Random Roundup

I have a bit of a mish mash of stuff to catch up with on here. Just, general music news and observations over the past few days. All to be brushed upon shortly. I’ve been delayed in getting to the topics coming up because on Sunday I was out pretty much all day with not much opportunity to post prior to leaving home. And yesterday I was just in an exhausted state. Physically knackered and tired, but also in the brain fug that comes with it, not in any real state to be writing blog posts with any kind of clarity. 

Hence two wordy posts today. First the rather extensive one about the Warm Digits set at the Stag & Dagger in Edinburgh on Sunday, and now this general catch up in the world of Simple Minds and associated acts.

Firstly on the Friday was a special Drumathon fundraising for Children In Need. BBC weather presenter, Owain Wyn Evans, came up with the idea and Cherisse Osei was involved. All through Friday drummers took turns to do stints at the kit and raise funds for CIN. The highlight was a mass drum-a-long to the BBC News countdown theme.

You can still donate HERE. Children In Need is on BBC One this Friday (Nov 19th) at 7pm.

Saturday night I tuned into Billy Sloan on BBC Radio Scotland. His special guest for the show was none other than former Dreamboy and Springburn local done good, Peter Capaldi. After some 40+ years in the musical wilderness, Peter has released his debut album titled St Christopher. His interview with Billy was a great one. He discusses getting back into music, the making of the album, the songwriting process, his acting career and highlight roles like playing The Doctor and Malcolm Tucker and meeting Burt Lancaster on the set of Local Hero, and of course he talks about The Dreamboys, the Hellfire Club, Jaine and David Henderson, and meeting Craig Ferguson and Craig becoming drummer for The Dreamboys.

You can listen to the interview by clicking HERE

As I was heading out for the day in Edinburgh, there was a post from Jim on SM FB. Something about tartan shorts. Nah – not the pledge for him to wear some (and nothing else!) on the stage next year (goddamnit!) – but more to do with the construct of time and how time can feel both fleeting and protracted, dependent upon all the other sets of circumstances you find yourself in at any given moment. An hour feeling like a minute when in the company of a pretty girl (or that five minutes when you’re with that man that you bloody swoon over every single second of the day…how that feels like it is gone with a click of the fingers) – I wouldn’t know. Or conversely a short passage of time feeling an eternity. Billy Sloan’s interview a few weeks previous with Patti Smith springs to mind – of her telling the story of waiting on a phone call from her then boyfriend – later to be husband – Fred and how they only got the chance to talk on the phone once a week. He’d call at a prearranged time, but this one week he hadn’t called at the arranged time. An hour went by, then two… while she waits for him to call, she writes her section of lyrics to Because The Night. “Have I doubt when I’m alone / love is a ring, the telephone” – that line symbolic of her waiting on her call from Fred. Actually, the whole song is for him, she said. 

I digress. 

Jim shared a rather different anecdote – one to do with boxing and Ken Buchanan. There was Einstein in there too. And there he was expressing the duality in him that I love – the brains and the brawn. “Brawn” I guess being rather overly complimentary of me as he describes his 12 year old self as being “whippet thin” and me thinking “you were still a whippet 10 years later – ya sexy devil – ggrrrrrr!!!”, more than a little conscious of how sad a fact it is an old, fat ‘coo’ like moi should be crushing on wee skinny boys (of then) like Jim. Talk of a 12 year old “whippet” had me thinking of one boyfriend I had for all of five minutes. 

The view as I typed this post out – of “Whippet Jim” – body of a jockey more than a boxer – and looking for all the world like he is about to take part in the Grand National in this photo by Virginia Turbett. (So glad she got the peachy tush in the mirror!)

Should I share this sad tale of woe here? Ah, go on then! Why the hell not?

When I liked a boy…really liked a boy, I was NEVER going to wait for him to ask me out! (Sometimes I think the 51 year old me could really do with the gallus that the 11/12 year old me had for certain things!) Boys. I was boy crazy from… I dunno when. I can’t EVER remember a time in which I thought “Boys?! Eewwwww.” Nah. NEVER happened!

I’m in my final year of primary school – so I’m 11, turning 12. The boy in question was called Rodney Johnston (it is VERY rare for me to remember names of people I went to school with, so there’s some insight already about how fixated I was with him). Over the year, I asked him out several times, either directly, or indirectly. Every time a knockback. And…not just a subtle knockback, either. I mean…he made it pretty obvious after a while that he was NOT interested. I eventually stopped asking, starting to realise I was flogging a dead horse.

Several weeks later, lo and behold, he’s asking ME out!? Whaaaa? I was suspicious. Had he been dared into it by his mates? Why the sudden turn around? Was I gullible because I still fancied him? Probably. OF COURSE I SAID YES! So…we arrange “a date”. I’d visit his place and we’d hang out.

The day comes. I am SSSOOO excited! It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining, it was warm. I’m almost sick with excitement when I get to his house. “I’ll meet you by the back gate” he said to me when we arranged my visit. So I’m there at the gate waiting for him to appear. I can hear him approaching but before he gets to the gate, the family dog arrives at the gate. I put my hand over the gate to pat the dog and just as I do Rodney rounds the corner from the side of the house, sees what I’m about to do and shouts “NO! DON’T TOUCH THE DOG!” Just as the dog starts to take a leap and a snap of my hand. I retrieved my hand, but not quite in enough time to not get done by the dog’s bite. I still have the scar, though it is very pale now, on the pinky finger of my right hand. The dog sliced the top third of my right pinky finger open. Blood went everywhere. Rodney ran inside and got his mum. I was driven home and then driven to the local GP. I got five stitches to my wound. I didn’t have any other dates with Rodney. 

The dog wasn’t a whippet, in case you’re wondering – but an Australian cattle dog – or “red/blue heeler” as they are known (depending on colouring). I had a fear of cattle dogs from that day on. Not really any other dogs. Just the red and blue heelers. 

Rodney himself was the whippet. A skinny boy. 

I have such luck with boys. Lol

I mentioned in my comment on the “tartan shorts” post about how that miscorrelation of time happens to us fans too. That a Simple Minds gig can feel like it lasts minutes. That it’s over before it has begun. The American is the signal indicative of that feeling for me. The American usually heralds the beginning of the end for me. 

When someone asks why you would want to go and see your favourite band gig after gig, time after time – this is why! This is the biggest reason why. Because – time doesn’t behave itself! “Only with you life moves so fast – when I’m with you life moves so fast.” Don’t you know it, Jim Kerr! You were grappling with the construct of time even all the way back then.

Finally – a post on Instagram last night from Joe Donnelly, talking of new Caezar music in the making. All on course to be released early next year, with a summer tour to follow. Wonderful stuff!

That was a rather wordy catch-up! And a bit of “Priptona’s Life Story” piece right in the middle of it there. Oh, well. I had nothing much else doing on this Tuesday afternoon. 

Ciao for now.

Minds Music Monday – Act Of Love

I always consider it an “act of love” that these, let’s face it – barely adult boys (yes, screaming oxymoron there!) – would form a band and rehearse and play and that most gorgeous of those boys (bias!) would be the glue that acts as the cohesion to get it all to gel with his words and his voice and his drive and passion and just…yeah.

It’s an “act of love” for music, for life, travel, wanting to experience a world outside of Glasgow.

How can we, as fans, not be thankful for that?

Jim posted about the anniversary of the first “official” Simple Minds gig yesterday, a whole week before the date. Still showing that enthusiasm almost 43 years down the line.

He talked of the band of boys – Tony Donald (god bless his soul), Charlie, Joe Donnelly and of Brian. And their varying likes of music and where their influences in learning to play sprung from.

Jim himself? He seemed the one that just wanted to see it all come to fruition – whether he was actually part of the band or not. He just seems like that kind of man. An “influencer” if you will – long before the word became sullied by people on Instagram seeking fame for fame’s sake and living the Andy Warhol dream of being “famous for 15 minutes”.

Because that’s what Jim seems to do with people. He seems to, not only have his own astounding level of enthusiasm and drive and self-belief – he tries to pass it on to others or to deepen their own level of passion and drive. And he’s amazing with it. It’s almost a skewed act of altruism.

It’s early days, and early Minds. And there are others there that night too, not mentioned yesterday. Duncan Barnwell. David and Jaine Henderson (doing sound and lights, respectively).

I sought Jaine’s permission when posting this photo before, I hope she won’t mind me using it again. It seemed apt, given the subject and context.

Perhaps he meant to share this photo when talking of those early days when the guys were still learning to play before that first gig. (What happened to the guitar, Jim?) I first saw it when Jaine shared it and tagged Brian. I’m guessing Charlie’s the one that took the photo? He’s conspicuous by his absence.

Anyway….all journeys set out from a start point, or perhaps several smaller points that converge for one joint starting point – here’s one of Simple Minds’.

Caezar The News!

News of a Caezar gig towards the end of November was revealed today. Joe and JJ will be playing Saint Luke’s on November 23rd, with King Of Birds once again as support.

I couldn’t turn back round after two weeks to make their date in February but I’ll pull out all the stops to try and make November’s gig. Who knows? With any luck, might even be living up there by that time (I will continue to dream…though it feels like it slips further and further away).

Fingers crossed, by hook or by crook, I’ll make it…money, health, etc permitting (asterisk, asterisk). If I’m not up there and/or can’t make it, I’ll pray that Joe will have a hometown gig somewhere around Windsor way again.

Tickets go on sale on Friday. This time round, I think these will sell like hot cakes! Get in quick, peeps. That’s my advice! Find tickets HERE

Caezar Interview On Pulse Radio

Always lovely to hear Joe and Jinky talk. Such lovely guys. Feeling quite down at the prospect of having to miss their latest Oran Mor gig on Feb 15th – but with some luck, I might just be able to make it. If you guys out there can, I implore you to go see them. You WON’T be disappointed!

In the meantime, here’s their interview with Diana Schad…

Hail Caezar – On The Airwaves!

With just over a month to go until they are back playing at Oran Mor – Caezar have two radio slots coming up this week – see below (or view the band’s various social media) for details.

When One Thing Leads To Another – And What Things!

A couple of days ago, I saw an FB friend tag Brian McGee, mentioning him in a post and it suddenly had me thinking “I’ve not really seen much from Brian of late, and he friended me a while back. Has he just not been posting? Or has FB been glitching and not been showing me his updates? So I went looking at his FB profile to see.

And well, it would seem, a bit of both things happened. Brian doesn’t post TOO often, but I had also not seen any recent posts. One in particular escaped my attention from the end of September. A post Brian had been tagged in, from Jaine Henderson…with a gem of a photo within it.

Before doing this post, I had contacted Jaine to ask permission to share the photo here. It’s one thing that she put it on FB and tagged Brian (which in turn means Brian’s friends, and friends of friends can see it…it has a limited publicity), quite another thing to have it here, so I thought it best to at least try and seek permission.

I am yet to get a reply, so, with some trepidation, I will share it here in the hope it is okay, as it actually has been open to public eyes. Neither Jaine nor Brian seem to know who the photographer is…but it was obviously someone in “the gang”.

It’s just a great snapshot. Those ties!! That wallpaper! Lol. OMG – Joe looks like a BABY! Lol (And he’s older than Jim! Only by a few months.) Brian in those shades. JIM WITH A GUITAR?! WTF?! Obviously just a prop. And his shades too! Lol

I must admit when I first saw it, Brian stuck out instantly. I mean it’s on his FB timeline, but I recognised him straight off. And then over to the right side of the photo I was looking, thinking “that looks for ALL THE WORLD like Jim – but he’s got a guitar?! Surely not!”

Reading the comments revealed with certainty who was in the picture:
From left to right: Joe Donnelly, Brian McGee, Tony Donald, Jim Kerr

One question posed by someone in the comments wondered if Charlie Burchill had taken the photo. No one seemed sure. Brian thinks the photo dates from around 1976.

Let’s hope it’s okay to stay here. If not, of course I will remove at once!

UPDATE: Permission kindly granted. Thank you, Jaine 🙂

Caezar – Oran Mor, Glasgow – July 27th, 2018

From the personal front…I endured the hell on earth that is the red-eye overnight coach from London to Glasgow. It had been a VERY warm day in London, and I was dreading boarding a coach with no working air con. Thankfully, THERE WAS WORKING AIR CON! Praise be! At least that aspect of the journey would be comfortable.

Arrived in Glasgow just after 7.30am desperate for coffee. Nearest coffee shop I found was a Starbucks. Needs must! After a caffeine fix, the next thing I needed was a doughnut (or two), so it was off to Tantrum! Two doughnuts and two butterbeers later, I was barely functioning.

I walked around a bit…killing time until I could book into the guesthouse I was staying at at the top of Renfrew Street. I slowly meandered up the road, taking diversions along the way as a big swathe of Renfrew Street is closed of due to the most recent horrific fire that engulfed the Glasgow School of Art and the ABC music venue. Such a tragic thing to happen to the city.

A chance for a few hours rest before the gig and BOY, did I need it! I had about an hour’s fitful sleep at best on the coach. Essentially, I had been awake over 28 hours…I needed sleep! I was able to book into the guesthouse early and get a couple of hours of solid, restful sleep.

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Once at the venue, I met up with Ronnie McGhie and his lovely wife, Mary. We were chatting away and having drinks, when after about 45 minutes or so…who should walk past? (I had my back to him, so didn’t see him at first) Just…the one and only Mr Brian McGee, ladies and gentlemen!

To say I had a “fangirl freakout” would be…a bit of an understatement, actually! Lol. He was wonderfully piss-taking of my reaction to seeing him! Lol. Honestly! Lol. I lost it, BIG TIME! I’m surprised I didn’t cry! Lol. I cringe now…but I was just so over the moon. Such a silly thing. But there is such an emotional tie attached to it!

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He was really, really lovely. And well…you can see from my brief post about it, sharing the picture with him, and my signed Sweat In Bullet picture sleeve just what it all meant. (The pic above is the more “composed” shot. Lol)

On to the gig itself?

Support, again, came from the lovely Louise Connell. Her tunes are definitely catchy, and I am already finding myself singing along to her songs. I must check out her material beyond seeing her live performances.

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There was more of a crowd at Friday night’s gig. We were in Glasgow after all. The “tough home crowd”!

I enjoyed the gig…but hand on heart…it didn’t quite have the same feel as Windsor. I am SURE the pressure was on to do good in front of a local crowd…and I feel that might have played a part.

Where JJ was fully relaxed and happy to have some “banter” with the crowd in Windsor…he was not as talkative on Friday night. The pressure he was feeling felt palpable to me. Still a very, very strong vocal performance.

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Acoustics were a little out of balance, I felt. It’s hard to compare it probably for at Windsor there was a drum track, but at Oran Mor we had the immense talent of Brian McGee on drums.

Oran Mor is a small venue. It was my first time there, and I am not familiar with its acoustics.

In all other aspects, the gig was great. The set flowed pretty well. Jinky’s vocal was clear and solid. But there was just…not quite the connection for me with the crowd as there had been at the Old Court. But that may have just been a personal feeling on my part. All of this stuff is so subjective.

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I got the feeling from the reaction of the rest of the crowd that many others enjoyed the gig too. I did as well. Don’t get me wrong! It was just those niggling after thoughts. It just…had a different feel to Windsor.
Did I regret going? Travelling 800 miles as a round trip there and back to see them? NO! Would I do again? Yes!
I’ll be there at future gigs, no doubt! And I absolutely adore the album. Those of you who were at the gig, and have yet to listen to the album, I implore you to do so. You can listen to it on Spotify. Give it a go. There’s nothing to lose. Joe and JJ really have made some wonderfully atmospheric music with a heart and soul to it. Find below a link to Spotify for their album, Time.

In case the link is not appearing when viewing on a desktop PC, you can click the album link to Spotify HERE

I am a firm Caezar fan, of that you can rest assured.

Next gig on the horizon (heaven help me!) is SM, Pretenders and KT Tunstall at Kent Event Centre, Maidstone, on Saturday. That overriding sense of trepidation is starting to bubble up inside me already. Hell! 🙁

My Pal The Drummer

The next Caezar gig is imminent – happening tomorrow night, in fact. Tonight I start my travels up to Glasgow for the gig. Two coach journeys…some 10 hours of travel. Coach travel being the most cost-effective way of getting to Glasgow and back (unless you book a flight MONTHS in advance, or manage to get a deal with a seat sale on the trains), but not really the most “joyous” way to travel. But the rewards are great!

I already know that Caezar are well worth the effort for the hours of travel having seen them on Saturday night.

During my conversation with JJ, he told me that Brian McGee would be playing drums for them at Oran Mor tomorrow night. I think I may have had a little freak out when he told me. Lol

I then spoke to Joe and mentioned to him that Jinky had told me about Brian. He confimred that, yes, Brian would be playing with them. “We’ve not played in a band together since we were 15.”

I kept it to myself, in case I was not meant to say anything about it. It wasn’t up to me to spill the beans, but knowing this info gave an extra bubble of excitement to tomorrow night’s gig.

From the earliest days of being a Simple Minds fan, I have wanted to meet Brian to personally thank him for playing his part in the Simple Minds story…and for the drumming on Boys From Brazil, in particular. I really do hope I get the opportunity to meet him and express that. But, beyond that…I never imagined I’d ever by privelged enough to see him play live.

This next Caezar gig is going to be extra special. I think tomorrow night is shaping up to be even MORE special than last week’s gig in Windsor (and that was pretty special already!)

As a side note – Brian is actually standing in at short notice. The drummer Caezar were meant to be having with them, Liam Bradley, had to pull out, requiring emergency eye surgery. I wish Liam a full and speedy recovery.