Always Destined To Be The … Next Big Thing

I posted this onto SMOG earlier this afternoon – but I get the feeling it is going to be somewhat overshadowed by a wonderful post about Jim, which I am sure he will love (who can blame him?). Anyway, I thought I’d also post it here as well. (I haven’t altered the words I posted.)


Back a few years ago, I posted something on the Simple Minds visitor wall. I think it was a review of a gig. It came from an independent fanzine. Jim replied to my post, saying he had fond memories of some of the guys who set up these kind of publications, recalling the names of Johnny Waller and Lindsay Hutton, particularly, on this occasion. Hutton had started a fanzine called “Next Big Thing”.

Well I stumbled on to a copy of Next Big Thing today, and there within the pages was an advert for Empires And Dance, as well as a glowing review of the album by Lindsay himself. (Albeit if he is somewhat disparaging to Roxy Music and Gary Numan in the process. Oops!)

It took me on my own little nostalgia trip. Of a time that I particularly loved being a Simple Minds fan. Thanks for those wee chit-chats, Jim. They’ll always be super special to me. I loved putting on my “researcher’s hat” for that one as when you replied to me you had said “I wonder what happened to Johnny and Lindsay?”, which had me off and searching for you. A time you made me feel both happy and purposeful.

If it doesn’t come out too clear for reading, then here is a transcript of what is written below.

“The danceable solution to teenage revolution? If Roxy were still any cop they’d be making albums like this. I don’t altogether go along with the belief that synthesisers always ruin things. There’s ample proof of the reverse here, but the fact that idiots like gerbil face Numan seem to represent the genre, mean that there is no media indication that there is life after electronics. ‘Empires’ is the 3rd Minds elpee and places them well up the league. Especially tasty are the opener ‘I Travel’ and the Jeepster style backbeat of ‘Celebrate’. If you’ve been put off by the moderne talk of Morley then think again kiddo, because this sound can co-exist with rock ‘n’ roll because it’s performed from the heart. Can you afford not to own a record by a band whose singer drew Noddy on the Berlin Wall in lime green chalk? Good wee group this.”

I Don’t Ken(sit) It!

I don’t usually share stuff like this on here. And I don’t usually pander to the more “celebrity gossip” side of the “fame game” but I found myself interested in what Patsy had to say.

I’ve always had time for Patsy. She gets a really hard time in the public glare and all the crap that comes her way. I could give unsavoury examples but I won’t. She seems the loveliest and most genuine person. Funny and warm.

But this one thing just fucks with my brain. I read this several years back and even then I was like “whaaaaaa?!” I thought, “Oh, she must mean ‘at that time’, surely?”

But she has reiterated it in this interview and no, there doesn’t seem to be any “at that time” reference. And she says “in my life”.

IN MY LIFE?! Can I just reiterate my own response now. YOU WERE WITH JIM KERR!!! How can having your hair brushed by David Bowie be THE MOST EROTIC THING that happened to you?! I mean…. COME ON!!

Jim poking his tongue out at me at Bristol is probably the most erotic experience I’ve had in 25 years!!! Just by comparison. I mean…heck! Let alone anything else! Holy crap! In my eternal damn dreams! But Patsy! YOU HAD HIM!!!!! Lol. OMG, woman! You’re killing me!

I mean…geez, don’t get me wrong. David is beautiful and I love him as an artist and as a person and I appreciate the aesthetic and yes, I’d have probably enjoyed getting my hair brushed by him also but if THEN, I GOT TO BE WITH JIM – that would just be….just….OMG…it does not EVEN compare!

Anyway, I am going to shut up now, but…Patsy…just…WHAT THE HELL?!

Magazine (Studio Demo) – The Anchoress – Bandcamp Friday Exclusive

This is braw! Released as a special for Bandcamp Friday by The Anchoress, and available to download for this weekend only.

Here’s what Catherine (aka The Anchoress) has to say about it…

“A bit of Alt Pop fun from the archive for today’s Bandcamp Friday! A studio demo track recorded as a bit of a retort to what I was increasingly beginning to realise was a ridiculous major label world that I wanted no part in.

Written on the stylophone. Do I need to sell it to you in any other way? Weird fact fans – the demo was mixed by Andy Wright who I would later to go on to work with extensively when I joined Simple Minds in 2014.”

Please click on the bandcamp link below to listen and purchase.

Magazine Malcolm

“It isn’t creating art. It’s a job in the service of information.”

A great interview with Malcolm Garrett in the latest edition of Electronic Sound magazine. (And who knew he’d produced music?! I didn’t! You learn something new every day, folks!)

Click the “Assorted iMaGes” (you see what I did there? Lol) for a better view of the individual pages.

And GEEZ, I’M SLOW! I’ve only JUST taken in why the “iMaGes” part of the name is written that way. Duh!!! Lol

The Whole Bolan

The makers of Uncut magazine have brought out a special edition of the magazine with a whole issue dedicated entirely to Marc Bolan.

I just had a quick perusal of it and it looks pretty good. Loads of detail and lots of great photos. I’ll give it a more substantial read later on.

The Classic Pop “Super Fan”

I had been pondering doing this for some time, once I felt my collection had been big enough to deem it worthy. Probably the past 18 months or 2 years, but we were so crammed in our place in Luton, it never really seemed doable.

Then we moved to Glasgow, had much more space to display things, Coronavirus happened and Classic Pop took a break from publication.

When they returned after several months of lockdown and seeing them on their Facebook page appealing to readers to put their “superfan” stories forward, I thought I’d finally take the plunge. I emailed them, saying what a fan I was of Simple Minds and showed them a sample of my collection.

They were interested, asked me to fill out a little questionnaire about my fandom and to submit several more photos, including a head shot of myself. All lovingly submitted with care a day later.

It went quiet. Although they were back in action after lockdown, and having recently gone to publishing monthly prior to lockdown, they seemed to have return to a bi-monthly publication. One issue had only just come out, so I was hopeful I had timed it for inclusion for the next issue.

The next issue came out at the end of October and I thought “Oh, wouldn’t it be timely if it was printed in this issue for my birthday?! That would be ssoooo awesome!” Sadly, there wasn’t even a Super Fan article within the Nov/Dec 2020 issue. I was a bit gutted but thought they would publish it whenever they were ready.

In the meantime, the Heart of the Crowd book was just 5 weeks from publication and that hopefully I’d have that to be excited about.

In recent days I had been wondering when the next issue was due.

This morning, I see the postie make his way up the path to the front door. I wasn’t really expecting anything at all. Just some junk, or a bill or two. I heard what sounded like a magazine drop onto the doormat and went to collect it, hoping it was the new issue of Classic Pop (I’m also subscribed to a drumming magazine).

To my joy it was! But the big question was – well questions were: had there been a Super Fan article put in this issue AND more so, would it be MY story?

I went to the “Contents“ list at the beginning of the magazine…and there…

ERMAGEEEERRRRRRRD! A belated little Christmas bonus! And a lovely little extra to ring in the New Year with.

The icing on it is to see my Hunter And The Hunted piece printed in there as it didn’t get to be printed in the Heart Of The Crowd. I am so happy to see that in there.

I never wanted it to be seen as a boastful thing. It was why I grappled about even doing this for so long. But I am proud of my collection and why I am an avid enough fan to collect things. It’s much more than material possession for me. it is so much more about the band and the music and what it means to me and the importance it has in my life.

The whole “Super Fan” thing still doesn’t sit entirely well with me. All of us believe in some degree that we are ALL the “biggest fan” of our favourite bands and artists – and we all are. And there is the stigma of what happened in the summer of 2018 that makes me tread rather warily around the notion of the “super fan” – the “mega fan”, uber fan… diehard, “real” fan.

I’ll never really know what makes a fan a “real” fan – but whatever actually defines it…I am real enough. I live and breathe this band. And they make my existence a happier and more enjoyable one. I can’t remember life much pre-Simple Minds. But life since the summer of 2014 has been … wonderful – even in the darker periods amongst that. They bring light to darkness.

It’s a skewed way of saying thank you.

Hanging Around – With My Man In Germany

Back in May I had a chat with Ronnie Gurr at Hanging Around Books about a photo of Jim that I would have liked to have gotten a copy of from the photographer who took it, but I looked into their prices (without enquiring with them directly) and saw they wanted over £1000 for a print!! 😱😱

The conversation moved on to the topic of a Record Mirror cover, and the use of a photo of Brian McGee in his undies that Ronnie had taken when with the band on tour in Germany in the late summer of 1980.

He said to me “this (see below) is the photo I submitted for the cover, but they went with the one of Brian instead.”

I sat looking at the screen in a mixture of awe and disbelief. Awe that such a fabulous photo of Jim had been stowed away unseen for so many years, and disbelief that the editor at Record Mirror snubbed the use of this photo for one of Brian in his togs!

Not only that, but the music mag then goes on to erroneously name Brian as “Mike McNeil”. Geezo! They don’t even get the erroneous name correct!

Anyway, 40 years down the line, I was in fangirl raptures to see such a wonderful photo of Jim. Since seeing it, I have been hankering for a copy and over these months I have every now and then been virtually nudging Ronnie for a copy of the photo.

AT LAST! The day arrived yesterday. I received three photos in total. The photo above of Jim which measures 10×8 inches, the black and white group photo below of the band on the flight staircase, which measures 7×5 inches, and the one below that of the band by the Berlin Wall, which measures 6×4 inches.

All three are wonderful, new and fairly rare treasures. All three photos were taken by Ronnie. But of the three, of course that one of Jim (for me) is the most highly prized. It is now in a frame by my bedside. The b&w band photo is framed and sitting atop the other bedside drawer.

If you would like to get prints yourself, you can contact Ronnie via email at: hangingaroundbooks@gmail.com

All of the photos featured in the Hanging Around Books photozines are available to order as prints. You can view the catalogue of books available by visiting hangingaroundbooks.com (just click the link!)

To The (Previously) Unseen Eye

There are some photos surfacing showing the way the look and layout of the book “Heart Of The Crowd (A Fan History)” is like. The photos look really lovely, as does the layout of the book. With the release of the book now only a week away, it is getting all rather exciting!

Back in May, Ronnie Gurr messaged me. I had shared a photo of Jim and was saying how much I’d love to get a copy of it from the photographer that took it, but they seemed a pretty big name these days and were asking $1500 a print. And I REALLY don’t have that sort of money.

I didn’t name names. Ronnie was intrigued as to who it was. We got to chatting and somehow ended up on the subject of magazine covers and I mentioned the cover of the Record Mirror from 1980 with an erroneously named Brian McGee (they named him as Mick!) on the cover – in his briefs.

Ronnie told me that the photo of Brian isn’t what he had submitted to be the photo on the cover but it was actually a photo he took of Jim that he thought was better suited to it. And by heck, was it! I was in absolute agreement. I guess the Record Mirror editor thought people would want to see a band member pretty much in their “all-together”…but…well, unless it WAS actually Jim, not me!

Anyway…these photos shared of the book show the photo that Ronnie shared with me. I have just been sitting on this image for months, so desperately wanting to show it but thinking better of it.

I could have asked Ronnie’s permission to post it here but I really didn’t think he’d be wanting me to share it. And, I still have a clearer version of it (still just a snap of it he took on…his living room floor, I guess, considering the carpet I can see in the image I have of it). I still won’t share that one though. It isn’t mine to share. But I hope you can see from how it has been photographed in the pages of the book that it is well braw.

Jim looks gorgeous, as always. I just want to run my fingers through all that hair! OMG! You beautiful man, Mr Kerr! 🥰🥰🥰

In case not obvious, the pic I’m referring to is on the top right corner of the book pages.

Just ONE more thing to be excited about the book for. And I await the chance of getting a really decent copy of this photo from Mr Gurr. He tells me the New Year. I’m counting the days! Tick tock, Ronnie!

UPDATE: currently (and as much as it pains me to link to this site) the book is showing at a discounted rate of £31.19 on Amazon – click HERE to pre-order from the site.

Bowie’s Friend Who’s A Girl

A short piece in the latest edition of Uncut Magazine about Dana Gillespie and her new book.

They spoke to her early on in the MainMan podcast series, in which she pretty much described herself as David Bowie’s f*** buddy – well, I guess a bit more than that – but she was emphatic that she was NOT his “girlfriend”. Merely more a friend who just happened to be a girl. “And, sometimes we got a bit…horizontal.” Needs must. Lol

It actually sounded like from her telling of it, that they felt quite kindred and enjoyed a very artistic tete-a-tete. Her relationship with him was certainly vastly different to that of Hermione Farthingale. And it endured for far longer. They remained life-long friends.

Lucky Dana.