The Benevolent Dictator – Plots And Plans

I find myself pondering Jim’s posts ssooo much. 

Some I end up taking as personal slights – “meek and unambitious” for instance has been in my head for the past week now. But, I think I need to “let it go”. I think Jim will believe what he wants to believe, without any effort from me to try and counter it, or offer a differing opinion on his thinking. He has a point. I guess I just wish, from a personal viewpoint, that he’d have phrased it better. 

ANYWAY!

I’m not sure where this is going to go. Most days I feel the drive to write SOMETHING…almost a compulsion to do it, without any set, clear agenda of what it is going to be. I just want to sit and type and express myself. Why that should be, I don’t know. Nobody is interested in what I have to say, and nobody really SHOULD be either. Who the fuck am I to say or express anything?! Let alone feel it even remotely important enough to be read by anyone?

I don’t know. I am finding this need to write very perplexing. Maybe it *is* “ambition”?! *pulls shocked face*

Today I am pondering the notion of the “benevolent dictator”. That is how I consider nearly all cats to be – benevolent dictators. Surely “benevolent dictator” could just be another, slightly less kind description for a manipulator, no? 

I also pondered on who we were describing in Jim’s post with this term? Was Jim referring to himself? Or was he aiming this description at Charlie? 

Does Simple Minds work under a “benevolent dictatorship”? Should we even be made privy to the world of band politics? Don’t we as fans endlessly speculate on this stuff ad nauseum as is? Why does Jim want to kick the hornet’s nest? 

It really is a paradox, the “benevolent dictator”. Jim has always fairly much come across to me as the old “it’s my way or the highway” type. Perhaps that’s the “last chance saloon” Kerr stance? Perhaps before it gets to that tensive “breaking point”, it’s the “charm offensive” prior to that? Try to win them ‘round first? I know he puts me in enough of a spin that sometimes I think he could do quite sinister things with me and I’d just take it, or bend to it. (I’d like to hope my principles would save me in the end. “Principles? You have principles?”)

We speculate because we think we know. We think we know these people. We believe we know their traits and we are made to feel as if we know them…but it’s all public persona. 

Masks. We all wear masks to some degree – and I’m not meaning our new Covid world fabric face-covering – I mean, in metaphorical terms, a complete cover – a cloak of who we really are, even to ourselves, or how we want to be perceived and how we appear. EVERY SINGLE PERSON DOES – whether they are conscious of it or not. Whether they would admit it to themselves or not.

So Steven van Zandt said “a benevolent dictatorship OF SOME KIND”? That seems instantly contradictory. Does this mean the dictator can change from day to day? One day it’s Jim, the next day Charlie? Dependent upon who is passionate and forthright enough about whatever problem has arisen and what the solution is? If so…then aren’t we actually back to … DEMOCRACY? The thing that got dismissed out of hand as not working when it comes to band politics? 

Yes! Sometimes I do like to overthink! I’d rather bloody overthink than not fucking think at all, sure enough! Give me my overthinking, over-analysing brain ANY DAY than the brain of an unthinking mind. A mind that doesn’t want to be challenged and … (hello Mrs!) stimulated. 

Perhaps I should be thanking Jim once again for….stimulating my grey matter (I could continue, but I’ll leave it there…I don’t need to elaborate any further. Lol)

Perhaps last night’s post was an exercise in Jim airing a “You’ve won THIS ROUND, Burchill, but next time…next time, PAL!” ??? Lol

On the one hand I am wondering why we were privy to such a thing last night, but I do love that it results in me pondering. I ponder so much stuff when it comes to this band, honest to god. I have sssoooo many questions. I run a Simple Minds themed blog – but I know because I have been told “Jim and Charlie don’t do blogs” (Yeah, and my name is Slartibartfast!) that I will never get the privilege of interviewing Jim (or Charlie). 

The questions come and go. Differing things. So many different things. Like right now I’d love to know at what precise moment did it turn real for Jim? Knowing absolutely that this was the thing he wanted to do with his life and that he was going to set out to do it. WHEN EXACTLY was that? And was he not even REMOTELY scared? With NO background in music or songwriting, or singing …. like….just….HOW?! And I mean actual “how”, not as in Glasgow “how” (ie: why). 

Today, before coming up to my bedroom to sit at my computer to type this out, I had this little …. Fantasy? Daydream? Spark of an idea? Delusion? About sitting down and starting a story. Just…a story. I wouldn’t even be so bold as to believe I could spin it out long enough to make it a novel. Just…the first few sentences. The germ of a seed. That soon expanded into what could end up for someone who is actually a writer, as a fully fledged novel. Almost to the end page. With nothing in the middle. 

Could I even flesh that out? Could I even start? To me, every story has already been told. So…how do I make MY story different, more entertaining, more enthralling, different enough to have people want to read it? And do I have the patience to sit here for months making something that would ultimately flop? 

And there’s the UNAMBITIOUS! It’s all been done. So why start? WHAT’S THE POINT?! I guess maybe I should start it for shits and giggles. What’s there to lose, right? Most of the time I sit here every day typing something out. On a good day, I can easily get to 1000 words. Base that on the average length of a novel, and account for me dealing with the thought of story direction, plot twists, etc, etc – a minimum of three months this would take. Allowing time for “bad days” and writer’s block – I could have a complete manuscript by the Simple Minds gig in Paris. 

See you then?

(P.S. Photo is my “writer’s view” today.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seems a bit of a pigeonhole to put them in…

Like, they were “flavour of the month”.

That can’t be though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From about the time he posted this…

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

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

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

Interview in the Scottish Sunday Times HERE

Bravado In A Baseball Cap – Respect Yourself!

He has changed the post several times now since he originally posted it last night. He likes to fuss over the posts most times, chopping and changing text as he goes, adding things, removing others.

Perhaps he was right about himself when he said to Ricky Ross at the end of that recent interview “I am not a writer” – you certainly like to edit enough! This tome of yours must be going through endless drafts! Lol. Sorry, Jim. But the amount you edit posts tickles me. You had all day to post your thing about Jimmy Iovine. Have you never heard of a “word processor”? Lol. Or “cut and paste”?

I’m not a writer, either. But I make sure what I am posting on my blog is – by and large – exactly what I want to say the first time. (I am compiling this post now in my “Notes” app on my iPad Mini, as an example.) The only editing that goes on is the spelling mistakes I missed during composition and proof-reading that I then see AFTER posting. I never usually change the make up of the post. Adding content and taking other content away. If I do add content, it is usually posted with an obvious “UPDATE” attached.

But I digress.

The point of this was the added wording I read on the post this morning – its 10th edit.

That term again! This thing about “realness”. Why does it sound like hypocrisy to me sometimes? And why the hell do I continue to care!? How do you measure “real”?

What does he look for? What’s the secret? Why do I try so hard to crack it? Why do I want “in” so much on the Kerr world?

He hates a quitter, but he seems to be equally turned off by the wrong kind of persistence. So…do I care too much? TELL ME WHICH ONE IT IS, JIM?! I know you don’t care…well maybe neither should I. Geez, I wish I could!

I had a really dark thought this morning as I awoke opened my eyes and you were the first thought there. You’re always the first thought, the last thought and always there through the night too. There seems little escape. And the only means of escape from it I could see this morning was…well, very black, and not something I am going to admit to thinking. But it seems the only option available to me at the moment. Well…not an option available to me. I’ll keep it cryptic.

Again, I digress.

I admit. Last night…my comments. I was hoping he’d bite. That he’d say something. Reply to me. Prove me wrong about my thoughts on Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy probably knows best. I mean, what the fuck do *I* know about writing a song. But…how many songs has Jimmy Iovine actually written himself? For all the work I see listed upon his CV, the one thing that appears missing on it is “songwriter”.

So, what is this “realness” Jim talks of that Jimmy supposedly possess? From what I can see he’s just a blagger, all bravado. By all means a great producer…just by the stats of the list of production under his belt. Ah, but does QUANTITY equal QUALITY? Just has the courage of his convictions and therefore that seems to make him right. How do you learn from anything if you go through life thinking you are always right? And how does that command respect? Am I missing something here?

I fell asleep last night…at some point…very, very late. It was a very warm night in Glasgow last night. I tossed and turned, restless. It wasn’t just the weather keeping me awake. It was also that question that keeps appearing. “Why won’t he talk to me?! Why have I lost this thing I felt I had? Why can’t I just stop fucking caring?! Just…respect myself and not give a toss about what this man thinks any more. Stop wanting to be his friend.”

Until the bitter end…

Minds Music Monday – And The Mysterious Missing Vid…

I mean…what *did* happen to the video for Sense Of Discovery? And where’s Jim’s tour diary? And what dates will there be for Simple Minds gigs next year? And why has Cherisse not got back to me about drumming lessons yet?

Yes…my mind is full of pondering questions today.

How long is a piece of string? How soon is now? Do we actually celebrate Christmas at the correct time of year, seeing as some historians – with the theory of Jesus being a genuine figure in human history that actually existed, are mostly of the thinking he was more likely born in the summer, around August (given anecdotal evidence of astrological observations…positioning of planets, etc)?

….

Happy MMM

Glasgow January Dreaming…

I was just….pondering about things.

If, as my suspicions/ theory is correct and there could be a January release of the new Simple Minds album…I *may* just…nothing is certain at the moment…on ANY of it…but I MAY just have a reason to be visiting Glasgow again in January.

It would be great if stars aligned themselves…

The album got released in January.

I was traveling up to Glasgow again.

Jim and Charlie would do promo stuff…possibly including an “in store” album signing in a Glasgow record shop…

Yeah…all that just came to mind. It would be nice if those stars all DID align…but at the moment it’s all speculation, theory, and dreaming.

Only time will tell…