“RockField – The Studio On The Farm” Documentary To Air On BBC Channels!

The documentary on the famous Monmouthshire recording studio is set to air simultaneously on BBC Two Wales and BBC Four on Saturday, July 18th at 9pm BST.

Below is a trailer on the documentary – with a tiny snippet of Jim discussing Simple Minds’ meeting with David Bowie and Iggy Pop while the band were there recording second album Real To Real Cacophony in 1979.

I have been hoping this would be getting a UK airing at some point. Really looking forward to this one.

I Wish Life Could Be Swedish Magazines…

The line from Iggy Pop’s Five Foot One could not be a more appropriate title because, right now, I DO wish “life could be Swedish magazines”. Well, newspapers might be more accurate.

Anyway, that’s semantics.

This morning on the Simple Minds Official Group (or should that now just be “Simple Minds Group”?), a Swedish fan shared a few images from local newspapers featuring SM.

I commented saying how awesome they were and gave a thanks for sharing. He replied to me, telling me that the Swedish National Library’s archive is open to the public during April and he’d be searching the archive and found some things.

And there is SO MUCH MORE than he shared on SMOG! A veritable treasure trove of previously unseen photos, articles and gig reviews, etc. It’s a pain in the bum to go through on a Smartphone or tablet/mobile device, so I’ll fire up the laptop tomorrow and see what I can find and try and get a better copy of the things I’ve seen so far – and more.

But for now…here is a small rough sample of the treasures in the Swedish Newspaper archive. The first pic is a very early one from 1979, all the rest are from 1981-1982.

If you are wanting to, you can search through the archive HERE. A huge thanks to Micke for posting about this today.

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Am I dreaming this or is Jim wearing ANIMAL PRINT LEG WARMERS???!!!

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Kenny or Jim? The tussle is real. Erm…THREESOME?! I WISH! Then again, Kenny’s troosers are worryingly high. Lol. Jim’s are not much lower to be fair…

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Pleasantly Disturbed – New Hanging Around Books Release!

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A new release by Hanging Around Books sees images taken in 1978 by Laurie Evans feature in the book.

I feel ssooo bad as I made the horrendous assumption that Laurie is a man! My apologies, Laurie.

I’ve been waiting a while on this one as I had contacted Laurie some time back from seeing photos she’d taken of Jim on the banks of the Clyde years ago and enquired about prints. She told me of its imminent release then and I have been eagerly awaiting its arrival since then.

The book is officially released on Feb 28th but is available to pre-order.

Use the link below for order details.

https://hangingaroundbooks.com/products/simple-minds-pleasantly-disturbed-glasgow-edinburgh-1978

P.S. I don’t care how it sounds but – he is goddamn beautiful on that cover! There. It’s done.

Still Just A Small Taster

My collection of Virginia Turbett prints of Simple Minds grows slowly yet strongly. A new batch arrived last week and I wanted to show what is in it without comprising the copyright of Virginia’s images. This is still just a small taster, and probably now the last you will see.

The prints are of stunning quality. Trust me, if you decide to buy, you will NOT be disappointed. This video doesn’t do them full justice (I have to be careful not to show them at optimum resolution as they’ll just end up being taken and used) but I hope you can get some sense of how wonderful they are. Some are just truly iconic. The ones taken at Tavistock Square in 1980…the whole photo session is gorgeous.

If you are interested in prints, contact Virginia via her website at: www.virginiaturbett.com

More To The Collection

I think I have a final tally and “want” list with Virginia. I visited her on Saturday and came away with 13 original vintage prints and a big old list of digital prints to be done. It’ll be some collection at the end of it all….

Why I Love…Changeling

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The dancefloor. Frigging hell! Did Simple Minds know how to fill it back in the day. I guess they still do to be fair.

But let us rewind back to 1979. Rockfield Studios in the Welsh countryside. Five young men from Glasgow are in the studio making the followup to their debut album. An album that really couldn’t be more different to the first. They are still just babies, with the average age of them being just 20. They are still very much learning their craft. Recording in the studio next door are none other than Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Could life get any sweeter?

Yes it could. These five young men band together and make one of the best dance tracks of the late 1970’s as you are ever likely to hear.

OKAY! I’ll be the first to admit that…given all the changes in lyrics that Jim Kerr has made in SM songs over the years…esp. early on (he would rewrite songs entirely from demo to album recording), it’s quite a thing that there wasn’t a change made to the opening line to Changeling. I suppose that was the curse of there being no demos for Real To Real Cacophony. They went straight into recording.

The sticking point, lyrically, is that horrible propensity for snidey shits to take the mickey out of the opening line and continue to sing along to Wombling Free, which I’ve got to say…I don’t know what it does to Jim…but to me, it fucking pisses me off no end!

Perhaps we should concentrate on the musical structure of the song for now? Synths and bass opening with an instant dance hook. Drum grooves quickly follow and then a simplistic yet fab guitar riff. Industrial dance grooves. Fuck these boys were good at them! There’s nothing quite like this on Life In A Day. They hadn’t made a sound quite like this, yet…but boy does it signal the start of a very identifiable early “Simple Minds” signature sound. An aural “watermark”, if you will.

I really don’t know anyone who could listen to this track and not tap their feet or their hands and just get hooked in by the groove.

In spite of what the Arista execs hear at the UK HQ with Real To Real Cacophony in which they appear utterly dumbfounded, they do seem to make the right choice in having Changeling as the lead (but unfortunately subsequently ONLY) single off the album. How they didn’t then follow it up with Factory and Premonition is anyone’s guess. One can only assume they were already becoming concerned that SM was going to leak money hand over fist.

Changeling has no chart success, so one assumes that is why there are no other singles released from the Real To Real Cacophony album.

The failure of the single to chart can’t be down to it being deemed “not good enough” by the music consumer of the time? Just listen to it! Was it just overlooked from a then pretty flooded market? Singles at this point sold in their THOUSANDS every week. Albums had their importance then too, but the single was still king at this point. To the point where single picture sleeves were at their height. A single was packaged with as much of a visual selling point as an album was at this point in time. Every Simple Minds single released so far had been in a picture sleeve…Changeling being no exception. Did the picture sleeve “sell” the single? Hmmm…I’m unsure it did much. Life In A Day was certainly simplistic in its design, but it made an impact nonetheless. As for Chelsea Girl? She was on the mark. Jim was on the mark for wanting that Jean Shrimpton painting as the cover.

But for Changeling…I don’t know what a greyscale image of some hosepipe really tells you about the song. There’s a kind of industrial look to the cover, yes…but where I think the texture and simplicity of the Real To Real Cacophony album cover works to sell it (luring you in wondering what the hell this album is about as the cover actually gives NOTHING away by design) – that same simplistic approach falls flat for the Changeling single.

Back to the song itself. Let’s get back to those lyrics. Young Mr Kerr, what you on about, boy? Lol. For me, I gotta say that Changeling is a very rare beast in that it is all about the tune, the groove and not much about The Boy’s songwriting…for a change. I still love the words…but they mean fuck all. Lol. But hey….some of my absolute favourite Bowie songs are pure gobbledegook. The Burroughs technique has a lot to answer for, sometimes. I couldn’t write a song that means SOMETHING…let alone one that doesn’t really mean anything at all but sounds like it does anyway. And to me…that’s master craftsmanship.

In summary? In the simplest terms, it’s a dancefloor filler. Possibly Simple Minds’ first. At least one of the first, blazing a trail for more killers that follow…I Travel, Celebrate, This Fear Of Gods, Love Song, The American…the list goes on (and on and on 😜).

And that is why I love Changeling.

(PS: Jim can’t mime to save his life….but I bloody love him anyway!)