A Brighter Day

Today I awoke (or as Jim would say it, “wakened up”) and the sky was still in a deeper hue of dawn for a star to be visible. I wasn’t expecting that. It was quite bright too. Obviously. Bright enough for me to see it without any optical aid and in my ever fading dwam.

Although I know it wasn’t a shooting star, I wished upon it all the same.

“Star light, star bright / I’m the star you see tonight / And I wish I may, I wish I might / Be in your dreams tonight”

Today I feel a little brighter. The sky was brighter this morning, even if still in that deeper hue of dawn that it will be in until the clocks go back next weekend.

I am giggling at things and finding the funny side again.

Acceptance plays a big part in things. It’s that old adage – “(Insert your choice of deity here) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Basically, I’m trying to stop being a dumb fuck. Lol. In the meantime, I wanted to share this. I was taking a keek at the latest Uncut magazine when I didn’t quite take in the title of Elvis Costello’s new album. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to how I initially read it…

Back to the stars…

Great Leap Forward – The Reason Behind The Tale Of “Embrace The Suck”

So…I get the message behind the phrase itself. I understand it. There’s a time and place, of course. I would like to hope that in the current climate that Sir Kerr is FAR FROM suggesting anyone that has suffered adversely from this current pandemic should just…”embrace the suck”. I’d like to believe he has far more empathy than that.

He linked to Great Leap Forward with the post and I just found myself looking up the lyrics. There are many lyrics I know off by heart, and there are some I am just not that familiar with. Great Leap Forward is one such case. Reading them over…I’m not quite sure what the song’s message actually is. Which, as usual, makes me feel like a dumb fuck.

I miss a time when I could just ask Jim and hope for a reply. But…I see little point now. All that wonderfulness is gone. TELL ME TO “EMBRACE THE SUCK”, JIM. Just you tell me! I’m sorry I lament about it so much, but it was a wonderful period of being a fan for me…that you would respond and interact. And I supposedly wasn’t even around for “the good old days”, when you and Charlie supposedly hung around fan forums and spoke to fans all the time! Must have been fab.

Anyway…the lyrics. The song. I mean, I like the sound of it. I really like Good News From The Next World. Usually a big part of why I love a song is because of its lyrics and meaning, or at least MY interpretation of the lyrics provides a story and meaning. Great Leap Forward leaves me perplexed. I’m not sure what to take from it.

“I jumped up like Apollo,
Crash landed on my feet,
The sun shot like a laser through my brain.
A little death had woken up,
And put a curse on me,
But I knew that I’d be coming back again.
Inspiration, across the nation,
There’s a poverty of expectation.
All I got to do was move ahead.
It’s a blue sky,
It’s a while cloud,
It’s a flame.
It’s a blue sky,
White cloud,
Burning flame.

I shot back to the mirror,
There was nothing left to see,
But a phantom with his heartbeat deep inside.
I could feel the dust of ages,
They were blowing back at me,
But I knew that I was born to get it right.

Everybody take the great leap forward,
Everybody knows the mysteries at hand,
If you’ve been praying all those sweet days for this,
Don’t you know there is a whole different plan?
Sometimes I hear the madman calling,
He talks about some dark eternal place.
I’ve been waiting all my lifetime for this moment,
And now I’ve got to find some other ways.

One touch ignites this eagle,
One kiss for heaven’s view,
I need the flame so I can feel alive.
You can tell my little brother,
No requiem for me,
I knew that I was born to make this flight.

Inspiration across the nation,
There’s a poverty of expectation,
All I got to do was move ahead.”

Is it about death and reincarnation? No, it can’t be that. “All I got to do is move ahead.” That’s not talk of death. “A poverty of expectation”…is that another term for apathy? Complacency? Or lack of drive…ambition?

I wish I felt I could ask him. Even if I felt like a dumb fuck for doing so. He gets my juices flowing and stimulates my brain. I love him for that!

I’m grappling to connect “embrace the suck” to Great Leap Forward, it has to be said.

P.S. It’s a crappy old Prip piece without even a “Priptona” mark – with a copyright image (that’s why there’s no Prip logo on it). Must make an updated version! (Embrace that I suck.)

Embracing The “Minds Music Monday” Suck

As I have said in the past, there are few Simple Minds songs that I can’t really warm to. When I tried to put it in mathematical terms from the number of songs I overtly avoid and skip and just can’t listen to as opposed to the rest of the SM catalogue, it was about a 7% to 93% ratio. So, you know…7% of over 300 songs means there are only about 20 songs in their whole catalogue I am like that with. I’d say that is a pretty healthy ratio and not in any way disrespectful or conversely overtly sycophantic.

I don’t really talk about these songs much. I did recently mention the repelling reaction I have to the LITCOL version of Promised You A Miracle. I can listen to (and adore!) the original 1982 New Gold Dream version of it (and its various remixes) until the cows come home. Also plethora of other live versions. A favourite live version is on 5×5 Live – hearing Jim break out into a giggle within the first verse always brings a smile to my face. But the 1987 live version? No can do. It really is a VERY strong aversion and I refuse to listen to it.

But this post isn’t about that particular Minds song. It is about me waking up with the TRUE meaning of an earworm. An annoying song that you can’t shake, that constantly plays in your head. Of course, an earwarm is great if it is a song you love. “All hail to the earwarm!”, we think when that happens. But when the opposite happens one tends to think, “Brain, why must you treat me this way?! This is torture. Please stop!”

This morning I woke up with an earworm. What, for me, is a bad earworm. To begin with, I have quite a love/hate relationship with the album Cry. I love certain songs on it. One of my absolute favourite songs in the entire Simple Minds catalogue – Spaceface – is on it. And for many fans, and I guess even to Jim himself (and perhaps Charlie also), the album marks a kind of “renaissance” of the band. So, for that alone I give it due reverence. Do I listen to it? Erm…not as a whole album, no. Not from start to finish. Certain songs sit uncomfortably for me. I’m not sure why.

An example of this is New Sunshine Morning. I see those that love it get an uplifting buzz from it. My friend, Yvonne, adores it. I think she actually likes the acoustic version, New Sunrise, even more again. She couldn’t make it to the Walk Between Worlds signing in Glasgow in 2018 so I asked her would she like me to try and get something signed by Jim and Charlie. Her choice was the New Sunshine Morning single. That’s what the song means to her. And I guess for quite a few others that like it.

I am not saying I hate it! I don’t dislike it. I just wish I felt the uplifting aspect of it that those that like it seem to. All I hear is a lament. It sounds sad to me. And painful. And some of the lyrics unsettle me. I actually find it hard to listen to. The music definitely sounds uplifting and positive, but the lyrics jar with that. I don’t know. Music and its effects, like all things in art, is subjective.

But, enough of examples. Let’s get to the crux of the matter.

Last night I went straight into sleep mode. Settled down without listening to any podcasts or music. My iPod Touch stayed stowed away in my top bedside drawer. I slept wonderfully soundly but awoke with a quite unexpected earworm. A Simple Minds earworm. That in itself is not unusual, but the choice of song certainly was. It was a track off the Cry album. Not only that, it is the track I like least on said album. I took an almost instant aversion to this song, and I’ll try and elaborate as to why.

One: it just doesn’t sound like them! There has always been a signature sound to Simple Minds – be it Mick’s keys, or Charlie’s guitar, Derek’s bass, or Mel’s drumming. Jim’s voice! There’s always been a pretty noticeable marker. Perhaps not VERY early on when they were finding their feet and their own signature sound…but even within that. Even when they were finding their feet, there was something in their sound that marked them out. This song gives them NO identity.

Two: It’s 2002 (perhaps maybe 2001 as the song is being recorded?) but it sounds like a 1990s throwback! I mean, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that other than – the 90s have barely ended and it isn’t time for a nostalgia-tripped throwback! As a result of it sounding like that, it just makes them sound like every other band in the 90s – but it’s noughties!

Three: Jim’s vocal. On this song it really, REALLY grates on me. It’s just…I dunno…it’s not usually the way he would sing.

Four: The lyrics. You know…I had to look them up because Jim’s vocal actually doesn’t make some of them clear. And then I see it’s one of lil’ bro’s songs! Having read them, I can’t say I am warming to them any more. And I do really like other compositions of Mark’s. I love Happy Is The Man and Angel Underneath My Skin was a fab addition to the WBW deluxe edition.

And while I was pleading with my head to “switch that bloody thing off!!” this morning. Lol. In an exercise in “embracing the suck”, may I present to you…

Embracing The Suck Since 1981

So…Jim. James. Sir Kerr. Laird Dash Fandango. It appears by this evidence captured by Jill Furmanovsky and taken at…the Manor House, I believe? That you, fine sir, have been practicing the “embrace the suck” mantra for some time now. And a number of years prior to Mr Forsey reputedly exposing you to such…questionable phrasing, yes? Lol

EMBRACE THE SUCK?

Jim! Stop goading me! What am I meant to do with this?

Geez…do you know how long it has been? Well, in case you don’t…TWENTY FIVE YEARS!

Twenty five years since I’ve had sexual intercourse. Do you know what it is doing to me?! And then YOU….the man I would probably have a heart attack over at the mere IDEA of anything REMOTELY sexual happening with uses a term like EMBRACE THE SUCK?!

You’re trying to kill me, right?! I swear!

Bravo, Jim. Bravo. Round of applause!