For The Love Of God! – It’s LArelle, Okay??!

You know, it happened AGAIN the other day…

Someone came to mum’s door. A cold-calling chugger. I would have ignored him if I had known. Sorry, I know they have to try and get people donating, but I donate when I can – pressuring me to do so just makes the whole situation awkward.

But I digress.

He asked me my name – misheard it as Narelle…and I couldn’t be arsed to correct him. He then said “Oh my auntie’s name is Narelle (good for her!), but we call her Relle. Can I call you Relle?” Cheeky sod! Still, at least it meant he had my name HALF RIGHT. Lol

This has always, ALWAYS happened to me in this country. That’s why, for YEARS, I hated my name. Everyone got it wrong. Only once I moved to the UK could I start to appreciate my name. People get it right FIRST TIME there. Always!

In Australia, even if people saw my name written down and KNEW it wasn’t Narelle, they’d mispronounce it. Laurel…LAWrelle…you name it, I’ve had it. And don’t get me started with misspellings. Ok, when you’ve never seen it written down before, that’s understandable…but, come on!? Other than that reason, if you get my name wrong, you can SOD OFF!

Just saying.

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A Sun C*** Burntory?

I’ve reached my threshold today. Today really *is* the day in which I’ve enough of this far-flung isle and want shot of it!

Yes, of course…it is aesthetically beautiful. But if Australia, as a whole nation, doesn’t show you need something more of substance than just outward beauty, then I don’t know what does! It’s like the “himbo” of the world to me. Honestly!  It’s pretty…maybe nice to have a fling or a flirt with. A temporary visit. A short stay. DON’T MARRY IT! Don’t commit for life! It’ll kill you in the end!

If the weather doesn’t get you, the insects will. Or the reptiles. F***ing jeepers, a koala would kill you if it could! Well, if it pisses on you, it can give you an STD! Or maybe that should a KPTD (koala piss transmitted disease). And of course, not just insects and reptiles…sealife, sharks, jellyfish, etc. So much venom in this place…

So, come on April…hurry up! Blighty calls! Temperate weather. Spiders you don’t have to kill for fear they’ll kill you. A sea you can dive into. Gardens you can look at without worrying a snake or spider is curled up somewhere ready to pounce. 

The United Kingdom has an aesthetic too. And I can’t wait to see it again :-))

And to think yesterday I was talking of extending my stay!! Lol. I’ve lost my cotton-picking-frigging mind!! (I’d do it for mum)

Thank You, David

I was not quite 15 when I first really began to be impacted upon by David Bowie. My love of music began very early. That is one joy of having older siblings. Early exposure to music. Oh, how I enjoyed it and still love many of the acts I clung onto as a very young child, from Suzi Quatro, to Sherbet and Skyhooks (yes, Skyhooks, aged 5! Lol. With their risqué approach!).

Bowie was certainly on the periphery (much like how, for many years, Simple Minds were for me) of my musical taste as a young child. My siblings never seemed fans (apart from my eldest brother…more of that to come!), so I would only ever hear him on the radio. And as I would primarily only hear him on radio, that glam image passed me by. He was not so much an alien to me, for all I heard was the music. Later, when my fandom DID break, he was more musical genius than otherworldly alien. I worshipped him all the same! Never sexually attracted to him personally, I could more than appreciate the aesthetic many others saw in him. He certainly looked extraordinary.

But it was music overall. Oh, the music. My first deep foray into his music must have been around 1985. My eldest brother, Roy (born in 1958 – yes, a big old age gap!), had a record collection that he was keeping in his car when he was moving house and his vinyl was getting warped. He asked mum if he could house them here temporarily. Mum said yes.

Roy lived with his father when I was younger, so I never even really got to know him until I was about 10. His musical tastes didn’t impact upon me until later. And it was my Bowie fandom I gained from him.

His vinyl collection had several Bowie albums. I first played Ziggy Stardust and fell for it right off! Diamond Dogs was in there too. And Low. Low was like nothing I had ever heard before. Roy’s copy was sssooo warped, I can still see it in my mind’s eye, with it’s massive bend at the edge of the record! I couldn’t play certain tracks! But I cared little, because all that I could play took so much of a hold of me – I was gripped!
I soon (very slowly I might add – money was scarce!) built up my own collection. I wanted to learn about him. I’d read newspaper articles. I’d study lyrics. I just tried to absorb myself in his world.
When the Glass Spider tour arrived in Australia in 1988, I *begged* for Roy to take me. He didn’t want to, and I was too scared to go alone. I don’t regret not going. In retrospect, it wouldn’t have been a tour I probably would have looked upon fondly – Never Let Me Down was not one of my favourite albums…but that is not really something I want to talk about today.

I want to talk about the loves. Building my collection. Playing his music EVERY DAY. EVERY DAY. If you know me now…and if you know how submerged I am in the Simple Minds fandom, then you’ll glean some idea as to how I was for many years in my Bowie fandom. It may have waned in recent years, and my Simple boys may have taken precedence at times…but my love for David himself remained undiminished.

I finally got to see him live in 2001 in Manchester. It was a small music festival, on par with the one I saw Simple Minds at at Hickstead in Sept. 2015. Except, the day of the Bowie gig, the heavens opened in the afternoon. Suede were on before him. They were wonderful. Brett Anderson kept us distracted from getting a drenching. But when “The Dame” arrived on the stage, the sun returned and a most memorable night ensued.

David Bowie has had such an extraordinary presence in the world. Such a talent. Such amazing songwriting. And so very, very loved by so many. Your light will burn brightly forever, Mr Jones.

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Might Have To Come Back Here…

For ramblings, etc. Have let this slip by too much. Distracted by…erm…OTHER things! A New Year’s Resolution? WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT!! No…

But this site has been neglected for too long. Time to make amends, methinks. Esp. as I am here Down Under and sometimes have (a bit of) time to kill.

This’ll be “famous last words”! Lol. See you next year! Lol

I hope not…

Why I Love…Citizen (Dance of Youth)

(The clip will play from the right point on a desktop – but if you are viewing this post via a smartphone or tablet. You may want to skip to 5 min 12 sec)
A wonderfully political snapshot of Eastern Europe of the late 1970s. If you think Simple Minds only became political in the mid to late 80s…listen to this and you’ll know you’re mistaken.

I know I go on about Jim’s songwriting, but I do for a reason, it’s bloody good!! His words are just always so image-laced. With this one, I see European ruins…old city plazas and squares, the bell tower of a gothic cathedral (“I hate the sound of bells”), soldiers, dispossessed youth – wearing drab clothes and looking on edge, for fear of something dangerous and immanent occurring. A casual tourist taking snaps.

Study the words…they’re brilliant! He also delivers one of the most potent lines I think he’s ever written “You’re cutting up our friends / making love to our sisters”.

Musically, it starts with a staccato drumbeat that has a echo/reverb effect with it ….making it kind of gleaming. The vocal and guitar come in almost simultaneously. Jim uttering a single “Citizen” before Charlie joins him. There are subtle backing vocals going on…adding an unnerving backbone. Bass and keyboard/synths are underplayed and subtle. Jim’s vocal is menacing and, at times, venomous. There’s extra potency given to the lines…

“Our food is getting cold,
And you’re getting colder.”

He almost spits them out!

It packs a punch and is a political monster and shows how utterly fabulous Simple Minds were from the get-go and what a fabulous lyricist Jim Kerr is.

And that is why I love Citizen (Dance of Youth).

NB: It has been an earworm LITERALLY for WEEKS now. I adore it!

Why I Love…Boys From Brazil

I’ve talked about my love for Boys From Brazil in passing several times now. On the Simple Minds FB page too, telling Jim how much I would love to meet Brian McGee and thank him…KISS HIM…for those amazing drums. Yes, Jim says Mel Gaynor is the best drummer in world…and he might be right. He certainly is stellar and gifted. But Brian’s role in the Simple Minds story, no matter how brief it was, should NOT be underplayed. He was there for four albums…five, if you count Sons And Fascination and Sister Feelings Call as separate entities. His work on those albums alone deserves endless accolades.

So, yes. Those drums. I find the beat of this song hypnotic. And it is down to these drums. It’s almost like you actually get transported to the Brazilian rainforest itself. Subtle synths slide in from Mick and then Charlie’s gleaming guitar comes in, high and proud in the mix.

Then Jim comes in with that title…just in case you weren’t sure where we were. Of course, the line isn’t meant to be taken literally…but with those drums (the drums, the drums!), how can you NOT feel as though you are in Brazil?

That Scots accent in his singing voice, that emphasis on the word “Brazil” – I never tire of it. “Champagne / Desert shore” – (he’ll hate me for saying this, probably…if he ever reads it…or I have the gall to share it some time) those lines conjure up imagery for me…like an art rock version of Copacabana. Young men, rich, snobby, handsome, yet full of scorn. Languishing poolside, as if not a care in the world.

“Eyes of the world on you”, yeah, we’d better watch out for these young nobs! They’ll be our leaders one day. It’s like the bloody Bullingdon Club!

I now have a very weird association attached to this song. This has happened to me quite a bit with songs in my life. This one now being no exception. Songs can take you back to a place. A few do for me. Some take me back to car journeys taken. ELO’s Hold On Tight transports me back to a car journey home from my siblings grandmother’s house (we have different fathers, me, from the rest of siblings. It was their paternal grandmother.). REM’s Losing My Religion…another car journey with my sister and brother-in-law. Tin Tin Out’s Here’s Where The Story Ends…yet another car journey, to Leicester Nuffield Hospital. And now Boys From Brazil, a coach journey home, having just been to see Nana Mouskouri at the Royal Albert Hall. Yes! My brain is weird!! Lol. But it was the early days of my Simple Minds fandom. The Other Half had fallen asleep (it was a late night!) and so I decided to amuse myself, listening to music. It was the night I really, REALLY fell in love with the song. The dark, lonely stretch of motorway (M1) from London. The coach had a camera onboard, showing the road ahead…those visuals and the boys in my ears…it was magic.

But, I WILDLY digress…

Derek’s bass in quite understated on this. As are Mick’s keyboards. They are just subtly there, just underneath. It’s all drums and guitar. Fans ask each other all the time, their fave guitar pieces from Charlie. Jim has asked us too. I have several. I love Woman, and 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall…but “Boys” has to be right up there! He and Brian make the musicality of the song.

And Jim’s vocal is outstanding. The emphasis of the words…the lyrics themselves. The sparsity in which he uses them.

And then, the second time he delivers those lines…

“What can you say about anything lost now?
What can you say about stolen things too?
Anything’s stolen, something is lost now,
What can you say and how fast can things move?”

He is sssooo front of the mix…when listening with headphones on, it’s like he’s singing it right in your lugholes.

I love all the words and I love the way he sings them. It is my favourite vocal performance of his on record, I reckon.

And I really don’t know much about production AT ALL…but, blow me…Steve Hillage did a mighty fine job in my eyes (and ears!). No wonder they wanted to work with him again for Big Music!

I think this somewhat makes up for the lack of articulation for Life In Oils! Lol.

This song is Brian’s, Charlie’s and Jim’s.

Not only is this song in my Top 50…but it’s in my Top 5! There are only two songs in the Simple Minds catalogue that I have to repeat (and repeat) after I listen to it. This is one. Spirited Away is the other.

And THAT is why I love Boys From Brazil.

Why I Love…Life In Oils

 

Because it is one of the (if not THE) sexiest songs they’ve ever made.

Jim’s vocals…
Just…OMG…WHAAAAA??! All those sounds and moans and and heavy breathing and god knows what…just…
I don’t know what half the words are. It never got an official release until Silver Box…and it’s obviously a demo. Some lines I do know “Unhappy the land that has no heroes. No, unhappy the land that needs heroes.” (Later used in 20th Century Promised Land).
It’s fairly slow paced, and kind of speeds and slows, and I love that synth *ping*.
I love the odd chorus, though again, I’m not entirely sure what he’s singing (“shadow/hollow/???/take” – I think. Can never decipher that third word.). And the way he emphasises the word “LIFE” towards the end of the song is, again…just…
Musically, there’s a kind of sultriness to it. It sounds like it could be strip music to me. It’s wonderfully sensual. Then combine it with Jim’s sighing, moaning, panting vocals at the beginning and SERIOUSLY – my ovaries want to explode! *KERRPOW!* (that really should be “kepow” – but we are talking the effects of Jim Kerr’s singing on one – so why not play with the onomatopoeia? Lol
This one has been hard to write because, I just have no words for it, really.
I just love it because I find it as sexy as f***, and Jim’s voice on it just DOES THINGS TO ME!
Sorry I could not be more articulate but, there you go. Sometimes there are just no words.
And that (rather badly explained reason) is why I love Life In Oils :-))

Why I Love…Seeing Out The Angel

 

It starts with, quite possibly, Mick MacNeil’s finest if nor most hauntingly beautiful piece of synth work. It’s quite a simple chord structure, but I find it just gives me goosebumps (chicken skin) EVERY TIME.

Then comes in another gem of a bassline from Derek Forbes. His bass comes alive, with the backing of the dramatic and atmospheric drum beats from Brian McGee. Then that haunting backing vocal from Jim. Just barely audible above the synth, bass and drums. Then those beautiful, haunting lyrics from Jim, including quite possibly, my favourite line of a song, ever, “in colourful, breathless, emotional sea”. His voice is deep. A song probably sung in the deepest register he could achieve. That juxtaposition of the depth of his voice and high, soaring chords of Charlie’s guitar just gives me goosebumps (chicken skin!).
I watched an interview with Jim from 1983 and he said, “I never liked the obvious rock and roll language, ‘Don’t you want me, baby’ for instance, or even ‘great balls of fire’ and things. I’ve always liked ambiguities and fragments and things with a bit more of a mystery to them.” Amen to that, my beautiful baby boy!! It’s a shame you don’t seem to still feel that way (I don’t know. Maybe you do?). Now he says he likes simplicity. Which I can appreciate too. But it’s hard to both simplistic and ambiguous, surely? But if anyone could pull it off, it’s our boy Jim! Maybe he achieved it with this one? Nah…there’s too much perplexity and complexity in ambiguity, in my opinion.
But I digress…
It keeps to a simple music chord structure throughout. But it is soo haunting. Hight notes from the synths, Charlie’s guitar soars, those beautiful basslines from Derek and those sparse but dramatic drum beats from Brian McGee – who really, really, really does need to have his part in the Simple Minds story remembered!!
It is the synths, the bass and those drums that make it for me. And, of course, Jim…his voice and those lyrics, almost becoming a tongue-twisting mantra towards the end…

“Seeing out the angel,
From the shadow of a day,
That stands alone and crying young.
Singing fascination,
For the twist in anxious days,
That stand alone and crying young.
See out the angels,
For the rescue pools of life,
That stand alone and crying young.”

Then that slow fade out with Jim repeating …
“Seeing out the angel…
Singing fascination…”
With Charlie’s guitar gently jangling away, with that methodical drum beat and pulsing bassline behind.
It’s just a magical piece. It’s ephemeral and ethereal. Like it’s just going to catch in the breeze and float off as the song fades away. I find it haunting and beautiful. It’s not just in my Top 50, but in my Top 10.
I adore it.
And that is why I love Seeing Out The Angel.

Why I Love…Garden Of Hate


The very first time I heard it, I fell in love with it. It’s Mick MacNeil’s organ playing (I’m assuming it’s an organ, it sounds like one) that first hooked me in. It is SO reminiscent of “Waltzinblack” by The Stranglers (another absolute FAVE instrumental – oddly enough, The Stranglers are the Minds’ support/co headliners for the November European and UK area gigs) but Garden Of Hate pre-dates it. Did Dave Greenfield hear Garden Of Hate and get ideas? That’s a nice thought!
Charlie Burchill’s guitar is actually quite hard rock on this. Guitar rock waltz!

It’s a curiosity for a Simple Minds track in that it’s OVERTLY dark. I love that! I love a band that can do “dark” convincingly. And their music had a darker edge to it in the early days…but this is something else! And I think that is why I was SSOO blown away by it when I first heard it. When you grow up only knowing or being familiar with “the hits”, you tend not to associate this kind of dark material with Simple Minds.
In his lyrics, Jim talks about seeing a man with a broken arm and a girl he knows getting “quite cut up” and that he either doesn’t care or doesn’t know *if* he cares. That’s some pretty dark apathy going on there. Of course, it’s story-telling, but wow!
It’s kind of weirdly “rocky” too, helped along by Charlie’s grinding guitar…but with that waltz timing to it…Mick’s organ (that sounds wrong saying it like that!) dictates the whole song though, really

.
It ends with a fantastic crescendo. Jim and the rest of the bhoys singing the title of the song over and over, between exaggerated laughs of “HAHA HAHAHAHA!” from Jim. And then that final note of Mick’s that seems to go on forever…
It’s a fantastic Halloween song. Hence why I chose to write this particular “why I love…” now. Just so I had an excuse to share Garden Of Hate for Halloween.
And that is why I love Garden Of Hate.

 

Why I Love…Constantinople Line

(Lol…the home made video though…what is has to do with Istanbul or trains, I dunno?)

It’s the rhythm of it to begin with. Very reminiscent of David Bowie’s Station To Station. It reminds me of it, but is far enough removed not to sound a pastiche. Charlie’s guitar fade at the end is SSOO much like the beginning of Station To Station. Charlie does a pretty “Slick” nod to it (Bowie aficionados *may* pick up what I did there!).

A great bassline once again from “Big Dan”. And Charlie uses the guitar effects for a nice screeching sound. Maybe it’s just reverb. I can’t claim to understand what I hear, but I know I like it!

Absolutely one of the best set of lyrics Jim has ever written. They are very image laced. I see the pictures in my head when he sings them “I see a land, as we crawl by night /I see a face on the window in front” – I love those lines so much! And possibly my favourite lines from ANY SM song…ever “these stations are useful / these stations we love them” when it wasn’t very “de rigueur” to claim to “love” things like that. I’m assuming because of such, Jim is very much saying it tongue-in-cheek, which I love. (No pun intended!)

The demo version has different lyrics. He sounds like he’s ad libbing a bit. The song’s musical structure is there…and some of the final lyrics are there (including the “these stations” ones) but there are some lines that don’t gel. He did a wonderful job refining and trimming. The demo versions can make you appreciate the final cut so much more…

And, of course, the song ends with the sound of a train.

It just does a great job of letting you feel that train journey experience. Foreign lands…people behaving shifty…cloak and dagger…it’s like Strangers On A Train. Simple Minds do Hitchcock and borrow a *tiny* bit from Bowie and do a stellar job.

This song…I love it! 😉

And that is why I love Constantinople Line.

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