Wednesday, August 31, 2005

simple fucking minds

One of the most apt pieces of naming in music history - more than calling a load of souless saps Wet Wet Wet, more than having Freddie Mercury front a band called Queen, almost as appropriate as Michael Jackson calling his 1986 album BAD - is the moniker attached to those purveyors of unthinking vacuous bombast Simple Minds.

The huge hollow contrived stadium-rock twaddle, the obviousness and superficiality were offensive to anyone who wants to hear music with any soul or meaning.

I remember in the late 80s some LibDem spokesperson- who clearly had only heard the band's names rather than the music - thinking they were clever saying 'the Conservatives are the music of Simple Minds, Labour are the music of Dire Straits, but we are the New Kids On The Block'.

I remember thinking how unintentionally accurate this was. The Tories and their selfish egotism and overblown arrogance. The New Kids and their squeaky clean cuddly image belying their strategy of corporate greed; pointless, irrelevant, and impossible to take seriously. Then Dire Straits, an unimaginative stale soporific dinosaur, nothing there that you'd ever actively choose, nothing to enrich or inspire you but, well, if you were on a long car journey and only had those three tapes, it'd be Dire Straits that got played.

For those who are too young or don't have an obsessive retentive memory of pop music, New Kids On The Block were the prototype of those 90s hairgel bands, those bland saps with their over-rehearsed sincerity, their Donny Osmond straight-to-camera puppydog eyes.

As Bill Hicks said at the time


'Oh come on, Bill, they're the New Kids, don't pick on them, they're so good and they're so clean cut and they're such a good image for the children.' Fuck that! When did mediocrity and banality become a good image for your children? I want my children to listen to people who fucking rocked. I don't care if they died in puddles of their own vomit, I want someone who plays from their fucking heart.

On the cover of their single This One's For The Children (chorus: 'This one's for the children / The Children of the world / This one's for the children / May God keep them in His throne'), New Kids On The Block wore T-shits with the words 'DRUGS SUCK' in foot-high letters.



Bill Hicks again:
See, I think drugs have done some good things for us, I really do. And if you don't believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favor, go home tonight and take all your albums, all your tapes and all your CD's and burn them. Because, you know what, the musicians who made all that great music that's enhanced your lives throughout the years? Rrrrrrrrreal fucking high on drugs. Man, the Beatles were so high, they let Ringo sing a couple of tunes. Tell me they weren't partying!

Okay, I'll tell you what else. I'm gonna extend the theory to our generation, now, so it's more applicable. The musicians today, who don't do drugs, and in fact speak out against it - 'We're rock against drugs' - boy, they suck! Ball-less, soul-less, spirit-less, corporate little bitches, suckers of Satan's cock, each and every one of them.

There is more than one way to be a ball-less soulless spiritless corporate little bitch. All those stadium-rock raised fist gestures devoid of meaning and intent rank just as low as New Kids, and kings of it were Simple Fucking Minds.

It's not enough to just like good music and art any more than it's OK just to do positive political action; we must berate, ridicule and actively assault the bad as well. As Bruce said in Easy Wheels, 'evil doesn't just go away, it hangs around like a stupid salesman until you kick it the hell out'.

For some inexplicable reason, Simple Fucking Minds got to play the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 1995. This was such a full frontal assault on those of us who treasure the spirit of Glastonbury that we decided Something had to be done.

Not wanting to - or even being confident if we could bear to - endure their full set, it had to be a good swift surgical strike.

We turned up a while into their performance. It was, I'm pleased to report, by far the poorest attended evening perfomance on the Pyramid Stage I've ever seen. With this working in our favour, we easily got to about 15 people from the front.

And we waited, choosing our moment.

Should we do it during Waterfront? Nah.

How about during Don't You Forget About Me? No, too bouncy.

And then it happened. No need to confer, we knew this was the time. The intro to Belfast Child. As arrogant and pompous a song as has ever been written.

As the pipes wailed, Jim 'Wan' Kerr crossed his arms and tried to look wise, aloof and wistful as he stared into the distance.

And then we raised our banner, in clear two foot capitals, easily legible from the stage:

WHY DON'T YOU JUST FUCK OFF?

The phrasing is all the more insulting for its tone; not angry, more like dismissive.

It got a few chortles from the people around us, so it seems that a good portion of the paltry crowd didn't really like the band.

After a couple of minutes one arsey bugger told us to take it down cos she did like the band. We respectfully pointed out that if that were the case perhaps she should be facing forwards rather than turning round looking at us. She snapped one of the poles, so we retreated, job done.

If feel sure there are Simple Minds roadies still telling the story to this day.

And here we are, me and my companero Adam at the edge of the crowd moments later.

38 comments:

PMM said...

Now that's not very nice. Is it right to treat people this way, just because they happen to be musicians?

Simple Minds might be turgid bland shite, but if you were watching a mediocre postman, for example, or a crap driving instructor with bad breath and no dress sense, would you feel the urge to say "Oi!, Postie! Switch that bloody ipod off and get some letters posted, will you?" or "Hey you, in that car! You're rubbish you are. My Granny could do that better than you"!

I mean, there they are, doing a difficult job, getting callouses on their fingers and trying to keep the punters happy, just to earn a wedge and pay the mortgage, and then a crowd of disgruntled hippies and malingerers go and take the piss.

Takes the bloody biscuit it does if you ask me.

If I was your postman, would you be happy if I wrote "Why don't you just fuck off" on your christmas cards and bank statements?

I think not!

Or if you came and asked me for driving lessons, and you stalled at some traffic lights, if all the other motorists, and me as well, were to shout "Why don't you just fuck off"?

Would that be conducive to a tranquil state of mind?

No! It damn well wouldn't!

Come on, Merrick. Next time you catch Simple Minds live, do the decint thing. Hold up a great big banner saying "Sorry. Why don't you just fuck off, please"

See? A bit of politeness goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

sad bastard!!!! why dont you go and smoke another spliff. if you really knew about music you wouldnt have such a dumb and ignorant view. while you are a nobody simple minds have sold millions of albums and still sell out shows around the world. why dont you go and watch top of the pops, while you can of course.
oh well i have gave in to temptation and posted on this pointless webpage.

merrick said...

Ah, my dear Anonymous.

It is, I assure you, not an ignorant view that I have. I have spent too much time - time that I will never have again and should be able to get compensation for - with the toilet-flushesque tones of Simple Minds ringing in my ears. They were unavoidable on the airwaves for much of the 80s.

Mercifully, those days are gone.

Your only points of explanation for the brilliance of Simple Minds are that they have sold millions of records and concert tickets.

You then imply that I am the one who should go and watch Top Of The Pops, a show whose content is dictated solely by how many records an artist sells.

Whilst it may be enough for you, forgive me for wanting more from an artist than the ability to be well marketed.

But if that's all you need then I hope you continue to enjoy Simple Minds, Westlife, The Osmonds, Black Lace and Foghat.

Anonymous said...

This was TEN years ago. Highlight of your life was it? Loser.

merrick said...

Oh me beloved Anonymous,

No, it was not a highlight of my life, I merely found the photo one evening and thought I'd share it. Talking about unusual and notably funny things one did 'TEN years ago' does not make one a loser.

However, trawling the internet to leave neanderthal comments on posts published TEN months ago could be seen otherwise.

Anonymous said...

by the way all the anonymous posts arent all from the same person. i'm just pointing that out coz obviously you cant tell.
anyway, this page was found by accident. you give the impression of ignorance coz you obviously havent bought any simple minds albums. there is more to them than simply dont you and belfast child. if you dont like their music fair enough. one other band you dont like(queen) i also dont like. i wouldnt sink to such juvenile behaviour though. i wouldnt even do such a thing if i somehow found myself subjected to a spice girls concert. you say neanderthal comments. what kind of person makes the effort to make the sign you did?
i am curious, do you care to let us know what your music tastes are?

merrick said...

Oh Anonyperson, do give it a rest.

'by the way all the anonymous posts arent all from the same person'

OK: you lay claim to that 2nd anonypost. The only other one is from someone who, like you, never uses capitals, never uses line breaks, has similar grammatical construction and, of course, the same point to make.

And all of this coming in the same week, ten months after the post was published.

Different people you say? What a fucking wild coincidence.

'this page was found by accident'

I too sometimes get pages that aren't what I want, just irrelevance. In the case of such accidents, I tend not to read the entire page, comment on it, and repeatedly return to comment some more.

you give the impression of ignorance coz you obviously havent bought any simple minds albums

Hmmm, and your criticism of the Spice Girls; how many of their albums have you shelled out for and given a proper chance to I wonder?

There are some things that one doens't need full experience of.

I was never sent to a Soviet gulag. I have never pulled out my own toenails with rusty pliers. However, I feel confident in disapproving of them as activities.

Simple Fucking Minds are firmly in the same category.

if you dont like their music fair enough

Clearly, you don't think it is fair enough; you come back time and again to tell me so. As well as posting the comments I deleted that were just insults.

band you dont like(queen)

I never said I didn't like Queen. I merely said it was an appropriate name for a band fronted by Freddie Mercury. He was like a Tom Of Finland painting come to life! Good on him.

To say that noticing his obvious homosexuality equates to disliking him is an erroneous homophobic slur.

what kind of person makes the effort to make the sign you did?

Someone with a mischievous sense of humour.

If you've only lies, factual errors, slurs and defence of shite music to offer, please go do it somewhere else as it's getting tedious here.

Anonymous said...

whose laying claim to any post? you can now assume two of the posts are down to the same person, this is one of them.
who cares about capitals and proper grammar? i arent writing a book or teaching english to school kids.

if you feel passionate about something and you come across someone insulting that would you not be tempted at all to voice your opinion?
regarding the spice girls you obviously didnt read the comment properly. while it is obvious i dont like them i didnt resort to insulting them or their fans. considering how a large percentage of their albums songs were released as singles it is fair to assume i have heard enough to be able to judge whether i like them or not.
judging a band on a small percentage of their songs and comparing that to a soviet gulag is silly. do you simply not like the 1980's or is it you dont like bands that get commercial success? no two simple minds albums are the same so to dislike the band altogether must mean a narrow taste in music. of course you havent heard all the different directions they have taken with their music have you?
ok, so you dont dislike queen.
on your last point, dont try and tell me or anyone else that you didnt go to the effort of this webpage to provoke a reaction. dont try and tell anyone that making that sign was to just have a joke.
you still havent mentioned what your favourite bands are?

merrick said...

whose laying claim to any post?

My apologies, I presumed that in telling me that all the anonyposts were different people you were returning from the previous one.

If you're not, how do you know the the only ones before your 'first' aren't the same person then?

who cares about capitals and proper grammar?

Not you, not me. I didn't critcise your lack of capitals or your grammar. I merely said they're some of the same qualities with the person who wrote the first anonypost.

regarding the spice girls you obviously didnt read the comment properly.

Mr Pot, meet Mr Kettle.

while it is obvious i dont like them i didnt resort to insulting them or their fans.

So I've got the courage of my convictions and you haven't.

I suspect it's cos somewhere in your heart of hearts you know if you criticised music that amounts to little more than cultural pollution you'd rapidly have to junk your beloved Simple Fucking Minds records.

considering how a large percentage of their albums songs were released as singles it is fair to assume i have heard enough to be able to judge

Mm-hmm. And the implication is I haven't with Simple Fucking Minds?

Remember the bit where I said "I have spent too much time - time that I will never have again and should be able to get compensation for - with the toilet-flushesque tones of Simple Minds ringing in my ears. They were unavoidable on the airwaves for much of the 80s."

What do you think I was trying to say there?

do you simply not like the 1980's

Yeah, that's it in a nutshell. I mean, how can anyone like the 80s and not like Simple Fucking Minds, right?

They were the very best thing about all of human activity over a ten year period. They simply *were* the decade.

dont try and tell me or anyone else that you didnt go to the effort of this webpage to provoke a reaction.

Wouldn't dream of it.

Everyone I've shared the anecdote with over the years has found it funny. I thought some more would find it funny. And they have.

Certainly, people who like Simple Fucking Minds find it offensive, and that's something of an unexpected bonus and all to the good.

Mollycoddling people who voluntarily endure such vacuous, superficial twaddle doesn't have any value for me. If I ran the world they'd forfeit ownership of their ears.

So you like turgid (and indeed turdist) music made by people who need stadium gigs to fit their egos in? Your perogative, but don't expect me to let you off lightly with it.

dont try and tell anyone that making that sign was to just have a joke.

Er, I already have. Sorry if the truth offends you.

you still havent mentioned what your favourite bands are?

Indeed not. There are two reasons for that. First, given your prevous comments - sorry, 'comment' - I can spot you trying to get some leverage and get back at me in a discussion that has already turned rather repetitive and dull.

I can see where it's going and I frankly don't have enough respect for your taste or your ability to articulate your position with any wit or authority to make it worth my while giving this a new lease of life.

Secondly, the answer's already there on the page and if you're not bright enough to read it for yourself then that's your problem, my friend.

Either way, I'm not going to indulge you.

Anonymous said...

well i am also starting to find it tedious. we both think we are giving a reasonable argument to our view.
the comments you have made in your recent post just go to show you know nothing about simple minds at all. big egos? vacuous and superficial? that is just plain rubbish.
so you dont mention who you like coz you are scared i will just slag them off to try and wind you up? well honestly i would probably criticise them a bit more strongly than i would normally. for example if you liked oasis i might call them a beatles, status quo wannabe band. i would also say though that i do actually like some of their music. i love tracks like acquiesce and little by little.
well go on then? turn that back on me.
seeing as you wont mention your favourite bands heres two more acts i like, feeder and bjork.
well it will be interesting to see if you can criticise them without resorting to nastiness.

merrick said...

If you like Simple Fucking Minds then you have such defective wiring in your music circuits that I'm not interested in discussing bands with you. You're the musical equivalent of a Klansman.

If you want to fritter your one life away listening to a band who sound like what would've happened if Big Country had been given far too much money and crawled so far up their own arses they could see the back of their tonsils, that's your call.

I've trodden in things I'd rather put in my CD player, but I acknowledge your right to do squander your time that way.

Don't expect the rest of us to respect such a choice, or indeed do anything other that mercilesly and relentlessly subject you to the hearty mocking you so richly deserve.

you know nothing about simple minds at all

*sigh*

I've explained several times now that this is not the case.

Off the top of my head I could sing you lengthy extracts of over a dozen songs. Waterfront, Promised You A Miracle, Alive And Kicking, Speed Your Love To Me, Belfast Frigging Child, even the pre-Simple Fucking Minds tracks when they were called Johnny And The Self Abusers, Saints And Sinners and Dead Vandals. God how I wish I couldn't, but there you have it.

What really galls me about Simple Fucking Minds beyond even their laughable political stances (Jim Kerr explaining his deep analysis of apartheid; 'you sometimes hear it pronounced apart-hate, that says it all to me') is the slaughter of great songs by others.

Peter Gabriel's Biko is a masterpiece, an incredible piece of songwriting that has all the menace, the desperation, the gravity and the intent that such a heavy subject deserves. When you see him on stage singing 'and the eyes of the world are watching now' at the end, you can see him really feeling that yes, such a killing does bring the righteous anger and determination of the world down upon the perpetrator.

When Kerr sings it, you can see him thinking 'is my fist raised high enough to look profound?'. Pompous twat.

Worse than that, though, was their cover of Prince's Sign O The Times.

I'm told that Prince used to wear a new pair of underpants every day. Yet you know what? He has more talent in the stray pubes and dead scrotal skin cells left in one of those one-day pairs of grots than Jim Kerr has in his whole being for his entire life.

Go get Prince's Sign O The Times album. Listen to it. Understand it. Seek soul and meaning and genuine emotion in art. Get into bands that want to give more than they take, instead of some 20-watt dimlights and their empty posturing.

Anonymous said...

ok, well i am more chilled out to your way of thinking. still i fancy replying to some of your points.
how can you compare them to big country? the two bands have only the fact that they are both scottish in common.
ok, so you know a bit more than i expected. you still mainly just mention obvious hits by them and not the less heard of album tracks that you would mention if you really knew about them.
regarding their political stances. how do you know they are not genuine about what they say they believe? do you actually know any of the band personally? many fans meet the band and have conversations with them regularly before and after shows. they have no reason to fib to fellow fans and all the feedback about what they are like as people is excellent.
regarding cover versions, well they have never really been good at them. most simple minds fans actually think this not just people like you.
regarding peter gabriel and prince, i have never got why they are popular. all of princes songs sound the same to me and he sings like he has had his testicles removed.
peter gabriel hasnt done anything decent since he left genesis. if you consider simple minds to be overblown and pompous then what was that crap he released in the mid 80's?
so simple minds want to just take and not give much back? so why do they continue to work hard even though they dont have popularity anymore? they are millionaires so they dont need to work. in august they will come to the end of a year long tour were they havent fleeced fans by charging something like £100 for a ticket like the bands who have maintained popularity have. they have no problem chatting with fans before and after each show. they released an album late last year and are almost finished recording another album which probably wont sell many copies due to their now lack of popularity. if they were all take then why would they bother then? could it be that they make music because they love it? could it be that they do such long tours because they love performing and entertaining loyal fans?

merrick said...

how can you compare them to big country? the two bands have only the fact that they are both scottish in common.

Sorry, my mistake. I now realise Big Country didn't ever do any uninspired laddish early-mid 80s guitarry songs with large and meaningless choruses.

But - stretch your imagination here - just *if* they had, and had been given too much money and taken themselves far far too seriously, well...

you still mainly just mention obvious hits by them and not the less heard of album tracks that you would mention if you really knew about them.

They were just the ones that came to mind striaght off, which of course will be the ones that, despite my best efforts, I heard a lot. Even if I were lucky enough not to be able to sing you, say, Big Sleep, I'd refer you to your comment about the Spice Girls, and mine about Soviet gulags.

how do you know they are not genuine about what they say they believe?

Genuine, maybe. Laughably ill-informed, unquestionably.

And I know that, my dear anonyfriend, from the pompous interviews such as the one quoted previously.

(Again, I find myself referring to things I've already said. Yawn.)

do you actually know any of the band personally?

Mercifully not, no. That doesn't mean I can't judge their ideas and creative worth. They release records, they talk to the media; they set out their stall precisely because they want people who don't know them to understand and appraise them.

all the feedback about what they are like as people is excellent.

Yeah yeah, and Hitler was very good with his friends' children apparently.

Fine, let them be nice people one to one. It's just that there should be international treaties preventing them from entering recording studios. With serious penalty clauses of personal mutilation. Stuff with pliers.

regarding cover versions, well they have never really been good at them

No shit, Sherlock.

all of princes songs sound the same to me

Looking at just the opening tracks on the named album, I see Sign O The Times, Play In The Sunshine, Housequake, The Ballad of Dorothy Parker and It. Really fuckin similar, yeah.

I mean, I'm always hearing The Ladder and mistaking it for Pussy Control. You're soooo right that it hurts.

peter gabriel hasnt done anything decent since he left genesis

*splutter*

Yeah, the fuckin Lamb Lies Down on sodding Broadway is so much better than solo cack like, oooh, Biko.

if you consider simple minds to be overblown and pompous then what was that crap he released in the mid 80's?

merely boring.

so simple minds want to just take and not give much back?

'take more than they give' is a phrase I picked up from an interview Mick Jones gave about why The Clash started. He said they were sick of bands who, after seeing them, just left you a bit older and a bit poorer. Bands who just wanted to impress rather then inspire. Bands who - to use your word - merely entertain. Bands who take more than they give.

if they were all take then why would they bother then?

You seem to assume that the only form of taking is financial.

I readily accept the probability of their financial security. Though when I run the world there frankly won't be enough money to pay off the fines they'll owe for crimes against creativity. There'll be a dedicated 24 hour global cable channel with them being forced to try to sing Belfast Frigging Child whilst eating live hornets and being facially dickslapped by Neil Hamilton.

could it be that they make music because they love it?

Jesus, if I'd been doing something for nearly 30 years and was still crap at it, I'd think about a career change. Have some dignity, go stack shelves at B&Q or summat.

As I've said - another restatement - it's not that they're negligably talented. That's fair enough. It's the arrogance, the unwarranted egotism that marks them out as something truly fucking demonic. Look to that for the answer to your question.

To bring us back round to the original post, to quote Bill Hicks, 'I'm just trying to rid the world of all these fevered egos that are tainting our collective unconscious and making us pay a higher psychic price than we imagine'.

Anonymous said...

laddish, guitary? well when you hinted that what you like was on this page i did come across the ramones. assuming you do like them i guess their music couldnt be described as laddish or guitary eh? you said before that you hate 80's bands. well they may have started in the 70's but most of their music seems to have been made in the 80's. so are they a 80's band? i guess you must be peeved that simple minds sold some records and they didnt. granted i may be mistaken there but i just dont remember the ramones very well at all. their music isnt my thing but i dont really have much bad to say about them.
i am sure big country had all the money they needed. so why is it that you think simple minds take themselves too seriously? what is wrong with wanting to write songs about what is going on in the world? remembering your point about jim kerr wondering how high his fist should be. well maybe what you were seeing is choreography. they always want to make the best show possible and mainly in the late 80's they did have some choreographed moves. so what. anyway that choreography is long ago in the past and i am sure they were just listening to people like their manager when they decided to do that kind of thing.
do you know what the song big sleep is about? if you do then your opinion that they are shallow and meaningless and all take is proved wrong by songs like this.
so they are ill informed? who knows?, but no more than anyone else who decides to sing about such issues.
so you think you can get an idea of what they are really like from interviews but not from the opinions of many people who meet them in person when there is no camera rolling.
your hitler comment may be witty or even amusing but it is the kind of answer someone gives when they havent got a proper response to give. if they were big headed ego maniacs as you seem to think then it would shine through when people meet them. infact they probably wouldnt bother talking to fans at all. you seem to think they have the same kind of arrogance and self importance that someone like madonna has, assuming you believe what is said about her.
with prince i only go by what i hear on tv and radio coz i dont have any of his records. to be fair most acts do what he does and pretty much stay the same record after record. come on though he does sound like he has had his testicles removed doesnt he?
bands who want to impress rather than inspire? firstly replace the word impress with wanting to give the best show they can and secondly if a bands purpose is to inspire then how big headed is that? inspire to do what anyway? it is only music. if the audience enjoy themselves and like the music isnt that enough? if they are made to think by the lyrics then great but it isnt necessary really. anyway whether you like the songs or not people hearing the likes of mandela day or belfast child are still likely to go away and think about those issues.
presume you mean financially? well i guess i did. so what other way do they take? well perhaps enjoyment from seeing the audience go away happy. knowing that even if they dont sell millions of records any more that the majority who do buy their records gain enjoyment from them. what is so bad about that? you cant be in a rock band and not have some degree of ego. i guess you think acts like prince dont have a big ego then? ok, prince versus simple minds, do you really think simple minds are the most big headed out of the two? anyone who gets fame and fortune are likely to have some degree of ego at times that is only human nature. i just dont see how while you see evidence that they are so much more big headed than anyone else that the majority of other people as far as i can see dont think that of them. i think you have been listening too much to lazy journalism. anytime anything is written about them it is always the same ill informed same old guff. you know they are always called an 80's band, dont you is always refered to and the biggy jim kerr is described as the former frontman of simple minds. the people who slag them off like this are the same people who rave on about the latest bands like the killers, editors, franz ferdinand etc. how many of them will be around or even remembered in 10-20 years time?
when oasis arrived on the scene they were seen as the greatest band ever but look how crap their music has got.
if simple minds arent creative then why are no two simple minds albums the same?

merrick said...

when you hinted

er, plainly stated actually.

their music couldnt be described as laddish or guitary eh?

In a sense it could, yes. But it wouldn't qualify for the other adjectives you've chosen to discard, such as 'uninspired' and 'meaningless'.

I'll take the fact you don't object to those descriptions of Simple Fucking Minds as an admission of their accuracy.

you said before that you hate 80's bands.

No I didn't.

Unless you are so dimwitted that you don't understand irony, anyway.

i guess you must be peeved that simple minds sold some records

You've said this more than once. Without me ever having said or even hinted at anything of the sort.

Rearrange the following into a well-known phrase or saying: at, straws, clutching.

i just dont remember the ramones very well at all.

Too much time spent listening to Genesis and Simple Fucking Minds would be enough to make anyone's mind lose faculty and glaze over in a desperate bid for self-preservation. It's a common thing with people subjected to extreme personal trauma.

maybe what you were seeing is choreography

Exactly. Premeditated look-at-me gestures dressed up as solidartiy and concern. If that doesn't get someone nominated for Arrogant Nobshiner of The Year then I don't know what does.

anyway that choreography is long ago in the past and i am sure they were just listening to people like their manager when they decided to do that kind of thing.

So you move from defending it to conceding its brazen shiteness, and somehow think that you can convince someone of their worth while conceding their gestures are acting as the staged puppets of other people. Not a solid argument, I have to say.

so they are ill informed?

yep

who knows?

Jesus fuckin wept, anonyperson, try reading what I've already said and understanding it. Maybe then you won't have to ask for answers that have already been given to you.

I even pre-empted this one: "And I know that, my dear anonyfriend, from the pompous interviews such as the one quoted previously."

Really, your inability to comprehend what's going on doesn't add credibility to your claims of understanding intelligence in music. You're so not doing yourself any favours in that department.

no more than anyone else who decides to sing about such issues.

Mm-hmm. Jim Kerr, Billy Bragg, David Rovics, all equally gifted with political knowledge and insight. Sure thing.

so you think you can get an idea of what they are really like from interviews but not from the opinions of many people who meet them in person when there is no camera rolling.

Are you actually *trying* to make yourself look thick? I said nothing of the sort.

I said their political stances were overcontrived and ill-informed. I said 'fine, let them be nice people one to one'.

How many times need I repeat it before you grasp the meaning of those two points?

Just seeing that they're two separate points would be a start.

your hitler comment may be witty or even amusing

A foot in both camps, I'd say

but it is the kind of answer someone gives when they havent got a proper response to give.

Not really, it's a fairly striaghtforward comparison that'd struggle to be seen as abstract enough to be called a metaphor.

But nonetheless, I immediately went on to give a fuller answer. It's the one I just repeated above. Can you understand it yet?

if they were big headed ego maniacs as you seem to think then it would shine through when people meet them. infact they probably wouldnt bother talking to fans at all.

Why do you think that? Adulation is meat and potatoes to your average egomaniac.

with prince i only go by what i hear on tv and radio coz i dont have any of his records.

And you find yourself getting all confused, unable to differentiate between 1999 and The Most Beautiful Girl In The World? Sod off back to the aural mogadon of Selling England By The Pound then, Slipperman.

if they are made to think by the lyrics then great but it isnt necessary really.

Indeed not. If the meaning of a piece were all just something that could be said in words then they should just write books. But with the genuinely great artists there are messages in music that are far far beyond words. It's about a lot more than lyrics.

people hearing the likes of mandela day or belfast child are still likely to go away and think

Yeah, they make me think about what I'd do if I were given Jim Kerr, a locked room and the contents of a household toolbox. And a bottle of Denim aftershave to make him really sting after.

bands who want to impress rather than inspire?

yep

replace the word impress with wanting to give the best show they can

You can say that of fuckin Westlife or Sir Cliff. If that's your standard - mere entertainment - then I pity your impoverished soul.

it is only music.

And here we have it.

That's really all it is to you, isn't it?

Our lives are too short to have mere audio wallpaper, to be taken in with mere show-offs preening themselves in front of us.

Music is a tool for expressing the inexpressable, for reaching the unattainble, for giving glimpses of the unseen, for touching the isolated. It is there to challenge, affirm, enrich, inspire, to help us understand what we are already and then help us become something more.

It is the one thing in your life that provides an unlimited on-tap supply of genuine magic.

It really can be all this.

It really *is* all this.

But it also sits among the drab decoys, the half-arsed and the cruel hoodwinkers, the Osmonds, M People and Simple Fucking Minds.

if the audience enjoy themselves and like the music isnt that enough?

No. Not by a long way.

Again, that would justify Westlife and Cliff Richard.

you cant be in a rock band and not have some degree of ego.

dead right

i guess you think acts like prince dont have a big ego then?

nope. But I call your attention to words you've chosen to ignore, despite repeated use and paraphrasing. It's the *unwarranted* egotism of Simple Fucking Minds that galls me. Acting as if they're good and meaningful when they've all the merit of a Taylor Dayne outtakes compilation played at the wrong speed.

i just dont see how while you see evidence that they are so much more big headed than anyone else

neither can I, which is why I didn't fucking say that.

i think you have been listening too much to lazy journalism.

At least I seem able to comprehend what I read.

the people who slag them off like this are the same people who rave on about the latest bands like the killers, editors, franz ferdinand etc.

I slag them off. I don't rave about those bands you name. What *are* you on about?

how many of them will be around or even remembered in 10-20 years time?

Who can say? Nobody bought the Velvet Underground at the time, who'd have thunk Belle & Sebastian would still be going 10 years on and showing no sign of letting up? And yet the fuckin Charlatans keep on going. But longevity isn't the yardstick anyway, unless you think Barry Manilow's better than The Jesus & Mary Chain.

Hey, Manilow's sold millions of records, he's still going, makes audiences happy. Isn't that enough?

so what other way do they take?

They take your adulation, when there are people who deserve it far more. They take your precious time. Your life is ever shortening. Every second is one nearer your death. You are watching the sand collect in the bottom of the hour glass and you don't know how much is left in the top, but you can be sure there's not much left and once it's gone, it's gone.

It shouldn't be squandered. There's more great stuff out there than you'll ever have time to take in.

Simple Fucking Minds don't deserve our money, sure. But really we should look at it from the other side; it's us that deserve better music.

Anonymous said...

we could go on forever. i cant be bothered anymore. i am sure you think soemthing similar.

Jim Bliss said...

Sorry, my mistake. I now realise Big Country didn't ever do any uninspired laddish early-mid 80s guitarry songs with large and meaningless choruses.

But - stretch your imagination here - just *if* they had, and had been given too much money and taken themselves far far too seriously, well...


Best blog-comment ever?

Dav Bestion said...

wow! You do a search for a picture of a Claddagh based wedding ring & ..... well you find this web page! (note to self, must improve seraching skills)

Very interesting article... or sad as the case may be.

I do remember the Minds (I won't put it as elegantly as you,) but I will ask is it a Scottish thing? in the way that the English hate Manchester United but can't avoid their success?

Anyway - as a story to tell (& picture to show) it must have been an event.

Would I do it? (well did you even ask? ) no I guess, but I perhaps I know that mirth you feel. Mine is directed to that even more hollow U2 though.

I wonder if that is an 'Irish' 'ting den?

Remember 'quality' is an event, nothing else.

cheers.

PS You scar tissue looks different now.

Dav.

merrick said...

Dav,

I assure you it's not a Scottish thing. firstly, and perhaps most convincingly, I'm not Scottish.

But I don't care if they come from Scotland, Nepal or next door. It's about taste, ego, and objective standards of creative worth.

And the pleasure of comic retribution.

Dav Bestion said...

well THIS is fantastic:

"Music is a tool for expressing the inexpressable, for reaching the unattainble, for giving glimpses of the unseen, for touching the isolated. It is there to challenge, affirm, enrich, inspire, to help us understand what we are already and then help us become something more.

It is the one thing in your life that provides an unlimited on-tap supply of genuine magic.

It really can be all this.

It really *is* all this."

without mention of any band names, this is what counts , to me at least. Now if I DID actually mention musicians that address your passage...ahh well it does'nt matter...it would take away the purity.

well written, quality.

Dav.

Jimbotron said...

oh come on 'Waterfront' is on Best Beer Songs Vol 2. so they must be good!!

well beer is!

:)

bwtboy said...

you beauty

what a great gag

Anonymous said...

What wankers. Bristling fucking badger why don't you just fuck off? Funny as a kick in the bollocks, you are.

merrick said...

Well put anonyperson. So eloquent, such finely articulated detail on what you disagree with. How well you win others round to your perspective.

Radioheed said...

"It was, I'm pleased to report, by far the poorest attended evening perfomance on the Pyramid Stage I've ever seen. With this working in our favour, we easily got to about 15 people from the front."
It's strange, but on the You Tube video-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BgV1MHbD9Q
I can't seem to pick you out among the thousands and thousands of adoring Simple Minds fans. Weird.

Anonymous said...

I believe Kerr is doing a solo album. Oooh, I can't wait!

RA

Anonymous said...

Merrick if you love the Glastonbury Festival so much why were you not spending your time going to see one of the many other acts on, instead of parading your pathetic banner at Simple Minds? I mean like Jim Kerr gives a flying toss about a smudged banner that looks like it's been written on a towel, and a very shite towel at that. Added to that do you really think anyone takes your opinion seriously when you have a haircut like that???!!!! The guy lying down on the grass just behind you looks really interested..& impressed by your "mischievous" sense of humour he's not even looking, nobody is?!!! You obviously don't realise that by the comments you have made on this post you subscribe to the same "pompous & ignorant" attitude that you persistantly berate Simple Minds for!!! POT....KETTLE???!!!! And seeing as you don't even have to balls to tell us who your favourite bands are, what are you so scared of?? Anyway judging by your picture it doesn't even look like you were at Glastonbury, more like an anti-Vietnam demonstration. You either had a VERY shite camera or this photo was taken in the 70's?!!! And as you are bound to correct me on spelling, grammar (boring arsehole!) or my reasons for finding this web page (or did you post it online cos you didn't want people to see it?!!!) If you don't like Simple Minds fine, but this pathetic attempt at humour obviously shows you have little else going on in your life, firstly to make the banner, then post your little adventure online. You seriously need to get laid, by the sounds of it the last time you did Simple Minds were top of the album charts, circa 1992!!!!

merrick said...

why were you not spending your time going to see one of the many other acts on

Because it was funny, and would make a better anecdote. I missed Doo The Moog for it, in fact.

a towel, and a very shite towel at that

Forgive me, I realise that we need bathware of only the highest calibre for making one-off banners. Is that right?

And actually, it was a blanket.

do you really think anyone takes your opinion seriously when you have a haircut like that???!!!!

Not going well for you, this reasoned persuasive argument thing, is it?

Also, you can't really see my hair. I'm the one on the left. The backlit long tousled locks on Adam remind me of, oooh, say, Jim Morrison or Patti Smith, who - correct me if I'm wrong here - people do take seriously.

But sheesh, yeah. I'd never get taken seriously by Jeremy Paxman looking like that would I.

The guy lying down on the grass just behind you looks really interested..& impressed by your "mischievous" sense of humour he's not even looking, nobody is?!!!

That's because - as you'd know if you'd read and comprehended the post - this is after we left the crowd. We just got the banner out to get a picture for ourselves, not aiming for anyone else at that point.

You obviously don't realise that by the comments you have made on this post you subscribe to the same "pompous & ignorant" attitude that you persistently berate Simple Minds for!!!

You're absolutely right, I don't realise that.

Simple Minds pontificated about stuff to seem informed and important when in fact they were hollowly unoriginal preening shallow egomaniacs flogging grandiose music to people who should know better. Not really done much of that myself, despite any rumours you might've heard.

seeing as you don't even have to balls to tell us who your favourite bands are

Er, my music taste is all over this blog. You're equating your inability to read with my refusal to write.

judging by your picture it doesn't even look like you were at Glastonbury, more like an anti-Vietnam demonstration.

Again, you betray your ignorance. Glastonbury - especially at the time of this picture, was notorious for hippy and indeed specifically anti-war concerns. It gave loads of its profits to CND.

You either had a VERY shite camera or this photo was taken in the 70's?!!!

Very shite camera, pointing into the setting sun. Is that allowed?

you are bound to correct me on spelling, grammar

Pre-emptively slagging me off for doing something that I've never done. Nice move there. Some people might think it made it look as if you were desperate to criticise but couldn't find any real reasons.

I mentioned someone's grammar earlier in the comments and specifically said it was not a criticism but just a way of showing that the two posts were by the same person (they were claiming they weren't).

You seriously need to get laid

Wow, I didn't know about the correlation between sexual deprivation and lampooning overrated vacuous pomposity. Thankyou for all your accurate factual insights.

Anonymous said...

Haha, Adam's hair resembling Jim Morrison or Patti Smith??? LOL. I know it's a long time since they were about but just do a google search if you're not sure what they look like!!!! Adam resembles Mick Hucknall from that picture!

Added to that hideous look you're both carrying "man bags", oh yeh real cool look!

And for goodness sake, running away from the stage cos a female Minds fan got upset with you, ah did you have to run back to your tent like naughty boys??!!

"If feel sure there are Simple Minds roadies still telling the story to this day" Your quote

Yes i bet they are, do you remember the two numpties at Glasto that got battered by a woman for holding up that duvet?.

"And actually, it was a blanket" Look i know you don't like Michael Jackson but there's no need to bring his kid into it.....

Finally, i'm concerned at the amount of time and effort you have spent talking about New Kids On The Block, complete with quotes & pictures. You seemed to be enjoying yourself far too much. If you have so much time attempting to make people laugh and failing so miserably, do something for charity instead, run a marathon or something. It's far more worthwhile!!!

merrick said...

you're both carrying "man bags", oh yeh real cool look!

Someone who defends Simple Fucking Minds automatically abdicates any room to talk about anyone else's taste in anything, anywhere, ever.

As it is, you see most folks at Glastonbury carrying bags like Adam's these days, they hand them out at the gate now.
http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/news/a-well-travelled-bag

And for goodness sake, running away from the stage cos a female Minds fan got upset with you

with the banner no longer effective, why would we stay? We had an urgent appointment stuffing our heads deep into the portaloos and making flubbleubble noises; it looks and sounds a hell of a lot better than Simple Fucking Minds, I can tell you.

do something for charity instead, run a marathon or something. It's far more worthwhile!!!

Yes, I should do something better as you advise. Why don't I take a tip from you on it?

Tell me, trawling the internet to argue with people who have the taste you so woefully lack about things you weren't at nearly twenty years ago - where does that sit on the spectrum of worthwhileness?

i'm concerned at the amount of time and effort you have spent talking about New Kids On The Block, complete with quotes & pictures.

Yeah, it took me whole seconds to find them on Google.

As Bill Hicks said, 'I'm just trying to rid the world of all these fevered egos that are tainting our collective unconscious and making us pay a higher psychic price than we imagine'.

Anonymous said...

Face it, you're getting battered here, just throw in the towel!! Actually don't, this is fun! Especially when you keep giving me soooo much ammunition to take the piss it would be rude not to.

By the sounds of it you could take tips from me on a lot of things!

Oh here we go again, so i'm sad one for commenting on this page, funny how you don't say that to the few who agree with your views!!! Well i think there was one person but i'd have to trawl through your self absorbed crap to find it.

And you have it the wrong way round, judging from the picture it looks like Adam stuffed his head in the portaloo before the Minds came on?!!

Please don't embarass yourself by lecturing me on taste, have you forgotton that you've uploaded that picture?!!!

merrick said...

Getting 'battered', by responding to you posting your numerous points that are misconstrued, poorly reasoned and/or just plain wrong. Right, sure.

so i'm sad one for commenting on this page, funny how you don't say that to the few who agree with your views

I didn't say it to you either. You said doing this stuff and writing about it wasn't worthwhile; I said delving into the web to argue with people about things you weren't at nearly twenty years ago mightn't be worthwhile, and that, once more, you were a glass house resident wildly chucking rocks around.

I think it should be fairly clear why I don't say that to people who agree with me, but as you seem too hard of thinking to do much deduction yourself, I'll spell it out. They are by definition not going to be arguing with me, so fall outside of the 'look for someone to argue with' element that is the basis of my retort. They are also very unlikely to be telling me that what I'm saying and doing is a rubbish waste of time.

But still, as one person in the background whose attention we weren't trying to get isn't interested - and that, by implication, that person is the infallible universal arbiter of whether something is interesting and funny - then I suppose you're right. Right?

Anonymous said...

Wrong again dopey! Poorly reasoned, see below:

"Your only points of explanation for the brilliance of Simple Minds are that they have sold millions of records and concert tickets"

"most folks at Glastonbury carrying bags like Adam's these days, they hand them out at the gate now"

So your only explanation for the brilliance of the man bags is that lots of people at Glasto had them? So by your reasoning if most people at the festival had a Minds record you would be their biggest fan?!! Yet again POT?? KETTLE??

How many times do i have to say it if you don't want negative comments don't post online, even for someone as dumb as you thats pretty obvious!!!

As for me not being at the festival,so what? i doubt you have been present at every past event you have talked about!!! Or maybe you were present at D-Day, when JFK was assasinated or the fall of the Berlin wall.

Now go and put the kettle on.....

merrick said...

Very well done. On the assumption, from the overwhelming evidence, that you are actively trying to make yourself look thick you really are doing a sterling job.

As for me not being at the festival,so what?

Well, you made comments that asserted that you knew what it was like. You clearly don't (or are setting out to contradict yourself). That's all.

So your only explanation for the brilliance of the man bags is that lots of people at Glasto had them?

No; it was my retort to your singling us out as being notably ludicrous for doing things that most people at the festival do. Can you see the difference? Or shall I draw you a picture?

It's not quite as intellectually bereft as criticising me for things I haven't done, but as you've done that too I think perhaps you have some sort of checklist you're working through.

How many times do i have to say it if you don't want negative comments don't post online

I don't know. Maybe start saying it once I say that I don't want negative comments?

What I did actually say was - and do try to understand before replying this time - that I am more likely to say that people trawling the net to find places to make misconstrued and poorly reasoned negative comments isn't worthwhile, compared to people who make positive comments.

As is apparent to anyone with elementary powers of comprehension (perhaps you could ask one to read this for you), I've rather enjoyed the ire of Simple Minds fans here; they spell out why I'm right far better than I could ever hope to do.

Anonymous said...

I make the comments knowing that when i was at music festivals i had an absolute blast, watching the bands & getting pissed. If i didn't like what was on, i went to one of the MANY other stages. At no point did i consider getting a towel & writing a pathetic little message on it trying to look cool when i'm stood next to a bloke that looks like Mick Hucknall. Nothing could be more uncool!!! I've also seen Simple Minds live many times, if you bothered to watch them live - even if you don't like their music you would realise this!!

The fact your were at Glastonbury and had time to do this is a huge concern, in the unlikely event you have a missus i put money on it that she's banging someone else!!!

You clearly know nothing about music & think to yourself "oh the media don't like SM, always labelling them uncool crap, i'll be so popular if i make a banner, i might even make some friends if i post online" Instead you get a blackeye by some bird in the audience (she should get a knighthood) together with a load of us genuine music lovers tearing your little adventure (and very obvious sad life) to shreds!!!

Just for the record - what bands do you like (apart from New Kids On the Block) - you say it's all over this blog but i want you to confirm it.......or haven't you got the bottle?

I've just had a brief look at your other blogs (very brief - what the fuck? the NHS can help people like you these days, well they might try for a minute or two, don't you know that?) thats if you don't bore them to death talking about goats, Robin Cook & Carol Vorderman.

That takes care of one little piggy.

merrick said...

Really though. I've spent a lot of time with other commenters on this post talking about what music is, what it can be, and the essence of why music matters at all. Because at root, that's what the stunt was about.

Despite being demonstrably wrong you've conceded nothing and continue to base the discussion on trying to disprove my points by saying 'when going round a festival you carry a bag of stuff', 'your camera and towels aren't expensive' and the more unsavoury, dimly racist, berating for having a friend with ginger hair.

That making yourself look thick project of yours; mission accomplished. Award yourself a medal and a special hat.

Anonymous said...

I'm on Merrick's side. I Googled "Simple Minds Pompous" (to see if I was the only one) and came across this page.

Anonymous said...

Empires & Dance.

Consider your serve returned with interest. :P