Cannoli Get Better?

Good news from His Nibs today in his latest post. A number of good news pieces, for him – Villa Angela has once again opened its doors (just in case that whole “being the frontman for the best live band in the world” suddenly starts to go all pear-shaped after 40+ years, like). Whilst it remained closed to the public during lockdown(s), the space didn’t lay dormant, as he went on to explain. The fruits of it in summary – new SM music making its way to the general public imminently. 

If the things I have been seeing bandied about in the fandom are to be believed, somewhere around October is the projected ETA. (Or should that be ETR – estimated time [of] release?) Just in time for my birthday…the final Friday of the month falling on October 28th. That’ll do me just fine, thank you very much! 

With that I am assuming there will be a plan for a tour next year to properly unleash it to the world in a similar vein to how Walk Between Worlds was thrust upon the world? Usually with new music comes a new tour, so I am very much hoping this will be the case. I already have targets in sight for where I’d like to see them play – somewhat dependent upon the venues chosen and my state of health and availability next year. As well as the old financial impact with such things! 

I’m already bringing my mindset back to being of the feeling of ‘less is more’ and ‘quality over quantity’ – so, all being good I’d like to do Amsterdam (must be the Paradiso venue though, otherwise…meh) and Berlin. At the moment I am seeing that, from Paris, the tour’s schedule takes them on to Berlin and it’s killing me! Berlin has been my ‘bucket list’ destination for more years than I care to remember now. So, Amsterdam would be nice, but Berlin is a must! And I’m not even fussed by the venue.

Pre-Covid, I could have just thrown caution to the wind and at this late stage had tagged on going to Berlin straight after Paris, but I can’t do that now. After Paris all I have left is Blenheim Palace and the two Edinburgh Summer Sessions shows and they’ll have to suffice this year. I’ve gone to fewer gigs this year than on previous tours, but only by ONE GIG – it just feels so much less this time. In real terms, and if I factor in that I had at least gone to Copenhagen before the tour halted in 2020, I haven’t gone to any less shows on this tour. Actually, with Copenhagen being my own personal SAF/SFC accumulative tally dilemma (ie: do I count it as two gigs or one? Two distinct and separately billed gigs, just on the one night – and a largely separate audience at both gigs, etc, etc – I count it as two) it could be argued that I will have been to TEN gigs on this tour and therefore it will have been my biggest tour yet!

I’ll have to be more concise and restrained next time. A few shows here in the UK, Berlin as my main overseas jaunt – possibly Amsterdam if it’s at the Paradiso…if not then maybe somewhere else in Germany…Hamburg or Cologne? We’ll see. I’m getting ahead of myself. Before moving away from the topic though, I need to factor in where I will be study wise as well and try and work around that also. I’ll have another module of my course to complete next year before I actually DO get my DipHE in English. Then I will be thinking about moving forward to getting an actual undergraduate degree. 

Briefly on that note – I had a ‘school day’ yesterday. Online tutorials taken as one long block like this, instead of the broken up evening options are referred to as a ‘school day’ as it is a day long set of tutorials starting at 10am and finishing at 3.15pm. I have really enjoyed the previous two school days I had attended and was highly anticipating this one but it left me a little … deflated and unmotivated, sadly. The first tutorial was good. The tutor is very engaging and likes to be very interactive with the students and that’s great. I personally found the topic of this block of four the least ‘interesting’ for me. I don’t know why? Perhaps because I studied the week prior to the block of SM gigs I had coming up, maybe? I should have found it quite interesting as I do love the visual arts, but of the visual arts, sculpture is something that I love most in its modern form and we were looking at Greek and Roman sculpture – from the Archaic Greek (used in its purely academic context), through to the Classical Greek, to the Roman style and only just coming into the time of CE (after the birth of Christ) – to the first and second centuries CE. So…very much NOT modern sculpture. It was enjoyable enough though. 

The next was ‘The Blues’ and this was where my interest lies the most especially for working on my next assessment. I am still weighing up whether to work on my assignment topic as being this, or whether I take a flying leap of faith in myself and take the ‘Writing Stories’ topic and hope for the best? The tutor was engaging but … I didn’t feel like I was getting good guidance or being instructed with much clarity and there were some technical issues that were hindering the tutorial so I came away from it feeling somewhat disappointed. 

We took a break for lunch. The creative writing (ie: Writing Stories) tutorial was next. It was a really tough study week for me, this topic. I didn’t feel any more confident about it being the next tutorial as I took my lunch break. I was dreading it in actual fact. The reality was ssooo different! The tutor scared the crap out of me at the beginning of the tutorial by saying “I am going to give you all time to write something out today”. I had flashbacks of the rare days I’d be in school and we would be given writing tasks and there’s me, staring at a blank page as the minutes tick by and I am paralysed with indecision and inability to put pen to paper on command. 

I embraced it when it came time. We were at least given a starting point. I ran with my starting point and wrote out nearly 200 words in the 10 minutes we were allotted to continue on with one of the story arc options we could choose from. When the tutor returned, we were given another 5 minutes to develop the story from a different perspective. I then wrote out another 80 odd words in the 5 minute allotted block. Both pieces were fluent, linear pieces of imagery and dialogue. Proper scenes. I was really pleased with that. Whether I do anything with it? Whether it becomes part of what I produce for my assignment? At this stage I am unsure. The next assignment is just over three weeks away and although I have done some minor planning (producing a plan is part of the mark for the next assignment), I am still weighing up on deciding my topic.

I seem to have to keep reminding myself who I am. A psychiatrist would have a field day with me, I’m sure! Also…nothing REMOTELY embarrassing revealed in some of the scribble, eh?

Finally, the last tutorial was on reading poetry. I have not studied the unit yet. I will be doing that this week (before Paris!). The tutor was not very engaging and got bogged down on the details of what was required and expected of students if they choose to take the reading poetry unit as their assignment topic. About halfway through I was losing the will to live! I was not engaged with this tutorial at all and I started doodling on this large brown cardboard backed envelope I have on my desk. (See the photo above for all the gory details.) We finished a little early – just after 3pm. I was ssoooo grateful!

Anyway, this was meant to be BRIEF! I’ve taken up half the post with my uni crap! Sorry! It’s the current grapple I have with this blog! I keep wanting to keep this current and fresh with Simple Minds news – but my own personal stuff is occupying my time.

In summary – THERE IS A NEW SIMPLE MINDS ALBUM(s?) TO LOOK FORWARD TO! And…with a new album comes a new tour (one would pretty much guarantee to assume).

YAY!!!

New Release: Sarah Brown – I’m On My Way

There was new music news yesterday. Sarah Brown shared details of her debut solo album. The album is a tribute to the music of the wonderful and inspirational Mahalia Jackson.

The first single off Sarah’s album, I’m On My Way, will be released on the same day as Themes For Great Cities, January 27th. The date is significant to Mahalia, as it is the 50th anniversary of her death.

The album is set to be released later in 2022 and will be titled “Sarah Brown Sings Mahalia Jackson”. When talking about the song on her social media, Sarah said as follows…

The seed that grew ‘I’m On My Way’ and then the album was planted back some 20 plus years ago, when I was singing backing vocals on the Roxy Music reunion tour.

Waiting for soundcheck, I stood on the stage as Roxys’ pianist Colin Good was warming up on an old blues tune by Ma Rainey. And as he played I was immediately transported back to when I was eight and in church on a Sunday and these matriarchal figures, these big black mamas dressed like Audrey Hepburn, were bellowing out their Mahalia Jackson hymns, they were crying out from their very souls and as I listened to Colin I was crying too, lost in the music and I vowed I’d pay my own homage to Mahalia one day…..

I am really looking forward to hearing this music from Sarah. You can keep up-to-date with Sarah by following her on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Photo of Sarah by Andrew Cotterill.

New Memes – Heavy Night

Off topic for a reputed Simple Minds blog but… I think this band is just about my favourite of the young Glasgow bands about at the moment and ONE DAY I’ll brave going to see them live.

Over the past couple of years they’ve released several singles. Billy Sloan has been a champion of them and that’s how I got to hear of them initially. New single is out today called “Heavy Night”. The video is awesome as well. Who disnae like to have a wee dance around the Clyde with a paper bag over their heid? Lol

Anyway, enjoy Memes with “Heavy Night”. It’s a catchy little fucker.

Bowie Talk – Missing Jim – Sexy Songs – Minds Music Monday – Lightning

I miss Monday’s the way they used to be. Actually, I miss just about how every day would start a few years back. When I was getting into Simple Minds and getting myself involved in the fanbase, the thing that always seemed to make every day feel like it started off on the right note was Jim’s posts on Facebook. 

And I didn’t care what he talked about. It didn’t have to be SM specific, or even music related. Damn, it could even be about football! Lol. I didn’t care. Whatever the subject, he always made it engaging. And he’d engage with us about it. 

There’d be a little kind of game. If you caught the post early enough, he’d seemingly hang about for a few minutes, waiting for replies to come in and if someone commented with something that piqued his interest, he’d respond. 

It sounds SSOO mundane – I know! But I miss it. I miss it SO much. This morning I awoke just thinking about it, lamenting on what was. Thinking, “Oh, Jim made Monday’s feel fun. Actually he made every morning feel good. Every day was a New Sunshine Morning back then.” I cannae help but feel like I came along on the tail end of everything.

But, one can’t go back. One must move forward – esp. In the Kerr world. There’s no room for nostalgia (it’s a dirty word!) or for back-peddling, or for reminiscing. 

I should be thankful he even posts at all these days.

I’d love to ask him if he’s had the chance to hear the Toy version of “You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving” and what he thinks of the endless Bowie content that has been released since David’s death. But I guess why should I care what Jim Kerr thinks, eh? Again…it’s just a silly nostalgic thing. Me feeling some kind of silly “bond” from having had some banter with him in the past on the subject of David Bowie. Deluding myself there has been “conversation” between us. 

So, perhaps I’ll pose it to you lot? The three regular visitors to the blog. What do you guys think of the whole Bowie “legacy”? To me it feels like it’s being milked like the most overfilled dairy cow. There have been so many releases in the past five years, I have lost count! Myriad compilations and box sets, both as sets of studio albums and as live albums. A lot of the live content previously unreleased, granted, but it does feel like a sad money grab sometimes. And does the Bowie estate REALLY need the money? And I do wonder how it would all sit with David himself. 

Having said that, I do feel mildly excited about Toy getting a release. I remember news of it at the time and being intrigued by the prospect of what he was doing. Then he seemed to ditch the project in favour of working on Heathen, which I am incredibly thankful for because, along with Low, it is my favourite David Bowie album. 

I didn’t get caught up in the whole live box set saga. There was only one album out of those I wanted. I listened to it on Spotify, enjoyed it, and so I invested in it. My only purchase of them all was to get a copy of Ouvrez Le Chien. I thought about investing in Metrobolist as well but, for what? So I’d have a copy of it under what was meant to be its original title? We lived with it for 50 years as The Man Who Sold The World, what’s the point in now referring to it as Metrobolist? 

I will probably invest in a copy of Toy though. We’ll see. 

Now on to this week’s MMM. As I discussed previously, I haven’t been in much of a mood to listen to any Simple Minds of late. Certainly not to the degree that I have done for the past seven years! I listen to bits here and there. Not much. 

I was listening to a few random tunes a few nights ago. Just ones I have thought I hadn’t listened to in a while and I wanted to hear again. Silent Kiss was one of them. And there I was inwardly thinking “Why, oh, why, oh, why did you have to make it a bonus track on Walk Between Worlds so it never gets performed live?! Am I destined to have ALL my very favourite Simple Minds songs be tracks that NEVER end up on a set list?” It seems so…

We had that little “exchange”, Jim and I. Me saying to him “Sexy songs are the best”, and him replying with “Agreed!”. It took me ages to try and work out the song that brought that little exchange into being but then I did some digging to finally discover it was Silent Kiss. But it isn’t just sexy, it’s yearning. It’s beautiful. 

After Silent Kiss played I was thinking about what other songs that I hadn’t listened to for a long time I considered to be sexy. And I decided on this! I think it is an incredibly underrated song. I find it sexy as hell, even though I admit I somewhat misinterpreted what the song was about initially – but if anyone can make a song about a suicide bomber bloody sexy, then it’s Jim Kerr!

So for this week’s Minds Music Monday, may I present to you… Lightning

Minds In America Live Album?

I’m sure it doesn’t seem the case to those who THINK they know me…I’m sure I seem the biggest blabber mouth on the face of the earth, but I CAN keep a bloody secret!

One that I was (somewhat accidentally, admittedly) entrusted with was the info there was going to be a live release from Simple Minds’ most recent tour of the U.S.

Today I received the latest issue of Classic Pop in the post and there’s a big old write up and interview with SM producer, Andy Wright. In amongst it, he talked about his working relationship with SM and within it was also the reveal of there being a live release of SM recorded during the resent U.S. tour. He says it’s going to be a 40 track thing…but that seems quite a lot. I’m not even sure 40 individual tracks made it on the setlist in America, did they? Perhaps some things played during soundcheck are being included? Who knows? We’ll see around Christmas time, I guess.

Exciting news nonetheless.

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Is The “Four Letter Word” – Horn?

A batch of Simple Minds connected new releases today. Phunk Investigation and their multitude of mixes of Four Letter Word (which I am going to assume having listened to the lyrics a couple of times is actually the rather genteel “love” – perhaps I am being naive? At one point Jim admits to being “addicted to the four letter thing” – in that circumstance, I could NEVER imagine him meaning “love”) with Jim on vocals.

Secondly, the Trevor Horn “Reimagines The Eighties” version of Brothers In Arms, featuring “Simple Minds” – aka Jim, Mick MacNeil and (supposedly) Charlie (unless he’s playing violin – or in a strange homage to John Cage, without his Strat plugged in).

Anyway…all Spotify links follow…I am sure all tracks will be on YouTube as well.