Making Plans For Scotland…

This week I have been mostly…working out which gigs I wanted to go to…and then making the plans for a preliminary reccy to Glasgow.

I started with the UK first and working with the notion that Glasgow will be a local gig so grabbed my soundcheck experience there first. After that, the next nearest UK venue would be Leeds, so that was booked. Then I really wanted to get myself in a smaller venue and I looked at venue sizes. I considered other factors too. How early the gig would be – date wise in the tour – and how easy it would be to get to the city from the nearest airport and how well located within the city centre the venue would be. Based on those factors, I decided to plumb for Copenhagen. It’s a gig in early March. Copenhagen is further south than the other European cities with dates before it, and hopefully less susceptible to suffer any inclement weather. Also, the city is relatively small and easy to navigate. Plus the venue itself is small with only a 1700 capacity.

La Seine Musicalé as an architectural structure looked stunning to my eyes. And, with it being on the Seine, it quickly became a favoured option. I tried to book it next but when I went to choose the seats on the screen on the laptop it said there were no seats to choose. So I went and booked my Dublin ticket instead.

After I had secured a Dublin ticket, I tried Paris again on my iPad, this time the site seemed to allow me to choose seats, I grabbed to two, one for me and another for a friend.

I was done with my choices and happy with my lot. Time to relax! At least from the anxiety of making ticket purchases for SM gigs anyway!

So now today while everyone else scrabbled to secure their tickets in the general sales, I was booking flights and hotels – those flights including a trip to Glasgow in the next week or two on a reconnaissance mission of rental properties…and perhaps maybe one or two actual views of houses on the market.

It all hit at once!

The timing really could not have been more perfect!

I still have some things to consider. When to go home and see mum, for example. For several weeks now I have pretty much had February in my head. I’ll get there soon enough. I’ll work it out.

In the meantime, here’s to pastures new!

It’s Not Personal…

Can’t help feeling I’m “persona non grata” BIG TIME right now.
Oh, well.
Let’s still go to a few gigs, eh? I still love him even if he disnae love me.
Leeds ✔️
Dublin ✔️
Glasgow ✔️
And… one mainland date… but which one?
And I need to bear in mind my King Creosote gig on March 12th, so…
I’ll mull it over for the rest of the day.

Kelly Jones + The Wind And The Wave – New Theatre, Oxford – September 18th, 2019

It was a new venue for me. I hadn’t been to a gig at the New Theatre before. I had wanted to try and catch a show on the previous leg of the tour in June/July but money was just too tight at that point, and although money is still tight, things are set to ease somewhat very soon. Kelly had swung by closer to home on the last leg, having dates in London and Cambridge, so Oxford was a stretch in distance to cover, but I would get to see the tour’s finale. Not an entirely bad thing.

The show started promptly at 7.30pm with support act The Wind And The Wave. A duo from Austin, TX, comprising Patricia Lynn and Dwight Baker. Kelly appeared on stage to introduce them saying “Patti could sing the fucking phonebook.”

I enjoyed their set. Due to the prompt start, there was the obligatory interruptions from endless latecomers. Made all the worse for some of us. I was right by the entrance point for the middle section of the circle so the interruptions were constant. The ushers kept latecomers at bay to try and minimise the interruptions, but seated where I was it helped little.

But I still managed to enjoy their set. Dwight was full in interesting banter between songs which sometimes Patti interjected with or elaborated on. Minimal instrumentation, just an acoustic guitar with Dwight and some electronic percussion triggered by foot from both of them. They had fantastic harmonies. Favourites they performed were The Redhead In Aberdeen, Happiness Is Not A Place, This House Is A Hotel, and Human Beings Let You Down. I’d happily see them again. Just beautiful, simplistic music that is beautifully expressive and on any subject affecting the human condition…from the sublime to the ridiculous.

A short break and stage set up before Kelly arrived on stage at 8.45pm. A brief hello and then straight on with things. A few slow numbers to open and just the use of acoustic or electric guitar from Kelly with either piano or violin – sometimes both – accompanying him.

Of course I was also there to see Cherisse. Out she came about the 5th song in and instantly reminded me what I have been missing while Simple Minds are on a break for this year. I MISS MY TUTOR! Lol. Yes…it’s a contradiction, I know…as while she’s touring, she’s too busy touring for any tuition. Still, with the money situ having been as tight as a duck’s proverbial of late, I’d have not been able to afford lessons anyway. Chicken and egg…

You’ll have to excuse my ignorance on my knowledge of Stereophonics songs and my appalling memory to recall the songs I heard last night. But I will do my best to go over the standouts for me.

The first definitely was Kelly talking about Stuart Cable. It was quite a reminiscent homage but it was wonderful to hear. He then performed Before Anyone Knew Our Name. Another highlight was a brilliant version of Mr Writer. “For the past 20 years I’ve been having to explain what this song is about. For the record, I don’t hate journalists. This song isn’t about a journalist.”

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He performed a new song from the forthcoming Stereophonics album, Kind, called Fly Like An Eagle.

Below is a video I recorded of him performing I Wanna Get Lost With You.

A couple of covers were also a standout. Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through The Night was beautiful, and The Wind And The Wave joined Kelly on stage for a fabulous version of Stop Dragging My Heart Around.

Towards the end of the show some “hits” – the most familiar Stereophonics tracks I know – were performed. I never knew the story of Local Boy In The Photograph. Also there was a wonderful rendition of Maybe Tomorrow.

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Finally the most wonderful encore of Dakota that had the crowd up off their seats and singing along (me included!).

There are a few clips on my Facebook page if you want to look, including that wonderful Dakota finale.

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I tried so hard to get some good photos of the stage set. I really loved the backdrop. It was a simple set up, but it was just visually quite lovely. The stage arrangement was great too and the lighting worked really well. The staging was expertly done. And the acoustics and sound was absolutely spot on.

I’ve shared a few pics but they’re not the best.

A fabulous gig. I’d definitely see Kelly again in future.

Empires And Dance Appreciation – Constantinople Line

I originally wrote the following in January, 2016 as a “Why I Love…” piece for the blog. Little has changed in my feeling for this song. It’s bloody fab! I share the demo version of the song because it is the one stuck in my head today more than the album version. Enjoy!

***** It’s the rhythm of it to begin with. Very reminiscent of David Bowie’s Station To Station. It reminds me of it, but is far enough removed not to sound a pastiche.
A great bassline once again from “Big Dan”. And Charlie uses the guitar effects for a nice screeching sound. Maybe it’s just reverb. I can’t claim to understand what I hear, but I know I like it!

Absolutely one of the best set of lyrics Jim has ever written. They are very image laced. I see the pictures in my head when he sings them “I see a land, as we crawl by night /I see a face on the window in front” – I love those lines so much! And possibly my favourite lines from ANY SM song…ever “these stations are useful / these stations we love them” when it wasn’t very “de rigueur” to claim to “love” things like that. I’m assuming because of such, Jim is very much saying it tongue-in-cheek, which I love. (No pun intended!)

The demo version has different lyrics. He sounds like he’s ad libbing a bit. The song’s musical structure is there…and some of the final lyrics are there (including the “these stations” ones) but there are some lines that don’t gel. He did a wonderful job refining and trimming. The demos can make you appreciate the final cut so much more…
And, of course, the song ends with the sound of a train.

It just does a great job of letting you feel that train journey experience. Foreign lands…people behaving shifty…cloak and dagger…it’s like Strangers On A Train. Simple Minds do Hitchcock and borrow a *tiny* bit from Bowie and do a stellar job.
This song…I love it! 😜😊 *****

P.S. The artwork is a really early days one. An oldie but a goodie. Jim liked it. Halcyon days 😌

Will It Be? Can It Be?

Well…it’s a theory…

I had to ask. Anyway…my passport is ready. And the money will soon follow…

My passport photo STILL sucks! Lol. Can we see supermodel passport photos? I mean, if even Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell’s passport photos look shit then I won’t feel so bad. I mean…geez I know I’m no stunner and I’ve got only slightly less blubber than a minke dolphin – but I can scrub up okay if I make an effort (or get a TV make up artist to do me up)…so why ARE passport photos so shit?!

If anyone is willing to say I look 35 (or younger!) in my passport photo than 48, you’re on my Christmas card list. Lol

Tao Be Or Not Tao Be…

That is the question.

It is many a SM fan’s holy grail, to go to Taormina for a stay at Villa Angela.

I was mulling over the idea again tonight. Looking at what’s available at the hotel and checking plane fares from Luton to Catania around my birthday.

The idea of spending my 49th birthday there is mildly alluring. I’d rather much go for my 49th than make a hoo-ha about my 50th.

OH MY GOD! I AM TURNING 50 next year! I can’t! I’ve wasted too much of my life being an absolute useless waste of oxygen! And now I am going to be 50. WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE WITH MY LIFE?! Absolutely fuck all is the answer for the vast majority of it!

I dunno. I don’t know if the place really appeals. I mean…Sicily looks lovely. The views of Mount Etna from Tao in general look stunning. But as for VA itself? I don’t feel the pull to it that others do. I feel more like I am being coerced into the notion of it, you know?

“REAL FANS” go to Villa Angela. Well, Kerr can blow it out his arse if that is something he actually thinks. I’d actually rather visit Toryglen in all honesty. See the humble beginnings rather than what the success has bought Mr Basil Fawlty.

But would I? Am I rebelling for the sake of rebellion? Am I kidding myself I don’t want to go? I certainly don’t want to go in the hight of summer! I have no desire to go in July or August. I’m not even sure I’d want to see a SM gig at the Teatro Greco.

MY “holy grail” of places to see Simple Minds perform is in Oz. Sydney highest of all, but Melbourne and Adelaide also would be wonderful to see.

And probably still a pipe dream, for who knows when they’ll be out there next? Other that? The other place to see them play that I really wanted was Barras and that’s been ticked off the list 🙂

Maybe I’ll do VA next April. The only months that appeal to me for going there are either April or October.

We’ll see.

I was never sure I wanted to shatter the myth of the dream of meeting Jim and now…well, it’s been several encounters now (I bet he’s absolutely sick of the sight of me…stupid bint that I am). I kinda feel the same about VA.