We Talk A Lot – Mostly To Ourselves: Pondering “Today I Died Again”.

“He don’t say much. He’s bored with the fans.“ – it’s how it feels anyway. And if I hear one more “he’s a busy man” excuse, I’ll scream! Because…HE IS ALWAYS BUSY! He is Jim fucking Kerr – apart from me using “fucking” just now – “busy” is his middle name – for want of him actually having one (a middle name, that is).

Even at his most busiest, back in time…back to those halcyon days I REALLY need to move on from that have well and truly died and aren’t coming back any time soon, it seems – he would reply to people. Not just me!

The slow death of the visitor wall just kills me. He actually used to seem to take a vested interest in what people were posting to the visitor wall. Like certain things and even respond to people there. If someone had a question about the music or lyrics and he felt keen enough to, he’d respond to people there.

I mean, heck…without his interest there, the whole “art” thing of mine would have NEVER happened. I almost feel like I want to bang his head against a wall just…so he can see how important this aspect of the fandom is to some fans. It goes beyond the music! You inspire so many of us, Jim! When you respond to people it…here’s a favourite word of yours – it TRANSCENDS mere “music and listener”, mere “songwriter and fan”, mere “singer and swooning ninny”. Lol

And I miss it. Not just for me, but for other fans too!

A case in point: last night on SMOG, a fan asked about Today I Died Again – whether it was about domestic violence – quite how they reached that theory I do not know entirely (I guess just from the interaction that happens between the lead couple within the song lyric?) but I shared what I felt was my interpretation of it, and linked to my post on “Why I love…” about it.

Another fan later replied with a quote from Dream Giver Redux with this excerpt: “This song’s reincarnation theme was inspired from Jim’s reading of the Bhagavad Gita.”

Really? Okay, well the only thing that actually alludes to reincarnation within the song IS the title itself and the singing of it – and maybe the line of “back to a year, back to a youth” – even then, that’s tenuous. Also, I am not sure about whether Jim would have read Bhagavad Gita at that point. I am sure he said he first read the book in 1982 in a recent post (recent being…within the past couple of years). I know it subsequently became a much favoured book of his. As a consequence I tried reading the book. I didn’t get very far with it to be honest. I basically read this whole preamble about the book’s translation which was quite a few pages long (about 40, if memory serves). It just felt too taxing in the end. The only thing that stuck was the gained knowledge of learning it was a source of inspiration for Gandhi, which I find beyond perplexing that one of the world’s great pacifists was inspired by a book about war. Well…at least had a scene of battle as its main focal point.

Today I Died Again is penned in 1980, obviously, so I would think that predates Jim reading Bhagavad Gita? Perhaps I have my info wrong and he did indeed read it back then? I still see little evidence of the influence of the book on the song. But perhaps that’s just my interpretation of it?

Anyway, (sorry, I went off researching, and now I feel as if I have worked on this post for much longer than I intended to)…back to the fan enquiry and pondering of the song.

There would be a time, not that long in the past, in which I would have said “you could ask Jim – he might give you a reply. Who better to ask?” And that’s where I return to the special! Being able to ask the man who wrote those amazing lyrics. Okay, he may not have always replied even when I came into the fandom, even to me, but there was a heck of a lot better chance of a response six years ago than there is now! And it really, REALLY saddens me.

I was about to go off on another angry rant but…I guess I just need to give up. “No one likes a quitter”. Well, great then. No one will ever like me. Stellar. I can live with it. When you feel you’ve done all you can and you’re getting nowhere, you have to “embrace the suck” and just…walk away, I guess? Am I right, Jim?

Perhaps it is better we all ponder it amongst ourselves? There was a time, pre-Internet, where we’d had little choice to do so. The fans wouldn’t be interacting with each other as we do now. There’s no way we could pose a question to you like that unless there was luck and/or special circumstances. We wrote to you (old fashioned “snail mail” style) and you took the time to reply. Or we’d have thought to ask you backstage, had we been lucky to see you after a gig. Back then I’d guess you’d have been very reluctant to share or offer up such tokens of openness anyway. “Interpret them as you see fit.”

Admittedly, that is the beauty of your songwriting – particularly back then. Just how much they could be open to interpretation. Your very own Burroughs technique. “I’ve always liked ambiguities and fragments and things with a bit more of a mystery to them”, you said in an interview for Dutch TV in 1983.

“Out of the mouth of babes“ – and what a babe! Lol. (Yep. I’ll never stop adoring you, you gorgeous man. Fuck, I’m a hopeless case!)

So…what exactly IS Today I Died Again about? You can search for my “Why I love” piece on it and see what you think. I may just read over it again myself and see of my idea about it has changed.

“She can’t remember before the heat” – bloody hot flushes, hey hen?! Lol

Great Leap Forward – The Reason Behind The Tale Of “Embrace The Suck”

So…I get the message behind the phrase itself. I understand it. There’s a time and place, of course. I would like to hope that in the current climate that Sir Kerr is FAR FROM suggesting anyone that has suffered adversely from this current pandemic should just…”embrace the suck”. I’d like to believe he has far more empathy than that.

He linked to Great Leap Forward with the post and I just found myself looking up the lyrics. There are many lyrics I know off by heart, and there are some I am just not that familiar with. Great Leap Forward is one such case. Reading them over…I’m not quite sure what the song’s message actually is. Which, as usual, makes me feel like a dumb fuck.

I miss a time when I could just ask Jim and hope for a reply. But…I see little point now. All that wonderfulness is gone. TELL ME TO “EMBRACE THE SUCK”, JIM. Just you tell me! I’m sorry I lament about it so much, but it was a wonderful period of being a fan for me…that you would respond and interact. And I supposedly wasn’t even around for “the good old days”, when you and Charlie supposedly hung around fan forums and spoke to fans all the time! Must have been fab.

Anyway…the lyrics. The song. I mean, I like the sound of it. I really like Good News From The Next World. Usually a big part of why I love a song is because of its lyrics and meaning, or at least MY interpretation of the lyrics provides a story and meaning. Great Leap Forward leaves me perplexed. I’m not sure what to take from it.

“I jumped up like Apollo,
Crash landed on my feet,
The sun shot like a laser through my brain.
A little death had woken up,
And put a curse on me,
But I knew that I’d be coming back again.
Inspiration, across the nation,
There’s a poverty of expectation.
All I got to do was move ahead.
It’s a blue sky,
It’s a while cloud,
It’s a flame.
It’s a blue sky,
White cloud,
Burning flame.

I shot back to the mirror,
There was nothing left to see,
But a phantom with his heartbeat deep inside.
I could feel the dust of ages,
They were blowing back at me,
But I knew that I was born to get it right.

Everybody take the great leap forward,
Everybody knows the mysteries at hand,
If you’ve been praying all those sweet days for this,
Don’t you know there is a whole different plan?
Sometimes I hear the madman calling,
He talks about some dark eternal place.
I’ve been waiting all my lifetime for this moment,
And now I’ve got to find some other ways.

One touch ignites this eagle,
One kiss for heaven’s view,
I need the flame so I can feel alive.
You can tell my little brother,
No requiem for me,
I knew that I was born to make this flight.

Inspiration across the nation,
There’s a poverty of expectation,
All I got to do was move ahead.”

Is it about death and reincarnation? No, it can’t be that. “All I got to do is move ahead.” That’s not talk of death. “A poverty of expectation”…is that another term for apathy? Complacency? Or lack of drive…ambition?

I wish I felt I could ask him. Even if I felt like a dumb fuck for doing so. He gets my juices flowing and stimulates my brain. I love him for that!

I’m grappling to connect “embrace the suck” to Great Leap Forward, it has to be said.

P.S. It’s a crappy old Prip piece without even a “Priptona” mark – with a copyright image (that’s why there’s no Prip logo on it). Must make an updated version! (Embrace that I suck.)

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…

The Master Of The Art

I’m always flicking through the pages of the music mags. Not much really has me stopping for too long. (Perhaps to my detriment? A slow reader’s curse that to be drawn in to read something, you REALLY have to grab their attention – going by my own experience anyway.)

I suppose I am finding myself studying Lou Reed quite a bit of late. Not in an involving and methodical way like I have done with others who end up deeply piquing my musical interest. Bowie very much became a study piece as much as a musical exploration. If I’d have taken an OU degree in English Lit. say, Bowie in some way or other could have ended up the subject of my thesis.

I can feel it possibly going that way now with Lou Reed. Exploring his work deeper. I am certainly starting to feel that sense of the story itself being as important as the music. But I think that is what usually pulls me in to those musical artists I admire and covet most. They are great storytellers, either by encapsulating the narrative verbally, or creating a visual palette of what is being told with an inner visual artist flair. (John Foxx’s description of Jim Kerr being the “the best internal movie director” always springs to mind. It is my favourite description of Jim as a songwriter and it is just so…”on point”, as the whippersnappers say these days).

I really am starting to get that there is much more to Lou than meets the eye.

Slow News Sunday Summary – May 19th

  • Cherisse in rehearsals for Kelly Jones tour
  • Sir talks writing songs and Govanhill library

“No news is good news” the old saying goes. In that case, Simple Minds HQ is positively drowning in good news! Lol

Just the one post this week from The Mister after last Sunday’s “I’ve woken up thinking about gigging” exciting little fluttering bit of info.

This week’s post had him talking about golden tickets and how luck sometimes falls your way. And how a knew piece of potential SM magic found its way to being formed.

Jim Kerr – do you EVER have a “bad day”? One where you’ve just…had enough? You feel a bit sorry for yourself? Stay in bed under the covers? No…of course you don’t.

*sigh*

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Anyways…

Cherisse is currently in rehearsals with Kelly Jones. Oh, I could do with a lesson from her right about now! I am losing what little semblance of faith I had in myself.

Won’t bore you with the details…but let’s just say I am feeling disillusioned again and Aunt Fanny is shouting louder than ever. She’s a f***ing bitch, but I can’t help feeling she has a point!

I KNOW IT WILL TAKE TIME! I just wish I could have some faith in my ability to actually get somewhere with it. I want to believe that in two years time I’ll be drumming with some kind of competency. But…no. I’m not sure I believe it.

Anyway…I’ve ended up making this about me.

No news is good news! Convince me…

P.S. Book cover shared is the one he shared from my having asked him what the first book he borrowed from the library was. Was he taking liberties? I am never sure when it comes to Mr Kerr. He’s a cagey (and snarky!) bugger.

A Long Wait For A Silent Kiss

Still on the tidying up process of my Flickr account (I underestimated the number of images I have in my account. 20k was not quite right…the figure is nearer 34k! That’s A LOT of images to be sifting through and sorting out!)

The image below was posted by Jim on January 3rd, 2016. Underneath it was my comment to the news about it.

Just on 25 months later, I got my first listen of it…and by heck was it worth the wait! What an incredible song! No wonder Jim was already excited by it! Romantic alright! It’s frigging BEAUTIFUL!

The only gripe I ever had was that…much like Liaison and Bittersweet, it ended up a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Walk Between Worlds. Jim gave an explanation as to why a few days after the album’s release.

But, unlike the aforementioned tracks on the deluxe Big Music album, Silent Kiss was destined (so far, at least – due to the nature in which WBW was to be showcased) never to get a live airing.

Will it ever? Highly doubt it. Will I love it any less because of that fact? NO WAY! It was absolute love upon first listen.

I’m Not A Complicated Guy – In The First Verse…

I had never read (or even SEEN) this interview before. I’m sure he must have shared it on SMO at the time…but I was so early into my mega fandom, I no doubt overlooked it. Too busy absorbing the music and many other things about the Simple Minds world. Watching tons of early footage…as much as I could find…trying to relive early gigs…creating as much of a way to time travel as I could.

I can’t express how much those early days captured me. Captivated me! And still does. Those embryonic stages of the whole band dynamic…and Jim. Always Jim.

Always that concoction of bubbling, smouldering…just all the facets of him. I said once of him, “he’s an enigma wrapped up in a question mark”.

And that one…that bloody one from Spirited Away I have always to believe to be a falsehood. A fallacy! Because I see him as ANYTHING but uncomplicated! He may like simple pleasures…good food, warm weather, the companionship of a dog, etc, etc…but that brain! Is anything but uncomplicated! Scrupulous…quite possibly overactive. Mercurial. Another word I have used several times to describe him. He endlessly fascinates me. He is as ambiguous as his lyrics. Oh, to be that fascinating to someone. To continue to pique a person’s interest like that purpetually. How I wish! But I suppose that is the difference between us. I see the layers of an onion. (I’m sure many others would and do see him as rather one dimensional…some fans have said as much to me. That they find him rather boring.) Layers to peel away. Whereas I am an open book. Ask me a question, I’ll answer it openly and honestly. Unless it would betray a trust of somone else, I will be open and honest. But…I have no private world to maintain. Or do I?

And the reading of books. It reminds me of how voracious I had become some years back. Giving myself challenges. Book reading challanges. I’m a slow reader. Methodical. Quite possibly deliberately so. I don’t want to miss details. And if I try to read fast, I miss details. I’ll get distracted. Read 5 pages of a book, and instantly have no recollection of what I just read. So I take time.

I have some 200 books unread on my Kindle. I bought so many books…and I have read some great books. Not classics. Not anything anyone would know by any reknowned author. But some great ones.

Seeing as I am to hear Ian Rankin give a talk in a couple of weeks…perhaps I should read at least ONE Rebus novel? I do like a good detective story. A long favourite of mine has been the 87th Prescinct novels of Ed McBain. I’d borrow them from the library and read them. There are so many of them. I’ve probably only read maybe 10 of them at most. I have a stack of them on the Kindle now.

I knew of Jim loving Bulgakov and The Master And Margarita (curiously, when at a recent recording of the BBC Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy – The News Quiz, the guy sitting next to me was reading Heart Of A Dog. I asked him what he thought of it, in comparison to The Master And Margarita, having asked him had he read that also. He said he felt it more methodical than TMAM…not as fluid…certainly not as “supernatural”, but that he was enjoying it) – but Vanity Fair was news to me! I must get back to reading more regularly!

I learned things from the interview. It answered questions I had…but always throws up more. Sometimes I love the mystery. The intrigue. Sometimes I don’t want to know. I want him to remain fascinating…because…once you peel away all the layers…what’s left?

And does everyone who knows me thinks they know me well? Do I deceive? Deception makes me uncomfortable. I don’t deceive. There are just things no one needs to know…

Anyway, after all that, you can read the interview with Jim (from 2014) HERE

SongFacts Interview With Jim

The best of today’s shared interviews – Jim’s words on Kirsty MacColl in particular are wonderful. He elaborated a little more on the SMO post.

You can view the whole interview on the SongFacts blog by CLICKING HERE

And, in case for some reason, it disappears from the comments, my response to a particular part of the interview that resonated for me…

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