I had a mix of dreams this morning. Some were a little anxiety inducing. Others were just about all I dream of every day of my life.
I was sitting in a rather fantoosh looking kitchen…a kind of breakfast bar area of this kitchen. So…not in my house this place. I guess I was in his house/apartment? Or maybe it’s part of the hotel? There’s maybe some clue as to who my guest was (or more that I was HIS guest). Yes! I was dreaming that I was hanging out with Jim. Already I could just stop here and just be happy with this. That I was with him, being in his company.
I should have known INSTANTLY it was a dream because this will NEVER HAPPEN in real life. I feel as though I am the very LAST PERSON he’d ever want to spend time with, but in the dream he was happy. Relaxed and very smiley. And not the usual slightly arrogant and rather snidey Jim that I am faced with whenever I am in his presence. This time he was just happy to have me there with him and of course I was over the moon being there, and more relaxed than usual because I felt he was genuinely happy for me to be there with him.
And we were just sitting about talking.
It was a lovely sunny morning and the sunlight was streaming in. Some bits of the dream are a little sketchy. I’m not sure exactly what we had been talking about, or how we got to this subject but we were – well, he was initially – talking about Mel. He was reminiscing and being quite nostalgic. Saying how he had enjoyed having Mel working on Lostboy and that the tour was great. Then he said to me “I dreamed of him last night and when I opened my phone up this morning, his phone number appeared first.”
At this point in the dream I freaked out a bit because as I went on to tell Jim…. “OMG! That is really freaky! A similar thing happened to me last night. I was dreaming of Mel also and when I opened my phone this morning, the first thing I see is a photo of him!”
We both sat there smiling away in a strange kind of disbelief. Both a little astounded by our similar dreams. Just both of us kind of looking at each other a tad gobsmacked.
“You need to call him, Jim”, I say to him. “Do you talk to all the bands you’re fans of like this?”, he says back to me. “Lol, no”, I retort.
And then the dream ended. It was just very surreal and very lovely and I wish for all the world it was real. For all the world that Jim would actually WANT to sit around in a kitchen and just chat away with me and spend time with me. I honestly can’t think of anything more wonderful. Or anything that I want more in this world.
As soon as I “wakened up”, I started to hear the chords to this, because I had just experienced a “dream within a dream”….
Well, think this has to be the charity event of the year, so far – Drumathon Live. Both Cherisse Osei and Mel Gaynor took part. I watched both their stints at the kit and both were awesome.
But I have to that Cherisse’s set up really gave the feel of being at a gig. She was in a darkened room, with golden lights beaming in. It looked really great and sounded fabulous.
Here are some screenshots of both of them drumming away.
The drumathon ends tomorrow evening, so there is still time to watch some amazing drummers and also to make a donation. It’s what it’s all about after all! The donation you make will go to several mental health charities in the UK. Please give if you can! Go to www.drumathon.live to view the drummers and make a donation.
You can’t escape it. The thing that hits you when your first hear this song is Charlie’s pedal affected riff that makes it sound for all the world like a cow has entered the recording studio to add a repetitive “mooooo” to the music. It’s a bit of an “in joke” in amongst the Simple Minds fanbase, but we love it all the same! Oh, and…the backbeat. The “holy backbeat”. The drumming is awesome!
There isn’t a lot of information on the song on Dream Giver, which means it remains one of Simple Minds’ most elusive songs. I mean…what the heck is it about actually? The lyrics are Jim at his most ambiguous.
“He wants the world screams everything” – men are petulant and demanding? “She’s a country feel for life” – women are mysterious and a frontier to be explored and possibly tamed? “Follows in love, love brings the fall” – it’ll only end in tears? Love makes fools of us all?
I guess this is a prime example of what I was talking about in last week’s MMM about songs not really having to be about anything at all.
I have long talked about two lines in the song being the most either enigmatic, or the most poignant.
The first of the two is the line, “first tear forms in the right eye / this is the eye that’s crying first” – it is SUCH an ambiguous, perplexing line. It’s always induced a head scratch and a pondering in me. I have never been conscious of my tears falling at different points from different eyes. I find it such a strange and curious notion.
When I was reading the Alasdair Gray novel, Lanark, last year, I happened upon a passage of the book which read as follows…
“I must be a very cold selfish kind of person. If Mum died I honestly don’t think I’d feel much about it. I can’t think of anyone, Dad, Ruth, Robert Coulter, whose death would much upset or change me. Yet when reading a poem by Poe last week, Thou wast that all to me, love, for which my soul did pine, etc., I felt a very poignant strong sense of loss and wept six tears, four with the left eye, two with the right. Mum isn’t going to die of course but this coldness of mine is a bit alarming.”
Gray would have probably written those words in the late nineteen seventies, if not earlier. He had been writing the novel since he was 20 years old. Lanark was first published in February, 1981. Had Jim actually read a copy upon release? I know he likes to devour his books and seemingly during that early period, Charlie was an even more voracious reader than Jim. Did those words in the book spark something within Jim and result in that line in the song?
If you remember from last week and the excerpts from interviews I shared when posting about In Trance As Mission, Jim said that inspiration came from all kinds of places.
“More and more ‘image’ is important for bands now,” Kerr enthuses, “as opposed to the sound of jumping up and down. You can be inspired by various actors, playwrights, books, documentaries and magazines – the whole thing. It’s just opened up and inspiration now is coming from everywhere, as opposed to what was rock standards.” (Jim talking with Ian Cranna for New Sounds New Styles magazine printed in the December 1981 issue.)
The other line is one I find quite downcast and melancholy from Jim, on the surface, but it ends up shining and giving hope like many of the lines he has written does. “When the other side of midnight calls / remind me I’m glad to be here.”
I can interpret it either one of two ways, dependent upon my mood. The melancholic way – “another day is gone and I need a reminder that I am here and life is meant to be enjoyed”. Or the uplifting way “after midnight, it’s a new day. Give me that kick that it’s great to be alive”. There’s an element of doubt in it, “REMIND me I’m glad to be here”. If you are to derive true positivity from it, you shouldn’t need a REMINDER of being “glad to be here”, should you? But then I guess it begs the question, what is “here”? Here in this moment? Here on earth? Here, existing? Here, with you?
Yes, I do over-analyse as you can see. But it’s about learning. Getting to the heart and meaning of the song – if there is indeed meant to be one.
There is also a bone of contention I have with some of the words printed for the lyrics. I am sure that during the second verse that he doesn’t merely repeat the same line over again but splits it up accordingly “breath is in, breath is out / I’m not saying anything, I’ve said too much – breath is in, breath is out / I’m not seeing anything, I’ve seen too much.” That’s certainly how I hear it on the studio version anyway.
Now let’s talk about sparsity. I love the space that Jim’s obfuscatory lyrics give to the music of the songs. But also, especially for this song, the words almost act as another instrument. His voice and his words. He has said numerous times that he’s not a musician – because he doesn’t play an instrument. But you use your voice, Jim! THAT is your instrument and back in the early days of Simple Minds more so, and particularly during this period, coinciding with your words, you really DID use it that way. The nuances, the way you used your voice to manipulate the delivery of words. Your accent coming through some, the protracted delivery of others. All of that is using your voice as an instrument. Okay, it’s not opera. You’re no Pavarotti. But for me, 70 Cities is a prime example of your voice needing to be there. I love the song so much but I don’t listen to the instrumental version of Sound In 70 Cities because….it feels like nothing without your voice and words in it. Something is lost on Sound In 70 Cities without Jim there. I don’t think it was ever meant to be heard just as an instrumental anyway. It’s a “filler” for the Sister Feelings Call album. Rather crazy that at the end of so much creativity during those sessions that the release of two albums means the second ends up with not enough time filled on it!
Speaking of sparsity… It has hardly appeared on the setlist through the years. It was there for a time on the final leg of the Sons And Fascination tour as well as the early leg of the New Gold Dream tour of 1982, but after that, not a zip. Not until 30 years elapses and they’re on the 5×5 Live tour. It’s a mainstay for the sets on that tour, with just the odd omission here and there when the setlist is reduced for festival slots and suchlike. But then nothing again since 2012.
It is an absolute marathon of a song to perform live vocally though. You have the ability to overdub and merge vocal parts in the studio so the way the vocal parts are layered in the studio is incredibly hard for Jim to replicate live. Live versions required vocal backing harmonies from other band members (namely Forbes and MacNeil in the early runs, then Grimes and Gillespie latterly, I am guessing) to not make it such a vocal slog for Jim. Even with that help, it’s a rather tricky affair.
Getting into the bootlegs as I have done recently I was in raptures hearing live versions of 70 Cities from the 1982 gigs. Firstly from Tiffany’s in Glasgow on July 14th (performed TWICE in one night – the second being even more lively than the first, which you wouldn’t expect at a gig – as a result the second is favoured by me over the first), then at the Hacienda in Manchester a few days later. There is also one from when they played Coasters in Edinburgh in September ‘82 available to hear on YT, and finally one from Toronto in November of ‘82 – which is probably my favourite along with the second of the two performances at Tiffany’s.
Of the modern versions, there’s a cracking one from Cologne in 2012. And I can’t talk of the modern day ones without mentioning the version on the 5×5 Live album – Jim audibly expressing his love for his home away from home, Sicily, rolling off a bunch of town names in his most poetic of “Glasgow Italiano” accents. It’s hard not to smile listening to it, swept up in the sheer joy in his voice. As much as I enjoy that version, Cologne wins out because there is great video footage that accompanies it and Jim is AS HOT AS FUCKING FUCK on that tour. Jesus! I’ll regret not being this kind of SM fan at that point every day of my life. The memories other fans have. And the stories they have of meeting him and him just…going for a drink with them or just…hanging around for a bit. Not just rushing off. It sounded amazing. IN MY DREAMS!
Of course I am amazed and happy with all that I have experienced – but I’ll always dream of more. I’ll always want more! I can’t help it.
You’ll find links to all the versions mentioned below – with my two favourites viewable within the post.
As highlighted on Cherisse’s social media accounts as well as the Simple Minds social media accounts, Cherisse took part in Drumathon Live last night.
The Drumathon is a 264 hour non-stop drumming session, featuring drummers from all different bands from all around the globe. It’s all for charity, raising funds for the NHS and mental health charities, including the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, UK Trauma Council, Mind, NHS Charities Together, and Child Bereavement UK.
Yesterday morning, Cherisse was interviewed for BBC Radio 5 Live about the Drumathon. She also performed a little snippet of Alive And Kicking during the interview.
Mel Gaynor will also be taking part with his drumming slot taking place between 10am and 10pm on Thursday, May 20th.
You can tune into the live stream and donate by visiting drumathon.live
Well, not quite. Norwich anyway. The University of East Anglia, in fact.
I found myself on the hunt for something for someone last night and…going down the usual “rabbit hole” one invariably ends up at.
I was on Twitter looking for relevant info to what I was searching for (no luck!) but I happened upon a couple of photos shared of Jim performing at gigs – which are FLIPPING AMAZING (and previously unseen to me – will share them further below) but also stumbled on this tweet about a lady named Ruth Selwyn-Crome and her memories of seeing Simple Minds on the New Gold Dream tour when it hit the UEA on December 6th, 1982. Excerpt below…
Whatever got him to that look – dying his hair (well, he had been doing that from almost day one of Simple Minds), caking on the dark makeup around his eyes while accentuating and exaggerating his pallid skin tone and combining that with the clothes he wore at that point – he sold himself absolutely and completely right! Whether that was instinctual, or just a “happy accident” and not as with other things he’d do, ruthlessly and meticulously planned, then – hats off to him either way. It was a masterstroke of a look that absolutely matched the sound and mood of New Gold Dream and of that time in general.
I used to refer to him as “Laird Dash Fandango” or “my Goth Prince” – like a kind of New Wave … messiah (almost). He seemed to meld the elements that were all floating around at the time – the dark eye make up and pallid skin was straight out of the goth scene – but Jim was no goth. The baggy trousers and the knee high riding boots, matched with scarf-wearing reflected elements of New Romanticism but again, Jim wasn’t a New Romantic – his way of dress was more understated and still harked back to the traditional a lot of the time. Those baggy troosers simply matched with a collared shirt and some loafers, with the only other hint of a nod to New Romanticism being a flashy belt he’d wear more as a sash or a shoulder of ammunition and have his socks pulled up over his trouser legs, more for the purposes of not tripping over those loose trooser legs. I do find the look of him in this period striking and ssoooo aesthetically beautiful.
The 50 year old me would love to go back to the 11 year old me when seeing the Promised You A Miracle video for the first time and whisper in her ear, “No, just look at him! Really look at him! You have this Aussie idea of a man in your head, all “golden”. But this guy? He’s REAL gold! Celtic gold! Trust me. There will come a time in your life when this man will be EVERYTHING to you! Take him in now! He’s beautiful. Stop fussing over his nipples, because BELIEVE ME, you’ll be fussing over his nipples for very different reasons in the years to come!” Lol
But…I wildly digress and this post is meant to be a link to Ruth’s experience of seeing the Minds in Norwich in ‘82, not my wishes and dreams and feelings on His New Wave Goth Prince Laird Dash Fandango Kerrness.
You can read Ruth’s full piece in the “Memory Tent” section of the University of East Anglia website – LINK HERE
And now, the promised photos… (source links viewable by clicking the photos)
It’s the 18th of November, 1982 and Mel Gaynor is making his live debut for Simple Minds as they play to a raucous home crowd at Tiffany’s in the “Dear Green Place”. Mel’s an accomplished drummer, no question there! But he’s still learning the SM repertoire of songs. Of course he’s familiar enough with what’s on New Gold Dream – it’s his drumming on about 70% of the album’s output. But as for the rest of the Simple Minds catalogue? He had to learn pretty quick!
Mike Ogletree was touring with them through all of 1982 and for whatever reason (he just didn’t quite fit? Who knows? All I know is I have grown a huge amount of respect for Mike over the past six months or so listening to all these bootlegs) they parted ways. I think Mike will always have a subtleness in his playing that Mel lacks (or perhaps just doesn’t use as often – he’s a hitter). And well, I guess Simple Minds probably wouldn’t have sounded QUITE so bombastic on Sparkle In The Rain and Once Upon A Time without Mel behind the kit. It’s an interesting supposition to ponder how things might have progressed with Mike there.
Speaking of Once Upon A Time and the sessions around it (and the reason behind this whole MMM post) – take a listen to this version of Sweat In Bullet from Mel’s debut gig. Is it just me…or does it sound like he’s about to start off playing Don’t You (Forget About Me)? I was genuinely perplexed when the song starts, it’s only when Jim intros it as Sweat In Bullet did I have any idea of what it’s actually meant to be! Lol. Just two nights later at Newcastle and Mel has the rhythm of the song sussed and it’s sounding more like it should. By far one of, if not THE funkiest track Simple Minds have ever produced.
Let me know what you guys think. Do you hear the hallmarks of Mel’s “Don’t You” intro on it?
Art & Talk has been busy leading up to Easter and gave us TWO gigs from the Floating World Tour of 2002 to enjoy over the weekend period.
One is a 10 track FM Broadcast from Amsterdam. The other, from 10 days later, is a full setlist gig at a winery in California.
I haven’t listened to either of them yet, but will do in the days to come. I’ve had another task at hand, which has had me going over gigs from my favourite period – forever stuck in 1982. Lol
I guess there’s trepidation for me, as I start to hear conflicting things from the fanbase for gigs around this era. Early SM gigs are pretty much universally lauded, as much as they are now (with only a small contingent of sour puss’s brandishing all the same old tired-out drivel “the band ain’t the band any more. They’re like a tribute act these days” ya da fucking ya da), but during this kinda of middling period, they seem a bit more hit and miss. But I won’t know unless I listen to them myself! One man’s meat is another man’s poison…as the saying goes.
Not much new content from the band performed with this tour – we only hear Spaceface from the first gig, and One Step Closer is added for the second. It smacks of not being TOO assured of your new output to only have a couple of newbies in your setlist.
Anyways, enough waffling – get your lugholes round them!
A “new” recording from Art & Talk was dropped late on Monday night. A true bootleg, recorded from within the crowd. For a bootleg, the quality is absolutely AMAZING!
They open with Waterfront. Jim intros it with “this is Barrowland, this is Christmas, you’re Glasgow and this is Waterfront.” Later on in the song, Jim says “this song is about Glasgow. There’s something about Glasgow, and other cities like Glasgow. People say Glasgow gets you down but I believe in Glasgow things are gonna turn around and go UP”.
That vision. That faith he has in the city it just feels sssooo contagious and beautiful. Even though in latter years he’s talked about it being all monochrome and that he and Charlie wanted to get out – not so much because they hated Glasgow – nothing like it – but that there was just a big old world out there to see and they wanted to see it. It was Wanderlust. And Glasgow is definitely not monochrome any more.
The love he has for Glasgow is so palpable in this.
Then on to The American. “Tonight’s a special night. It’s the first night of this new venue. The best venue. And this song is called…The American.” LISTEN TO THAT CROWD GO MENTAL!
The real special treat? Hearing White Hot Day. As it started to play I was thinking “what is this? It must be something off Sparkle, right? Or is it? Perhaps a different start to East At Easter? Maybe a different start to Book Of Brilliant Things? No… what is it?” And then Mick’s keyboards and Charlie’s guitar riff kick in and wow! “IT’S WHITE HOT DAY! OH MY GOD!”
Just beautiful! And Jim sings with such passion! The energy is astounding! It’s 3am when I’m listening and I just want to fling myself out of bed and just dance and scream and sing at the top of my lungs. Lol
Track of the track, it just builds and builds.
Up On The Catwalk – Jim changing the words to say “Get out of Glasgow, go up to Brixton”. I love those little things.
The intros of the songs are just so lovely. Promised You A Miracle and then Someone Somewhere In Summertime. During PYAM, he says, “I spoke to some people today. People who traveled from London and Birmingham and Manchester. People who traveled from France and Belgium. And I asked them ‘why’d you come to Glasgow?’ Do you know what they said? They said they’d heard it was the best audience in the world. (Crowd cheers) I’ve told you that before but you don’t believe me. And you’re right not believe me because I’m biased.”
Someone Somewhere In Summertime intro “for this next one, you’re gonna have to use your imagination. It’s cold outside but this is called…”
The interaction Jim has with the crowd throughout this gig is just so amazing. Even 12 months prior to this he seemed to struggle to be this engaging with the crowd. You could see and sense him slowly getting more comfortable during the New Gold Dream tour but I think the festivals in Europe during the spring and summer of 1983 really helped out with that. At least in part. A culmination of New Gold Dream being so well received, the band being so tight and on it, Mel joining – I think he gave Jim an added backbone of support. You can really feel that point Jim made when talking of Mel when he first joined the band. He said of him “with Mel behind me I feel 10 feet tall.” You can hear it!
Speaking of New Gold Dream – this version of the song is OUT OF THIS WORLD!
Finally, the fun of Love Song. Dedicating it to all the people who traveled to see them at Barras, and for all the local Glaswegians. And I loved the alternating line of “Scotland’s a boyfriend.”
An amazing, wonderful gig. I’ll stop waxing lyrical and let you enjoy it for yourself.
Thanks to Art & Talk for the upload – he promises a second night for us shortly…
P.S. Jim – I adore you, you beautiful man! Thank you for being the most amazing frontman ever! ❤️❤️
I started listening to this one last night. And even compared to Aberdeen – which they played the following night – WOW! Jesus! This gig is just BRAW! Mel is just playing like a demon!
I had been lamenting some, over what was Mike’s last gig with them a few weeks prior (Nov. 7th in Toronto), having listened to it a short while ago…but then you hear Mel again and it all makes sense. I can very much hear from this gig why Jim would say stuff like “with Mel behind me, I feel 10 feet tall”.
The band are tight, Jim is just so impassioned and “up”! I think the version of I Travel on this bootleg is the best (in terms of band performance and Jim’s vocal delivery – rather than of sound quality) I’ve ever heard. Certainly of the ones I’ve heard from the New Gold Dream tour of ‘82/‘83 at least. A real braw version of Celebrate too.
But the thing that really got hold of me most was Mel’s drumming. I mean, yes, in some ways. esp compared to Mike or Brian, Mel is quite a showman in terms of licks and fills – but it is those very licks and fills that are making this gig sound so frigging amazing! And I can hear from that…from the attitude and bombast and level of musicianship he brought in at that time why Jim’s confidence seemed to soar as a consequence. I don’t think it’s any accident that connection between Mel’s coming into the band full time, his playing and Jim’s growing level of confidence and strengthening connection with the crowd.
I listened up to the end of Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel and then stopped. I wanted to savour the rest for tonight – as tempted as I was to have Hunter And The Hunted play. I was starting to drift off into sleep and I didn’t want to miss parts of the gig.
It is a strange kind of thing to be laying in bed, listening to a gig that’s nearly 40 years old and just quietly cheering and silently mouthing “this is fucking AWESOME! Listen to them! Oh, Jim! You are just so frigging HOT AF! God, I adore you!” And then I stop listening and lay there waiting for sleep to envelop me, chanting “please let me dream of him, please let me dream of him!”
I rarely ever do. And if I do…it’s never of me in the crowd at a gig in 1982. I wish I could have lucid dreams! Or actually could control or pilot what I dream about! I’d be in 1982 – or even 1981 – every night of the week! Lol. Hanging out backstage, being a wallflower, praying Jim would take even a modicum of notice of me, only to see him make his escape with some Amazonian brunette on his arm and wish for all the world that I was taller, slimmer and much more beautiful than I am.
Anyway…”to be or not to be” – the rest of the gig awaits the night.
Just a couple of days ago, it was the anniversary of the release of Sparkle In The Rain. With that in mind, I decided to choose a track from the album for this week’s MMM.
The dawn had broke as I awoke this morning. It’s sunny today. It has an effect.
I want to be filled with the optimism to believe that we are, in a very real sense, leaving the dark days behind us.
I miss the city and I miss seeing that beautiful river.
I decided to go big and obvious, with a classic. And enjoy the video. Watching people having a great time in a great music venue. See images of that wonderful river, and have a bit of a gawk at Jim is his electric blue suit, looking like the mutt’s nuts…and even more lick-able! Lol