Themes For Great Cities – Competition Winners!

Good morning, everyone. Thanks to everyone who has visited the blog in recent weeks, read my review of the fantastic Themes For Great Cities: A New History of Simple Minds by Graeme Thomson, and entered the competition for the books.

Before I announce the winners I just want to say thanks for all the wonderful feedback I got from everyone for the review, it was really something. Especially when Graeme himself expressed words of gratitude for my review. So thanks to all. The feedback was humbly received.

And so without further ado the winners of a copy of Themes For Great Cities are….

KEV DOWEY and STUART GREAVES!

Congratulations to you both! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

I’ll be in touch with both of you shortly. And thanks once again to everyone who took the time to visit and enter the competition.

Don’t forget that the book is released this come Thursday, January 27th and is available to pre-order now. Currently priced at £14.49 on online bookseller hive.co.uk you can order and choose to collect it from your local independent bookseller free of charge. Home deliveries within the UK are also free. Click HERE for more info.

Minds Music Monday – Jeweller To The Stars/The Jeweller (Part 2)

I don’t know why I have it stuck in my head as a Charlie Burchill song, but I just do. And by a Charlie song, I mean it being a song about Charlie.I don’t know where I have got that implanted in my head. It must have been something Jim had said when talking about the song? Perhaps he just expressed a particular likeness for Charlie’s guitar work on the track? Whatever it was, I have thought of “Jeweller” as Charlie’s song ever since.

Proving also that inspiration can come from just about anywhere, Jim said the lyrics came about from him seeing an advert in a magazine. I love it when he can share stories of defined examples of lyrical inspiration. I am sure most times his lyrics are an amalgam of inspiration. Pieces of a mosaic, as obscure and ambiguous as his words can be. Esp. early on in his songwriting. Never really a single point of focus. Well that’s how it seems anyway.

I like both the recorded versions of the song that I’ve heard. Both are very similar in sound with no real variation in lyrics, only just some backing vocal lyrics on one version, with Jim’s voice alternating in left and right channels to say “I want you – I still want you” – which for me is seductively sexy. 

“When all seems lost, you’ll find the diamonds in the rough” is the general optimistic message of the song. Well, that’s how I interpret it.

Pick out the jewels.

Minds Music Monday – Space

This song has a similar personal feeling for me than Spaceface does. Almost like they fit hand in glove. Even with the similarities in title – Space/Spaceface. There’s also a line within Wonderful In Young Life that fits in with the theme that I find particularly poignant. “Surviving these changes in paces and faces in free wonder, free wonder, free wonder style.” 

For the two minutes I decided to try and sell my “art” as a kind of merch thing, selling prints, shirts and mugs, I titled my “business” Free Wonder Style. Paid for a web domain and everything. Feels another lifetime ago now. Hey ho. 

Anyway, I digress already and we’re barely under way!

Space always felt like a “letting go” song. It resonated most with me when the “limerence” was at its worst. When I felt that Jim wanted “no more”. The placement of that idea? That signal? That came wholly within my own mind. When you’re wanting something so much. Wanting to feel a connection that you wish for all the world is there but deep down, within your rational mind, you know it isn’t. It can’t ever be. It never was. 

“Imagination wears you out / crying brings you down again. The dream is over / the feeling’s gone / and we were something / you were dreaming all along.”

YOU WERE DREAMING ALL ALONG. 

Everything about the song. Each line. Each line would just be like….

But then I’d hole on to the uplifting bits. “I’m the star you see tonight / and I wish I may / I wish I might / be in your dreams tonight.” 

How many times I have been in bed at night, getting ready to settle down to sleep and I have silently mouthed a little chant of “please let me dream of him, please let me dream of him”.

I did it again last night! But he appeared. With the rest of the band. I couldn’t quite work out the scenario of the dream. I think I was allowed to go to see them rehearse somewhere. Cherisse greeted me in the dream. Let me in, showed me round. I bumped into Charlie. We had a brief chat but then he had to go off. As for Jim? Well, he was busy elsewhere, conducting interviews and what not. I saw him at the far end of one area within this kinda “complex” this dream was set in, but he was too far away from me to even say hello to or anything. 

My dreams generally have a huge smack of reality to them. 

It’s a song that I feel makes me come to terms with things. And I hate how ridiculous that makes me sound! The whole “limerence” thing. I don’t want it to be a “thing”, you know? 

Like I said in my previous post discussing limerence. I feel like I am an otherwise intelligent and rational person. And I fear my explanation of my own “limerence” is not clear enough. I feel like I have to explain myself over and over again. I am NOT so deluded as to want “romantic love” from Jim! It really isn’t that! I don’t want to “run off with him”! That’s fucking ridiculous! I’m not THAT absurd or that much of a fantasist! 

It really was just – friendship. A bond. I like you, and I hope you like me too. I just have been craving a closeness that just isn’t there. I have me and my small bunch of friends and well, Jim joked way back before Simple Minds got REALLY big that he had 8000 friends – or whatever astronomical figure it was then. And I know – rational hat on, that there are many people he’s known for years, all his life nearly. People he calls pals who he’d hardly have any contact with! So…who the fuck am I? What kind of fucking audacity have I got to wish for getting emails or letters or shite like that from him, eh? I mean, Jesus! It would be different if I had known him from when I was wee. Like, really known him outside of Minds and all that. Knew him as “Jim fae Prospecthill Circus” like, you know? But I don’t.

That “just a fan” status thing is hard to take. But it’s the cold, hard reality of it. It doesn’t stop it from sucking ass though!

Sometimes…just to stop it hurting sometimes, I initiate the whole “it’s his loss” talk. It doesn’t make it any less painful. And it really doesn’t apply. It cannae. I cannae make him give two shits. And it’s not fair on him that I try and enforce it, like. 

So, getting back to Space. It makes me comes to terms with what is. What the “status quo” is. Where the lay of the land is. But, it still has that hope in it! Goddamnit! Like all Simple Minds songs do. It’s like it says to me “I know what you want, but you cannae have it. But, you can have it in your dreams.”

Well, of course I can have it in my dreams. I can have anything in my dreams. And I’m not even gonna go into the dreams I can have. Oh, the dreams I can have! That would make for some colourful posts, I tell ya!

Spaceface is more the antithesis of Space. Spaceface is pure joy. My “happy place”, as I call it. Pure “hunner per cent” uplifting. It’s my number one “feel good” Simple Minds track. Whereas Space is…a lament. There are things I want that I can’t have and I have to accept that. But…it’s okay to dream. It’s okay to want those things. To desire them. To wish for them. But don’t let it consume you. And there are times…too many times it feels as if it has consumed me. It has overtaken everything and made me ill. Or it has been exacerbated by another element of mental illness and I used it erroneously as a coping mechanism against other aspects of combating episodes of mental illness. 

I still find it INCREDIBLY difficult to admit to and talk openly about my mental ill health. I don’t want to be seen as “mental” or “sick”. And I fear what people think of me – and it’s a vicious cycle because it is such an integral part of my ill health – that CONSTANT fear and concern of what people think of me and how I am perceived by others. But that is something I cannot alter. I cannot alter people’s perceptions of me. And in whatever way people perceive me, if it is an a way that is negative and it means they distance themselves from me – well, IT IS “their loss”. But the “people pleaser” in me continues to struggle to come to terms with that. Even though I accept and understand all the rationale behind it. You CAN’T have EVERYBODY like you! You just can’t. And nor should you want to. And Jim falls into that, you know?

It’s a whole jumbled up plethora of stuff.

Space is sometimes a very hard listen for me because of what the song symbolises to me.

When I am at my worst, mental health wise, I would cling on so much to the line “if you’re talking / I will listen”. Because sometimes it felt like Jim was listening to me. 

It still stings my eyes with tears just how much I used to feel that and how much I have held on to it. How tightly I have held onto that. 

It’s a long, slow letting go. I had been alone for so long. Before 2014 and Simple Minds mega fandom. So alone. Never imagined in a million years that Jim himself would make me feel welcome and part of the fold. It was a lighting of touch paper though. And such emotional sparks flew from within. 

An inferno that is slowly quelling to kindling. 

“The dream is over / party’s over.”

Star light. That light needs to shine from within.

The ‘Off Topic’ Uni Student

I’m sitting at my PC today wanting to continue with the exercise of writing. And I have things swirling around in my head. Bits and pieces of this, that and the other and just wanting to try and blurt all of these things out and try and do that in a quick manner before I lose all train of thought. But my mind is such a jumble of so many things I don’t know where to begin! And I would love to write to someone directly…but…you know, it’s a pure fantasy to think he would ever come to this blog to read what I would write. 

Today I can officially deem myself a university student. I am now fully enrolled in my Higher Ed. English diploma at the Open University. Never in a million years did I think I would end up studying Higher Ed. ENGLISH! Science, Maths…all the biological, chemical, astrophysical – all the sciences were where my interests lay when I was growing up. Never felt good at art. Never felt good at English. The humanities, I felt, was where my weaknesses were. Not that I by ANY means felt capable in the sciences either. I just had more desire to want to be good in them. 

History was the bridge. 

It’s taken so long for me to realise there is so much more to English than just storytelling. That it does open up things I am interested in – like history, research, working in a library, being a museum curator, and so on and so forth. 

I am ssooo eager to get started. Literally champing at the bit! And I don’t want to quelle my eagerness. I want to capture it. Bottle it! Give it an outlet in the meantime. So if for the next eight weeks or so this blog drifts wildly “off topic”, please forgive me! It’s a great creative outlet for me – but it can’t be 100% Simple Minds based. I mean – Jesus – some NEWS to actually write about would be grand right now!

So, I am currently an OU student. I am enrolled in my first module – A111: Discovering the Arts and Humanities. I have already invested in purchasing the books that we’ll be studying during the module: The Faber Book of Beasts, Sophocles – Antigone, and A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books. I have applied to have access to the University of Glasgow’s library as an OU student. And I have also applied for a part-time student fee grant – something I believe is only available to students resident in Scotland.

It is now a waiting game. And this is the part that is playing havoc with me. Deadline for applications of enrolment on the course is January 13th. And although I am enrolled, it is still pending on my fee grant application being approved. It can take 28 days for the fee grant to be approved. Allowing for staff to be off over Christmas and New Year, it will take me right up to the application deadline. No problem if I get the grant. But if I don’t get the grant? One, I’ll be devastated! Two, I’ll be de-registered from the course and if I still want to do the course and somehow pay the fee, I’ll have to reapply to the course! So it really does all hinge on me being given the grant.

I have to “sit tight”. I’ve never been good at sitting tight. And I really don’t want my enthusiasm to wane! So everything that will go on at this blog in the interim that isn’t Simple Minds related will be me just wanting to keep at my creativity and writing and brain activity and…all of that. 

I have been wanting to discuss The Beatles documentary, Get Back – but I feel that every man and his dog has reviewed it now, or passed judgement on it. What else do I have to add or offer? Short of being brief and saying it’s a LONG documentary but well worth the effort, there isn’t much else I can add. Perhaps when I am a little more focused I can discuss it in more detail. After the initial dust has settled and there’s a bit of time elapsed from half of the world having just devoured it over the past week or two. 

I didn’t even think Jim was going to brush upon it at all. But lo, there he was this morning talking about it, mentioning his mum, his brother and a “mongrel dog” called Ringo. I love when he shares memories. I know not everyone in the fanbase wants that. Some just want…I don’t know what they want! For Jim not to talk from a personal angle, basically. Which I find perplexing, I have to say. Why don’t you want Jim to talk/write that way? It would be so…analytical and perfunctory on their social media if he didn’t. Jim may as well not be involved in the FB page at all in that case! 

I absolutely LOVE the way he writes and interacts (when he actually did do so) with us! It is the most special thing there is about Simple Minds having a presence on Facebook. Every other official band and artist FB page I have seen is, by and large (there are a few other exceptions – Gary Numan, for example), devoid of any real connection with their fans. 

I want band news, of course I do! To hear about new music on the way would be extremely welcome right now. 

Jim’s writing inspires me. And I don’t mean his songwriting, but of course that does too, in a more fragmented way. 

There is something else I’d love to say here but conversely, I don’t want to discuss it. Suffice it to say I had an epiphany recently about my writing and its cathartic benefit to me. That is as forward as I can be about that. 

I have been writing A LOT since July and not all of it has been posted here. I guess not all of it needs to be posted here. But an element of my writing is not just the feeling of expression that comes from it but wanting it to be read! The want of having people read what I am saying and feeling. And that is why now it is feeling like art. People in the visual arts – painters, graphic designers, sculptors, photographers, dancers – whether they realise it or not desire an audience. Desire their work to be seen and appreciated. I have felt that with my digital art. Always made it for my own enjoyment in the first instance, as an outlet of expression but then beyond that wanting it to be shared. Then, with any luck, liked and appreciated by others. 

So this is why I will be writing – off topic – here on this blog. I went to type “my blog” out just then. But I find myself reluctant at times to call it “my blog” because I still see it as a Simple Minds blog. And as a Simple Minds blog, I feel it shouldn’t be personal. But it always manages to seep in somehow. I actually don’t know what this beast of a blog is! It’s like liquorice allsorts. 

I just hope you enjoy liquorice allsorts.

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*

As Dorothy Said To Aunty Em…

“There’s no place like home.” A much used quote lifted from The Wizard Of Oz. But it rings true. And it certainly seemed to have rung true on the nights of November 18th and 19th, 1982.

Simple Minds had just returned to Glasgow after another whirlwind stint of touring to the far reaches of the globe (yes, GLOBE – no “flat earth” conspiracy theorists here! Have ANY of these flat-earthers NEVER been on a plane? How do they explain the curvature of the earth and the horizon? I digress!) – heading back to Australia, New Zealand and Canada directly after the release of New Gold Dream.

I was looking into fanzines on eBay last night, after having seen an enquiring post on my FB feed about a certain Scottish produced fanzine. I thought I’d have a hunt around the interwebs and see what I could find. I decided on eBay first and got caught up looking at fanzines on there. One in particular caught my eye. One called Deadbeat. I looked at the listing of every issue and viewed the images, trying to scan and find more info on the fanzine production itself more than anything.

No one was then more surprised than me to find within the shared images of one listing of the magazine – THIS! A review of Simple Minds playing Tiffany’s in November, 1982. It’s unclear as to whether the reviewer is at the first gig or the second, but regardless of that it’s a glowing review.

The only error in the review is that they say Mike Ogletree is on drums. And it wasn’t until I was listening over the bootleg last night did I think to myself “Naw, pal. That ain’t Mike, that’s Mel.” Mike’s last gig was in Toronto about 10 nights prior to this gig. So in actual fact, it was Mel’s first or second night at the kit – depending on which night the reviewer was there.

They wax lyrical about Jim. Such praise! Excited at my discovery of this review last night I did a very rare thing (these days) and posted it to SMOG first with a link to Art & Talk’s upload of the November 18th gig to YouTube. In my post on SMOG, in reference to the lashings of praise heaped on Jim, I said “anyone would think I wrote the review! Lol.”

It is true though – anyone WOULD think I had time travelled and gone and reviewed it for the fanzine. It is wonderful to see such praise given to His Kerrness though. And it’s certainly nothing I wouldn’t have done myself.

A companion piece for me are the photos I have from Virginia of them playing the second night at Tiffany’s. My favourite photo of the set? One of Jim on the stage – looking pretty fucking sensational, I have to say in signature white collared shirt, shiny tailored trousers and black wee “ballet” shoes. And in the bottom left corner of the frame you can see his brother, Mark, looking as though he would rather be anywhere else than watching his big bro up on stage. Lol. Poor Mark! It’s not in the ones I have posted above, but you can view the particular photo I am referring to on Virginia’s site HERE

Lastly, here is the link to the first of the two Tiffany’s gigs that A&T uploaded. Oh, for a night at Tiffany’s! This is the next best thing…

P.S. Artwork used for the YT ident, eh? *wink* Thanks A&T!

The Circadian Rhythm Method

It’s this exact point within any given year in the northern hemisphere that plunges me into the effects of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). 

I usually start to feel the effects towards the end of October, coinciding with my birthday. It’s that wonderful convergence of the changing of the seasons and the sense of mortality that another birthday brings. 

The clocks go back an hour. This year they went back on the morning of my birthday. There’s some rather obvious symbolism there! Turning the clock back on my birthday. I am forever wanting to “turn the clock back” on my life. Reviewing the litany of mistakes, doubt and apathy. Getting too stuck in the past to move forward. I am going to change that in 2022! 

I can’t rewrite history. I can’t go back and change what has passed, but I can alter my future. I can change where I am headed. Give myself purpose and direction.

Sunrise over Glasgow 21/11/2021

The weather really does affect my mood at this time of year as well. As soon as that changing of the clocks happens it heightens the awareness of the shortening of the days. 

In a little under three weeks it will be the winter solstice. The shortest day. Sunrise around 8.50am and sunset approximately 3.40pm – roughly seven hours of daylight. It really doesn’t feel like it! The light is so dull in the winter months  – although on a sunny day it has a beauty and majesty to it. But otherwise it is, to use the title of my favourite Magazine album, “secondhand daylight”. 

I feel the days drawing in. The sunrise is incrementally later and later each morning. The sun rose at 8.26 this morning, and on the 20th it’ll rise around 8.48-8.50. Over 20 minutes of daylight lost in less than three weeks! It’s stark! 

And it mucks up my circadian rhythm too. I feel like I just can’t get enough sleep and waking up and getting out of bed in darkness feels SSOO unnatural to me – even now, after over 20 years of living in the UK. 

The past two years have been another readjustment because compared to southern England, Scotland and Glasgow get less daylight in the winter months. Most notable is the later sunrise. At the moment, compared to London, it is some 40 minutes later in difference. 

I never noticed or felt I suffered the effects of SAD when I lived in Australia. Living so much closer to the equator, and having the Tropic of Capricorn running through the top third of the country through Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia means that there isn’t as marked a difference in the length of days between the seasons. That also means that winter doesn’t feel any less bright than it does in summer. The difference is all felt in temperature extremes rather than changes in day length. Winter is comfortably mild with very few extremely cold days and summer is, on the whole, extremely hot and oppressive. And so you don’t feel the seasons changing so starkly in Australia – possibly with the exception of Tasmania as they are that much further south and that much more temperate in climate.  

The seasonal changes never affected my body’s circadian rhythm. 

Here in the UK my sleeping patterns can alter considerably. Summer brings the other extreme which is very, very long days. Again, the move to Glasgow means that the days are longer in summer than they are in southern England. 

I feel like I need less sleep in the summer. The almost perpetual dusk that happens between May and July means dawn feels like it’s breaking around 3.30am and the sun isn’t setting until after 10.30pm. That kind of pattern of daylight brings more alertness. It literally feels like things are “brighter”. The days are warmer. At least warm enough not to feel like you need to be in layers of clothes to keep warm. 

The sun brings a natural optimism with it. Things feel better when the sun is shining. 

I feel like I can manage with about 6 hours of sleep most of the time. I am also a natural night owl, so not only am I trying to adjust to the winter solstice and SAD symptoms, I have also been trying to alter my sleep pattern. My natural sleep pattern for a long while here in the UK was to stay up quite late – 2.30am/3.30am and sleep until around 9-9.30am. I am now sleeping between around 12.30am-1am til … I am waking up through the night. And the time I get out of bed alters. Some nights I just don’t sleep very well. I awake around 3am and just can’t get back to sleep and can be awake until 5.30am. If that happens then I don’t wake again until my alarm wakes me at 7.45am. I am usually knackered and hit the snooze button a few times. I will try and drag myself out of bed by 8.15am at the very latest. 

There can be good nights where I sleep better. I still awake through the night, but I drift back off to sleep quite easily. If that happens, I will usually awake before the alarm goes off and I can be out of bed by 7.30am. Or as it was this morning, I was out of bed by 7am. 

But it is difficult at this time of year. At 7am it is still dark. Not even a sign of dawn breaking. Whereas at 7am in the summer months, from April til September, the sun is out and that usually means I can spring out of bed, unless I have had a particularly restless night of sleep, or a late night out. 

Typing and describing the conditions in real time – I have been typing out this post since about 8.15 this morning. It is now a few minutes to 11am and only NOW does the day feel bright enough to turn the lamp light off in the room. 

The dark of the winter months really does alter my mood. I find it a very depressing time of year and it is almost entirely down to the reduced amount of daylight. Perhaps it is time for me to invest in a SAD lamp? 

I feel all the things one feels. “Blue Monday” and that the month of January lasts for what feels like about 75 days rather than the actual 31 days it has. The cold also brings with it the desire to want to snuggle up in bed under one’s covers and remain there until the sun starts to make itself better known once again.

I think hibernating animals like hedgehogs and bears have the best way of overcoming the “bleak midwinter”. 

I am not looking forward to three more months of SAD. Usually it isn’t until the end of March, when Daylight Savings comes into being do I start to feel the subsidence of the effects of SAD. It takes a bit of adjustment again. As when the clocks move forward it means once again the sun rises later than it had been a few days before, but the evening is longer. I adjust to that far quicker than I do the clocks going back at the end of October. 

Do you feel SAD symptoms? What ways do you try to combat it?

Pictorial Passion – Musical Years In Review – 2021 and 1982

Last night Spotify revealed my yearly listening stats to me. There was no real surprise to find Simple Minds at the top of the tree yet again! And that Boys From Brazil was my top track for seventh year running. All the SM tracks in my Top 5 played tracks of 2021 all came from Sons And Fascination and given it was the 40th anniversary of the album, that would be of no surprise to anyone.

My latter love for Jonathan Richman shows itself in him being at number five of my Top 5 played artists.

My top podcast showed how much I have been enjoying Frank Gallagher’s Soundman Confidential this year. I love the bit about that yes, it’s okay for you to consider the host a member of your family now. Lol. Never in a million hears did I ever think I’d be having little online exchanges with Frank! I felt that Jim always made him sound intimidating as fuck, but he’s brilliant and is always wonderful. And even comments on my FB posts sometimes…which I find amazing that he’s sitting there in Flagstaff, AZ, reading my complete pap! Just last week he responded to one of my posts about enrolling in the OU for my Higher Ed. English diploma and my endless self-doubt. His response was “drive til they take the keys away”. I responded by asking him to “spread some gallus my way”. He replied back, “you don’t need anyone’s permission to be yourself”. He’s lovely. Just lovely.

Of course there is much more music I listen to outside of Spotify so it isn’t 100% everything I listen to. I have been listening to SM live bootlegs and gigs much more this year and that won’t be reflected on Spotify stats, just as one example.

Here’s the breakdown of it in full visual splendour.

Lastly, today sees the release of Classic Pop magazine’s retro look back to all things 1982 in a dedicated special issue. In amongst the artists and bands discussed is a piece on the art side of music which features Malcolm Garrett. And of course the main feature to do with Simple Minds is a look through New Gold Dream. There’s a part of it that covers the official videos released. They mention the Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize videos. Someone Somewhere In Summertime was the third single from the album and therefore should have had a video released but one was never made. Instead the magazine talked about this one (below). I love what is said about Jim’s moves. Lol. You’ll not be surprised to learn that I adore this video and quite a bit of art from me has come from it. I will leave my favourite example of that at the end of the post.

Click to play Someone Somewhere In Summertime video.

St Andrew’s Day – Two Year Anniversary

It’s a Happy St Andrew’s Day from me here in a rather suitably dreich looking Glesga.

Yesterday it had been two years since we moved to Glasgow. There really is no other place in the world I would rather be! Even if the likes of the nurse at the local GP surgery and Vito around the corner at the chippy find this notion of mine hard to comprehend.

Over the past two years, I have had numerous probes into the accent people hear spewing forth from my gob. Most detect the Australian accent but are tentative to pinpoint it outright in case I may be a Kiwi and end up insulted, so the query usually comes with a “Which one? Oz or NZ?” Or, like in Vito’s case, a more general “Where ya fae?”

With Vito I was tempted to be a wee bit cheeky and say “Just aroond the corner.” Or perhaps “Luton. Moved to Glasgow nearly two years ago now.” But of course I knew exactly what he meant by the probing question. Originally. Where are you from? Where does that accent come from?

So I replied “Sydney, originally.” “And you like Glasgow?”, he asks. “I absolutely love it here”, I reply. “Even with all the rain?”, he says, with a rather incredulous look on his face. I just smiled, grabbed my fish supper from the counter and bid him a fond adieu.

Smirking away as I regaled inwardly on the encounter on my short walk back home, it wasn’t entirely lost on me the irony of a man of obvious Italian descent (how many Scotsman do you know called Vito?) asking me why on earth I was an Aussie living in Glasgow.

Another encounter happened last year during a walk to the canal around near Applecross and Speirs Wharf. A man was taking his dog for a walk and he was making his way up from the M8 underpass by Cowcaddens. He was headed for Speirs Wharf but he stopped us to check that he was headed in the right direction. I was with my Other Half and he detected both our accents. A good blether ensued. I won’t share the whole conversation. I can’t remember all of it at any rate. But I remember him being quite stunned that I was here living in Glasgow. He didn’t seemed so shocked by my OH being here. I guess someone from England moving up to Scotland isn’t particularly rare. But with me? Well, he had to have some fun. “You must be on the run, right? You murdered someone back there and that’s why you moved here, right? Good place to hide oot. No wan would suspect a ‘hing.”

Lol. Yeah. Only for the fact my accent gives me away every time.

So, yes. Two years in and there isn’t a day I haven’t loved living here or wished to be somewhere else. This is home. I found my place in the world. At least geographically.

Lastly, and as a side note, there’s a new Wet Leg tune out. I think it might be their best one yet. Interesting video!