Woe-gan House Freeze Off – “40” Tour Dates, 2020

I “wakened up” (as a certain Mr Kerr would say) at 3.30am having had a mixed and slightly fitful sleep. The reason? I had decided when it was announced Jim would be on the Zoe Ball Breakfast show on Radio 2 a couple of weeks back to bite the bullet and head on in to see him. Well…that was the hope.

My thinking being…if the news is big enough that he’s on with Zoe Ball, he’ll be there in the studio, NOT on the phone!

I got myself ready and had a taxi booked by 4.30am. My target was the 5.08am train to St Pancras.

I was actually running early and made the 4.50am train in! I got to St Pancras at 5.30am and made my target of being outside Wogan House (adjacent to Broadcasting House, where the Radio 2 studios are based) by 6.15am.

The celeb spotting started almost immediately with Paul Gambaccini leaving the building just a few minutes after I arrived.

Also shortly after I arrived, a man appeared and stood near me.

Firstly, there was no Zoe Ball. Nicki Chapman was presenting for her this morning. That was the first slight worry.

I was listening in while standing outside freezing my tits off. Ian Waite appeared and walked through the doors. Then some 45 minutes later he left again.

And just before 8am, Ken Bruce appeared and walked in.

After the Strictly news with Ian Waite, Nicki said “and Jim Kerr will be coming in later…” and I thought “OMG! YES! I have made the right choice coming down here!

Subsequent mentions after that she had changed it to “and I’ll be chatting to Jim Kerr…” Oh, shit! Why have you changed the wording, Nicki?

Once the 8am news happened I was thinking “he’ll be here soon. He’ll be here soon. Any minute now.” Then there was a thing on Thunderbirds. “Okay, any minute he should turn up. He’ll be on soon. Come on, Jim! Where are you?”

Then the traffic report happens. And then it all became too clear as Nicki said “I’ll be talking to Jim Kerr next.” Well…he hadn’t appeared. There are no other doors for him to enter through. FUCK! He’s phoning in from Glasgow!

*sigh*

As much as I was thinking before today “it’s the risk I take. If he’s there, he’s there. If not then…I won’t get disheartened.” Pfffft! That’s what I DELUDED myself into believing anyway.

So, he was a no show. The man who came and stood near me had been with me the whole time. As soon as it was apparent Jim was not coming, so walked off. So he was obviously waiting for Jim too. At least I wasn’t the only saddo hoping against hope. Lol.

I walked off too…but was still listening to the show and Jim talking to Nicki. I heard the song too, which, did not register with me until today is a King Creosote cover! Of course!

So…the first gig I have lined up for 2020 has more significance than I first anticipated. But NOW…I may see a Simple Minds gig BEFORE King Creosote. For we had TOUR NEWS! Jim actually did announce a European/UK tour for Feb/Mar/April 2020. See below! Obviously all further details are available through Simple Minds’ various social media.

And so, despite trying not to be disappointed about not seeing Jim…I was a little. You know. It was an effort. Up at 3.30am. Out the door at 4.30am. At Wogan House by 6.15am. Stood there until 8.40am, freezing to death as I had not put enough layers on, needing the loo, but also thirsty and gasping for coffee.

I consoled myself by going to a Starbucks and having a spiced pumpkin latte and a lemon muffin.

I then walked for miles and ended up at Shaftsbury Ave and into China Town. I just walked about wasting time.

More compensation, this time in the form of a chai latte and (see pic) a lovely slice of passionfruit cake.

I had a gift with me for Jim. It’ll have to wait for a future time.

Finally…for your lugholes…here’s For One Night Only (unless you are a MEGA Simple Minds fan! One night is NEVER enough! Lol. And I mean all the innuendo that is laced with. Yes! Lol)

I’m off for a lie down!

Video Theft

Why? I don’t get why anyone would do this. My video of Hunter And The Hunted that I recorded at the Grandslam gig at Colchester Castle Park on August 26th last year was taken and embedded into someone’s personal FB timeline, like the video was their own.

They then shared the clip on various Simple Minds groups and were happy to accept credit for the clip as if it was their own.

I really don’t have a problem with people sharing clips. Sharing the love we have for Simple Minds. But this is different. This was someone taking a clip from YouTube. Copying it off the site, then uploading it on Facebook, on their own timeline, which then makes the clip appear to be theirs.

A decent and honest person would have shared the clip from YouTube by just posting it on their timeline through sharing the YT link. Why didn’t they do that? Why take the clip and embed it in a FB post? It is blatant theft!

If you need proof, here it is. The two clips side by side. My original clip is at the top left, and the clip taken and used on FB is at the bottom right. It is 100% my video.

I’m not very happy about it…but what can I do?

It’s Oh So Quiet

I have to say…things is quiet on the SM front, and I do miss Mr Kerr.

I hope things are okay. One can’t help but worry. I guess it isn’t our place to be concerned.

It’s one year to the day since the opening Grandslam gig at Maidstone in Kent. Mixed feelings still of the gig, only having been allowed back on to SMO the week prior. The cynic in me can never help but think it was just tactics (having my block from SMO revoked). I wish for more than anything in the world that it wasn’t.

My lasting memory of the day will be of meeting my beautiful friend, Ally, and us in an embrace singing along to Someone Somewhere In Summertime together. A magic memory. ❤️❤️❤️

I obviously didn’t film it at Maidstone. I was swept up enjoying the moment with Ally, but I recorded them doing it at Leeds the following weekend.

Happy Birthday To The Other “Sexy Scott”!

Bon Scott. Might not be what you would call “classically” good looking…but geez I think you’d have yourself a good time in his presence! Certainly a night you wouldn’t forget in a hurry! Always just…with that glint in his eye, you know? Those Cancerians….ya gotta watch them! Lol

He’d have been 73 today (today already being July 9th in Australia – Bon’s adopted home). Happy birthday, Bon! You are missed. AC/DC was never the same without you.

Why I Love…New Warm Skin

I cannot reiterate how great a lot of Simple Minds B sides are. Most of them became an “also ran” at the expense of a song that makes it onto an album. I would easily swap Special View for Sad Affair, for example. Others would swap Veldt for Kaleidoscope (as although the song wasn’t released until the I Travel single – as a special flexi disc bonus – it had been formed during the Life In A day tour, so could have easily been recorded during the Real To Real Cacophony sessions).

But when it comes to NWS, it’s difficult to shelf something from Empires And Dance to make way for it. This time, they did make the right choice leaving it for the B side to I Travel.

The drummer girl here loves that intro. It hasn’t got the usual synth sound we get from Mick. And there really isn’t much of Charlie’s guitar over it. Just brief little riffs and licks.

It is a different beast to what else is on Empires And Dance. Musically the tone is much lighter. And there is…for its time, a very traditional “verse/chorus/verse/chorus” structure to Jim’s songwriting on this. Most unusual compared to most everything else of the period.

There is a demo version. Recorded during early EAD sessions. I’m sure after the R2RC fiasco, Arista INSISTED upon demos. I bet they still didn’t know what to do with them. I mean…seriously!? How can you have acts like Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Patti Smith on your label, yet Simple Minds leave you dumbfounded? HOW?! It makes no sense!

Lines from the demo alter to the studio version. Instead the skin being “expensive to touch” for being “novocaine skin” – it’s “expensive to touch” for being “American skin”. And what was once “ugly as sin” is now “transparent and thin”. The third verse in the demo is pretty much a repetition of the first, whereas in the studio version it has been refined and expanded. “…Contorted dreams of the beauticians that pray / crawling out of this heat and drifting this way…”.

I have always been most intrigued by those lines that end each verse, “Is this a war? Is this a god?” A war on what exactly? The natural beauty of the human face? A god? A new god…one that has refined and “perfected” how the human face should be?

Of course, many years later, Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr revisits those lines and reuses them in the track Nail Through My Heart, with a musicality to the track not a million miles away from New Warm Skin. Defeated in “war” by the superficial, perhaps? “You put a nail through my heart / nail through my heart / then you discarded me. Corrupt from the start / you pushed it too far / then you discarded me. You put a mark on my skin / let yourself in / no escape for me.”

Musically, NWS has more of a “new wave” tone to it than what else is on Empires And Dance. The album is a Euro-centric dance, trance, travelogue…definitely still rooted in post punk and not quite yet new wave – well not as I differentiate new wave to be.

I mean those three/four albums from 1979 to 1981 – Real To Real Cacophony/Empires And Dance/Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call – progress yet bridge together so amazingly well. Each a stepping stone to the next and the next. Then…the big leap! The huge curve ball. The stand-alone. The “nothing before it or after”. The freak. The beast that is New Gold Dream.

I hear similarities in the synths of New Warn Skin to what’s on Are Friend’s Electric? and Cars. Simple Minds were very much getting away from wearing their influences on their sleeve by that point, so NWS is a slight hark back in that respect. But I am sure that by this point in the game any similarities in sound were purely subliminal or coincidental.

How deeply we should dissect the track I am unsure. I mean, what is it after all? A parable on the the pursuit for human “perfection”? Superficiality – the ultimate cost of vanity? Is that such a heavy subject? I suppose even still in 1980, plastic surgery was in its infancy – in terms of it deemed as a “standard” procedure. Nobody bats an eyelid over facelifts now – mostly because nobody CAN…if you get my gist?

In musical tone there’s a cool and a heat to it. I like the pace of the chorus…the layers of the backing vocals.

There’s more electronica to come with the sound of Simple Minds. New Warm Skin leads on to Love Song, This Earth That You Walk Upon, Seeing Out The Angel and Theme For Great Cities…and most other tracks on the Sons and Sister albums.

I’d hazard a guess we weren’t meant to take New Warm Skin TOO seriously. I’m pretty sure the younger Jim would not have relished his lyrics being dissected like this. I’m not much sure the older Jim sees much point in it, either.

But it’s what I like to do. It deepens meaning, emphasis, musical enjoyment. I just like to exercise a curious mind. See if I can derive a meaning from the songs, musically and lyrically. “What did Jim mean by that? Does it mean anything? Is my interpretation of things what others’ hear too? Am I the only one that hears this, this and this?”, and so forth. It keeps me happy and occupied (“Not bloody occupied ENOUGH!” shouts Mr Kerr from his Glasgow panic room. Lol).

It’s just a little electronic gem with catchy lyrics.

And that is why I love New Warm Skin. (Demo and studio versions follow.)