Dundonian Done Good

There was a wonderful piece and accompanied Zoom video interview in local Dundee paper, The Courier, with Ged Grimes over the weekend.

He discusses what’s been keeping him busy during lockdown (namely working on an orchestral arrangement to songs from the Bard’s Tale VI game that he provided the music for – as well as some new Simple Minds music on the horizon), his love of his home town, cycling and food.

You can read the article and see the interview by clicking the link HERE

The Classic Pop “Super Fan”

I had been pondering doing this for some time, once I felt my collection had been big enough to deem it worthy. Probably the past 18 months or 2 years, but we were so crammed in our place in Luton, it never really seemed doable.

Then we moved to Glasgow, had much more space to display things, Coronavirus happened and Classic Pop took a break from publication.

When they returned after several months of lockdown and seeing them on their Facebook page appealing to readers to put their “superfan” stories forward, I thought I’d finally take the plunge. I emailed them, saying what a fan I was of Simple Minds and showed them a sample of my collection.

They were interested, asked me to fill out a little questionnaire about my fandom and to submit several more photos, including a head shot of myself. All lovingly submitted with care a day later.

It went quiet. Although they were back in action after lockdown, and having recently gone to publishing monthly prior to lockdown, they seemed to have return to a bi-monthly publication. One issue had only just come out, so I was hopeful I had timed it for inclusion for the next issue.

The next issue came out at the end of October and I thought “Oh, wouldn’t it be timely if it was printed in this issue for my birthday?! That would be ssoooo awesome!” Sadly, there wasn’t even a Super Fan article within the Nov/Dec 2020 issue. I was a bit gutted but thought they would publish it whenever they were ready.

In the meantime, the Heart of the Crowd book was just 5 weeks from publication and that hopefully I’d have that to be excited about.

In recent days I had been wondering when the next issue was due.

This morning, I see the postie make his way up the path to the front door. I wasn’t really expecting anything at all. Just some junk, or a bill or two. I heard what sounded like a magazine drop onto the doormat and went to collect it, hoping it was the new issue of Classic Pop (I’m also subscribed to a drumming magazine).

To my joy it was! But the big question was – well questions were: had there been a Super Fan article put in this issue AND more so, would it be MY story?

I went to the “Contents“ list at the beginning of the magazine…and there…

ERMAGEEEERRRRRRRD! A belated little Christmas bonus! And a lovely little extra to ring in the New Year with.

The icing on it is to see my Hunter And The Hunted piece printed in there as it didn’t get to be printed in the Heart Of The Crowd. I am so happy to see that in there.

I never wanted it to be seen as a boastful thing. It was why I grappled about even doing this for so long. But I am proud of my collection and why I am an avid enough fan to collect things. It’s much more than material possession for me. it is so much more about the band and the music and what it means to me and the importance it has in my life.

The whole “Super Fan” thing still doesn’t sit entirely well with me. All of us believe in some degree that we are ALL the “biggest fan” of our favourite bands and artists – and we all are. And there is the stigma of what happened in the summer of 2018 that makes me tread rather warily around the notion of the “super fan” – the “mega fan”, uber fan… diehard, “real” fan.

I’ll never really know what makes a fan a “real” fan – but whatever actually defines it…I am real enough. I live and breathe this band. And they make my existence a happier and more enjoyable one. I can’t remember life much pre-Simple Minds. But life since the summer of 2014 has been … wonderful – even in the darker periods amongst that. They bring light to darkness.

It’s a skewed way of saying thank you.

Memories – I Hold On To Them So Tightly…

I bury myself in the past because it is where all the best days are.

Two things about these photos from Colchester Grandslam 2018 – 1) The first photo of us all lined up for the photo op – my face looks as it does as I am freaking out as to where to put my left hand. I’m absolutely freaking out at the idea that I should place my arm around Jim’s waist. Lol. But even worse if I let my arm hang loose and I accidentally touch his bum or…the front area! Lol. So I decide to very loosely put my arm around his waist. 2) If you look closely at the three photos in which we’re lined up, you’ll see that Jim has a bit of my jacket pinched between his thumb and forefinger. I honestly don’t know why I do but I find that really cute and endearing.

Anyway…I’m always nostalgia tripping.

Recent Radio Offerings – New Gold Dream Album Club and Ged On Radio Scotland Arts Show

Firstly, Steve Lamacq played the entire New Gold Dream album as part of Radio 6 Music’s album club. It also includes an interview with Jim and Charlie recorded and aired in July, 2016, as part of the box set release of NGD at the time.

On Wednesday (Sept. 30th), Ged was on BBC Radio Scotland’s Afternoon Show with Grant Stott, discussing the new orchestral versions of songs from The Bard’s Tale, plus about Simple Minds and the state of the live music industry during the Covid pandemic.

Sunshine On A Rainy Day

As it was in Colchester two years ago. Considering six weeks before this photo was taken, I was persona non grata and blocked from the SM FB page – I never imaged a photo like this EVER happening! Or that Jim would ever be that warm with me ever again.

Either he’s a fabulous actor and missed his true calling, or … he had genuinely forgiven me and it WAS all water under the bridge.

Now I am not so sure where things stand at all. But I know I miss the gigs and the fun and the travel and all the nerves and jitteriness and … the joy of being right at the front watching the most wonderful band in the world and the most beautiful man in the world. I miss him. I miss properly being in awe of him for the thing he does best…being the frontman that has an audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

I love this band so much. They are, literally, sunshine on a rainy day. My little universe.

5×5 Live Dublin Mini Set – YouTube

A lovely 30 minute chunk of Simple Minds recorded in Dublin in March, 2012. Really nicely done. Fine video work, Trevor. Thank you so much for filming it and taking the care to add better audio. Excellent work!

For those of us who missed the tour, this is as near to a TARDIS as we’ll get.

Geez, how I’d love there to be another 5×5 style tour. I know it won’t happen. I guess Jim thinks he’s just too past it for that stuff now. The more time moves on, the more gutted I am that my diehard fandom didn’t take in 2006, for had it done so, I know I’d have been at as many 5×5 shows as I could have afforded to be at on that tour.

FUCKING GODDAMNIT!

“Regrets. I’ve had a few, but then again….PROBABLY JUST THIS ONE!”

Arty Facts…

Just been trying to keep myself entertained while being bailed up at home. Been doing bits every day.

Jim. Charlie. Now Ged. I’d like to think I have good enough photos to make a piece for every member of the band, but think I’ll struggle for Berenice and Cherisse. They’re just too far back from the front of the stage. And the two times Berenice performed Speed Your Love To Me – I just wanted to enjoy the performance and kept my phone firmly in my handbag.

I’ll see what I can come up with in the next few days.

Simple Minds -Vega, Copenhagen: 7pm & 10pm – 10/03/2020

With the escalating cases of Covid-19 and the Danish government advising the curbing of public gatherings of 1000+ people, it was looking unlikely that the Simple Minds gig in Copenhagen was going to go ahead.

It was a concern to travel already. Both of us were well but who knows what others were like and if they were travelling responsibly? We contemplated not travelling at all if the SM gigs were in doubt.

We decided … why not? We may not get to travel for some time after this. Neither of us had ever been to Copenhagen. And it had been a VERY long time since we’d been overseas together (last time was a trip back to Oz in 2002 – the year I had whooping cough!)

To get round the restrictions on public gatherings, it was touted that the Minds do two shows. It would be amazing if they did, but I didn’t hold my hopes up. Two 25 song sets in one night? They’d all be frigging knackered to fuck!

Then there was official word. Yes – Simple Minds would perform TWO SHOWS IN ONE NIGHT for the Danes in Copenhagen. One show at 7pm and one at 10pm. To achieve this, the soundcheck and VIP fan experiences were called off. Damn!

As it happened, I had two tickets for the show. I originally bought myself a regular standing ticket. But then a couple of days later decided to upgrade and go to a soundcheck experience for the gig.

Email notifications came in from Ticketmaster Denmark. The first showing a refund for the soundcheck experience. The second, the issue of a replacement standard ticket. I still had two tickets. But BOTH had been allocated the 7pm show! What to do…

Come gig day, the weather was yuck. I booked a hotel not far from the venue, just a 10 minute walk away. I decided to head on down around lunchtime to see what was what. Maybe talk to a member of staff to see if there was a way to use one of the tickets I had to get into the second gig. There wasn’t really any venue staff around. There was band crew around though. I saw Del and asked if he was going to be singing the night. Charlie’s guitar tech (Mike?) was wandering about. And I saw GG (the FOH soundman). We had a hug, “no kisses!” he said. Lol. And a brief chat. He’s such a lovely man.

There wasn’t any sign of the band so best thought it would be good to go back to the hotel. I mean, if I AM going to chance getting in for both gigs, I better stay off my feet! We’d been out looking around the city the previous day and had walked MILES!

I was going to chance it. There was nothing on these tickets to say they were time specific. And if I could show a completely separate unused ticket for the other show, why would I not be able able to get in?

I got back down to the venue about 6.15pm. Those who had begun to lineup outside had already been let in. After dropping my jacket into the cloakroom, I went through with my first ticket. There was already a pretty full barrier of fans at the front. No room left in front of Jim. But there was a space left at the far end of Charlie’s (the left) side. I had a fairly clear view of everything but after a while realised I couldn’t see Berenice at all from that angle. Never mind. Hopefully I’ll get in a different position if I get through the next time.

Hearing all the mixtape of music that gets played before the show starts always heightens my anticipation of what’s about to happen. A wry smile spread across my face as they started to play Pop Muzik. But you know it’s all just about to kick off when they start playing Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker’s version of Gloria.

It was obvious from song one we were going to have something a little different go on. An altered set(s) to accommodate the two shows. I was expecting a trimming of songs. There had to be. There is no way they could perform 50 songs in one night!!

The set started with Theme For Great Cities. An absolutely stonking version! And it was a chance for (the usual shy and retiring) Gordy Goudie to strut his stuff at centre stage. Then as we near the end of the track, Jim and Sarah arrive on stage to much cheering and we plough straight on into Waterfront and She’s A River.

A minute or two to catch his breath, Jim is on one of his little stand up routines. Lol. (I’m taking the pish! He’s beautiful. He could stand on that stage, literally just saying, “blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah blah” and I’d be transfixed. Lol) talking about when SM started out how they’d never believe they’d play in places like Copenhagen, and that there’s no way it would be happening 40 years later. But to then be doing TWO SHOWS IN ONE NIGHT?! No way! And more incredible still, that as Scots, they’d do two shows in one night and only get paid FOR ONE?! Lol And on we go to Let There Be Love.

Then my favourite part of the set…a block of early 80’s gems – I Travel, Love Song, Glittering Prize, and The American….before things calmed for a spine-tingling Belfast Child.

The reigns go to Sarah as Jim takes a short break and she performs Book Of Brilliant Things. In all honesty, this song has been a bane for such a long time with me. I LOOOOOOOOVE the studio version on Sparkle In The Rain but it became a completely reworked song a couple of years later, and never went back to its original state. It has taken me a really, REALLY long time to….accept the change in the song. Sarah’s performance of it on Tuesday night, both times – and even BETTER on the second performance were just incredible. You just cannot not (oxymoron I know!) be swept up in her selling of the song. She’s just brilliant. And so emotive and so uplifting. She turns it into a gospel song. Jim said a long time ago, in an interview with Billy Sloan, that the song is like a child’s ode. Well…not now. It is the modern day’s Mahalia Jackson’s gospel delivery. Hallelujah! Amazing!

Then after that, Jim returns for the beautiful Someone, Somewhere In Summertime. And can I dream on the footage that I shared via FB Live that at one point he was singing to me?! Pffft! Of course not! As if he would!

A lovely version of See The Lights follows. Every time he sings the line “I’m too proud to cry”, I’m thinking “I’m not, Jim! I bloody love you to the moon and back and you make me cry buckets.”

In show one, it’s Dolphins that follows (after the Banging On The Door intro) and it’s always gorgeous. In show two, it was the ever-sensual and ephemeral Hunter And The Hunted. Some say Someone Somewhere In Summertime is the ultimate Simple Minds song, others say Speed Your Love To Me. Others again say Waterfront. But for a multitude of things….even though I always have Boys From Brazil and Wonderful In Young Life as my top personal faves…for the overall summing of a song that embodies everything that Simple Minds is, was, ever will be – it has to be Hunter And The Hunted! The ambiguity of the lyrics, that somehow manage to be sexy, sensual, romantic, mystical, haunting, eerie and menacing all at the same time. That thing Jim described as “romance mixed with the poison of real life”. Hunter And The Hunted is the epitome of that. Musically funky, sensual and haunting too. The song has everything. I was in heaven once again hearing it live. Ecstasy.

And the ecstasy continued as “the siren” wailed in for New Gold Dream. Some Simple Minds songs just never, ever, ever get old (the one performed before it – that shall remain nameless does get a bit old for me…but I still dutifully sing-along to the 8 minutes of “la la las” that ensue) and NGD is one of them. It’s a call-to-arms for me. We have one life…let’s make the most of it! Eureka!

Then we are at quite possibly the highlight of the night for me…both times…(though…HATH…BOBT…both amazing…Belfast Child too…HE DID IT TWICE! Hats off to you, Sir Kerr!) Berenice Scott and Sarah Brown performing Speed Your Love To Me. Berenice…a voice so wonderfully suited to it. Just…fragile and tender and beautiful. Wow!

Mainstay encores of Alive And Kicking and Sanctify Yourself and…that was it. Two of the most amazing Simple Minds shows I’ve seen yet.

Second show I was almost dead centre stage, in front of Jim…nowhere else in the world I want to be. In my dreams during the shows I believed I had him poke his tongue out at me and give me a wink…but I’m just a silly dreamer, and I’m sure it was meant for some stunning size 6 brunette behind me.

Everyone else was on top form. I had quite a bit of interaction with Charlie during show one. And Cherisse saw me and smiled and nodded and I gave her a wave at show two. She’s always so wonderful to me. They all played so amazing. And at the end of show two, you’d have never believed that’d just performed 36 songs over 4 hours! Incredible!

It was the most amazing night. And one I felt was rare enough for me to have my phone out for longer than I normally would. I was at two shows to be fair – exceptional circumstances, and I was as close to Jim as I was ever going to be while he was performing on stage…so I snapped away. NOT ALL NIGHT – as someone accused me but for around 20 minutes across both gigs. I filmed two songs from show one to Facebook Live – and filmed two more on video from shows two. Took hardly any photos from show one. But snapped away some more for show two. I could explain further as to why…but I don’t have to justify myself to anyone. Suffice it to say, it was kosher. And if Jim had been pissed off about it, I’m sure he’d have let me know!

And so, here is a smorgasbord of photos from Tuesday night. ENJOY! (And some video too!)

Simple Minds 40 Years Tour Program

Wow! It is looking GORGEOUS! And…I’m no expert (but by now I pretty much SHOULD be…) but I am certain some of Virginia’s photos have been used in it – she did tell me she was approached and was hoping some would be used.

VIOLA! (Well, I am awaiting confirmation, but I think I know her stuff well enough these days to detect it.)
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Oh, but there are lovely images from Laurie Evans and Richard Coward in there besides.

The book looks STUNNING! (Just like the main man featured inside. OMG…Jim Kerr, you are sssooo frigging beautiful!)