The Simple Minds Blog That Increasingly Feels Less Like A Simple Minds Blog

I haven’t shared very much about the tour here in all honesty. Unlike with previous tours where I felt very much a part of things most of the time, with the Acoustic Tour and then – with a sticky moment in between – the Walk Between Worlds tour, I was in “the heart of the crowd”. Even to a lesser extent I felt very much a part of things during the Big Music Tour – even though I only went to two gigs in 2015 – it was the early days of my fandom and my enthusiasm was…infectious…and feeding my own hunger for more.

This blog started in 2015…starting its life on Tumblr and then moving here to be a fully fledged website in its own right, carrying the “Priptona Weird” URL. Rather cringingly it started as pretty much a visual Jim Kerr “drool wall”, thinly veiled as a “Simple Minds” blog.

After a time I wanted it more and more to move into more “serious” territory. Still have some FUN, of course – I have never been trying to compete with Simon’s Dream Giver Redux site, nor did I ever want to! I was a mere cub in no way equipped to compete with a roaring lion and I knew that. I always wanted to have my blog have SOME of me in it. Present it as MY Simple Minds world.

I had been happy with where I had taken it and where it was going in recent years. Diversifying somewhat to have more generalised musical input – gig reviews, new album release reviews, interviews – all of that side of things makes me “proud” (be careful using that word, kiddo!) – hmmm, okay…”gratified” (there we go, that’s better!) with the state the blog was in during 2020 and 2021 and the couple of years preceding the pandemic. The work I put into the Minds Music Monday posts celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call feels like the pinnacle of it all. Little did I know that as I was putting all of that together, Graham Thomson was writing Themes For Great Cities. I felt like all my work was a precursor to his amazing book.

This new year promised to be so great. The book I just mentioned was due for release in January and I felt I had scored myself a bit of a coup for this blog in being able to get hold of a copy of the book before its release date and review it here. I was delighted to also be given the opportunity to have a couple of copies of it to give away. 

The release of Act Of Love was also a fantastic thing to happen early on this year. 

I was counting down to Paris, the first gig of the recommencing of the tour – for me personally. In actual fact I think the tour WAS meant to recommence where it had stopped – in Copenhagen – but one last minute reschedule meant that Paris would not be until May and the new start of the tour with my personal run of gigs would be in Aberdeen. 

Over the past six months, particularly within the past three months – more than ever before – I have felt on the outer. Being a “social butterfly” never really comes comfortably to me. I have spent many years sheltered and comfortable in my own company. Perhaps it is part of continued undiagnosed neurodiversity? Even when I do engage in social situations, I have ALWAYS felt inept. These recent weeks have felt no different. In fact, they have only compounded my feelings of awkwardness and ineptitude even further.

My retreat is here. This blog. Even within the online social network these days – a place I felt initially much safer in “socialising” in, I once again feel on the outer fringes. I’m not really having any involvement with any of the Simple Minds group pages. Just the odd thing that I may feel particularly vocal about or eager to express – like yesterday with sharing the review of Sarah’s album in Mojo magazine on SMOG. These days my interaction is an exception to the rule.

The work I did for this blog last year for the Sons/Sister 40th Anniversary I wanted to emulate for New Gold Dream. I was looking forward to that. But now it’s April and if I want to do something I know I should be starting NOW with the release of Promised You A Miracle as the first single release for the album. Minds Music Monday was put on hiatus for the tour – but frankly since I started my study, MMM has been neglected by and large. 

The tour has been going since March 31st, and the band just played their first mainland European gig last night at the Ziggodome in Amsterdam. They continue with the arena leg of the tour through Europe until near the end of May. Paris is in 16 days time and I am frightened to fuck about it. I don’t travel well internationally at the best of times but just all the extra logistics involved in what really is such a short journey is positively freaking me out. I have so few gigs left to enjoy though I really don’t want to miss it. And…I have a meet and greet AGAIN. And one final chance of a NICE photo with Jim and Charlie. Don’t get me wrong…I love that one from Aberdeen. It has a personal significance to it for me that I really love – I just wish that Jim and Charlie had been framed in it better and not look like they are suffering from epic cases of jaundice! Lol. And I am ssoooo bummed that they lost the Newcastle photos and I couldn’t take advantage of going to another UK gig as compensation. So…a lot hinges on Paris.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I haven’t shared much of any of this tour so far here on this blog. I haven’t even shared all of my own photos from Newcastle as yet (rectified above). You know…the web is AWASH with stuff – especially on the SM group pages on Facebook. There’s plenty to see there. I feel little need in sharing any of it here. Which in turn is starting to make this blog feel…surplus to requirements. A combination of my continued concentrated attention to my studies as well as just feeling less and less part of it all.

So where does this blog go? It’s called “Priptona’s Simple Minds Space” after all! It’s not “Larelle Read” – my own actual personal blog has lain abandoned for YEARS – and it is rightfully the place I should be writing about my academic endeavours on but I guess I started talking about my academic pursuits here as a way of highlighting why things might be a bit “Minds light” on the blog at the moment.

Truly, I know the only person who cares about this blog is me…and even I’m worried that the enthusiasm is dying. At least for it to be the kind of thing it had been for the past, say, four years. A good blend of lots of Simple Minds stuff, with broader music based features, some fantastic posts (if I can blow my own trumpet for one nanosecond) and pretty darn good interviews – for a rank amatuer. 

Again, where do we go from here? I don’t know. I really do hope I’m just feeling a dose of PGD (Post Gig Depression) and things will pick up again. Perhaps after Paris?

We’ll see. Until then, thanks for listening and reading and continuing to visit this old mishmash of crap that is “Priptona’s Blog”.

Succinct At Motorpoint – Leg One Almost Done

I went looking through some of the local papers I have access to online and this one for Tuesday’s gig at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena inside the Nottingham Post was succinctly full of praise.

The UK leg of the arena tour comes to an end tonight in Liverpool – followed then by just a single Dublin gig (I had booked to return to see them in Dublin – should have been flying over there today but decided to knock it on the head and wait for Paris), with the band then touring mainland Europe with arena shows until the end of May.

A couple of weeks downtime then. A run of festival dates then kick in for the guys begin in June, starting in Oslo at the OverOslo Festival on June 10th and 11th. They return to the UK a week later to headline an evening at the Nocturne Festival at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire on June 18th. They remain busy in Europe through the course of the summer and return to the UK with four shows bringing the tour to its close in Belfast Custom House on August 9th, Audley End House in Saffron Walden, Essex on August 11th and finally a double header at Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh for the Summer Sessions Festival in August 12th and 13th. The final show being a benefit concert for UNICEF for Children in Ukraine, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of New Gold Dream with the album being performed in its entirety.

I have Paris on May 6th, Blenheim Palace in June 18th and the two Edinburgh gigs left to come – and that will bring me up to a total of 31 gigs (counting Copenhagen as TWO gigs) in the past seven years. That ain’t a bad run! Considering in four of those seven years they either did very limited touring, or no touring at all, I’m pretty happy with that statistic.

The next lot of gigs to come are spaced out nicely and won’t impede upon my study too much, so it’s all good.

For the gigs I went to, I had a ball. They were amazing! And I wish I could have gone to others but it wasn’t possible this time. I am excited for the ones to come.

For those going to Liverpool tonight, I hope you all have the best time.

All Leeds Road To Newcastle…

Re: Post title – Worst Spoonerised Pun, Ever! Lol

I was still feeling somewhat knackered from Abedeen and Glasgow but was excited for the next two.

It was a moderately early start for the trip to Leeds. I set out at 9.30am to make it to Queen Street for the express train to Edinburgh at 10.15am. From there just a 20 min wait to get the connecting train to Newcastle. 

I’m SLOWLY getting used to the layout of Waverley station. I’m certainly getting used to where the trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh arrive and leave, so that part’s good. 

The train to Edinburgh was positively HOACHIN’ – my mask was kept firmly OAN! I looooooove Newcastle train station! It is such a well laid out station! So easy to navigate and get around and everything is handy – just perfect! 

I get into Newcastle at 12.53pm and have until 1.43 before my train on to Leeds is due to depart. I left home having only had my usual coffee and banana so I grabbed something to have to eat later on and for now just topped up with another banana and a chocolate bar. 

The station was busy. A few hen’s parties were milling through. A wonderful array of St Tropez shades (from burnt umber to walnut) in various “barely there” states of dress (I use the word ‘dress’ VERY loosely here)  were on display. “People-watching” at Newcastle station is a veritable feast for the eyes.  

After that top up and the people-watching I find my eyes are quite heavy on the Newcastle to Leeds leg. A quieter carriage, at last, but I need to somewhat keep my wits about me as at York I need to change seats in the carriage. No great shakes. Unlike the change I had at Berwick on Sunday (more on that soon). 

All the travel down to Leeds went as smoothly as I could have hoped for and arrive at around 3.15pm – thankful that for this one I don’t have to run around like a headless chook and get myself down to the venue before 4.30pm. For Leeds, I just had a standard ticket. No soundcheck or meet and greet – that’ll come at Newcastle. I should have a good seat. 

I really was quite knackered. I had had an early night but I was up early and I really was flagging by now. Too worried about falling asleep on the train(s), I didn’t let myself rest too much but once I was booked into the hotel I was staying at (more an Inn – as it was a room in a pub) I allowed some time for a rest. When I got to the room I had the wrap I bought at Newcastle station earlier (I’ve got to say that Sainbury’s “Taste The Difference” halloumi and chargrilled vegetable wrap with basil pesto was DELICIOUS), washed down with a Yorkshire tea. 

I double checked Google Maps to see how far the venue was from the pub. Less than half a mile away. A 10 minute leisurely walk. With the stations and trains on the way being as busy as they were – esp. From the Glasgow to Newcastle leg of the journey – and knowing I had a meet and greet for Newcastle, I didn’t want to be doing too much mingling. And once in Newcastle it was obvious to me that literally NOBODY in England is bothering with mask-wearing any more, so…. I just wanted to keep myself away from crowds and people for a few hours. I was happy to chill in my hotel. I had planned to meet up with some fans in a pub elsewhere but I decided not to risk it. It’s around 5pm by now and I decide to take a rest on the bed and head down to the venue around 6.45.

I get to the Leeds First Direct Arena about 6.50pm. There had been some showers while I rested on the bed but the sun was back out as I made my way to the venue. I took my seat about 7pm and chilled. Leeds First Direct Arena has a similar makeup to Aberdeen’s P&J – a rectangular shape with the length long of it being parallel to the stage, if you get what I mean? Longer in width WITH the stage, rather than longer in depth FROM the stage. I was in the lower tier seats (there were floor seats right up to the stage, rather than a general admission standing area like there was in Aberdeen and Glasgow) but in Row V, so I was quite a way back. I felt roughly as far back as I did from the stage at the Hydro, just much more elevated which made the distance feel further. 

People were still milling in at 7.50pm. I personally love taking my seat early because I love listening to the tracks played over the sound system as the pre-gig “warm up”. About this time I spy two familiar faces making their way along the row in front of me. Chris and Robert, who I know from the SM fan groups on Facebook – and who I had met previously in Liverpool on the Acoustic Tour in 2017 – just happened to be sitting right in front of me! As I see them approaching I get up out of my seat and say hi and the three of us have a hug and a chin wag before the playing of Sparks’ “So May We Start?” signals the beginning of the night’s proceedings. (It keeps reminding me that I must watch Annette again!)

This was the first gig that I was in a position to really enjoy the full experience of the lighting and graphics show. It really IS quite the thing! I think us fans have been knocked out by it. We’re all raving about it! I really do love it. I’m not usually that taken in by all the “bells and whistles” of that kind of show – I’m usually in a cynical mind about that kind of show, as if the bands are making their staging great to deflect from the fact they’re not the best performers live…you know? But not with Simple Minds! And I am sure that has been part of the reason why they hadn’t been using stage sets quite like this before. I’m sure Jim has had similar feelings to mine about staging like that – how much of it is for “show”, as such. And I am sure it’s been a financial factor too – you can take the boy out of Glesga, etc, etc. But it has paid off. It’s a real spectacle. A great one!

If I can put my critics cap on for a second – I felt the sound was a little louder than it had been for the previous two gigs and therefore it was a little distorted. Only a tad. Not so much that it in any way diminished the enjoyment of the night. It was a strange outcome in fact because I had read a post on SMOG from Jason Beardsall referring to the sound at Glasgow and he said that Jim thought the acoustics at Leeds First Direct Arena were better than the OVO Hydro – which I thought was interesting. Prior to seeing them last Wednesday night, my only other experience of seeing a gig at the Hydro was seeing Massive Attack in January, 2019 and I didn’t feel the sound was that good that night. I didn’t have strong hopes for Wednesday night but to my surprise SM sounded absolutely AMAZING at the Hydro. Either GG worked his magic perfectly to get the sound right, or the acoustics there weren’t as bad as I had remembered or…I dunno. But the sound was first class on Wednesday night. But for Leeds, I experienced the sound quality I was expecting at the Hydro. So…who knows?

As for the gig itself? Well, the Leeds crowd were up off their feet from the get go. I grapple with this whole thing about seating and whether to stand or not. You know…we’re not getting any younger us lot and some people have health problems that they don’t always want to admit to. At times I like to sit at a gig. I can enjoy the aural experience without having to be on my feet for hours and that’s great if the act you’re seeing is not an out and out “rock” act that has slower, quieter songs in their set. And I am ALWAYS conscious of the people behind me. If they aren’t standing up, then I’m not going to stand up, either. The guy two seats in front of me (and the seat in front of Robert) was up nearly all night. I felt for Robert – he hasn’t been in the best health lately and he really needed to stay seated so he was missing a lot of the action. I appreciate that the guy wanted to stand up but…you know…when no one else around you isn’t standing, maybe you should be just a tad more courteous and sit back down. At least for the first set of the gig, eh, mate? 

The crowd in general was quite rowdy. A couple of guys sitting next to Robert, on his left, were getting quite intoxicated and were singing on the top of their lungs and all that. I really am not very keen on alcohol being served at gigs, I have to say. I’m sure it’s a great revenue raiser for the venues but…I don’t get why people want to get tanked up for a gig.

During the second set I stood up more and at times Robert stood up too. I hope he enjoyed the gig and didn’t feel too squandered of his enjoyment of the gig thanks to matey in front standing all night. He didn’t seem to. I chatted to him and Chris after the show and he was happy and so was Chris. They were both blown away by the show actually. We left the venue and had a bit of chat outside for a while. I then said my fond farewells and went back to the pub hotel. The pub around the corner from it was heaving and from my room I could hear the goings on back there. 

The place I was staying at is called The Wrens. When I got back I was feeling a little concerned about how much exposure I had to unmasked people in close proximity to me – from the travel down to Leeds to the patrons at the gig itself. It was all feeling quite “in yor face” to me and I had brought a lateral flow test with me to take in the morning and I was getting SSOOO worried it would end up positive! So when I got to my room, I washed my face and gargled my throat. 

They had their own branded coffee mugs and coasters in the room. The room was a good size with a strange light bulb hanging wires chandelier thingy. A good bathroom too. The windows when closed provided pretty good soundproofing from the pub round the corner. There were also earplugs provided, in case you needed some extra peace. I had my own earplugs and used them for sleep. I had a good, deep sleep with little interruption.

I was awake by 7am but stayed in bed until 8am. Check out was at 10.30am and my coach back to Newcastle wasn’t leaving until 12.15 and the coach station was just a 10 min walk from the pub. I took the LF test about 8.40am. Had a coffee and a banana and waited for the result freaking out that I’d end up positive. PHEW! To my relief it was negative. I honestly don’t know how I have avoided getting Covid this past 2+ years, but I have. Thank fook! Because even people I know who have been as cautious as I have all this time have ended up with the thing these past few months – and I had been in close contact with people who’d been in contact with people with it. Steve and Andy from Warn Digits, as an example. When I went to see them in Newcastle in December, they were worried they were going to have to cancel the gig at the last minute as their kids both had Covid – well, Andy’s kid did anyway, and I think Steve was worried his kids MIGHT have had it but they had negative tests. Anyway, they both had tests on the day of the gig and they were both negative…but, you know…it had been ages since we’d seen each other (well, I say it had been ages…but actually it was only four weeks before that at the Stag and Dagger in Edinburgh…but prior to that? – nearly 2 years) so we hugged and all that. But I was fine. Nothing came of it. 

But who knows how much longer I can outrun this thing? As long as it doesn’t stop me from going to Paris! That it doesn’t come and get me before Paris is due. I’ll be GUTTED if it does. 

Anyway…all was great. I got to Leeds coach station in plenty of time. The weather was sunny. I had a mocha coffee and a chocolate brownie in the coach station and bided my time. Strangely enough the National Express coach I was getting to Newcastle was actually going all the way to Glasgow. 

It was a smooth and uneventful journey along the motorway from Leeds to Newcastle. The coach was nice and warm and I had the sun on my face so I had a nice snooze along the way. Recharge the old rapidly depleting batteries. 

Leeds Coach Station

My gig partner-in-crime, Birdy, was already in Newcastle ahead of me, having spent the day before in Durham checking out the cathedral and whatnot. I arrived around 2.15pm just ahead of the projected arrival time of 2.30pm. As we were making our way into the coach station I could see both the venue and the Jurys Inn and could see that everything was within easy reach. Grand!

We weren’t meant to book in to our room until 4pm, so we hung about the hotel lobby. With increasing numbers of SM fans arriving to stay, I think they soon realised that having people hang about the hotel lobby until 4pm would make it look a bit chaotic soon. I could see that some people were being allowed to go straight to their room so at 3pm we asked if it were possible to check in – we wanted to be at the Utilita right on 3.30pm for the VIP registration. They let us booked in at 3, yay! A bit of prep and we were back out the door at 20 past for the short walk over the road to the Utilita. 

Queued up out the front at the “hospitality” area of the entrance, we got to catch up with Sue. We chatted away until they let us in through the doors around 3.45pm. While waiting inside, I notice Alison Wilkinson – I spotted her, then she spotted me and – I’m getting fucking old! I can’t remember her name! My mind went TOTALLY blank. I had the Wilkinson bit but my mind was just coming up blank with her first name! Lol. Awful! So awful! Honest to a fault, I tell her I can’t remember her name – Jesus Christ! (Lol. That wasn’t it.) Alison was with her friend, Gail, so the five of us are chatting away, me, Alison, Gail, Birdy and Sue. 

Alison and I are a pair of ogling devils. I’m telling her about this LouderThanWar review of the Bournemouth gig in which the music journo is going on about Jim wearing skinny jeans and how the guy likens Jim’s junk flinging about to being slapped in the chops by Will Smith! I could say sssoooo much more about this – but I won’t. Suffice it so say that Alison and I are in stitches and I am recommending she read the review at her first available opportunity (here’s a link to it for anyone else interested in reading it – I myself found it highly entertaining and quite ‘tongue-in-cheek’ – or should that be ‘trooser-snake-in-knickers’???). LOUDER THAN WAR ARTICLE – HERE

I had to take a photo of Cherisse’s drum kit once I noticed the daffodil.

It was a great way to pass the time until the soundcheck got under way. How Alinson and I managed to look at Jim with a straight face I will never know. Thankfully he was cracking jokes anyway, so us looking like two grinning school girls wouldn’t have seemed so out of place.

On a more serious note, I love hearing The Walls Came Down – those lines towards the end – “I don’t think there are any Russians / And there ain’t no Yanks / Just corporate criminals / Playin’ with tanks”.

And now I’m seeing a headline as I am typing this out about a shooting incident on the New York subway. Bloody hell! Scary times. It never changes!

Soundcheck Jim

The Q and A had some great questions. Someone asked Jim and Charlie about their memories of being on The Tube. Charlie mentioned Jim’s mic cutting out. He was thinking it was during their debut performance on it – but it was their second appearance when Sparkle In The Rain was released. Jim thought it was during Waterfront but it’s during Book Of Brilliant Things. He’s right on it though. Chucks the broken mic away, grabs Derek’s and off he goes. Nae bother!

Jim also talked about other memories of Newcastle. Him and Charlie hitching down to see gigs. “Sleeping together” in a phone box! And he spoke of earlier childhood visits too, when his Da was working on construction sites around Whitley Bay and going home with the lingo. “We don’t have accents”, he says. I roll my eyes. In my head retorting, “That old chestnut? Jeez-o!” Lol. “So after a week in Whitley Bay I’d pick up the lingo. And I had a stutter as a kid, so I’m in school the next week saying ‘w-w-w-w-why-aye, man!” I’m ashamed to say that THAt did crack me up. This man who ssoooo many years ago seemed so unsure of himself on the stage when it came to engaging with an audience is just…such an old pro at it now. It really is something to behold. You’d never imagine he had ANY fear of being on that stage back then – even if there was bravado he carried off in interviews back then expressing he wasn’t nervous. The reality was something else – and he was. He could perform, of course, and had his own way of engaging then – but you can see he isn’t comfortable there back then. Whereas now? So, so different. I love those polar opposites. I love the Jim of then, and the Jim of now. I love that transition. And how he overcame that.

Yeah…it was a really lovely soundcheck this one. I waved to Cherisse as the soundcheck got underway and when it was done, she came over and said hello, asked how I was and how the gigs were going so far. A guy next to me asked if he could have one of her sticks. She went off and checked and came back with one that she’d signed for him. Lucky guy! Cherisse is awesome!

Cherisse’s drum solo – had to film it!

And then comes the meet and greet – and I’ve had something on my mind. And I was tossing up whether to do this or not. Loz – I think to myself – strike while the iron’s hot! Just ask! What’s the worst that can happen? “Oh…Jim hates me forever and thinks I’m a rude cow.” Nothing too bad….

At Aberdeen, and again in Glasgow and then at Leeds the previous night, I’m noticing an altering of the words to Sanctify Yourself. In the second verse the line is “you’ve got a gun in your hand / you’re making self plans / stay with me all through the night” – but he isn’t singing the line like that. He’s singing lines from the third verse and is kind of mangling them up. But I thought maybe it was a deliberate ploy because maybe he was consciously avoiding that “you’ve got a gun in your hand” line…given how things are in certain parts of the world at the moment. 

So, I’m thinking, “right, I’ll ask” – my curiosity is getting the better of me. 

We’re queuing for the meet and greet. Before we go into the soundcheck, one of the staff of the VIP stuff – possibly she’s the main coordinator? She’s the one taking the photos anyway…she recognises me from Aberdeen and Glasgow and says “you’ve been on the Ultimate Fan experience before, right?”, “yes”, I say. “Well, you’ll be glad to know we have new lights in place and your photo will be great this time.” To be honest I had no complaints the last time. I felt fortunate my photo came out pretty good – compared to others I had seen. 

Having said that…I was reassured by the information and was actually looking forward to a lovely photo. More on that in a mo! First, back to me plucking up the courage to ask about Sanctify Yourself.

So, Birdy’s up before me. I hear them discuss where she’s travelled from today and I hear Glasgow getting mentioned and I call out, saying “She’s lodging” (ie: with me, in Glasgow) – she told me this morning I put her off her stride with that. Oops. I feel awful now. I need to learn to keep my gob shut. Honestly! 

Here we go…I’m up next. I’m just ready for a “You, again? Fucking hell, woman. Go home!” but before I even give them the opportunity for any of the that, I’m like “May I ask a quick question?” – stumbling over my fucking words again as I am spitting out – mindful of how very quick I’ll need to be to ask. “About Sanctify Yourself…” before I can continue, Jim says “I’m deaf, you’re gonna have to speak up.” I WANT TO DIE! I instantly regret my attempt at forwardness and taking the bull by the horns, striking why the iron’s hot and all those fucking metaphors and just…

I try raising my voice some – whilst at the same time feeling like I’m about to collapse in a heap on the floor, feeling me cheeks going scarlet – “Sanctify Yourself – I’ve noticed some changes to the lines of the song and I was just wondering about it” – Jim says “Am I mixing them up? Am I getting them wrong?” I ABSOLUTELY WANT TO DIE AND FALL INTO A 700 FOOT CHASM – the clock’s ticking and I don’t have time to say what I need to say (what I’ve written out about the lyrics just above) – I’m just now thinking “Oh, it doesn’t matter!” Because at this point had it been intentional he’d be saying “Clever of you to have noticed” or something similar…NOT “Am I getting them wrong?” OH FUCK!!!!

“You’ll keep me in check”, Jim says to me. And then probably inside his head, “Now fuck off and leave me alone, you fucking bitch! Who the fuck do you think you are? Fucking CHEEK of the woman. Jeez-o!”

Then I have to pose for the photo. At least it may end up a good one. God knows what Jim’s doing behind me. Probably giving me the bird! As soon as the photos are done, I quickly swing back round to face them and mouth “SORRY!” at them both – but especially to Jim.

WHY? Why do I do this shit?

The more I think about it after the fact – the more I think Jim gets off on putting me on the backfoot. The whole “I’m deaf, you’re gonna have to speak up” – I dunno…it’s probably genuine but I can’t help but see it that in his mind he’s there thinking … “This’ll put her off. Watch this.” He gets a kick out of seeing me squirm, I swear! Well, it worked. Of course it would. And he knows it will. 

And…on top of it all – today those of us on the Newcastle meet and greet have received an email letting us know that the SD card in the camera got corrupted and our photos couldn’t be retrieved! Yay! So, you could have another Ultimate Fan experience at one of the remaining UK shows, or a partial refund. I took a quick look at Hull and Liverpool and although I could get to Liverpool cheaply enough – there’s no way I can stay the night, or be able to travel home cheaply that same night to get back to Glasgow – so it’s a partial refund for me. 

Birdy has better luck as she’s going to the Cardiff gig and can do the meet and greet there. I’ll have to rely on Paris. Holy heck!

As for the gig? Well (soundchecks aside), this has been the first gig on the tour in which I was actually in the front row and OH MY GOD – front row is ssssooooooo good! There was a little extended edge at the centre of the stage. A bit of an edge for Jim to come out to and I was just to the right of where that ended. So just right of centre (my view of the stage) to the stage. And we were closer to the stage than those in the front row at Leeds appeared to be. I was ssssooooo happy! 

I forgot about my embarrassing moment with the question at the meet and greet. I just wanted the best gig experience and just being in front of that man, watching him perform. I wish I could experience it every night for the rest of my life. There is just no bigger thrill. And, I don’t care how it sounds. I don’t care how embarrassing it is – he’s beautiful! He’s just beautiful! 

I stood up this time! From the start til the (bitter) end, only taking a seat again during the interval. The way the barrier is in front of the seats, I am only that bit taller anyway. I think everyone in those lower front floor seats stood up anyway. 

What a show!

Hearing Ghostdancing live for the first time was fucking braw too!

I was seated next to a lady called Elaine who’s from Aberdeen and was at the Aberdeen gig as well, and at the Hydro gig too. She was staying at the Jurys Inn. Actually the three of us – me, Birdy and Elaine – walked back to the Jurys Inn after the soundcheck. We were chatting away again before the gig started. She’s a really nice lady. She was having a great time too. 

Unfortunately we didn’t meet up with Alison, Gail or Sue after the gig but I’m sure our paths will cross again soon enough. 

Back to the gig! I managed a few good photos, and while I was in close proximity I decided to record Celebrate again (just in case Jim did a nice sexy “she rag doll” move for me – nom nom!). I also recorded Waterfront, and Cherisse’s drum solo after She’s A River. You’ll hear me scream my head off in raptures afterwards. 

The best gig. Just the best. For the overall experience. For actual sound quality and light show, Glasgow was the best. Audience reception – Leeds was fab – but a tie for the top with Glasgow and Newcastle. I mean, Glasgow loves their boys (meaning Jim and Charlie, specifically) but Newcastle had a LOT of love for them (Simple Minds as a whole) too.

It’s a hard comedown knowing there are still gigs happening when your own lot is done for now – but at least Paris is only a few weeks away, and I’ve got to get back to studying anyway!

Thanks to Jim, Charlie, Ged, Gordy, Sarah, Berenice and Cherisse. You have all been awesome. Love you guys to bits! See you in Paris!

Great meeting and catching up with – Thomas and Ela, Michael and Nicola, Sarah, Michelle, Lesley, David and Ang, Robert and Chris, and finally Sue, Alison, Gail and Elaine. And I’m sorry to those I didn’t get the chance to catch up with. I hope we’ll get to see each other one day soon.

About Last Weekend….

Hold that note!

Because today….I am knucking fackered – so a proper review post will have to wait until tomorrow. But for now, I wanted to share what I think is the best photo I took last night. There a few other decent ones but I like this one most.

Review: Warm Digits – The Cluny, Newcastle – 16/12/2021

What can one say about the year 2021? Not a lot. It started out quite abysmally and it took quite a few months before things slowly started to feel like they were getting better. We deluded ourselves we were getting on top of Covid. The vaccine roll out happened and the FM (First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon) seemed pretty driven to get the Scottish population fully vaccinated as quickly as possible. Even now, statistically, compared to the rest of the UK, Scotland has the highest rate of vaccinated residents in the UK (I believe). As good as those stats are – a new variant has come along and now there is a new “evil” word joining Covid – Omicron! Covid cases are on the rise once more and there is a drive for booster vaccines to be given to as much of the population as possible in the quickest time.

This year I have been to as many gigs as I got to go to in 2020 before the Covid shit hit the fan – ie: not many at all. A couple of gigs I had chosen not to go to due to my own concerns still. Two gigs at Barrowland Ballroom I didn’t attend were John Grant and Manic Street Preachers. My list of gigs I went to is: Scritti Politti, Field Music (they were also one of my 2020 gigs), and Warm Digits (also on my 2020 list). I should have been going to one final gig this evening – to see Memes at McChuills. I had already decided I wasn’t going to attend it. I had taken enough risk seeing Thursday night’s Warm Digits gig. The good news is that in light of the Omicron variant and new restrictions coming into place, Memes have rescheduled their gig to April 1st next year.

The Warm Digits gig I have been concerned about for weeks. After the previous gig of going to the Stag and Dagger in Edinburgh to see them, and the disappointment of them having to cancel their Glasgow gig – and not being able to go to their gig in Manchester, it was all hinging on Newcastle. It had been a long while since I saw them play a full set and I really, really NEEDED to see a full set!

But with everything that hit with Omicron, I had my doubts about if I should go? Everything else I had put in place, determined to get there. I had purchased return train tickets straight after the Edinburgh Stag and Dagger and booked a room at a hotel nearest the venue. 

Other things were also playing on my mind. I actually thought the Covid things would be the thing of lesser concern. Vaccines were happening. Precautions were in place. I was worried weather would be a factor and had there been snowfall then that could stuff up the running of train services, etc, etc. Then about a week or so before the gig, this Omicron variant was spreading like nobody’s business around the world and I started to freak out. Esp. once Boris started talking about potentially going into lockdown again! I started to have my doubts that I would even be allowed to travel. And what happens if I end up going to England – will they let me back into Scotland on Friday? 

On Thursday morning I received a letter from SAAS about my application of my part-time fee grant. I was awarded the grant! Yay! But because this was my first time applying for the grant, I wasn’t sure how to interpret the letter other than I had been granted partial funding because the award was only for so much of the fee. So that left me believing I would somehow have to stump up the rest. I wanted clarity on this though and contacted the OU. They said I needed to specifically speak to the Scotland region of the OU, as they directly handle the fees and grant awards for Scottish OU students. During busy times though when you call the OU in Scotland number and the lines are busy, the calls are filtered through to the main OU phone lines in England. My call got filtered through to England twice. The second time, the adviser on the line said he’d put in a callback request for me so someone from OU in Scotland would call me back. Great. That was all good. But equally I am leaving for Newcastle with this worry that I am going to have to find 40% of the fee for the course! It was casting serious doubt on whether I could go ahead with my study. 

I packed a bag. Had a shower and got ready to head off to Newcastle. 

All the travel was running smoothly. Train into the city from Ashfield was on time. Arrived at Queen Street in good time for the connecting Edinburgh express train. Arrived at Edinburgh just after 2pm and the connecting train that was heading to London was already there on the platform. Found my carriage and seat and got comfy. About 40 minutes later we stop at Berwick-upon-Tweed, which looks like an absolutely STUNNING place, and is somewhere I’d definitely like to go and check out in the future.

Just after we pull out of Berwick, I get my callback from Ou in Scotland. I explained that I received the award letter in the post earlier that morning and had said I had been awarded so much – a partial award and wanted to check what I needed to do to pay the rest of the fee. The person on the phone asked me to clarify the award amount I was given, which I told them. “That is the maximum award they have given you. The university pays the rest. You have nothing to pay.” I don’t think I have ever been so relieved or felt so thankful for a phone call in a long while. I was like “Oh, my God! That’s incredible! I am so, so relieved. This is fantastic! Thank you so, so much!” I was on a cloud! So buoyed by that news. And just…so relieved and able to relax. 

It was pretty dark by the time I arrived in Newcastle. The sun had set and there was minimal twilight left. I decided to get a taxi to the Premier Inn I was staying at. Taxis were straight outside the exit from the station so I grabbed one and arrived at the Premier Inn several minutes later. 

Had a quick drink and a snack and after about an hour, I decided to head to The Cluny. I could see on Google Maps it was a really short walk to there from the Premier Inn. Less than half a mile. But it isn’t a busy part of the city and I was a little worried about the walk. But I knew that it would hardly be a taxi driver’s worth to come and collect me from the Premier Inn to drive me, quite literally, down the road and around the corner. So I walked it. But OMG, I was freaking out doing it! But I made it there safely (obviously!) but there was NO WAY I was going to take that walk back to the hotel after the gig. One, I knew by then my legs will have given out on me, and two, by 11.15pm, those streets will be even MORE terrifying. 

When I get to The Cluny, I familiarise myself with the place again and go to the back of the pub and upstairs to the quiet “lounging” area. I take a seat on the sofa and have been there all of a few minutes when I hear music start up and realise it’s Andy and Steve going through their soundcheck. Not only that, I can hear that they are rehearsing their Christmas song – Good Enough For You This Christmas. From the time of Edinburgh I had been saying “The Cluny is a Christmas gig. You HAVE to do the Christmas song! You just have to!” 

I got up off the sofa and snuck in through the doors of the auditorium in front of me. I stood towards the back, enjoying my little exclusive preview. Andy looked up at one point and I waved like a loon at him, grinning away that they were rehearsing the song. 

Steve was to the side of the stage and couldn’t quite see me from where I was standing, so when the song ended I shouted “YaaaaaaY!!!!” and that was Steve alerted to my presence and, bless him, he smiled and said “you made it! Excellent!”

Not only are Warm Digits bloody amazing musically – but Steve and Andy are just such lovely, lovely guys. They always make me feel welcome and they never make me feel a pest for wanting to hang out with them. They are just so, so fab. Speaking of FAB! We had a bite to eat together before the gig. Andy and I are very much “team Get Back”, the both of us waxing lyrical about what we thought of it and how great it was and how we’re both well up for completely ODing on the notion that Peter Jackson says he will eventually release all 60 HOURS of the footage! 

To the crux of the matter – the gig itself. There were two support acts. But with first support had to pull out of the gig unfortunately. That left Dextro as the sole support act. I really enjoyed his set. There’s quite a kind of “trance” vibe going on with his music. I find it hard to get into music with a lot of space like that and not much of a “groove” as such – more loops and repetition at a standing venue. I feel like it is more a style of music that needs to be enjoyed sitting down. As much as I was enjoying his set, after a while it started to play havoc with me and I feared I was about to have a vasovagal attack so I left the auditorium and went and sat on one of the sofas back out through the far doors. Just to give myself 5-10 minutes to compose myself and get my breathing under control. I was doing deep breathing inside to try and ward off the feeling but I was starting to feel like I better go and sit down for a few minutes while I was able to.

I went back and was able to enjoy the final 10 minutes of his set without the fear of keeling over.

Again, I will say that I enjoyed his set, but I would need to be at a seated venue to enjoy his set fully. I would see him again. I had checked out his music on Spotify before the gig and I liked what I was hearing and was interested in seeing him.

Hear more from Dextro by checking out his bandcamp page –

As for Warm Digits? FANTASTIC! They sounded great from the off. The Cluny’s acoustics are fabulous and they get great sound guys in, I think. The levels were perfect. Nothing was too loud or distorted – so very different to how Edinburgh was. Crowd wise, despite Steve and Andy’s concerns there might only be a very small crowd, there was about (conservatively) 50 people in, which obviously doesn’t sound much – but given all other factors, it was pretty darn good. And everyone there was really into it and having a great time. It was great to see people enjoying themselves. And it was great for Andy and Steve too because of course they get to bounce off the reaction and appreciation from the crowd and it circles round. It was a lovefest in that room!

And it was just so great to hear a full set! To have things like Frames And Cages, Fools Tomorrow and False Positive (which now seems a wonderfully prescient title for that track!) on the setlist, as well as Flight Of Ideas stalwarts Feel The Panic and The View From Nowhere playing. Replication had been played a few times as well over the past 18 months but Thursday night allowed a great showcase of tracks from Flight Of Ideas. But there was a great mix of older tracks in the set too, End Times was sounding the best I’d ever heard it and Rumble And The Tremor was bloody fab too. Then quite the oldie, playing Connected Coast from their Interchange album. 

After the world’s shortest “end” of the gig was the encore with the much enjoyed (by me especially) Good Enough For You This Christmas and then a finish with the fabulous title track from Wireless World. 

The best. Just the best! Everything I was anticipating this gig to be. Nothing disappointed. The guys played great, the sound was fab. Everything was on the mark. And I was buzzing. And I wasn’t the only one. 

It’s still not been the easiest of years this 2021, but at least live…musically, for me it has ended on a real high. 

Thanks once again to Andy and to Steve for not only being my favourite band in the entire universe (along with Simple Minds) but for also being such wonderful men and being ever so great to your number one fan – in Glasgow, at least. I really hope to see you guys out there on the road again next year.

A Tale Of Woe (But Joy Too!) – Warm Digits – Edinburgh, 14/11/2021

I had shelved going to this Stag & Dagger event for quite a while. Once Warm Digits had announced a gig in Glasgow, I felt there was little need for me to see them a few days before in Edinburgh. They weren’t headlining the show which made me aware their set would be short, so I had settled on just seeing them in Glasgow and then seeing them in their home city of Newcastle. To have them play in Glasgow would be the ideal. 

Sadly the gig had to be cancelled a couple of weeks back so that meant putting the Stag & Dagger back on the gig list. I had planned to go alone. I had booked a place to stay overnight, then decided that seemed an unnecessary expence – Edinburgh isn’t THAT far from Glasgow, FFS! So I cancelled the night away.

Late last week I got a promotional email from ScotRail detailing a ‘BOGOF’ travel deal. Between Sunday and Thursday for the next two weeks, one adult could travel for free across the whole ScotRail network with one full ticket paying companion. With that I asked the OH if she wanted to accompany me to Edinburgh seeing as her travel would be free (you know these Cancerians – they never say no to a bargain, or a freebie. Lol).

When it came to the Stag & Dagger, my only intent was to see Warm Digits. I’d have perhaps liked to have seen Billy Nomates, but there weren’t any other acts playing I was that familiar with. To see Steve and Andy was all that I was worried about. 

The day started well. The train travel was smooth. No worries getting the train at Queen Street. We arrived from Ashfield on platform 3, and the Edinburgh express was there ready to depart a few minutes later on platform 4. 

We did a bit of wandering, not too much sightseeing. With Covid and lockdowns, our exploration of the rest of Scotland has been quite limited. The only time we’ve been to Edinburgh together so far was to spend a couple of hours at Portobello Beach. We just went straight to the beach and didn’t go into the city itself. So it was a bit of mindfuck,when the OH reminded me that it was her first visit to Edinburgh – the city itself – the Royal Mile – in 20 years.

After a bit of a wander about aimlessly, we went and had a bite to eat. I coaxed her into the Cafe Andaluz we had passed by. 

We were back out by 4pm and the light had faded to deep dusk. It’s Sunday, 4pm, the light is fading, I’m not wanting to walk too far and the boys aren’t on until 7.30pm – what are we gonna do?! 

Wander some more! We went down to Cowgate so I could see where the venue was, and exchange my ticket for my wristband. We went down to Grassmarket and wandered about there for a while. I didn’t want to abandon my OH to wander the streets of Edinburgh alone for three hours, but I didn’t want to move far from Cowgate. She’s not a drinker and at this point in time she’s still not wanting to be indoors in more confined spaces for longer than is necessary so just whiling away some time having a drink in a bar wasn’t on the cards. I was feeling bad for even suggesting she accompany me at this point in the afternoon. 

By 6pm my feet are feeling weary and I want to sit down a while so my legs aren’t aching TF by the time Warm Digits’ set starts. Me and the OH depart company. 

I catch up with first Steve and then Andy in the venue around 6.30pm. Both of them welcoming me like they’re seeing an old friend. These guys are far too lovely to me! There wasn’t too much of a chance to chat as the act performing before them got under way. Bit hard to have a convo in the middle of a gig. Perhaps a chance to chat later?

The act before them, Pet Shimmers, finished their set at 7.15, giving Steve and Andy just about 10 minutes (once Pet Shimmers had removed their kit) to set up. I was getting flustered just watching them! Such a tight schedule to set up, perform your set, then get all your equipment back off the stage ready for the next band to do it all.

Technical issues started. Gremlins had been let loose. The bass feed wasn’t coming through the channel it needed, so they had to do a rework, and then Steve’s laptop – where the graphics are, so well as that bass feed was kept dying. Trying to get that all sorted meant their set started late, and there was no time to run over so their set was cut short. 

They played Feel The Panic, End Times, One Track Groove (Living Stereo) and Growth Of Raindrops.

It was LOUD. I stood to the right of the stage, so I was right in front of the amp stack on the right side of the stage. I ended up with tinnitus in my right ear. For a while there I was worried lasting damage had been done. I’m still not sure whether lasting damage hasn’t been done. Since then things have not sounded quite right…

Yeah, incredibly loud and very distorted. But Pet Shimmers were sounding distorted too and that was at the very back of the venue. A shame. And not down to them that they were sounding like that. 

A good catch up afterwards. A bit more of a chance to talk and blether on. Both parties were apologetic for varying reasons. I felt for them so much. Esp. Steve – his frustration and disappointment with the technical issues growing ever visible on his face. But they could at least play something and didn’t have to leave the stage not being able to play anything.

Steve very kindly offered me one of their newly added lines of merchandise – a Warm Digits t-shirt, which I will wear with absolute pride as, if not just Glasgow’s biggest Warm Digits fan, then perhaps even Scotland’s…maybe even the UK’s?! Lol. I don’t know. But I know I love these guys and I can’t wait to see them again next month at The Cluny in Newcastle. It’s all set to go! I have my ticket. And I have my travel and accommodation already sorted. I am really, really looking forward to it!

An arduous journey home followed. A depressed OH (not very happy with hours of hanging about Edinburgh in the dark with nowt to do), a wrong route back to Waverley station, a slow “all stops” train back to Glasgow. No trains running on the Anniesland line at that time on Sunday evening. A bus to Milton that didn’t arrive when it was scheduled to, then a cab home from the city and in the door at 11.30pm.

And knackered after my version of a dance at a gig and nearly 15km of walking. But to see them for just that short space of time made it all worthwhile. 


I just took a few quick snaps on the night. No other footage. But here is a live version of One Track Groove they recorded many a year ago for you to enjoy.

Belated Birthday Swings And Roundabouts

Beauty and the Beast was fab. As was the Sunday birthday lunch. Weather was iffy but…meh. It’s Scotland. What are ya gonna do?

Yesterday was the belated added bonus of my Warm Digits boys being on the radio doing a live session on BBC Radio 6 Music on Marc Riley’s show.

They played The View From Nowhere, Feel The Panic and Replication. Replication sounded particularly fantastic. It is clearly going to be a live favourite for me. I remember particularly enjoying that when seeing them support Polica back in Feb. 2020 at St Lukes.

Just before the show was under way, I had an email from Eventim, the ticket agent I bought my tickets for their upcoming Glasgow gig with. The email was informing me that their Glasgow gig is cancelled. Oh, damn!

And yes, it is true. Sadly it is cancelled. But I will get to see them in Edinburgh at the Stag and Dagger in just under two weeks time, so that’s some compensation. Might have to see if I can get to Manchester as well. I have a ticket for their gig at The Cluny in Newcastle, but that’s near Christmas. But I’ll hope that the weather and travel is okay and that I can actually get there too. The Cluny is a fab venue.

In the meantime, here’s a link to BBC Sounds and the Marc Riley show from last night. He played a great blend of music. I recommend listening to the whole show. It was very entertaining.

Before Lostboy! There Was “Special School” Boy! Lol (Pro Synth Network with Mick MacNeil)

I need to explain this post header. Lol

“The Man in the Sky”, Mick MacNeil, was being interviewed….well, more joined in in a live stream chat (with a loose interview in there) for this YouTube channel called the Pro Synth Network. Basically a weekly synth geek’s get together to discuss all things Synth and keyboard based. New bits of kit out on the market, etc, etc.

Once we get the technicals and geek talk out the way, about 45 minutes in, then there is talk with Mick about his time with Simple Minds and just…his background of being a synth player and how it all came to be. It’s a great thing and Mick shares great anecdotes and is a lot of fun. He always gives great banter.

I am going to drop in on the interview right at the point where Mick says he went to see the band before he joined. What he says about Jim absolutely cracked me up and had me in stitches! Which then meant I missed the next minute or so of the conversation. The very interesting point Mick made about Jim and his stutter (or on anyone with a stutter – in the broader sense).

Anyway, let’s cut to it. But I recommended you maybe go back a few minutes on the clip and listen to Mick talk about taking up (or having it thrust upon him, more accurately!) the accordion and sticking with the rest of the video.


Happy Release Day – Flight Of Ideas!

The day has arrived! Sadly, my copies are in lockdown as currently Monorail are only open as an online store and I ordered my Dinked LP and CD to collect from in the store itself. I’ll be waiting some time to collect, methinks! In the meantime, there is Spotify and the digital download copy to buy.

Check Warm Digits’ social media channels and website for details.

As a consequence, today’s music aperitif is Fools Tomorrow. Strangely timely for the perplexing time we find ourselves in.

Rescheduled Warm Digits Dates

Please note that Warm Digits have rescheduled their dates for the end of April/early May.

So far, there are two new dates rescheduled for Newcastle and Manchester. News on the Stag And Dagger date in Edinburgh and the London date for the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre will follow.

New dates for The Cluny in Newcastle is Sept.11th and Yes in Manchester is Sept. 12th. Keep your eyes peeled on the band’s social media for the remaining date changes. See you out there in Sept. hopefully!