Sarah Brown On Woman’s Hour – 31/1/2022

Sarah was invited in to perform and talk on Woman’s Hour on Monday. Speaking about her childhood and the inspiration that the women in the Pentecostal Church, and the gospel music itself had on her – as well as the inspiration of Mahalia Jackson on her singing. Sarah also performs I’m On My Way. Sadly the performance has been edited on the ‘listen again’ BBC Sounds listing of Woman’s Hour.

Photo by Yours Truly

You can listen to Sarah’s conversation with Emma Barnett below.

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.

Simple Minds Song Typography Giveaway

This is the last place I am mentioning it, strangely enough.  So, I will just copy the rest of my blurb from posting about it on Facebook…

It might be a strange one to give away as it is so personalised… but there’s no point in me keeping this copy. I already have a matt finish copy of it on display on my wall. The gloss version became surplus to requirements. I just held on to it.
But, now I’ll put it up for grabs. Across social media. And anyone else who wants to shout about it. All likes, shares, etc, will be put into a draw and one will be chosen at random.
To give it plenty of time, I’ll end it at 11pm BST on Friday evening (it’ll be a Good Friday for someone, I hope you’ll feel!).
Good luck!
Like and share away!
Winners are grinners!

You can like or comment here on the blog, or just enter through my social media profiles, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (you can find the Twitter and Instagram links at the end of this post – when looking at the post directly, rather than at the site’s home page).

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The Race (For Life) Is The (Glittering) Prize

It was such a great day today. The weather conditions were perfect. Temps in the high teens, cloudy with a light breeze. Unlike last year when I was a disorganised idiot and turned up 5 minutes before race time, I got there in plenty of time this time.

There didn’t seem to be as many people taking part this year as last year but hopefully we raised just as much. Hopefully more! I certainly raised far more this year. Current total is at £282 (the Just Giving page can take donations until July 20th!), which is beyond my £250 target, and over FOUR TIMES as much as my tally for last year (a meagre £68!).

I did my 10km in 1 hour 39 mins – not exactly Steph Twell (10km in 31 min 8 sec!!! FUCK OFF PT1!) or Eilish McColgan (10km in 31 mins 16 sec! FUCK OFF PT2!) but I at least did the course! And did the full 10km, and not just piked out at 5km.

I had my usual Simple Minds mix on Spotify as my race companion. The mix started with Oh Jungleland – which was kinda a little bit…Grrrr! Seeing as I had initially signed up doing this year’s Race For Life in Glasgow but by April I knew that wasn’t going to be and gave Race For Life a call to see if I could switch it to Luton. Fingers crossed next year’s can happen in Glasgow.

At about the 2.5km point Lostboy’s The Wait Pt1 and 2 played and I really picked up the pace (the course narrows and is a bit of a bottleneck between the 1km-3km mark, and it makes it difficult to pass people and get a pace on – esp. as we all set off and there are so many more 5km participants at the start) and started to pass quite a few people.

A couple of versions of Four Letter Word (the Planet Funk track that came out earlier in the year – Jim on vocals) played, live versions of She’s A River and Don’t You, Promised You A Miracle, the acoustic version of New Gold Dream and then THIS…I LOOOOOOVE this live version of Glittering Prize. I think it might be my favourite live version. I just find it the most uplifting, most positive…life-affirming version. It’s just glorious. And you can just hear how completely “in it” Jim is that night.

So after it played once, I hit the rewind button so it played again. And when it was done, I played it AGAIN…and then AGAIN. Four times over. It took me from the 6km mark to the 9km mark.

So, we’re all done for another year. And I am happy with my effort and absolutely OVER THE MOON with all you guys for helping me raise such a fab amount of money. THANK YOU! You guys rock!

Stay tuned because, honestly, a promise is a promise and I have NO INTENTION on reneging on that promise. On Tuesday, all you £10+ donors are having your names put into a draw for the Somebody Up There Likes You print. The winner will be drawn on FB Live and announced over my social media.

Once again, thank you all for the donations. Let’s do it again (hopefully in Glasgow!) next year 😘😘😘😘

A Tune With Alice

The stories Alice has of his drinking days. How he ever survived, I don’t know. The man must have had (still has, though he obviously stopped drinking LONG ago) a cast iron liver.

I’ve got to say, I am looking forward to October and the gig at the O2 in London.

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If You Have A Light To Shine…

If I ever did have one in the first place…it has currently been extinguished.

Oh, beautiful Sarah, you keep shining your brilliant light, though…

That’s Entertainment – AND Inspiration!

Wow! What a story, Lesley O’Toole! Your first professionl journalist’s interview being granted by Jim…and from there?! I’ll let Lesley tell the story herself in these two wonderful posts shared on Instagram.

Thank you for sharing the story, Lesley.

View this post on Instagram

Jim Kerr and me: December 8, 1982 at London’s Lyceum. In 1984 when I was still a law student at Bristol University, and still wild about Simple Minds, I wrote my first ever professional magazine piece – an interview with Jim. All the Scottish bands and loads more used to stay at London’s (in)famous Columbia Hotel so I wrote to JK c/o the hotel, asked him if he’d do the interview, and included a stamped addressed envelope. He wrote back saying: “Yes, 2pm Sunday.” I already had my own fanzine but this was the start of my “proper” career as an entertainment journalist. I still wonder if I’d be a lawyer now were it not for this. I certainly wouldn’t be as blessed and happy as I am living in LA. So thank you Jim for saying yes, and thank you Simple Minds for 35+ years of pure joy. Breathless with excitement for more of it at LA’s beautiful Orpheum Theatre later. ❤️🙏🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🎤🎸🥁 . . . . . @simplemindsmusic @gedgrimesmusic @cherissedrums #simpleminds #jimkerr #orpheumtheatre #thewaywewere #myfaveband #columbiahotel

A post shared by Lesley O'Toole (@lesleyotooleinla) on

View this post on Instagram

#FBF Simple Minds have been my favourite band for too long to mention – since I was a kid anyway. Jim Kerr was also my first professional interview as a journalist and who knows if I’d even have become one were it not for that and him. Last month I found myself in the front row for their concert at LA’s gorgeous Orpheum Theatre. And then Jim spotted me and sang to me. Which song? Only my all-time Simple Minds fave – Someone Somewhere in Summertime. Gigantic coincidence or no? No in fact – but some sort of conspiracy perpetrated by my friend Ged Grimes, their brilliant bass player, who somehow remembered my fave song, saw me in the audience and conspired with JK. I have no photos or video (these were taken later that night) but it will be in my head forever. Ged and Jim – thank you! I adore you both and this meant the world. And Happy St. Andrew’s Day to all my Scottish friends. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿❤️🎤 . . . . . . . @gedgrimesmusic @simplemindsmusic #gedgrimes #jimkerr #simpleminds #orpheumtheatrela #orpheumtheatre #someonesomewhereinsummertime #magicmoment #standrewsday #scotland #lovescotland

A post shared by Lesley O'Toole (@lesleyotooleinla) on

Inspiration

I always get very, very excited when previously poor quality video clips of Simple Minds TV performances seemingly get aired by the TV channels concerned…archived and preserved wonderfully and those clips get shown again to then be uploaded to YouTube in improved quality.
Most things back in the late 70s/early 80s were still shot on film rather than video so the are preserved well.
Take last week, for example. A clip of SM on Folllies (yes, I subsequently learned the show is spelled with THREE L’s) performing Factory was uploaded to YouTube in FANTASTIC condition. I watched it over and over. Not the BEST performance by the boys of the song…but just such precious footage…and Jim is just captivating and glorious. Just wow!
And it just makes me want to make art. Soak up every detail. Capture the best stills from the clip and experiment and just make things. Yeah, it probably just gives me the ultimate excuse to ogle. Lol
But I like to think it inspires and gets me being creative. Ignites the spark again.
It also allows me to make art whilst not having to spend a small fortune, or fear infringing photographer’s copyright.

And how I still wish, that just for ONE SHOW, I’d be allowed to take my uber semi-pro cam with me to shoot a bunch of really great photos of my own that I could use. Dream, dream, dream…

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