Empires And Dance Appreciation – Constantinople Line

I originally wrote the following in January, 2016 as a “Why I Love…” piece for the blog. Little has changed in my feeling for this song. It’s bloody fab! I share the demo version of the song because it is the one stuck in my head today more than the album version. Enjoy!

***** It’s the rhythm of it to begin with. Very reminiscent of David Bowie’s Station To Station. It reminds me of it, but is far enough removed not to sound a pastiche.
A great bassline once again from “Big Dan”. And Charlie uses the guitar effects for a nice screeching sound. Maybe it’s just reverb. I can’t claim to understand what I hear, but I know I like it!

Absolutely one of the best set of lyrics Jim has ever written. They are very image laced. I see the pictures in my head when he sings them “I see a land, as we crawl by night /I see a face on the window in front” – I love those lines so much! And possibly my favourite lines from ANY SM song…ever “these stations are useful / these stations we love them” when it wasn’t very “de rigueur” to claim to “love” things like that. I’m assuming because of such, Jim is very much saying it tongue-in-cheek, which I love. (No pun intended!)

The demo version has different lyrics. He sounds like he’s ad libbing a bit. The song’s musical structure is there…and some of the final lyrics are there (including the “these stations” ones) but there are some lines that don’t gel. He did a wonderful job refining and trimming. The demos can make you appreciate the final cut so much more…
And, of course, the song ends with the sound of a train.

It just does a great job of letting you feel that train journey experience. Foreign lands…people behaving shifty…cloak and dagger…it’s like Strangers On A Train. Simple Minds do Hitchcock and borrow a *tiny* bit from Bowie and do a stellar job.
This song…I love it! 😜😊 *****

P.S. The artwork is a really early days one. An oldie but a goodie. Jim liked it. Halcyon days 😌

A Little Peace…

Recently I have been told by a few people that I write very well. One suggested I contact a music magazine and lodge an application to work for them. This person had written articles themselves for the magazine in question and they gave me the email address of the editor.

I didn’t do anything about it. I would fear pursuing it. It is one thing to write at one’s own leisure your own thoughts and feelings or to write your own musical reviews and share that content on a blog that you have sole say over. It’s quite a different thing to work for someone else and work to a deadline. I’m not sure I could do it.

Just today a person asked me if I write professionally. The answer is no I don’t. There is one minor thing I do in which I write small pieces of text, but I don’t work to a deadline and my “boss” for the most part gives me free rein over what is written.

But could I ever write like this?

That, I strongly doubt. Granted, I have not spent over 40 years of my life writing professionally. And for many years prior to that most likely being quite good at English, enjoying the language and writing stories. Jim did.

I never had the imagination to create imaginary places. Never felt I had “the gift” for that kind of thing. Compared to what I’d hear from others in class, my stories sucked. So as a consequence I guess I felt like writing was just “not my bag”.

Until I read Anne Frank’s diary. To read her diary is to find that, no matter how insular you feel. No matter how insignificant your world may feel to you, you are living a life and you have your own dramas, hopes, fears and dreams. And yes, ultimately her story was so much bigger than what was going on in that tiny annex…but the way she made the minutiae of that circumstance feel is just SSOOO compelling!

Could I have worded how I felt about her diary like that as a 13 year old reading it for the first time? NO WAY! But it was an impetus for me to keep a diary myself. And YES, my life was far, FAR more insignificant (in no way suggesting Frank’s was). BUT…I was writing. I was using language. Trying hard to teach myself a level of expression that was escaping me from not being at school. I just kept wanting to teach myself.

I read books. Not sweeping epics of prose, just regular novels. I tried with Shakespeare. Lord knows I tried. But I attached myself more to James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. I read the poetry of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson and children’s books by May Gibbs and read the 87th Precinct detective novels of Ed McBain. I read “trash” too. Sidney Sheldon novels and Anne Rice vampire novels. I went from Anne Frank to Anne Rice.

I asked for a concise dictionary for my 15th birthday and read it like a novel.

At the library, I would look at the encyclopaedias and VOLUMES of dictionaries and wish to have them at home. You weren’t allowed to borrow reference books. I could never understand why.

To be asked in recent times whether I write for a living is amazing. To be told by others that I have some kind of “flair” or “way” is wonderful. And just maybe on the odd occasion I allow myself to accept such compliments and think I am worthy of them. But for the most part? No.

Beyond Jim’s beautiful way with words and expressing himself was this…

How could someone believe “an eye for an eye” is good? Because, isn’t that ultimately what war is? An eye for an eye? Fighting fire with fire? Two wrongs don’t make a right, do they?

Why is it such a childish thought to want peace? Not to have wars? And why do we never learn? Why are we destined to make the same mistakes over and over?

How is pacifism NOT the answer? How is love not the answer?

I want to end with this. Because it is just so beautiful in its simplicity. No big words. Just the basics and the question of “why”?

The Return Of SSIS Video From Belgian TV

This clip was around on YouTube last year and then shortly after disappeared. I was GUTTED when it disappeared. I only got a few screengrabs from it and although I made a bit of art from it as a result, I missed being able to watch the clip. I just love it…and I adore Jim in it.

So this time, I made sure it will NEVER, EVER disappear from me EVER again! Hopefully the Belgian station will always allow the clip to be viewable on their site..but if it ever disappears, I have my own copy of it saved now.

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You can watch the whole clip by CLICKING HERE and going to the Sonuma website to view.

Enjoy!

Huge thanks to mega SM fan, Carlos, for making us fans aware of it being available to watch on the Sonuma website.

Burning Gold Memories…

Well maybe SMOG will get better. But I fear it’ll be VERY selective and VERY exclusive.

And…I have no memories from a lifetime ago…nothing of any significance to contribute so I’ll keep schtum. My memories will probably just be shared here on the blog.

This post from Carol Loudon deserved its posting to SMOG. It’s beautiful. The note from Jim is wonderful. And to have a setlist handwritten by him is just…wow!

And here I can express just how lovely it is, how much envy I have of it…how much it kind of stings with regret…how much I wish for things…and all from the comfort of my own blog. No one to tell me what a sad, pathetic creature I am. No one to spread scorn upon my feelings.

As for Carol not having met them still? Oh, I do get it. I get this thing about not wanting the myth shattered. Not wanting that…exalted image you have of someone be tainted. But having met Jim several times now, albeit them all very briefly, I would never want it any differently. He’s beautiful. What else can I say? I feel absolutely inferior in his presence. I always will. But…just to be there. I adore him.

Aside from Jim? They are all so lovely. Charlie at the meet and greet last year tried to engage with me…get me talking..and I was just a clam. Lol. But he’s lovely. At Bridlington in 2017, there was a man who was so, so nervous! He wanted to get his tour program signed but was too scared to ask. As Charlie was leaving to get on the tour bus, I stopped him. “Charlie, this man (pointing to the man in question) would love to have his tour program signed, but he’s too nervous to ask. Would you please sign it for him?” Of course he did! The irony of ME stopping Charlie to ask if he’d sign a tour program for a nervous fan was not lost on me. But…I just knew how that guy was feeling. And he was right there! He’d have regretted not asking all the rest of his days.

I’m pretty sure Jim signed it too. But once Jim appeared, my memory turned into a haze. Lol. Such a silly mess of a girl I am.

Meeting Brian McGee last year. And Bruce Findlay too. Having my drumming lessons with Cherisse. And meeting Mick MacNeil just last month. They are all so lovely, patient and kind.

So, yes, I see some good in SMOG…but I’m worried about just HOW exclusive it’ll feel and I feel somewhat immediately ostracised from things. Time will tell.