The Billy Breakdown 20/11/2021

I don’t know how long this new idea will last, but this is the start of a new concept for a weekly post here. It’s going to be called the “Billy Breakdown” and will basically be a short (or long-ish, depending upon how much I feel needs to be discussed) discussion about the previous evening’s edition of the Billy Sloan Show on BBC Radio Scotland.

There was no interviewee this week so the show was fairly crammed full of music this week, which was great. 

There were some really great tunes played this week. Standouts for me were the Wet Leg single, Chaise Lounge, which has now been a constant earworm for me over the past few days. I find the song absolutely SEXY AF. That part of the second verse “hey you, over there / on the chaise lounge in your underwear / what are you doing sitting down / you should be horizontal now” – I mean…come on! It doesn’t leave much to the imagination, does it!? But then there is also “hey you, in the front row / are you coming backstage after the show / because I’ve got a chaise lounge in my dressing room / and a pack of warm beer that we can consume.” Goddamnit, I wish! And no surprises as to who with, either. Bejaysus! 

Anyway, enough of Chaise Lounge and my sexual fantasies. 

Other things about the show this week that I loved:

Inwardly dancing like a loon to Magazine’s Because You’re Frightened. What a tune! And to hear Billy describe John McGeoch as “a beautiful man” – that was lovely. I wish I had got to know of John further back in time than I have done. Malcolm Garrett spoke very kindly of him to me also. He told me they shared a flat together for a time. He is greatly missed by a lot of people.

Hearing the new Johnny Marr single, Tenement Time again – that’s a catchy fucker too! He’s making some cracking music right now. Wish he could share some of that Halloween Scorp magic with me so I could become some super stellar, amazeballs person. 

The Associates – The Rhythm Divine. Another person greatly missed by many is Billy McKenzie. What an incredible voice – and I sat listening, captivated. Stunning. 

Loved the Wings songs played during the “Live and Dangerous” part of the show. It has made me want to hunt down and listen to Wings Over America. 

Then the Skids’ TV Stars. Never heard that before. That’s fab. 

Highlight and surprise of the night? – Highlight was the Lola In Slacks track Strawberry Locks. Wow – what a hypnotic kind of thing that was! It was bloody braw! Surprise of the night was The Scars’ Your Attention Please – and Billy giving me an education, name-dropping an Australian poet I had never heard of in my life! A man by the name of Peter Porter, who had written the poem The Scars track is based upon. Wow, it had some clout, that!

The topic for this week was to choose a song that has a list within the lyrics, be it placenames, items of food, clothing, people… whatever. As long as it listed things. The songs I enjoyed hearing on the topic were producer Gregor’s choice of Adam And The Ants’ Christian Dior, and the other was Ian Dury And The Blockheads’ Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3. I’ve heard the song a few times over the years, but never really took any heed of the lyrics until last night. He was always great with words. My fave line? Unsurprisingly enough is the line “being in my nuddy” – not that I go about naked – just …. Certain imagery that I conjure up thinking of other persons (hint hint). I don’t need to elaborate any further on that, either, I don’t think! 

My choice for this week’s topic came to me quite late. I saw Billy ask the question as I was putting myself to bed on Tuesday night. And I went and had a look at the choices people had left on Facebook on Wednesday morning and saw that someone had chosen Up On The Catwalk. Nothing immediately sprang to my mind on Wednesday morning so I left even trying to think about coming up with a song. Then last night when he asked the question again shortly before going to air – like a shot John Grant’s Marz came to my brain. Marz is basically a list of ice cream flavours that he turns into verses of the song. Marz is meant to be about a place he’d go to as a kid. An ice cream parlour and they had all these fantastical ice cream flavours. It was one of his favourite places to go. For a song about ice cream flavours, it’s really quite beautiful. And I have that silly memory of being in Oz, and Jim writing a post about St Patrick’s Day, choosing a John Grant song and then him posting a link to Marz for me in the comments. Me forever associating the line “you’ll get your heart’s desire, I will meet you under the lights” as a wish to meet him at the stage doors after a gig as a wish that may by fulfilled sooner than I think, if I have the gumption to stand about and wait. Oh, Bridlington…

My choice wasn’t read out this week. Probably got lost in the deluge. 

Along with Up On The Catwalk, I Travel was also chosen by a listener. 

Billy played another track from Peter Capaldi’s St Christopher album and he said they had one of the most amazing responses ever to his interview the previous week with Peter. He said “I’ve interviewed some big names over these past years on Radio Scotland”, and Jim got mentioned amongst those “big names”. That’s Billy making sure he stays on Jim’s Christmas card list! Lol

As for next week he said “I am hoping to get a guest for next week, but nothing has been finalised yet.” Hmmm, a mystery! I wonder who it could be? I kind of wondered with the couple of name-drops that Jim got and that next week’s show will be on November 27th as to whether it might be Charlie on the show? That could be quite fab! 

We shall see!

Link to the show on BBC Sounds HERE

I Wanna Go To Mars (Bar) – Caught (Out) In A Dream

I have tentatively started to work on revising my Top 50 list of SM songs. Probably a good thing to do before finishing my “Why I love…” posts that I started over 5 years ago. Where the fork has that time gone? Us humans have the most bizarre relationship with time, don’t you think? On one hand, a certain passage of time feels so much longer than it has been – on the other, it can disappear within the blink of an eye.
I can’t believe it has been 5 years since I was last spending time with mum.

Back to last night. There was a song I had in my memory. A song that I had asked Jim about and he (it already becoming a rarer thing by that point) replied to me about it. And I wanted to find that bit of “conversation” with him. Me in that eternal need to feel like…I could talk to him…that it meant something – not just to me, but to him too. Albeit just as the singer and songwriter of the band I fervently follow most passionately to all others. It just being that and nothing more to him.

But I couldn’t for the life of me remember what the song was called! And I knew I had written about it on my blog. Well, I would assumed I had – because I’d have been over the moon that he replied to me. I would have made something of it! But without remembering the song’s name, how the heck was I going to find it?

I had other songs in me head – Take Me To The Angels and Sweet Things. I listened to Take Me To The Angels – not entirely convinced it was that. It lead nowhere on a search of my blog. Had it been that, it would have unearthed my “tete-a-tete” with Jim about it. Nada. The song is great though.

Sweet Things I was even less convinced about as I know before listening to it, it became the track Destiny on the Life In A Day album. And I knew the conversation I had with Jim was about a song that never made it on Life In A Day – it was my premise for asking him about it – why hadn’t this song made the cut? What happened to it?

Although I was doubtful, I listened to Sweet Things too. Again, great. Although Jim’s lyrics are hard to decipher on a rather worn out old bootleg, obviously the song’s melody and tune is there – its musical structure in tact (albeit with a MUCH longer intro than what Destiny ended up with on the album). I guess Jim just wore his heart on his sleeve a bit more then? That he was fine with completely rewriting songs . The songs he’s rewritten? They obviously all work…but I canne help feel something gets lost along the way. Even if just the matter-of-fact notion that the previous words are discarded.

I am still no closer at this point. My search took me to Flickr as well, and my old catalogue of things. Art that I saved. Endless screengrabs of snippets of things that happened on SMO (what was THEN Simple Minds Official – no need for officialdom now, it seems). Bits of interactions with Jim. I quickly combed through it but I really couldn’t see anything that was relevant. Perhaps I hadn’t saved it? Hmmm. That would be odd!

So…how the heck was a going to find this thing?!

A theme became apparent to me from the other tracks I had just listened to. Both Sweet Things and Take Me To The Angels came from live recordings. I was working a bit blind last night (in bed, glasses off) so in my mind they had both come from the same gig at the Mars Bar. It is only looking again this morning that I see that Sweet Things came from a recording at Grangemouth at the end of 1978.

But I had a tentative thread in my mind – Simple Minds at the Mars Bar in 1978. That search on YouTube finally came up trumps!

Caught (Out) In A Dream! That’s the one! I listened to it again last night. It meanders a bit. It’s a bit drawn out. But…it’s band history. It still has its own bit of importance. If nobody else wants to champion discarded songs – esp. Jim (I have only just in these past few minutes read over his reply to me), then I will! Even if just for band history sake.

I’m sure there are a few songs that never even got recorded that are truly lost for good. That makes me feel sad. It’s kind of tragic. Jim may not see it this way…but everything Simple Minds has made and produced…it all has its special kind of magic. And, well, it might not all be magical to me…but I appreciate that certain things that don’t mean much to me can mean a heck of a lot to others. I’m sure he’d scoff at the notion but just…what if Caught (Out) In A Dream (I always add the “out” in brackets because I am sure he sings “caught out in a dream” which would then make more sense it was titled that way rather than dropping the word “out” in the song’s title?) was the song that cemented a person’s early fandom? Who knows? Yes, perhaps the band didn’t miss it but…you guys knew all the songs! Duh!

Anyway…I awoke this morning dreaming of a TARDIS and of the Mars Bar – a just turned 19 year old Jim in that David Bowie shirt he is wearing when Laurie Evans takes photos of the band outside – what I believe *is* the Mars Bar in 1978. Oh, he just looks glorious even then. And I hear the words from John Grant’s song…

“I wanna go to Marz (Mars Bar)
Where green rivers flow
And your sweet sixteen
Is waiting for you after the show
I wanna go to Marz
You’ll meet the gold dust twins tonight
You’ll get your heart’s desire
I will meet you under the lights”

I can never help but think of Jim with those lines. And me wishing I could time travel, and be that “sweet sixteen” waiting for him after the show. That he would meet me “under the lights”.

Dreaming of a life never lived….

P.S. It was so much further back in time than I had anticipated. Nearly three years ago was his reply to me! And I hold on to them so tightly…it felt to me like it was maybe a year ago, two years at most. Oh…I hold on to every little morsel SSSOOO tightly. I miss this SSSOOOOOO much!

“I Will Meet You Under The Lights”.

Of course I have dreamed of meeting Jim even before he shared the link to John Grant’s Marz to me on St Patrick’s Day last year, but that heightened the notion. Because…he was giving me so much attention last year, I saw it as a personal thing…and read a message in the lyrics that are no doubt not there. I read all the “your sweet sixteen is waiting for you after the show….you’ll get your heart’s desire….I will meet you under the lights” as some kind of message that…one day, I may just meet him back stage.

And then, there were no dates for gigs in the UK. The year went on…and I just didn’t think I would have that chance. I asked him to meet me for doughnuts in Glasgow…ever hopeful he would come along and meet me. Lol. Fool! Why on earth would he want to? I got disheartened, but I never expected anything different. I had whipped myself up into a frenzy in believing that maybe…just…maybe he might…just the slimmest chance! But I knew in my heart of hearts it wasn’t going to happen.

Then by the Hackney gig…because of the way I behaved leading up to it (re: the doughnut date and his “no show” and my disappointment in it) and then having watched him on the stage…the eye contact game…I was just…mortified and petrified of meeting him. So I didn’t go back stage and try.

So…this leads me to Jim’s post tonight. 

I could understand Annick feeling disappointed. Her emotions were high. She was expressing a feeling. And the thing is…Jim apologised to her! Yes…he didn’t have to, but he did. And he explained why it happened. And it was very gracious of him.

Those who jumped down Annick’s throat? Okay…she may not have worded herself well (English is obviously NOT her first language)…but MOST of you replying to her had had the good fortune to meet Jim. Just about every person I saw replying said “Well said, jim. But….when I met you”…or words to that effect. 

Just imagine having waited 35 years…you’ve been to loads of gigs, but it has just NEVER happened (I’m not sure this is true in Annick’s case….I’m playing Devil’s advocate here). Wouldn’t you feel just a tad…down? 

And Jim felt it neceessary to apologise to her, so you lot can STFU too. There are two sides. YES! The band owe us NOTHING beyond performing for us for the concert we’ve just bought a ticket for. ANYTHING after that is a bonus. And you shouldn’t expect it! But it’s okay to feel a little sad about it. 

Having seen John Grant last Tuesday…prior to the gig, the fans I met, the GMFs, some had been to Hull and told me stories of meeting him and just how lovely and humble and gracious he is. After the gig, I sssooooo wanted to see if I could meet him, thank him personally…give my wishes and love to Oleg for him to pass on. I didn’t get the chance. And it was fine. 

BUT I GET IT!

CONVERSELY…

I get that Jim is tired. He’s had a long day. I don’t know how he sleeps (or more aptly…how anyone else sleeps on the coach as he must snore like a trooper!). He’s just had (not quite! Bone of contention here) 2 hours on stage. It’s past his bed time. He’s (whispers) 57…ticking on (another whisper) 58. Yes…there are 75 year old blokes bodybuilding…but we all age differently. I can’t get down on my knees like Jim does, and I’m 46! 

I wish SM still had private messages on because sometimes I think things like this would be better said one on one, between fan and band. Even just a personal reply to Annick on her wall post may have been better. I suppose Jim just wanted to make ALL fans aware. But it made Annick feel horrible. 

I know some will say “good”! There is a thin line between agreeing, and sycophantic point-scoring. Those who say “Oh, well said, Jim. When I met you in…[insert after gig moment/time/date]” feel a little…kowtowing to me. 

As I say, I get both sides! There have been plenty of pictures of Jim meeting fans so far. How they do it? Who knows? Great stalking skills. They know people…friends of friends of friends. They have been fans for years and are like old friends, like Chema (that photo of Jim hugging him was beautiful!).

I would love to meet Jim. I feel the clock ticking! I don’t have the time on my side that fans of 30+ years have had. I’m not trying to sound morbid or maudlin…it’s just a fact. At best, there maybe half the time left for the band (ie: 15 years). Anything can happen at any day. I can be hit by a bus tomorrow. When I’m dead, will I miss not having met Jim? No. These things only matter while we live.

I’m SSOO scared of being a gibbering idiot in front of him…not being able to be articulate…not laugh my stupid nervous laugh…look like an absolute fat dumpling, etc, etc. It’ll all be there in my head, distracting me from the moment, if it ever arises. 

It doesn’t have to happen. I have had SSSOOO much interaction with Jim already! The things he has done for me. The replies I’ve had from him. My art shared and signed. HE HAS ART I HAVE DONE ON HIS WALLS (supposedly)! Nothing could ever really top that! 

I would love to meet him…but I would be just as happy if he said my name. THAT is my dying wish. Just for him to say my name. I would love to hear that so much….

And there’s the dilemma. I may only hear him say it once I meet him! :-/ 

****IF**** I ever meet him….

Marz – John Grant 

A fan shared these lyric sheets from the Union Chapel gig on the GMF fan page on Facebook after the show last week.

Jim linked to this song when I said back last year (after he shared the Pale Green Ghosts vid for St Patrick’s Day) that I “need to get me some John Grant”. Silly…but if felt like “a moment” 🙂

I hope I do “get [your] my heart’s desire” and hope Jim will “meet [you] me under the lights”. One can only wish…