Neon Lights – The Cover Of The Covers – Which Led Off The Beaten Track

I have over the past few days found myself super intrigued by the artwork of the Neon Lights album.

I suddenly started to wonder who designed it, and more importantly, who wrote out the tracklisting on the cassette cover. It didn’t seem like it was Jim’s writing but I couldn’t help but think how awesome that would have been had he written it out. It’s one of the things I love about the cover art of Life In A Day, that Jim has hand written the credit notes.

So that had me thinking about what a great choice for a cover design it (Neon Lights) was and who had been behind it.

I was surprised (and somewhat disappointed) to learn that, looking into it, it was a team of artists at a design and marketing firm in The Netherlands that came up with it.

As a consequence of trying to learn more about the cover art, it had me at the Dream Giver site (which turned into me being Alice spiralling down the rabbit hole!), reading an article – and interview with Jim – printed in The Scottish Sunday Times on September 23rd, 2001.

I started to read it. It was a very frank interview. My focus soon turned to something else (though still wanting to find out about the Neon Lights cover art).

I’ll link to the interview at the end of the post, but in it Jim talked about (among other things) his relationships with Chrissie and Patsy and he described them as “women of their time”.

Seems a bit of a pigeonhole to put them in…

Like, they were “flavour of the month”.

That can’t be though.

Then again, he goes on to say… (interview excerpt below)

If the arrangement sounds a bit too cosy, it is. “I might make it sound like there was logic to the break-up of my relationships, but there were periods of disillusionment, fears, chaos and sadness,” he says.

“I was never the one to give in. That’s part of the modern way. People give in, because they can.

“The magazines suggest if you’re not having ten orgasms a night or you’re not having eight holidays a year then you’re not having a great life. Expectations are very high. If it doesn’t happen, then they’re off. But the fallout when it goes wrong is awful. I just thought: ‘I could do without this for a while and it’s better not to get involved.’ I wouldn’t trade those moments or emotions for anything but I’d be wary of them should they crop up again.”

Have they? “No. Marriage is about ‘the one’ and I don’t believe in that any more. It’s great if it works out but it’s a tall order. Now I think if there is a right person, they’re right for you at that period in your life.”

“That period in your life”? Okay, I get the idea of considering things in a finite way. I mean our LIVES are finite and there’s an element of the realist “self-preservation” not to get yourself caught up with the fairies with a rose-tinted glasses view… but…

I don’t know. The article just had me thinking about things. It’s never a thing that I feel comfortable in talking about – even if he did seemingly discuss this in public in a newspaper.

But I admit I have wondered for a while now how you become someone who he holds dear. Really dear. Someone who he sticks by – because it seems quite a rare thing from the outside. Rarer than the veneer seems to give off.

Esp. in terms of the opposite sex. I mean, how many people GENUINELY stay good friends with exes? I know there are children involved – but beyond that, or in spite of that – not many are successful at it.

I mean, in my own very limited experience of ex-relationships…or just…RELATIONSHIPS, full stop… I’ve had one other previous relationship and one rather…intense friendship, I guess you’d say.

My only other lasting intimate relationship, was with a boyfriend I had for about 18 months. I had just turned 19 when we met. We broke up because (in retrospect rightly so) he had had enough of my constant jealousy.

I didn’t see him for a while after we broke up. But then he started to come round and visit me. It became “friends with benefits” even though I knew he was with someone else (the person he broke up with me to be with). And I almost did a very, VERY bad thing. Full, honest, disclosure here – for a brief amount of the “friends with benefits” time – I tried to fall pregnant. NOT to trap him! I had no plan to tell him I was even pregnant. I had no intention of ever telling him I was pregnant and that he was a father. I was at a point where I was so wanting to be loved that I thought having a child would be the way to get love.

I very quickly came to my senses. And luckily before I ever succeeded in getting pregnant! I mean, geez. I’d have loved the kid had it happened – but, other than this brief time – this crazy little window of a few months – I have not wanted to be a parent. I have constantly doubted my ability to be anything like a responsible person and certainly did not want to subject anybody to a world that I feel, for the most part, offers much more bad than good.

Have I ever had any friendships from past “relationships”? Lol. One steady boyfriend and a total of three sexual partners (the boyfriend being one of the three) – no! Not seen or heard of or from any of them for over 25 years.

My longest lasting friendship is with a guy. We met when I was still dating my boyfriend. We’ve been friends (with periods of no contact) for over 30 years. But, he was never an ex. But it is how the first period of no contact came about. He wanted more than friendship. I didn’t. The friendship strained. I loved him. Absolutely loved him. I still do. He was there for me at my mum’s funeral in 2019. He means the world to me! But I was never “in love” with him. I broke his heart. And he still loves me. He still tells me! And he is so strong and so amazing, and he has two beautiful daughters.

It feels very exposing to talk like this. But that is the extent of my “past relationships” experience. An ex-boyfriend and two ex…”lovers”, I guess you’d call them. I dunno. I was never into one night stands, so they were guys I knew, but we weren’t dating. It’s another lifetime ago anyway.

Back to Jim, and the pondering of relationships with exes. I am reminded of “the good ex” comment that a lady left a few years back on a post Jim put up on SM FB. I think it was when Chrissie’s memoir came out and he posted about it. The comment read “You’re a really, really good ex!” And Jim replied with, “True. I am the best ex on the planet…was always an ambition!” Lol.

I know it’s his silly, flippant sense of humour at play to a degree – but he DOES seem to have a point!

I have been pondering this for some time now…what makes a friendship with Jim Kerr endure? What’s the secret? What’s the special ingredient? It’s just a question that endlessly intrigues me that I have endlessly pondered for about…just a little under 5 years now.

From about the time he posted this…

It made a profound impact on me, this post, even back then. I found it very telling. Telling of what, exactly, I’m really sure. I don’t know. I seemed to read something into it at the time, and it has always stayed with me.

Anyway…this has been a very long-winded post that meandered so far away from its original purpose that…geez, I’m not even sure WHERE we ended up, but there you go! It’s Saturday night in mid January in Glasgow – during a lockdown in the midst of a pandemic – what else is there to do?

Anyone with any theories on how to be Jim’s friend for a REALLY long time? Then let me know…

Interview in the Scottish Sunday Times HERE

Slow News Sunday Summary – April 28th

Well, seeing as most days there is not much to report, I have decided to coin the SM “Slow News Sunday Summary”. A look at what morsels have been reported via SMO or other related avenues during the past seven days.

  • Cherisse on tour with Kelly Jones in June/July
  • Sir’s been to Sicily
  • Sarah’s Saturday night gig
  • Rejuvenation albums now available individually as singles

On Wednesday it was officially revealed by Cherisse on her social media that she will be playing with Kelly Jones (Stereophonics’ frontman) during his solo tour of the UK in June and July. A fan had heard an interview with Jones on radio saying that he was “interviewing” a drummer to tour with him and that SHE currently plays for Simple Minds. A rather large giveaway, but I was remaining nonplussed about it until word came from Cherisse herself.

I had a drumming lesson with her on Thursday and we talked about the news. She said some fans got into a panic, asking her whether it meant the end of her time with SM.

Have no fear, peeps! She’s just grabbing the opportunity for some gigging while there is SM downtime.

Also taking the opportunity to explore other musical avenues during the SM downtime is Sarah Brown, who was a guest of a group called Casca, playing a gig last night in Camden. I would have loved to have gone, but honestly, I cannot reiterate how skint I am right now. But I would have loved to have gone and shown some support.

Jim had a few days in Sicily earlier in the week. Some downtime for him from a busy schedule of writing, etc… all actually very elusive as to what else he’s doing other than him saying he’s “writing”.

Anyway…mustn’t dwell on how quiet it is, eh? And actually, I SHOULD be thankful because I have sod all money to do anything with … and that would be FAR worse! If they were touring around and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Speaking of things that cost money that I can’t really do anything about…
After now having released the Rejuvenation box sets and having had us all invest in those (well, those of us who could…), the albums and CDs are now available to purchase individually.

I am now in absolute dilemma mode. A huge part of me wants the box sets because of the packaging. Another part of me says it means I can invest in the vinyl that I was most interested in getting from the box set with a smaller outlay spread over time. The CD/DVD box set I definitely DO want to invest in. But it is going to have to wait.

Until next week, folks…keep it Simple x

Rejuvenation CD/DVD Box Set Review – Mojo Magazine

A very favourable review of the Rejuvenation box set inside the latest edition of Mojo magazine.

Oh, and post New Gold Dream…Sparkle In The Rain (just as the first example) only went straight in at number one in the UK chart and spawned three hit singles…but “they seldom came anywhere near that masterpiece”. Okaaaaay…

It’s the only bit of the review that is questionable to me.

The Renaissance – Reconsidering The Rebirth

This man! Sometimes I pour scorn on him and piss on him…well…that’s how it’s feeling today. I adore him above all else…and he has more talent in that fold on the upper corner of his left ear that I fetishise so much than I have in my whole entire being.

And there also…I will be flippant in my explanation! I can’t help myself!

The last thing I ever want to do, esp. after what happened in July, is piss him off or upset him. So I need to be mindful and careful and observant. I usually am. Ninety five per cent of the time, I am.

One, a couple of days back – someone left a comment on a post about the Rejuvenation box set asking whether albums will be released separately as “I really don’t want Neon Lights on vinyl”. Inwardly my reaction was polared. Firstly “Man, you were brave to put that comment here on SMO!” – secondly “I hear ya…but, tough!  We’ve got it.” – lastly, and in devil’s advocate mode of making a suggestion of what he COULD do with his unwanted copy of Neon Lights, I shared a YouTube clip of the scene from Shaun Of The Dead in which the main protagonists in the film use vinyl records as weapons to attack zombies. Obviously THIS IS NOT something I would do myself – although faced with actual zombies…who knows? I have a copy of Neon Lights on CD…and it is coveted and held securely in my boxed treasure trove of Simple Minds music, merch and memorablia. I’m not using the CD as an onion slicer.

With today’s post, Jim reminded me that, although it may not still be completely my cup of tea, within its origins for being, I do need to give Neon Lights due respect. That the concept of it was born out of respect for those musicians and artists that SM themselves hold dear. And that, without them and without wanting to emulate them, there would be no Simple Minds at all!

I had already been having those feelings myself. With the album being available to listen to on Spotify, I dived in again. I also added it to the playlist of my mega SM content. I have a complete playlist on Spotify. Literally EVERYTHING Simple Minds. Everything SM related goes in it….Dark Flowers stuff is in there, Lostboy! tracks, collaborations, all sorts.

I fell asleep giving it its first listen when it was back on Spotify…and I don’t mean that to sound disrespectful…it’s just the time of day I start listening to music, and the setting in which it happens. It was around 2.30am and I was in bed, snug as a bug in a rug. I gently drifted off as Jim was telling me “how good” Gloria makes him feel (lucky cow she is! Lol)

I stirred and awoke for a few moments to take in and be mesmerised by All Tomorrow’s Parties. In a dreamy half-sleep, it sounded dreamy and beautiful. Jim’s voice wonderfully emotive, as if the ghost of Nico was haunting it.

From then, I let shuffle mode do its work and surprise me. It did with Bring On The Dancing Horses and then Needle And The Damage Done.

When I first became “uber” SM fan, and first listened to Neon Lights, I liked The Man Who Sold The World – Charlie’s guitar playing is unreal and I liked Jim’s vocal (though I still twitch when he delivers “foreign land” rather than the correct lyric of “form and land” – but that is me being an anally retentive pedantic fuck). I also liked Dancing Barefoot. But beyond that…? Besides…I wanted SIMPLE MINDS…not “Simple Minds does…” – I still had a whole back catalogue to explore. And I was falling head over heels in love with their very own magic. I didn’t need to hear them cover others. Not a whole album’s worth!

But, you know…one of my very favourite Bowie albums is Pin-Ups. It’s always been a bone of contention between me and my OH. She can’t stand it, but I bloody love it. You go out on the street now and ask 100 people who did the song Sorrow, I bet all 100 would say David Bowie and not the original artist. It was Bowie covering The Who that got me listening to them. To me most of the songs were IMPROVED by being given the Bowie sprinkle of gold dust.

So, why should it be any different with Simple Minds? The more I listen, the more I am being won round.

And the way Jim writes about it. That period of time in the history of SM, how the album came to be…WHY it came to be…IT MAKES SENSE!

I missed both embryonic stages of Simple Minds. I missed the initial one because I had only a few years previous stopped being an actual embryo myself, and I was stuck down at the arse end of the world…a heady mix descendent of Germans settled in Adelaide, Irish immigrants in country southern NSW, and native Aboriginies from that same rural NSW setting. Think Sidney Nolan paintings of an outlaw with a huge metal bucket on his head…the skewed romance of it all. “Such is life.”

The “Renaissance” of Simple Minds was happening just after I “upped sticks” and moved away from the arse end of the world to arrive in “The Mother Country”. It would take another 14 years for me to finally say “WE NEED TO FUCKING LISTEN TO SIMPLE MINDS, YOU AND ME! A PROPER DIVING IMMERSION!” You and me being – myself and my own psyche.

Better late than never.

I understand the importance of Neon Lights as a consequence.

From the bottom of my crazy old heart, Jim, thank you for today’s post. Thank you for just bringing it home. ❤️❤️

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Missing Oot

Och, you know…I’m actually really wanting this now. It does look very pretty…you know…aesthetics and all that.

I’m so shallow!

But…there’s little point in me rushing to get it just now. It will just be more stuff to pack and shift to a new home…so I might as well put it off for now. I can’t even play vinyl at the moment either anyway. I’d literally just be unboxing it and fondling it for now. Lol

So…I have OTHER delights coming. A set of three photos that Virginia Turbett has of Jim changing shirts. Oh, Santa baby! THANK YOU! Think I may have to laminate these ones…protect them from potential water damage (hazardous drool pool!). They will definitely be getting framed and…erm…mounted, anyway.

I can’t rightly remember just HOW MUCH “tit action” takes place. I think he’s like half-way out of one shirt in the first, then topless in the second and then half-way into the new shirt in the third…I think. He’s definitely topless in one – that one is definitely getting laminated! I may even get a BIGGER version. Ahem!

ANYWAYS…this post was KINDA meant to be about the Rejuvenation box set, and why I was now feeling quite forlorn it wouldn’t be with me tomorrow for an unboxing.

In the meantime there’s always Spotify…not quite the same audio-visual experience, granted. I’ll console myself listening to Neon Lights and ogling Jim’s glorious nipples.

Anyone for eggnog?

Rejuvenation 2001-2014 Vinyl Box Set – Simple Minds

Man! Absolute PISH it isn’t starting from Our Secrets Are The Same. Virgin – you are asshats! Come on!! You could have made some deal with Chrysalis, Sanctuary and Caroline Int.

So instead it starts with Neon Lights…meh…okay.

I still remain to be won over by Cry. I dunno why…I looooove Spaceface. And I like Disconnected and Sleeping Girl. I can’t rexplain why…some of the tracks just sit uneasy with me or just….I dunno… I gotta watch what I say.

Really happy to see Black And White 050505 on vinyl AT LAST! No Searching For The Lost Boys bonus for the Graffiti Soul version – which was a much superior “covers” piece than Neon Lights was (in my humble opinion anyway).

So, for me, apart from finally getting B&W on vinyl at long last…I don’t see much reason why I should invest. I suppose the completist in me might like Cry on vinyl too.

I don’t even play Neon Lights on CD…not sure I’d wear out the stylus with that. A box set means you have to commit to all or nothing. It’s a bugger! Perhaps they’ll come out individually afterwards? I believe that’s what happened with the Bowie box sets.

And, please…for the love of god – can we please have Our Secrets Are The Same on vinyl?!!! PLEASE?!!

Price: £75
Release date: 07/12/2018

For more info, click on the image…

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Add On (It) With Those Neon Lights

Seeing as I was going to be charged £3.99 for delivery of my new artist’s stylus, and yet if I spent £20 in total I’d get free delivery, I thought I might as well bung in some fangirl treasure into the basket. And YES, I bought Neon Lights…BITE ME!! Lol. I really like their version of The Man Who Sold The World (minus Jim’s faux pas on the lyrics!). Charlie’s guitar is SSOO Ronno! And I prefer this version of Dancing Barefoot, even though Sarah’s is excellent too! 

Haters are gonna hate!