…

Tonight, one year ago…yet ANOTHER dream was fulfilled. I never thought it possible! Surely ONE dream in a week being fulfilled is enough? Actually…the previous two weeks had been just…beyond anything I EVER imagined.

Meeting David Tennant. Having a photo with him and my ticket stub signed by him.
Taking my first trip to Glasgow…for a Minds gig (my second trip to Glasgow in total).
Meeting Jim for the first time in Liverpool.
Meeting him AGAIN in Bridlington. Having Catherine dedicate Rivers Of Ice to me! Posing for photos with Jim. Him putting his arm around me! Just…I could have ALREADY died happy!

And then, at Bristol…this!

Another dream come true. To have him say my name!

I just wanted to hear him say it to me! I NEVER expected him to say it in a room full of people! And then I am put on the backfoot…my head is spinning…he just said my name and now I am expected to respond to a question! The pedant in me is thinking, “This is an important question, get it right!” And the other part of me is saying, “How would I know? I have NO bloody idea! I left school when I was 14! You are ssooo asking the wrong person here! But…I love you!”

I can’t tell you how many times I have played it. Not…EVERY day…and not very often now. But today I did. A very special anniversary.

One year on, and Jim…thank you. For ever…pandering to such a silly, pathetic, sad excuse of a fangirl. It means everything. It always will.

It’s About This Point In Time When I Say…

…. I miss him!

”The moment’s high, the wait is (mercifully not very now) long”

Actually just missing his presence online…FB posting, and chatting to us.

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Catherine and Jim

I had seen another photo in this sequence in which Jim is kissing Catherine’s cheek, but this one is just as beautiful…if not more beautiful because of the eye contact between them.

I love these two people so much. They have both given me some of the most amazing experiences of my life this year. Thank you!

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Berlin Babe

I think this might be during Big Sleep…he was usually like this when performing Big Sleep…just…living in the moment…

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Classic Pop Gig Review – London Palladium – Best Live Show

Ooh, very nice for Classic Pop to give them “best live show” in their July issue. It was one I was at, and it was a belter! But…lol…I do love that Jim is getting a reputation for his “dad dancing”. Quite a contrast from the awkward boy who wouldn’t dance at parties as a teen. I think he’s finally taken the “life’s too short” philosophy. And, of course, as far as he is concerned…when interviewed last year at the Ivors, we all WANT the dad dancing! Lol. Of course we do…you make us all feel capable of dancing too. Lol