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!

Welcome Back

Oh, it is so lovely to have him around posting more often. I know I have been going on about it since before Christmas last year…but it is just so lovely when he interacts with us.

I love it. It will always be the special icing on the cake of being a Simple Minds fan. That Jim posts to SMO, interacts with us and responds to us and “chats”, for want of a better term.

And from me, personally, it is so welcome.

So, from me, Jim – thank you ❤️

The Mitigating Circumstances Of No Gigs

Every time I see a post to the SMO visitor wall (or comments left on a post) expressing wishes for gigs, my heart breaks.

I can’t like these posts or comments. I understand people are missing the band…and Jim…I do too. But…Jim’s post last week. Perhaps it just hasn’t sunken in with some people? I dunno.

I am definitely not going to be joining the throng of people crying out for gigs.

It makes me wonder about things myself. I mean, just a few days before that post about his dad, he was talking about the notion of a new tour and getting stuff organised…wanting to be back on the road again…having had a long sleep that night and dreams of “the road”.

It all seems so personal discussing it. And it seemed such a conflicting thing. Him talking at one point about getting back on the road, the next his dad’s cancer diagnosis.

And on the note of gigs and uncertain futures, and dreams – I have decided in spite of certain things, that I am going up to Glasgow to see Trevor Horn and the Sarm Orchestra for the “Reimagines The Eighties” gig. I booked a train journey up on the day of the gig. The fare was too good to pass up. I’ll be leaving home around 5am on the day but it beats a red-eye coach. I’ll have that to enjoy the next day for my return home.

Finally. Any of you guys reading this? Don’t be offended if I don’t like posts or comments of you guys wishing for gigs. For me, personally, it would feel like rubbing salt in a wound and making demands.

That is also why there will be no further “Slow News Sunday Summary” posts.

For now, things are just going to have to be as dear Doris Day sung about them…