Minds Music Monday – In Trance As Mission – In Celebration Of Imminent Anniversary of Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call

When a song…and indeed a WHOLE ALBUM starts with the line “for just one moment in time I hear the holy backbeat” – then you know you’re in for something very special.

The band were convinced of its merit as the opening track to the album, but Steve Hillage took a bit of convincing. He felt it was “a bit long, but in retrospect, it’s so emphatically strong in putting across the overall vibe on the whole record. It’s a really good first track.” He was won round to the band’s way of thinking.

The title of the song could sound like a corny dad pun heard out of context but it instantly conveys the mood and tone of the song – movement, travel, open spaces, passages through time, the learning experience through exploration, through travelling.

Jim, back then, would seem quite dismissive of his lyrics in some ways. He said he hated the notion of his words being deemed poetry and dreaded the idea of people taking them out of context and away from the music. “My words go with the music.” They do indeed. But even a title – as the very first thing you hear or see, and unavoidably taken out of context initially, provides some notion of what the song is about.

Obviously songs don’t have to be about anything in particular. And maybe some Simple Minds songs feel like that to some people. Jim’s writing style was certainly ambiguous most of the time in the early days. And esp. during the Sons And Fascination period.

Jim also talks about the desire for “greatness”. He wants to matter in this world. He wants his life to have meaning and purpose. He wants his life to matter. Any person with a modicum of feeling that they want to feel like their existence on earth MEANS SOMETHING can understand and appreciate that.

The second verse to the song can sound pretentious as a result but he is just expressing that feeling in the lyrics – “for just one moment in time I want to walk where it is, sustain a stature in life”.

And then there is talk of the process of writing on the road. The hours of travel between cities, towns and venues and how it gives him the chance for “down time” and time to think and create. The monotony of the drive and the motion giving him time to sit and write. Looking out the window of the mini van or tour bus, time to collect his thoughts and just be quiet and insular for a time. Time to “recharge”, but also time to create.

He talks about every line being “a painting”. That every line to a song has a different story within it.

Below is an excerpt from an article printed in Melody Maker on March 27th, 1982. The band are “moving on”, telling Adam Sweeting “just what is going on”. They’re still touring the SAF/SFC albums but are changing direction. Promised You A Miracle has just been recorded. They’re on tour in France.

“I see a town by the track / can’t see the road for the tears.” Upon reading that excerpt way back when I did the first time, it brought that line to life for me. To read that he, Jim Kerr, of all people, is as overwhelmed by the music he helps to create as any of us. I just found that incredibly emotional. And I always think of that every time he sings that line of the song. Even though he is actually talking about the beautiful music of Seeing Out The Angel in the article, in my mind’s eye I see him on the coach looking out the window, hearing the music and feeling and looking overwhelmed…and beautiful. As beautiful as the words and music themselves.

I can’t see my words for my tears…

Before I continue on with the lyrics and the Kerr fanaticism…let’s talk about the amazing musicality of the song. The opening – Derek Forbes by far has to be one of the best bass players on the planet. He just nails the opening visual of the song’s intent, its mood, with a rhythm of movement. Then understated, soft staccato drums from Brian. The time signature is in 9/8 – and I love this most about Simple Minds. They’re not afraid at all by experimentation and don’t stick to the regular time signature of most songs, the regular 4/4, 4/8 or 8/8 time signatures. No. I can see why they’d get the “art rock” schtick at times – but they are sooo above that. It’s never contrived. Never formulaic. It’s organic…and it shows. You hear it in the life of the music.

Simple, long notes from Mick encapsulate smooth lines of long highway roads and Charlie’s beautiful high wailing riffs seem to denote frames of images | this house | that shop | this bare tree | that run down car | while still instilling the movement of travel…”you gotta move on”.

And because Jim’s words are so fragmented in this song, it gives space for the music to breathe.

Back to that “holy backbeat”…

There are also visions of dreams and how they can be a positive life force. “In dream a dream a / courage of dreams.” And it certainly won’t be the last time Jim will talk about the positivity of dreams. The positivity also enforced by an almost violent note “something crashing into my life / something crashing against the white rocks.”

It has been, from the first time I heard it, my favourite opening track on any Simple Minds album. I Travel is, of course, also fabulous. Other favourites are Up On The Catwalk, Moscow Underground and Blindfolded. But the love I have for Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call starts at the beginning…from the get go…track one.

Among the favourite versions of the song I have are, of course, the album version, but also a live session version performed for the Kid Jensen radio show on Radio One in February, 1982.

Also I wanted to share the contrast of the thirty years of space between performances. In Trance As Mission was never performed live again after 1982 until it FINALLY reemerged into the setlist in 2009. The first of the two comes from Newcastle in November, 1982. The second nearly a full 30 years later, also from Newcastle, the 5×5 Live gig on July 8th, 2012. The day before a certain someone’s 53rd birthday. Fifty-three and FLAMING HOT! 🔥🔥

SOURCES: The Simple Minds “Holy Bible” – Dream Giver (for the Hillage quote esp.) | for the Smash Hits article – Brian McCloskey on Flickr | other article excerpts are from my own collection.

Dundonian Done Good

There was a wonderful piece and accompanied Zoom video interview in local Dundee paper, The Courier, with Ged Grimes over the weekend.

He discusses what’s been keeping him busy during lockdown (namely working on an orchestral arrangement to songs from the Bard’s Tale VI game that he provided the music for – as well as some new Simple Minds music on the horizon), his love of his home town, cycling and food.

You can read the article and see the interview by clicking the link HERE

Photo Whøre – Memorabilia Collector

Final couple of acquisitions for now. I had been waiting to have the funds to get this final two as I couldn’t just grab them all at once. I thought at one point I lost out on getting the band photo but it was just the listing had ended and it took a while for the seller to relist it.

I’ve gotten all the ones I want for now. Unless something new crops up, I’m happy with all my recent finds.

Just one last thing with the band one – if you look at the inside of Charlie’s jaiket, down by his left hip, you’ll see he has one of these passes (pictured below) clipped to it. I’d love one of those. I love how it is pretty much a silhouette of Jim’s head. It’s all in the hair and ears. Lol

Image curtesy of simpleminds.org

There are no details with either of the photos but I am guessing with them being German photographers that these were both taken in Germany? The band photo from 1981 during the Sons And Fascination tour – that backstage tour pass was certainly for that tour (and used into 1982 as well) – and well, Kenny’s with them, so it would see to confirm a 1981 date for that photo. But looking at the gig dates on the Dream Giver site, Kenny never goes to Germany with them. Hmmm – confusing! The only European dates he seems to do is a couple of Spanish dates at the tail end of the tour to Canada/USA/Oz/NZ in 1981.

Answers on a postcard for that. A band photo like that one is pretty rare anyway. I’m glad I got hold of it in the end.

As for the one of Jim on his own, I speculated it being taken at a gig in Berlin in March, 1983. Again, just a theory as there are no details with the photo other than the photographer’s name on the back.

How (Why) I Fell In Love With Jim

For the past two nights I’ve listened to the latest Art&Talk upload of the soundboard of SM at Glastonbury in 1995.

Hearing a crowd as big as that singing and chanting Minds songs – it’s amazing – and it really does make me wish I was part of some of that history. At the moment it feels like that is all that’s left to grasp on to. Jim is always espousing that the band are always looking forward and never going backwards – there isn’t much choice for the fans right now but to look back.

After listening to the Glastonbury set, and hearing that chanting crowd fade out, and thinking of my past years as a fan, and pondering recent events and forever questioning stuff….I wanted to go back again. I just wanted to hear Jim talk rather than sing. To hear some of … the “real” Jim Kerr.

There are certain things that had me “fall in love” with him – perhaps it’s too strong a term for it – but to get “enamoured” by him, infatuated, mesmerised… to adore him.

Watching very early Simple Minds footage was a starting point. Seeing how very different he was when the band started. He had a real quirk. He certainly wasn’t like your typical “rock star” early on. His awkwardness was quite visible. But for me, that made him all the more mesmerising. I was awestruck by seeing how he was back then. I’ll never forget how truly jaw-dropping it was to see the Hurrah’s footage the first time. That “THIS IS JIM KERR?!” moment. It was the first trigger.

The more I explored, the more I was bowled over by the songwriting – the lyrics. I buried myself in learning them. Reading the lines as he sang. Gravitating to certain songs, and within those – favourite lines. Absolutely falling in love with his writing style and the words and how he’d convey them and sing them…the nuances in his delivery. And those elements are strongest during Empires And Dance, Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call, New Gold Dream and to a lesser degree, Real To Real Cacophony. Real To Real still has very strong lyrical content that I love, as does Life In A Day – but vocally he isn’t quite there yet – though I still very much appreciate the nuances.

Out of immersing myself in the lyrics, I could feel the influences of Bowie and Burroughs, and probably to a lesser degree Lou Reed and Bryan Ferry.

The love of the lyrics had me wanting to share favourite lines but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that. I didn’t want to merely type them out and then talk about them. I wanted to do something more. Something that expressed how much of an impact they were making upon me. That I was kind of living THROUGH them. That they were changing me. Altering my perception of things. That I was learning and falling in love with them. That I WAS in love them – and as a consequence, falling in love with him. Being awestruck by a man so young writing so amazingly and expressing it in a way that was different to the way others did. It took YEARS for any ego in Jim to be evident. I guess it had to come to the fore eventually.

But that aspect is of Jim the showman. A young man learning his craft who comes of age. After a while the stage persona seemed very different from the man off stage. And watching videos of him being interviewed in the early days, it just compounded the things I was feeling. The early performance videos certainly played their part, but I think the interviews played an even BIGGER part. Because there, the vulnerability shows – esp. visually if he is struggling and the stutter and facial ticks are still present. That quirks in him instead of being a turn-off, were much more a turn-on. A mark of “oh, he really is just ‘one of us’, he just happens to be smart and eloquent (despite the stutter) and beautiful with it.”

And so the “art” evolved from wanting to express the way I felt about the lyrics. That I was listening to them and taking them in but also that…this young, beautiful man was writing them – he had to become the centrepiece of the “art”.

And the more early interviews I watched, the more I fell for the man as well as the words.

And then to be sharing them and have him in the present day take notice of them and appreciate them? Acknowledgement from him was the final nail in the coffin.

That your heart is already bursting with love for someone, albeit in a retrograde kind of sense, and then in the present moment, the man who was once that young, idealistic man acknowledges (inadvertently on his part, for sure) your….infatuation of him. I don’t think I was really prepared for that. And I guess I really did lose my marbles. Because IT FELT AMAZING! It felt reciprocated! Like…he got it! He got what I was feeling.

So…the interview from 1984 with Billy Sloan – it was one particular thing that really just…yeah. It allowed for “time travel”. To really feel what Jim was like then. He’s confident and bold and bolshy, but also there is still him trying to keep himself grounded. Just little things too. Something as silly as his laugh. Just, the way he talks about the guy in the crowd in Cork with the glasses and the way he bursts out laughing – it just makes my heart burst! And how he talks of Glasgow and how he sees the future of Glasgow – like a little soothsayer. And he’s a wonderful idealist. He really DOES believe the words of Promised You A Miracle, that “everything is possible”. And you can’t help but be swept up in that! As “glass half empty” as my tendencies are – I ADORE him for his optimism. His gleaming, shining idealistic nature. These are the things that have me in love with him! He has so much faith, so much belief…not just self-belief – but he wants it for EVERYONE.

If you’ve never heard this interview, just listen to it. Listen to him. (I’ve linked to it below.)

I go back to this interview on the odd occasion. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to it in the early days of my fandom. Especially during my time out in Australia with my mum during 2015/16. The latter months of my time there, I would listen it almost nightly. I went through a point where…I dunno…I went through one of those stupid points where I thought I’d pissed him off and that “things were coming to an end” and I just listened to this interview almost every night. It and episodes of Cabin Pressure (the BBC Radio 4 comedy starring Stephanie Cole, Roger Allam, Benedict Cumberbatch, and writer of the series, John Finnemore) were my nightly kind of wind down.

Some nights I’d be in tears having listened to it…just awed by him. Chanting under my breath as I was listening “he’s just so beautiful. I love him.” It’s silly! It’s really silly, I know!

And there was this element with the art that while the Jim of now was appreciating it that I could dream that it would mean the Jim of the past – that young idealist, that he would love them too – because in all honesty, I don’t think I fell in love with 2016 Jim, I fell in love with early 1980s Jim. Because I love the words of that young Jim. That one that felt like he was part OF something. The one that wanted people WITH him. The one who expressed faith and wanted to SHARE the spoils. The one who said “the prize is the race itself”. Not the one who feels APART FROM things. Not the one who, despite trying to stay grounded, inevitably got caught up in the ego and status of it all.

I want to believe there is some of that Jim still present in today’s Jim…but it doesn’t feel very evident right now.

I don’t know why I am still pining to talk to Jim. To converse with him, to feel a kinship, to have what feels like a friendship with him. I used to be convinced that the young Jim wouldn’t look at me twice. And that may be very true in a sexual attraction sense – I am all the things he seems to not show any attraction to at all, short, fat, needy, emotional, unsure of myself, socially inept, weak … pathetic. Not an Amazonian beauty – just some silly, stupid bint. Full of self-loathing and with the constant need to be liked.

He is all things I am not. Of course there is sexual attraction there. I dunno. I really don’t know what I am writing or what I am trying to say here. I think I am just trying to do something with this blog. Trying to get out of this writer’s block I have again.

The band. The music. For me personally, it’s all down to Jim. He very quickly became my focal point. Him and his lyrics and how he expresses himself. I guess there was something a bit “outsider” I saw in him. That thing that Mick MacNeil described as him looking like he should have been in “special school”. Lol.

He has…a presence. He’s charismatic and an enigma in the same breath. Exudes cool and nervousness in equal measure. It makes him human. He feels tangible yet so intangible at same time. He’s a paradox. And it makes him endlessly fascinating! So…I obsess over him because he never stops being enigmatic. I never tire of pondering him…being drawn to him. Awestruck and mesmerised by him. And just….so in love with him.

https://youtu.be/5YXbKcyKceg

Sunday Waffle – 14/3/2021 – (I’m Never Short Of A Word, Obviously…)

Didn’t think I would do this today. Thought I’d write a post but…hey ho. I wish I could stop talking, dreaming that Jim is at the other end of the camera, listening in. Lol.

I’m always astounded when people have such delusions, and yet here I am! Ever hopeful. Ever dreaming. Perhaps if he engaged more on SM, I’d cease this charade.

Anyway…it’s Sunday, folks. He’s “waffled”, so I have too.

Simple Minds – Special Rock – Belgian Magazine – 1985

Won this magazine on eBay. Came from a seller in Belgium. I have scanned the whole magazine and will share it soon. In the meantime, I just wanted to share the images that I scanned of the magazine. I tried to clean them up and stop them from looking like little black and white Lichtenstein’s. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been. Some I’ve never seen before, hence I was so keen to get this magazine.

Enjoy!

Looking at the one of Jim with “the burrrrd” now, I think it’s SHE who’s eyeing HIM off. Who can blame her. I’d be freaking my shit out if he just appeared next to me like that. I’d think all my Christmases have come at once. Lol

Etienne Tordoir was obviously on the set when they were recording Someone Somewhere In Summertime and Glittering Prize for that Belgian TV music show. Nice to see a still photo from that.

And I’d never seen half of those Corbijn photos from the OUAT recordings in New York. I know several of them where in the tour program, but some of these I had never, ever seen. Not sure who’s with Jim in the studio photo, whether it’s Bob or Jimmy or neither of them as it really doesn’t look like either of them – but I don’t know who else it would be.

I’d try and ask Jim but… there is just no point. He’s not around. And I am really not wanting to go anywhere NEAR the fan pages at the moment. And, well, he probably wouldn’t remember or be able to tell who it is anyway.

Maybe if someone else knows? Answers on a postcard.

Rare Kerr Photos Are Like Buses

Yesterday four arrived and then today, another four! The first one is another from the photoshoot at the Olympic Stadium in Stockholm, and the next is one from the day before the gig, taken on June 8th, 1989. So I kind of now have a complete set of photos of the Street Fighting Years gig for Stockholm.

The next is by a photographer called Ronald Siemoneit. There’s no date on the back, but I would guess by Jim’s hair and what he’s wearing, esp. the belt he has on, that it was taken in 1983. The photographer was based in Berlin, so I would also assume it to have been taken at a German gig, most likely in Berlin. They played Berlin on March 24th, 1983 and Jim is wearing that same white t-shirt with the rolled-up sleeves and that big belt.

Lastly, another Michael Hohmann one from the same gig as the previous two of his that I got. Again, no date or venue but I would say they are from 1980. And most likely either of the support slots they had for Peter Gabriel in Berlin – one on September 4th at the Deutschelandhalle, the other on September 19th at Stadion. Looks more likely to be the former as it’s a smaller venue and indoors.

There’s a possibility it could be Kant Kino but Jim looks more like how he appeared in the latter part of 1980 in the photos. The photos (in the Michael Hohmann set) are definitely no later than 1980 anyway.

Beyond the immediate enjoyment of ogling Jim, I love the history that’s attached to them. I absolutely treasure these things. I love this aspect of collecting memorabilia.

I also did get a copy of Next Big Thing, which I will discuss in a separate and relevant post.

Knackered Distraction

Felt very drained today. The nerves from conducting last night’s interview got the better of me and I woke up in the middle of the night with it all still swilling around in my head. Excited that it seemed to go okay and excited to share it on the blog, but still with niggles about how I conducted it, how I conducted myself, how articulate (or otherwise) I was. Did I laugh my stupid nervous laugh too much, did I ask good enough questions and/or thought-provoking enough questions, etc, etc.

I couldn’t get back to sleep for hours and woke up feeling extremely drained and tired.

I walked into the city this afternoon to the West End and the Botanic Gardens and met up with Michelle. As drained as I was, I walked 10km and did nearly 15,000 steps. I couldn’t face walking all the way back home, so we caught the subway back from Hillhead to St Enoch and I got the train from Queen Street back to Ashfield.

I haven’t taken any public transport in months, but I was just too fucked to do that walk back home. I need to get myself in better condition!

Tonight I have just been reclining on my bed, exhausted.

I did some banner art. I do love this line so much.

Anyway, soon lights out for me. Night night.