Minds Music Monday – Act Of Love

I always consider it an “act of love” that these, let’s face it – barely adult boys (yes, screaming oxymoron there!) – would form a band and rehearse and play and that most gorgeous of those boys (bias!) would be the glue that acts as the cohesion to get it all to gel with his words and his voice and his drive and passion and just…yeah.

It’s an “act of love” for music, for life, travel, wanting to experience a world outside of Glasgow.

How can we, as fans, not be thankful for that?

Jim posted about the anniversary of the first “official” Simple Minds gig yesterday, a whole week before the date. Still showing that enthusiasm almost 43 years down the line.

He talked of the band of boys – Tony Donald (god bless his soul), Charlie, Joe Donnelly and of Brian. And their varying likes of music and where their influences in learning to play sprung from.

Jim himself? He seemed the one that just wanted to see it all come to fruition – whether he was actually part of the band or not. He just seems like that kind of man. An “influencer” if you will – long before the word became sullied by people on Instagram seeking fame for fame’s sake and living the Andy Warhol dream of being “famous for 15 minutes”.

Because that’s what Jim seems to do with people. He seems to, not only have his own astounding level of enthusiasm and drive and self-belief – he tries to pass it on to others or to deepen their own level of passion and drive. And he’s amazing with it. It’s almost a skewed act of altruism.

It’s early days, and early Minds. And there are others there that night too, not mentioned yesterday. Duncan Barnwell. David and Jaine Henderson (doing sound and lights, respectively).

I sought Jaine’s permission when posting this photo before, I hope she won’t mind me using it again. It seemed apt, given the subject and context.

Perhaps he meant to share this photo when talking of those early days when the guys were still learning to play before that first gig. (What happened to the guitar, Jim?) I first saw it when Jaine shared it and tagged Brian. I’m guessing Charlie’s the one that took the photo? He’s conspicuous by his absence.

Anyway….all journeys set out from a start point, or perhaps several smaller points that converge for one joint starting point – here’s one of Simple Minds’.

Minds Music Monday – Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) – Live

Today is the Winter Solstice. The shortest day in the northern hemisphere. Also Jupiter and Saturn align tonight to make what is deemed the “Christmas Star” – a once in 400 year alignment. And there promises to be clear skies over Glasgow this evening. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, as we see in the Winter Solstice today, it means the days north of the equator incrementally get longer. Moving forward to brighter days – not just geographically and meteorologically, but with the metaphorical sense too that better days are coming!

With that in mind, today’s MMM couldn’t be anything else but, Someone Somewhere (In Summertime).

I couldn’t decide which performance I wanted to link to – so like our own Christmas Star alignment of Jupiter and Saturn, I’ve linked to both. Jim is divine in both of them!

Minds Music Monday – 20th Century (2020) Promised Land

As we approach the end of this rather strange and turbulent year, there is still so much relevance I hear in a song like 20th Century Promised Land – so much so, I thought it could actually be renamed “2020 Promised Land”.

“Great times in commotion. Here comes every day, it only lasts an hour.” Oh, how we’d have wished for every day of 2020 from about April onwards to have only lasted an hour! “Count out evenings and stars, how fast can these things move on?” Not fast enough, Mr Kerr, you adorable wordsmith, you!

So let’s hope the “reason for fear *is* moving on” and the “speed of life *is* moving on” to take us into better times for 2021.

Because 2020 certainly has been “Some time.” The most “troubled time.”

“Unhappy the land that has no heroes. No, unhappy the land that needs heroes.” – AMERICA, ANYONE? America in 2020, more so! (Of course, these lines aren’t actually Jim’s.)

Anyway, I shall stop quoting lines from the song and let you go read them, and listen to that amazing voice be just…incredibly expressive and convey the story. I absolutely ADORE the way Jim sings on Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call. He says in latter years he’s most happy with his voice but … there is a way in which he sings back then – I think it’s all in the enunciations of words and the (largely) fragmented and ambiguous style of his writing. I can feel it when he talks in the past about trying to use his voice as another “instrument”. I know it sounds as pretentious AF, but I honestly don’t think he meant it to sound like that. Because he talked about using some words just based on how they sounded. Like..that he just liked the sound of them and how they would sound and blend in with the music. Yeah…it does sound pretentious AF! Lol

I spoke to Bruce Findlay recently and he made me giggle talking about how he’d read the band reviews and get all downcast about anything negative written. “More so than Jim would”, he said to me. “I remember reading one review and the guy had said Jim’s lyrics were pretentious. I told Jim what had been written and he said ‘Of course my lyrics are fucking pretentious! I’m a pop star, for fuck’s sake!’” 😂😂😂😂

Anyway, just….enjoy the wonderful splendour of 20th Century Promised Land.

Minds Music Monday – The American (Interference Mix)

I think sumbliminial thoughts play so much a part in one’s thought processes. I suddenly thought about the word “interference” and how much relevance it has to me right now.

Yes.

Anyway, this is “uber” dancey, and not to everyone’s liking, I appreciate, but I love it. The pace of it. The way they’ve chopped Jim’s lyrics and voice.

I haven’t played this much in recent times but I used to really play it a lot for a long while. It is one of my very favourite extended remixes of the band.

Minds Music Monday – Past Present – Magic

Thinking about choosing a track for this week’s MMM, it’s really easy to trawl through their extensive back catalogue to the long past. But as the proposed songs to highlight fluttered through my mind…invariably harking back to the long past, I tutted at myself. “Hey, what about the recent past? What about Walk Between Worlds?”

And with a new album ready to appear on the horizon, I was thinking about the crazy, exciting anticipation I was filled with when we first heard little snippets of WBW and were told of its release date. We are just coming to three years since that flush of info.

On September 29th, 2017, Jim posted about being “busy in rehearsals” and there was news of things to come that he was excited about sharing with us. I usually take those kinds of things with a pinch of salt because…well, promises can be broken, or things…circumstances can change so…

I allowed myself a small flutter of excitement, but that was that.

As November started, he started writing posts about certain songs from the Simple Minds back catalogue and how they came to be. It was all slowly ramping up. And then mid November, the major clues of a release of the new album being imminent started to come through. And then, a week before Charlie’s birthday – BAM! Details of Walk Between Worlds was revealed. But even more exciting was the way the tour was revealed. It was a real tease and got the fans in an absolute FRENZY. It was a masterstroke how it was done.

I remember hearing Magic for the first time and I loved it from the get go. It was so uplifting and such a wonderful piece on how the amazing concoction of self-belief, ambition, determination…and with a little dash of luck – amazing things can happen. That it can, indeed, produce MAGIC.

It was panned by many a fan. Some very noticeably. I will say nothing more than that – because that is all the air certain “oxygen suckers” will get from me! But the lyrics are lovely! They DO tell a story. Okay, nobody loves the old Jim Kerr writing style more than me. The “fragments and ambiguities” that he said he liked to deal in, in an interview for Belgian TV in 1983. But I love Jim the storyteller too. And there is a wonderful story to Magic. That young, disillusioned man, kicking about the big city, wondering what his life was going to amount to. And then, with all those ingredients mentioned earlier all coming into play and alignment…adding some hard work as the final ingredient and…there’s your Simple Minds story right there!

I love Magic. I have done from the first listen and I still do. I see that poor disillusioned young man walking down the street on his tod, looking downcast… “As I walk through the city with my wounded pride and everybody is too busy and you’re wondering why, there’s a hole inside. I need a pill not an alibi.” But it all comes good in the end, young Jim! Keep the faith, beautiful man.

The song just has an indelible spirit and heart. And it lifts me every time I hear it. I will never understand why it has its detractors. But, hey. To each their own. If they don’t hear and feel the magic in it then…

Perhaps it *is* the weakest song on WBW? Well, if it is, then it is testament to what a wonderful album Walk Between Worlds is!

I also thought the video was braw.

Bingley Barfing Babe – Minds Music Monday

Nice to see a couple of different pics from the Minds playing Bingley Hall on September 6th, 1981 as part of Futurama 3.

Does this man look sick to you? Nope! Sexy – YES! Sick, no. But he was. Poor Jim was struck by the heebie jeebies that night and also performed some “technicolour yawns”. Off stage at least…or at least out of site. But I think you can hear some of it on this bootleg of the gig (below). All things considered, it still sounds the most amazing gig.

And Jim in those goddamn boots will ALWAYS have me drooling. Drooling! Not barfing!

The opportunity lended itself to become a Minds Music Monday piece. Enjoy!