The Short(bread) News Grapevine

Exciting news! There will be a new “Priptona Talks” interview on the blog soon. I am excited by this one! As I have been with all my previous interviews. More details on that to come, so keep an eye out.

Last week there was a rather unexpected parcel that arrived on my doorstep. The sender of this parcel? One Francis Xavier Gallagher! I had left a comment on a post of his in which he had shown some shortbread for sale in his wife’s haberdashery store. I asked him if he made the shortbread himself. He confirmed that indeed it was he who makes it. I said in reply that I’d love to try it. “Stand by, Madame” was his reply.

At that point I thought “Oh, he’s not going to send me some is he? Nah! He would nae!”

Well, he bloody did! And not just some shortbread, but a Soundman Confidential mug in which to brew the bevvy that would accompany the shortbread, and some badges and a sticker. How bloody wonderful is that?!

Marks out of 10 for the shortbread? Delicious! 10/10! It had the mark of quality – both buttery and crumbly. The only downside to it all was – there wasn’t enough! You get a taste of something that good, you want more!

The best bit about the mug for me? Because I am left-handed, the logo stays facing me. Frank’s eyebrows follow me around the room! Lol.

On top of all that, news that…the rhythm section of Simple Minds (at least) – Ged and Cherisse are back into rehearsing SM material. Not sure what the rest of the band are up to, but at least there is some practice going on! With only seven weeks to go until the tour gets under way – FINGERS ARTHRITICALLY CROSSED – it’s great to have some optimism going on within the band dynamic that the tour WILL go ahead.

January – Go! Don’t go!

What does one do when the creative writing well seems dry? Find a topic? Pick something?

It’s nearing the end of the first week of January. I could talk to you about howJanuary feels to me? It feels like a month of 62 days! Most of the time…

But this time may just be different. We are almost one week in to this (usually) most arduous of months. At this rate it will sail by! But that is the trap January usually sets. It starts out fleeting and then seems to grind to a laborious halt around midway through. 

It’s definitely a northern hemisphere affliction, the long, arduous January. I have no recollection of Januarys lagging while I was growing up. In fact it was very much the opposite. Januarys were all too fleeting. It’s the height of summer in the southern hemisphere and for kids on the east coast of Australia, it’s summer holidays. Schools break up a few days before Christmas, and when I was growing up we had a six week break from school. We didn’t return to school until the second week of February. Yay!! It’s a little different down there now as there is an extended break over Easter that didn’t happen when I was going to school. At Easter back then it was just Good Friday and Easter Monday off school. Now there is a full week off school which means summer holidays are now generally five weeks long and the school year starts at the end of January in New South Wales, at least. 

So, as you can appreciate, the Januarys of my childhood felt like they were only maybe a week or two weeks long. And the end of January was dreaded! It meant the return to school was imminent. Now – the end of January is to be celebrated! The days are getting incrementally longer and, at long last, the month is done with! There is light at the end of the bleak, mid-winter tunnel. Hurrah!

This January is different. There are things to look forward to! My university study begins in just over two weeks time. And a few days after that, the new book on Simple Minds – Themes For Great Cities gets released. I’m looking forward to hearing everyone else’s thoughts on that. Also, Sarah Brown is releasing the debut single off her new solo album. That will be fantastic to hear.

What other news to come of Simple Minds? I pray there are some! March quite literally marches on and we are still quite deep into this Covid thing. Is the fear of it now vastly exceeding its threat to our lives? I feel we have turned that corner due to the vaccine rollout. It is very obvious the vaccines have done an incredible job by and large by reducing the severity of symptoms and effects, of not necessarily severity and rate of contagion. 

I am as doubtful of the prospect of seeing Simple Minds in Paris in March as I was by mid March of 2020. But then I had the gratitude of having just seen them in Copenhagen and the blind optimism that the Covid pandemic would be over in a few months at worst. 

April is a more promising prospect. And all within the UK, so perhaps even if on a personal level Paris proves a no-no, I am…mildly confident I will see the band come April.

But what else is there on the horizon to look forward to? Jim’s posts of late have been more on the personal, or of band history, not much of what’s to come – which is incredibly odd for a forward thinker like Jim. I guess he’s just as flummoxed as the rest of us about what the imminent future holds? There was talk of new music last year, but little of that has been discussed since. No news (from the next world) is good news? We’ll see in due course, I guess.

Perhaps I am better at this “writing from scratch” with a blank page in front of me than I give myself credit for?!

It bodes well for the study. Over the weekend I looked at the breakdown of my course. I could see what the whole academic year looked like. The topics we’ll be covering every week and what is required for each assessment during the year. I am excited. The Arts and Humanities is so broad. We’ll be looking at many things, from Cleopatra, to Elizabeth I, Gothic Architecture, painting and Greek and Roman sculpture, Mozart, The Blues, Philosophy, poetry, art from central and southern Africa. I am champing at the bit to dive in.

Today, January is flying by and I am welcoming its end for vastly different reasons than I normally would be. 

Let the year begin!

In the meantime…a nod to January…

Looking Forward To Gay Paris!

There’s a break for me now in the gigs I have coming up. I’ll be in Edinburgh at the end of the month for my birthday treat of seeing a touring production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – making it my sixth time seeing the show and the first time seeing it since the last show I saw in Milton Keynes in 2012.

I have a couple of Warm Digits gigs in November – once again heading to Edinburgh to see them and then a few nights later back here in Glasgow.

After that, I have two shows book for December. Warm Digits once again, this time in Newcastle…but that has a question mark over for now. Then two nights later on Dec 18th, I’ve booked to see Memes at McChuills.

Then in January, a Celtic Connections gig and then The Stranglers at the O2 Academy. Nothing for February – as far as I am aware… but in all honesty, your guess is as good as mine. I didn’t even remember I booked The Stranglers gig until a couple of weeks back when I was sorting out my email account.

And then…March! Which I had been discussing last night and today with my gig buddy and partner-in-crime, Birdy.

Over the past 24 hours I have sorted flights to Paris (goddamn gotta fly to and back from Edinburgh as flights from/to Glasgow don’t run as frequently as they do from Auld Reekie) and sorted out a place to stay right near the venue. And by ‘eck – WHAT A VENUE! I am allowing myself some mild excitement once again. This will probably be my only venture to see SM outside of the UK next year. I have thoroughly kissed goodbye to Taormina and I am only tentatively contemplating a return to Dublin now (I have a ticket for the Dublin gig though). I’m not relishing the idea of a flight with Ryanair …. but I may consider other options to get there. We’ll see. If not then we have… Paris, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle…(Dublin?)…Blenheim Palace….Edinburgh.

Paris will be the first Simple Minds gig, almost two years to the day since I saw them in Copenhagen. I am lamenting there is now only one day between Paris and Bordeaux as it now means Bordeaux cannot happen for us. With it being during the week and only a day in between it just isn’t working out now. Bordeaux was a pricey mistake anyway, goddamnit!

In the meantime….check out the Paris venue! La Seine Musicale…beautiful!

Jim Kerr Interview – Q Magazine – March 1998

The caption on the first photo – There was so much talk about Jim’s “penny whistle” at the time. Bloody hell! Also…the end of the article…him going on about Mariella Frostrup. Tie a knot in it, Kerr! Surely you were already with somebody else by this point? You’re never alone for long, it seems. I could comment further…but I won’t.

Anyway, I guess you can’t keep a good man down….

Click on the images for better and maximum viewing options.

As a side note of what was discussed above is this (below). I stumbled upon it about a week ago. Don’t ask me how I got there – despite how it looks, rather bloody innocently, I can assure you! It was printed in the Sunday Mirror on September 4th, 2005. They obviously had Jim look at a bunch of photos of himself and comment on them. The article was titled “My Pap Pics: Jim Kerr” and I’m guessing he was shown a rather “revealing” photo of himself? The “Brussels banana” photo, perhaps? The photos of the article weren’t printed, just the text. Anyway…here are his MODEST words about it. He was rather more modest several years later….shrinkage? 😂😂😂

So…who are we to believe? Bragging Jim of 2005? Or modest Jim of 2014 interviewed in the Irish Independent newspaper?

Answers on a QR-coded postcard…

Virgin Boys With Warm Fizz

I’m a lucky, lucky girl to work for my Boss Lady (as I affectionately call her) – Virginia Turbett, because I get to enjoy some perks. One being viewing wonderful photos before many others get to see them.

Today I was asked to post these to Instagram with the following caption:

“Due to popular demand – here are a couple of never printed and never scanned images of Simple Minds on the day in March 1981 when they signed to Virgin. See the gorgeous, young laddies from Scotland sup warm champagne out of plastic beakers in the artfully ‘junk shop’ styled office of Virgin MD Simon Draper. Also there that day were Virgin A&R Legends and Minds Super-fans – Ross Stapleton and Ronnie Gurr, both of whom have championed the band from their earliest gigs to this day.”

Gorgeous young laddies alright! Lord knows I have my preference. “WHO could it be?” You’re all wondering….well…. his first name rhymes with a slang term for a certain body part! 😱😉 That’ll keep you lot guessing…and if you’re brave enough – comment your answers and if someone gets it right, I’ll send you a print – of my artwork…not of Virginia’s. Sorry – I have no authority to do that!

Anyway…geez, what a momentous day that Virgin signing was, eh?

Minds Music Monday – Superman V Supersoul

Today is the official calendar start of spring – but I much prefer to think of it in seasonal terms and don’t really feel any real sense of spring until the equinox on March 20th.

That in mind, I wanted to choose something that conjured up warmth and light and joy and optimism, and maybe a bit of Utopia and in the case of this song, enlightenment. Something to symbolise that, indeed, spring is on the way.

I knew it was a spiritual song. You can hear it and sense it without being told, as it delivers that sense, that feeling of a warm spring day. A warming of the soul.

But I actually hadn’t read the info on Dream Giver about it – or if I had, it was so long ago, none of it ever really sank in.

Having read it last night, I was moved by Jim’s words. Moved by how moved HE was by the song.

I can’t help but feel it was semi-autobiographical what he had written in the email? That perhaps it was he who had the dream of the wedding procession and of the Prince (aka Krishna) and the beautiful coquettish brides. That he was the man left standing in the loft apartment staring at the painting on the kitchen wall.

He has talked about the Bhagavad Gita several times in the past. It has had quite an influence on him over the years.

I enjoyed it too, having read it from him mentioning it again in recent years.

I’ll share the piece Jim had written about Superman v Supersoul below. There are so many days in which I miss him and I miss just…feeling with him, connected to him, part of him. More than just through music and through a “singer and fan” dynamic.

I know I have to stop going on about it! And I know I have to find some kind of closure as it has so obviously come to an end – whatever “this” was. Whatever connection I felt there was. Whatever skewed imagining of “togetherness” I had deludedly conjured up for myself and dreamed for myself. It has obviously faded.

For want of painting myself a dream and walking into it to experience it and live it in my subconscious, I better “get real”.

I miss the romance of the togetherness. Of feeling kindred. Of feeling sometimes I could allow to kid myself that, on the odd occasion, there was a “like mind”. That we were connected beyond the music. And that it wasn’t just me that felt it.

(The end of the first paragraph of Jim’s words … God is a DJ? “This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts.”)

UPDATE: (later the same morning) I mixed up my books! I tried to read Bhagavad Gita but got lost in the rambling preface of the copy I bought – an English translation of the book from German – and didn’t continue to read it. So in actual fact, I was mixing up my Siddhartas (which I have read) with my Bhagavad Gitas (not actually read yet) – and I’m wondering if Jim didn’t do the same in this email? I may just have to have another attempt at reading Bhagavad Gita.

One made a very long time ago – in March, 2016, in fact.

People are finding God in different places. Some stare at the sky. Others walk the desert. A friend of mine recently put forward the notion that God has taken to stalking the floors of discotheques!

The scenario in the song: An individual, closing his eyes after staring long and hard at a beautiful painting of a scene from the “Bhagavad Gita” finds that he is transported body and soul into the painted image – which in fact becomes reality all around him. There suspended in time for what feels like a whole night he finds himself drowning in the sights and sounds of a wedding procession which is taking place in the most heavenly blue moonlit garden.

All around him the most sensuous music drifts and he listens while watching the screams and laughter of the beautiful young brides who cannot contain themselves as they receive the flirting and teasing attention of an obvious boy prince, who must be no other than Lord Krishna… the sense of joy is palpable as peacocks mesmerize, and it’s there and then our character decides that this can only be the one true paradise…

Suddenly it’s gone, where to!, where from? The man is left staring out the window of his loft apartment at the shimmering lights of the cityscape; and the sprawling chaos of the streets below. He vows on the spot to completely change his way of life; and tears well as he shifts his eyes back to the small calendar painting, given to him free last year, on the street by a “devotee” and now hanging on his kitchen wall.

Paradise.” – Jim, e-mail, 11th March 1998

Also: Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus

Maxed Out In Minutes – The Anchoress Q&A For Rough Trade

It seems a bit surplus to need of highlighting this, as the tickets for it have already gone – FLOWN OUT ON THE WINDOW in mere hours (perhaps only minutes? Bloody quick sticks anyway!) – but I will talk of it anyway.

On release day, Catherine will conduct a Q&A for Rough Trade, hosted by Pete Paphides about her new album, The Art of Losing.

Thank god I didn’t hang about in getting my ticket as there was only a limit of 300 available. Perhaps that may expand to further tickets released? Who knows? Perhaps the Q&A can be seen later?

I’ll look forward to it and count the days. Have been counting the days of release anyway.

In the meantime, you can check out current single (and title track) The Art Of Losing below.

Studio Time – And Other News

Great news from Sarah Brown’s social media pages yesterday. Some more good news would be most welcome.

There is such conflicting stuff I’m seeing at the moment when it comes to live music. Who knows where we’ll be by the summer?

I’m not feeling very hopeful. The 1975 have cancelled all their 2021 dates, meanwhile Field Music have just announced a new tour for October – even in January, that seems ambitious.

We booked for Scritti Politti Cupid And Psyche ‘85 tour in September but…yeah, it’s already starting to look doubtful.

Simple Minds still have dates in March for France and Germany – yet to be rescheduled again. I guess they’re just abandoning them outright? Confirmation of a cancellation would be good right now.

My flights with EasyJet to France and Italy have been cancelled – with no dates for rescheduling so….

It doesn’t bear thinking about. Anyway.

Some good news, at least.

5×5 Live Dublin Mini Set – YouTube

A lovely 30 minute chunk of Simple Minds recorded in Dublin in March, 2012. Really nicely done. Fine video work, Trevor. Thank you so much for filming it and taking the care to add better audio. Excellent work!

For those of us who missed the tour, this is as near to a TARDIS as we’ll get.

Geez, how I’d love there to be another 5×5 style tour. I know it won’t happen. I guess Jim thinks he’s just too past it for that stuff now. The more time moves on, the more gutted I am that my diehard fandom didn’t take in 2006, for had it done so, I know I’d have been at as many 5×5 shows as I could have afforded to be at on that tour.

FUCKING GODDAMNIT!

“Regrets. I’ve had a few, but then again….PROBABLY JUST THIS ONE!”

Copenhagen Bonus – Setlist And Charlie Burchill Plectrum

After show two I hung around the stage to see if a setlist might be on offer. After about 10 minutes I decided to give up. But before leaving the venue I thought “I’ll go over to GG and say goodnight.”
“How was it?”, he asked. “Amazing!”, I said. “Did you get to see both shows?” “Yes.”
“Ah!”, he says “wait”, and opens a drawer and hands me a setlist “I put this aside for you.” How lovely was that?!
Thank you, GG! You are a gentleman ❤️

But that wasn’t the only lovely thing to happen! Just before that…as the show ended, Charlie was handing out plectrums and although I was near, I missed out. After he walked off stage, there was a tap on my shoulder. A lady behind me handed me one. She showed me that she had two of them and offered one to me. So, so lovely! I thanked her profusely.

Two gifts from the most extraordinary night.

Copenhagen was “Wonderful, wonderful”….
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