I would have liked to have written more in relation to Jim’s post yesterday, but I had just written my waffling blurb about Space (or more accurately what the song Space means to me) for MMM and I didn’t have that much writing left in me. So I left it for today.
I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to write today. I had my Covid vaccine booster and my flu vaccine yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve had the flu jag. I woke up feeling fine. Other than a sore arm from the jags, I felt okay. I slept okay. A bit intermittent, but quite soundly when I did actually sleep. I think now it is catching up with me though as now I am here at my PC, ready to exercise the old brain and writing muscles, I can feel my energy draining away. I’m yawning and feeling quite lethargic now. I’m hoping it’s just for today that I’ll feel like this. I have a gig to go to in Newcastle on Thursday and I want to have my energy up for that!
Anyway! On with the “reminiscence bump” that Jim wrote about yesterday.
I really loved that post. I didn’t know that his knowledge and love for Wichita Lineman went back that far. But I guess why would I? I always think the melody in Wichita Lineman sounds like Grace Jones’s La Vie En Rose, or vice versa (that would be more accurate). Jimmy Webb is an overdue postponed gig I have to go to next year.
I don’t have any recollections of ever having heard Wichita Lineman until the first time I saw Jim writing about it.
But that “reminiscence bump”? There are plenty of songs that do that. And there was no way I could list them and the images, feelings and settings they transport me back to. I just as succinctly as possible spoke about the memory and “bump” Boys From Brazil now gives me. Nana Mouskouri and a coach ride home from London on a dark and dreary night.
But there are other songs that give me experiences of deep “bumps” when I hear them. ELO’s Hold On Tight gives me the vivid memory of a car ride home from my siblings paternal grandparents house. They lived way out of Sydney. I can’t quite remember where it was now. I think it was south of Sydney, in a town called Nowra. A beautiful part of the state of New South Wales, actually. Anyway, the car radio is on and it comes on on the radio and I find it a really hopeful and uplifting song (there’s Jim thinking “you find ELO uplifting? They’re dross! To each their own, Mr Kerr. To each their own.) and it had been a nice day at my siblings’ grandparents house. I went there with my eldest brother, his wife and my sister. I usually felt “the odd one out” the few times I went to their house as…well…I wasn’t their grandchild and their grandma wasn’t the most warming of ladies, but that day she was quite nice to me and seemed to want to engage in conversation with me. So my memory of the day is a good one. And the ride home in the car was full of lovely music and everyone was in good spirits. So I see my brother driving the car at the front, his wife beside him in the passenger seat, me in the back seat directly behind Roy, and my sister, Cheryl, sitting next to me to my right. The sun was fading. It was a winter’s day, so it was quite cool. And I can see that lovely scenery of Southern yet not quite coastal New South Wales out the window.
So there’s one example.
Another is hearing the Skyhooks song All My Friends Are Getting Married. It was a newish song at the time. I’m sure I’m maybe only 5 years old. Perhaps maybe a little older, as I am in my brother Quince’s (real name Gary – hasn’t been called Gary by anyone in I don’t know HOW long – 40+ years? I was the last person to doggedly stick to calling him Gary, and I finally stopped in the mid 1990s) bedroom playing records, using his Technics turntable…so I HAD to be older than five! But I wouldn’t have been much older. But the visuals the song gives me are vivid. I am in Quince’s room (we were always alternating rooms growing up – but at this point Quince had the first bedroom down the hall, the smallest of the bedrooms) and I am playing the Skyhooks album Ego Is Not A Dirty Word and I absolutely ADORE All My Friends Are Getting Married…as young as I am. I can appreciate it for the lamenting song it. The chorus goes “well, all my friends are getting married / yes, they’re all growing old / they’re all staying home on the weekend / they’re all doing what they’re told”. There’s a kind of melancholy to it I could appreciate. But I misconstrued the lament as a kid. I thought it was a lament on missing out on the married life when in actual fact it was a lament that all your single friends have buggered off and settled down! Lol
Anyway…the “bump” is a visual of home. Of Quince’s bedroom. Of a dull, gloomy day. I could see through to the laundry room from Quince’s bedroom and can see out the back door to a (rare) dull, gloomy sky. I was always looking skyward as a kid. Always looking up – literally, if not metaphorically.
Some of the “bumps”, as exemplified above are very fleeting snapshots, but no less vivid.
Another one is another car journey. I am with my sister and brother-in-law. REM’s Losing My Religion is on the radio and we are driving through the back streets of Busby – the place I grew up in. An outer south-western suburb of Sydney. Busby was quite a sprawling suburb. All of that area of Sydney, those outer south-western suburbs was farmland and then was turned into council housing developments in the early 1960s. Had the Kerrs ended up emigrating to Australia and landed in Sydney, I am pretty sure an area like Busby or its surrounds is where they would have ended up. The car is actually travelling long South Liverpool Road. There you go – get your Google Maps out and have a keek! Lol
One final one I’ll share is a “bump” – yet ANOTHER car journey – that is a vivid recall when hearing the Tin Tin Out version of Here’s Where The Story Ends. It has real symbolism to it, and very personal, so I can’t share much of it – but the song’s title is a fitting meaning to why this particular car journey was happening. I’ll say as much as the journey was an outpatients hospital visit to Leicester. And it was the ending of one story and the beginning of another. It’s a vivid recall of trying to find the hospital and getting lost (pre-Google Maps and GPS navigation – having to locate the place the old fashioned way) but eventually locating it after going around roundabouts and driving round in literary circles for a good half an hour.
Other memories get sparked by curtain songs. Certain Bowie songs have me back at home “deep in your room / you never leave your room”. Iggy Pop songs do that too. Bjork songs do. Grace Jones, U2, INXS, Spy vs Spy, Pretenders, Icehouse, Sherbet, The Carpenters – all of them conjure up memories, vivid visuals of me listening to the music either in the livingroom on the crappy “family” sound system, or in my own bedroom I had later as a late teen/early adult.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, I am sitting around in the kitchen with my mum. We’re usually drinking, playing trivial pursuit or some other board game, getting merrily drunk and just having a fab “girls night in”. We loved doing that. Just having a night in together, getting pissed and listening to music. She loved old crooners too, so I’d borrow things from the library to listen to. Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong or Ella Fitzgerald.
Anyway. Enough of the nostalgia for one day. Geez, I keep myself deep within the clutches of nostalgia enough as it is – I don’t need any more excuses to wallow! My arm and shoulder is frigging aching to f*** anyway, and my head is starting to hurt a little.
And because it’s vaguely relevant, I’ll end on this…
I’m sitting at my PC today wanting to continue with the exercise of writing. And I have things swirling around in my head. Bits and pieces of this, that and the other and just wanting to try and blurt all of these things out and try and do that in a quick manner before I lose all train of thought. But my mind is such a jumble of so many things I don’t know where to begin! And I would love to write to someone directly…but…you know, it’s a pure fantasy to think he would ever come to this blog to read what I would write.
Today I can officially deem myself a university student. I am now fully enrolled in my Higher Ed. English diploma at the Open University. Never in a million years did I think I would end up studying Higher Ed. ENGLISH! Science, Maths…all the biological, chemical, astrophysical – all the sciences were where my interests lay when I was growing up. Never felt good at art. Never felt good at English. The humanities, I felt, was where my weaknesses were. Not that I by ANY means felt capable in the sciences either. I just had more desire to want to be good in them.
History was the bridge.
It’s taken so long for me to realise there is so much more to English than just storytelling. That it does open up things I am interested in – like history, research, working in a library, being a museum curator, and so on and so forth.
I am ssooo eager to get started. Literally champing at the bit! And I don’t want to quelle my eagerness. I want to capture it. Bottle it! Give it an outlet in the meantime. So if for the next eight weeks or so this blog drifts wildly “off topic”, please forgive me! It’s a great creative outlet for me – but it can’t be 100% Simple Minds based. I mean – Jesus – some NEWS to actually write about would be grand right now!
So, I am currently an OU student. I am enrolled in my first module – A111: Discovering the Arts and Humanities. I have already invested in purchasing the books that we’ll be studying during the module: The Faber Book of Beasts, Sophocles – Antigone, and A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books. I have applied to have access to the University of Glasgow’s library as an OU student. And I have also applied for a part-time student fee grant – something I believe is only available to students resident in Scotland.
It is now a waiting game. And this is the part that is playing havoc with me. Deadline for applications of enrolment on the course is January 13th. And although I am enrolled, it is still pending on my fee grant application being approved. It can take 28 days for the fee grant to be approved. Allowing for staff to be off over Christmas and New Year, it will take me right up to the application deadline. No problem if I get the grant. But if I don’t get the grant? One, I’ll be devastated! Two, I’ll be de-registered from the course and if I still want to do the course and somehow pay the fee, I’ll have to reapply to the course! So it really does all hinge on me being given the grant.
I have to “sit tight”. I’ve never been good at sitting tight. And I really don’t want my enthusiasm to wane! So everything that will go on at this blog in the interim that isn’t Simple Minds related will be me just wanting to keep at my creativity and writing and brain activity and…all of that.
I have been wanting to discuss The Beatles documentary, Get Back – but I feel that every man and his dog has reviewed it now, or passed judgement on it. What else do I have to add or offer? Short of being brief and saying it’s a LONG documentary but well worth the effort, there isn’t much else I can add. Perhaps when I am a little more focused I can discuss it in more detail. After the initial dust has settled and there’s a bit of time elapsed from half of the world having just devoured it over the past week or two.
I didn’t even think Jim was going to brush upon it at all. But lo, there he was this morning talking about it, mentioning his mum, his brother and a “mongrel dog” called Ringo. I love when he shares memories. I know not everyone in the fanbase wants that. Some just want…I don’t know what they want! For Jim not to talk from a personal angle, basically. Which I find perplexing, I have to say. Why don’t you want Jim to talk/write that way? It would be so…analytical and perfunctory on their social media if he didn’t. Jim may as well not be involved in the FB page at all in that case!
I absolutely LOVE the way he writes and interacts (when he actually did do so) with us! It is the most special thing there is about Simple Minds having a presence on Facebook. Every other official band and artist FB page I have seen is, by and large (there are a few other exceptions – Gary Numan, for example), devoid of any real connection with their fans.
I want band news, of course I do! To hear about new music on the way would be extremely welcome right now.
Jim’s writing inspires me. And I don’t mean his songwriting, but of course that does too, in a more fragmented way.
There is something else I’d love to say here but conversely, I don’t want to discuss it. Suffice it to say I had an epiphany recently about my writing and its cathartic benefit to me. That is as forward as I can be about that.
I have been writing A LOT since July and not all of it has been posted here. I guess not all of it needs to be posted here. But an element of my writing is not just the feeling of expression that comes from it but wanting it to be read! The want of having people read what I am saying and feeling. And that is why now it is feeling like art. People in the visual arts – painters, graphic designers, sculptors, photographers, dancers – whether they realise it or not desire an audience. Desire their work to be seen and appreciated. I have felt that with my digital art. Always made it for my own enjoyment in the first instance, as an outlet of expression but then beyond that wanting it to be shared. Then, with any luck, liked and appreciated by others.
So this is why I will be writing – off topic – here on this blog. I went to type “my blog” out just then. But I find myself reluctant at times to call it “my blog” because I still see it as a Simple Minds blog. And as a Simple Minds blog, I feel it shouldn’t be personal. But it always manages to seep in somehow. I actually don’t know what this beast of a blog is! It’s like liquorice allsorts.
It’s a Happy St Andrew’s Day from me here in a rather suitably dreich looking Glesga.
Yesterday it had been two years since we moved to Glasgow. There really is no other place in the world I would rather be! Even if the likes of the nurse at the local GP surgery and Vito around the corner at the chippy find this notion of mine hard to comprehend.
Over the past two years, I have had numerous probes into the accent people hear spewing forth from my gob. Most detect the Australian accent but are tentative to pinpoint it outright in case I may be a Kiwi and end up insulted, so the query usually comes with a “Which one? Oz or NZ?” Or, like in Vito’s case, a more general “Where ya fae?”
With Vito I was tempted to be a wee bit cheeky and say “Just aroond the corner.” Or perhaps “Luton. Moved to Glasgow nearly two years ago now.” But of course I knew exactly what he meant by the probing question. Originally. Where are you from? Where does that accent come from?
So I replied “Sydney, originally.” “And you like Glasgow?”, he asks. “I absolutely love it here”, I reply. “Even with all the rain?”, he says, with a rather incredulous look on his face. I just smiled, grabbed my fish supper from the counter and bid him a fond adieu.
Smirking away as I regaled inwardly on the encounter on my short walk back home, it wasn’t entirely lost on me the irony of a man of obvious Italian descent (how many Scotsman do you know called Vito?) asking me why on earth I was an Aussie living in Glasgow.
Another encounter happened last year during a walk to the canal around near Applecross and Speirs Wharf. A man was taking his dog for a walk and he was making his way up from the M8 underpass by Cowcaddens. He was headed for Speirs Wharf but he stopped us to check that he was headed in the right direction. I was with my Other Half and he detected both our accents. A good blether ensued. I won’t share the whole conversation. I can’t remember all of it at any rate. But I remember him being quite stunned that I was here living in Glasgow. He didn’t seemed so shocked by my OH being here. I guess someone from England moving up to Scotland isn’t particularly rare. But with me? Well, he had to have some fun. “You must be on the run, right? You murdered someone back there and that’s why you moved here, right? Good place to hide oot. No wan would suspect a ‘hing.”
Lol. Yeah. Only for the fact my accent gives me away every time.
So, yes. Two years in and there isn’t a day I haven’t loved living here or wished to be somewhere else. This is home. I found my place in the world. At least geographically.
Lastly, and as a side note, there’s a new Wet Leg tune out. I think it might be their best one yet. Interesting video!
We read what we want to read, don’t we? Even with the text there written out in black and white, we can still end up interpreting things as we want to – can’t we?
It’s really great to have Jim posting daily again. I actually can’t quite believe he’s posted THREE DAYS IN A ROW now!
Why is it that when you just start to feel like you’re ready to move on with things – when you finally get to the point where you know you have to quelle the desire for something. When you’ve finally lost all sense of hope for anything….that the one thing that you wanted begins again? Refreshes. Resets.
Jim now posting again every day. Is it a test?
I can’t deal with the ebb and flow. I can’t deal with the constant emotional rollercoaster.
The post today. I think I misread a bit of it. I thought he was saying he was back in Glasgow. My stomach did somersaults! My heart pounded away in my chest.
WHY SHOULD IT MATTER?
It doesn’t matter. He might as well be on the moon. It means nothing. But just the idea of him being in closer proximity. Just, physically feeling nearer.
I’m only sharing this so I can write things down. So I can keep my mind active. I can flex my brain and try and keep the creativity from synapsis to fingers on keyboard typing away. To try and say something. But I get scared over the things I share. I get petrified as to how I come across.
My mind always goes back to a time in 2017. Towards the end of the Acoustic tour. Me and Birdy waiting outside the stage doors of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Patiently waiting for Jim to appear.
I had some gifts, you see? We had been to the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum that day and I bought some things that I wanted to give to Jim. Little trinkets. Tokens of…
Anyway, when he finally appeared, he said he couldn’t stop. That he had to go. But I just wanted to hand him the gifts. Literally just hand him the bag and go. I regret what I did because I felt what I fear I seem to everybody – the mad stalker woman. I chased him down. Implored him to stop, tugged at his jacket sleeve when he was within reach.
To this day it fills me with dread, his reaction. I have never felt like he was joking or being flippant (perhaps he was? I pray he was!). He looked around and he said “I’m scared, I’m scared.”
I tried to think really fast. I was somewhat out of breath and I just said. “I have something to give you.” “What is it?” I didn’t want to give away what it was – silly, eh? And it would have been time consuming to explain, so I said in my haste to allow him to move swiftly on, “Gifts. They’re just gifts.” I held out the tote bag the things were in. Noth thinking the encounter would play out like this, I had actually brought the tote bag for myself. He looked at the bag, saw the British Museum logo on it and said “Now, this I like to see.”
“I went to a Hokusai exhibition today”, I said. By way of giving him a hint as to what was inside the bag without revealing exactly what was in there. “How was it?”
“Wonderful. It was wonderful.”
And that was it.
I remember it all because I remember mostly his initial reaction. “Here comes the psycho stalker fangirl.” I don’t even want to be deemed that! Ever.
So, I feel guilt for the butterflies and the somersaults and the palpitations that the thought of him being back in Glasgow brings. That thought of proximity and closeness. Nearness. Because…he may as well be a million miles away. It actually makes no difference at all.
I should be writing a Minds Music Monday post. I was formulating an idea of what I was going to do for MMM this week, but it all flew out the window.
I need to remain positive! Those butterflies and somersaults? They quickly turn to nausea. The thoughts of his reaction and thoughts of me turn me to sickness. I used to feel liked. Now I just feel reviled. All the time. I can’t change it so I have to overcome it. I have to know that I am better than that! If somebody thinks that way of me, then that is just how they feel and I am not in control of that.
He spoke of destiny today. I have to be in control of mine. I need to be optimistic and positive. To believe in myself. There are so many who show faith and belief in me. I don’t know how they do it when I can’t even believe in myself!
Today my application to the OU took another step forward. I should know by the end of the week if I can go ahead and enrol in my course. If I can’t, then we’ll have to go back to the drawing board. If not the OU, then somewhere. I WILL be studying next year! I WILL be a student somewhere! Gaining skills. Honing my (at the moment) tenuous craft.
I’ll continue to make preparations. Work out a study plan. Form a routine and have it functioning before the academic year begins.
It’s time to put an end to squandered chances!
“I don’t want this destiny.” Not the one that means I give up on another chance. I want to grab it with both hands and give it all I have. Redirect the butterflies and somersaults. Use the nausea for good. MAKE IT WORK!
Believe in better. (That’s some bloody company slogan, isn’t it? Samsung? Who uses that? Answers on a postcard.)
I used to do this with the video blogs (aka vlogs) last year. There was a series of them and I ended up referring to them as the “Sunday Waffle” for, as the name suggests, I’d post the vlogs on a Sunday. Of course I would post other vlogs on the days inbetween too! But the Sunday vlogs tended to be the most “waffling” – on any subject. Not just Simple Minds based.
I do have a personal blog but I haven’t used it for a long time. I just keep invested in the domain names for it. But something I want to talk about today *IS* Simple Minds related, but I’ll talk more about that shortly.
Firstly I want to talk about the “off topic” subject of catfishing. This word started to be used more liberally in the early 2000s, after the release of a documentary about a woman “catfishing” a guy she was interested in. The connotation of catfishing in this first instance was that you deceive people into thinking you are living a life that is false. That you’re successful, you have money, you have children, etc, etc. It’s a very toxic thing and in that context should be taken as an absolutely abhorrent, deceitful thing to do to people. I would never do that myself! And I am not condoning anybody else doing that.
Conversely, I will say that it isn’t black and white and people who feel compelled to do these kind of things deserve some level of compassion and understanding. Unless armed with the full details of individual cases, it’s very easy to judge and make assumptions.
More and more at the moment I see the term “catfishing” being used to describe women who use makeup to alter their appearance. I think the term is being used erroneously in this respect. The original use of “catfishing” had a far more deceptive and toxic definition to it than merely making yourself appear different and “better” in an aesthetic sense.
It’s a reflection of the world we currently live in, one in which women deemed “ugly” use makeup to make themselves appear as they are not (supposedly). But this isn’t in any way a new thing! And women have been using makeup in some form or other for HUNDREDS of years.
Here is a case of “catfishing” that happened centuries ago. A well known case, if you know your history, esp. your history of Tudor England. And it goes right to the top of the monarchy. I daresay that EVERY PERSON in Tudor times would be deemed to have “catfished” under its current broad definition. Portraits made of the monarchy were deceitful. Nobody was ever portrayed as they actually were back then.
Ever heard of the term “warts and all”? It was attributed as being used by Oliver Cromwell when he was having his portrait done. He is reputed as saying to commissioned artist Sir Peter Lely, “Mr Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it.”
Back to the Tudor case of the catfisher being catfished.
Henry VIII took MUCH liberty in how he was portrayed. Painted most times to look taller, thinner, more athletic, healthier, and more attractive than he actually was. At the time I am about to refer to, he is 49 years old. That is quite an age in Tudor times! And he’s had some hard and fast living by now. He is not going to be looking ANYTHING like Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who portrayed Henry in The Tudors television series made during the 2000s), okay?! (Meyers today is only 44 years old.)
Jane Seymour has passed away, and after a very, very, VERY brief time of grieving, Henry is on the lookout for wife number four. He is told of Anne of Cleves and is assured by his courtiers that they’re an exemplary match. Anne is a young maiden of 25 years of age. Henry’s already sensing doubt as to be 25 in Tudor times and unmarried – something has to be up with that, right? They show him a portrait of Anne. He is smitten! He cannot wait to meet her! He’s literally married himself off to her as soon as he sees her portrait.
Come the day they meet face to face, Henry is outraged! As far as he is concerned, Anne is NOTHING LIKE the portrait he was shown and he makes it known quite emphatically what he thinks of Anne, referring to her as a “Flanders mare”. Nice one, Henry! Never mind what Anne must have thought seeing the sight of you for the first time, given the portraits she’d have seen of this unbelievably ageless, athletic, virile “studmuffin” when the reality was you’re a badly aging, gammied leg, portly hypocrite! And you probably haven’t had a bath in about 7 months on top of that!
Yes, it’s the monarchy and there was obviously more to it than that. The courtiers were making Anne look, particularly aesthetically (because they obviously knew that Henry likes a “hot chick”) attractive to Henry because they (and he) wanted to secure a political and religious alliance between England and Protestant western Germany.
In the monarchy then NOBODY married for love. Everybody was catfishing the heck out of everyone else. Powerplay.
I despair that the word “catfishing” is being used to now make women feel and appear even MORE untrustworthy than they are currently being portrayed in the media. I have little sympathy for the men being “catfished”, if all their attraction to a woman is based entirely on her looks. Good! Get fucking catfished, you superficial asshat!
I know when meeting someone for the first time face to face our first impression is the way a person looks. It is, by nature, our first marker. We SEE someone first before we speak to them or anything else. But that is why anyone with a modicum of self-respect and decency would not just think, “She’s fit. Shagging her later.” And if it is what you think and you get your stomach turned by what you wake up to next to you the following morning – I don’t pity you. You are far more abhorrent than you THINK the person next to you is.
So can we stop using “catfishing” to describe women who want to make themselves look more attractive? I wish we didn’t live in a world where this kind of stuff has to go on! Where women could actually feel like they deserve love no matter how they look. That people could see beyond the superficial and the aesthetic! I’m not saying we’re not allowed to appreciate those things. I mean, geez, how hypocritical is my blog, with all these pictures of Jim all over it?
Anyway, let us move on.
This is going to be a more personal aspect of today’s waffle. And it is Simple Minds related because it’s about Jim, and my “letting go” of this desire for friendship that has been churning away within me these past two years especially.
There were two distinct markers of when this became something that became incredibly “all-consuming” within me – Jim sharing his dad’s cancer diagnosis with us, and my mum passing away.
I am still very disappointed with myself for allowing myself to get so…dependent and needy. For holding on SSOO tightly to all the early (early in my fandom) interactivity that I had with Jim. That I SSOOO misconstrued what it was and how long it has taken me to “let go” of it.
I need to talk about the past few days. Enrolling (still not confirmed yet as I have to do some initial part of the application process first before I can actually enrol in the course I want to study) in the Open University and my readiness to “fail better”.
Last night I suddenly remembered that Jim had quoted the Beckett words in a post he did some time back. So I used the search feature on Facebook to see where and when. And there was part of me convinced he must have interacted with me on that post because I had such a strong recollection of him using the Beckett quote. I would usually only remember something like that if it felt it impacted on me directly.
I find it. Posted to the SM page on July 11th, 2019. It’s a post about … well … failing, funnily enough. But Jim’s first own personal example was when he first felt “failure” in a major way, playing football as a young boy. Playing for the local Cubs and losing HUGELY to a rival team of, quote “hairy-legged” older boys. He then lists other perceived “failures”. Leaving school with no formal qualifications, being divorced twice, investments in failed businesses. And then things that are now not even seen as failures, but initially were – Simple Minds’ early releases not being commercially successful. I’ll link to the post HERE so you can read it all for yourself.
Then he asks us about our “failures”.
At this point, before reading the comments, I was convinced he must have responded to me. Possibly one of the last times he ever did respond to me. I read the comments. I try to find mine first. I had left two. One was me asking for clarity on what he meant by “no qualifications”. Was he implying he left school without a single O Level? And, you won’t be surprised to hear that I waffled. And even apologised for “waffling”. Lol. Then there was my actual reply to his question about our failures. Or more accurately, our perceived failures. My reply was basically – “How long have you got, Jim? How long is a piece of string?”
There were no responses from him as I had imagined. Nothing, on either comment. Not even a Facebook “like” on either of them. Sometimes a “like” I would deem an acknowledgement from him that he had at least read the comment. Nothing. For either comment. No like. And certainly no reply comment. And it was at a time when he was still around. Many other comments received “likes”.
What I do see in one of my comments is a response from people who I now have no dealings with. One person I had already had that cutting off with, but the other person I didn’t realise had any involvement with what the crux of the matter is, so I had naively responded to them not knowing any better at the time. Perhaps Jim saw that interaction and thought it best to avoid my comment altogether? Or…he just wasn’t interested in responding to me. Which would happen sometimes. But I would usually get a “like”.
But there was nothing for either of my comments.
This morning I was thinking about “Jalopy”. It was one of the last “interactions” I ever had with Jim on Facebook. The final one being one I had to try and backtrack to and find via looking back through my blog.
It’s been over a year now. The very last token piece of interaction I had with Jim via the Simple Minds Facebook page was a post he did about the release of Heart Of The Crowd – the book. He said he felt “misty eyed” and I had replied saying was he sure his “misty eyes” were from the book being released rather than the Scottish football team having just secured their entry into the Euros? He replied with a “They’ll be coming!” and a link to YouTube of The Tartan Army singing “We’ll Be Coming Down The Road”.
I can’t tell you how happy that made me! Well, I probably could. But this post is getting VERY long and I must get on with my point. Whatever my point is.
It’s this. I think I am FINALLY, slowly, coming to terms with not wanting to seek reaffirmation from Jim for every single damn half-decent thing I feel I do. There are actually not many things I feel I do well. Very few things at all! But I got ssoo caught up in wanting to impress him and wanting to keep this ever so deluded sense of a “bond”, of a “connection” – I lost myself. And I lost the ability to “let it go”.
I was also thinking about the story I shared about Rodney Johnston and the dog bite. Of my first “serious” relationship. Of my first and only “long-term” boyfriend. The memories of them are really, really strong. And although I am holding on to certain aspects of those relationships – I really did let them go quite successfully.
I’ve never mentioned him by name before on here. I usually give him some coded name. But the guy I had my first “adult” relationship with was called Brendan McDonagh. It was a relationship I kept going in the hope it would turn into something else. For him all it ever was was sex. And sadly I was the instigator every single time. No self-worth, see? Convinced that if I kept sleeping with him he eventually would want to be with me. It wasn’t until I met my actual first and only “proper” boyfriend, Roger, did this very tenuous “relationship” with Brendan end. I didn’t miss him. I didn’t even think about him. I totally moved on. Roger became my focus.
I don’t even know when I started thinking about Brendan again. Long after my breakup with Roger. It took me a long time to get over the breakup with Roger. But I was able to walk away in the end. I mean, there were complications. After a time, Roger and I were “seeing” each other again but it was short-lived. And I don’t really want to go into a lot of detail about that here. The point of it is – despite how it sounds typing this out – I could let them go. I could let these relationships go.
I feel really disappointed in myself with just how much emphasis I have placed upon seeking all this reaffirmation from Jim. I feel sick from it. That I have felt so little of myself that I have spent the past two years just PRAYING for this man to like me, wanting him to interact with me, wanting him to make me feel like I was his friend, making me feel like I was “worthy”. I shouldn’t have to beg. And if I genuinely meant something to him…then I wouldn’t be needing to beg.
It’s been the hardest these past two years. I think it’s because of mum passing away. I don’t think I knew what to do with my grief. And I think I didn’t feel like I needed to grieve? Like, I thought I was viewing her death rather pragmatically and came to terms with it very quickly. On the other hand there were things like Falling Leaves. Not remembering to tell my sister that mum wanted it played at her funeral, it slipping my mind and not remembering until the day after the funeral.
I’m thinking about next year and my diploma and how much study it is going to take and how much focus I need. I need to start concentrating on me!
Next year is going to be a test. My course will start in February. Weeks later, I’ll be at a Simple Minds gig in Paris (all being well and good with international travel by then – I must admit, I have my reservations about getting to Paris even coming to fruition right now). And then a month after that, another bunch of Simple Minds gigs. Then another in June, and one final one in August.
I admit to still grappling with the “he’s just a man” aspect of Jim. I really wish I could see him like that! But in some ways I think it is probably better that I don’t. That I see him as completely out of reach. Completely in another realm.
It’s hard because…it’s those things – it’s the things that reveal that he is “just a man” that make me wish for the impossible. It’s the “ordinary” within the extraordinary. It’s him being just Jim. Just “the normal guy” that brings the yearning.
But I shouldn’t need him to like me. And … he doesn’t have to like me. He doesn’t have to like me for my life to have meaning and importance. I know!!! That should be a REALLY EASY concept for me to master, right? But it hasn’t been. It really hasn’t been. And I am ssooo disappointed and perplexed with myself about that. Bordering on angry. But I have to be kind to myself! To heal. To overcome it. To conquer it. I need to be kind to me. To accept it. To say “Hey, it’s fine. You’ve been dealing with a lot of shit these past two years. And this man sparked up so much positivity in your life. It’s okay that you wished for an attachment that wasn’t there. That you desired a bond. We all hope to be liked. We’re social animals. Our ‘raison d’etre’ is to make bonds, friendships, and to love. And to want acceptance.”
I’m working on it. I’m working on not dwelling on it. I’m working on it not taking up so many hours of my day. And it’ll be hard because aspects of it keep me going. This is a case in point! Writing! The joy and catharsis I take in writing. And so much of it over the past five years has been either directly or indirectly involving Jim. He has sparked so much creativity in me! But that is what it is – a spark. And I need to be mindful to accept it as a spark. The catalyst. The spark- not the whole damn fire! Not the whole nuclear fusion! That the actual fire comes from within me!
But, Jim. Thank you for the spark.
Interesting that I should close this with the talk of a “spark” because when I was initially looking into study for next year, I was looking at doing a Creative Writing course at the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Strathclyde. It was broken down into modules that were titled “Kindling”, “Ablaze” and “Inferno”. Jim has been an inferno for too long. Kindling. Back to kindling. The spark.
A spark is enough.
Lastly – this has been the earworm for the past few days, particularly as I awake in the morning. Make of it what you will…
Some I end up taking as personal slights – “meek and unambitious” for instance has been in my head for the past week now. But, I think I need to “let it go”. I think Jim will believe what he wants to believe, without any effort from me to try and counter it, or offer a differing opinion on his thinking. He has a point. I guess I just wish, from a personal viewpoint, that he’d have phrased it better.
I’m not sure where this is going to go. Most days I feel the drive to write SOMETHING…almost a compulsion to do it, without any set, clear agenda of what it is going to be. I just want to sit and type and express myself. Why that should be, I don’t know. Nobody is interested in what I have to say, and nobody really SHOULD be either. Who the fuck am I to say or express anything?! Let alone feel it even remotely important enough to be read by anyone?
I don’t know. I am finding this need to write very perplexing. Maybe it *is* “ambition”?! *pulls shocked face*
Today I am pondering the notion of the “benevolent dictator”. That is how I consider nearly all cats to be – benevolent dictators. Surely “benevolent dictator” could just be another, slightly less kind description for a manipulator, no?
I also pondered on who we were describing in Jim’s post with this term? Was Jim referring to himself? Or was he aiming this description at Charlie?
Does Simple Minds work under a “benevolent dictatorship”? Should we even be made privy to the world of band politics? Don’t we as fans endlessly speculate on this stuff ad nauseum as is? Why does Jim want to kick the hornet’s nest?
It really is a paradox, the “benevolent dictator”. Jim has always fairly much come across to me as the old “it’s my way or the highway” type. Perhaps that’s the “last chance saloon” Kerr stance? Perhaps before it gets to that tensive “breaking point”, it’s the “charm offensive” prior to that? Try to win them ‘round first? I know he puts me in enough of a spin that sometimes I think he could do quite sinister things with me and I’d just take it, or bend to it. (I’d like to hope my principles would save me in the end. “Principles? You have principles?”)
We speculate because we think we know. We think we know these people. We believe we know their traits and we are made to feel as if we know them…but it’s all public persona.
Masks. We all wear masks to some degree – and I’m not meaning our new Covid world fabric face-covering – I mean, in metaphorical terms, a complete cover – a cloak of who we really are, even to ourselves, or how we want to be perceived and how we appear. EVERY SINGLE PERSON DOES – whether they are conscious of it or not. Whether they would admit it to themselves or not.
So Steven van Zandt said “a benevolent dictatorship OF SOME KIND”? That seems instantly contradictory. Does this mean the dictator can change from day to day? One day it’s Jim, the next day Charlie? Dependent upon who is passionate and forthright enough about whatever problem has arisen and what the solution is? If so…then aren’t we actually back to … DEMOCRACY? The thing that got dismissed out of hand as not working when it comes to band politics?
Yes! Sometimes I do like to overthink! I’d rather bloody overthink than not fucking think at all, sure enough! Give me my overthinking, over-analysing brain ANY DAY than the brain of an unthinking mind. A mind that doesn’t want to be challenged and … (hello Mrs!) stimulated.
Perhaps I should be thanking Jim once again for….stimulating my grey matter (I could continue, but I’ll leave it there…I don’t need to elaborate any further. Lol)
Perhaps last night’s post was an exercise in Jim airing a “You’ve won THIS ROUND, Burchill, but next time…next time, PAL!” ??? Lol
On the one hand I am wondering why we were privy to such a thing last night, but I do love that it results in me pondering. I ponder so much stuff when it comes to this band, honest to god. I have sssoooo many questions. I run a Simple Minds themed blog – but I know because I have been told “Jim and Charlie don’t do blogs” (Yeah, and my name is Slartibartfast!) that I will never get the privilege of interviewing Jim (or Charlie).
The questions come and go. Differing things. So many different things. Like right now I’d love to know at what precise moment did it turn real for Jim? Knowing absolutely that this was the thing he wanted to do with his life and that he was going to set out to do it. WHEN EXACTLY was that? And was he not even REMOTELY scared? With NO background in music or songwriting, or singing …. like….just….HOW?! And I mean actual “how”, not as in Glasgow “how” (ie: why).
Today, before coming up to my bedroom to sit at my computer to type this out, I had this little …. Fantasy? Daydream? Spark of an idea? Delusion? About sitting down and starting a story. Just…a story. I wouldn’t even be so bold as to believe I could spin it out long enough to make it a novel. Just…the first few sentences. The germ of a seed. That soon expanded into what could end up for someone who is actually a writer, as a fully fledged novel. Almost to the end page. With nothing in the middle.
Could I even flesh that out? Could I even start? To me, every story has already been told. So…how do I make MY story different, more entertaining, more enthralling, different enough to have people want to read it? And do I have the patience to sit here for months making something that would ultimately flop?
And there’s the UNAMBITIOUS! It’s all been done. So why start? WHAT’S THE POINT?! I guess maybe I should start it for shits and giggles. What’s there to lose, right? Most of the time I sit here every day typing something out. On a good day, I can easily get to 1000 words. Base that on the average length of a novel, and account for me dealing with the thought of story direction, plot twists, etc, etc – a minimum of three months this would take. Allowing time for “bad days” and writer’s block – I could have a complete manuscript by the Simple Minds gig in Paris.
I miss Monday’s the way they used to be. Actually, I miss just about how every day would start a few years back. When I was getting into Simple Minds and getting myself involved in the fanbase, the thing that always seemed to make every day feel like it started off on the right note was Jim’s posts on Facebook.
And I didn’t care what he talked about. It didn’t have to be SM specific, or even music related. Damn, it could even be about football! Lol. I didn’t care. Whatever the subject, he always made it engaging. And he’d engage with us about it.
There’d be a little kind of game. If you caught the post early enough, he’d seemingly hang about for a few minutes, waiting for replies to come in and if someone commented with something that piqued his interest, he’d respond.
It sounds SSOO mundane – I know! But I miss it. I miss it SO much. This morning I awoke just thinking about it, lamenting on what was. Thinking, “Oh, Jim made Monday’s feel fun. Actually he made every morning feel good. Every day was a New Sunshine Morning back then.” I cannae help but feel like I came along on the tail end of everything.
But, one can’t go back. One must move forward – esp. In the Kerr world. There’s no room for nostalgia (it’s a dirty word!) or for back-peddling, or for reminiscing.
I should be thankful he even posts at all these days.
I’d love to ask him if he’s had the chance to hear the Toy version of “You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving” and what he thinks of the endless Bowie content that has been released since David’s death. But I guess why should I care what Jim Kerr thinks, eh? Again…it’s just a silly nostalgic thing. Me feeling some kind of silly “bond” from having had some banter with him in the past on the subject of David Bowie. Deluding myself there has been “conversation” between us.
So, perhaps I’ll pose it to you lot? The three regular visitors to the blog. What do you guys think of the whole Bowie “legacy”? To me it feels like it’s being milked like the most overfilled dairy cow. There have been so many releases in the past five years, I have lost count! Myriad compilations and box sets, both as sets of studio albums and as live albums. A lot of the live content previously unreleased, granted, but it does feel like a sad money grab sometimes. And does the Bowie estate REALLY need the money? And I do wonder how it would all sit with David himself.
Having said that, I do feel mildly excited about Toy getting a release. I remember news of it at the time and being intrigued by the prospect of what he was doing. Then he seemed to ditch the project in favour of working on Heathen, which I am incredibly thankful for because, along with Low, it is my favourite David Bowie album.
I didn’t get caught up in the whole live box set saga. There was only one album out of those I wanted. I listened to it on Spotify, enjoyed it, and so I invested in it. My only purchase of them all was to get a copy of Ouvrez Le Chien. I thought about investing in Metrobolist as well but, for what? So I’d have a copy of it under what was meant to be its original title? We lived with it for 50 years as The Man Who Sold The World, what’s the point in now referring to it as Metrobolist?
I will probably invest in a copy of Toy though. We’ll see.
Now on to this week’s MMM. As I discussed previously, I haven’t been in much of a mood to listen to any Simple Minds of late. Certainly not to the degree that I have done for the past seven years! I listen to bits here and there. Not much.
I was listening to a few random tunes a few nights ago. Just ones I have thought I hadn’t listened to in a while and I wanted to hear again. Silent Kiss was one of them. And there I was inwardly thinking “Why, oh, why, oh, why did you have to make it a bonus track on Walk Between Worlds so it never gets performed live?! Am I destined to have ALL my very favourite Simple Minds songs be tracks that NEVER end up on a set list?” It seems so…
We had that little “exchange”, Jim and I. Me saying to him “Sexy songs are the best”, and him replying with “Agreed!”. It took me ages to try and work out the song that brought that little exchange into being but then I did some digging to finally discover it was Silent Kiss. But it isn’t just sexy, it’s yearning. It’s beautiful.
After Silent Kiss played I was thinking about what other songs that I hadn’t listened to for a long time I considered to be sexy. And I decided on this! I think it is an incredibly underrated song. I find it sexy as hell, even though I admit I somewhat misinterpreted what the song was about initially – but if anyone can make a song about a suicide bomber bloody sexy, then it’s Jim Kerr!
So for this week’s Minds Music Monday, may I present to you… Lightning
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.
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.