Priptona Talks – To Jaine Henderson: Part Two

Here is part two of my interview with Jaine Henderson.

Sometimes things were not without some bizarre set of dangers, like the time Jaine found herself a hair’s breadth away from being jailed for “possession of a concealed weapon”.

Lights would fuse. Wires would fray. Things needed repairing on the spot and the easiest way for Jaine to repair things was to carry a flick knife. It was easy to keep in her pocket and meant she wasn’t having to carry a bunch of screwdrivers and other tools that couldn’t be as easily carried around as a single flick knife. The flick knife could cover nearly all aspects of repair work.

At one gig, the manager of the venue was unsettled by this finding. “He was not happy that I was carrying a flick knife, despite me reassuring him it was purely for repair work purposes. Seemingly feeling unnerved, the manager asked me for the knife and I gave it to him. Later that evening, the manager walked past me and placed the knife in my jacket pocket. The next thing there are two police officers approaching me, preparing to arrest me for ‘possession of a concealed weapon’. I had to plead my innocence. Tell them that the knife was only for work. That I was a lighting technician and used it purely and only for lighting repair work. I was carrying my passport with me so I could show them who I was. Had I not had my passport with me, they’d have charged me on the spot and I would have spent the night in a police cell. As it was, I was instructed to go to the local police station the following morning. I was then formally charged and summoned to court.”

The case was quashed. Jaine had eyewitnesses to say that the manager had returned the knife to her moments before the police arrived. That there were no threats made to use the knife in any other way than for the lighting repair work. The police retracted their statements which suggested that Jaine had made a threat to use the knife on someone. The judge threw the case out and the charge was dropped.

The Real To Real Cacophony tour saw the band travel over the North Sea and tour mainland Europe for the first time. Starting out in Germany at Kant Kino. The first leg of the tour towards the end of 1979 travelled through Germany and into Belgium before the band take a plane across the Atlantic for what is now a visual landmark bit of history, when Simple Minds perform at the Hurrah’s Club in New York and are recorded for a feature on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

The tour continues in Europe with dates in Sweden and Denmark before the band return to the UK for dates across the country.

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Jaine and David Henderson at Jaine’s lighting desk, circa 1979. Photo by Carole Moss.

Midway through the Real To Real Cacophony tour, David left being the sound engineer with Simple Minds and shortly after sets up the Hellfire Club with Jacqueline Bradley. It was an important venue for aspiring new local bands providing much needed rehearsal and recording space in Glasgow’s West End. It was many a fledgling band’s first exposure to recording and production in studio space.

Jaine left the lighting tech role with Simple Minds on the eve of the Empires And Dance tour that set off to continental Europe at the end of August, 1980. It was the band’s most extensive European tour to that date, scoring the coup of being the support for Peter Gabriel.

A natural creative flow in which an emotional connection for a band and its musical style caused a change an artistic direction for Jaine. A short lighting tech gig after her departure with Simple Minds was the turning point. “Bruce [Findlay] had got me a lighting job for a band that I didn’t really know. It was a short tour down the south of the country. I was travelling in a van with a band I didn’t really know with material I wasn’t familiar with and it felt really odd. That was when I decided that I didn’t really want to continue with the lighting tech jobs. I certainly felt uncomfortable at the prospect of working freelance.”

Jaine then started helping David and Jacquie out at the Hellfire Club. One of the bands to rehearse and record demos at the venue was The Dreamboys, a post-punk band consisting of members that included Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and “TV’s” Craig Ferguson – mercurial comedian and host of late night U.S. talk show The Late Late Show before James Corden took over the role in 2015. Jaine became The Dreamboys manager but the band were short lived, splitting up as Capaldi got more acting work. The final death knell for the band being Capaldi landing a role in the film Local Hero.

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Pictured L-R: Laura Mazzolini (Sophisticated Boom Boom), Jim McKinven (Altered Images) Jacqueline Bradley, Scott McArthur (Graffiti record store and JATSA band manager), Peter Capaldi, David Henderson, Temple Clark, Craig Ferguson (Capaldi, Clark and Ferguson all members of The Dreamboys). Photo by Roddy Murray.

Jaine then worked for a time at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow in the promotions department. Hearing this had me asking her the question I had posed to Jim several times but never got a response for. Semi Monde, the Noel Coward play, made its theatrical debut at the Citizens in 1977. I had to ask whether she knew if Jim had seen it and if it was the inspiration for the line in Sons And Fascination (this has always intrigued me). She couldn’t say whether Jim had seen the play, but she had been lucky enough to see it herself. “I saw quite a few shows there. My parents would take me to see shows there when I was younger, so when the opportunity arose to work there, I was really excited at the prospect. I really enjoyed my time there. It was hard work, but it was great.”

Working at the Citizens lead on to working for Raindog, the theatre company started by actors Robert Carlyle and Alexander Morton. The name of the company struck initial interest for Jaine. “I am a huge Tom Waits fan, so I asked Bobby (Carlyle) about the name, wondering if he was also a Tom Waits fan.”

Early on during our conversation, Jaine interviewed me as much as I interviewed her. It was a great ice-breaker. These things can be nerve-wracking for both parties. Me, under the pressure of keeping an air of professionalism, but hoping for a smooth and relaxed flow of conversation; Jaine, perhaps apprehensive about sharing certain things and feeling trepidation over questions I may ask, being understandably guarded, living a life in relative obscurity.

We talked about our school experiences. Me relaying my leaving school at a very young age due to bullying. Younger than Jaine herself was at sixteen. By that time she was wary of academia. Her mother, a teacher, was Jaine’s own teacher during her final two years of school. Something one can only imagine is wrought with its own unique set of problems. We shared a common leveller, so to speak, with a common kind of circumstance, but with a different view of pursuit.

I left school early because of the bullying, but felt cheated that I was taken away from the education I craved. I wanted to continue study and I had academic pursuits in mind. My mind, I felt back then, was not the mind of a creative or artistic person. I loved science, mathematics and history. That’s where I wanted my future to be. Jaine didn’t feel the need to pursue higher education. She was good at English and could have followed artistic pursuits at a higher education level, but preferred to leave school and get on with getting out there and living it.

And she made a life for herself getting out there and doing it. One that saw her involved in the arts in one form or another throughout her life.

Asking Jaine of her memories of the tours I asked if she had any favourite gigs from her time as lighting tech. “Les Bains Douche in Paris. I love Paris, and this particular venue was really trendy and arty. It had sunken baths in it or something like that.” (In fact it seems to have been a multi-functioning venue – concert hall, discotheque, restaurant and bar with an in-ground swimming pool as its main focal point). “It was an amazing place to play in. Also Kant Kino in Berlin was very cool.”

My final question to Jaine was “what are your favourite Simple Minds songs of the period?”
“Someone Somewhere In Summertime is one. I really like that. Of the earlier stuff? There’s one called [In Your] Room that’s really good. These two are my particular favourites.”

My thanks to Jaine for affording me the time for the interview. Her time was greatly appreciated.

The final words I shall leave to Jim. What follows is an extract of a post from Simple Minds Official Facebook page in which Jim talks of Jaine on what had been a recent visit to Sicily, highlighting the intrinsic role Jaine (along with others) played for the early Simple Minds.

“They say that ‘No man is an island.’ I would add to that ‘No band is an island’. And what I mean is that for Simple Minds to happen, it took more than just a bunch of musicians (no matter how talented) getting in a room together. That in my view is often the end product.

The real beginning for any artist is the scene that you grow out of. The people you hung out with. Those who influenced, unknowingly of course, turning you on to all manner of new stuff. Could be music, films, theatre, fashion, books. You name it? In doing so they all help create the landscape that gives birth to your own imagination. And at the end of the day creativity is largely all about imagination, and how much of it that you really have?

All I can tell you now is that Simple Minds owe a ton of our success to all the other Glasgow kids that we hung out with back in the day. They all helped set our imagination on fire. That fire still burns and their influence is very much still a part of us.”

Priptona Talks – To Jaine Henderson: Part One

I had the privilege to conduct my first ever professional interview for this blog with Simple Minds’ (and indeed Johnny And The Self Abusers) original lighting technician, Jaine Henderson. Upon gathering my notes to compile the transcript from the interview, what became clear to me was, despite my wanting to talk to Jaine about her work with SM and being involved in the early embryonic days of the band (and those discussions happened), was the fascinating life Jaine has had beyond her brief time as SM’s lighting tech. The interview became less about Simple Minds and her involvement in the early days, and just as much about Jaine herself and her life before and after her involvement with SM.

Brother David got himself a full-time job at the local record store, Graffiti, on Queen Street. Jaine would go in and hang around and help out on a Saturday. Members of the band (as of then, Johnny And The Self Abusers) would come in and be wanting to listen to things and would get chatting to David and from there David started to work as the sound tech and general “ideas man” for the band. He’d travel down to London with Jim Kerr and Graffiti store manager (and indeed JATSA band manager), Scott McArthur, knocking on record company doors, offering up demo tapes.

Jaine went along to some of the gigs and would help out here and there. One time the guy who was meant to do the lighting was a no show, so Jaine stepped in. That was the start for Jaine as lighting tech.

The first official Simple Minds gig was at Satellite City on January 17th, 1978. It was nerve-wracking for all involved. Jim, in a Facebook post on Simple Minds Official in January, 2017 (just a couple of days before the gig’s 39th anniversary) expressed how nervous he was, and what a “big deal” the gig was for the band. Jaine and David had done some rehearsing leading up to the gig. The odd little slot here and there, helping out where they could.

Whilst starting out being the lighting tech, Jaine also helped with the band’s promotional material, creating tour posters for early local gigs. Offered a six month placement at a graphic design company, Jaine enjoyed learning to work in mixed media. One of the early iconic Simple Minds gig posters was her concept, incorporating a photo by Peter McArthur. “I saw the photo and thought it looked really good. There was a screen printer at work but you could only work with one colour at a time. Jim liked the whole ‘Village Of The Damned’ thing, so I had the idea of making his eyes red.” The posters would have a blank space of white at the bottom so information on each new gig could be added.

Such a successful concept it turned out to be that it lead to some official merchandise being made. You’ll see in the video below a badge that worked lenticular, so Jim’s eyes would flash on and off, depending on how the light caught the badge. Retro style badges of both Jim and Charlie with the “red eye effect” can be bought from the official band store to this day.

The lighting kit comprised four lights on a repurposed bread board that David had put together. Lights of various strength of wattage were used, including a 1000 watt floodlight that if used in unison with the other lights could lead to the lights overheating and short-circuiting. Other lights were added over time having been “rehoused” as part of the Simple Minds lighting kit.

The lighting rig got more complex as time moved on and as the band developed and endeavoured to put on more elaborate shows. Equipment got heavier too, and Jaine would struggle sometimes to set it all up herself. It was tough work, lots of heavy lifting and physically labour intensive. More than a solitary person working alone should have to deal with. But Jaine was reluctant to ask for help. “If I asked for help it would be seen as weakness, because I’m a girl, that I couldn’t take it. But it was because things got more complex. It was a job that required more than one person, especially for the physical setting up of the lighting rig.”

Jaine explained there was an element of freedom, and in some respects more control over a simpler lighting set up than what is around today. Most lighting rigs now are controlled totally with automated switches. Fairly much all pre-programmed with the light show being almost “curated” before tours begin to a setlist by the music act sticking to a fairly uniform presentation each night of a tour.

Back in the day when Simple Minds were starting out, new songs were penned on an almost weekly basis. Set lists could change quite regularly. For Jaine that meant that no two nights were ever really the same. “With the lighting set up I had early on I had greater ability, I think, to change with the mood and atmosphere of each gig. I had more control to change the sequence of the lights, and the shadows and darkness between the lights played as much of a factor in how the music came across to a crowd as much as the lighting did itself.”

In Simple Minds’ tour with Magazine, there was one particular occasion when things seemed to go awry, at a gig in London at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Simple Minds were support for Magazine on the tour, and as a support act, they were receiving a good reception from the crowds every night. By some accounts, this seemed to be hacking off Magazine’s manager (contentious as to whether it was the band’s overall manager or their tour manager). At this particular gig, halfway through the Simple Minds set, the power was cut. Off for several minutes without any sense that things were trying to be sorted out, the band embarrassingly trundled off stage. Most in the SM camp smelled a rat. Jim seemed to be of the belief it was the band’s tour manager that cut the power, but the real culprit will never truly be known.

As far as Jaine remembers things on the Magazine tour (and for what was the Life In A Day tour for Simple Minds, the album having just been released as they set off on tour), it was a small blip on an otherwise successful tour. A tour that she remembers enjoying by and large.

Jaine shared with me the story of the pink lamé jacket. She and Jim had seen this wonderful looking, sparkly pink jacket in a shop window and thought it looked great. Neither of them could afford to buy it outright, so they decided to go halves in it. It was an expensive jacket. Some £60! Considering the average weekly wage at that time was around £30, it was quite a sum! “We were going to take turns wearing it, but I ended up wearing it more often than Jim.” Then on the night of the gig at the Apollo in Manchester (a hometown gig for the headline act, of course), the Magazine road crew having seen Jaine wearing the pink lamé jacket had an idea. “Each night on the tour, John McGeoch would have his saxophone brought out on stage and handed to him by a member of the road crew”, Jaine explains, “but this night in Manchester, the crew thought it would be a great idea that I go on instead wearing the jacket, as if in a magician’s assistant guise with a ‘Ta daaaah! Big reveal’ moment that would surprise John. So on I go in the jacket with John’s saxophone and hand it to him. John wasn’t expecting me, so he was quite shocked. The crew and the other band members are giggling away enjoying John’s reaction, and I am mortified being on stage, standing in front 2,500 people, handing John his sax!”

Part two of the interview will be posted tomorrow.

Where Did The Fool Go?

It’s a strange thing, research. You can be looking for one thing and will unearth something else entirely!

Take a song like Here Comes The Fool, for example. It makes its first known live appearance shortly after the release of Life In A Day and is played at gigs in the summer.


Here Comes The Fool – June 1979

Late summer, off they go into the Monmouthshire countryside to record Real To Real Cacophony – and hang out with Bowie, Iggy, appear as guest artist on Iggy’s Soldier album (on the track Play It Safe) and have fun with mushrooms, minxes and manchego…


Here Comes The Fool – Aug ’79

By October they are back on the road and Here Comes the Fool is a regular on the set. The musicality of it is well developed and strong. Jim has played with the lyrics…they now seem fairly well scripted and fairly different to how they appeared early in the summer.


Here Comes The Fool – Nov. ’79

It remains a staple in the set until the spring of 1980 when we start to see compositions that come into the set that are then on the Empires And Dance album.


Here Comes The Fool – Jan 1980

So, a curious being is Here Comes The Fool. It starts tentatively…quickly makes itself a band and crowd favourite – yet never makes it to get a studio recording for Real To Real Cacophony – or even to appear on a B side. I am a strange one in that I defend Veldt when many other SM fans don’t have much time for it. But given that…it seems to me that THAT could have been the place for Here Comes The Fool on R2RC – to have replaced Veldt with it (as much as that pains me to say that).

What do you guys think? Do you think that should have been the case?

Answers in the comments, if you wanna…

One of “…Fool’s” very final outings from March 23rd, 1980.

I added the different versions of the song because it seemed a good thing to be able to hear its progression and subtle change – esp. with the lyrics. Jim was a devil for it then – but he was free to keep morphing it as it was never captured in the studio, hence he felt free to keep medling (I’m assuming?). Ultimately, it didn’t deviate a lot, and it seems a shame now to be consigned to history. Still, it sounds as if Jim grew tired of “taking his hand” (The Fool’s hand, I mean – Lyric alteration over time from “Well here comes the fool – you can take his hand” to “Here comes the fool – don’t wanna take his hand”).

Poor “Fool”.

Tossing The Coin – Real To Real Cacophony Advert And Reviews – 1979, 1980

I’m putting these two snippets together, as they are both to do with Real To Real Cacophony. One advert from a copy of the NME dated Feb 9th, 1980, with two glowing reviews from David McCullough and Ian Cranna (spelled incorrectly in the ad) – as well as a dedicated (and horribly scathing!) review from Paul Du Noyer in the NME, dated November 24th, 1979.

Mr Du Noyer…I’ve got to hand it to you, you didn’t sugar-coat things! But you also had enough self-awareness to take in that maybe you did lack some heart not to get any emotion from R2R. It isn’t all doodling and pretentiousness! Yes! It was dystopian in its outlook…but, fuck me! How many other 20 year olds were making music like that? It’s a travelogue precursor to Empires And Dance. Glorious in its objective to be so left field, so far removed from Life In A Day as to almost come from a different band just NINE MONTHS later. Listen to Citizen, just for starters. Fans take the piss out of Veldt…but I adore it. Genuinely! It has an exotic air to it. It’s an aural jungle…with a humidity and a sweat. Factory – seriously, man? You get NOTHING from Factory? You don’t know what it’s saying? Fuck! It’s a fucking Lawry painting as a song, you fuck! JESUS! He probably never “got” art, either, this guy. He says SM’s music expresses no emotion…yet he sounds like a fucking automaton! Scar…IT’S JG BALLARD, bellend! Sorry…people who don’t get their early stuff just endlessly get on my wick. Especially pricks like this bloke, accusing them of being overly clever-clever and up their own arse, when he’s just too much of a blinkered automaton not to see it. Dick.

Sorry. Rant over. Anyway. Enjoy. Lol

Why I Love…Factory

A fabulous synth intro from Mick, then a fabulous classic rock riff from Charlie.

And then….like the crashing elevator within the chorus, in comes Jim with such stilted and stark lyrics…getting straight to the point of it! It’s bleak. It’s dystopia! Industrial. Gritty. In a pea-soup fog. It’s a Lowry painting. It’s Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. (I love that film!)

But…we have a protagonist. The “man with a plan to escape”. He wants out! That’s not his future!

I hear this as semi-autobiographical. Jim was going to make damn sure, by hook or by crook, that his future did not see him in a 9-5 job, settled and married off by 21. He wanted so much more for himself than that (objective well and truly achieved, it is safe to say)!

As with the best Simple Minds songs, there is light and hope. The “black light” strikes again. These are the Minds songs I love the most. Because they carry that message of hope within them. The exterior is dark with a heavy subject matter. That opening verse and chorus are indeed, to me, like a Lowry painting. The “factory” in my mind is vivid…and obviously several floors high (it has at least one elevator after all).

“Factory / we all go out to lunch”…


There can be recurring themes in Kerr lyrics. An example: rain “Walking in the soft rain” – Someone Somewhere In Summertime. “Come/Get/Step in/out of the rain” – Waterfront. “The metal rains pour, pour, raining, raining down on me” – Premonition. “Oh I believe one great day the rain will come and wash this mess away” – Wall Of Love.

In this case, the use of the term “glittering prize” is used within the lyrics.

But…looking again. One could interpret the “man with a plan to escape” as…a plan for suicide. “A certain ratio we know has left us unaware / someone else has taken leave /someone who did care”. So, is the “plan to escape” escaping the tedium of working-class life? Or is it to TAKE one’s life?

Would Jim write something that Nihilistic? I very much doubt it. But…having started to write this, I can definitely see how some could interpret the lyrics from that angle.

Of course now it gives me the excuse of sharing one of my favourite snippets of David Bowie. He and Iggy Pop being interviewed by Dinah Shaw in 1977 (to those not familiar, Iggy’s real name is James Osterberg and he is Jim/Jimmy to his friends, hence the use of the name in the interview). David has such a wicked sense of humour. I love and miss this man so.


In summary: an industrial heart, sonically. The best of German “Krautrock” influences on and within it. And just that…Kerr gem of bringing light to the darkest of subject matter.

David Bowie…I love you, I really do. You enriched my life in so many ways that you will never know, and you are an amazingly gifted song-writer. But…I really, really love your little protege. (I hope Sir dosn’t get pissed at me for describing him so…because in fact, for me, as a song-writer, he surpassed David in my eyes long ago. Maybe not absolutely outright…but very definitely within certain elements of the craft and at certain stages in both their careers. He is certainly, most definitely on an equal parring, if not actually surpassing.)

And that is why I love Factory.

Minds Music Monday – Naked Eye

This, as predicted, having now taken in the full study of the lyrics and working on the art piece for it has now been in my head for days. It was even the first song played on shuffle mode this morning as I listened to the boys when going (or trying to go!) to sleep.

Lyric Of The Day – Naked Eye

It really did bypass me how DARK this song is…so needed to use suitable dark imagery. New apps also giving me new fonts and new masks and layers to work with. Think now I’ve actually taken in the lyrics (I know! How neglectful of me!), this may become one of those SM songs that stays with me for weeks, being right at the forefront of my mind.


Lyric of the day

Song: Naked Eye

Album: Real To Real Cacophony

Year of release: 1979

Words: Jim Kerr