Let’s Rock!

A wonderful friend of mine in Oz – Wendy – has done these amazing rock paintings for me.

When she showed me the progress of the New Gold Dream themed one a few days back, I cried my eyes out. I knew she was working on a silhouette of Jim but I wasn’t expecting that amazing NGD cover background on the rock. I was overwhelmed.

Today she shared photos of both completed rocks with me and I absolutely adore them both.

They will take several weeks to get to me all the way from sunny Queensland, but they will find the most loving home here when they arrive in not-quite-so-sunny Glasgow.

Bye Bye 2020 – 50th Birthday Bash And The Year Of Gigs.

In exactly 4 months time, I’ll be turning 50. This was meant to be my big celebratory year. You only turn a half-century once, right? (Thankfully!)

So…I decided that this would be the actual LAST HURRAH! The big final bash of a mass of Simple Minds gigs. I go to places around Europe and then the final “holy grail”. The culmination of it all. The place I have prayed I’d be able to see them play in since becoming mega fan – my home city – Sydney. But why stop at Sydney? Melbourne is only an hour on the plane, and cheap enough to get to these days. And I bloody love Melbourne – so there too. And, although I am not a fan of wine or outdoor festivals much (depends on several factors!) I thought I’d go to Bimbadgen in the Hunter Valley too.

The gigs kept mounting up. Copenhagen was meant to be JUST THE FIRST in a year full of SM gigs.

Paris, Bordeaux, Leeds, Dublin, Glasgow – then down to Blenheim Palace for the Nocturne gig – the over to Taormina (roped into that one as I was) a month after that – then a cluster of late summer UK gigs, Aberdeen, Edinburgh (Summer Sessions), Newcastle – then finally the trio of Australian gigs. FOURTEEN in total!

And other gigs besides Simple Minds. More Warm Digits gigs. John Grant. Crowded House. Jimmy Webb. Primal Scream. The Stranglers. Probably others I have forgotten.

All kaput! All…with any luck…happening in 2021. Except…some of these gigs may not be able to take place for me personally in 2021. Yes, I’m sure Jim will be crying into his lemon zinger at the thought of me not being at as many gigs next year. Lol. Given the face I was getting towards the end of the Copenhagen gig, I highly doubt he’ll miss seeing my face.

Hey…”nemesis” took over. (I have been listening to Bettany Hughes’s podcast about “The Ideas That Make Us” – a kind of philosophical history on the ideas and language that makes up modern civilisation – so in the context of “nemesis” in ancient Greece – I am using it in the correct context.)

So, I lick my wounds. I take it on the chin. I have my “woe is me” moment. Count my blessings and get the fuck over it.

Move it forward a year. Crack on.

In the meantime…

A Change Of…Terms?

Where do I start? Well, I start by saying – the blog ends up being my safe place for a moan…a gripe…a whinge. Mostly because I know Jim doesn’t want to hear it. I appreciate that.

Well, I kind of expressed, briefly, in the comments about the use of the phrase “longterm” – like how I had my gripe that got me into a WHOLE HEAP of trouble about “real fans” – ooh, at least he steered clear of THAT! Lol

But I elaborated on my gripe here. I often do. And go on about wishing I could be his “penpal“…in a sense. (I could easily cut his hair. I cut my OH’s hair most of the time.) That I’d love to interview him for the blog. That I wish “discs and doughnuts” could actually be A THING – just one time – between the two of us. Also, I go on about how I miss him pretty much every day he isn’t on Facebook. Lol.

I just crave the connection I felt was there some time back.

I’m a clingy, lovelorn, emotionally retarded fuckhead – I know! (Honestly, Alasdair Gray’s writing speaks sssooo fucking much to me! I’m there most of the time thinking “Know how you feel, Al. You’re speaking my language, friend!” Geez, I wish I had got to meet him now! Damn!)

Something happened though. And when that “something” sometimes happens, I forget to give a word of thanks. A “thanks for listening”…for taking it on board. For making me feel like…I have a voice, I am still being listened to. Appreciated. That my feelings matter. That you still care. Maybe? Hopefully? Perhaps it’s all still just delusional wishful thinking…

But just in case, Jim…thank you! Coincidence, no doubt. Wishful thinking? Most likely. Even if so, the “change of heart” post was greatly appreciated.

And well…hey fans…feel like trying to get your story in the book? Expressing your “Sense Of Discovery” of Simple Minds? Here’s your chance! You have just over a month to submit something. I think this may be one HUMONGOUS book!

Ever since reading this morning’s post, this has been the earworm…

The Anglophile – A ‘Discs And Doughnuts’ Playlist

This one started germinating from the idea of two things – the response to the “Antipodean Greats” playlist and that love of music from the UK that I always had too. “The Mother Country”, old “Blighty”. As the Australian nation post WWII looked to align itself firstly with America and then in more recent years as part of southeast Asia, my personal allegiance was still with the UK – particularly musically and culturally.

The other was Jim’s choice of Life In A Northern Town for his June playlist. As much of an affiliation I had for the UK musically and culturally, it wasn’t necessarily somewhere I desired to live when I was growing up. It always looked so bleak and dreary. Despite the bleak appearance though, it still managed to appeal. “Life In A Northern Town” may not have seemed very aesthetically appealing, but in other ways there was a draw.

Cars – Gary Numan

It’s synch pop bliss. And I was always conscious of it coming out of the UK. The synth based New Wave sound was very obviously very UK centric to me. Cars is probably the epitome of that sound for me. That final minute is just heaven. It gives me goosebumps every time. Always just does something to the senses. Never fails.

Dreadlock Holiday – 10CC

Brits abroad. That’s Dreadlock Holiday. It always used to be on the radio this one. Feels kind of odd to go for this track but it just came to me as I was thinking about what songs seemed typically “Brit” to me. I was so very tempted to add Godley and Creme’s An Englishman In New York as well – if for nothing else than the splendiferous video that accompanies it.

Ghost Town – The Specials

Seemed to sum up how Britain looked from the outer. Bleak, drab, rundown…deserted. Not exactly a song that English Tourism would be clamouring to use for an advertising campaign. Lol. And now the song has resonance again in a whole new light. Life is constantly cyclical. Only certain aspects change.

Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

1984 Probably the height of my love for 80s music and the vast majority of it is coming from the UK. I guess there are some exceptions. Australia was a real melting pot of influences – taking in music equally from the USA and Britain. The preference for me was always the British stuff. FGTH was HUUUUUUGE in 1984 and into ‘85. And the first thing that made its way to us was Relax. It took quite a number of years before I saw the “other” video (the one I chose here – seems rather sedate now). The one I remember when first recalling hearing the song is the one done with the laser lights. I loved Frankie and Holly’s voice just absolutely knocked me for six.

I could have chosen Ferry Cross The Mersey but…nah.

Eurythmics – Here Comes The Rain Again

Rain. It always seemed to be raining in the UK. If it wasn’t raining, then it had just rained or was about to. The skies seemed permanently grey in any footage I ever saw coming out of the UK. Very rarely did it ever look sunny.

God, how I wanted to be Annie Lennox as a 13 year old! She was tall, androgynous, and she looked beautiful. Nothing I was ever going to be. The one thing I always wanted to change about myself (apart from weight – but that I could alter and do something about) was my height – or lack thereof. I ALWAYS wanted to be tall. If I had been at least 5’8” tall, I’d have been happy. Wasn’t to be…

Big Country – In A Big Country/Wonderland

I couldn’t decide which Big Country track I wanted. I love In A Big Country. As opposed to England and its urban drab dreariness – Scotland seemed beautiful and mystical. You don’t really get sold Glasgow. Alasdair Gray was spot on in Lanark. No one ever “sold” Glasgow to you. They sold the Highlands, the munros, the heather, the kilts, the lochs – Brigadoon. Big Country were rock music Brigadoon. They fed you it, still. Stuart Adamson with guitar effects like bagpipes. So…I think I was initially sold it with Wonderland. I bought it as a 12” single and then bought The Crossing after that. So, I’m not purely an “Anglophile”. But…try and find an equivalent phrase for Scotland and you see how Anglo-centric the UK is! Scotophile? Hiberophile? Caledonophile? Albaphile? Which would you choose? Answers on a postcard.

The Clash – London Calling

Political punk that always rang a chime with me.I can’t say I am the BIGGEST Clash fan. Never sought out their music too much. Had a 12” copy of Should I Stay Or Should I Go back in the day. Always loved Rock The Casbah too. They just had that very London centric kind of sound – even though there are ska, reggae and rockabilly leanings in the fusion of musical genres.

Adam And the Ants – Stand And Deliver

Although Adam had that kind of meld of the Native American meets pirate look thing going on – it was so very obvious he was from London and so Stand And Deliver plays up to that kind of thing. “The dandy highwayman” – Dick Turpin et al. Prince Charming played up to it to a degree also. It just has that skewed “cheeky chappy” Londoner thing about it. Playing up to aged stereotypes.

Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK

Well if you properly research your music history, then you know that punk – purely as a musical genre – started out in America. But punk as a concept, as an ethos, as a culture as a way of life DEFINITELY took hold in Britain. And the one band most lauded as taking the ethos and running with it are The Sex Pistols. I guess you could choose anything from Never Mind The Bollocks – but the obvious choice due to the playlist subject is Anarchy In The UK.

Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

The first thing that knocked me for six was the sound of Jimmy Somerville’s voice. And then it was the video. As a 14 year old girl who probably wasn’t even aware if she knew any gay boys at the time or not, I was just floored by that video. I mean, even still for that time, it was brave to highlight such a thing. I mean in the same year Queen release I Want To Break Free and do their video and the U.S. fans just DUMP them. And although gay rights was a worldwide thing, it was obvious the video was UK based. So the song has a UK centric sensitivity to it for me.

The Police – Synchronicity II

The picture of domesticity. A highly “dysfunctional” family – as they would be called. “Another suburban family morning / grandmother screaming at the wall / we have to shout above the din of our rice crispies / we can’t hear anything at all” Sting writes. It’s a bleak picture. It could be anywhere in the modern western world, really only for the chorus that pertains to a Scottish loch “many miles away”. I guess it could be Europe somewhere – but more likely England, and more likely northern England, perhaps near Sting’s childhood home in Northumbria. It conjures up that bleak, dreich imagery in its wording for me and the drama of the music. And…just, a moment to say that – as a drummer, I worship the ground Stewart Copeland walks on! In my dreams I would be even ONE TENTH the drummer he is! OMG!

Tubthumping – Chumbawumba

I’m not usually much of a victim of misheard lyrics as I will study songs and I am usually pretty good and taking lyrics in properly. But in this case, the northern accents got the better of me and I did mishear the chorus as – and it makes absolutely NO grammatical sense! Lol “I get knocked down but I get up again and I’m hanging on a cheap guitar”. Lol. I KNOW! As a joke I still end up singing it like that. So, yeah…it’s just an anthem, really, innit? A celebration of pub culture, essentially. Something oddly uplifting about it too in that – correctly worded here – chorus “I get knocked down but I get up again and you’re never gonna keep me down”.

Blur – Parklife

It’s just…London, innit? All the “cool Britannia” stuff of the mid to late 90s. The bands of the time and the whole Oasis v Blur thing. In that contest it was Blur for me. Oasis didn’t do as much for me – though I liked Don’t Look Back In Anger, Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova. I suppose I just preferred Essex boys to northern lads – musically then, perhaps. The other groups I liked at the time were Supergrass, Pulp and into the early noughties, Elbow – though after getting a copy of Newborn, I didn’t really stick with them much. Guy Garvey certainly has a way with words though. I also loved the more dance and trip hop stuff – Massive Attack, Faithless, Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim.

But, back to Parklife…it just kind of sold a stereotype then – pallid Brits in the sun. And, well, due to Cool Britannia and the closing down of the more industrial aspects of Britain, it started to look cleaner and began to seem more aesthetically pleasing. It wasn’t just the music now that was appealing, it was how life was looking here. We had just ended 13 years of Labor government in Australia in 1996 and the UK finally had a Labour government come in in 1997. The future looked bright. It looked better.

The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset

A homage to London and the Thames. London was not a part of the whole “Anglophile” thing that particularly appealed. It seemed a big scary, dirty place. And even after my first visit there shortly after I moved over, I felt very “meh” about it. The place I fell in love with first in the first few weeks I was here was Bath. My partner has relatives in Bristol and a cousin was getting married 4 weeks after I moved over. A bit of a baptism of fire, that. Going to a big family wedding when we’d barely been married a year ourselves. We stayed a weekend in a B&B on the outskirts of the city and had a day in Bath. The weather was glorious and warm and the architecture of Bath floored me.

It took a while…but slowly there were aspects of London I grew to like. The convenience of getting there from Luton was a HUGE plus. Erm….the West End. Theatreland. The museums and art galleries. The fact it is a cultural hub. From being absolutely indifferent to London, over the years I found the little hubs and things I liked about it. And certainly being by the Thames (particularly along the Southbank) was one. I never wanted to live in London though. NEVER. Luton was more than close enough.

London is definitely no Glasgow! Thank fuck for that!

You can also listen to the tracks as a Spotify playlist here…

The Little Drummer Girl Finally Has A Kit!

I kept convincing myself I wanted an acoustic kit. Like how I kept telling myself that I wanted to learn to drive a manual car. And like with the manual car when I realised that it actually would end up being faster and easier to learn to drive an automatic, I decided that if I really DID want to learn to play just to be competent and play at home and play to a standard (no desires of actually being a professional player at this time in my life) then a good electronic kit is all that was needed.

So, here we are. Here’s my new kit. Yay! It should be with me in a few days. I am very happy.

Oh, and I got one of these too…

I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is – MORE COWBELL!

Midsummer In Glasgow – Lockdown Adventures

I hadn’t been down to the Clyde since I saw Brian Ferry at the SEC Armadillo on March 3rd and I had desperately wanted to go there over the past couple of months. So with it being a mighty fine day yesterday and it almost the height of midsummer, I decided to set out for the Clyde in the afternoon.

Here’s a photo montage from yesterday’s venture…

Photos taken around the Great Western Road and the West End around Kelvinbridge, into Finnieston, onto the Clyde itself, through Woodlands (avoiding going back through Kelvingrove Park on the way back) then back through St George’s Cross to get home.

Jim, Are You Not Entertained? Podcast Chat

Jim posted about it yesterday, saying he was asked about Mandela.

It’s all well and good they were asking about Mandela Day. As you say, under current circumstances it makes sense.

But I still can’t help but feel pangs of envy. I mean, geez, it’s their SECOND interview in as many years and I can’t even get a look in!

And I know why. I get it. I am not deemed professional. My blog is just a “fan blog”. “Jim and Charlie don’t do blogs.” And I fancy the pants off you and adore you and I know doubt bore you to tears as well. And all that goes against me.

But! As a fan, I have questions. Rather different and specific ones. Not your usual “tell us the story about ‘dot dot dot’”. Maybe that’s what else goes against me also?

No. It’s just this…thing. This overriding feeling I get from you that I bore you rigid and you don’t really want to talk to me. I had my time and now I am “surplus to requirements”.

Man, I wish the shoe was on the other foot – or the feeling was mutual. Lol. But it isn’t. It never will be. I’ll ALWAYS want to talk to you, spend time with you, be near you. 😞😞😞

Anyways, here’s a link to the podcast. I’ve not listened to it yet. Or to the Jools thing yet. I’ll get round to it. When I have finished licking my wounds and wishing for things that will never be. (Reading certain passages of Lanark – man, I feel Alasdair Gray’s anguish over the opposite sex.)

 

https://ayne.podbean.com

(P.S. I nicked Sir’s selfie. Bite me, Kerr!)

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Minds Music Monday – This Fear Of Gods, Tiffany’s – Dec, 1981

I’m feeling anxious about the easing of lockdown restrictions. I used to be such a scaredy cat about going out and doing things. I used to stay home A LOT. Never went to gigs or hardly ever went out socialising. I’d just stay home. Lockdown has rekindled a lot of that stuff within me.

Fear of going out and mingling with people. Fear of large crowds.

”Fear is fast and I’m turning white now.” Yes.

Wow…the way this version at Tiffany’s starts. The synths and pedal effects and just – it’s very trippy. And I just love that bit of Jim saying “give me an echo, Gallagher”. Yeah, Frank. Hurry the fuck up! Lol

He def. gives Jim echo, for sure!

And I am listening away, awed, reminding myself these boys are babies! That Simple Minds is barely 4 years old and that Charlie has only just turned 22 and that they are already a musical “tour de force”.

If anyone is dismissive in front of me….daring to say “Meh, Simple Minds” I’d reply “LISTEN TO THIS! Then tell me ‘Meh, Simple Minds’, ya fud!”

(P.S. That ident pic. Virginia was talking about this photoshoot with me a few days back, saying these particular ones of the band, up on the hill, are her faves. There is one in this bunch with a guy wheeling a pram around in the background. That’s her fave. Of those ones, this one is probably mine – Jim’s face! I could pinch those cheeks! And then snog him something rotten! – In my dreams.)