What’s In The Book?

I’m yet to receive my copy of the book – so I actually don’t know a lot of what’s inside. (Despite some fans being hellbent on showing us all the contents of the book by sharing all their bits on the group pages – as excited as I am for all the fans that are in it…maybe just share your bit only, yeah? Think of others. Can you do that?!) But what I would like to share is this…my email I sent to have my little submission included.

Obviously I appreciated that if anything I had submitted was to be included, it would be truncated. But here is the complete, uncut email (not all of it would have been printed anyway!), with the photo I submitted for inclusion.

(I had no idea who would view the email. Richard Houghton’s name wasn’t mentioned at this point.)

Hello to whomever is reading this,

I don’t even know how to express myself here, so I apologise if I end up rambling or making no sense.

I only recently became a big SM fan. I was fairly fair-weather prior to the summer of 2014. I don’t really want to go over it. Kind of defeats the point of my email, I guess. I dunno. I could write pages, really. I have done. On my blog. To other fans. To Jim.

I kind of just don’t feel I can contribute anything of any real significance. I’ve not been a “longterm” fan. I haven’t been following the band since 1979 (or earlier…or even just a few years later). I’ve not gone to any big stadium gigs – Roundhay or MK Bowl or any such.

And, well…it may all be too late. But if I can submit ANYTHING, I would like it to be the image attached to the email. It means the world to me. It might not even be allowed to be printed? I don’t know. It’s a superimposed blend of images I had mashed together. A lovely painting of a Kyoto snow scene just randomly found via a Google search that I thought evoked the image the lyrics to Hunter And The Hunted produce, and Jim on the cover of Melody Maker magazine in 1982 – an image of him side profile in front of a Canadian flag (for want of it being a Japanese maple leaf, I thought a Canadian maple leaf would work). The photo was taken by Tom Sheehan. Some work on my part and “voila”, as they say – I was stunned at what I had created with this blending of these two images.

Never really been proud of anything I do. Never had any reason to be. But with this…I dunno. It just seemed so special. I posted it to the SM Facebook visitor wall. It wasn’t really commented on the first time. A friend and fellow fan said to me “post it again! It’s really awesome! Jim needs to see it.” Well, the second time, Jim seemed to take notice and did a lovely post about it. My heart pounded in my chest for hours! I had never been so happy or so astounded. I really can’t put into words how much that meant.

Then a another friend suggested I ask if he would sign a copy of it for me. And so I did via Messenger on FB. “Someone will be in touch,” came the reply. “Oh, that’s nice,” I thought. “Well at least I wasn’t ignored”, but believed it was just a fob off. I don’t know who actually replied. Perhaps it really was Jim?

Anyway, I sent a copy of it to be signed and this is what you see. It has been on my bedroom wall ever since (well, actually, I was in Australia when it all happened so it took a few months for it to end up on the wall, but…it’s been there quite a while).

If I am too late then, hey, that’s my fault. If it is unacceptable for whatever reason, I get that too. I took so long because I genuinely felt there was nothing for me to contribute. But if there can be anything, I would like it to be this photo. Just this. It is the thing I hold most dear. Beyond the gigs I have been racking up, all the other memorabilia I have, beyond meeting Jim and other members of the band. This was a thing that made me believe in myself for just a brief moment in time.

Sometimes I can gaze upon it and it just brings me to tears.

Thanks for listening, Larelle Read

“Johnny-come-lately” since 2014.

The Thread Of Memories

So…my Facebook feed tonight threw this one up at me. A piece of poetry I wrote.

It was based on going out for a meal in Sydney’s northern suburbs with my sister to a place called Sambal.

There we are outside it. One of my favourite dishes is laksa and this place were doing a vegetarian laksa. I HAD to try it. It was bloody delicious!

Anyway. I found out about this place in the most unusual way. Jim had posted on the SM Facebook page about being a “domestic god” lol, and his like for sambal. I’d never heard of it! Looked it up on Google and it showed me this restaurant in Sydney among the search results. I replied to his post with all this – and this happened…

Obviously some time later I must have been reminded of the poem as several months later, I made this…and used the last line of the poem as part of the piece.

I thought of it all. Remembered it all just from seeing the poem in my “memories” earlier.

All these little insignificant things are all lovely little tokens for me. They’re all lovely little mementos of a special time.

Being home with mum. Feeling an affinity to Jim. Having a fun time with my sis. The art burgeoning and being special.

I guess it is one of my more “sycophancy Nancy” pieces. I had it printed years ago, and it’s still up on my wall now. I think it’s another of Sheila Rock’s. She always seemed to get him with his tits out. Lol

And the poetry? Well, it was all early days of my fandom. Been around barely a year. Had only just started to get snippets of interaction with Jim at that stage. Had only been to TWO Simple Minds gigs and was still another 18 months off meeting him.

I dreamed of him a lot back then.

The Longterm?

How does one define how ‘long’ the longterm is? I ponder because in Jim’s post today he talks about the “Book Of Brilliant Things” or whatever it’s going to end up being called. The fan-based SM compendium.

“….we are looking to create something to which all longterm Simple Minds fans will hopefully want to contribute their stories.”

Well, that wording makes me feel precluded from it immediately. “Longterm”. How long is longterm?

To me it by its very definition means a substantial number of years. And given that, my not quite six years of fandom would hardly qualify as “longterm”. Thirty plus years, perhaps? Had I stayed with them from 1985, definitely! I have certainly tried cramming 30+ years of fandom into these past near six years. I have probably got a bigger collection of memorabilia and been to more gigs than a lot of “longterm” fans.

But that is by the by, I guess. Because the yardstick seems to be a measure of time. Not money, emotional investment, affinity….or some deluded sense of affinity one felt they may have had.

I’ve told the story so many times now, I’m not even sure I have the heart to tell it any more in all honesty.

It’s all there in my art anyway. And if any of THAT was used or printed? Well…that would be the most amazing thing ever. But even to have had Jim share it on the SM FB page back in the day when he liked it and he wasn’t sick to death of me….

That will always be a treasure. It means more than just about anything else I’ve ever done in my sad, pathetic existence on this sphere.

He replied to someone today about needing a hair cut. “Cut mine and I’ll be your penpal.”

Jesus! Can you just stop being a tease?!


Better still…I’ll try and stop being a “try hard” and go away. Shuffle off…well…at least the SM planet, as someone suggested (and not just of the SM planet, either!) I do some time back.

End this silly “affliction”. I blame John Francis Lawson and David leaving me far too soon.

I need to find that self-worth I had found for myself somewhere along the line. As fake as it was. Sadly some of it came from you, Jim.

An “enthusiast” is good…but an over-enthusiast, no matter how else it appears to the contrary is, ultimately, undesired.

10 Years Ago – No Regrets?

Well, you’re not meant to have any regrets in life. And of course, I did try to get “into” SM fully in 2006…but here I am in 2009 professing my love for OUAT and well, if only I tried building on that again.

I’d have been around for the release of Graffiti Soul and Lostboy! and for the 5×5 tour and OMG! Just…

But a wise friend told me not to think on what I have missed, but what I had experienced since actually becoming the SM fan I am now. I mean…just yesterday…fulfilling the dream of taking the first step in learning to play the drums…and look who my teacher is?! Wow! Amazing!

So…no regrets, eh? Oh…but I’m still wishing for that TARDIS, at least to take me back to experience just ONE 5×5 gig!

Show Me What You Can Do

Much like with Simple Minds, I had been aware of Talking Heads for the longest time. My brother had copies of More Songs About Buildings And Food and Fear Of Music. At least in my head these are the TH album covers I remember seeing in his collection.

I don’t remember him listening to them much…but he must have. And I certainly never listened to them (I would sneak into his bedroom when he was out with friends and play his albums on his full stack sound system). I remember being a little scared of the cover of MSABAF – it looked rather strange to my young eyes for some reason.

As I got older, I naturally became more aware of them. Knew things like Psycho Killer, Once In A Lifetime, Burning Down The House – in the age of MTV such groundbreaking videos made in impact. Then of course Stop Making Sense was a HUGE thing in the cinemas upon its release. It was EVERYWHERE!

As I got more exposed to their music over the past few years, I have a favourite in amongst the songs I know of theirs – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody).

Over the past couple of months, I have started to immerse myself in the music of Talking Heads. It’s been a progression.

First I gave Fear Of Music the odd listen. Cities started to grow on me as a track. I then started to listen to MSABAF and recently that has really, really grown on me. It is the album I currently play most. Thank You For Sending Me An Angel is currently the constant earwarm. But a lot of the album is really getting under the skin.

This is how music from particular artists would seep in and finally make an impact with me. It was rarely an instantaneous thing. It’s always been like true love is…a growth. A measured process.

I feel a little silly for being retrograde with this stuff…but that is the shining legacy of the music I grew up with – that there was SSOOO much great stuff around one worried they would spread themselves too thin trying to explore it all.

I feel I should try and give new bands and new music my time too. I try – but it certainly doesn’t come from the charts. That stuff really does not interest me at all. That may be some inverted snobbery there. But I can’t help but feel snobbish when chart “music” feels much more about marketability than being an artistic endeavour.

I think the exploration of Talking Heads will continue…and I’m sure lots of other retrograde and retrospective explorations of late 70s/early 80s post-punk/new wave outfits will continue.

Vive la music!

Dream Given!

simpleminds.org – aka Dream Giver Redux – has been my ABSOLUTE Simple Minds bible for these past four years. Esp. in the early days of my fandom. Daily visits…devouring voraciously the wealth of information on the site. It was utterly invaluable and helped me learn so much about the history of the band and a lot of the vinyl, magazine and newspaper cuttings and general memorabilia I have collected was referenced on here. And, without it…my art would not have flourished…without all the lyrics printed there.

It is still a site I visit on a regular basis.

So, today I am a very happy bunny. Humbled and honoured to have had a name check and my own blog mentioned on the site. Just…AMAZING! Thank you so, so much Simon for the nod! I can’t express what it means…genuinely.


Jim, I miss you. There are things about you that drive me absolutely nuts. I’m sure the reverse is also true. Of course it would be! I never deluded myself it could be anything else.

But I miss…a new day. A day full of promise, and hope and joy. And you would always be at the centre of it. My day would always begin with a Simple Minds song. The most uplifting of them all I would find that roused me from my sleep was New Gold Dream. And then, I would open up Facebook and see what you had posted this morning. You have been the centre of my universe, well, if not all the four years I have been a mega Simple Minds fan, then certainly for the past three of the four years.

The positivity you gave to me. The belief that I could be something…someone…do something…achieve things…set goals for myself and complete them…have determination…not feel defeatist….it’s what made me fall in love with you.

I don’t care how that sounds. Of course I knew it would always be unrequited! That was always going to be…but I did, perhaps delude myself I was liked by you in return. How could I not have? The amount of attention my art received…that *I* received? I can never really articulate properly what that meant. You gave me such positivity and belief in myself. Something I had not had in a very long time…if I ever actually had it at all.

There was such a void in my life. It was just empty. And I was searching for something, and I found Simple Minds. It all became such a huge part of my life. You did.

The interactivity I’ve had with you has meant so very much. Too much, probably. How could it not? You don’t ever have to talk to us, correspond with us. You don’t even need to have a presence on Facebook. You could just let admins take care of SMO, but you don’t. It is you that talks to us fans, and I had always been forever grateful of it.

Did I take it for granted? Sometimes, yes. Would I over-enthuse? Of course! How many times did you tell me to “calm down”? Lol. But that excitement and adoration would get the better of me. It always did.

From the earliest times…and through the past few years…talking to you about Blackstar when it was released. Sharing with you the grief of David’s passing. Discussions on SM music…how you came about writing the lyrics for songs on Sons/Sister…walking about the streets of Glasgow with the tunes playing on your Walkman. (You changed the way I would take my daily constitutional as a result.) Right up until the most recent exchange about Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry. I treasured every exchange we had. (Well, nearly every…there was one I didn’t appreciate. And how has that come back to bite me, yet again.)

All the good that has been! My love of the music. Of interactivity with you, meeting other fans, making new and lasting friendships with people I may have never otherwise have met…it was Simple Minds that brought us together. Going to gigs. Loving the live music experience. I have been to more gigs in the past 18 months than I have ever been to in my entire life.

Meeting you. Having an actual dream come true. Dreaming that I had met you and that you had hugged me. And then it was made real. You talking to me from the stage in Bristol. Saying my name. I had longed to hear you say my name…and I never imagined you saying it in such a way. I was given a copy of the audio of it…and I played it over and over. Never had my name sounded more exotic 🙂

You have given me such sweet gifts, Jim. I treasure them all. So, how could I not offer you gifts in return? Tokens of appreciation…gratitude…love? I know you told me in February not to send you gifts, but I did it because I wanted to. Not because I felt obliged but to express beyond words what it all meant, and still means.

It *STILL* means absolutely everything. I want you to know that. I don’t want to feel embittered. Because it has been such a wonderful part of my life.

I have to explain Aix…what happened. Why I looked so “gloomy”. Before I left…well, firstly, what happened between us had happened, and on the same day I’d heard that my mum had taken ill and was in hospital, then hours later, my great niece also ended up in hospital. I was about to travel some 600 miles, via various transport, to a music festival and the timing could not be worse.

I could not have gone. But I’d have wasted money I couldn’t afford to waste by not going.

I wanted to be at the front because…being at the front at a Simple Minds concert…there is usually no place on earth I would rather be. And…I was hoping I could somehow express regret for how I had behaved…for the things I had said. But, I couldn’t bring myself to look at you. Not as an act of defiance. Unlike your defiant stance at the end of The Signal And The Noise. To tell me you don’t care. I don’t believe you! Had you not cared…had you not been hurt, you’d have not blocked me from SMO FB. That is what I want to believe. I need to believe it! That you are hurting too. And that…although I am but one fan, and there are MANY others to take my place…that you actually liked and appreciated me. That that is why you would talk to me, because you wanted to, that you were happy to. Not because you felt obliged.

And so, I could not bring myself to look at you. Your defiant stance told me all I needed to know. Why would I want to look and have you pierce right through me? How was I ever going to make you see how remorseful I was? I have never felt more unwelcome at a Simple Minds gig. I suppose I could have moved through the crowd and disappeared…but I couldn’t leave my friend.

I was waiting for something to happen. Waiting for it to get better…to feel the usual excitement and joy I would normally feel. To hear those amazing songs. To watch you grab the audience by the hand and watch them take flight with you. To take flight with you myself. I missed watching you.

Being a Simple Minds fan…being a Jim Kerr fan…

It transcended everything – beyond the music. Your love and acknowledgement. Love is probably far too strong a word…but you used to make me feel loved in return. Esp. from early 2016…with the art and the interactivity. I had never known anything like it. I probably never will again.

You gave me so much, Jim. How could I have not…fallen in love with you? If you have truly had enough of me. If you really can just, move on? Well I must too. But I don’t know how…

Simple Minds have become my life. I never saw it being any other way. It’s inked on my skin. I’ll never regret the tattoos. I’ll never regret a single second of any it. And I don’t want to talk in past tense…like it’s all over. I don’t want it to be over! I thought this was just the beginning…

My love for Simple Minds is bonded irrevocably with my love for you, Jim. I’m not sure one can exist without the other.

Bowie And Butler

David Bowie is… was still on in Melbourne when I got out to Oz in 2015. I really thought about flying down there to see it for my birthday, but thought it would be highly unfair on the OH to go without her (seeing as we both missed out on going to the exhibition in London).

It just seemed a selfish thing to do…despite her numerous more times of seeing Bowie live, than my solitary single time. But I at least got to see him once, and that once I will cherish forever.

But my single time of seeing him doesn’t have a story like THIS! Wow! That’s some dedication, Bruce!

Okay, my one and only time seeing David was outdoors too…and it rained. I was sopping! But, for me, when David arrived on stage, the clouds parted and the setting sun shone. I can’t beat that ammount of dedication. I certainly know the awestruck feeling, though. Never met David. Never wrote to him. Never would have dared! What could I/would I possibly say to him?

This is Bruce Butler’s fan story…take it away, Bruce…