A Little Peace…

Recently I have been told by a few people that I write very well. One suggested I contact a music magazine and lodge an application to work for them. This person had written articles themselves for the magazine in question and they gave me the email address of the editor.

I didn’t do anything about it. I would fear pursuing it. It is one thing to write at one’s own leisure your own thoughts and feelings or to write your own musical reviews and share that content on a blog that you have sole say over. It’s quite a different thing to work for someone else and work to a deadline. I’m not sure I could do it.

Just today a person asked me if I write professionally. The answer is no I don’t. There is one minor thing I do in which I write small pieces of text, but I don’t work to a deadline and my “boss” for the most part gives me free rein over what is written.

But could I ever write like this?

That, I strongly doubt. Granted, I have not spent over 40 years of my life writing professionally. And for many years prior to that most likely being quite good at English, enjoying the language and writing stories. Jim did.

I never had the imagination to create imaginary places. Never felt I had “the gift” for that kind of thing. Compared to what I’d hear from others in class, my stories sucked. So as a consequence I guess I felt like writing was just “not my bag”.

Until I read Anne Frank’s diary. To read her diary is to find that, no matter how insular you feel. No matter how insignificant your world may feel to you, you are living a life and you have your own dramas, hopes, fears and dreams. And yes, ultimately her story was so much bigger than what was going on in that tiny annex…but the way she made the minutiae of that circumstance feel is just SSOOO compelling!

Could I have worded how I felt about her diary like that as a 13 year old reading it for the first time? NO WAY! But it was an impetus for me to keep a diary myself. And YES, my life was far, FAR more insignificant (in no way suggesting Frank’s was). BUT…I was writing. I was using language. Trying hard to teach myself a level of expression that was escaping me from not being at school. I just kept wanting to teach myself.

I read books. Not sweeping epics of prose, just regular novels. I tried with Shakespeare. Lord knows I tried. But I attached myself more to James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. I read the poetry of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson and children’s books by May Gibbs and read the 87th Precinct detective novels of Ed McBain. I read “trash” too. Sidney Sheldon novels and Anne Rice vampire novels. I went from Anne Frank to Anne Rice.

I asked for a concise dictionary for my 15th birthday and read it like a novel.

At the library, I would look at the encyclopaedias and VOLUMES of dictionaries and wish to have them at home. You weren’t allowed to borrow reference books. I could never understand why.

To be asked in recent times whether I write for a living is amazing. To be told by others that I have some kind of “flair” or “way” is wonderful. And just maybe on the odd occasion I allow myself to accept such compliments and think I am worthy of them. But for the most part? No.

Beyond Jim’s beautiful way with words and expressing himself was this…

How could someone believe “an eye for an eye” is good? Because, isn’t that ultimately what war is? An eye for an eye? Fighting fire with fire? Two wrongs don’t make a right, do they?

Why is it such a childish thought to want peace? Not to have wars? And why do we never learn? Why are we destined to make the same mistakes over and over?

How is pacifism NOT the answer? How is love not the answer?

I want to end with this. Because it is just so beautiful in its simplicity. No big words. Just the basics and the question of “why”?

I’m Done – Prip Has Left The Building

I didn’t see the point of SMOG. I mean…the posting thing? I’m not concerned for myself. I don’t feel I have anything much to this group to contribute to be honest. I tend not to with any of the SM groups. Not posting to them myself anyway. Not very often. But I comment on posts and interact with others and get involved in discussions and the like.

Nothing about that on SMOG is much different to any other SM group at the moment. If anything, the official group could learn A LOT from the existing groups…where fans are free to post things and feel included.

Yes, the other SM groups are closed groups, for the most part. But the interactions and discussions fans have within those groups are great. And there is a SM group to suit everyone. And you don’t feel compelled to contribute, but you still feel part of something. There’s a spirit to them!

SMOG is a strange beast. A walled garden that people can peer into. We’ve all been given the tools to contribute, but only a selected few have been allowed to maintain the splendour of the garden. I am speaking in metaphor, yes.

Here is the stat. Today there has been a solitary post. Yesterday also just the one post. The first few days several posts were shared. There has been a total of 428 posts to the Simple Minds Official Group and just 14 post have been filtered through from the fans…the majority of those in the first 48 hours of the group being up and running. FOURTEEN in over FOUR HUNDRED posts submitted. Really?

I understand what they are trying to do. But, it just isn’t dynamic enough and fans are feeling quite…well, ignored, basically.

Either make it more apparent you want the “creme de la creme” of fan posts…or just be a little more easy with things and filter some more posts through, for heaven’s sake! This “creme de la creme” approach would make sense if all the posts so far were to…”a standard”…but they vary wildly. So…SHARE SOME MORE POSTS!

Make people feel included. And if or when that happens, I may feel like wanting to be part of it again. But for now? I’m oot.

Rant over.

SMOG – You Can Sense It In The Air…

Well, what the Simple Minds fandom really needed was yet ANOTHER Facebook group.

Sigh.

I’m already in f*** knows how many. But the latest is “official”. Excuse my initial cynicism but…what’s the objective?

Simple Minds Official for band news only? Jim posts there. Fuck all the wonderful interactivity that used to happen? No more visitor wall? All that is now meant to happen at Simple Minds Official Group (aka SMOG…aka Fans In The Mist)?

Only today did I look on my blog as to what I am pretty sure was my last piece of interactivity with Jim. I’d posted on the visitor wall about a review of a gig from back in the day from a guy called Johnny Waller. Jim had responded and talked about Johnny, saying he’d run a local fanzine and also mentioned Lindsay Hutton too. He said he’d wondered what happened to them. Of course, like a good little researcher/investigative journalist I went on a search and found out for him.

As always, it was a lovely exchange that I’m always so appreciative of. That was in February. It’s now nearly September.

I know he has his dad’s health to consider. I am always mindful of it.

But even at his most busy times, Jim always seemed to take the time to interact. I mean hell, one exchange we had he was in the middle of the Night Of The Proms stuff in Germany leading up to Christmas 2016. I had mentioned an interview in which Noel Gallagher sang the praises of David Bowie’s latter work. Something Jim has rarely expressed being a fan of.

He replied to me…with a rather extensive response, and it was amazing. Those exchanges I absolutely cherish!

I worry that SMOG is the signalling of change…and not necessarily for the better.

It feels like the magic is being slowly sucked out of things.

I shall see how things go…but unlike when I first started to be around the fanbase and Jim was around and as he got more aware of me things just…evolved and there was that great chunk of interactivity…it has all but dried up. Yesterday’s news is now today’s fish supper wrapping.

Adios amigos…

Flown off on those angel wings.

As for me interacting with fellow fans? Well…there’s…oh, take your pick…SMI, New Gold Dreamers, Fans, Fans Club, Fans Club Italia, Sardinia, Spain…on and on and on…

Not to mention fan pages just for Jim…

And one on one and private chat, etc, etc.

A Walkman?

I never had one. Not a genuine Sony Walkman anyway. And when I finally got a generic “portable cassette player” I just used it at home, for listening to music on the quiet.

I never really went anywhere much. There was no need for me to want to listen to music “on the go”. Where the hell was I going? I never went anywhere! And for me, music was a private listening experience to be enjoyed at home, not while travelling out and about. Music getting polluted by external noises. Traffic, people talking, dogs barking. All noise and chaos disturbing the music.

And I hated the sound of cassettes. I much preferred vinyl. And playing music LOUD!

I was that lonely teen girl. No friends. No boyfriend. When I got my own music equipment, it was hi-fi equipment for my bedroom.

So, Jim talks about listening to Autobahn on German freeways and hearing “Heroes” by the Berlin Wall. Well I was in my bedroom, going nowhere, listening to Low. “You’re just a little girl with grey eyes…deep in your room / you never leave your room”.

History is beginning to repeat itself. No passport. No money…guess where I am right now?

But the thing that allowed me to travel. My escape…was the music itself. I might have been in my bedroom listening…but in a way, I was in Berlin too. At Hansa Studios, eavesdropping in on Bowie and Iggy singing What In The World.

I could travel anywhere from the comfort of my bedroom just using my ears and my imagination…

The Icing On The Cake…

Oh, but I am still missing the “cherry on top” – the reply comments. I miss that element. It feels like a positive reinforcement when it happens. When it stops or doesn’t happen for a while I tend to think “Oh, he’s as sick of me as everyone else is! Lol.” And then I tend to take it personally, because I am a needy, clingy idiot. (Just being an honest, gov)

This springs to mind…

Though perhaps this is more appropriate?

Pondering on the idea of what kind of person I am….lips wise? You know…bizarrely – my lips have only ever been the only part of my body of I have been…”proud” of? If I can phrase it that way. The only part of my body I thought was any good, anyway. Do I overuse them? I guess, maybe. I dunno. I’m probably a self-centred blow hard. I’m sure I come across as loving the sound of my own voice!

A negative result of me wanting to express positivity and enthusiasm, no doubt. Bore people fucking shitless. Lol. The thing is…I feel much more expressive with the written word. Face to face, I tend to clam up.

The last time I was out in Oz and at a family gathering at my sister’s house…after a while she said to me, “God, you’re so quiet! Why aren’t you talking?” I was kind of taken aback that it seemed strange to her that I was so quiet. Was I really that much of a gobby kid? Perhaps I was at home.

My response to her? “I dunno. It’s just how I am. I’m just happy being here and just being with you guys.” And that really was it. I didn’t have much to say. Nothing really to input or discuss and was just happy to be with my family. It had been a long time at that point. Some eight years since my previous trip home.

Anyway…there we go. Time to shut up! I wouldn’t have mentioned any of this talking to anybody face to face.

What type of person am I? One who tries to have a positive outlook (but with recurring bouts of mental illness, it’s not always easy) and tries to have a positive effect on those around her. I just try to be the best I can be…and I probably do woefully at it.

But, I am who I am…warts and all. My foibles are many, but I hope I am a good person…even if I send everyone crazy.

The Heart And Hands Tour? And E.P.s Too…

Two proposals thrown at Jim this evening. One quite light-hearted…just for fun, because it was lovely putting the playlists together…and it could make for a tour with a really different setlist.

There’s just under 60 songs in total in both the YouTube playlist. Could make for something quite different as far as tours goes. I thought it a way of giving a tour that might come before new material a theme and a style. Just a pie in the sky thought.

The other proposal is a bit more serious…the idea of E.P. releases. I can see the value of them. You know…keep the fans happy with the potential of more new music more often. I’d like to hope he’d chew over this one a bit more. I think Noel G is on to a good thing with his plan to release three E.P.s over the next several months. I think it satisfies a few needs…fans wanting new material, record companies wanting continuing revenue and the artist keeping up the creative spark. What’s not to like?

Below are the proposals put to Jim.

And here are the “Heart And Hands” YouTube playlist links. Enjoy!

Giving Yourself A Break While Fighting The Black Dog

This evening I played the recording of Saturday’s practice back. And, okay, yep. I do think I am probably being incredibly hard on myself.

But… I need to be don’t I? Otherwise how the fuck am I ever going to get any better? Yes?

But… I am so thankful I took the advice of Emily Dolan Davies (click on her name to be taken to her fab website A Drummer’s Guide To) – otherwise I’d believe week after week that I am playing far worse than I am. It ebbs and flows, obviously. On Saturday I was SUPER down on myself. Just felt completely fucked up.

But I really wasn’t as bad as I thought.
YES! I still had my moments. I really did struggle with my hi hat timing and rhythm this week…but…I need to learn to give myself a break.

What makes it harder is when, at the point you are having your kit practice, not only are you questioning why you continue to do it, but you are questioning the much grander thought and perplexity of the existence of the entire human race.

Actually, this week was odd. For once I didn’t actually find myself questioning why I was there practicing. I suppose I felt I had much bigger fish to fry this week. What would be the point of me questioning why I was at drumming practice when I was more preoccupied with pondering why I am even here on the planet at all! Why we’re all here.

I feel the only why to fight the black dog is to suppress his bark. Engage a metaphorical mute button. Put earplugs in to drown him out. When he looks his most vicious…just smile at him. It’s hard. You have to just snap the brain (and this is just my own personal way around it…and thankfully it works most of the time – if it ever fails, I am going to be in BIIIIG trouble!) into that mindset. No matter how delusional it may feel. And it does to me. 100%! I feel I am absolutely deluding myself to put it at the back of my mind and smile and carry on.

The other way that also works is..acceptance. There is no rhyme and reason to us being here. We just…are. So…for whatever way you live your life…however way you live through it…just do it. And just…strive to be the best version of you that you can be.

So…no more about THAT “black dog”…let’s have THIS Black Dog instead!