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.


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.


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.”

A Night With Don Juan…

Yesterday’s London juant was a good one. The weather started out quite appallingly. I got lost when I arrived in London (I really don’t do well with traversing London on my own!)…but once I got my bearings and made ot to my first “port of call”, it turned into a lovely night.

First off the bat yesterday was a visit to the Royal Academy for a viewing of the America: After The Fall exhibition. It was quite a small exhibit, with only some 30 paintings on display, including two Edward Hopper’s, several Grant Wood’s and a selection from various other artists, including Joe Jones, an artist I had not previously heard of, but was moved by his amazing compositions. One painting of his in particular had a real emotional impact. It depicted the lynching of a female by the KKK. It was striking. It’s called “American Justice”. I would like to hope that the title was meant to be taken with full irony…for there is absolutely nothing “just” about the imagery of the painting.

There was also one by Philip Guston called Bombardment – it seemed SSOO…foretelling. It was painted in 1937, yet it shows what went on in WWII in amazing detail.

Another one I really loved looking at was one by Helen Lundeberg called Double Portrait Of The Artist In Time (what a title!).

My favourite Grant Wood’s were The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and Death on Ridge Road. I got much more from them than American Gothic, but I was glad to also see such an iconic vision of modern art.

Of the two Edward Hopper’s on display, it was Gas that I liked most of the two. There was something about seeing it with my own eyes that impacted more. How…remote and lonely it felt…and the colour and tone was beautiful. A perfect capture of the very end of dusk on a spring day. That aspect of it was striking. The light…or the dimness of it…it was just captured so beautifully by Hopper. I fell in love with that one. I will have to see Nighthawks again to see whether I like it as much as Gas. (Yes…I was a bad girl and took a sneaky pic of it.)

Both the Grant Wood’s that I liked and the Philip Guston were oil on masonite. Showing how little I actually know about art, I was unfamiliar with this medium (the masonite) and must look into it!

There was even a Jackson Pollock on display I liked! And I’m never usually one for Pollock. 

It was a good, concise exhibition. A small collection, but they pack a collective punch! 

And…onto Don Juan In Soho. I made it down to the Wyndham’s Theatre by 5.30pm. Two hours to kill before show time. I had already used up a bit of time, going to Primark to secure me an inflatable doughnut. Something I won’t probably use now.

I took a walk through Leicester Square…had a drink and a bite to eat…people watched around where the main bit of Leicester Square is. Had a reccie of the Wyndham’s and looked to see where the stage door was…just in case I felt I might be bolshy enough to try and meet David afterwards.

The play itself is wickedly funny, perverse and very dark. The modern Don Juan could not be any more removed from Tennant himself, as a person, from what I can tell (being the son of a Church of Scotland minister). I lost count the number of times he said c***! His poor dad must have been shamefaced in heaven! 

As the quote on the outside of the theatre says (delivered by chauffeur and “friend” of Don Juan, Stan)…we are not MEANT to be charmed by him…oh, but you are. Well, I was! And I wished for that hedonism. To…fuck for the sake of fucking. To just…do as one likes and be damned the consequences! But, alas, that is not me. It never has been and never will be. As Don Juan describes himself, “I am a c***”…but he is a lovable one. 

So, yes…it was very rude, very risqué, but very, very funny, with an underlying message. 

I enjoyed it immensely. 

I managed to leave the theatre quite quickly. Having done so, and with it being quite early still (only 9.40pm), I decided to wait at the stage door for my chance. Roughly 30 minutes later, David appears. When he got towards me, we had a slightly awkward but fun exchange. He was more than happy to pose for the selfie with me. David Tennant, you are a scholar and a gentleman. Thank you! I shall treasure it always, as I will my signed ticket.

It was a good day 🙂

And, as the review from the Radio Times says…it was fabulously filthy!

From Ibiza To The Norfolk Broads

After seeing one of…if not…THE most beautiful gigs I’ve ever experienced…the beautiful musical theme continued tonight by seeing “From Ibiza To The Norfolk Broads” at the Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead.

It’s a single actor play – written and directed by Adrian Berry, with Alex Walton playing the play’s main character, Martin (a young Bowie fan obsessive with “deemed” social, physiological and mental health issues), as will as several other characters. 

What an amazing actor. A stunning performance! The whole work was beautiful, tender, heart-breaking but mesmerising. 

Reeling from the loss of Chrissy last night, I had almost entirely forgot about it. My memory only jogged after having had a nap this afternoon and my thinking of the purchase of Holy Holy tickets for Aylesbury in April. 

I really wasn’t feeling up to it, but I thought I would mention it to the OH. She seemed keen to go…so off we went. Absolutely no regrets whatsoever! In fact I’d love to see it again as it tours around the UK until February.

You can find out more about it at: 
I highly recommend it.

Craziest November…EVER!

The first two weeks of November are shaping up to be MAD, exciting and fun!

A trip to Glasgow with a secret mission…A MINDS GIG…and now some Bowie themed theatre!

Newly added to the list is “From Ibiza To The Norfolk Broads” at The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead on November 11th. THE DAY AFTER THE MINDS GIG!

My favouritest boys in the whole wide world, continuing to be intrinsically linked.