Minds Music Monday – I Wish You Were Here

It’s the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend in the UK. This involves participants observing their garden – or a local patch of nature – for an hour and recording all the different species (and highest number of each in one gathering) of birds in one hour.

I will probably take part but I know already that my tally will comprise mainly of black backed gulls, feral doves and magpies. But there may just be the odd blue tit, house sparrow or robin – if I am lucky!

It had me thinking about references to birds in Simple Minds songs. Obviously the first one I thought of immediately was Wonderful In Young Life with Jim referencing “crowded swallow skies”.

I felt it too obvious to choose Wonderful In Young Life (again!) for MMM – we all know how much I love it!

The next song that came to mind was their recent cover of Richard Hawley’s Long Black Train. A bird reference right from the opening line – and several more within.

I have now been grappling over which to choose from the others. I needed some help to jog the memory. Song titles were enough to jog the memory while others came to the fore as I made my way to the Dream Giver “songs” section.

Woman is one I could have plumbed for “picture of some strange tattooed bird on her thigh”. Geez, that song is sexy AF! And I loooove Charlie’s guitar on that. But, no. As much as I love Woman…another time.

I pondered If I Had Wings….but it never has been a song that I have ever really been too drawn to. It’s quite mystical with pretty ambiguous lyrics…which I usually love. I don’t know. Reading the lyrics compared to the musical structure of the song, and reading Jim’s words about how the song came to be – it just doesn’t seem to work. The music and lyrics seem disjointed and mismatched. Just my feeling on it. And, well there is no actual mention of birds anyway.

I was left with two big contenders – Wall Of Love or, the song I have finally decided to go with. And there’s a special place for me for Wall Of Love, thanks to Valentine’s Day and SM being in NZ in 2017, and Jim choosing to use some fan art I had done for the song to thank the crowd at the gig in Auckland that night.

But in the end I have gone for this. It started to play in my head shortly after Wonderful In Young Life, because I pretty quickly heard the line (after having just heard “a crowded swallow skies” play in my mind) “birds of a feather always stay together, and never separate no fear”. So it had to be…

I Wish You Were Here…

The Birth Of “Wan”?

Looking at eBay, I noticed this fanzine for sale (at a ridiculous price! Considering what most fanzines are like, and how they were produced). I could see that they were gracious enough to show what was inside with some low res pics (of an already poor quality printed magazine. Rare…but I would not pay £50 for it myself). It dates from January 1979. Probably just about one of their first interviews, I would think.


I can only read certain bits of the content. The questions being asked are quite personal and…probing. This one had me in stitches!

Interviewer: “It’s always struck me that your hand is near your penis a lot, as though you were wanking on stage – I don’t know if you’re noticed it…”

Jim: “That’s the first time anyone’s said that, but the band have mentioned it too, they’ve been having me on…no, I don’t wear particularly tight trousers or anything like that. I can honestly say I don’t think much about that at all. If I see a nice bird in the audience, perhaps…”

Lol. Such direct questioning! If one can deem that a question, rather than a pondering. 🤔🤔🤔

Another Day, Another Bird Encounter!

I know! Simple Minds blog! But also…personal blog…art and hobbies blog. So! Here is some selected photos and a video of a male blackbird just outside the living room window this morning. Birds are just…the best!

Close Encounters Of The Bird Kind

Yep, still playing around with the new camera. The video it can shoot is just…wow! I had a parcel to collect from outside, and when I opened the door, the robin was there waiting for food. I fed him some mealworms, then grabbed the camera, put it into “movie” mode and this is what I shot.

I didn’t have my glasses on, so the focusing was guesswork…and, well, I was in manual focus mode, which is a bit harder when filming moving images. But there’s quite a bit of clear stuff in between the blur.

Yep…a Simple Minds blog, I know…but this Minds fan is a bird crazy Minds fan 🙂

A Muse You Can’t Paint…

I think this would make the most beautiful painting. 

I want to paint him. I want to paint him SO much! I started prepping the background of a canvas for this with all the beautiful iridescent paints I have. But, I needed to keep the centre blank for him. I painted around a basic outline of where his shoulders, arm and head would/should go. I could see as I was filling in around the centre, I was going to make his face too wide and short. Increasingly disheartened, I painted the whole canvas in.

It was turning into an abomination. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to paint him in there now, unless I layer and layer.

I struggle too much with getting angles, proportions and aspect ratios right. 

If I can pick myself back up off the floor, I might try doing something with it again tomorrow…but I think it’ll probably just turn into a bird canvas – again.

A flamingo, or some humming birds.

It’s bloody horrible wanting to paint someone so much, but you feel you can’t.

The only time I remotely felt successful at painting him was with this…

And it’s still hideous. I should have kept it abstract, like below…

Maybe I won’t do birds on the new canvas? Maybe just something wonderfully abstract. We’ll see.

I want to believe in myself! I want to believe I have ability…CAPABILITY…but I am just perpetually unhappy with what I achieve when I paint. Especially when I try to paint Jim.


The Magpie Whisperer

Now these are Australian magpies, not to be confused with European magpies. The European magpie is in the corvid family (crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, choughs, jays, etc), whereas the Australian magpie is a member of the shrike family and not a corvid. They, like many other birds, especially those of Australian species, still display incredibly intelligent behaviour. But for me it’s their song I love best. It has a melody I find particularly endearing. As much as I love the sound of the kookaburra too – it is the good old Aussie magpie that makes me pine for home. I didn’t hear them enough when I was out there over the spring and summer of 2015/16. Early mornings with their song in the air are particularly beautiful.

Enjoy a clip from the “Magpie Whisperer” web site. You can visit the site and see more clips by clicking here.
(sorry for going “off topic” but I am sure it is evident to those of you who know me, or regularly visit my blog, just how much I love birds)