On The Cover Art – The Men Are Marching

There is a path that leads me here to this post. A path that was an unexpected but wonderful stroll. The stroll continues, still. I’m not sure how much of this I can explain. Best to keep it a bit cryptic and vague. We love ambiguity – ain’t that right, Jim?

Suffice it to say one thing led to another.

There is a Sons And Fascination link here. Or should that be “Sons And Fascist Nations”? An explanation of that in due course.

A couple of my most prized possessions in my Simple Minds collection are copies of albums produced for the overseas market. One album released for the U.S. market via Stiff Records was titled Themes For Great Cities and was a compilation of tracks from Real To Real Cacophony (Premonition) to several tracks from Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call. The other is a version of the Sons And Fascination album released by Virgin Records for the Central American market.


There are patterns on the cover. The artwork by the one and only Mr Malcolm Garrett, with photography by Peter Anderson. You can see shapes and a figure. I could see a figure on these covers.

Then there is the reissue of I Travel by Virgin Records in 1983 which bares a photo of Jim, taken by graphic designer Garry Mouat, on stage in motion as if marching. “In central Europe men are marching” always springs to mind seeing that cover. What I never really took in is what appears in the overlay of the photo of Jim and I didn’t see it properly until Malcolm was kind enough to show me this…


I did see that something was overlaid on the photo of Jim but what I didn’t know was that it was a variation on the figure seen on the Stiff Records “Themes” release and Mexican version of SAF.

I also missed the very obvious figure on the Sweat In Bullet sleeve art. Mostly due to the fact the figure has the head of a photo of Elizabeth Taylor.

And so…why did I alter the title of the album to “Sons And Fascist Nations” earlier, I hear you ask? Well, here’s the thing. In talking to Malcolm about the album cover photoshoot with Sheila Rock and asking him about the cars, we got to talking about other art relevant to the Sons And Fascination period. He told me about certain things that inspired some of the cover art. This included him telling me about the image above and that it was inspired by similar figures like it that had appeared in a book he had seen. The book in question is called “Mostra Della Rivoluzione Fascista”. Issued in 1932 to be a compendium to an exhibition on Fascist propaganda – a “celebration” of the 10th anniversary of Mussolini’s march on Rome. Seemingly exhibited in a building erected specifically for this solitary purpose – also known as the “Mostra Della Rivoluzione Fascista”. The exhibition proved so popular that it extended beyond its initial intended six month run and ran for two years. It was seen by almost 4 million visitors by its close towards the end of 1934.

You can view selected pages of the book by clicking HERE


I will state here Malcolm’s initial reluctance to have me write and publish this post and he had approval of this before posting. And I do understand the reluctance. You wouldn’t want to be seen condoning Fascism! But it’s about art and the aesthetic and not the political. Well, that is how I see it. This post nor we as individuals are condoning Fascism! But when it came to the use of the “Marching Men” (as they have come to be called during our conversations) and the line in I Travel “in central Europe men are marching” (long since changed by Jim since he now always sings “all over men are marching”). It conjured up the exact imagery used on the Virgin released I Travel cover.

I missed the image of the Marching Man on the Sweat In Bullet cover, yes, and I don’t see the link quite as obviously as with I Travel but listening over some of the lyrics then… it could be “ambition in motion” or to “grow in size” or to “grow more / take more” that makes it fit?

An excuse to share my prized possession of my Sweat In Bullet double single signed by Brian McGee

Either way, all four covers featuring the Marching Men are striking and impressive. And they certainly make a statement.

Another short point – as I was researching to do other posts that were SAF/SFC themed, I shared an article from New Sounds New Styles printed in 1981. Ian Cranna interviewed Jim for the piece. Check out the magazine layout! Guess who was behind the layout of New Sounds New Styles? Yes! You got it!

By this point, the band had only appeared on the back cover of their albums. On Life In A Day they were on the back cover and also on the back of Empires And Dance. Inner sleeves too. But only the inner sleeve of Real To Real Cacophony. Not up to this point on the FRONT COVER of an album. Not until Sons And Fascination. They were reluctant and the images of them are somewhat obscured but the images reflect the movement and motion of the music contained within. The “travelogue” musical sensibility of the album. It was a masterstroke. Perfectly encapsulating the audiovisual.

I find the whole aspect of the cover art for the Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call albums and singles…erm…fascinating. And if I do then I thought others would too.

Below are a couple of YouTube clips showing footage of the Mostra Della Rivoluzione Fascista, including a modern day (in Italian) look back at the exhibition as well as footage from the time of a visit to the exhibition from Mussolini himself!

A massive thank you to Malcolm Garrett for allowing me to tell the story of the Marching Men images and what inspired them into being.

Minds Music Monday – I Travel (Not!) – Utah Saints Mix

Taking a break in the usual proceedings with Minds Music Monday this week. The focus has been (and will continue to be for the weeks to come) tracks from Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call as we approach the 40th anniversary of its release in September.

Four tracks have been covered so far – The first single to be released – The American, then In Trance As Mission, 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall, and just last week, Boys From Brazil – as well as an initial look at the band going into the recording studio for the production process – https://priptonaweird.co.uk/2021/04/12/minds-music-monday-sons-and-fascination-sister-feelings-call-recording-begins/

If you’re already tired of getting out to the pub, going and meeting up with friends and once again socialising and enjoying the sun – then you can read up on the previous weeks MMM’s by clicking on the song titles and the link.

This week’s MMM is a bit of a sick joke of a choice for us Glasgow residents (I have to stop myself from saying “us Glaswegians” because obviously I am not Glaswegian, just a mere resident of this amazing city) – as we are still in the strictest lockdown in the whole of the UK and that my friends means NAE TRAVEL for us.

So! Enjoy your freedoms, other UKers and if you find yourself at a loose end, then do check out my previous SAF/SFC themed posts.

Au revoir! (I ain’t going nowhere.)

P.S. I hope to have more to come to do with I Travel and Sons And Fascination during the week – something that involves a kind of collaborative thing with one Malcolm Garrett – finger’s crossed. Stay tuned! 🤞🏻🤞🏻

Minds Music Monday – Vitriolic Jim in Vrendenburg, 1982

As I said yesterday in my Sunday Waffle Vlog post, I went looking through the Art & Talk YouTube channel for something else to listen to, having been enjoying his more recent offerings.

I gazed upon the one below and thought “well, it’s only a few weeks prior to one of my most favoured gigs – one that helped to cement my uber SM fandom – Rockpalast in Cologne” so to me it had the strong potential of being a goodun’.

I was NOT disappointed! Right from the get go! Changeling – Jim just spits venom and vitriol. God I bloody LOVE IT when he performs like this. I find it absolutely as sexy as fuck! It’s just so…visceral and guttural and just….I just want to lick him from head to toe!

Then Thirty Frames and the switching of the lines – Jack comes back earlier than normal. Lol. But then, almost in a way angry at himself mabbies for fluffing up and putting the lines in the wrong place, he follows it with a “fuck you, Jack!” Lol

Premonition next and a fab version. Sweat In Bullet also. Then early outings for Promised You A Miracle – already been out as a single and FINALLY, Simple Minds score strong chart positions with a single. King Is White And In The Crowd follows, and Jim continues to spit venom with the “Wire them up! Fire them up!” lines.

The wonderful pairing (still being paired together to this day) of I Travel and Celebrate. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a crap version of Celebrate. JIM – I WANT TO BE YOUR RAG DOLL!!! Jesus fucking christ this man is so fucking sexy! Ermaaaaageeeerd! Had I actually been around for these gigs in 1982 – I think I’d have melted in a puddle most nights.

Then what is always my favourite at gigs – The American. Then finally, a fabulous version of Room – a shame it fades out towards the end….but we probably got 80-85% of the song.

Let’s move away from me concentrating on Jim’s performance and my…stirrings and talk about the quality of the recording and the rest of the band performance. The band – all tight AF. A really good turn from Mike O on the drums. The more I get exposed to Mike’s performances, the more I am coming round to appreciate him. Derek and Charlie both solid as ever. Mick was probably great too – but some of the keyboards got lost in the mix. Other than that, the sound quality is pretty ace. I mean, I proper recording as I guess it was recorded for a radio station as this version of the gig was recorded off Dutch radio by a fan. Jim sounds very strong and clear – hence all the visceral sounding stuff coming to the fore soundwise.

I really loved this gig. I found adrenaline pumping – if for no other reason than Jim’s vocal performance and his absolute SEX GOD appeal! Be still my beating ovaries! GODDAMN!!

Enjoy! Happy MMM…

Always Destined To Be The … Next Big Thing

I posted this onto SMOG earlier this afternoon – but I get the feeling it is going to be somewhat overshadowed by a wonderful post about Jim, which I am sure he will love (who can blame him?). Anyway, I thought I’d also post it here as well. (I haven’t altered the words I posted.)


Back a few years ago, I posted something on the Simple Minds visitor wall. I think it was a review of a gig. It came from an independent fanzine. Jim replied to my post, saying he had fond memories of some of the guys who set up these kind of publications, recalling the names of Johnny Waller and Lindsay Hutton, particularly, on this occasion. Hutton had started a fanzine called “Next Big Thing”.

Well I stumbled on to a copy of Next Big Thing today, and there within the pages was an advert for Empires And Dance, as well as a glowing review of the album by Lindsay himself. (Albeit if he is somewhat disparaging to Roxy Music and Gary Numan in the process. Oops!)

It took me on my own little nostalgia trip. Of a time that I particularly loved being a Simple Minds fan. Thanks for those wee chit-chats, Jim. They’ll always be super special to me. I loved putting on my “researcher’s hat” for that one as when you replied to me you had said “I wonder what happened to Johnny and Lindsay?”, which had me off and searching for you. A time you made me feel both happy and purposeful.

If it doesn’t come out too clear for reading, then here is a transcript of what is written below.

“The danceable solution to teenage revolution? If Roxy were still any cop they’d be making albums like this. I don’t altogether go along with the belief that synthesisers always ruin things. There’s ample proof of the reverse here, but the fact that idiots like gerbil face Numan seem to represent the genre, mean that there is no media indication that there is life after electronics. ‘Empires’ is the 3rd Minds elpee and places them well up the league. Especially tasty are the opener ‘I Travel’ and the Jeepster style backbeat of ‘Celebrate’. If you’ve been put off by the moderne talk of Morley then think again kiddo, because this sound can co-exist with rock ‘n’ roll because it’s performed from the heart. Can you afford not to own a record by a band whose singer drew Noddy on the Berlin Wall in lime green chalk? Good wee group this.”

Takeaway Tat

Some of these prints were done to give to Bruce Findlay when I went to the Rip It Up talk he did with Ian Rankin and Vic Galloway in Edinburgh a couple of years back. I also made one of Premonition as well, as that is Bruce’s favourite SM song and I wanted to give him a print based on his fave.

He ended up with three in total. I was so excited about presenting him with them, I insisted on showing them to him there and then. I think he thought I was expecting him to make a choice on one but I said “No! I want you to have all three. I just wanted to show them to you now just to see what you think.”

I think he liked them. Well, I hope he did!

These are rejects from the printing process anyway. One of the colours was running low on ink so the CMYK balance went askew. The magenta range of colours are more prominent in these prints but they still look good – so I am giving them away.

Anyone interested? Get in touch. Leave a comment on the post, or contact me via FB on the post I’ve done there. Let me know which one is a fave.

Does He Like It?

I want to ask Jim a question. I haven’t really had a question to ask him for ages. I used to be asking him things all the time – over exuberant with enthusiasm, wanting to learn, soak up and absorb all things SM as much as possible. And if I had a question, well who better to ask than Jim himself. Charlie doesn’t really ‘do’ social media anyway and mostly my enquiries would be lyrics based or be something that Jim would be more inclined to answer.

In the past I’d have absolutely NO hesitation in going to the Simple Minds Official Facebook page and posing the question on the visitor wall. Back then when I liked the FB page and started following them, Jim would engage a lot. Reply to people on the visitor wall if they shared something interesting, etc. It very rarely happens now, and the wall is all but lifeless.

And well, I have promised Maris Piper (surprised he didn’t call himself King Edward, or “Charlotte”, or Desiree) that I won’t be posting to the wall any more – and a promise is a promise! And well, if I couldn’t even have a bit of flippant fun and ask Jim if he would collect me from the airport with a doughnut without it being deleted – who knows whether a genuine question would even be allowed these days?

I’m not gonna chance it!

I just heard Brian Eno’s Baby’s On Fire recently playing on the radio and the thought just entered my head instantly of Jim’s altering of the lyrics in I Travel and I was suddenly curious as to whether he liked the song. So…that would have been the question…does he actually like the song Baby’s On Fire? Was it what prompted the lyric change…that he liked it? Or did he feel it was a little more cryptic to have that as the lyric rather than simply saying “Brian Eno”?

Like other questions I have posed to him in the recent past (SEMI-MONDE, ANYONE?!), an answer will never be forthcoming – unless I remember to ask at the meet and greet in Bordeaux. Pfffft! This I doubt. It isn’t even that important anyway. I’ll live without ever knowing…

But I miss being curious, quizzing him, and on the odd occasion getting a wonderful response.

Oh, halcyon days!
“Nothing lasts forever” – J Kerr.

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Image sourced here

Simple Minds In Liverpool – New South Wales

So, I checked out of the hotel I had spent the past three nights in this morning.

I then went to the local shopping mall – Westfield, Liverpool… just to kill some time before heading up to Gosford and spending a few days with my friend, Gillian.

I wandered about Westfield for a while, that is where I spotted the travel agency photographed below.

When I left the mall and was making my way to the train station, to my utter amazement, I saw an advertising billboard for SM. I really never expected to see such a thing in my home town. Lol. It blew my tiny (and Simple) mind.

It was a nice surprise.