January – Go! Don’t go!

What does one do when the creative writing well seems dry? Find a topic? Pick something?

It’s nearing the end of the first week of January. I could talk to you about howJanuary feels to me? It feels like a month of 62 days! Most of the time…

But this time may just be different. We are almost one week in to this (usually) most arduous of months. At this rate it will sail by! But that is the trap January usually sets. It starts out fleeting and then seems to grind to a laborious halt around midway through. 

It’s definitely a northern hemisphere affliction, the long, arduous January. I have no recollection of Januarys lagging while I was growing up. In fact it was very much the opposite. Januarys were all too fleeting. It’s the height of summer in the southern hemisphere and for kids on the east coast of Australia, it’s summer holidays. Schools break up a few days before Christmas, and when I was growing up we had a six week break from school. We didn’t return to school until the second week of February. Yay!! It’s a little different down there now as there is an extended break over Easter that didn’t happen when I was going to school. At Easter back then it was just Good Friday and Easter Monday off school. Now there is a full week off school which means summer holidays are now generally five weeks long and the school year starts at the end of January in New South Wales, at least. 

So, as you can appreciate, the Januarys of my childhood felt like they were only maybe a week or two weeks long. And the end of January was dreaded! It meant the return to school was imminent. Now – the end of January is to be celebrated! The days are getting incrementally longer and, at long last, the month is done with! There is light at the end of the bleak, mid-winter tunnel. Hurrah!

This January is different. There are things to look forward to! My university study begins in just over two weeks time. And a few days after that, the new book on Simple Minds – Themes For Great Cities gets released. I’m looking forward to hearing everyone else’s thoughts on that. Also, Sarah Brown is releasing the debut single off her new solo album. That will be fantastic to hear.

What other news to come of Simple Minds? I pray there are some! March quite literally marches on and we are still quite deep into this Covid thing. Is the fear of it now vastly exceeding its threat to our lives? I feel we have turned that corner due to the vaccine rollout. It is very obvious the vaccines have done an incredible job by and large by reducing the severity of symptoms and effects, of not necessarily severity and rate of contagion. 

I am as doubtful of the prospect of seeing Simple Minds in Paris in March as I was by mid March of 2020. But then I had the gratitude of having just seen them in Copenhagen and the blind optimism that the Covid pandemic would be over in a few months at worst. 

April is a more promising prospect. And all within the UK, so perhaps even if on a personal level Paris proves a no-no, I am…mildly confident I will see the band come April.

But what else is there on the horizon to look forward to? Jim’s posts of late have been more on the personal, or of band history, not much of what’s to come – which is incredibly odd for a forward thinker like Jim. I guess he’s just as flummoxed as the rest of us about what the imminent future holds? There was talk of new music last year, but little of that has been discussed since. No news (from the next world) is good news? We’ll see in due course, I guess.

Perhaps I am better at this “writing from scratch” with a blank page in front of me than I give myself credit for?!

It bodes well for the study. Over the weekend I looked at the breakdown of my course. I could see what the whole academic year looked like. The topics we’ll be covering every week and what is required for each assessment during the year. I am excited. The Arts and Humanities is so broad. We’ll be looking at many things, from Cleopatra, to Elizabeth I, Gothic Architecture, painting and Greek and Roman sculpture, Mozart, The Blues, Philosophy, poetry, art from central and southern Africa. I am champing at the bit to dive in.

Today, January is flying by and I am welcoming its end for vastly different reasons than I normally would be. 

Let the year begin!

In the meantime…a nod to January…

Baby Steps Into Mature Adult Learning

Today is another day in which the excitement in me is quietly bubbling over. 

I WANT TO KEEP THIS FEELING! I don’t want to lose it but equally I am scared of trying to hold onto it! 

Let me explain!

I have spoken about it somewhat already in a recent post titled The ‘Off Topic’ Uni Student, explaining that I have enrolled to study at the Open University for a diploma in Higher Education in English. 

The excitement is all wrapped up in the anticipation of actually having my part-time fee grant application with SASS approved. I am trying to keep an optimistic view. That the grant approval is a given and that I WILL be studying next year. Such a positive view I am sticking to means I have already taken other steps in getting myself into the mindset of being a student. Purchasing the set books required for my course module, applying for a library card giving me SCONUL access to other university libraries, checking the OU StudentHome site daily. Familiarising myself with the OU website and where things are and just keeping myself primed and enthusiastic to make that start. 

Today my library card arrived. I have been to the University of Glasgow website this morning and was looking around the site for information on the university’s library and what I’d need to do for SCONUL access. Each university has its own criteria for SCONUL access. Disappointingly all I can see on UofG’s page about SCONUL access is their own students gaining access to other university libraries. No info on what is required of outside students wanting UofG library access. I think I will just have to visit the library itself one day soon. Hopefully in the next few days. It will also give me an excuse to see the Cloisters all lit up and pretty.

The main library is opposite the Huntarian and has TWELVE FLOORS! Yes. TWELVE! I think the biggest library I have been in up til now has had…maybe five? I think Luton’s central library has four floors, if memory serves me? And the main Liverpool library (back in Sydney – the nearest major “city” to where we lived was called Liverpool) had three, possibly four floors also. Most libraries I have been in have only had a single floor. I think the Mitchell Library only has two floors (correct me if I am wrong, Glaswegians)?

So, I am looking at the floor plan this morning and I am trying my best not to just want to dance about like a loon and go nuts! Lol. My excitement is palpable – but I need to keep it all measured and in check. I am so scared of being this excited and hyped and then it all disappears because SASS don’t approve my part-time fee grant application. These 28 days are going to feel sssoooo long!

Of course I KNOW I won’t have any need to use ALL of the UofG’s library services. I won’t be needing to visit all twelve floors of the main library! But it won’t stop me from having a keek at all the floors the first time I visit.

And, as a student from a different university, I can get access to the UofG’s other library branches – which includes the Library Research Annexe, which is only just down the road on Saracen Street! I can’t believe it is so nearby! It could potentially be an incredible resource for me as it holds microfilm and newspapers. Oh my days! 

Anyway, this is a rambling kind of “days of a uni student” post. I still can’t even get my head around referring to myself as a “university student” right now. It just sounds like pish! Lol

I’m trying to stop myself from running before I can walk. I’m scared that all this enthusiasm will actually put the mockers on it, instead of putting me in good stead to start my course. 

Certain aspects are still making me nervous. I mean, I did this tiny exercise on the OU site yesterday in which you had to give personal examples of three encounters you’d had with the arts and humanities in the past week and what made those encounters interesting to you – and my mind just went blank! I could come up with examples of encounters easily enough, but elaborating on what made those encounters interesting and not wanting to just answer “because” I found quite difficult. I am feeling daunted by it all too. And I am worried about if I will find my tutor someone I’ll get along with and be easy to reach out to. But of course all of that is all running before I can walk. But it’s positive to project ahead, right?

P.S. One day soon this blog MAY actually have some Simple Minds news to talk about!

The Reminiscence Bump – Examples

I would have liked to have written more in relation to Jim’s post yesterday, but I had just written my waffling blurb about Space (or more accurately what the song Space means to me) for MMM and I didn’t have that much writing left in me. So I left it for today.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to write today. I had my Covid vaccine booster and my flu vaccine yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve had the flu jag. I woke up feeling fine. Other than a sore arm from the jags, I felt okay. I slept okay. A bit intermittent, but quite soundly when I did actually sleep. I think now it is catching up with me though as now I am here at my PC, ready to exercise the old brain and writing muscles, I can feel my energy draining away. I’m yawning and feeling quite lethargic now. I’m hoping it’s just for today that I’ll feel like this. I have a gig to go to in Newcastle on Thursday and I want to have my energy up for that! 

Anyway! On with the “reminiscence bump” that Jim wrote about yesterday. 

I really loved that post. I didn’t know that his knowledge and love for Wichita Lineman went back that far. But I guess why would I? I always think the melody in Wichita Lineman sounds like Grace Jones’s La Vie En Rose, or vice versa (that would be more accurate). Jimmy Webb is an overdue postponed gig I have to go to next year. 

I don’t have any recollections of ever having heard Wichita Lineman until the first time I saw Jim writing about it. 

But that “reminiscence bump”? There are plenty of songs that do that. And there was no way I could list them and the images, feelings and settings they transport me back to. I just as succinctly as possible spoke about the memory and “bump” Boys From Brazil now gives me. Nana Mouskouri and a coach ride home from London on a dark and dreary night. 

But there are other songs that give me experiences of deep “bumps” when I hear them. ELO’s Hold On Tight gives me the vivid memory of a car ride home from my siblings paternal grandparents house. They lived way out of Sydney. I can’t quite remember where it was now. I think it was south of Sydney, in a town called Nowra. A beautiful part of the state of New South Wales, actually. Anyway, the car radio is on and it comes on on the radio and I find it a really hopeful and uplifting song (there’s Jim thinking “you find ELO uplifting? They’re dross! To each their own, Mr Kerr. To each their own.) and it had been a nice day at my siblings’ grandparents house. I went there with my eldest brother, his wife and my sister. I usually felt “the odd one out” the few times I went to their house as…well…I wasn’t their grandchild and their grandma wasn’t the most warming of ladies, but that day she was quite nice to me and seemed to want to engage in conversation with me. So my memory of the day is a good one. And the ride home in the car was full of lovely music and everyone was in good spirits. So I see my brother driving the car at the front, his wife beside him in the passenger seat, me in the back seat directly behind Roy, and my sister, Cheryl, sitting next to me to my right. The sun was fading. It was a winter’s day, so it was quite cool. And I can see that lovely scenery of Southern yet not quite coastal New South Wales out the window. 

So there’s one example. 

Another is hearing the Skyhooks song All My Friends Are Getting Married. It was a newish song at the time. I’m sure I’m maybe only 5 years old. Perhaps maybe a little older, as I am in my brother Quince’s (real name Gary – hasn’t been called Gary by anyone in I don’t know HOW long – 40+ years? I was the last person to doggedly stick to calling him Gary, and I finally stopped in the mid 1990s) bedroom playing records, using his Technics turntable…so I HAD to be older than five! But I wouldn’t have been much older. But the visuals the song gives me are vivid. I am in Quince’s room (we were always alternating rooms growing up – but at this point Quince had the first bedroom down the hall, the smallest of the bedrooms) and I am playing the Skyhooks album Ego Is Not A Dirty Word and I absolutely ADORE All My Friends Are Getting Married…as young as I am. I can appreciate it for the lamenting song it. The chorus goes “well, all my friends are getting married / yes, they’re all growing old / they’re all staying home on the weekend / they’re all doing what they’re told”. There’s a kind of melancholy to it I could appreciate. But I misconstrued the lament as a kid. I thought it was a lament on missing out on the married life when in actual fact it was a lament that all your single friends have buggered off and settled down! Lol

Anyway…the “bump” is a visual of home. Of Quince’s bedroom. Of a dull, gloomy day. I could see through to the laundry room from Quince’s bedroom and can see out the back door to a (rare) dull, gloomy sky. I was always looking skyward as a kid. Always looking up – literally, if not metaphorically. 

Some of the “bumps”, as exemplified above are very fleeting snapshots, but no less vivid. 

Another one is another car journey. I am with my sister and brother-in-law. REM’s Losing My Religion is on the radio and we are driving through the back streets of Busby – the place I grew up in. An outer south-western suburb of Sydney. Busby was quite a sprawling suburb. All of that area of Sydney, those outer south-western suburbs was farmland and then was turned into council housing developments in the early 1960s. Had the Kerrs ended up emigrating to Australia and landed in Sydney, I am pretty sure an area like Busby or its surrounds is where they would have ended up. The car is actually travelling long South Liverpool Road. There you go – get your Google Maps out and have a keek! Lol

One final one I’ll share is a “bump” – yet ANOTHER car journey – that is a vivid recall when hearing the Tin Tin Out version of Here’s Where The Story Ends. It has real symbolism to it, and very personal, so I can’t share much of it – but the song’s title is a fitting meaning to why this particular car journey was happening. I’ll say as much as the journey was an outpatients hospital visit to Leicester. And it was the ending of one story and the beginning of another. It’s a vivid recall of trying to find the hospital and getting lost (pre-Google Maps and GPS navigation – having to locate the place the old fashioned way) but eventually locating it after going around roundabouts and driving round in literary circles for a good half an hour. 

Other memories get sparked by curtain songs. Certain Bowie songs have me back at home “deep in your room / you never leave your room”. Iggy Pop songs do that too. Bjork songs do. Grace Jones, U2, INXS, Spy vs Spy, Pretenders, Icehouse, Sherbet, The Carpenters – all of them conjure up memories, vivid visuals of me listening to the music either in the livingroom on the crappy “family” sound system, or in my own bedroom I had later as a late teen/early adult. 

Creedence Clearwater Revival, I am sitting around in the kitchen with my mum. We’re usually drinking, playing trivial pursuit or some other board game, getting merrily drunk and just having a fab “girls night in”. We loved doing that. Just having a night in together, getting pissed and listening to music. She loved old crooners too, so I’d borrow things from the library to listen to. Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong or Ella Fitzgerald. 

Anyway. Enough of the nostalgia for one day. Geez, I keep myself deep within the clutches of nostalgia enough as it is – I don’t need any more excuses to wallow! My arm and shoulder is frigging aching to f*** anyway, and my head is starting to hurt a little. 

And because it’s vaguely relevant, I’ll end on this…

Limerented Loz

I learned a new word yesterday. The word is limerence. Defined on Wikipedia as “a state of mind which results from romantic or non-romantic feelings for another person and typically includes obsessive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to form or maintain a relationship with the object of love and have one’s feelings reciprocated. Limerence can also be defined as an involuntary state of intense desire.”

Yay! My crap with Jim has a name! Lol.

Who knew it would take me this long to find it? The good news is – despite how I feel about it, I am definitely NOT alone in this feeling. Also…I really need to give myself a break about being caught up in this, because – BELIEVE ME – the words I have had with myself over the years about this. Knowing that I am an otherwise intelligent human being who understands and appreciates things with a good bit of rationale – this really does have no rationale or logic to it.

The logical side of your brain. The analytical part of it tells you that you know what you are doing is ultimately self-destructive, but the tiny bit of good that comes from it? It’s the thing that propels it forward. The hope. “Long live hope!” The tight clinging onto the things that felt good and made you feel good about yourself. It is ssoooo hard to let go of that! 

It’s almost as if the state of limerence ITSELF is the addiction. 

To be honest, the number of times I have seen traits of this in other women and have thought, “Oh, bless you! I feel for you. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME.” Lol. I still do it.

Those fake Jim Kerr accounts that crop up time and again? Those accounts NEVER contact me. Because I don’t fall for them. I instantly block and report them. They know I won’t fall for it so they don’t even try. It has been quite a while since one of these accounts has started to follow me and tried to make direct contact. These days I usually make a rather sad joke about it – a very limerent joke. “Not even the fake Jims want to know me!” Such mirth! But all the women who “fall for it”? The women who befriend these fakes are all under the limerent spell too. Because they are all praying that one time….just one time it might well be the real Jim.

I have been aware of this thing for a long while now, my own limerence. Too long. And at first I felt I was too “together” to fall under the fate of it. Because while all that stuff is going on – while all the attention from Jim happened, it was so very easy to deflect it because you convince yourself that while you’re in it, if it comes to an end you’ll be fine. Nothing in this world is infinite. Nothing ever lasts forever. And even the things that seem like they do go through changes and alter over time. I really believed I’d be able to “enjoy it while it lasts”. You know?

Then when it ends. When there is, what feels like an abrupt finality to it, that’s when the true limerence kicks in. And before you know it, it consumes you. REALLY consumes you. And you continually question your ability to rationalise everything. Well, I did and still do. And no matter how much rationale or logic you apply to things, it is really, really hard to accept the unrequited. Even if you believe you will be able to handle it. That you know it is inevitable. The need. The desire. The hope. The despair. The longing. It overtakes the rationale. The logical. 

I was watching a YouTube video about it last night. A woman was discussing her own case of limerence. Questioning even if she was experiencing limerence – but knowing deep within that she was. She was in a state of limerence with a man. She had been wanting a relationship with this man for several years, and when he FINALLY reaches out to her and makes contact and asks to have a conversation with this woman – she tells him she’s not in the right state of mind at the moment and can he contact her again in a few days? He never calls back. 

The psychologist that was looking into it said “if the man had been interested, he’d have called back when you asked him to”. But, really? He could have just as easily been thinking “geez, this woman has been giving me these signals for YEARS, and when I finally get in contact she says ‘call me back’? What the fu…?” Or am I just continuing my own state of limerence there? Because that is how I was feeling when I heard that. I was like…”Wait up. You’d been hankering for this guy for HOW LONG? He calls you and you say “not right now. Call me back.” ARE YOU NUTS?! So…now she’s stuck. Just waiting. Not knowing how to let go. Waiting for this guy to show some interest again and just hoping. 

I definitely don’t want to be wasting my life away on something like that. Thankfully, I can feel a way out. I do at least have enough respect and self-worth (just enough) to not be consumed entirely by it. But I know others have been. On the surface they look as if they haven’t been, but from one who knows, they have. 

I STILL try to apply logic and rationale to my own state of limerence. “I just wish for friendship from Jim, not romantic love. I just miss ‘conversation’. And I miss the reciprocal’.” As much as I can delude myself about what I want, if he was to turn around suddenly and say “Larelle, I utterly fancy the pants off you. Run away with me?” What would I do, huh? Lol. I would hope I’d say, “Jim, have you been at the sherbet straws or what, pal?” Lol. I’d like to think I have enough rationale and logic in my brain left not to be swayed by my emotions. 

The state of limerence is ssooo addictive. As addictive as the person who is the object of the limerent “desire”. 

I can see how my own case went. And I think this is what I was talking about the other day when I was thinking about and discussing my handling of the breakdown of past relationships and how I came to terms with their ends quite easily. 

Full honesty card laid out on the table here? I worry about what March will bring. I worry about being back in Jim’s presence. I worry about being back at a Simple Minds gig and what it will do to me, in terms of falling back into a really deep state of limerence when right now I am seeing it for what it is and trying to work my way out of it. And most of all, I feel a complete dick for having to admit to ANY of that! 

I look at these walls in my room and … are they even the walls of a healthy person?

And it cycles round. “What must he think of me? Geez, I must look like a complete crackpot. No wonder he keeps his distance!” And on and on it goes. A loop. A big old endless, crazy loop. 

The notion he’ll even read this post. The notion that he would even visit this blog. It’s the limerence. You don’t want to look “crazy”…but you do. I just want to cry. All of it is ssooo ridiculous. 

It even has an alliterative ring to it – Limerent Larelle. Mad woman. Sad woman. 

Get a life!

It’s what I am trying to do.

Sunshine And Darkness

The only thing that seems to make me happy right now is to endlessly listen to Jonathan Richman. It’s these kind of things that make me wonder whether I am on the spectrum because of my silly, confused traits.

I need an outlet. I need to vent. This is what this place is for, for me personally, beyond it being a tenuous Simple Minds blog, and more broadly a general music blog, and even broader still, a review, interview and generalised art and creative space – it’s a personal space too.

A space for me. When wanting to be insular is too unhealthy. I can bottle things up and let things fester.

Anyway…where am I going with this? I don’t know.

I guess I was just…I was travelling along okay, you know? Not on the highest of highs…but at a fairly decent equilibrium. The odd dip through the day. One’s mood can change from minute to minute, can’t it? But on the whole, as of Saturday, October 23rd, I was … “stable”.

Then I got a message which arrived during one of those little “dips”…and that was it. 

I can’t go into detail about it. But I probably should. I have not spoken to the sender of the message since then. So upset and angry by it as to just dismiss it and them. So, how do I explain it without going into detail? How do I explain my mood and slide downwards if I can’t elaborate? I don’t know. 

I feel unable to confront the persons/people concerned. 

To be honest, the person I am most angry with is myself. I should have been more upfront about my feelings and fears. And here lies the paradox! 

But…I was quiet, because I felt as though my feelings and my fears would not be considered or would be dismissed. People were putting faith in me to do something that I didn’t feel equipped to handle and didn’t really know much about to be honest. I was happy to do the groundwork and try and do something with it – but it put the fear of god into me! If it went shit, if it fucked up, it would be MY head on the chopping block – not theirs! And if I did fuck up…who would be hardest on me for my fuck up? ME!

Jim’s post about “Absolute Beginners” was timely…but a little too late. 

I don’t feel as though I learn anything. I just constantly make mistakes I never learn from. I see all my faults and all my foibles and I never know how to make them right! 

Okay…let’s start over.

People put their faith in me. Some people who do that I get genuine good feelings from and never question why they do it. They are just good, virtuous people who see the inherent good in everyone. I used to think I was like that too. Believed the inherent good in people.

But others I find myself questioning why they put their faith in me, why they would want to have dealings with me, or associate with me because I feel I have nothing to offer them in return. So then I believe they must have motives. WHY are they being nice to me? For what purpose? Perhaps they are just…a different type of person? So, I use my “inherent good” glasses and dismiss any doubts or niggles I may have. Anything that is otherwise screaming “PROCEED WITH CAUTION!” at me. 

It was around mid July. We had been going through the saga with the cats and both of us (myself and my OH) were going through ill mental health. My OH has been going through mental health issues for…nearly the whole time we’ve been together. Prior to that. A long time. I didn’t start to recognise my own mental health issues until we had been together almost 10 years. 

To cut it to the quick – both of us had suffered with varying degrees of mental ill health for quite some time now. 

In mid July, we were both at breaking point. Several factors compounded the issue.

Right at this point in proceedings, I was “bestowed” (for want of a better term) a task. This task seemed absolutely MONUMENTAL to me! Did I confess this to the bestower? No! Heaven forbid I should seem weak and incapable – the things I believe this person thinks of me. So I put on my guise. Made a joke of it “hey, I can’t even organise a piss-up in a brewery, but if you want me to give it a go, I’ll give it a go.”

I’m in tears writing this just reliving how on earth I was going to execute this thing!

No other input. Nothing else came my way…just a “here’s this. See what you can do. There’s a good girl. Cheerio!” And because it came to me when it did, it just sent me spiralling down further. So I sat on it. I sat on it, petrified to speak out and say “I can’t do this!” – fear of being weak. Fear of compounding everything I think these people think of me. 

Some weeks back, some clarity came my way. A deadline. I felt I had a bit of breathing space. The past couple of weeks I started to feel able to at least try and tackle it. Make tentative steps as to what I needed to do to get this thing under way.

And then, I get this message. The message that tells me “thanks, but we’re doing something else with this now. All the best.” Was I relieved? Not really. What I was was devastated. And what I have been for the past 4 days is…gutted and angry. 

Had I wish I’d been upfront? Had I wish I’d been brave enough to say “Woah! Thanks, but I can’t do this.” Maybe. But…we’re told to push ourselves, to take ourselves out of our comfort zone to achieve things, right? Well, here I was, trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. And just when I was getting prepared to make inroads into it – BAM!! Rug pulled from under me. 

The past 4 days I have been sick. Sick, upset and angry. And I know those involved around it will be dismissive, because that is how it has always felt. I’m “oversensitive”. Or I’m “overthinking”. No! You know what I am? A HUMAN FUCKING BEING, WITH FEELINGS – WHO IS SICK OF HAVING THEIR FEELINGS DISMISSED!

I did this to myself – because I was too scared to stand up to what I would think was another dismissive waving of the hand. Either made to feel weak for admitting that at the point it came to me it was too much for me to handle, or a shirking of responsibility or a dismissal of concerns with a “ah, come on, you can do this in your sleep” denial.

And I know I need to let go of it. I now need to just…be Zen and let it go. Let it drift off away and not think about it any more. 

There is so much more I want to say and wish I could say…but I am best to keep the rest within. It would only be dismissed – so I might as well be the one to dismiss it. 

I still don’t know where I am going with this post. 

The title? Because I wanted to talk about the only thing filling my days with light right now is Jonathan. Dear, sweet Jonathan. 

Jim is there too, of course. Some things never change. So, there has been Halloween themed fan “art”…with Mr Kerr in varying dark roles, usually the devil – I think DraKERRla may be to come (my erogenous zone has always been my neck – I find vampire films highly erotic).

Last night’s music was a mix of sunshine and darkness. Sunshine from Jonathan and the Modern Lovers. “Monologue About Bermuda” from the album “Having A Party With Jonathan Richman” is just about my most favourite thing in the world right now. I can’t stop smiling every time I hear it – even through the tears.

Before that I played Roadrunner (Twice) and then Roadrunner (Once). I think I prefer once to twice. There’s a rawness to “Once” that I prefer.

After having my mood lifted for that little bit of time – I shifted to Magazine and listened to Secondhand Daylight. I bloody LOOOOOVE this album. All of it, but particularly the end block of Permafrost, Give Me Everything and I Love You You Big Dummy. That I can listen to something so dark and wallow yet be equally uplifted I find magical. And I am laying in bed, listening away and thinking at certain intervals “Man, how great is John McGeoch?!” And then it’s “Man, how great is Barry Adamson?!” and then for Howard, and for Dave Formula.

And I eventually fell asleep hours later, still wishing I could have seen Magazine and Simple Minds touring together. 

“To sleep, perchance to dream.”

I Love Learning

But I feel like I mostly learn nothing. Nothing of any worth. The things I wish I felt capable of doing! If I could back myself. If I could believe I had it in me. If I had the intelligence and the strength. The resolve. The fortitude.

If I could be free of the shackles of my inner demons and my own self-induced limitations….oh, what then?

I am possibly capable of love.

Of loving this man far too much.

Of loving posts like these. As he tries to give me hope. And tries to instill good things in me.

A very wise friend of mine told me I need to be better at accepting compliments. That I need to be able to…if not necessarily believe them, then just to be able to accept them. To just say “thank you”, when someone gives me a compliment because to throw it back in someone’s face is an awful thing. That nobody offers a compliment without wanting to. And so to not accept a compliment graciously is then hurting the giver.

So I tried. I tried to accept compliments. But my reactions are so ingrained within my psyche, my acceptance didn’t last very long.

I hate myself so very much. And I know that if I can’t love myself then…

But I absolutely love you, Jim Kerr.

The Benevolent Dictator – Plots And Plans

I find myself pondering Jim’s posts ssooo much. 

Some I end up taking as personal slights – “meek and unambitious” for instance has been in my head for the past week now. But, I think I need to “let it go”. I think Jim will believe what he wants to believe, without any effort from me to try and counter it, or offer a differing opinion on his thinking. He has a point. I guess I just wish, from a personal viewpoint, that he’d have phrased it better. 

ANYWAY!

I’m not sure where this is going to go. Most days I feel the drive to write SOMETHING…almost a compulsion to do it, without any set, clear agenda of what it is going to be. I just want to sit and type and express myself. Why that should be, I don’t know. Nobody is interested in what I have to say, and nobody really SHOULD be either. Who the fuck am I to say or express anything?! Let alone feel it even remotely important enough to be read by anyone?

I don’t know. I am finding this need to write very perplexing. Maybe it *is* “ambition”?! *pulls shocked face*

Today I am pondering the notion of the “benevolent dictator”. That is how I consider nearly all cats to be – benevolent dictators. Surely “benevolent dictator” could just be another, slightly less kind description for a manipulator, no? 

I also pondered on who we were describing in Jim’s post with this term? Was Jim referring to himself? Or was he aiming this description at Charlie? 

Does Simple Minds work under a “benevolent dictatorship”? Should we even be made privy to the world of band politics? Don’t we as fans endlessly speculate on this stuff ad nauseum as is? Why does Jim want to kick the hornet’s nest? 

It really is a paradox, the “benevolent dictator”. Jim has always fairly much come across to me as the old “it’s my way or the highway” type. Perhaps that’s the “last chance saloon” Kerr stance? Perhaps before it gets to that tensive “breaking point”, it’s the “charm offensive” prior to that? Try to win them ‘round first? I know he puts me in enough of a spin that sometimes I think he could do quite sinister things with me and I’d just take it, or bend to it. (I’d like to hope my principles would save me in the end. “Principles? You have principles?”)

We speculate because we think we know. We think we know these people. We believe we know their traits and we are made to feel as if we know them…but it’s all public persona. 

Masks. We all wear masks to some degree – and I’m not meaning our new Covid world fabric face-covering – I mean, in metaphorical terms, a complete cover – a cloak of who we really are, even to ourselves, or how we want to be perceived and how we appear. EVERY SINGLE PERSON DOES – whether they are conscious of it or not. Whether they would admit it to themselves or not.

So Steven van Zandt said “a benevolent dictatorship OF SOME KIND”? That seems instantly contradictory. Does this mean the dictator can change from day to day? One day it’s Jim, the next day Charlie? Dependent upon who is passionate and forthright enough about whatever problem has arisen and what the solution is? If so…then aren’t we actually back to … DEMOCRACY? The thing that got dismissed out of hand as not working when it comes to band politics? 

Yes! Sometimes I do like to overthink! I’d rather bloody overthink than not fucking think at all, sure enough! Give me my overthinking, over-analysing brain ANY DAY than the brain of an unthinking mind. A mind that doesn’t want to be challenged and … (hello Mrs!) stimulated. 

Perhaps I should be thanking Jim once again for….stimulating my grey matter (I could continue, but I’ll leave it there…I don’t need to elaborate any further. Lol)

Perhaps last night’s post was an exercise in Jim airing a “You’ve won THIS ROUND, Burchill, but next time…next time, PAL!” ??? Lol

On the one hand I am wondering why we were privy to such a thing last night, but I do love that it results in me pondering. I ponder so much stuff when it comes to this band, honest to god. I have sssoooo many questions. I run a Simple Minds themed blog – but I know because I have been told “Jim and Charlie don’t do blogs” (Yeah, and my name is Slartibartfast!) that I will never get the privilege of interviewing Jim (or Charlie). 

The questions come and go. Differing things. So many different things. Like right now I’d love to know at what precise moment did it turn real for Jim? Knowing absolutely that this was the thing he wanted to do with his life and that he was going to set out to do it. WHEN EXACTLY was that? And was he not even REMOTELY scared? With NO background in music or songwriting, or singing …. like….just….HOW?! And I mean actual “how”, not as in Glasgow “how” (ie: why). 

Today, before coming up to my bedroom to sit at my computer to type this out, I had this little …. Fantasy? Daydream? Spark of an idea? Delusion? About sitting down and starting a story. Just…a story. I wouldn’t even be so bold as to believe I could spin it out long enough to make it a novel. Just…the first few sentences. The germ of a seed. That soon expanded into what could end up for someone who is actually a writer, as a fully fledged novel. Almost to the end page. With nothing in the middle. 

Could I even flesh that out? Could I even start? To me, every story has already been told. So…how do I make MY story different, more entertaining, more enthralling, different enough to have people want to read it? And do I have the patience to sit here for months making something that would ultimately flop? 

And there’s the UNAMBITIOUS! It’s all been done. So why start? WHAT’S THE POINT?! I guess maybe I should start it for shits and giggles. What’s there to lose, right? Most of the time I sit here every day typing something out. On a good day, I can easily get to 1000 words. Base that on the average length of a novel, and account for me dealing with the thought of story direction, plot twists, etc, etc – a minimum of three months this would take. Allowing time for “bad days” and writer’s block – I could have a complete manuscript by the Simple Minds gig in Paris. 

See you then?

(P.S. Photo is my “writer’s view” today.)

She Rag Doll And Beautiful James

I was catching up with Billy Sloan’s radio show last night. I haven’t listened in for….a few months now. I think I got a bit overwhelmed by him referring to me as one of his “most loyal” listeners. And to be honest, I wasn’t at that point, though I would listen most weeks. But that statement from him – I guess it kind of put the mockers on it. I didn’t feel worthy of such a thing and then weirdly it kind of then … I dunno. Weird, eh?

Anyway, the previous week he had been asking for favourite songs that mentioned mens names in the lyrics or title. Earlier in the week when he first asked the question the song I chose hadn’t entered my head, even though it had been an earworm for days on end already. By Saturday evening, it was there swirling around as Billy posed the question again just before show time. Of course I put in my choice of “Oh, Jim”. I didn’t end up listening to the show that night. I was chatting away to a friend and ended up “otherwise engaged” but I was intrigued to see if my choice got mentioned. It did. And it seemed Billy had missed me! Bless him! I didn’t expect that at all. Well, I’ve missed him too. He puts on a great show week after week and there’s always something that particularly piques the interest – more on that shortly. 

Anyway, that’s a looong preamble to say…I am back listening to Billy Sloan’s show. I didn’t hear it go out live but caught up with it via BBC Sounds last night. The topic was … what do you think is the greatest song of all time? One choice! Mine is “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted?” by Jimmy Ruffin. It’s both sadly melancholic but ultimately uplifting. 

Around midway through the show, Billy played “River Deep, Mountain High” and it had me thinking about Jim’s post a few days back about “songs of home” and him talking about Nutbush City Limits – another Ike and Tina Turner song. As River Deep, Mountain High was playing, I am taking in the words as I usually do with the songs I listen to. I always try to pay attention to the lyrics. Not always easy as singers’ diction when they sing can vary wildly so it isn’t always easy to decipher lyrics. Hence the long litany of misheard lyrics. Lol. Nothing wrong with Tina’s diction though. I was taking in the lines “when you were a young boy did you have a puppy?” and then my brain backtracked and was thinking about the first lines of “when I was a little girl I had a rag doll” and “I love you just the way I loved that rag doll” and started thinking… “Hang about? Is THIS the genesis for ‘she rag doll’ in Celebrate?”

I have been in recent times debating this line (one could deem it a “mass debate”, perhaps? Though no…not between just two people it ain’t. Lol) with a friend of mine about the true meaning of that “she rag doll” line. Rather unusually for me, I interpreted rather “innocently” – my version of innocent anyway. More a kind of “canoodling” way….a bit kind of “post-coital spooning” kind of way. My friend informed me that a “rag doll” can be seen much more sexualised than that even. I never considered it to have such potency. I found it potent enough with my interpretation of it to be honest. And if one ponders the lyrics further then “she rag doll, keeps him warm / but this negative shows no form” – then I guess a “rag doll” in its most sexualised sense would NOT show any true form on a negative. My word! 

Either way, it’s damn sexy! And it is why I love Celebrate so much. Celebrate, when you get down to the heart of it, is a kind of love song. Well, maybe not a LOVE song – but a song of desire. The desire for lust and life. “A lust for life.” And it’s certainly uplifting. That “dark light” of theirs. Of Jim’s lyrics. Give it a dark heart but make it ultimately “feel good”. God, he’s good at it!

Anyway, River Deep Mountain High seems like the most innocent thing in the world now compared to Celebrate! Lol

Also on Billy’s show, he played this – the new Placebo single. It immediately piqued my interest before it even played as Billy said the title of it is “Beautiful James”. And what a chorus! “Beautiful James / I don’t wanna wake you” – how goddamn beautiful is that?! That’s me right there picturing Jim sleeping and just enjoying the sheer beauty of it. Gorgeous. Just so we end on a rather more innocent note than we could have done on the dirty ditty of Celebrate.

It Feels Like The End

I don’t know what this is any more. I obviously want it to be more than it is. More than it can be.

I’m too emotionally invested in this thing. I have been for years now. And I have been too frightened to cut the ties completely. Still praying to be liked. Still praying for something more. Still praying to be a “real fan” was enough.

The more time passes, the more I think that to have remained blocked from the Simple Minds Facebook page would have been the best thing for me.

Time would have healed the wound. I would have found something else to fill the cavernous void…eventually.

I cannot stop seeing the things that happen as things that I have caused personally.

Messenger gets taken off the SM FB page. And then Jim’s slow stepping away from all the interaction. No more comments on visitor wall posts. No more likes on visitor wall posts. Fewer replies to comments left on posts. Fewer likes to comments left on posts. Ceasing of likes and reply comments all together. Lessening of the number of posts written by Jim.

And now? Seemingly no posts at all.

Jim’s gone, and I can’t help but feel that I am the cause of it, because I feel like I am the one that wants him there most of all.

Two things have been making me cry constantly today. One, my cat is really sick and I am powerless to help him – other than to keep administering drugs to him, which seem not to be doing much.

The other, seeing Jim photographed with the Sardinian fans. Which sounds AWFUL! I want to put it into context! It’s because…seemingly…they are allowed to have something I desire more than anything in the world. Time with him. What’s more…they can “boast” about it. It feels like a boast. It’s just how it feels to me. And I just found it really upsetting.

I’m just being honest. I mean. All great for the guys, you know! It’s fabulous for them. It really is. But it feels like an “inner sanctum”. And while it feels like that. While it will feel like there is some “special place” for a select few and fuck the rest….?

I dunno.

It just feels awful. And I have spent so much time getting hurt by this and feeling guilty about it. And then knowing that IT SHOULDN’T MATTER! But….it does. It matters. It matters too much. It always has. And I just want it to stop.

I want it to stop mattering. I want to stop caring about it.

When I became a Simple Minds fan it felt like this new world opened up to me. I can’t express it! And it still brings with it the odd sweet gift. But it’s starting to feel a trap. And I am just way too heavily invested. And I am almost in floods of tears again just thinking about walking away. Trying to stop caring. And I want to stop fucking crying!

Did I do something wrong?

“Did I ask too much? More than a lot?
You gave me nothing now it’s all I’ve got.
We’re one, but we’re not the same.
Well, we hurt each other and we do it again.”

Where do we go from here?

Seems like I’m full of U2 songs tonight.

How ironic…

I’m not articulating this right. I don’t want it to sound bitter. I’m not angry. I’m sad. Sad to feel like all that I do is not enough or too much.

It’s a hamster wheel. A big fat hamster wheel. I want to get off but I don’t know how to stop it.

So perhaps I just need to “embrace the suck”? Swallow that bitter pill. Thank Jim for the memories and walk away?

I never wanted it to end. I never want it to end!

The biggest hurt? The biggest hurt is the notion of my walking away and him not giving a flying fuck. Not a single, solitary fuck. There are always other fans. Always another face. Another new enthusiast. But for me – there is no other Jim. No other band. No other man.

And yet, here we are it seems at another crossroads. Left or right? Which way to turn, Loz? Suck it up and forget about it? Or move on? Your choice. “Choice.” Or do we live in the past? The halcyon days? “Choice.”

Vlog Waffles Are Moving

In an exercise in tidying up this godforsaken blog, I will be shifting all the “Waffle” video blog posts (aka Vlogs) to a centralised page link. You should now see a page header called “Vlog Posts” in the menu. That’s where any new posts can be viewed. I may notify of a new post, if any go there.

The vlogs are something I want to come away from doing. And I certainly don’t want the main area of the blog full of vlog postings, hence I will be shifting them over there.

So…there you go.

Here’s hoping for some kind of return to “normal”. Whatever “normal” means when it comes to me and this absolute embarrassment of a blog.

If you ever had any interest in the video waffles, or more amazing still, if you ever took the time to WATCH any of them, I thank you.