Minds Music Monday – Jeweller To The Stars/The Jeweller (Part 2)

I don’t know why I have it stuck in my head as a Charlie Burchill song, but I just do. And by a Charlie song, I mean it being a song about Charlie.I don’t know where I have got that implanted in my head. It must have been something Jim had said when talking about the song? Perhaps he just expressed a particular likeness for Charlie’s guitar work on the track? Whatever it was, I have thought of “Jeweller” as Charlie’s song ever since.

Proving also that inspiration can come from just about anywhere, Jim said the lyrics came about from him seeing an advert in a magazine. I love it when he can share stories of defined examples of lyrical inspiration. I am sure most times his lyrics are an amalgam of inspiration. Pieces of a mosaic, as obscure and ambiguous as his words can be. Esp. early on in his songwriting. Never really a single point of focus. Well that’s how it seems anyway.

I like both the recorded versions of the song that I’ve heard. Both are very similar in sound with no real variation in lyrics, only just some backing vocal lyrics on one version, with Jim’s voice alternating in left and right channels to say “I want you – I still want you” – which for me is seductively sexy. 

“When all seems lost, you’ll find the diamonds in the rough” is the general optimistic message of the song. Well, that’s how I interpret it.

Pick out the jewels.

Minds Music Monday – Space

This song has a similar personal feeling for me than Spaceface does. Almost like they fit hand in glove. Even with the similarities in title – Space/Spaceface. There’s also a line within Wonderful In Young Life that fits in with the theme that I find particularly poignant. “Surviving these changes in paces and faces in free wonder, free wonder, free wonder style.” 

For the two minutes I decided to try and sell my “art” as a kind of merch thing, selling prints, shirts and mugs, I titled my “business” Free Wonder Style. Paid for a web domain and everything. Feels another lifetime ago now. Hey ho. 

Anyway, I digress already and we’re barely under way!

Space always felt like a “letting go” song. It resonated most with me when the “limerence” was at its worst. When I felt that Jim wanted “no more”. The placement of that idea? That signal? That came wholly within my own mind. When you’re wanting something so much. Wanting to feel a connection that you wish for all the world is there but deep down, within your rational mind, you know it isn’t. It can’t ever be. It never was. 

“Imagination wears you out / crying brings you down again. The dream is over / the feeling’s gone / and we were something / you were dreaming all along.”

YOU WERE DREAMING ALL ALONG. 

Everything about the song. Each line. Each line would just be like….

But then I’d hole on to the uplifting bits. “I’m the star you see tonight / and I wish I may / I wish I might / be in your dreams tonight.” 

How many times I have been in bed at night, getting ready to settle down to sleep and I have silently mouthed a little chant of “please let me dream of him, please let me dream of him”.

I did it again last night! But he appeared. With the rest of the band. I couldn’t quite work out the scenario of the dream. I think I was allowed to go to see them rehearse somewhere. Cherisse greeted me in the dream. Let me in, showed me round. I bumped into Charlie. We had a brief chat but then he had to go off. As for Jim? Well, he was busy elsewhere, conducting interviews and what not. I saw him at the far end of one area within this kinda “complex” this dream was set in, but he was too far away from me to even say hello to or anything. 

My dreams generally have a huge smack of reality to them. 

It’s a song that I feel makes me come to terms with things. And I hate how ridiculous that makes me sound! The whole “limerence” thing. I don’t want it to be a “thing”, you know? 

Like I said in my previous post discussing limerence. I feel like I am an otherwise intelligent and rational person. And I fear my explanation of my own “limerence” is not clear enough. I feel like I have to explain myself over and over again. I am NOT so deluded as to want “romantic love” from Jim! It really isn’t that! I don’t want to “run off with him”! That’s fucking ridiculous! I’m not THAT absurd or that much of a fantasist! 

It really was just – friendship. A bond. I like you, and I hope you like me too. I just have been craving a closeness that just isn’t there. I have me and my small bunch of friends and well, Jim joked way back before Simple Minds got REALLY big that he had 8000 friends – or whatever astronomical figure it was then. And I know – rational hat on, that there are many people he’s known for years, all his life nearly. People he calls pals who he’d hardly have any contact with! So…who the fuck am I? What kind of fucking audacity have I got to wish for getting emails or letters or shite like that from him, eh? I mean, Jesus! It would be different if I had known him from when I was wee. Like, really known him outside of Minds and all that. Knew him as “Jim fae Prospecthill Circus” like, you know? But I don’t.

That “just a fan” status thing is hard to take. But it’s the cold, hard reality of it. It doesn’t stop it from sucking ass though!

Sometimes…just to stop it hurting sometimes, I initiate the whole “it’s his loss” talk. It doesn’t make it any less painful. And it really doesn’t apply. It cannae. I cannae make him give two shits. And it’s not fair on him that I try and enforce it, like. 

So, getting back to Space. It makes me comes to terms with what is. What the “status quo” is. Where the lay of the land is. But, it still has that hope in it! Goddamnit! Like all Simple Minds songs do. It’s like it says to me “I know what you want, but you cannae have it. But, you can have it in your dreams.”

Well, of course I can have it in my dreams. I can have anything in my dreams. And I’m not even gonna go into the dreams I can have. Oh, the dreams I can have! That would make for some colourful posts, I tell ya!

Spaceface is more the antithesis of Space. Spaceface is pure joy. My “happy place”, as I call it. Pure “hunner per cent” uplifting. It’s my number one “feel good” Simple Minds track. Whereas Space is…a lament. There are things I want that I can’t have and I have to accept that. But…it’s okay to dream. It’s okay to want those things. To desire them. To wish for them. But don’t let it consume you. And there are times…too many times it feels as if it has consumed me. It has overtaken everything and made me ill. Or it has been exacerbated by another element of mental illness and I used it erroneously as a coping mechanism against other aspects of combating episodes of mental illness. 

I still find it INCREDIBLY difficult to admit to and talk openly about my mental ill health. I don’t want to be seen as “mental” or “sick”. And I fear what people think of me – and it’s a vicious cycle because it is such an integral part of my ill health – that CONSTANT fear and concern of what people think of me and how I am perceived by others. But that is something I cannot alter. I cannot alter people’s perceptions of me. And in whatever way people perceive me, if it is an a way that is negative and it means they distance themselves from me – well, IT IS “their loss”. But the “people pleaser” in me continues to struggle to come to terms with that. Even though I accept and understand all the rationale behind it. You CAN’T have EVERYBODY like you! You just can’t. And nor should you want to. And Jim falls into that, you know?

It’s a whole jumbled up plethora of stuff.

Space is sometimes a very hard listen for me because of what the song symbolises to me.

When I am at my worst, mental health wise, I would cling on so much to the line “if you’re talking / I will listen”. Because sometimes it felt like Jim was listening to me. 

It still stings my eyes with tears just how much I used to feel that and how much I have held on to it. How tightly I have held onto that. 

It’s a long, slow letting go. I had been alone for so long. Before 2014 and Simple Minds mega fandom. So alone. Never imagined in a million years that Jim himself would make me feel welcome and part of the fold. It was a lighting of touch paper though. And such emotional sparks flew from within. 

An inferno that is slowly quelling to kindling. 

“The dream is over / party’s over.”

Star light. That light needs to shine from within.

Minds Music Monday – Sleeping Girl

UPDATE: 8th Dec, 2021. This post has been edited from the previous posted version.

A “modern” enigma this song is for me. I have placed the word “modern” in quotation marks as the song is now almost 20 years old which for me brings it into the more recent Simple Minds bracket. Anything pre-2001 is “old” Minds. Anything post-2001 is modern Minds.

Usually I am happy for the ambiguity to remain with a Simple Minds track. I love that Jim’s lyrics are open to interpretation and that songs very obviously mean different things to different people, but we unite in the acknowledgement and agreement that this band is like no other for us. 

I don’t want to get bogged down in the mire of what I think of the Cry album in general. Suffice it to say I think it rings very true to where the band found themselves at the turn of the millennium. Set adrift. To use an old adage “up shit creek without a paddle”. Cry is a metaphorical “life raft”. It helps them out but it doesn’t quite get them to shore – not for me personally anyway. It’s only my opinion and feeling, of course.

There are things that keep them afloat, for sure. For me, the absolute pinnacle of the album is Spaceface. I will never have a bad word said against that song. Ever! This song dragged me out of such dark places time and again.

Disconnected does a similar thing. It wasn’t a song I warmed to initially but that soon changed. And it is amazing how that can happen. But I think the days of a “change of heart” with a song are now gone. I like what I like now when it comes to Simple Minds’ output pretty solidly. 

Recently I have grown tired of certain songs and they have been on a listening break for a while. In fact, dare I say the whole of Once Upon A Time is on a listening hiatus for me as I feel genuinely “overexposed” to it all now.

I also don’t listen to the whole Cry album because of my “prejudice”. This reminds me of my exchange with Jim about David Bowie’s Heathen album. I guess Cry is my Heathen, eh, Jim? From memory I think you said you liked “Everyone Says Hi” from Heathen, but little else? (I talk as if he is reading this. Lol. Sooooo deluded!) Well, I guess that’s me with Cry and Spaceface (and Disconnected and Sleeping Girl). 

Back to Sleeping Girl itself and the ambiguity of the lyrics. On Dream Giver there is only an attempted transcript of lyrics as none have actually been published. I kind of like that Jim tends to not want his lyrics published. I understand the reason behind why he doesn’t – if he still holds firm in the belief and justification he had in them not being printed in early SM days “they go with the music”, ie: he felt to single them out by printing them would turn them into poetry and separate them from the music. That’s fair enough. But conversely, you write the lyrics because you love words. They ARE meant to mean something. Not just to be heard merely as music, with music. If so, then you might as well sing in “vocalise”. Jim’s feeling on this must have changed by the mid 1980s because we wouldn’t have the lyrics we have on Street Fighting Years if he didn’t want his lyrics to say something. To have meaning. For people to find a meaning and definition to them.

I like that Sleeping Girl is mystical. What exactly is going on in that song? What is this “violation” Jim talks about? Are we meant to interpret that observing a “sleeping girl” without her knowledge is therefore a “perverse” act and in turn a “violation”? 

I had recently been in conversation with a friend about observing someone in sleep. The beauty of it. The beauty of the sleeper. We are at our most vulnerable during our sleep. I think that vulnerability plays on the waking mind a lot. I will be very open here about something that happened to me a lot during my teens and into my early 20s. I’m not sure how often these kind of dreams invade other womens sleep. It’s not something you find yourself discussing with your female friends. Well, I didn’t. One, I didn’t exactly have many friends. Two, how does one bring up this subject in conversation? 

The vulnerability of sleep meant that in my teens and into my 20s I often dreamed of being raped. (EDIT)

These days I just look at it objectively and think I was a raging, hormonal, sex-starved Scorpio (all those astrology things you read about Scorpios – take it from me, they aren’t overexaggerating the whole “lust” thing with our zodiac sign). 

(EDIT)

Anyway! I digress, some…

“Sleeping girl / I wish you could tell / this violation

Sleeping girl / I want you to smile / confirmation”

Is that – “I want you to feel or sense that I am watching you while you’re sleeping, and I want you to let me know that you feel it”? 

If so, then that’s goddamn fucking sexy! 

Also if so then it is very much on a par with the conversation I had with my friend about watching someone as they sleep and the feeling of the perverse that it triggers. You can’t help but feel you are invading someone’s vulnerability. 

Another friend I have spoken to more directly about the song in particular interprets the lyrics with a far more innocent view. I don’t know how they can view it quite so innocently given the language Jim uses in the lyrics. Perhaps it says as much about the dark recesses of my mind as it does about her more innocent interpretation? For I would hardly describe this friend as “innocent”, but perhaps a little more…restrained than myself when it comes to certain actions.

In summing up this overexposed Minds Music Monday, I find the song both musically and lyrically incredibly sexy. Vocally too. Those “Sprechstimme” lines Jim delivers as a kind of chorus – holy moly! *melts into a puddle*

As Dorothy Said To Aunty Em…

“There’s no place like home.” A much used quote lifted from The Wizard Of Oz. But it rings true. And it certainly seemed to have rung true on the nights of November 18th and 19th, 1982.

Simple Minds had just returned to Glasgow after another whirlwind stint of touring to the far reaches of the globe (yes, GLOBE – no “flat earth” conspiracy theorists here! Have ANY of these flat-earthers NEVER been on a plane? How do they explain the curvature of the earth and the horizon? I digress!) – heading back to Australia, New Zealand and Canada directly after the release of New Gold Dream.

I was looking into fanzines on eBay last night, after having seen an enquiring post on my FB feed about a certain Scottish produced fanzine. I thought I’d have a hunt around the interwebs and see what I could find. I decided on eBay first and got caught up looking at fanzines on there. One in particular caught my eye. One called Deadbeat. I looked at the listing of every issue and viewed the images, trying to scan and find more info on the fanzine production itself more than anything.

No one was then more surprised than me to find within the shared images of one listing of the magazine – THIS! A review of Simple Minds playing Tiffany’s in November, 1982. It’s unclear as to whether the reviewer is at the first gig or the second, but regardless of that it’s a glowing review.

The only error in the review is that they say Mike Ogletree is on drums. And it wasn’t until I was listening over the bootleg last night did I think to myself “Naw, pal. That ain’t Mike, that’s Mel.” Mike’s last gig was in Toronto about 10 nights prior to this gig. So in actual fact, it was Mel’s first or second night at the kit – depending on which night the reviewer was there.

They wax lyrical about Jim. Such praise! Excited at my discovery of this review last night I did a very rare thing (these days) and posted it to SMOG first with a link to Art & Talk’s upload of the November 18th gig to YouTube. In my post on SMOG, in reference to the lashings of praise heaped on Jim, I said “anyone would think I wrote the review! Lol.”

It is true though – anyone WOULD think I had time travelled and gone and reviewed it for the fanzine. It is wonderful to see such praise given to His Kerrness though. And it’s certainly nothing I wouldn’t have done myself.

A companion piece for me are the photos I have from Virginia of them playing the second night at Tiffany’s. My favourite photo of the set? One of Jim on the stage – looking pretty fucking sensational, I have to say in signature white collared shirt, shiny tailored trousers and black wee “ballet” shoes. And in the bottom left corner of the frame you can see his brother, Mark, looking as though he would rather be anywhere else than watching his big bro up on stage. Lol. Poor Mark! It’s not in the ones I have posted above, but you can view the particular photo I am referring to on Virginia’s site HERE

Lastly, here is the link to the first of the two Tiffany’s gigs that A&T uploaded. Oh, for a night at Tiffany’s! This is the next best thing…

P.S. Artwork used for the YT ident, eh? *wink* Thanks A&T!

Pictorial Passion – Musical Years In Review – 2021 and 1982

Last night Spotify revealed my yearly listening stats to me. There was no real surprise to find Simple Minds at the top of the tree yet again! And that Boys From Brazil was my top track for seventh year running. All the SM tracks in my Top 5 played tracks of 2021 all came from Sons And Fascination and given it was the 40th anniversary of the album, that would be of no surprise to anyone.

My latter love for Jonathan Richman shows itself in him being at number five of my Top 5 played artists.

My top podcast showed how much I have been enjoying Frank Gallagher’s Soundman Confidential this year. I love the bit about that yes, it’s okay for you to consider the host a member of your family now. Lol. Never in a million hears did I ever think I’d be having little online exchanges with Frank! I felt that Jim always made him sound intimidating as fuck, but he’s brilliant and is always wonderful. And even comments on my FB posts sometimes…which I find amazing that he’s sitting there in Flagstaff, AZ, reading my complete pap! Just last week he responded to one of my posts about enrolling in the OU for my Higher Ed. English diploma and my endless self-doubt. His response was “drive til they take the keys away”. I responded by asking him to “spread some gallus my way”. He replied back, “you don’t need anyone’s permission to be yourself”. He’s lovely. Just lovely.

Of course there is much more music I listen to outside of Spotify so it isn’t 100% everything I listen to. I have been listening to SM live bootlegs and gigs much more this year and that won’t be reflected on Spotify stats, just as one example.

Here’s the breakdown of it in full visual splendour.

Lastly, today sees the release of Classic Pop magazine’s retro look back to all things 1982 in a dedicated special issue. In amongst the artists and bands discussed is a piece on the art side of music which features Malcolm Garrett. And of course the main feature to do with Simple Minds is a look through New Gold Dream. There’s a part of it that covers the official videos released. They mention the Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize videos. Someone Somewhere In Summertime was the third single from the album and therefore should have had a video released but one was never made. Instead the magazine talked about this one (below). I love what is said about Jim’s moves. Lol. You’ll not be surprised to learn that I adore this video and quite a bit of art from me has come from it. I will leave my favourite example of that at the end of the post.

Click to play Someone Somewhere In Summertime video.

St Andrew’s Day – Two Year Anniversary

It’s a Happy St Andrew’s Day from me here in a rather suitably dreich looking Glesga.

Yesterday it had been two years since we moved to Glasgow. There really is no other place in the world I would rather be! Even if the likes of the nurse at the local GP surgery and Vito around the corner at the chippy find this notion of mine hard to comprehend.

Over the past two years, I have had numerous probes into the accent people hear spewing forth from my gob. Most detect the Australian accent but are tentative to pinpoint it outright in case I may be a Kiwi and end up insulted, so the query usually comes with a “Which one? Oz or NZ?” Or, like in Vito’s case, a more general “Where ya fae?”

With Vito I was tempted to be a wee bit cheeky and say “Just aroond the corner.” Or perhaps “Luton. Moved to Glasgow nearly two years ago now.” But of course I knew exactly what he meant by the probing question. Originally. Where are you from? Where does that accent come from?

So I replied “Sydney, originally.” “And you like Glasgow?”, he asks. “I absolutely love it here”, I reply. “Even with all the rain?”, he says, with a rather incredulous look on his face. I just smiled, grabbed my fish supper from the counter and bid him a fond adieu.

Smirking away as I regaled inwardly on the encounter on my short walk back home, it wasn’t entirely lost on me the irony of a man of obvious Italian descent (how many Scotsman do you know called Vito?) asking me why on earth I was an Aussie living in Glasgow.

Another encounter happened last year during a walk to the canal around near Applecross and Speirs Wharf. A man was taking his dog for a walk and he was making his way up from the M8 underpass by Cowcaddens. He was headed for Speirs Wharf but he stopped us to check that he was headed in the right direction. I was with my Other Half and he detected both our accents. A good blether ensued. I won’t share the whole conversation. I can’t remember all of it at any rate. But I remember him being quite stunned that I was here living in Glasgow. He didn’t seemed so shocked by my OH being here. I guess someone from England moving up to Scotland isn’t particularly rare. But with me? Well, he had to have some fun. “You must be on the run, right? You murdered someone back there and that’s why you moved here, right? Good place to hide oot. No wan would suspect a ‘hing.”

Lol. Yeah. Only for the fact my accent gives me away every time.

So, yes. Two years in and there isn’t a day I haven’t loved living here or wished to be somewhere else. This is home. I found my place in the world. At least geographically.

Lastly, and as a side note, there’s a new Wet Leg tune out. I think it might be their best one yet. Interesting video!

Minds Music Monday – This Is It

Sometimes for me the songs that should sound the easiest to decipher are the ones I struggle to gain clearly defined meaning from. This Is It is a case in point.

For as clear as the lyrics are in the song, there’s enough ambiguity in the meaning for me to question whether MY interpretation of it is the right one? I guess that’s where Jim would come in and say (perhaps) “it is whatever you interpret it to be. It doesn’t matter what I think it is.I just wrote it. As soon as it is out in the public for consumption, it’s no longer mine to dictate terms.” I think that is how most artists have to be, right? To feel able to see their work out in public, they have to do that public “letting go”? Ah, if only he were here to confirm it or redefine my interpretation. Alas…

Anyway, I digress.

I guess the thing I glean from the song is – change is a coming, prepare yourself. Embrace it! It COULD just be the “game-changer” you’ve been waiting for. When all seems lost, here comes change just when you need it. Make the most of it! Don’t be scared of it, embrace it!

And that really is an outlook I can do with embracing. Because, let’s face it, change IS scary – but it generally leads to better and more exciting things, so it is best to tackle it with an optimistic view, right?

Charlie’s guitar as the song is coming to its end? Wow! And during the fade out, it wailing away. That soaring screech of optimism. “They call it the new change”…. here it comes!

I find this song genuinely uplifting. A feel good tune.

And I really enjoyed doing this new piece of artwork with the song as the inspiration for it on Saturday night. I hope you like it too.

Reflect What You Are

I wish I was everything he is reflected right back, but I am the antithesis of all that he is.

He is light, and he is beauty.

All those Halloween pieces of work I made? They were just bits of fun. Meaningless guff! He’s not the devil, or DraKERRla, a fallen angel, or any of that nonsense.

Not an angel fallen – but one with wings to fly. Heaven sent.

Light in the dark.

Air.

Sunshine.

Beauty.

Intelligence.

An inspiration.

Pure joy.

A smile. A laugh. The sun. Radiating beauty….everywhere. But especially in my dark heart.