Normal service for MMM will resume next week, but until then I’d like to share a special gift from my mate Baggers. Kant Kino is one of my favourite, if not my MOST FAVOURITE, Simple Minds instrumental. Only problem is, it’s so short!
“No probs. I’ll sort it!”, said Baggers to me and lo! He sent this (audio link below) to me not long after. A few days before my birthday in 2017 as a gift. He called it the “Tantrum Remix”. Lol
So, in lieu of being prepared for another Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call themed post for this week, I am sharing this lovely extended version of Kant Kino.
I missed the chance to check the building out in 2019. I had it all planned out; going to Germany with Ruth, seeing The Stranglers and making my way to selected spots around Berlin. A pilgrimage that never got to take place.
Taking a break in the usual proceedings with Minds Music Monday this week. The focus has been (and will continue to be for the weeks to come) tracks from Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call as we approach the 40th anniversary of its release in September.
If you’re already tired of getting out to the pub, going and meeting up with friends and once again socialising and enjoying the sun – then you can read up on the previous weeks MMM’s by clicking on the song titles and the link.
This week’s MMM is a bit of a sick joke of a choice for us Glasgow residents (I have to stop myself from saying “us Glaswegians” because obviously I am not Glaswegian, just a mere resident of this amazing city) – as we are still in the strictest lockdown in the whole of the UK and that my friends means NAE TRAVEL for us.
So! Enjoy your freedoms, other UKers and if you find yourself at a loose end, then do check out my previous SAF/SFC themed posts.
Au revoir! (I ain’t going nowhere.)
P.S. I hope to have more to come to do with I Travel and Sons And Fascination during the week – something that involves a kind of collaborative thing with one Malcolm Garrett – finger’s crossed. Stay tuned! 🤞🏻🤞🏻
Interesting retrospective review from these guys. Very brief and quite broad. Not even any praise for Pleasantly Disturbed on Life In A Day – which is a HUUUUGE oversight in my eyes. They don’t really get much into the nitty gritty of the albums…but if you have a spare 15 mins…
I posted this onto SMOG earlier this afternoon – but I get the feeling it is going to be somewhat overshadowed by a wonderful post about Jim, which I am sure he will love (who can blame him?). Anyway, I thought I’d also post it here as well. (I haven’t altered the words I posted.)
Back a few years ago, I posted something on the Simple Minds visitor wall. I think it was a review of a gig. It came from an independent fanzine. Jim replied to my post, saying he had fond memories of some of the guys who set up these kind of publications, recalling the names of Johnny Waller and Lindsay Hutton, particularly, on this occasion. Hutton had started a fanzine called “Next Big Thing”.
Well I stumbled on to a copy of Next Big Thing today, and there within the pages was an advert for Empires And Dance, as well as a glowing review of the album by Lindsay himself. (Albeit if he is somewhat disparaging to Roxy Music and Gary Numan in the process. Oops!)
It took me on my own little nostalgia trip. Of a time that I particularly loved being a Simple Minds fan. Thanks for those wee chit-chats, Jim. They’ll always be super special to me. I loved putting on my “researcher’s hat” for that one as when you replied to me you had said “I wonder what happened to Johnny and Lindsay?”, which had me off and searching for you. A time you made me feel both happy and purposeful.
If it doesn’t come out too clear for reading, then here is a transcript of what is written below.
“The danceable solution to teenage revolution? If Roxy were still any cop they’d be making albums like this. I don’t altogether go along with the belief that synthesisers always ruin things. There’s ample proof of the reverse here, but the fact that idiots like gerbil face Numan seem to represent the genre, mean that there is no media indication that there is life after electronics. ‘Empires’ is the 3rd Minds elpee and places them well up the league. Especially tasty are the opener ‘I Travel’ and the Jeepster style backbeat of ‘Celebrate’. If you’ve been put off by the moderne talk of Morley then think again kiddo, because this sound can co-exist with rock ‘n’ roll because it’s performed from the heart. Can you afford not to own a record by a band whose singer drew Noddy on the Berlin Wall in lime green chalk? Good wee group this.”
Due for release late next month “Shake The Foundations” looks like another well thought out Cherry Red release, focusing on what they’re classifying as “Militant Funk and The Post-Punk Dancefloor 1978-1984”.
On CD One of the compilation is Empires And Dance album track classic, This Fear Of Gods.
Other artists to feature on the set include: A Certain Ratio, Haircut 100, The Stranglers, Fun Boy Three and John Cooper Clarke.
I like the cover artwork. It seems somewhat inspired by Mr Garrett’s Assorted iMaGes work.
You can view more info and a full track list by clicking HERE
I was pretty much a U2 fan from the get go. My brother, Quince, is only a few weeks younger than Bono…so U2’s debut release was as about as contemporary as it could get for him!
I was half the age, only just coming up to my 10th birthday, but the album spoke volumes to me too. Possibly more so because I feel, in retrospect, Boy was a VERY aptly titled album. It denotes all those elements of the first U2 release. Bourgeoning, adolescent, insular, self-absorbed, centred on school and friends and the opposite sex…grappling with the things we all go through in adolescence. Trying to make sense of our place in the world and what we’re here for.
I listened to Boy last night. Has it aged well? I’m not sure. It has an immaturity about it. It mostly looks inward and hardly projects outwards. And I can still hear it with the ears of my early teenage self. I was very aware of U2 in 1980 but it wasn’t until 1983/4 that I really got into them myself. And that is when I got heavily buried into the early albums. Boy is very much my early teenage album. And it takes me back to all those things I was feeling then. All those hang ups and stuff. Thinking that Bono was the best thing I’d ever seen – but he was just one on a list.
It is a good album. I can see why they got early plaudits for it, but I can also see why it was just an early stepping stone and not an absolute breakthrough. I feel it is age-defining and age specific. It is very much rooted in the feeling of 1980 and one’s teenage years.
Alert: I am about to make THE “comparison”. It can’t be helped.
Compare it to say, Simple Minds’ Empires And Dance and well…there is no comparison! Compare I Travel to I Will Follow:
I Travel – European dance. Pulsing energy. Dazzling with lights of cars, planes, trains. Cities cruising by in a head of haze. Exposing you to the dilapidation of the east and the extravagance of the west.
I Will Follow – a boy grappling with becoming a man “a boy tries hard to be a man, his mother takes him by his hand / if he stops to think, he starts to cry – oh, why”. Chalk and cheese! And barely a year in age difference between the lyricists.
What would I have listened to more then – Empires And Dance or Boy? Well, it’s easy to say that Boy won out as I only vaguely knew who Simple Minds were in 1983/4 and I certainly didn’t know of them at all in 1980!
What do I listen to more now? The most rhetorical of questions! We all know! This blog isn’t “Larry-elle’s U2 Space” that ‘may contain a heavy dose of Paul Hewson’ after all now, is it?!
For me, Boy is now definitely “of its time”. A nostalgia trip. There were obviously hints of the maturity of the band there. I hear it in different songs now to what I used to. Songs that I probably didn’t like as much or felt a little more indifferent to back then. I have always loved An Cat Dubh (it took YEARS for me to find out it meant “The Black Cat”. You gotta love pre-Internet days. Lol) and its segue to Into The Heart. Into The Heart these days makes me cry. It’s so tender! It has hidden maturity because it is an adolescent mind already feeling nostalgic for the innocence of childhood. Probably a marker on Bono thinking of his mum. That yearning of her still being present.
The last time I was a bit harsh on Shadows And Tall Trees – I guess because that line of “Mrs Brown’s washing is always the same” is the most dominant line in the song for me – because of the way Bono delivers it. But it is a rarer one on the album as it projects outwards rather than looking as much inwardly to the self. But when it does look inwardly, it’s more about how is one going to face up to life and what to do about it “do you feel in me anything redeeming, any worthwhile feeling / is life like a tightrope, hanging from the ceiling.”
The musicality of it is barebones, and raw. Like skinny kids that are slightly malnourished and thirsty for water, food – knowledge. Experience. “Songs of innocence.” It’s very sparse but very bright. There can be darker elements too. There has always been a dark mood to The Ocean. And there is darkness or at least dullness and greyness to Shadows And Tall Trees.
I enjoyed listening to Boy again last night. I don’t visit U2 often these days, but when I do, I still have an “experience”.
Happy Anniversary, Boy. You make a girl feel old! Lol
“He don’t say much. He’s bored with the fans.“ – it’s how it feels anyway. And if I hear one more “he’s a busy man” excuse, I’ll scream! Because…HE IS ALWAYS BUSY! He is Jim fucking Kerr – apart from me using “fucking” just now – “busy” is his middle name – for want of him actually having one (a middle name, that is).
Even at his most busiest, back in time…back to those halcyon days I REALLY need to move on from that have well and truly died and aren’t coming back any time soon, it seems – he would reply to people. Not just me!
The slow death of the visitor wall just kills me. He actually used to seem to take a vested interest in what people were posting to the visitor wall. Like certain things and even respond to people there. If someone had a question about the music or lyrics and he felt keen enough to, he’d respond to people there.
I mean, heck…without his interest there, the whole “art” thing of mine would have NEVER happened. I almost feel like I want to bang his head against a wall just…so he can see how important this aspect of the fandom is to some fans. It goes beyond the music! You inspire so many of us, Jim! When you respond to people it…here’s a favourite word of yours – it TRANSCENDS mere “music and listener”, mere “songwriter and fan”, mere “singer and swooning ninny”. Lol
And I miss it. Not just for me, but for other fans too!
A case in point: last night on SMOG, a fan asked about Today I Died Again – whether it was about domestic violence – quite how they reached that theory I do not know entirely (I guess just from the interaction that happens between the lead couple within the song lyric?) but I shared what I felt was my interpretation of it, and linked to my post on “Why I love…” about it.
Another fan later replied with a quote from Dream Giver Redux with this excerpt: “This song’s reincarnation theme was inspired from Jim’s reading of the Bhagavad Gita.”
Really? Okay, well the only thing that actually alludes to reincarnation within the song IS the title itself and the singing of it – and maybe the line of “back to a year, back to a youth” – even then, that’s tenuous. Also, I am not sure about whether Jim would have read Bhagavad Gita at that point. I am sure he said he first read the book in 1982 in a recent post (recent being…within the past couple of years). I know it subsequently became a much favoured book of his. As a consequence I tried reading the book. I didn’t get very far with it to be honest. I basically read this whole preamble about the book’s translation which was quite a few pages long (about 40, if memory serves). It just felt too taxing in the end. The only thing that stuck was the gained knowledge of learning it was a source of inspiration for Gandhi, which I find beyond perplexing that one of the world’s great pacifists was inspired by a book about war. Well…at least had a scene of battle as its main focal point.
Today I Died Again is penned in 1980, obviously, so I would think that predates Jim reading Bhagavad Gita? Perhaps I have my info wrong and he did indeed read it back then? I still see little evidence of the influence of the book on the song. But perhaps that’s just my interpretation of it?
Anyway, (sorry, I went off researching, and now I feel as if I have worked on this post for much longer than I intended to)…back to the fan enquiry and pondering of the song.
There would be a time, not that long in the past, in which I would have said “you could ask Jim – he might give you a reply. Who better to ask?” And that’s where I return to the special! Being able to ask the man who wrote those amazing lyrics. Okay, he may not have always replied even when I came into the fandom, even to me, but there was a heck of a lot better chance of a response six years ago than there is now! And it really, REALLY saddens me.
I was about to go off on another angry rant but…I guess I just need to give up. “No one likes a quitter”. Well, great then. No one will ever like me. Stellar. I can live with it. When you feel you’ve done all you can and you’re getting nowhere, you have to “embrace the suck” and just…walk away, I guess? Am I right, Jim?
Perhaps it is better we all ponder it amongst ourselves? There was a time, pre-Internet, where we’d had little choice to do so. The fans wouldn’t be interacting with each other as we do now. There’s no way we could pose a question to you like that unless there was luck and/or special circumstances. We wrote to you (old fashioned “snail mail” style) and you took the time to reply. Or we’d have thought to ask you backstage, had we been lucky to see you after a gig. Back then I’d guess you’d have been very reluctant to share or offer up such tokens of openness anyway. “Interpret them as you see fit.”
Admittedly, that is the beauty of your songwriting – particularly back then. Just how much they could be open to interpretation. Your very own Burroughs technique. “I’ve always liked ambiguities and fragments and things with a bit more of a mystery to them”, you said in an interview for Dutch TV in 1983.
“Out of the mouth of babes“ – and what a babe! Lol. (Yep. I’ll never stop adoring you, you gorgeous man. Fuck, I’m a hopeless case!)
So…what exactly IS Today I Died Again about? You can search for my “Why I love” piece on it and see what you think. I may just read over it again myself and see of my idea about it has changed.
“She can’t remember before the heat” – bloody hot flushes, hey hen?! Lol