Minds Music Monday – Wonderful In Young Life – SAF/SFC 40th Anniversary Celebration

I’ve written about this song so much – when I actually COULD write about it! When I could somehow manage to express all that it means to me. 

The first time I heard it I was probably only about four weeks into my fandom. It brought me to tears the very first time. I had not heard a Simple Minds song this beautiful ever before.

It’s not a slow song. It’s very up tempo with a driving beat and bassline and also with a soaring, wailing guitar all over it – but despite that beat and pulse and incredible guitar – despite the pace of it, it is also soft and tender. It has a HUGE heart. It’s sweet. And it encapsulates everything I had wished that life was going to be like for me, except it wasn’t. Not much of it anyway. I had glimpses of it, perhaps, not in the way THIS was. Not in the way Jim had written about it, sings of it and expresses it. 

So, I was just sitting here at my PC, looking at a blank page on the screen and wondering what more there is to write about this most beautiful and poignant of songs. And here I am, already off and away trying to express again all that it means to me and why I am so enamoured with it. 

The bible (Dream Giver Redux) has next to no information about it, other than what I had read on the dedicated (but sparse) page about it…which is either more recent info that has come to light, or this info had passed me by previously. The info being that in its early days, Wonderful In Young Life went by the title of “What Goes?” Strange that I don’t remember having read that before. And also a rather strange title for the song. Thankfully only a working title.

And…so this is the extent of information we have on it. 

The only thing else I have to talk about is the exchange I had with Jim about it a few years back. The band were on the North American leg of their Walk Between Worlds Tour of 2018. They were in Toronto, and Jim had posted about the early days of Simple Minds touring Canada. I’ll post the excerpt below.

I tried to be a little flippant and funny on the tail of that reply. I had said “Is that a “no” to you didn’t know to my praying for the day it gets an airing…or… 😔” and then I got into a bit of a slanging match with someone who felt it rude that Jim had given me a monosyllabic response.

Oh, I had forgotten about him posting my artwork on Charlie the following day! It brought me to tears seeing that. God, I am such a soppy old fool! I was so proud of that photo. I took it in Colchester at the last Grandslam concert I attended, so it was a full, 100% Priptona work and I was so happy. And then even more over the moon that Jim used it for the follow up post about the Toronto gig. Happy days. Happy memories.

Looking back on it, I like to think it was perhaps his way of softening the blow to that reply about Wonderful In Young Life he gave me in the day’s previous post. But I like to read all kinds of daft stuff into everything. You can view that post HERE

Getting back to the song itself.

There are little things in my head that make me think of it. Snippets of things from my memories of recent years. Standing at the local bus stop in Oz when I was back home with my mum in 2015/16 and seeing the local swallows flying about in the sky. Also in Aix-Les-Bains for the Musilac festival in 2018. The football World Cup was on at the time and as I took an evening wander into the town centre to find a place to eat, “a crowded swallow skies” appeared in front of me. Just as I walked down a side street. It was a very warm night and I walked by a house that had all its windows open. I could hear that the occupants were watching the football and as I crossed the road, suddenly around 20 swifts (rather than actual swallows) came screeching by. Swifts are always a sign of summer for me. I would always see them in the skies around Luton in the summer months – dazzling me with their aerobatics and making their shrill “banshee” call as their flew around, circling ever higher, then plummeting and dive-bombing some prey (such small birds, their main fayre is various insects). Those swifts at Aix-Les-Bains that night felt a marker to me that maybe I had made the right decision to travel all the way to the French Alps to see the band I love perform at probably the most incredible music festival I have ever been to. 

Oh, and I was meant to be getting back to the song!

It is everything I would have loved my young life to be. It’s beautiful, bright and sunny. I see … a picnic going on. A group of friends, a mix of girls and guys, all looking so happy and relaxed. Drinking (not necessarily alcohol, but probably wine and beer, I guess), eating snacks and sandwiches. Joking and laughing. Just so joyful and happy. And Jim is there amongst them. And I would just want to plant myself in a spot right next to him. Just to be sitting there by his side, watching him interact with the others around him. Watching him smile, laugh and joke – to be eating and drinking as well. Life looks beautiful. He looks beautiful. 

It is such a different image to how it sounds to the images he was viewing when he was composing it on those cold, bleak, desolate Canadian roads. Perhaps to get himself out of that gloom of those moments he painted those beautiful pictures for himself?


As for that “live airing” I asked him about? Well, back in the mists of time, Wonderful In Young Life appears to have been performed live. Just once. The gig was at Rock City in Nottingham. The date – September 17th, 1981. That first short UK leg of the Sons And Fascination Tour was barely a month long and the band then went off to Canada and Australia to perform to rapturous crowds. Perhaps it wasn’t even performed live? It’s on the setlist, but perhaps it was merely “outro” music as the gig came to an end?

I do wonder, as Theme For Great Cities is listed as being performed on the same tour – but it’s just intro music that the band walk out on stage to. You can hear that at the recorded gig of theirs at the Musicians Club in Sydney. (Link to the gig HERE)

So there is the strong possibility the song has actually NEVER been played live at all. Again, had it been being used as “outro” music – you would have expected to be mentioned elsewhere on setlists for the is tour? Who knows?

I am happy to report that in recent times I can enjoy it for the beautiful, driving, pulsing, gorgeous, tender, uplifting, joyous song it is.

Forever I will be “singing memories”. 

A final thought on Wonderful In Young Life is from a friend, who says of it: The song’s poignancy lies in its breathy final words: Here she comes, wonderful. In young life.

Vlog Waffles Are Moving

In an exercise in tidying up this godforsaken blog, I will be shifting all the “Waffle” video blog posts (aka Vlogs) to a centralised page link. You should now see a page header called “Vlog Posts” in the menu. That’s where any new posts can be viewed. I may notify of a new post, if any go there.

The vlogs are something I want to come away from doing. And I certainly don’t want the main area of the blog full of vlog postings, hence I will be shifting them over there.

So…there you go.

Here’s hoping for some kind of return to “normal”. Whatever “normal” means when it comes to me and this absolute embarrassment of a blog.

If you ever had any interest in the video waffles, or more amazing still, if you ever took the time to WATCH any of them, I thank you.

A Ghost Of What Could Be

Original image by Thomas Horner

I think it has been coming for some time. I think I might be spent. Done. I don’t think I have any more to give.

It is a heavy heart that I say this with. My personal fandom for Simple Minds has altered. I love them. I absolutely love them! I can still wax lyrical about them. Lord knows I can wax lyrical about Jim! He is just…all things to me. And I say this knowing how absolutely darn pathetic it is – but I honestly can’t remember what a day feels like without thinking of him. I am, quite literally, Kerrsed. (Have to throw in a pun there somewhere!)

But I feel like I…

I will try to articulate it well.

The Simple Minds catalogue as it stands is finite. It will expand at some point in the future – yes. But there is only so much of “List your Top 5 songs” and all that kind of stuff I feel able to engage in.

It feels like it is becoming a hamster wheel. Around and around and around. Favourite album. Favourite song.

Speculation also drives me insane too. It’ll come when it comes, FFS! The new album. The recommencing of the tour. Jim’s “tome” of fiction. And currently…there is not much “doing” at SMHQ and Jim is obviously just not wanting to engage with the fans in social media any more – which is his absolute right, of course.

But that was the thing that drew me into the fanbase! That’s what drew me in to Facebook! His presence and interaction with the fanbase. I can’t emphasise enough what that meant! And how different that set Simple Minds apart from any band or artist that I had ever liked before. The human touch. Making the intangible feel tangible. That is what made you feel most special to me, Jim. The voice is one thing, the songwriting another. The stage presence another. But it was all wrapped in a bow with your…approachability.

I was always someone who just stayed out on the fringes. I was never one to really put myself “out there”. Years of self-doubt, social ineptitude and of mental ill health.

In recent times I have wondered if many of the things I see that made me feel different as a child and made things difficult for me were signs of ASD that were never picked up? That I masked too well and it went undetected? It happens to a lot of women with ASD. And as the wording goes – Autism SPECTRUM Disorder, there’s a spectrum there with some elements of ASD being stronger and more obvious in some than others, etc, etc.

I grew up with strong “stimming” traits. I rocked back and forth almost constantly as a child. The only time I would stop is when I was out somewhere, at school, or if we had house guests that didn’t know us well I would find alternatives. I would swing my legs back and forth or find other “stims” to do. I especially did the rocking when listening to music. It was the ultimate excuse to do it. I was listening to music! No one felt it was very strange then. But they did if I did it while watching TV or just…sitting and being. I also bite my nails. And not just my nails but the skin around my nails also. I eventually stopped the rocking in early adulthood but I still bite my nails and skin badly.

So…I have always felt somewhat alone. School was never something I enjoyed in a peer group sense. I loved learning and craved learning but I always felt incredibly uncomfortable around my peers and then when the bullying started, it escalated those feelings ten fold. I started staying away from school a lot as a result.

It took so much for me to step into the Simple Minds fanbase. I had NEVER socialised on this scale before, and I mean NEVER.

I can still remember how absolutely petrified I was going to my first SM gig and the idea that the people I had been talking to online would meet me just scared the crap out of me. I had tentatively agreed to meet someone from the fanbase at the gig, but I chickened out. I was just too overwhelmed. Meeting one new person is nerve-wracking for me but put that in a gig scenario where the person you have agreed to meet is there with maybe five or six other people around them and I am being introduced to them all…

It eventually happened. Bolstered largely by encouragement from Jim. The interactions I started to have with him gave me a confidence I had never possessed. It led me to do things I could only had previously dreamt of. I went on national TV to partake in a quiz, FFS! Something I had dreamed of for nearly 20 years, probably longer than that. And I did it, twice!

And those trips brought me to Glasgow and I fell in love with the city. And as a result of that, the city is now my home. And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! It feels as much “home” as Sydney ever did.

My hang ups are my hang ups, you know. They are mine to work through.

These days I just feel – estranged from the fanbase. It’s not a place I am feeling very welcome or comfortable being in. It is why I have, for the most part, stepped away from SM fan groups. There has been some petty differences and rather more disconcerting spats. I have never been great with conflict.

I certainly do not have the patience, zeal and diplomacy of Gordon Machray, for a start. His endless enthusiasm for the band and the music really is something to be admired. It is down to him that the Simple Minds Official Fan Group (SMOG, as I have often referred to it) is what it is now. All inclusive and all encompassing. I hope there are others more capable than me who will be willing to step up to the plate and help him in his time of need – as I guess it has become obvious that that really isn’t me.

This blog will continue. In what capacity, I am unsure. I am determined to see through the Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call 40th Anniversary celebration. Beyond that…who knows? It’ll probably just revert back to what is ultimately some crappy, Jim Kerr obsessive fangirl site – in hardly any way linked to Simple Minds at all – just the tenuous point of a link being Jim’s “raspberry ripples”.

I guess I never really was much of a fan then, eh? And perhaps I never did “earn my stripes”.

The times had been great…for the most part. Apart from the whole “real fans” affair. I really could have done without that. But hey ho. There we go. We are fallible and all make mistakes in life.

I still don’t know what the future holds. None of us do. But I feel that whatever my future as a Simple Minds fan is, it will probably be confined to here on this blog and my own personal social media profiles.

Thanks for listening.

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.

Birdsong, Fascination and Friendships

The post I did about “The Walking Experiment”. The one that FINALLY led me to finding the quote about the line from In Trance As Mission? The Alice In Wonderland “rabbit hole” of a post that took me what felt like FOREVER to sort out?

Well it led me down yet another rabbit hole today. Because one of the reasons for that post was prompted by a “conversation” with Jim. Submersing myself in the sounds of Sons And Fascination like I have these past weeks, and especially the past few days, I’ve come to the conclusion that…he was absolutely right.

Despite my response to him at the time (see above), I really didn’t feel that way as such. I was using some diplomacy at the time because really I was thinking “Oh, come on, Jim! The music’s great but…how can you say it’s BETTER than birdsong?!” (Which is basically what his reply amounted to.)

That conversation was on my mimd this morning, as was the MMM post on In Trance As Mission. I awoke early this morning. Around 6am. Too restless to go back to sleep, but still a bit too bleary to get out of bed (and the alarm not set to go off until 7.10am), I decided to listen to some Minds music. Namely, live versions of the title track of Sons And Fascination. Having satisfied that desire and with some time still before the alarm was due to go off, I decided to listen to the instrumental version of Seeing Out The Angel. At the end I’m lain there thinking “he is absolutely right. No birdsong DOES compete!” I miss those conversations with him! I really do.

Original “Midnight Walking” FB post (Click to view.)

When I finally got up and out of bed and got all the little things I do each morning all sorted, I sat at my iPad and wanted to find the post itself. The post from Jim that started the conversation about listening to music while walking and of birdsong. You’ll find the link to it posted above. Things he says, the things he’d say to me would always resonate so much. A case in point that my “walking experiment” post in response to that conversation was almost one whole year later! And I’m STILL writing about it nearly five years on!

Finding it led on to me seeing another post that Jim made just a couple of days prior to the “Midnight Walking” post. It’s a post about the Sons And Fascination Tour in the U.S. – the post actually labelled “In Trance As Mission”. (Click title to view original post.) *P.S. In the comments, Otto is right, the gig advertised was in 1984 not 1982.

And I read the words attached and … I am wishing all over again. Wishing hard. And crying my eyes out, dreaming of a friendship with him like this! Like the time of being at that age and living as a young adult in that place and time would allow. To be deemed his friend. To mean even a SMIDGEN to him as to what he means to me!

Before my eyes go too blurry….

The artwork on the poster. Malcolm Garrett has been telling me about the figure in the artwork. He described the figure as a “marching man”. I did always wonder about the figure. He was very gracious in telling me about it and where the inspiration came from. It’s all very fascinating. And it is wonderful to be in contact with “MX”, but I fear he is much more of an inspiration to me than I ever could be to him. (I mean, as if I EVER would be!) As I say, he has been gracious enough to converse with me and it has been highly appreciated. I feel ridiculously unworthy of any such rapport. And I hardly know what to say to him most of the time because I fear tiring him out with endless Simple Minds talk.

My post about “The Cars Are The Stars – Auto iMaGes”? Again whilst looking for the “Midnight Walking” post and the birdsong talk, I saw this…

Original “Sons and Fascination” photo session FB post. (Click to view.)

Jim saying he loved that photoshoot. MX said the same thing to me. I wonder what Sheila Rock’s memories of it are? One day I might pluck up the courage to ask her. The imagery certainly encapsulates everything the album conveys musically. The “musical landscape” of the album. Such collective creativity astounds me and leaves me in awe. And to feel I have what are even…passing friendships with these people…

That Jim ever even took any remote interest in the things I made or the words I’d leave in the comments – that I get to email Malcolm Garrett and talk to him – that any of them even pretend to give a hoot about me or even take a minute to respond to me just…

That I can genuinely state that Virginia Turbett is my friend…

That they don’t flick me away like a pesky little ant…

I genuinely can’t see the screen for the tears…

The Magical Wonders Of The Southside

The southside of Glasgow has a kind of mysticism for me. I’ve lived here in Glasgow not quite 18 months now and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to the southside of the city.

Prior to that? Only a couple of times still. I never discounted living just about anywhere in the city’s suburbs. If the house was nice and the area had a certain “vibe”, nothing was overlooked. House-hunting took us out as far south-west as Barrhead, and also to Pollok and over to Mansewood. But those visits were purely for the house-hunting and I didn’t end up taking in too much of the city on that side of the Clyde.

And thanks to Covid, it is how it has stayed. I’ve had no real chance to explore the city over the other side of the river. The 90 bus was as near as it got! And it was a fun albeit long-winded journey.

When I moved here, I was looking forward to getting out and venturing to all kinds of areas of the city but it just hasn’t been able to happen.

All around Shawlands, Langside, Pollokshaws, Cathcart all look lovely. The parks on the southside look AMAZING! A case in point is this. Snuff Mill Bridge which crosses White Cart Water near Cathcart Cemetery and the top end of Linn Park.

📸 by Arthur A

I’m sure Jim used to walk around this area when he was visiting his dad every day. This place looks magical. I would love to ask him if he knows of it and ever walked over the bridge. But he’s just never really around any more. Here, but not here.

I miss him. So much.

I still had so many questions for him. Just wishing for the endless perception of being close to him. Friendship. Kinship. Something that went beyond mere fan and band. I guess it will never be. Certain others most likely paid rest to that.

Never mind.

The southside will still be there for me to explore one day. It can have its own folklore for me. I’ll make it my own magical place, where all this amazing music sprang forth, and this beautiful, mythical creature with the most superb elfin ears you’ve ever seen came from.

There’s an article that Glasgow Live posted about Snuff Mill Bridge – you can read it by clicking HERE

The Best of 2020?

Of course, the “Best Photographer” award for 2020 COULD go to someone for their work that had to wait 40 years to be seen – Mr Ronald Gurr…and the offering below….

But I jest…at least on offering up the award – but the photo is still just absolutely fabulous!

In response to his post today (his “Best of 2020”), here is…part my response to his choices, and part a broader explanation of mine.

And here is my response to him of my choices that I left in the comments of his post. (With replies to him kept in.)

Best Album : In Memory Of My Feelings – Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler
Best Single : Fools Tomorrow – Warm Digits (with a VERY close runner up being Bitter Tang by Michael Rother)
Best Cover Version : Absolute Beginners – Steve Harley
Most listened to song : New Gold Dream 12” German Mix (HONESTLY! Played usually 3 times over most mornings for the past several months)

Best Book : I haven’t read any new books other than…the obvious – but I really, REALLY want to read Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Best Photographer : Chris Leslie/Disappearing Glasgow – DITTO!
Best Podcast : The MainMan podcast (Mr Francis Gallagher’s a very close second!)

Best Film : Haven’t seen a film all year – apart from one documentary (see Best Docu)
Best Series : Not watched a series, either (how does a man who doesn’t like telly watch a TV series? *confused face*)
Best Documentary : Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm
Best Gig : Oh, Jim! Don’t do this to me!!! Let me pre-empt it by saying Copenhagen was BRAW! And…you know…I’m a very lucky girl for seeing both shows, I know! But I saw Bryan Ferry the week before! And…well, that was amazing too! But…for, venue, setting…uniqueness of the experience, band performance – it has to be Field Music at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (sorry, Jim! It was REALLY close though)

Best Journey: COPENHAGEN!
Best Decision : To go to Copenhagen – ALMOST decided against it.
Best Meal : Cafe Andaluz, Edinburgh
Best Drink : IRN BRU (I’ve got the taste for it now)

Worst Moment : How long you got?
Biggest Disappointment : The halting of the 40 Years+ Tour WITHOUT A DOUBT!
Person I’d Most Like To Have A Drink With : My brother, David. (He’d drink me under the table and I’d love every second of it!)
Person I’d Least Like To Have a Drink With : The EX president.

Biggest Thrill: Seeing Loch Lomond with my own eyes.

That’s it…on the spot, without much time to think. 

Happy New Year, Sir 😘😘