I read this just a few minutes ago (a friend had posted it on their FB feed) and the tears streamed down my face. I hope this is true, and if it is true – what a beautiful man Franz Kafka was. What a truly beautiful thing to do.
I think it has been coming for some time. I think I might be spent. Done. I don’t think I have any more to give.
It is a heavy heart that I say this with. My personal fandom for Simple Minds has altered. I love them. I absolutely love them! I can still wax lyrical about them. Lord knows I can wax lyrical about Jim! He is just…all things to me. And I say this knowing how absolutely darn pathetic it is – but I honestly can’t remember what a day feels like without thinking of him. I am, quite literally, Kerrsed. (Have to throw in a pun there somewhere!)
But I feel like I…
I will try to articulate it well.
The Simple Minds catalogue as it stands is finite. It will expand at some point in the future – yes. But there is only so much of “List your Top 5 songs” and all that kind of stuff I feel able to engage in.
It feels like it is becoming a hamster wheel. Around and around and around. Favourite album. Favourite song.
Speculation also drives me insane too. It’ll come when it comes, FFS! The new album. The recommencing of the tour. Jim’s “tome” of fiction. And currently…there is not much “doing” at SMHQ and Jim is obviously just not wanting to engage with the fans in social media any more – which is his absolute right, of course.
But that was the thing that drew me into the fanbase! That’s what drew me in to Facebook! His presence and interaction with the fanbase. I can’t emphasise enough what that meant! And how different that set Simple Minds apart from any band or artist that I had ever liked before. The human touch. Making the intangible feel tangible. That is what made you feel most special to me, Jim. The voice is one thing, the songwriting another. The stage presence another. But it was all wrapped in a bow with your…approachability.
I was always someone who just stayed out on the fringes. I was never one to really put myself “out there”. Years of self-doubt, social ineptitude and of mental ill health.
In recent times I have wondered if many of the things I see that made me feel different as a child and made things difficult for me were signs of ASD that were never picked up? That I masked too well and it went undetected? It happens to a lot of women with ASD. And as the wording goes – Autism SPECTRUM Disorder, there’s a spectrum there with some elements of ASD being stronger and more obvious in some than others, etc, etc.
I grew up with strong “stimming” traits. I rocked back and forth almost constantly as a child. The only time I would stop is when I was out somewhere, at school, or if we had house guests that didn’t know us well I would find alternatives. I would swing my legs back and forth or find other “stims” to do. I especially did the rocking when listening to music. It was the ultimate excuse to do it. I was listening to music! No one felt it was very strange then. But they did if I did it while watching TV or just…sitting and being. I also bite my nails. And not just my nails but the skin around my nails also. I eventually stopped the rocking in early adulthood but I still bite my nails and skin badly.
So…I have always felt somewhat alone. School was never something I enjoyed in a peer group sense. I loved learning and craved learning but I always felt incredibly uncomfortable around my peers and then when the bullying started, it escalated those feelings ten fold. I started staying away from school a lot as a result.
It took so much for me to step into the Simple Minds fanbase. I had NEVER socialised on this scale before, and I mean NEVER.
I can still remember how absolutely petrified I was going to my first SM gig and the idea that the people I had been talking to online would meet me just scared the crap out of me. I had tentatively agreed to meet someone from the fanbase at the gig, but I chickened out. I was just too overwhelmed. Meeting one new person is nerve-wracking for me but put that in a gig scenario where the person you have agreed to meet is there with maybe five or six other people around them and I am being introduced to them all…
It eventually happened. Bolstered largely by encouragement from Jim. The interactions I started to have with him gave me a confidence I had never possessed. It led me to do things I could only had previously dreamt of. I went on national TV to partake in a quiz, FFS! Something I had dreamed of for nearly 20 years, probably longer than that. And I did it, twice!
And those trips brought me to Glasgow and I fell in love with the city. And as a result of that, the city is now my home. And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! It feels as much “home” as Sydney ever did.
My hang ups are my hang ups, you know. They are mine to work through.
These days I just feel – estranged from the fanbase. It’s not a place I am feeling very welcome or comfortable being in. It is why I have, for the most part, stepped away from SM fan groups. There has been some petty differences and rather more disconcerting spats. I have never been great with conflict.
I certainly do not have the patience, zeal and diplomacy of Gordon Machray, for a start. His endless enthusiasm for the band and the music really is something to be admired. It is down to him that the Simple Minds Official Fan Group (SMOG, as I have often referred to it) is what it is now. All inclusive and all encompassing. I hope there are others more capable than me who will be willing to step up to the plate and help him in his time of need – as I guess it has become obvious that that really isn’t me.
This blog will continue. In what capacity, I am unsure. I am determined to see through the Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call 40th Anniversary celebration. Beyond that…who knows? It’ll probably just revert back to what is ultimately some crappy, Jim Kerr obsessive fangirl site – in hardly any way linked to Simple Minds at all – just the tenuous point of a link being Jim’s “raspberry ripples”.
I guess I never really was much of a fan then, eh? And perhaps I never did “earn my stripes”.
The times had been great…for the most part. Apart from the whole “real fans” affair. I really could have done without that. But hey ho. There we go. We are fallible and all make mistakes in life.
I still don’t know what the future holds. None of us do. But I feel that whatever my future as a Simple Minds fan is, it will probably be confined to here on this blog and my own personal social media profiles.
Thanks for listening.
I miss the conversation I’d have with him! But I can miss it all I like. Disnae mean hee haw.
A watercolour painting of a blackbird in song that I had commissioned by my amazingly talented friend, Deb.
Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I like to give birds alliterative names.
All my own crappy creations ended up with alliterative names and so upon deciding on a name for Bryn I thought about the Welsh connection with Deb. Bryn means “hill” so it just seemed so apt for him. And being a glorious songbird as well, and with the Welsh known for their beautiful singing voices it all made total sense.
I shall get a beautiful frame for him and hang him on the wall in my bedroom, along side that other wonderful singer that festoons every wall of my room. And there’s a lovely rhyme with the names Jim and Bryn – total accident but there you go! It was meant to be.
Deb does AMAZING watercolour paintings of UK wildlife. If you’d like to see more of her work and perhaps buy some of her beautiful art, you can view and make enquiries through her FB art page HERE
The post I did about “The Walking Experiment”. The one that FINALLY led me to finding the quote about the line from In Trance As Mission? The Alice In Wonderland “rabbit hole” of a post that took me what felt like FOREVER to sort out?
Well it led me down yet another rabbit hole today. Because one of the reasons for that post was prompted by a “conversation” with Jim. Submersing myself in the sounds of Sons And Fascination like I have these past weeks, and especially the past few days, I’ve come to the conclusion that…he was absolutely right.
Despite my response to him at the time (see above), I really didn’t feel that way as such. I was using some diplomacy at the time because really I was thinking “Oh, come on, Jim! The music’s great but…how can you say it’s BETTER than birdsong?!” (Which is basically what his reply amounted to.)
That conversation was on my mimd this morning, as was the MMM post on In Trance As Mission. I awoke early this morning. Around 6am. Too restless to go back to sleep, but still a bit too bleary to get out of bed (and the alarm not set to go off until 7.10am), I decided to listen to some Minds music. Namely, live versions of the title track of Sons And Fascination. Having satisfied that desire and with some time still before the alarm was due to go off, I decided to listen to the instrumental version of Seeing Out The Angel. At the end I’m lain there thinking “he is absolutely right. No birdsong DOES compete!” I miss those conversations with him! I really do.
Original “Midnight Walking” FB post (Click to view.)
When I finally got up and out of bed and got all the little things I do each morning all sorted, I sat at my iPad and wanted to find the post itself. The post from Jim that started the conversation about listening to music while walking and of birdsong. You’ll find the link to it posted above. Things he says, the things he’d say to me would always resonate so much. A case in point that my “walking experiment” post in response to that conversation was almost one whole year later! And I’m STILL writing about it nearly five years on!
Finding it led on to me seeing another post that Jim made just a couple of days prior to the “Midnight Walking” post. It’s a post about the Sons And Fascination Tour in the U.S. – the post actually labelled “In Trance As Mission”. (Click title to view original post.) *P.S. In the comments, Otto is right, the gig advertised was in 1984 not 1982.
And I read the words attached and … I am wishing all over again. Wishing hard. And crying my eyes out, dreaming of a friendship with him like this! Like the time of being at that age and living as a young adult in that place and time would allow. To be deemed his friend. To mean even a SMIDGEN to him as to what he means to me!
Before my eyes go too blurry….
The artwork on the poster. Malcolm Garrett has been telling me about the figure in the artwork. He described the figure as a “marching man”. I did always wonder about the figure. He was very gracious in telling me about it and where the inspiration came from. It’s all very fascinating. And it is wonderful to be in contact with “MX”, but I fear he is much more of an inspiration to me than I ever could be to him. (I mean, as if I EVER would be!) As I say, he has been gracious enough to converse with me and it has been highly appreciated. I feel ridiculously unworthy of any such rapport. And I hardly know what to say to him most of the time because I fear tiring him out with endless Simple Minds talk.
My post about “The Cars Are The Stars – Auto iMaGes”? Again whilst looking for the “Midnight Walking” post and the birdsong talk, I saw this…
Original “Sons and Fascination” photo session FB post. (Click to view.)
Jim saying he loved that photoshoot. MX said the same thing to me. I wonder what Sheila Rock’s memories of it are? One day I might pluck up the courage to ask her. The imagery certainly encapsulates everything the album conveys musically. The “musical landscape” of the album. Such collective creativity astounds me and leaves me in awe. And to feel I have what are even…passing friendships with these people…
That Jim ever even took any remote interest in the things I made or the words I’d leave in the comments – that I get to email Malcolm Garrett and talk to him – that any of them even pretend to give a hoot about me or even take a minute to respond to me just…
That I can genuinely state that Virginia Turbett is my friend…
That they don’t flick me away like a pesky little ant…
I genuinely can’t see the screen for the tears…
Let’s talk a load of old balls…
The plus side is, you can win a Priptona print! Just leave a comment on this blog post (you can leave comments at the bottom of the post), or if you’re on Facebook or Instagram, check out my pages there (priptonaweird on IG or look for “Priptona Art” on Facebook) by 4pm GMT, Monday April 5th.
You could win one of these (the choice of print is entirely yours)…
A couple of days ago I decided to leave all the Simple Minds FB groups I was a member of. All of them. That also meant handing in my moderators badge at Simple Minds International. To be honest, I was always flabbergasted that Gordon bestowed the thing upon me. And I was never of any real use in the role anyways.
Two days later, I am starting to see just how much of my FB feed was taken up by SM groups.
I honestly don’t know where I am going with this post!
The groups do my flaming head in, but I miss them. I mean, I stopped inputting into groups a couple of weeks back. The only thing I posted lately was my interview with Catherine on SMOG. And those who didn’t care for it were respectful enough to leave it the fuck alone and not comment or be bitchy. Which was actually amazing, given the bitchiness that was going on in other posts on SMOG.
The fans that trash them and go on about how “they aren’t the band they used to be”. No, they’re not. And you’re not the person you used to be 40 years ago, either. In fact, I’m guessing your arsehole factor has gone up exponentially in 40 years!
Then there’s SMI. I grappled with posting a link to my interview with Catherine on there because there we have an example of the “free speech” paradox. A private group so people can express what they like.
And I am sorry, but those who go on about “free speech” only ever want to seem to spread their hate. They seem to confuse “free speech” with being vitriolic and tactless and to spread negativity and hate.
People rub me the wrong way ALL THE TIME, but do I talk about them? Do I comment on posts about them? Do I tell people how much I dislike them? Nope!
So, I post to SMI and I think I am ready for the fallout. For the inevitable “don’t like her. Glad she’s no longer in the band” ya da ya da crap that was inevitably to come – but what I wasn’t prepared for was just how instantaneous it was going to be. LITERALLY within three minutes of me posting the YouTube link of the interview there was a comment left. And that comment started with – and perhaps they fully intended the irony of it, “if you haven’t got anything nice to say, say nothing” and then said some snidey piece of crap after that.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I removed the post and then left the group and left all the other SM groups I was a member of.
I am sssoooo tired of the negativity. I’m trying to keep hold of any remotely tangible positivity that’s left around this band at the moment. I feel it is just slipping away further and further.
Things feel so bad right now, I’d almost swap my “real fans” block from SM Official and the sadness of Musilac to get away from this!
At least there were gigs. At least Jim was around. At least I felt I had something to talk about and be passionate about. I thought my world was coming to an end then. I actually wouldn’t WANT to relive it but…
Compared to now? It felt more unified in the fanbase and… JIM WAS HERE! And although he got pissed off with me and blocked me – I’d much prefer that to this…silence. To…the nothing. The void. This emptiness that seems to grow into a deeper and deeper chasm.
I honestly don’t know what else to say. I’m so worried this site will just become some retro site.
I just don’t know what to do any more…
And seeing as it IS now long after the “other side of midnight” and there isn’t much need to remind me “I’m glad to be here” or that it’s Minds Music Monday then…
Let us hark back to BEFORE midnight, when it was still Valentine’s Day. Jim mentioned in his post yesterday a few Simple Minds tracks that could be chosen for Valentine’s Day – 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall being one of them.
Firstly, I have ALWAYS loved that title. It’s so long winded. But what the hell does it even mean, or allude to? Secondly, who doesn’t love a guitar riff with an effect on it that makes it sound like a mooing coo*? (*cow) Last but not least, it contains – already quite overtly alluded to already! – one of my most favourite lines Jim has ever written – “when the other side of midnight calls, remind me I’m glad to be here”.
I have always been wonderfully puzzled by the song. It’s glorious in its rather enigmatic nature. And it makes it wonderful. I have loved hearing it being performed live in the recent bootlegs shared. Performed TWICE in one night in Tiffany’s in the summer of 1982! Geez.
But this version below is more refined than in the summer and Jim just sounds superb on this. And, it may be a day late and I *MAY* sound like a fool but, fuck I love you, Kerr! ❤️
Happy MMM, and belated Happy Valentine’s Day, Mr Beautiful 😊❤️
Jim’s Spotify Playlist…
In Jim’s post today he talked about The Beatles track Tomorrow Never Knows.
Now whenever it gets mentioned I think of this. When it was released, someone left a comment on the Field Music Facebook post saying “it has a Tomorrow Never Knows vibe to it”. When I listened to the track again, I could here it too.
It has a fab melody. That caught me straight away. But it took a few more listens to get fully into the song.
I have a disgusting piece of romanticism attached to the song as well. I tend to listen to music late at night whilst laying in bed. My bedroom windows face south west – and I keep my blinds open at night – so on a clear night, I can see Orion from my bed.
I’d love to talk more about Jim’s post but…meh. I’ll save it for another time. When it feels like there’s no “two-way street” any more, the passion starts to die.
It’s starting to feel a little hard to enthuse sometimes. The interactivity that used to happen gave you something to bounce off. “Mutual appreciation” and all that baloney…