The Hottest One Describes The Flames – A Sons/Sister 40th Anniversary Footnote

I loved the way Jim defined his role within the creative tour de force that was Simple Minds in 1981. He posted two pieces on the official Facebook page regarding Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call – both quite succinct in their acknowledgements – but I guess he has spent more time than anyone over the past 40 years dissecting and talking about it, he probably had very little left to say. And of course, as the lyricist and vocalist on the albums – well, he can let the music, his words and his voice do all that needs to be said and done.

“I’m not saying anything, I’ve said too much.”

But of the things he did say, that description on the second post of the band being “on fire” and that it was his job to describe the flames. It perfectly describes it! And that is why he did such an incredible job of it! 

And…whenever you want, Jim, you can come and fan my flames! Just saying… (what are those lines from 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall again… *pondering expression on face*)

I didn’t post a Minds Music Monday post yesterday as I still was feeling a sense of “mourning”. A bit of a loose end right now. Minds Music Monday really had a purpose behind it these past months. Before that, it had been nothing more than “here’s the Simple Minds song that’s stuck in my head this week” kinda thing. I put a lot of work into really trying to turn the weekly theme into something solid and something to look forward to.

It did get on top of me a few times. It quickly became something I wanted to deliver on week after week and there were times during the summer when family matters and personal crisis got in the way of being able to dedicate the time I needed to make each post as thought-provoking and insightful as I wanted them to be but I am already missing that challenge. Equally it is nice not to feel so much pressure to fulfill a task, to be working to a self-imposed deadline.

Minds Music Monday is definitely going to continue but perhaps at a more controlled pace. And I have time until the next major celebration. With New Gold Dream’s 40th Anniversary next year, and there only being nine tracks on the album, I can slow the pace down somewhat. My thinking is that I will start a monthly post from January onwards with related pieces in between. But I may change my mind about that come January. Part of me doesn’t want to kick off the celebrations too early, yet the other part of me thinks IT’S NEW GOLD DREAM! We’ll see.

In the meantime, just to go back to Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call – I’d like to share this. This is what I had written out as my blurbs to intro each of my choices for Ronnie McGhie’s radio show last week. Once the show got under way, we were so pressed for time, I felt I couldn’t say all the things I wanted to, so I tried to get across the important points and tried to limit what I was saying. It is why I ended up stumbling over my words towards the end, just trying to get a more succinct point across made me trip up over Seeing Out The Angel and This Earth That You Walk Upon. 

So here are my broader points that I wanted to say printed below. I also included the brief introduction of myself that I had written as well. My part was originally going to be a pre-record and I had recorded my audio and sent it to Ronnie but he said doing the show live was an option if I was up to it. I really didn’t feel very confident about it to begin with but the more I thought about it and considered it, the more exciting the proposition was. And so we went for it and I am ssoo happy we did. It was a great experience.


“My name is Larelle Read. I have been an ardent and fanatical Simple Minds fan since the summer of 2014. When realising there was so much more to discover about the band than what you hear from their array of hits, I meticulously went through their back catalogue. I did so in chronological order and when I got to the albums of Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call, it cemented my love for this band completely. From the beginning of In Trance As Mission right through to Seeing Out The Angel on the “Sons” album, all the tracks are perfectly placed. It’s Europe of the early 1980s. And it’s 5 men all below the age of 25 sharing life’s experiences. It’s musically and lyrically perfect. And it SHOULD be lauded as highly as New Gold Dream is, as far as I am concerned. 

BOYS FROM BRAZIL

It’s all about that drum beat for me. It’s meaty! Added to it a relentless bassline and single note synth, then Burchill’s jangly guitar riff. Kerr’s lyrics at this point are already political, citing Neo-Nazis and the National Front in his lyrics. It has a sophistication and a message, delivered with a subtlety that many miss. It’s not a song to dance to so much but it packs a big punch and it gets my fist pumping and my heart pounding. And visually, I see the style of the Minds members reflected in their clothing choices. Tailored trousers and collared shirts. Very 1940s smart attire. 

WONDERFUL IN YOUNG LIFE

The first time I ever heard Wonderful In Young Life as a new “mega” (perhaps zealously rekindled) Simple Minds fan, I cried. I found it the most beautiful song I had ever heard. I am reluctant to go into too much detail but my teenage years weren’t years I look too fondly on. This song expresses everything that is special about being in your late teens and early 20s for a lot of people. A whole life ahead of you. Setting out in the world where the sky’s the limit. That you’re making your way in the world and you have great friends around you sharing in those experiences. Exactly as the title says – Wonderful In Young Life. It is something that I felt had passed me by, and it’s why I felt so much emotion from it. For the years I felt I lost. Another driving beat and fantastic bassline and so much amazing wailing guitar. And those lyrics! And Jim’s voice. And a rare time he’d sing in a falsetto. And it was those falsetto lines of “I’m singing memories” that would tip me over the edge. I have “I’m singing memories” tattooed on my right forearm. That is how much this song means to me. 

SONS AND FASCINATION

Sons And Fascination reminds me of being back in Australia with my mum. I was there in the summer of 2015/16 and it was the last time I had with my mum before she passed away at the end of 2019. I think each song I choose has some kind of quirk to the rhythm that catches me. This has some kind of hand clap effect or a Linn drum snap or whatever it is. Mick MacNeil’s synth work and again with Derek Forbes bass sell this one for me. Sophistication in Kerr’s lyrics once again. He was such a keen observer and it’s all reflected in those lyrics. I think everyone should listen intently to Jim Kerr’s lyrics. And I need to get to the bottom of why he chose to use the words “semi-monde”. It is an incredible title track and absolutely encapsulates everything the album is. The whole rhythm, tone and message of the album. It’s magnificent. 

THE AMERICAN (Extended Version)

The American is a favourite in the live set. It is always the indicator for me that a Simple Minds gig is well under way when The American is being performed and it is guaranteed to get me singing and dancing. (If I am not already doing so by then, which I usually am!) It is the extended version I enjoy much more than the version that is on the album. The album version I find too short. And I love the way the extended version fades out after that almost trippy and hypnotic repetition of the chorus. Live versions are always favourites, esp. one from the Good News From The Next World tour of 1995 in which Jim included the backing vocal lines of “in collective fame/ Nassau club days / across a curved earth / the eventful work-outs”. And Charlie Burchill’s guitar work on this is fabulous.

SEEING OUT THE ANGEL

Seeing Out The Angel is just the most beautiful, serine, haunting song. The synth melody that opens the song and the bass that counters it. The haunting backing vocal. And then the guitar that sounds like church bells – something that music journalist Adam Sweeting said of Charlie’s guitar on this song, and he is absolutely correct. And the story behind the lyrics as well. Of Jim saying he had this “vision” of an angel or a visitation FROM an angel as a young boy I find fascinating. And it contains one of the most beautiful lines I think Jim has ever written, “in colourful, breathless, emotional sea”. I’m not one for choosing a funeral song. I don’t care what’s played at mine. You could play Russ Abbott’s “Atmosphere” as far as I am concerned. It’s not as if I am going to be there to enjoy it! But I can certainly appreciate why Seeing Out The Angel appeals to fans for that particular reason and purpose. And as the final track on the Sons And Fascination album, it is just perfect. 

THIS EARTH THAT YOU WALK UPON

This Earth That You Walk Upon contains my favourite Charlie Burchill guitar solo. But there is also more shimmering synth work from Michael MacNeil. It’s really big on atmosphere, this track. It makes the world feel huge. We have our place within the universe, but we as human beings are just a speck in space and time. We are the blink of an eye in time’s history. Going to the Walk Between Worlds short set of showcase gigs in February, 2018 and being promised some rare tracks from the back catalogue, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was hoping for Boys From Brazil or Wonderful In Young Life, even though I knew in my heart of hearts the chances of either of them being performed was as likely as me winning the lottery! But when I heard the opening synth chords to This Earth, I felt like I had been taken to heaven. I was in EXACTLY the right place at the right time. Glasgow, Barrowland, and this song being performed live in front of me was all I could ever wish for. It’s a very special and magical memory.”

A Voice For Radio? (If Not A Face For It!)

It was ssooo much fun last night being on Ronnie McGhie’s radio show, celebrating all that is Simple Minds and the 40th Anniversary of Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call. Even if I did have a massive corpsing fluff towards the end of it.

Seems like we’ll do it all again for next year and New Gold Dream’s anniversary!

If you missed it last night, you can listen again by clicking HERE – the show is broken up into two separate one hour parts. And it’ll be up on the Pulse 98.4 website for the next 4 weeks.

Last night Ronnie also caught up with Empires That Dance’s Andy Inniss to talk about their new release – a fabulous reinterpretation of Love Song and you’ll get the hear the track as well – all in the second hour of the show.

Waxing Lyrical On The Airwaves

This is probably going to be the biggest aspect of the whole Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call celebration, from my own personal viewpoint, than anything else I could have imagined. (Bar the band announcing some last minute gig going on in Glasgow for it. Settle down! I’ve heard NOTHING – I’m just dreaming!)

What are you guys doing next Wednesday night, September 15th? I ask because, well, (and now this feels really real typing this out and I am really starting to shit bricks!) I’m going to be on the radio! 😱😱😱

My friend, Ronnie McGhie – radio presenter extraordinaire – wanted to do something special for his radio show to celebrate the 40th anniversary of SAF/SFC and so he asked ME if I wanted to be involved!

I think I just about bit his hand off with enthusiasm to be honest. Lol. Being asked to talk about SAF/SFC? What a doddle, eh? Except it’s going out live on air and I am kind of bricking it but I am dead, dead excited! And I am sure Ronnie will keep me in check – he’s the pro!

And it really is going to be a big celebration of the albums. I’ll be choosing SIX TRACKS to play from the Sons/Sister albums – and there’ll be something else going on on the show as well, but I best keep schtum about that for now.

So…next Wednesday evening – September 15th at 8pm BST, tune in to Pulse 98.4. You can tune in from anywhere around the world by going to their website pulseonair.co.uk – but of course, if you’re local around Glasgow, you can tune in the old fashioned way too and set the dial to 98.4 FM.

A friend said when I told her that I was crapping myself about being live on radio “take a Valium” – said in jest. I’m not sure it’ll help…but I might cave in and take some kind of Dutch courage. Haha! We’ll see.

Cherisse Osei – BBC Radio 5 Live Interview For Drumathon Live

As highlighted on Cherisse’s social media accounts as well as the Simple Minds social media accounts, Cherisse took part in Drumathon Live last night.

The Drumathon is a 264 hour non-stop drumming session, featuring drummers from all different bands from all around the globe. It’s all for charity, raising funds for the NHS and mental health charities, including the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, UK Trauma Council, Mind, NHS Charities Together, and Child Bereavement UK.

Yesterday morning, Cherisse was interviewed for BBC Radio 5 Live about the Drumathon. She also performed a little snippet of Alive And Kicking during the interview.

Mel Gaynor will also be taking part with his drumming slot taking place between 10am and 10pm on Thursday, May 20th.

You can tune into the live stream and donate by visiting drumathon.live

You can hear Cherisse’s interview below.

Quality Is Key

There’s been a recent newcomer on YouTube, uploading SM bootlegs. Some I really enjoyed as they were of a fairly decent quality – others …. not so great.

The most recent upload I was really excited to see was another from the tail end of 1982 – my all time favourite period for listening to them live.

I started to tune in last night but I quickly stopped, disappointed that the quality of the audio just WASN’T there.

They had shared the upload on one of the SM fan group pages with a cheeky “Art & Talk who???” comment. Lol

Well, if you’re going to be full of bravado about it, then honestly, A&T has nothing to fear because A&T uploads QUALITY!

I’ll even delve into periods of the band I am not so enamoured with because I know the sound quality of the bootleg will be “to a standard”. It is why I listened to the Glastonbury set a few nights ago. As much as I love the Good News From The Next World album, and as great as the band was live at the time, there is an element of Jim’s singing voice at that period that grates on me. I don’t really know what it is – I just don’t like the way he sounds at that point. It’s mostly to do with word annunciations and nuances in pronunciations of words – kind of “American mid-west crooner” kind of style. Or more … over-emphasised “blues man”. It just sounds false and kind of protracted and laboured. It wasn’t so pronounced at the Glastonbury gig so I did enjoy it but other gigs from the time, his voice just gets on my tits and I have to stop listening (sorry, Jim!).

So, yes, the quality of A&T’s uploads means I *will* listen to things I normally wouldn’t. Not always. Some I still haven’t dabbled in – but I’ll get around to it.

Of course there are some points in the history of the band’s bootlegs in which it will be nigh on impossible to have quality recordings. Unless they actually had made recordings for radio, etc, and they were professionally recorded, there is going to be little quality around.

And still, for my own level of interest in wanting to listen to bootlegs – quality is key. It is why I shied away from dabbling into bootlegs for so long. One) the general poor quality of recordings, and two) I wasn’t overly into live music when I first got into the band. That has changed massively since being a SM fan and now I really enjoy the live music experience. And I actually find the bootleg experience to be a much better (and truer) representation of what it is like being at a gig than a more professionally recorded thing with full production techniques and “in studio ‘enhancements’” and overdubs made to them.

I want to hear the crowd! Yes, I hate having some bloke being a pub singer right next to me and wailing over the top so I end up hearing much more of them than I do of Jim! But I’d prefer that than to no crowd noise at all and Jim’s voice sounding perfectly audible … almost as if he had gone and recorded his voice in a studio 🤨🤔🤔

If you’re going to give me a live album – make it LIVE. Don’t fiddle with it! Give me the imperfections and the crowd noise.

Still, one wonders exactly HOW MUCH is *live* at the gigs these days. Well, not much at the moment in good old Covid World.

But I digress.

Bootlegs – they need to be of a certain standard. They can still have the crowd and the punters talking and singing and you can hear the cheers and the screams and that makes you feel a part of it. And the band still sounds full and strong, and you can hear Jim’s patter between songs and he always sounds amazing and emotive, sometimes even breathless, and on the VERY ODD occasion, off key – but it all adds to the magic.

So, you provide the quality and I’ll keep on listening – capiche?!

Minds Music Monday – Vitriolic Jim in Vrendenburg, 1982

As I said yesterday in my Sunday Waffle Vlog post, I went looking through the Art & Talk YouTube channel for something else to listen to, having been enjoying his more recent offerings.

I gazed upon the one below and thought “well, it’s only a few weeks prior to one of my most favoured gigs – one that helped to cement my uber SM fandom – Rockpalast in Cologne” so to me it had the strong potential of being a goodun’.

I was NOT disappointed! Right from the get go! Changeling – Jim just spits venom and vitriol. God I bloody LOVE IT when he performs like this. I find it absolutely as sexy as fuck! It’s just so…visceral and guttural and just….I just want to lick him from head to toe!

Then Thirty Frames and the switching of the lines – Jack comes back earlier than normal. Lol. But then, almost in a way angry at himself mabbies for fluffing up and putting the lines in the wrong place, he follows it with a “fuck you, Jack!” Lol

Premonition next and a fab version. Sweat In Bullet also. Then early outings for Promised You A Miracle – already been out as a single and FINALLY, Simple Minds score strong chart positions with a single. King Is White And In The Crowd follows, and Jim continues to spit venom with the “Wire them up! Fire them up!” lines.

The wonderful pairing (still being paired together to this day) of I Travel and Celebrate. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a crap version of Celebrate. JIM – I WANT TO BE YOUR RAG DOLL!!! Jesus fucking christ this man is so fucking sexy! Ermaaaaageeeerd! Had I actually been around for these gigs in 1982 – I think I’d have melted in a puddle most nights.

Then what is always my favourite at gigs – The American. Then finally, a fabulous version of Room – a shame it fades out towards the end….but we probably got 80-85% of the song.

Let’s move away from me concentrating on Jim’s performance and my…stirrings and talk about the quality of the recording and the rest of the band performance. The band – all tight AF. A really good turn from Mike O on the drums. The more I get exposed to Mike’s performances, the more I am coming round to appreciate him. Derek and Charlie both solid as ever. Mick was probably great too – but some of the keyboards got lost in the mix. Other than that, the sound quality is pretty ace. I mean, I proper recording as I guess it was recorded for a radio station as this version of the gig was recorded off Dutch radio by a fan. Jim sounds very strong and clear – hence all the visceral sounding stuff coming to the fore soundwise.

I really loved this gig. I found adrenaline pumping – if for no other reason than Jim’s vocal performance and his absolute SEX GOD appeal! Be still my beating ovaries! GODDAMN!!

Enjoy! Happy MMM…

The Anchoress On Front Row

Catherine Anne Davies – aka The Anchoress was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme on Tuesday night. In case you missed it, you can listen here. This will remain a permalink of her interview.

I listened in live and it was very good. She was very eloquent, esp. when giving her response to the arts funding boost offered in the latest budget. A mere piss in the ocean. Then again, they dared only give NHS nursing staff a MEAGRE 1% pay rise. Oh, all that money saved from leaving the EU was going to go STRAIGHT into the NHS. Was it just…

Anyway, the wait is nearly over! The Art of Losing is out on Friday, and the Q and A with Pete Paphedis for Rough Trade will happen on Friday evening as well. This is going to be some album launch!

In the meantime, here is the Front Row interview for your lugholes to enjoy.