Pictorial Passion – Musical Years In Review – 2021 and 1982

Last night Spotify revealed my yearly listening stats to me. There was no real surprise to find Simple Minds at the top of the tree yet again! And that Boys From Brazil was my top track for seventh year running. All the SM tracks in my Top 5 played tracks of 2021 all came from Sons And Fascination and given it was the 40th anniversary of the album, that would be of no surprise to anyone.

My latter love for Jonathan Richman shows itself in him being at number five of my Top 5 played artists.

My top podcast showed how much I have been enjoying Frank Gallagher’s Soundman Confidential this year. I love the bit about that yes, it’s okay for you to consider the host a member of your family now. Lol. Never in a million hears did I ever think I’d be having little online exchanges with Frank! I felt that Jim always made him sound intimidating as fuck, but he’s brilliant and is always wonderful. And even comments on my FB posts sometimes…which I find amazing that he’s sitting there in Flagstaff, AZ, reading my complete pap! Just last week he responded to one of my posts about enrolling in the OU for my Higher Ed. English diploma and my endless self-doubt. His response was “drive til they take the keys away”. I responded by asking him to “spread some gallus my way”. He replied back, “you don’t need anyone’s permission to be yourself”. He’s lovely. Just lovely.

Of course there is much more music I listen to outside of Spotify so it isn’t 100% everything I listen to. I have been listening to SM live bootlegs and gigs much more this year and that won’t be reflected on Spotify stats, just as one example.

Here’s the breakdown of it in full visual splendour.

Lastly, today sees the release of Classic Pop magazine’s retro look back to all things 1982 in a dedicated special issue. In amongst the artists and bands discussed is a piece on the art side of music which features Malcolm Garrett. And of course the main feature to do with Simple Minds is a look through New Gold Dream. There’s a part of it that covers the official videos released. They mention the Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize videos. Someone Somewhere In Summertime was the third single from the album and therefore should have had a video released but one was never made. Instead the magazine talked about this one (below). I love what is said about Jim’s moves. Lol. You’ll not be surprised to learn that I adore this video and quite a bit of art from me has come from it. I will leave my favourite example of that at the end of the post.

D

There’s A Minds Music Monday In There Somewhere! – Destin(ation)y Glasgow

We read what we want to read, don’t we? Even with the text there written out in black and white, we can still end up interpreting things as we want to – can’t we? 

It’s really great to have Jim posting daily again. I actually can’t quite believe he’s posted THREE DAYS IN A ROW now!

Why is it that when you just start to feel like you’re ready to move on with things – when you finally get to the point where you know you have to quelle the desire for something. When you’ve finally lost all sense of hope for anything….that the one thing that you wanted begins again? Refreshes. Resets. 

Jim now posting again every day. Is it a test? 

I can’t deal with the ebb and flow. I can’t deal with the constant emotional rollercoaster. 

The post today. I think I misread a bit of it. I thought he was saying he was back in Glasgow. My stomach did somersaults! My heart pounded away in my chest. 

WHY SHOULD IT MATTER? 

It doesn’t matter. He might as well be on the moon. It means nothing. But just the idea of him being in closer proximity. Just, physically feeling nearer. 

I’m only sharing this so I can write things down. So I can keep my mind active. I can flex my brain and try and keep the creativity from synapsis to fingers on keyboard typing away. To try and say something. But I get scared over the things I share. I get petrified as to how I come across. 

My mind always goes back to a time in 2017. Towards the end of the Acoustic tour. Me and Birdy waiting outside the stage doors of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Patiently waiting for Jim to appear. 

I had some gifts, you see? We had been to the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum that day and I bought some things that I wanted to give to Jim. Little trinkets. Tokens of…

Anyway, when he finally appeared, he said he couldn’t stop. That he had to go. But I just wanted to hand him the gifts. Literally just hand him the bag and go. I regret what I did because I felt what I fear I seem to everybody – the mad stalker woman. I chased him down. Implored him to stop, tugged at his jacket sleeve when he was within reach. 

To this day it fills me with dread, his reaction. I have never felt like he was joking or being flippant (perhaps he was? I pray he was!). He looked around and he said “I’m scared, I’m scared.” 

I tried to think really fast. I was somewhat out of breath and I just said. “I have something to give you.” “What is it?” I didn’t want to give away what it was – silly, eh? And it would have been time consuming to explain, so I said in my haste to allow him to move swiftly on, “Gifts. They’re just gifts.” I held out the tote bag the things were in. Noth thinking the encounter would play out like this, I had actually brought the tote bag for myself. He looked at the bag, saw the British Museum logo on it and said “Now, this I like to see.” 

“I went to a Hokusai exhibition today”, I said. By way of giving him a hint as to what was inside the bag without revealing exactly what was in there. “How was it?”

“Wonderful. It was wonderful.”

And that was it. 

I remember it all because I remember mostly his initial reaction. “Here comes the psycho stalker fangirl.” I don’t even want to be deemed that! Ever. 

So, I feel guilt for the butterflies and the somersaults and the palpitations that the thought of him being back in Glasgow brings. That thought of proximity and closeness. Nearness. Because…he may as well be a million miles away. It actually makes no difference at all. 

I should be writing a Minds Music Monday post. I was formulating an idea of what I was going to do for MMM this week, but it all flew out the window. 

I need to remain positive! Those butterflies and somersaults? They quickly turn to nausea. The thoughts of his reaction and thoughts of me turn me to sickness. I used to feel liked. Now I just feel reviled. All the time. I can’t change it so I have to overcome it. I have to know that I am better than that! If somebody thinks that way of me, then that is just how they feel and I am not in control of that. 

He spoke of destiny today. I have to be in control of mine. I need to be optimistic and positive. To believe in myself. There are so many who show faith and belief in me. I don’t know how they do it when I can’t even believe in myself!

Today my application to the OU took another step forward. I should know by the end of the week if I can go ahead and enrol in my course. If I can’t, then we’ll have to go back to the drawing board. If not the OU, then somewhere. I WILL be studying next year! I WILL be a student somewhere! Gaining skills. Honing my (at the moment) tenuous craft. 

I’ll continue to make preparations. Work out a study plan. Form a routine and have it functioning before the academic year begins. 

It’s time to put an end to squandered chances! 

“I don’t want this destiny.” Not the one that means I give up on another chance. I want to grab it with both hands and give it all I have. Redirect the butterflies and somersaults. Use the nausea for good. MAKE IT WORK! 

Believe in better. (That’s some bloody company slogan, isn’t it? Samsung? Who uses that? Answers on a postcard.)

Here’s to destiny and all that it may hold.

Better Write? (Off Topic Yet Somehow Relevant)

When does a hobby become a career? 

Today I have been looking at the University of Strathclyde site, looking at courses – and all of it, every single bit of it feels so out of reach!

I looked at undergrad courses. Pipe dreams! I looked at the Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. I looked at what was required for entry (yikes!), fees, etc. That one really is shooting for the moon!

The next one I looked at is English and Creative Writing & Journalism, Media and Communication. That needed quite a level of education as well. But could I achieve the “baby steps” it would take to get there? 

Yesterday I was at the site looking at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. There are online courses in Creative Writing. Starting at the beginner “Kindling” stage, progressing to the “Feeding the Flame” stage, then on to “Ablaze”, then finally “Inferno”. Each course is online and lasts 10 weeks. But the progressive classes don’t seem to follow on in stages through the year, so this would be year by year. It’s a drawn out process. If I was to enrol in the “Kindling” course and really enjoyed it and gained something from it, I know I’d just want to move on and on. Not wait until the next year, then the next year and the next.

Adult learning terrifies me now. It’s been a long time since I stepped into anything like this. Especially in a way like this, that requires study – with your brain engaged! The last adult education course I did was a photography course and that was over 15 years ago now.

I cried this morning looking at the course. Wanting to take the plunge but feeling no confidence in my ability to do it well at all. The whole social side of it terrifies the life out of me! Even in an online way. Talking with other students via Zoom style meetings. I’ve tried distance learning in the past (pre-Internet) and I didn’t do very well at it. 

The tears were because…it just feels so massive already! It should be an exciting prospect and fun! But to me it feels like this is my last chance to try and DO SOMETHING – and if I fail? I feel defeated before I have even begun!

There’s a testimony of the course from a lady named Mary Elizabeth Wylie. She’s 88 years old and has just published her first book. She started the Creative Writing course at 75. Seventy-Five! I should feel inspired by her story, but it still just sounds like a glorified hobby.

It just feels like folly. Another one of my dreams that’ll go nowhere. How do I justify spending out “hunners” of pounds for each of these short courses? For it then to be 2025 and I am enrolled in a full-on university degree in English and Creative Writing & Journalism, Media and Communication. And then that is “hunners” times ten!

To feel able to string some words together on paper is a vastly different thing to where all this could go. And it is PETRIFYING! I feel almost physically sick at the prospect of it. Study. Focus. Deadlines. Submitting work to be scrutinised and graded. 

Currently I am a happy but disillusioned amatuer. Do I want to be a professional? Perhaps turned careerist? 

Aspects of the course that I hope I’d gain from it are appealing. To feel much more competent AND confident in my writing would be fabulous. To potentially feel more adept at working to a deadline and handling the pressure that brings. 

I am in “serious pondering” mode. I am considering it. And I wish the idea of the leap didn’t make me feel so sick to my stomach. I should be filled with enthusiasm! But, perhaps it is as David Bowie suggested?