Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Simple Minds and the Castle of Gloom - Part 1

There's a first time for everything - and the other night, for two reasons, was the first time I'd been to Edinburgh's Princes St Hogmanay party. One reason - why spend a freezing night outdoors, bursting for the toilet, surrounded by a crush of strangers and every pickpocket north of Manchester, when you can be at home with a good malt staring at the flickering flames of the fire? Another reason - by temperament I find the bells a sobering moment, totting up the year's achievements, losses and failures, as the ringing in of the new year heralds another year closer to death. Somebody with this outlook on Hogmanay is going to take a bit of persuading over the merits of a street party.

The persuading came in the form of tickets to see Simple Minds.

Waiting for Jim Kerr:

I must confess that I like live music, but have never been to a major concert - (unless Ray Charles doesn't count, or eh, the Wickerman Festival). I've never been to a huge venue, crushed full of fans smelling of perfume, sweat and marijuana, to see a distant figure belt out songs I'd already heard five times that day on commercial radio. I much prefer live music small and obscure, where you've never even heard of the venue, never mind the bands, and I know half the punters there. The kind of gigs where members of Franz Ferdinand or Frightened Rabbit aren't playing - they're in the audience.

But Simple Minds appealed - they aren't Motörhead, but quality lasts, and stadium-fillers Simple Minds had some amazing tunes in the early 80s. They kept my favourite, New Gold Dream, till the end.

And how did my preconceptions of drunks and pickpockets stand up to reality? We wandered round the street party as well as the gated concert, and it was all very good natured, overcrowded only in front of the various stages, and with far fewer paralytics than I expected. That so many folk were foreign probably helped in that respect. Woolly hats and gloves kept the cold out rather than beerjackets. A fair smattering of more mature folk as well. For once, driving home, I did not feel like the only sober man in Scotland.

And sobriety was allied with anticipation - as you'll see in my next post!


blueskyscotland said...

Hi Robert.
Not a big fan of Simple Minds but I totally get where you are coming from. I prefer smaller bands and small halls. I've been to your Liquid Rooms loads of times over the years. Joseph Arthur was £7 pounds and he painted three murals, played guitar and sang 5 CDs worth of songs for that. Looks a great night. I was in a bothy where the fireworks in Edinburgh could be seen but they were the size of a postage stamp seen from space.
It didn't have the same impact somehow.
If you know where that is please don't say as I'll be kneecapped the next day.

Robert Craig said...

Don't worry, your secret's safe with me. Mainly because I can't think of any bothies in the central belt.