The Podcast – The F***ing Podcast

Even just the way the interview started. Even BEFORE hearing the start of the interview, I knew it would be awesome. But…just the start. The ringing phone, and as soon as the phone is answered Frank saying “give me a one-two” and Jim saying…well, I won’t spoil it.

But it had be grinning like a loon from the get go. And the smile didn’t leave my face for the following 50 odd minutes.

A lot of the stuff Jim has said before, of course. And when you listen to EVERY interview he does, you’ll hear the same things over and over. But it never gets old. He never seems to tire telling them. There is always the same level of enthusiasm in his voice and in his relaying of the stories and the telling of the tales.

And…I fall in love with him AGAIN. Over and over. It all goes round and round.

I guess the thing that sunk in this time, even though he has said it before is that…he’s right. To have done what he has done. To have that relentless drive to make a success of it. To push on. To not be defeatist. To use the knock backs and set backs, and the things that would put other mere mortals on their knees – it takes “a type”. You need to be “a type”. Luck…and to be “a type”.

I think it is singularly the thing that makes me love him most of all, is that he IS that “type”.

You know…yes! I do fancy the pants off him for the aesthetic, esp. of the younger man – I won’t lie. That’s where the lust and sexual attraction is – but that’s the thing too. The thing that makes him sexy AF probably actually ISN’T his looks, per se, it’s everything. The whole sum of his parts. That drive. That ambition. The absolutely stone-faced, dogged, utter infallibility of him!

There’s a bit in it in which he said to Frank that he remembered a time that Frank gave him “a serve” as we’d say in Oz. A kind of “dressing down”. I won’t go into a lot of detail because I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment of you guys listening to it. But the end of it was Frank saying to Jim, “What are you gonna do about it? Go home and cry to your mummy?”

You know. I would have. I did. I would do. I was weak. I have always been weak. And my weakness shows in a life barely lived.

But he took it as fuel. He took it as fuel to push on. To just…stick at it and make the most of a shit situation. To not let it get the better of him. Defeat him. He’d knuckle down. He’d get the thing licked.

And I guess this is why I attach myself so much to Jim. Because he just…he makes me feel alive. He gives me oxygen!

He’s just a million beautiful, positive things. Passion, drive, energy, talent, brains, beauty. I love him to pieces. I just do. Retrospectively, from point dot. From that young upstart dreaming the dreams of getting the band together until the present, Mr “Elder Statesmen” who you can hear when he talks still has that buzz of that 16 year old kid.

It’s why I wish more than anything to be his friend. I just want to be around him. I just want to bask in his light. He’s like the sun.

But…he’s a winner. And as a winner, he likes to surround himself with fellow winners. Hence, he would want absolutely NOWT to do with me! Loz from Loserville.

I could listen to him talk all day, every day. I could happily bask in his light all day too. Just to feel some of that sun.

I wrote this years ago, about him. It hasn’t changed. I still feel exactly the same.

I was buzzing for ages afterwards, mulling over it all in my head. Smiling, trying to drift off to sleep, hoping I’d dream of him. Dream of sitting around talking to him. Or perhaps walking and talking with him? My friend Stephen has planted this whole being “taken up The Trossachs” idea in my head…as the ultimate dream. As if! As if he would.

I tried to settle and get to sleep and thought, “Geez, I wish I was Frank!”

You can find the details of Frank Gallagher’s Soundman Confidential podcast in my previous posts.

Lanark Last Night

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I have just started Lanark. Only just. I’m not the fastest reader and I started much later than I wanted to, which meant my eyelids already were starting to get heavy barely one chapter in. I managed two. Lol. And am already attributing the identity of Sludden to a certain someone. Lol. And I would be any of those hangers on – apart from Gay – I should be so lucky! Or Rima (she has standards – it seems so far anyways). So I guess it only leaves me to be Frankie – most likely – or the other one whose name escapes me (irony!).

Anyway! Early days.

But I am already wanting to explore the world of Alasdair Gray so much more already as a consequence of those couple of chapters of Lanark.

So very later last night, after listening to a new episode of The Archers (now caught up with the real world – Ambridge is now in lockdown too) – and a very emotional yet beautiful Desert Island Discs with Charles Hazlewood as the castaway – highly recommended listening by me, not always easy, granted! (I still keep wondering when the frig they are going to get Jim on there!). I then put in Gray’s name in the search wondering if the BBC had done any adaptations to his books, etc, so thought I’d see what a search of him would bring up.

Well, it brought up this in the search results. A wonderful interview with BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth. I didn’t know what to expect from it when I started listening. I had assumed Gray would sound very dour and “Weegie” for one – but I found his voice mesmerising and beautiful. He has such music in his voice. A beautiful burr and lilt that I just was not expecting – almost as if he sang as he spoke. As a consequence, as enthralled in the interview as I was, I found myself drifting off to sleep halfway through, to awake again for the final few minutes and the talk of the hardships of making a career from art – making a sustained paid professional income from artistic pursuit.

His final goodbye was pure music, and rather poignant for this must have been one of his final interviews. He passed away at the end of December last year.

I fell in love with him. He sounded like a magical being. Like a pixie or elf or something. Little did I know my flippant little line to Jim the other day about “starting a book at chapter three – seems like my kinda guy” would ring so true.

You can listen to the interview via BBC Sounds HERE

The Lowe Benchmark

The latest Record Collector looking into the best of Nick Lowe.

The bit about The Pretenders’ Stop Your Sobbing. I had NO IDEA that Nick and Chrissie had been an item! You learn something new every day, peeps!

That’s Entertainment – AND Inspiration!

Wow! What a story, Lesley O’Toole! Your first professionl journalist’s interview being granted by Jim…and from there?! I’ll let Lesley tell the story herself in these two wonderful posts shared on Instagram.

Thank you for sharing the story, Lesley.

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Jim Kerr and me: December 8, 1982 at London’s Lyceum. In 1984 when I was still a law student at Bristol University, and still wild about Simple Minds, I wrote my first ever professional magazine piece – an interview with Jim. All the Scottish bands and loads more used to stay at London’s (in)famous Columbia Hotel so I wrote to JK c/o the hotel, asked him if he’d do the interview, and included a stamped addressed envelope. He wrote back saying: “Yes, 2pm Sunday.” I already had my own fanzine but this was the start of my “proper” career as an entertainment journalist. I still wonder if I’d be a lawyer now were it not for this. I certainly wouldn’t be as blessed and happy as I am living in LA. So thank you Jim for saying yes, and thank you Simple Minds for 35+ years of pure joy. Breathless with excitement for more of it at LA’s beautiful Orpheum Theatre later. ❤️🙏🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🎤🎸🥁 . . . . . @simplemindsmusic @gedgrimesmusic @cherissedrums #simpleminds #jimkerr #orpheumtheatre #thewaywewere #myfaveband #columbiahotel

A post shared by Lesley O'Toole (@lesleyotooleinla) on

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#FBF Simple Minds have been my favourite band for too long to mention – since I was a kid anyway. Jim Kerr was also my first professional interview as a journalist and who knows if I’d even have become one were it not for that and him. Last month I found myself in the front row for their concert at LA’s gorgeous Orpheum Theatre. And then Jim spotted me and sang to me. Which song? Only my all-time Simple Minds fave – Someone Somewhere in Summertime. Gigantic coincidence or no? No in fact – but some sort of conspiracy perpetrated by my friend Ged Grimes, their brilliant bass player, who somehow remembered my fave song, saw me in the audience and conspired with JK. I have no photos or video (these were taken later that night) but it will be in my head forever. Ged and Jim – thank you! I adore you both and this meant the world. And Happy St. Andrew’s Day to all my Scottish friends. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿❤️🎤 . . . . . . . @gedgrimesmusic @simplemindsmusic #gedgrimes #jimkerr #simpleminds #orpheumtheatrela #orpheumtheatre #someonesomewhereinsummertime #magicmoment #standrewsday #scotland #lovescotland

A post shared by Lesley O'Toole (@lesleyotooleinla) on

All You’ve Got To Do Is…

Just…wow! I could see it play out, just the way he described it. The street scene of him avoiding his grandfather and the notion of yet another dressing down.

I could see this little man, tough as nails looking…but also looking quite frail and vulnerable at the same time (well, Jim’s only clue on how his grandfather looked was to say he was short…my mind’s eye filled in the rest). Also on the road walking along from the opposite direction, a young punk – not the traditional sense of a punk. Just, a roguish teen. Seeing that boy spot the older man ahead, his face turning ashen with a mix of anguish and despondency. Quickly taking evasive action not to be seen – hastily crossing the road. The older man walks on, deep in his own thoughts, none the wiser the young man just avoided him.

The first tragedy.

The second being the return back to the young punk and the expression on his face now being one that is forlorn, regretful. Fleeting the expression is, though, for he then moves on.

Jim…you write so beautifully. Not just lyrics…but in every way you express yourself. If your grandfather can (as we all love to take solace in believing) see you from wherever his soul or spirit exists…he will definitely be proud of…not just the career you made for yourself, but of the beautiful person you are. No hyperbole.

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The YouTube clip is for the Bowie song Win…which I have always taken to be a melancholic piece. Maybe it’s the sound of it…the way David sings it…in a remorseful, regretful voice…it’s not until towards the end of the track, with those emphatic “ALL YOU’VE GOT TO DO IS WIN…ALL YOU’VE GOT…IS ALL YOU’VE GOT!” And that final fading backing vocal sweep of “ain’t overrrrrrrr” where it finally becomes uplifting.

“Secret thinker sometimes listening aloud
Life lies dumb on its heroes
Wear your wound with honor, make someone proud”