I Wanna Go To Mars (Bar) – Caught (Out) In A Dream

I have tentatively started to work on revising my Top 50 list of SM songs. Probably a good thing to do before finishing my “Why I love…” posts that I started over 5 years ago. Where the fork has that time gone? Us humans have the most bizarre relationship with time, don’t you think? On one hand, a certain passage of time feels so much longer than it has been – on the other, it can disappear within the blink of an eye.
I can’t believe it has been 5 years since I was last spending time with mum.

Back to last night. There was a song I had in my memory. A song that I had asked Jim about and he (it already becoming a rarer thing by that point) replied to me about it. And I wanted to find that bit of “conversation” with him. Me in that eternal need to feel like…I could talk to him…that it meant something – not just to me, but to him too. Albeit just as the singer and songwriter of the band I fervently follow most passionately to all others. It just being that and nothing more to him.

But I couldn’t for the life of me remember what the song was called! And I knew I had written about it on my blog. Well, I would assumed I had – because I’d have been over the moon that he replied to me. I would have made something of it! But without remembering the song’s name, how the heck was I going to find it?

I had other songs in me head – Take Me To The Angels and Sweet Things. I listened to Take Me To The Angels – not entirely convinced it was that. It lead nowhere on a search of my blog. Had it been that, it would have unearthed my “tete-a-tete” with Jim about it. Nada. The song is great though.

Sweet Things I was even less convinced about as I know before listening to it, it became the track Destiny on the Life In A Day album. And I knew the conversation I had with Jim was about a song that never made it on Life In A Day – it was my premise for asking him about it – why hadn’t this song made the cut? What happened to it?

Although I was doubtful, I listened to Sweet Things too. Again, great. Although Jim’s lyrics are hard to decipher on a rather worn out old bootleg, obviously the song’s melody and tune is there – its musical structure in tact (albeit with a MUCH longer intro than what Destiny ended up with on the album). I guess Jim just wore his heart on his sleeve a bit more then? That he was fine with completely rewriting songs . The songs he’s rewritten? They obviously all work…but I canne help feel something gets lost along the way. Even if just the matter-of-fact notion that the previous words are discarded.

I am still no closer at this point. My search took me to Flickr as well, and my old catalogue of things. Art that I saved. Endless screengrabs of snippets of things that happened on SMO (what was THEN Simple Minds Official – no need for officialdom now, it seems). Bits of interactions with Jim. I quickly combed through it but I really couldn’t see anything that was relevant. Perhaps I hadn’t saved it? Hmmm. That would be odd!

So…how the heck was a going to find this thing?!

A theme became apparent to me from the other tracks I had just listened to. Both Sweet Things and Take Me To The Angels came from live recordings. I was working a bit blind last night (in bed, glasses off) so in my mind they had both come from the same gig at the Mars Bar. It is only looking again this morning that I see that Sweet Things came from a recording at Grangemouth at the end of 1978.

But I had a tentative thread in my mind – Simple Minds at the Mars Bar in 1978. That search on YouTube finally came up trumps!

Caught (Out) In A Dream! That’s the one! I listened to it again last night. It meanders a bit. It’s a bit drawn out. But…it’s band history. It still has its own bit of importance. If nobody else wants to champion discarded songs – esp. Jim (I have only just in these past few minutes read over his reply to me), then I will! Even if just for band history sake.

I’m sure there are a few songs that never even got recorded that are truly lost for good. That makes me feel sad. It’s kind of tragic. Jim may not see it this way…but everything Simple Minds has made and produced…it all has its special kind of magic. And, well, it might not all be magical to me…but I appreciate that certain things that don’t mean much to me can mean a heck of a lot to others. I’m sure he’d scoff at the notion but just…what if Caught (Out) In A Dream (I always add the “out” in brackets because I am sure he sings “caught out in a dream” which would then make more sense it was titled that way rather than dropping the word “out” in the song’s title?) was the song that cemented a person’s early fandom? Who knows? Yes, perhaps the band didn’t miss it but…you guys knew all the songs! Duh!

Anyway…I awoke this morning dreaming of a TARDIS and of the Mars Bar – a just turned 19 year old Jim in that David Bowie shirt he is wearing when Laurie Evans takes photos of the band outside – what I believe *is* the Mars Bar in 1978. Oh, he just looks glorious even then. And I hear the words from John Grant’s song…

“I wanna go to Marz (Mars Bar)
Where green rivers flow
And your sweet sixteen
Is waiting for you after the show
I wanna go to Marz
You’ll meet the gold dust twins tonight
You’ll get your heart’s desire
I will meet you under the lights”

I can never help but think of Jim with those lines. And me wishing I could time travel, and be that “sweet sixteen” waiting for him after the show. That he would meet me “under the lights”.

Dreaming of a life never lived….

P.S. It was so much further back in time than I had anticipated. Nearly three years ago was his reply to me! And I hold on to them so tightly…it felt to me like it was maybe a year ago, two years at most. Oh…I hold on to every little morsel SSSOOO tightly. I miss this SSSOOOOOO much!

Ideas To Overcome A Creative “Impasse”

Maybe setting limitations would work to do it? Having a set amount of time in the day? Some of these things I have tried before. Let’s doit again and see. But we’ll implement some different things this time. Anyway, ideas are worth sharing too…hence this post.

Click the image to see a video from BBC Ideas (in collaboration with the Open University).

Fixing Things

As I am beginning to work through certain things…getting back to some sort of “balance” – I need to work at the writing.

A major part of the problem is not having somewhere comfortable to write but, hey ho! Not a lot I can do about it, really. It would be great to have a desk and a chair. I mean….I have a dining table and chair but that doesn’t really cut it.

SOMETHING needs to happen with this blog! I don’t know what. Because I really don’t know what it is falling into right now. It has become MUCH too personal – partly because I deluded myself that a certain Mr Kerr might come and visit this blog – which is just RIDICULOUS and I don’t want its main function to disappear.

Obviously when I started it, part of its main function was just to….appreciate Mr Kerr in all his…loveliness…but I also wanted it to be about Simple Minds in the broader sense…the music…gigs, touring, bootlegs…videos, magazine clippings, interviews, merchandise, etc. All that encompasses the band dynamic.

I want to have certain themes back too. Something for Minds Music Monday, still. Maybe something to do with gigs some time through the week. And I want to keep doing Kerrsday to some degree. Perhaps even limit the ogling (minus certain “breaking news” info) to strictly Kerrsday only. Lol. We’ll see how possible that one is!

This “lockdown year” held such promise. Life still felt like it was on an upwards trajectory for me at the start of 2020 – and I am trying to be reflective on that. Not be too mopey and let it drag me down. We’ve all gone through this as an entire world. I’m incredibly lucky in many ways to just be able to cope with the brunt of the storm. I count my blessings! I know things could be so much worse!

It’s altered the blog as a result too. No gigs to report on. Very little music news. When there was nothing really to report and lockdown began, I suppose it is how it drifted into the personal. And well, it IS my blog – ultimately. But there seemed to be a solid small following it had. I was proud of that. And I was proud of mentions it would get from other fans.

I’m getting too comfortable quickly turning to a “vlogger”. Vlogging was never something I ever really took into consideration. Writing was my main outlet and I guess I could kid myself I was good at it. I certainly felt I could express myself BETTER through it! Now, I don’t know. None of it feels quite right. I struggle with the writing at the moment. Not just for a place to feel comfortable to do it but…oh, just, I dunno. The expression in it has left me some. Vlogging feels better but in some ways takes up just as much time. It doesn’t allow as much expression – for me anyway – I just feel and sound like I waffle on about nothing and go off on tangents and can’t return to the train of thought I had. And before I know it, a video is 45 minutes long!

I could make bullet notes before I start, I guess, but then it would feel so staged and contrived. And I actually HATE recording myself! I’m an ugly c*nt and I don’t want to subject myself to my own face, let alone anyone else. And I don’t expect people to want to sit around watching an hour long video of my waffling about bullshit. MY PHONE’S STORAGE IS FILLING UP! Lol

So, this week I will try and work out something to do with bringing this thing back to…something. Something decent! Dunno. I wish the Mitchell Library was open again. I think it opens back up soon. I like the idea of it being my office. Going down there a few days a week and getting some writing done. I’m probably dreaming. I am too easily distracted by what goes on around me. I can’t “switch off”. I’ve always been like it. It’s the reason I can never read on public transport and when travelling. I need a quiet place to read to absorb the words on the page for the words to…sink in. Otherwise no books would ever stay there. I’d just be reading words and nothing would sink in. The story – the plot of the book (if fiction) would get totally lost on me.

Anyway. We’ll see. We’ll see how I can salvage this…

An Independent Socialist – A World In Gray

Please do not be fooled by the blurb you see attached to the video! There really isn’t too much talk about the then imminent Scottish Independence referendum. It really is all about the remarkable Alasdair Gray. A man I wish I had been aware of, learned about and began to have some kind of – albeit without any actual personal interaction with – affinity for while he was still living.

There is a sadness I feel that, having moved to this amazing city just a few short weeks before, that Alasdair left us at the end of December in 2019.

Yes, you have to pay to watch the film – documentary – but if you love art, love the murals around Glasgow, have ever read Lanark or 1982 Janine and loved them – see that mural at Hillhead subway station each day (I can’t tell you how many times I have passed it by already and never realised it was there – with great shame) …

Just watch it.

Even as I am still finding my way through Lanark, I take in all the places I recognise. A number of them are local or not very far away. I even found myself reading a letter to a local paper he had submitted about wondering what was to become of Sighthill (the general area, not the cemetery – that wasn’t the topic of Gray’s letter) It is literally just up the road. Just go down to the end of the adjacent street, past the bowling green, round the corner, past the speedway track – up Finlas Street turning into Carlisle Street, until it meets Keppochill Road – and there you are. Sighthill Cemetery. Three weeks ago I didn’t even know it existed! There is NOTHING to mark it out on Google Maps. A few times coming down the A803 from the city centre by car or on public transport I could see there were some graves but I had assumed it was attached to a churchyard – not an actual full cemetery. A cemetery so vast that – as far as I am aware, only the Necropolis is larger (although trying to confirm this with research would indicate Sighthill is larger in acreage so I am a bit confused). Needless to say it is a large expanse and perplexing not to be revealed on a map!

Gray within the pages of Lanark seems to mention a street nearby, Ashfield Street. There is only one Ashfield Street in all of Glasgow. A few Ashfield Roads but no “street”. Only this one. It must be it! And there is talk of Riddrie where he grew up and the area that is now know as Robroyston but was once Garngad – all not terribly far away, further over to the east and north of us on the other side of Bishopbriggs.

But I shall stop waffling and let you watch it! I found it enthralling.

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…

Lanark Last Night

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I have just started Lanark. Only just. I’m not the fastest reader and I started much later than I wanted to, which meant my eyelids already were starting to get heavy barely one chapter in. I managed two. Lol. And am already attributing the identity of Sludden to a certain someone. Lol. And I would be any of those hangers on – apart from Gay – I should be so lucky! Or Rima (she has standards – it seems so far anyways). So I guess it only leaves me to be Frankie – most likely – or the other one whose name escapes me (irony!).

Anyway! Early days.

But I am already wanting to explore the world of Alasdair Gray so much more already as a consequence of those couple of chapters of Lanark.

So very later last night, after listening to a new episode of The Archers (now caught up with the real world – Ambridge is now in lockdown too) – and a very emotional yet beautiful Desert Island Discs with Charles Hazlewood as the castaway – highly recommended listening by me, not always easy, granted! (I still keep wondering when the frig they are going to get Jim on there!). I then put in Gray’s name in the search wondering if the BBC had done any adaptations to his books, etc, so thought I’d see what a search of him would bring up.

Well, it brought up this in the search results. A wonderful interview with BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth. I didn’t know what to expect from it when I started listening. I had assumed Gray would sound very dour and “Weegie” for one – but I found his voice mesmerising and beautiful. He has such music in his voice. A beautiful burr and lilt that I just was not expecting – almost as if he sang as he spoke. As a consequence, as enthralled in the interview as I was, I found myself drifting off to sleep halfway through, to awake again for the final few minutes and the talk of the hardships of making a career from art – making a sustained paid professional income from artistic pursuit.

His final goodbye was pure music, and rather poignant for this must have been one of his final interviews. He passed away at the end of December last year.

I fell in love with him. He sounded like a magical being. Like a pixie or elf or something. Little did I know my flippant little line to Jim the other day about “starting a book at chapter three – seems like my kinda guy” would ring so true.

You can listen to the interview via BBC Sounds HERE

A Little Peace…

Recently I have been told by a few people that I write very well. One suggested I contact a music magazine and lodge an application to work for them. This person had written articles themselves for the magazine in question and they gave me the email address of the editor.

I didn’t do anything about it. I would fear pursuing it. It is one thing to write at one’s own leisure your own thoughts and feelings or to write your own musical reviews and share that content on a blog that you have sole say over. It’s quite a different thing to work for someone else and work to a deadline. I’m not sure I could do it.

Just today a person asked me if I write professionally. The answer is no I don’t. There is one minor thing I do in which I write small pieces of text, but I don’t work to a deadline and my “boss” for the most part gives me free rein over what is written.

But could I ever write like this?

That, I strongly doubt. Granted, I have not spent over 40 years of my life writing professionally. And for many years prior to that most likely being quite good at English, enjoying the language and writing stories. Jim did.

I never had the imagination to create imaginary places. Never felt I had “the gift” for that kind of thing. Compared to what I’d hear from others in class, my stories sucked. So as a consequence I guess I felt like writing was just “not my bag”.

Until I read Anne Frank’s diary. To read her diary is to find that, no matter how insular you feel. No matter how insignificant your world may feel to you, you are living a life and you have your own dramas, hopes, fears and dreams. And yes, ultimately her story was so much bigger than what was going on in that tiny annex…but the way she made the minutiae of that circumstance feel is just SSOOO compelling!

Could I have worded how I felt about her diary like that as a 13 year old reading it for the first time? NO WAY! But it was an impetus for me to keep a diary myself. And YES, my life was far, FAR more insignificant (in no way suggesting Frank’s was). BUT…I was writing. I was using language. Trying hard to teach myself a level of expression that was escaping me from not being at school. I just kept wanting to teach myself.

I read books. Not sweeping epics of prose, just regular novels. I tried with Shakespeare. Lord knows I tried. But I attached myself more to James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. I read the poetry of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson and children’s books by May Gibbs and read the 87th Precinct detective novels of Ed McBain. I read “trash” too. Sidney Sheldon novels and Anne Rice vampire novels. I went from Anne Frank to Anne Rice.

I asked for a concise dictionary for my 15th birthday and read it like a novel.

At the library, I would look at the encyclopaedias and VOLUMES of dictionaries and wish to have them at home. You weren’t allowed to borrow reference books. I could never understand why.

To be asked in recent times whether I write for a living is amazing. To be told by others that I have some kind of “flair” or “way” is wonderful. And just maybe on the odd occasion I allow myself to accept such compliments and think I am worthy of them. But for the most part? No.

Beyond Jim’s beautiful way with words and expressing himself was this…

How could someone believe “an eye for an eye” is good? Because, isn’t that ultimately what war is? An eye for an eye? Fighting fire with fire? Two wrongs don’t make a right, do they?

Why is it such a childish thought to want peace? Not to have wars? And why do we never learn? Why are we destined to make the same mistakes over and over?

How is pacifism NOT the answer? How is love not the answer?

I want to end with this. Because it is just so beautiful in its simplicity. No big words. Just the basics and the question of “why”?

F.A.C.A.D.E

Put on your facade.
Wear it like a jacket.
Like false armour.
Let it mask your face.

Show your teeth.
Make your most convincing smile.
Never let anyone see what’s really behind it.

Don’t crack.
Don’t falter.
Don’t look weak.
Ungrateful.
Fed up.
Tired.

Keep wearing the mask.
Don’t let it slip!
Catch it before it falls.
Never let it drop.
Always smile.
Stay strong.

Keep acting.
Be Shakespearean in your manner.
Be Academy Award winning.
Have them saying, “Bravo! You always seem so happy.”
Get an Emmy.
A Tony.
Perhaps if you can whistle a tune even a Grammy.

Play the part.
Pretend.
Fakery is rewarded.
So fake it.

Fake
All
Corners
Around
Daily
Encounters

Slow News Sunday Summary – April 28th

Well, seeing as most days there is not much to report, I have decided to coin the SM “Slow News Sunday Summary”. A look at what morsels have been reported via SMO or other related avenues during the past seven days.

  • Cherisse on tour with Kelly Jones in June/July
  • Sir’s been to Sicily
  • Sarah’s Saturday night gig
  • Rejuvenation albums now available individually as singles

On Wednesday it was officially revealed by Cherisse on her social media that she will be playing with Kelly Jones (Stereophonics’ frontman) during his solo tour of the UK in June and July. A fan had heard an interview with Jones on radio saying that he was “interviewing” a drummer to tour with him and that SHE currently plays for Simple Minds. A rather large giveaway, but I was remaining nonplussed about it until word came from Cherisse herself.

I had a drumming lesson with her on Thursday and we talked about the news. She said some fans got into a panic, asking her whether it meant the end of her time with SM.

Have no fear, peeps! She’s just grabbing the opportunity for some gigging while there is SM downtime.

Also taking the opportunity to explore other musical avenues during the SM downtime is Sarah Brown, who was a guest of a group called Casca, playing a gig last night in Camden. I would have loved to have gone, but honestly, I cannot reiterate how skint I am right now. But I would have loved to have gone and shown some support.

Jim had a few days in Sicily earlier in the week. Some downtime for him from a busy schedule of writing, etc… all actually very elusive as to what else he’s doing other than him saying he’s “writing”.

Anyway…mustn’t dwell on how quiet it is, eh? And actually, I SHOULD be thankful because I have sod all money to do anything with … and that would be FAR worse! If they were touring around and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Speaking of things that cost money that I can’t really do anything about…
After now having released the Rejuvenation box sets and having had us all invest in those (well, those of us who could…), the albums and CDs are now available to purchase individually.

I am now in absolute dilemma mode. A huge part of me wants the box sets because of the packaging. Another part of me says it means I can invest in the vinyl that I was most interested in getting from the box set with a smaller outlay spread over time. The CD/DVD box set I definitely DO want to invest in. But it is going to have to wait.

Until next week, folks…keep it Simple x