The Return of Kerrsday Thursday?

Considering the content on this blog is somewhat lacking, with a few circumstances accounting for that … I would like to try and keep SOME kind of activity going here!

So I have decided to rekindle the old Kerrsday Thursday by sharing some of the phots I have enjoyed seeing from this year’s tour so far. (Not all photos will necessarily feature Jim.)

First up, these two fab ones taken by Michael Barsby at Tilloloy, France on 26 June. There’s something youthful in Jim’s expression in the first photo, and I love the way “the boys” have been captured – lined up in a neat row – in the second photo.

You can view the rest of Michael’s gems here

Happy Kerrsday!


Paris Review – Part One: The Long Story? Or The REALLY Long Story?

I guess it’s best to start with the really long story and edit it from there… so may I start?

I slept soundly enough Wednesday night and into Thursday. Probably didn’t settle down quite as early as I should have, but at least sleep wasn’t elusive that night and I got a good few hours in. All things considered, considering how absolutely pent up, anxious and full of dread I was – on the actual day of our departure I was sailing with low level optimism. Low level, granted…but with optimism nonetheless. Albeit, on a scale from 1 to 10, it was maybe a 2 or a 3…it was there at least!

I packed a small carry-on bag, making sure I had ALL essentials (earplugs included!). I showered relatively early and was ready by 11am. Birdy was ready an hour later. I decided we should get the 75 to Renfrew Street and just walk down to Killermont Street to the bus station instead of the faff of getting to the bus station from Queen St. I was worried I made the timings a bit ambitious from the time of getting off the train at Queen St to getting to the bus station for the Edinburgh Air coach. So…the 75 seemed the better option. All good. Had a chat with neighbour Robert (who was taking his dug, wee Chico, for a walk around the park space by Hawthorn Quadrant) while waiting for the 75 to arrive. 

Got to the bus station in plenty of time. Got to Edinburgh Airport in good time as well. We arrived around 2.45pm for a 6.30pm flight out. Had the usual stuff go on at security. I didn’t take all the liquids that I was required to out of my bag and I was wearing stuff that triggered the security alarms. I had to be body searched and portably scanned with a handheld scanner. Birdy went through similar stuff but it’s always to be expected at any UK airport. We had time on our side. It was all grand. 

Next hurdle – boarding – not a hitch! The plane departed slightly later than scheduled but we landed in Paris on time. It was a very smooth journey on the plane. Last hurdle. French border security! All good! 

Actually, that was the penultimate hurdle. The last hurdle was ‘le taxi’! Birdy had booked a taxi via Booking.com and…short story, the driver didn’t greet us at arrivals but was waiting for us at departures! I know, right?! Anyway…it was sorted. We found our driver and off we went. French traffic is APPALLING! It was 10.10pm on a Thursday evening and the roads were just HEAVING…everywhere. From the moment we left the airport right until we got into the Boulogne-Billancourt area of Paris where the hotel was…nearly the whole taxi journey was a slow crawl through heaving traffic. A lot of stationary moments. 

I finally could breathe a sigh of relief once we arrived at the hotel just on 11pm. I should have had Birdy pinch me! Lol. I couldn’t believe that it all actually went pretty damn smoothly and there were no big hazardous snags to have to deal with. WE WERE IN PARIS! And I was going to see the most amazing band in the whole universe the following day. 

Not sure what time it was that we bedded down, possibly just after midnight? Not too late anyway. We were both knackered. I quickly realised after laying down that I forgot to get the earplugs out of the bag. I got up, tried to have a quick feel around to see if I could find them. Couldn’t remember exactly WHERE I had packed them and didn’t want to take the bag apart looking, so I just thought “Meh, I’m so tired anyway…I’ll get to sleep.” Well…upon reflection I wish I had pulled my bag apart trying to find the earplugs because … FUCK ME – the snoring! Jesus Christ! Birdy had NO TROUBLE AT ALL falling asleep. She was out like a light in minutes and then snoring like nobody’s business for the vast majority of the night. TWICE in a week I had been kept awake by birds serenading me – GIVE ME THE BLACKBIRD ANY DAY – the Yvonne Bird I wanted to chuck into the Seine! 

The worst ‘sleep’. The worst! I maybe got about two hours during the short lived silent pockets in which ‘el Birdo’ woke up for a while and wisnae snoring. Truly those pockets were short lived. 

We had breakfast at 9am. I have never been so thankful for coffee EVER. The hotel was great. Fab room. Great bathroom. Very affordable. A two-star place. Great reception staff, everything. Its only fault or let down was that there were no tea/coffee making facilities in the room. I was fucking GASPING by the time we got down to the dining area for breakfast. OMG! French coffee is MAGNIFIQUE!!! There was orange juice and yoghurt and a selection of bread and pastries – a small crusty bread roll, a small croissant and a pain au chocolat (which I took back to the room for later). I had two coffees. 


Back to the room after breakfast to shower and get ready for a little look about, maybe get some lunch or just find another place for yet ANOTHER coffee. We were a 15 minute walk from the hotel to the venue. We needed to cross the Seine via this footbridge (it took traffic too – but was being used primarily as a footbridge) which went over in quite the arch. It had a little area…like a decked area either side of it where you could just sit on and enjoy the spot. Couldn’t really take in much of a view if you sat down there. But it at least allowed you to take the view in without getting in the way of people wanting to cross the bridge.


The weather was GLORIOUS! Mostly sunny and around 23 degrees Celsius. I felt wonderfully warm. We had coffee and a sweet treat from a place by La Seine Musicale called ‘Seguin Sound’ – more cafe creme for me! I had a chocolate mousse thing with it which was divine! Then I realised with having to repack stuff for the trip I had to pack two very small bags to carry with me for all my ‘essentials’ – cash, cards, phone, reading glasses, distance glasses (I cannae do bifocals), lip balm…I forgot to pack the Sharpie I had in my carry bag into the ‘essentials’ bags. SHIT!!!

Views from the footbridge.

It was 2.30pm. I had time to get back to the hotel, grab it and come back before we started queuing for the ‘VIP’ experience. I wanted to make sure we were there right on 3.30pm because I knew I’d be having to explain to someone the whole circumstances of why I was there and didn’t actually have VIP tickets…ya da ya da. Made it back to Birdy waiting for me at Seguin Sound at around 3.15pm. Phew! I was feeling a little flustered, though I tried to pace myself getting back to the hotel to get the Sharpie and get back in time. 

As I thought…once at the front of the VIP queue I had the fun of trying to explain why I didn’t have VIP tickets but that I should be on a list and allowed in. The young woman at the door was very helpful and thankfully the organiser lady (who I now wish I had asked her name) for SJM Concerts knew who I was and knew the whole score and PHEW!!! Birdy and I were let in, given our merch bags and all was good. We took a seat over the way and I thought I spotted a familiar face – which I had…more of that (even if very briefly) later.


A few minutes tick by and I see the organiser lady walking towards us. “Guess what, Larelle? You have a question to ask.” Whaaaa?! Again? Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that. I just put questions in, hoping against hope. Never really expecting it. When it happened in Glasgow I just couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t that lucky with Newcastle though. I’d have loved it if Jim had answered that question for me. I left asking the question for the Paris gig until the last minute.  Wasn’t even sure what I was going to ask but then thought, well, I am an Aussie after all – I’ll ask JIm and Charlie what their fondest memory is of their early days touring Oz. Hoping against hope that I might get some hilarious anecdote from Jim. I remembered him years back  – early days of me being in the fandom –  posting on FB about the fun him and Charlie got up to at Kings Cross on their first tour. For those not so familiar with Sydney – Kings Cross had quite the notorious reputation – when I lived in Sydney, at least – full of nightclubs – also where the red light district is – the seedy side of the city – akin to Soho in London – underworld crime too. All of that. I just remember at the time of that FB post thinking “Yeah, I can well imagine you and Charlie getting up to all kinds of shifty stuff there!” I always reckon that’s why he’s wearing sunglasses and Charlie looks so wasted on that Countdown performance of Love Song. Clatty pair of stop-outs! Manky pups! Lol

So, no one was more surprised than me to be asking another question. And I was thinking “Oh, fuck! He is going to be ssoooooooooo tired of me!” GOING to be…? IS already! Has been for ages. The anxiety ramps up. 

Those of us asking questions are led together as a small group. I see one reprobate I know through the fanbase online that I had yet met face to face (you know who you are – if you’re reading this!) – we said hi. He introduced me to his mate – double trouble, really. Thank you – to both of you. You both said such lovely, wonderful things to me that I wasn’t expecting at all. Please know that those words meant so very much to me. I know that one of you said that you read my stuff – so if you’re reading this – thank you! (I’m smiling – even if it is through tears.)

The soundcheck was probably the most special one. I think Jim waved at me. I think. I never know for sure. Always questioning afterwards. Probably for someone behind me, beside me, above me…around me…anywhere else! For anyone else but me. When it came to asking my question, I couldn’t even look at him. Thank god for that sheet of paper – because I could just look down and pretend I was looking at that. Bless him – he got bogged down in talking about when they can tour Oz again. It has little significance for me personally. I gave up on the dream – of my own ‘holy grail’ of seeing them down there. I have accepted that, for me, it’s not meant to be and that’s fine. I’m glad for the Oz fans out there though that he addressed it and that Birdy filmed some of it and … yeah. “What was the question again?” Lol

Do you think I’m the biggest pest in the world? Do you dread seeing my face at every damn gig? Do you just pray that I’ll go away? …

And a million other questions if those three would be lucky enough to be answered with “no!”


Charlie was on the ball. God bless you, Charlie, you lovely, lovely man. 

The questions ended on a beautiful note. I feel blessed to have experienced what happened at this soundcheck. It was lovely. 

During the meet and greet that followed, myself and a fellow fan got chatting to Derek Paterson – Cherisse’s drum tech. Del’s a lovely man – nuts – but wonderful. The crew are so hard working! Such amazing people. 

Then I am there in front of modern music’s own Glaswegian version of Laurel and Hardy. Lol. Or perhaps it’s just Jack and Victor? Still not sure who’s who in that comparison. 

He says to me “Hello, Larelle. How are you?” – How long have you got? That’s NOT what I said, because my brain doesn’t work when I am in front of him and I can barely put two words together. So for want of any kind of great, catchy repartee with him, I say “Ooookaaay…I think.” Can’t remember exactly how he asked it but he asked how I was enjoying Paris, or had I been looking about, or some such….I think I said that we didn’t arrive until late the night before. At one point, I think it was after he said hello and asked how I was and I replied with my “oookaaay, I think”, he said to me (I think he said this…) “you’re quiet”. I wish I could have said “Oh, really…you think? Jim! Why would THAT be…I wonder?!” Lol. But obviously….I HAD NO FUCKING REPLY TO THAT! I wish I could say “Uh, derrrr!” I think that is probably the most rhetorical statement he could have EVER made! “Yeah, Jim Kerr…and bears shit in the fucking woods! And the Pope’s a Catholic!” I’m quiet.

I wish more than you will ever, ever know that I was this exuberant, bubbly, chatterbox…mouth going ten to the dozen…and YOU, James Kerr, wouldn’t get a word in edgeways…but that ain’t me – certainly never seems like it ever will be now when I am around you. That’s just how it’s now destined to be, it seems. Whatever minor bits of confidence I exuded some years back that was there within me sailed off long ago. And it was you that gave that to me! That confidence. But it’s disappeared now completely – whatever vestiges of it existed in the first place. 

A few snaps and…it’s all over. 

I did manage to make use of that all-important Sharpie and get the question sheet I had signed by Jim and Charlie (and Birdy got her lanyard signed). 

Nearly 2,500 words and we’re not even at the actual gig itself yet! This is the place where I am ‘chatty’, Mr Kerr. 

I have ssoooo much more to write…but I am KNACKERED. I am going to have to do this in two parts. Part two might not happen until tomorrow. But for now I need a break and I will post this as part one. 

Stay tuned! (If you haven’t tuned out already.)

The Dream Interviewee – In *MY* Dreams

I couldn’t sleep last night. I had done my usual thing of listening to The Archers (Can’t believe how long I have been listening to it now. I still avoid the theme tune like the plague though – timing it to perfection. As soon as I hear the man say “you’re listening to” – I hit that 15 second forward button and it’s just the perfect length to avoid the whole intro tune. Lol), and then I followed it with listening to a radio adaptation of Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge.

After that, I couldn’t settle. I couldn’t switch my mind off. I thought I’d listen over Jim’s interview with The Rockontuers (aka Guy Pratt and Gary Kemp) as when I had previously listened to it I started to drift off to sleep rather quickly as I think I gave it a listen late one night between the two sets of gigs I went to.

I had missed the end entirely the first time round. I love how Guy and Gary are with him towards the end, calling him a “dream guest” (to paraphrase) because he went overtime of any previous guest by some way. I love that! I just adore how chatty Jim is now.

And I know it’s a stupid dream, it really is because after the past couple of weeks it is more obvious than ever to me that I would NEVER be able to have a wonderfully at ease, fluid, intriguing, thought-provoking conversation with this man if my life fucking depended on it! 

I always end up with even MORE questions for him by the end of each interview. Even though he sticks to a core …. dialogue – because he’s pretty much being asked the same questions over and over – he has a repertoire, you know. 

It is why of the more recent bunch of interviews Jim did, I loved his interview with Mark Millar from XSNOIZE so much because Mark asked questions not normally asked of him. Questions a diehard SM fan would ask. 

Having said that – I was surprised to hear Guy and Gary ask Jim about Lostboy! That was refreshing!

I bring up all the stuff I brought up about this blog yesterday. I still want it to be SOMETHING. I still have dreams of interviewing others. I’d love to interview Sarah for the blog. I’d still love to interview John Leckie, Steve Hillage, Pete Walsh – but I’m NOT a journalist and I still see the reply from management I got some years ago of “Jim and Charlie don’t do blogs” ETCHED in my mind’s eye each time I dare to dream of interviewing Jim. 

I got one question at the soundcheck in Glasgow, I guess. One question – when I have at least 20 more! Well…I guess I tried a second asking about Sanctify Yourself at Newcastle – and that went really well! (Not.)

Perhaps I would find it much easier to talk to Charlie – without Jim around? I think Charlie would put me at ease more as I think “Mr Taxi-Fer” takes too much relish in making me squirm – I guess seeing that effect you have on certain people never really gets old. 

I’d like to think that perhaps with some distance between us – more than just a few feet and a stage barrier between us, that perhaps I COULD manage a fluent and intelligent interview with His Kerrness, but I am pretty much resigned to the idea of it only ever being a dream. That my 1.65 questions will most likely have to suffice.

P.S. That coquettish smirk just kills me!

This boy that looks at me as I type away on my keyboard at my “workstation” – this one right here (see pic above) looks at me like “nae chance, woman” – with the exact same look the Kerr of today looks at me, though I think there is usually a furrowed brow of bemusement underlined with exasperation in the facial expression of today’s Mr Kerr – mixed in for good measure. 

Anyway, I mostly wanted to post how much of a joy it was listening to the podcast and it was worth a mostly sleepless night for it. 

Jim never stops making me feel in awe of him. Someone said to me once – of Jim – “Oh, he’s really boring. You wouldn’t want to know him that well.” That person is probably right….but I personally don’t think I could EVER see, feel or think Jim is boring! 

Who knows?

I really need to get back to study! I’m doing this post more as an exercise in avoiding the Creative Writing unit of my study than anything else. I am now at the week I have been anticipating the most and it’s scaring the crap out of me. The fear of failure that gives me avoidance tendencies is rearing its ugly head again. I must not let it win! Tackle it head on! Conquer the fear! Fail better!

Link to the Rockontuers podcast featuring Jim is below:

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/rockonteurs-with-gary-kemp-and-guy-pratt/id1530701242?i=1000556836946

Simple Minds at Musilac Festival, Aix-Les-Bains – 2022

Announced last night, Simple Minds are to play at the Musilac Festival at Aix-Les-Bains in 2022. They play on Friday, July 8th.

I have already been contemplating it and already been looking tentatively at flights to the nearest European destinations. Grenoble would be ssoooo handy – but Easyjet only fly there from Edinburgh in the winter months. Next handy is Lyon, with flights from Edinburgh to Lyon (no flights to/from Lyon from Glasgow) twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. So it would be fly in on Wednesday, leave on Saturday. Okay, fair enough. Means I’m there two days early. Not bad. And perhaps getting to Aix from Lyon would be easier than travelling from Geneva?

Geneva is the best option for flights. Flights are daily between Edinburgh and Geneva – but then there are two coaches to take to get to Aix from there. One to Chambery, then from there to Aix. It was a long day’s travel! I didn’t get into Aix the last time until about 7pm I think it was. Or maybe 7.30? But it’s summer and there’s plenty of daylight.

It seems to be a quicker, more straightforward journey from Lyon to Aix.

From what I can see so far of the line-up, it’s not exactly the killer lineup it was the last time I went. Not only were SM on the bill but so was Depeche Mode and The Stranglers! This time I see Sum 41 and Dropkick Murphys on the bill with. Neither band is one I am into and I am only vaguely familiar with Sum 41. I know one song of theirs but I can’t even remember what it’s called….

Are Simple Minds the headline act? Probably not. Why have they been put on the bill with these two bands? Where the hell is the connection? The day before Skunk Anansie are on the bill. I wish SM and SA were on the bill the same day!

And I have no idea if my friend Françoise would be going again.

As much as I am sitting here mulling all this over, contemplating it, the less inclined I am to seriously consider it. Too much to weigh up. The logistics. The cost. Accommodation. The festival bill.

It is a fantastically organised festival. I had a great time – all things considered. Aix-Les-Bain is a lovely place. And if I got to spend time with Françoise again, that would be lovely. And…it’s the day before Jim’s birthday. I could kid myself I get to spend his birthday (almost) with him. Sad fucker that I am!

I’ll keep an eye out on the Musilac site, social media, etc, to see who else ends up on Friday’s bill. I’m interested….but…we’ll see.

Studio Time – And Other News

Great news from Sarah Brown’s social media pages yesterday. Some more good news would be most welcome.

There is such conflicting stuff I’m seeing at the moment when it comes to live music. Who knows where we’ll be by the summer?

I’m not feeling very hopeful. The 1975 have cancelled all their 2021 dates, meanwhile Field Music have just announced a new tour for October – even in January, that seems ambitious.

We booked for Scritti Politti Cupid And Psyche ‘85 tour in September but…yeah, it’s already starting to look doubtful.

Simple Minds still have dates in March for France and Germany – yet to be rescheduled again. I guess they’re just abandoning them outright? Confirmation of a cancellation would be good right now.

My flights with EasyJet to France and Italy have been cancelled – with no dates for rescheduling so….

It doesn’t bear thinking about. Anyway.

Some good news, at least.

Minds Music Monday – 35 Years At Number One

Lol. Well, a slight exaggeration there. But it was on this day 35 years ago, that Simple Minds scored their (as til now) only U.S. Number 1 when Don’t You (Forget About Me) topped the charts there.

To celebrate at the time, Jim got drunk in France, ordering champangne for everyone in the hotel bar. And why not?

Anyway, happy chart-busting anniversary “La La La Song”. Here it is, planting the seed for the “Bongos On The Beach” tour that happened a few years after this performance on radio.

Rescheduled Dates For Simple Minds

At last! Some more rescheduled date information. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As follows:

These are mostly for German, French and other continental dates that were imminent, as well as the UK and Irish dates too.

If you can’t see your city/date, check the official Simple Minds social media platforms.

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Bor-D’oh!

So…on Tuesday night, I’m sitting on the bed, thinking about the Simple Minds gigs next year. Thinking of the wonderful venues and experiences I’ll have.

A soundcheck in Copenhagen.
Centre seats 12 rows back in Paris.
A lower floor block seat in Leeds.
Standing ticket in Dublin.
A soundcheck and close seat in Glasgow.

“Oh, but Paris. What a venue! Wouldn’t it be wonderful having an Ultimate Fan experience in Paris?! Oh…why not?!!! How many more opportunities like this will I have left? Make hay while the sun shines and all that. LET’S DO IT!”

So I go to Ticketmaster France and book Ultimate Fan experiences for….NOT PARIS! All too late once I had realised my faux pas (something rather evil about that phrase being French!) – because although I had found my way to Ticketmaster France from going to simpleminds.com tours page and clicked on the Paris gig, once at Ticketmaster, the gig at the top of the list WASN’T Paris but Bordeaux. This I had neglected to take in and so I went and erroneously booked for Bordeaux instead of just upgrading Paris.

Fuck! I was in a panic. I was absolutely freaking out. I DID NOT WANT TO GO TO BORDEAUX! I had my gigs. I didn’t want to do any more.

I sent a completed “contact us” form to Ticketmaster saying what happened and pleading that the tickets could be exchanged for Paris or refunded…knowing in my heart of hearts the huge mistake I had just made and there being literally NO CHANCE of any refund or exchange happening. I was just sick with worry and just…ssooo down on myself for making such a stupid mistake. WHY wasn’t I being more observant?!

I could use their ticket resale feature, but I had tried that earlier in the year when I realised I wouldn’t be able to go and see Mott The Hoople at Barrowland. I put my ticket on the resale site but there were no takers with only a few days until the gig. I passed it on to a friend who said he had a friend that could use it. I’d rathered it be used than have it sit here in a drawer going to waste.

So…I just slowly resigned myself to the fact that I’d made a fucking MASSIVE mistake and that, well, on the upside…I’d have myself an ultimate fan experience in Bordeaux and an extra Simple Minds gig that I had not planned. This venue is quite literally the Hydro in Bordeaux…

And so five become six and Bordeaux is now on after Paris.

Jim, do you think I could hitch a ride on the tour bus now, please? Lol

Has The Façade Dropped Again?

He has always written so beautifully. A genuine wordsmith. Someone whose way of writing I will always admire.

But…are they just words? Has the humility returned? I don’t understand the “shedding” mentality whilst it coexists with genuine mournfulness and degrees of regret.

I regret the things I said whilst still feeling just in expressing my opinion, wanting my voice to be heard and standing by my principles. I still believe that I could have worded things differently. Better.

I still wish you a good gig tonight. And for those there to still enjoy themselves. I will never wish you any ill will.

Deep inside…I probably will never stop adoring you…but there is part of you so tainted to me right now…

”I can’t see the road for the tears”…

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Simple Minds began touring France as early as 1980, but perhaps the person mentioned they first met in 1982?

 

Aix-Les-Bains – A Travellers View – Day One – One For “The Bucket List”.

That would imply that it had been “on” a bucket list. But not really. Never had even heard of the place until it was announced that Simple Minds was going to be on the bill at the Musilac Festival being held there. Also on the bill, though…Depeche Mode and The Stranglers. That was one SERIOUS triple bill!

I looked into the logistics tentatively. There is an airport nearby in Chambery, but that is really only open during the ski season. So, then it was looking at the major airports nearest by and working out from there what would, logistically, be easiest and cheapest to go with. There were two choices of airport: Lyon or Geneva.

Flghts seemed cheap enough. And I could use Booking.com to book a place to stay, and not worry about outlaying money until the time of the festival. But, did I *really* want to travel that far for one day at a festival? It was a long way to see SM. But at that point in time, I’d have happily taken a one way trip to Mars to see them.

But it was probably something I really couldn’t afford, so I initially decided against it.

But it played on my mind. It would be the trip of a lifetime! And…to see such amazing acts. And the scenery would be wonderful too.

I went for it. At that point, I had knocked going to Paris with Gillian on the head because…as anazing as her offer was…how could I have someone pay my way for Paris?

The only things I had to make sure I secured for Aix was A) The ticket for the festival. B) Deciding which airport to go and buy the return fare before it got too expensive. C) Use Booking.com to secure a place to stay, whilst deferring payment until the time of the stay.

Once those things were taken care of, I could take my time to prepare the rest in the ensuing months.

When the day came for travel…it was with a heavy heart that I had reluctantly decided I must go. On the days leading up to it, I had a falling out with Jim. I won’t play the innocent party here. I am NOT that kind of person. I will not shift blame. I know I said hurtful things, but I was hurting. A lame excuse…but it is the truth. My emotions were running high, and I suffered the consequences for sealing my fate.

So, from this point on, I pray for one of two things to happen. Jim forgives me and I am allowed to return to Simple Minds Official…or I find a way to enjoy it now for what is left of it.

My interactivity with Jim was a HUGE part of what made being a Simple Minds fan so wonderful. To be able to talk to him, tell him about the things I love about the music. Sharing what the songs meant. The excitement of “gig day”. Expressing the joy of travelling, meeting up with friends and know that I was going to have the most amazing time. To express that to the man who is at the head of it all was priceless.

Should I even go at all? I had committed so much, financially. The flights were paid for. The coaches from Geneva Airport to Chambery to Aix (and back again) were paid for. The hotel was now paid for (the day before the falling out!). The festival ticket was obviously paid for. So, had I decided NOT to go, I’d have squandered at least £300. Money I really could NOT afford to squander.

Do not misconstrue my words. I do not expect recompemce for what I had spent out following Simple Minds and going to gigs. I did it happily and willingly.. I’m just highlighting what an outlay it can be. But the biggest investment is still the emotional one.

Day One: Travelling to Aix.

The flight Geneva was departing mid afternoon, so I had the chance to try and rest well the night before. I was ssooo apprehensive about things. Normally I’d be bubbling with excitement.  I might be a little concerned about things…but always at the end was that Glittering Prize of seeing that amazing band, and most beautiful man. I would never be scared, really. I would always be happy, knowing I was going to see them and him again.

The flight to Geneva was slightly delayed, but we still landed on time. I was through the airport in no time at all. Swiss efficiency, see?! I got through border security in minutes. Hell, did I need that time on my side! Could I find where the coach to Chambery was leaving from? Could I heck! I was out of the airport at 4.45pm. The coach was leaving at 6pm. By 5.15pm, I had still not found the coach stop. I called Ouibus to try and get directions. The woman I spoke to was of no help AT ALL. Finally I had spotted an airport attendant organising the taxi rank. I asked for his help, and he knew exactly where I needed to be. He pointed me in the right direction (there was an underpass below the airport, and that’s where the coaches left from. I could not see this underpass area from outside the airport building, as it was directly underneath it.

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5.30pm and this coach pulls in. I’ve never been so happy to see a coach! At 6pm we’re on our way to Chambery. We need to be there by 7.30pm for my connecting coach to Aix. I hope I timed it to perfection. I sit back and marvel at the scenery outside.

I hadn’t listened to any Simple Minds for a week. I certainly couldn’t bring myself to listen to Walk Between Worlds. But every time I travelled anywhere, Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call was my soundtrack. So obligatory in fact, I found myself digging for the iPod Touch, opening up Spotify and starting up Boys From Brazil. I could feel just about detached enough to listen to a young Jim. Because…that was him then. What had happened between us was today’s Jim…WBW Jim. I’m sure this makes sense to nobody but me.

And, as I said, Sons and Sister had always been the “travelogue” album(s) for me…Empires And Dance also.

I listened to Boys From Brazil, Love Song, This Earth That You Walk Upon – which took me back to February and Barras and that amazing night and how wonderful it was, Sons And Fascination, Seeing Out The Angel and the remix of Sweat In Bullet.

Now I was starting to watch the time and panic. We had only just arrived in Chambery and it was 7.20pm, we had to be dropped off at the city post office to get the connecting coach. We were still minutes away and there was traffic about.

I alighted the bus at 7.35pm and all I could do was pray that, like this coach, the coach to Aix had hit traffic and been delayed. A few miniutes ticked by and I was starting to convince myself I had missed it and my anxiety levels started to go through the roof. I had to be at the hotel in Aix by 8.30pm to avoid paying a late arrival subsidy. If I was not at the hotel by 11pm, I would be refused entry! If I missed the coach, it was another hour for the next…and I would most likely have to buy a new seat at lord knows what expense.

Even more so than earlier…I have NEVER been so happy to see a coach in all my life! The coach to Aix pulled in to the bay just three minutes after the Chambery coach left. Now I could FINALLY relax some. The journey from Chambery to Aix was a short one. Only around 20-25 minutes. I knew I’d make it to the hotel as it was just a short walk from the coach stop.

Once off the coach, it was time to take a few quick snaps of the view in front of me.

As I rounded the corner to make my way up to the hotel, that beautiful golden hued mountain shone in front of me. What a breathtaking sight! A little further down the road, I saw the poster for the festival. As it transpired, they were plastered all over town…just in case you forget there was going to be a music festival on this weekend.

I got…a little sidetracked getting to the hotel. As I approached a park near the hotel, I could hear live music. I went and took a quick look.

After finding the hotel, I shared the hotel view and how the room looked. Said hello to everyone on FB.

And one final little clip of me making my way into the town to find something to eat…and talking of “crowded swallow skies”, even though the birds are swifts…

I did find a nice place in the end. Affordable and tasty. Very filling, and the waitress spoke some English, so it was all good!

The place was called L’Aixpress Pizza on the Rue des Bains. Cheap and cheerful. Even watched the football in there.

And that was day one done and dusted. I felt happy to have made it there safely and with nothing going wrong. And I was feeling quietly hopeful for the next day.