Minds Music Monday – Act Of Love

I always consider it an “act of love” that these, let’s face it – barely adult boys (yes, screaming oxymoron there!) – would form a band and rehearse and play and that most gorgeous of those boys (bias!) would be the glue that acts as the cohesion to get it all to gel with his words and his voice and his drive and passion and just…yeah.

It’s an “act of love” for music, for life, travel, wanting to experience a world outside of Glasgow.

How can we, as fans, not be thankful for that?

Jim posted about the anniversary of the first “official” Simple Minds gig yesterday, a whole week before the date. Still showing that enthusiasm almost 43 years down the line.

He talked of the band of boys – Tony Donald (god bless his soul), Charlie, Joe Donnelly and of Brian. And their varying likes of music and where their influences in learning to play sprung from.

Jim himself? He seemed the one that just wanted to see it all come to fruition – whether he was actually part of the band or not. He just seems like that kind of man. An “influencer” if you will – long before the word became sullied by people on Instagram seeking fame for fame’s sake and living the Andy Warhol dream of being “famous for 15 minutes”.

Because that’s what Jim seems to do with people. He seems to, not only have his own astounding level of enthusiasm and drive and self-belief – he tries to pass it on to others or to deepen their own level of passion and drive. And he’s amazing with it. It’s almost a skewed act of altruism.

It’s early days, and early Minds. And there are others there that night too, not mentioned yesterday. Duncan Barnwell. David and Jaine Henderson (doing sound and lights, respectively).

I sought Jaine’s permission when posting this photo before, I hope she won’t mind me using it again. It seemed apt, given the subject and context.

Perhaps he meant to share this photo when talking of those early days when the guys were still learning to play before that first gig. (What happened to the guitar, Jim?) I first saw it when Jaine shared it and tagged Brian. I’m guessing Charlie’s the one that took the photo? He’s conspicuous by his absence.

Anyway….all journeys set out from a start point, or perhaps several smaller points that converge for one joint starting point – here’s one of Simple Minds’.

The Classic Pop “Super Fan”

I had been pondering doing this for some time, once I felt my collection had been big enough to deem it worthy. Probably the past 18 months or 2 years, but we were so crammed in our place in Luton, it never really seemed doable.

Then we moved to Glasgow, had much more space to display things, Coronavirus happened and Classic Pop took a break from publication.

When they returned after several months of lockdown and seeing them on their Facebook page appealing to readers to put their “superfan” stories forward, I thought I’d finally take the plunge. I emailed them, saying what a fan I was of Simple Minds and showed them a sample of my collection.

They were interested, asked me to fill out a little questionnaire about my fandom and to submit several more photos, including a head shot of myself. All lovingly submitted with care a day later.

It went quiet. Although they were back in action after lockdown, and having recently gone to publishing monthly prior to lockdown, they seemed to have return to a bi-monthly publication. One issue had only just come out, so I was hopeful I had timed it for inclusion for the next issue.

The next issue came out at the end of October and I thought “Oh, wouldn’t it be timely if it was printed in this issue for my birthday?! That would be ssoooo awesome!” Sadly, there wasn’t even a Super Fan article within the Nov/Dec 2020 issue. I was a bit gutted but thought they would publish it whenever they were ready.

In the meantime, the Heart of the Crowd book was just 5 weeks from publication and that hopefully I’d have that to be excited about.

In recent days I had been wondering when the next issue was due.

This morning, I see the postie make his way up the path to the front door. I wasn’t really expecting anything at all. Just some junk, or a bill or two. I heard what sounded like a magazine drop onto the doormat and went to collect it, hoping it was the new issue of Classic Pop (I’m also subscribed to a drumming magazine).

To my joy it was! But the big question was – well questions were: had there been a Super Fan article put in this issue AND more so, would it be MY story?

I went to the “Contents“ list at the beginning of the magazine…and there…

ERMAGEEEERRRRRRRD! A belated little Christmas bonus! And a lovely little extra to ring in the New Year with.

The icing on it is to see my Hunter And The Hunted piece printed in there as it didn’t get to be printed in the Heart Of The Crowd. I am so happy to see that in there.

I never wanted it to be seen as a boastful thing. It was why I grappled about even doing this for so long. But I am proud of my collection and why I am an avid enough fan to collect things. It’s much more than material possession for me. it is so much more about the band and the music and what it means to me and the importance it has in my life.

The whole “Super Fan” thing still doesn’t sit entirely well with me. All of us believe in some degree that we are ALL the “biggest fan” of our favourite bands and artists – and we all are. And there is the stigma of what happened in the summer of 2018 that makes me tread rather warily around the notion of the “super fan” – the “mega fan”, uber fan… diehard, “real” fan.

I’ll never really know what makes a fan a “real” fan – but whatever actually defines it…I am real enough. I live and breathe this band. And they make my existence a happier and more enjoyable one. I can’t remember life much pre-Simple Minds. But life since the summer of 2014 has been … wonderful – even in the darker periods amongst that. They bring light to darkness.

It’s a skewed way of saying thank you.

Hanging Around – With My Man In Germany

Back in May I had a chat with Ronnie Gurr at Hanging Around Books about a photo of Jim that I would have liked to have gotten a copy of from the photographer who took it, but I looked into their prices (without enquiring with them directly) and saw they wanted over £1000 for a print!! 😱😱

The conversation moved on to the topic of a Record Mirror cover, and the use of a photo of Brian McGee in his undies that Ronnie had taken when with the band on tour in Germany in the late summer of 1980.

He said to me “this (see below) is the photo I submitted for the cover, but they went with the one of Brian instead.”

I sat looking at the screen in a mixture of awe and disbelief. Awe that such a fabulous photo of Jim had been stowed away unseen for so many years, and disbelief that the editor at Record Mirror snubbed the use of this photo for one of Brian in his togs!

Not only that, but the music mag then goes on to erroneously name Brian as “Mike McNeil”. Geezo! They don’t even get the erroneous name correct!

Anyway, 40 years down the line, I was in fangirl raptures to see such a wonderful photo of Jim. Since seeing it, I have been hankering for a copy and over these months I have every now and then been virtually nudging Ronnie for a copy of the photo.

AT LAST! The day arrived yesterday. I received three photos in total. The photo above of Jim which measures 10×8 inches, the black and white group photo below of the band on the flight staircase, which measures 7×5 inches, and the one below that of the band by the Berlin Wall, which measures 6×4 inches.

All three are wonderful, new and fairly rare treasures. All three photos were taken by Ronnie. But of the three, of course that one of Jim (for me) is the most highly prized. It is now in a frame by my bedside. The b&w band photo is framed and sitting atop the other bedside drawer.

If you would like to get prints yourself, you can contact Ronnie via email at: hangingaroundbooks@gmail.com

All of the photos featured in the Hanging Around Books photozines are available to order as prints. You can view the catalogue of books available by visiting hangingaroundbooks.com (just click the link!)

A New Gig…In Retrospect

A new bootleg has been uploaded to YouTube from the ever elusive but ever fabulous Art & Talk. This one hails from the Real To Real Cacophony Tour of 1979/80 and is performed in Hamburg on March 5th, 1980.

And although still seen as the Real To Real Cacophony Tour, there are tracks from Empires And Dance being performed, namely, Capital City and Room.

There’s only part of Capital City that’s been recorded. A shame, really, as I love it. I really do. But…not too much of it is missing, so it’s okay.

The recording is a true bootleg. Done by a member of the crowd, rather than it coming from the mixing desk. So you get a sense and feeling from the crowd – the vibe that they’re feeling. And the general feeling is that they are well up for it. Esp. one very excited, squealy young(?!) woman. Who can blame her? I reckon that would be me too – seeing them back then. I usually feel like that just listening in on a gig like this some 40 years down the line!

Also great to hear such a rousing display from the crowd for encores. And they are treated to two for their efforts. White Light/White Heat and Room.

The highlight of the set for me? Calling Your Name and Citizen (Dance Of Youth). Also had wished Factory had been complete because it was sounding well braw too.

The band were tight, but here and there I felt I detected that Jim wasn’t quite – “on” that night. But…it’s hard to tell without a back up of visuals, etc. The times he did seem “on” though, well…I don’t have to say any more, really. (Cue “squealy girl”. Lol)

I really enjoyed listening to it though. And will give it another play later on today. Put it this way – if TARDIS’s were real and I was allowed to go to one gig in the past and I was told it could only be THIS one – I’D BE THERE IN A HEARTBEAT! I’d bite your hand off – as Jim would say. Lol

Minds Music Monday – The American (Interference Mix)

I think sumbliminial thoughts play so much a part in one’s thought processes. I suddenly thought about the word “interference” and how much relevance it has to me right now.

Yes.

Anyway, this is “uber” dancey, and not to everyone’s liking, I appreciate, but I love it. The pace of it. The way they’ve chopped Jim’s lyrics and voice.

I haven’t played this much in recent times but I used to really play it a lot for a long while. It is one of my very favourite extended remixes of the band.

To The (Previously) Unseen Eye

There are some photos surfacing showing the way the look and layout of the book “Heart Of The Crowd (A Fan History)” is like. The photos look really lovely, as does the layout of the book. With the release of the book now only a week away, it is getting all rather exciting!

Back in May, Ronnie Gurr messaged me. I had shared a photo of Jim and was saying how much I’d love to get a copy of it from the photographer that took it, but they seemed a pretty big name these days and were asking $1500 a print. And I REALLY don’t have that sort of money.

I didn’t name names. Ronnie was intrigued as to who it was. We got to chatting and somehow ended up on the subject of magazine covers and I mentioned the cover of the Record Mirror from 1980 with an erroneously named Brian McGee (they named him as Mick!) on the cover – in his briefs.

Ronnie told me that the photo of Brian isn’t what he had submitted to be the photo on the cover but it was actually a photo he took of Jim that he thought was better suited to it. And by heck, was it! I was in absolute agreement. I guess the Record Mirror editor thought people would want to see a band member pretty much in their “all-together”…but…well, unless it WAS actually Jim, not me!

Anyway…these photos shared of the book show the photo that Ronnie shared with me. I have just been sitting on this image for months, so desperately wanting to show it but thinking better of it.

I could have asked Ronnie’s permission to post it here but I really didn’t think he’d be wanting me to share it. And, I still have a clearer version of it (still just a snap of it he took on…his living room floor, I guess, considering the carpet I can see in the image I have of it). I still won’t share that one though. It isn’t mine to share. But I hope you can see from how it has been photographed in the pages of the book that it is well braw.

Jim looks gorgeous, as always. I just want to run my fingers through all that hair! OMG! You beautiful man, Mr Kerr! 🥰🥰🥰

In case not obvious, the pic I’m referring to is on the top right corner of the book pages.

Just ONE more thing to be excited about the book for. And I await the chance of getting a really decent copy of this photo from Mr Gurr. He tells me the New Year. I’m counting the days! Tick tock, Ronnie!

UPDATE: currently (and as much as it pains me to link to this site) the book is showing at a discounted rate of £31.19 on Amazon – click HERE to pre-order from the site.

Happy Anniversary Sweat In Bullet!

It’s been the inspiration for a few art pieces, and the video is a fave. Jim is sssoooo frigging skinny in this video. He’s got his gammy eye and he is that heady mix of fledgling Laird Dash Fandango in his collared shirt and tailored trousers but with that bit of “gangster rough” with it.

Oh, and him doing all those whipping actions with the mic cord….OMG! It used to have me saying stuff like, “WHIP ME, JIM! PLEASE! WHIP ME!” Lol. Oh…the fantasies!

Anyways! It’s a Happy Anniversary to Sweat In Bullet being released as a single a mere 39 years ago today. Enjoy…art and video… (the first is still a fave, even though I did it yonks ago)

Visuals from Glittering Prize for the last one but words from Sweat In Bullet.