New Fforde Grene – Simple Minds’ Debut In England, 1979

It’s a daily ritual to check whether “new” content under the banner of “Simple Minds” has been uploaded to YouTube. And I try to remember to check every morning. Sometimes (not very often, granted!) it slips my mind but I usually check at least once every day.

This morning I was on top of it pretty early and went to YT for a quick gander and this immediately caught my eye. Initially because I love seeing those photos of Jim in that white jaiket. For a young man of 20, he just looks “the biz”, you know?! He’s just meant to be right where he is at that moment the photo was taken. Right place, right time, right look, right man.

Then I see that it’s Fforde Grene and I think “Oh, it’ll sound shit! A tape of a tape. Copy of a copy of a copy, handed down over the past 42 years. Hmmm – but we’ll see. Let’s give it a quick listen.”

First thing that hits me is…I can hear what Jim’s singing during the original version of Scar! “Why did you change the lyrics, Jim?” Questions I eternally…INTERNALLY ask. I wish I could go back and ask him 40 years ago, instead of wanting to ask him now and expecting or hoping he’ll remember something from that far back in time and give an erudite answer.

I arrive back from my dwam to see if the sound of the crowd could be detected. I’m listening through my iPad Mini, just out through its speaker but I can’t really detect any sound of the crowd.

Then Here Comes The Fool comes in and I can tell almost immediately that it isn’t a version I’ve heard before. If this IS genuinely a recording from Fforde Grene, then it’s the best damn version I’ve heard.

I go to Dream Giver to check the date the gig is said to have been recorded from and yep…they played Fforde Grene that night alright! And not only that but it is their debut gig on English soil and one of a few dates before they hit the road supporting Magazine on the Secondhand Daylight Tour.

I got half way through “Fool” before stopping to write this out and post the YT upload. I’ll get back to listening to the rest of the gig this afternoon.

I’m just so happy to hear what is sounding like from the few minutes I heard, a pretty great copy of a really fab gig.

I wish TARDIS’s were real! But seeing as they’re not, this is the next best thing. To all those who put their heads above the parapet and risked being banned from venues, etc, to record these gigs – THANK YOU!

A Chemical Reaction

Ever heard of Galaxians? Nope, me neither until Field Music’s David Brewis mentioned them on the Field Music Instagram account on Friday.

A new album of theirs (Galaxians) had been released and he was recommending it for your weekend listening pleasure. He said “our Leeds compadres Galaxians (he actually tagged their Insta a/c) have a new album out! Features the finest synthesizing this side of Bernie Worrell’s most-holy ghost.”

A person leaving a comment quoted that last part with a “SOLD!” at the end of their comment.

And I was really taken by the cover art. With me still in the middle of reading Lanark, there was something of the Alasdair Gray to the album cover art. So I thought “I need to give this a listen.

And for the past two nights I have done. Wow! Not just synths. Drums! E-drums. Linn drums maybe? I’m no expert. The vocals! Wow! And the style/genre – harking back to real PROPER funk, soul and r&b. I’m not sure about the Bernie Worrell reference. I am yet to see exactly what that pertains to. All I know is – THIS is a summer album! AND IT COMES FROM LEEDS?! It’s like that constant mindfuck of knowing that Average White Band hail from Dundee. Lol. You never expect these kind of sounds to spring forth from the UK.

Anyways, I am with David Brewis firmly on this one. You could do worse things on a rainy Sunday in Glasgow (or wherever else in the world you find yourself in currently) than listening to Galaxians new Chemical Reaction album.

Spotify link below…

You can buy their music from Bandcamp also. I’ve just gone and bought the album in vinyl. Bandcamp wording is a clickable link directly to their page.

I Wish I Was There…

Leeds, 2018. Don’t mean to be maudlin, but…

To hear the “burning slow” lines return to the song during the Grandslam part of the tour – I was sssooo, so happy. They are the most beautiful, romantic lines.

There was “soft rain” falling that night in Leeds too. And after all that had gone on in the month or so prior to that night…I felt back “home”.

It was a gorgeous night. How I wish it was happening again tonight.

Another Magic Nine?

Since I booked the gigs last night, I had in my head that I had 8 SM gigs booked for next year, convinced I had (without really thinking in those terms to begin with) fallen one short of this magical 9 figure I’d fallen upon these past couple of years.
But…obviously I was neglecting to tally my numbers right…perhaps mislead by the unexpected Bordeaux addition.
A recount and lo! Look where we are…
What is it with me and nine SM gigs a year? Lol

Where does this mysterious nine figure come from? How have I arrived at it? Jim’s shoe size? Erm…inches? Lol (I’m selling him too short by all accounts there!) Centimetres of Charlie’s Cuban heels? The number of plectrums Charlie has on stage with him? Number of Toblerones on the rider?

Answers on a postcard, sent on to Glasgow G22 – I’ll collect them in a couple of weeks 👍🏻

Prip’s 2020 Gig Hop!

It’s a bit more spaced out than 2017 and the Acoustic tour. A little bit more like the stop-start of last year’s gigs.

So…on the menu we have…

Copenhagen (and OMG I can take in some Hans Christian Andersen history too!)

Paris (the venue is a stunning building right on the Seine…I mean…IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER – it’ll be akin to going to the Sydney Opera House. Oh My God!!!)

Leeds (really enjoyed last year’s gig at Leeds – though this is obviously a different venue and experience this time round)

Dublin (had to go back to Dublin – just a regular GA ticket there)

A finale in Glasgow and I have gone for a soundcheck experience. Yes!

Review: Grandslam – Simple Minds + KT Tunstall – Millennium Square, Leeds – 11/08/2018

A great location for an outdoor venue…right in the heart of the city centre. It was one of the main reasons I chose to go to Leeds when tossing up which of these Grandslam gigs to go to back in the early spring. Leeds would be fairly cheap and hassle free for me to get to, no matter what mode of public transport I decided on and with the venue being right in the heart of the city, there was little chance of me getting lost or facing worry when leaving the venue post-gig. And…to be honest…at the time of booking the gigs, I didn’t have much interest in seeing Pretenders…so I saw them being off the bill at Leeds as a bonus (silly me!).


I changed accommodation with less than a week to go. I had booked in to the Discovery Inn right in the centre, but my single room was costing me £65 – on the steep side for a single room…but, yes, the location was handy. I kept an eye on ( is my friend! The convenience of being able to book ahead without making payment up front is…a bloody god send – SERIOUSLY!) for something cheaper and not too far out of the city centre around a week leading up to the gig. I didn’t like my chances much, but I was hopeful. Anyway, this one place appeared during the middle of last week and I thought I’d snap it up before I was billed for the Discovery Inn stay.

I basically just spent the night as a lodger in this person’s house. It was all set up really well. They use a Keysafe lock for the keys to the property. You let yourself in and use the amenities of the house (living room, kitchen, bathroom) and the bedroom you’re in is locked with its own key. It was a fab alternative, I must say! A hotel is great…but there were bonuses to this place. A little further out of the city meant it was a very quiet location…I’m not sure the Discovery Inn would have been so quiet – the heart of Leeds on a Saturday night? No!!

Money was the main factor in the change. This new place was costing me all of £25 to stay at…and although just that little further out of the city to require me getting a taxi back to it, post-gig (cab fare just under £10) – I still saved myself near enough half the cost by staying there.


ANYWAYS! On to the gig!

A walk back down to the city centre from my overnight abode saw me arrive at the gates around 5.40pm. Google Maps gave me a bloody bum steer trying to find Millennium Square. Could I find it?! Nope! I was walking past a shopping mall, and there were like…kinda door staff out the front entrance and so I asked one of them for directions. Yes! Thank you doorman…fuck you Google Maps! Lol

Unlike Maidstone, we were right on cue for Leeds. There weren’t many people lined up at the gates, despite the time. Anyway, 6pm – bang on – the gates are open! In the short queue I got to talking to a lovely couple, Jenny and…I feel TERRIBLE but his name escapes me! (I used to be so great with names…I’m getting old!). We ended up at the front barrier together and were having a good old natter, passing the time.

I met up with another friend, Janet, briefly before KT was due on. Our catch up was all too fleeting, but we shall make amends for that in future.

KT arrived on stage bang on 7.15pm – and her first song was one I was hoping to hear at Maidstone…my favourite, It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am. First time I heard it was in Dublin last year…and, wow. It was just…my song. Well, at least it felt it in Dublin last year. It just…had a resonance for me. I just fell in love with it. So I was over the moon she opened with that on Saturday night. The rest of her set was fairly much as it was in Maidstone, with a change of song mash up for Black Horse And The Cherry Tree – kazoo still featuring prominently though. (I love that!) We were treated to a new song as well. She has a new album coming out in several weeks – produced by Nick McCarthy…good to know he is doing stuff post-Franz. The new song was sounding great. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her. She’s always fab…always engaging, and never disappoints.

At this point, the skies are looking threatening. You could feel it in the air. A bit of drizzle…a few heavier spits of rain…but not too bad.


Minds come on at 8.45 sharp. The usual killer rendition of The Signal And The Noise ensues…Jim strutting about, owning the stage, wielding his mic stand. A rare one in that he arrived on stage NAKED! Lol…don’t have a heart attack, ladies! I merely mean…devoid of glasses. Perhaps he was not wanting to tempt fate weather wise? It didn’t stop Gordy Goudie though. He was in his shades for most of the set! Just when you think Gordy couldn’t possibly get any cooler.

The rain was trying so very hard to oblige with Waterfront…but not enough to dampen spirits…enough to add to the atmosphere of the song though.

Great versions of Love Song and Let There Be Love.

Then Jim prepares to intro KT for Promised You A Miracle and talks of the previous weekend (I really can’t recall if this happened at Maidstone or not now…I must ask those who with me if they remember…I have a vague recollection…but I may just be dreaming it…I DIGRESS) in which he said when he watched her perform her opening set for them on the Acoustic tour last year “she blew me off” and then went on to say “and then I say ‘and she’ll blow me off again tonight’. Of course, I thought nothing of it…good Catholic boy and all that (at this point I’m thinking “yeah, sure, Jim…who are you trying to kid more? Us or yourself? Lol). We come off stage at the end of the gig and the rest of the band are like ‘what the fuck did you say that for?’” – obviously for comedic effect! The guy knows what he’s doing…honestly. Lol.

From this point on I AM NOT SAYING A WORD…I’ll leave it all to your VERY capable imaginations…I don’t think it would take much for anyone to work out where my mind wandered off to…albeit just for a few seconds. Lol

All that filth was quickly forgotten a few songs later when….the opening chords to Hunter And The Hunted started. I can’t even tell you articulately what it meant to be there for that…
Like Maidstone with Someone Somewhere In Summertime – although that was just the first time performance of the original arrangement of the song – this time for HATH it was truly a first! My first time hearing it live at a gig I was in attendance for.

And, it was beautiful. It was raining…I didn’t give a shit. It was just…wow. All the extra meaning this song has for me due to the past few years and the art and everything. I was actually too overcome to cry (what happened at Maidstone too)…but I loved it totally.


As usual, the band were tight and cohesive…and having LOADS of fun! In spite of the weather, they were all having a ball. Ged, esp. I don’t think I’d ever witnessed him having such a great time – overtly evidently so. It was great to see. Gordy as well. Charlie singing along to ever song. Sarah beaming her beautiful smile. Cherisse in full “Animal” mode. Jim, like in days of old, just moving about EVERYWHERE…lots of mic stand tossing about (I’m not going to say he was ‘tossing off’! Lol…though…I just did! Oh, bollocks. Lol).

Again, just a phenomenal gig. And it is why I go and see them again and again…because they deliver again and again. They fill my world with joy and light and hope and fun and give me such happy times and great memories.

On Saturday night the added bonus of catching one of Cherisse’s drum sticks happened, AT LAST! I was filming via Facebook Live. I had just stopped filming Sanctify Yourself when I realised I should start filming again, in case Jim did a little bit of dad dancing during the final goodbye from the stage. As he’s having his little dance, Cherisse comes down from her kit with her sticks in hand. She holds her hands out in a gesture of “who wants a stick?” I am throwing my right hand up in the air and shouting “Oh, Cherisse…PLEASE!!!!” Flailing my right arm about madly. She sees me and gestures for me to get ready as she throws the stick towards me…I AM WILLING IT TO MAKE IT TO ME! And, FUCK ME! It just lands PERFECTLY in my hand! I grab onto it for dear life. FUCKING, YES! ONE HANDED – I BLOODY CAUGHT IT! You can hear me squealing with delight on the footage. I was still filming away as I caught it…squeal of delight evident for all and sundry. Lol. And I just kept hold of it like my life depended on it until I got back to my lodgings.


Thank you again guys for the most amazing gig. Absolute highlights were Hunter And The Hunted and Someone Somewhere In Summertime…”burning slow, with me in the rain” – the atmosphere for that was just perfect!

Love you guys so so much! See you at Enfield (unless I have some fortune come my way in the mean time)!

That’s the next SM gig on the agenda…but in the meantime, the next actual musical event for me is THE GREEN MAN FESTIVAL IN THE BRECON BEACONS! Geez! What a lucky cow I am to have won those weekend camping tickets?! It’s going to be AMAZING! And, hopefully the weather will be on our side too.