Empires That Dance – Love Song

To coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the release of Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call, Empires That Dance (the collaborative trio of George Porter, Andy Inniss and Gordy Goudie) have released their fabulous reimagined working of Love Song. You can view the excellent video below.

Empires That Dance have been releasing their own interpretations to Simple Minds songs for several years now, having previously released versions of Room (titled Another Room by ETD), Changeling, Boys From Brazil and most recently New Gold Dream. They have also previously released an original composition called Stargazing, which is also pretty stellar (excuse the pun).

I think Love Song is their best effort yet. Very dancey and they have really put their own stamp on it but still with the essence of what makes the original such a fantastic piece of European electro-dance. It’s fantastic!

The artwork is also FABULOUS and there are T-shirts (as modelled above by Mr Ronnie McGhie) with the artwork that you can purchase from the ETD Bandcamp store, which you can find HERE – and if you buy the shirt, you get a digital download of the song for free. Nice one!

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.

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.

Minds Music Monday – All Tomorrow’s Parties

Some felt the need to diss the man and wonder what his purpose is in the band when someone shared a pictured of Gordy Goudie on SMOG. If you don’t see his purpose, more fool you!

He was partly responsible for THIS, for one. And Jim’s voice on this is just beautiful. I love the way he sings it…the nuances in his voice. How he accentuates certain words. I do think I fall more and more in love with this man (Jim) every day. (And he probably despises me more and more. Ho hum.)

But, back to my main point… Gordy! You the man!

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!)

What A Night, Old Fruity

Well, I was freaking out that I wasn’t going to make it for the 6pm arrival time as I was still at the house waiting for a taxi to come collect me at 5.40pm. It’s Saturday night in Glasgow… traffic will be heaving! But it was mercifully fine. I still can’t quite get my head around the fact we are as far (or as close… depending on your perspective) from the city centre of Glasgow as we were in our old house from Luton Town centre. My taxi fare into the city was £6. We were at the Old Fruit Market in 10 mins.

I arrived and spotted one Mr Ronald Gurr at the bar. I sidled up and said hello. We chatted a bit. He asked me after a while “do you know where you’re seated?” “Nope. I have no idea.” “You could be seated with them”, he says to me. “Pfffft! I doubt that!” “Well… you never know”, he says.

As it was, I was seated at a table with Ronnie himself.

There wasn’t much of a view from my seat to be honest. £150 paid to see f*** all – it was starting well.

A couple of hours in Ronnie says to me “they’ll be on at midnight”. Whaaaa???! It wasn’t even 8pm!

I was also kept company by Rita and Nicolle. It was great to be with fellow SM fans.

A pit stop to the ladies halfway through the night and I walked by a table that some of the band was seated at. I waved to Cherisse on my way by and she stood up and stopped me to say hello. We chatted briefly and I chatted to Ged briefly also. It was so lovely of Cherisse to stop me and say hello. Much too kind.

Rita, Nicolle and I were just wishing the hours away until they received their award and would be performing.

Finally… after many awards handed out and quite a few auctioned off items for the Nordoff-Robbins charity, the final award of the night was given out.

Jim was gracious in his acceptance speech and then handed the mic over, rather unexpectedly, to Charlie. “I haven’t got anything to say. No one understands me anyway!” Lol. Bless him. Poor Charlie.

They then went straight into performing three songs – Waterfront, Love Song and Don’t You (Forget About Me). The crowd were loving it, and Jim had everyone (some ladies at the front in particular) eating out of the palm of his hand as usual (nothing ever changes).

Bruce Findlay was also there last night. He had earlier in the evening handed out the “Living Legends” Award to the Incredible String Band – one of his all time favourite bands.

He stayed on and was watching SM perform. And I could see Jim acknowledging Bruce during their set. It was a lovely moment to see.

I have no footage or photos. My phone stayed firmly in my bag all night.

There is some official photos around. Reports of the evening in the media, etc. I just wanted to just take it in and enjoy it.

It’s been a tough old week but this was lovely.

A little less of a feeling I am persona non grata once again by a few would be nice… but, you cannae have everything I guess.

Live In The City Of…Angels – Out October 4th

Well, here is the news!

And here also, from the album, is Love Song – sounding overdubbed (Jim’s voice, at least) to buggery.

Look…I hate to criticise, I really do. BUT…if you are going to release a live album…have the bloody courage of your convictions! If you want to keep that reputation of being one of the best live bands in the world…WHY overdub “live” albums?

Okay, I am basing this purely on the sound of Love Song. I’ve not heard anything else from the album, and I wasn’t at that gig…but Jim did write a post after the tour about how run-down and full of lurgy he was feeling during the tour. No one I knew who went to the gigs heard anything up with his voice.

I’m sorry, but to me, overdubs feel deceptive.

And he’ll be pissed off with me for my preliminary critique. But it is how I feel. And I am NOT going to lie. It’s just my first impression over what I’ve heard.

Sorry, Sir. But if I can’t be honest with you, then I might as well just…do as Annie Mitchell suggested and go and “step off the planet”.

But it’s a first impression, based on one song from it. I’ll no doubt invest in it, listen to it and give it a full and fair critique on release date.

Available to pre-order…details can be found on Simple Minds’ social media platforms.

Five Years A (Mega) Fan

While it is that beautiful man’s birthday – it is also my fan anniversary. This year it is FIVE YEARS since I became a Simple Minds uber fan.

I clean near forgot as I have had something else rather dominating my thoughts today – and it wasn’t that it’s Jim’s 60th, no.

I’ve been hard at work on something today and there’s a few other bits and pieces going on…all enough to distract me from remembering my fan anniversary for several hours today.

But here we are. FIVE YEARS! Of following the most amazing band in the world, EVER. From the very earliest days right up til the present moment…Simple Minds have been my entire universe these past five years.

I can’t imagine my life without this band in it now.
Thank you ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ – a heart for each of the current members of the band.