Facebook

TELSTAR - FATHER'S DAY
"Jim! Will you put on some music and drown out the sound of those magpies!" He called out.

“Bagpipes? What bagpipes? I don't hear any bagpipes.” I called back from the front room.

“Not bagpipes. Magpies stupid!!!” He was becoming more frustrated by the second, and as I approached him to see what all the fuss was about, I was starting to think that the medication had begun having an effect on his mind?

I had never known him to complain about wildlife visiting his garden. Foxes, squirrels, all type of birds arrive regularly, and usually he is happy to observe. This time however, as he sat in his big chair at the back of the house, he was annoyed, and had given up trying to understand the continual screeching sound of 'magpie mayhem' emanating out of a hedge that runs parallel to his conservatory door. A door that he likes to leave open while he sits reading from an ever changing pile of books that almost tower over him.

"But I thought you liked magpies?" I protested.

"These b*stards are too noisy for some reason. Plus, magpies are bad luck."

He had a point. In much of the UK people will superstitiously greet a single magpie by saying “Good morning Mr Magpie. How is your lady wife today?” By acknowledging the contentious garden bird (BBC have described the magpie as, “the bird people most love to hate?”) in that way you are showing him proper respect. Hoping in turn, that the mysterious bird will not pass bad fortune on to you.

I nevertheless reminded him that although superstition dictates a single magpie might be ominous, more than one - brings luck!

"Just put some music on. Anything. Will you? Please.” Clearly his patience with the magpie malarkey had ran out.
And so I did just that. And there, in front of me, I noticed the transformational, power of music.

My choice had been completely random. I could not tell you the last time I had heard that tune. Likewise Dad, who within seconds of listening, had changed his facial expression from a frustrated scowl - to a boyish smile. His eyes darting as he grappled with a sound that to him belonged to the mists of time. A time that we now both look on and consider as being magical, not that we would have known it to be back then.

"Who is this again? This is great!" Suddenly, he was almost laughing. I was laughing also.

One of the first ever sci-fi-influenced pop songs, Telstar may well be the first record to completely draw me into its sound. I would have been around 3 years old when I heard that instrumental tune - coming out of a bakelite radio that sat on our little kitchen table.

Dad himself, would have been around 25 years. And as the sound of Telstar filled the conservatory in his house a few days ago, I witnessed him emotionally recall who he was, and what life was like when the sound of Telstar sat atop the UK charts almost six decades ago.

Among many things for us, there would have been no conservatory, or the kind of houses in leafy suburbs that we had become used to in the passing years.
Glasgow then would still have been at its grimiest, and I would still have been the only child. Our family home was a one bedroom flat, sharing an outside toilet with the rest of the tenants.

That building, already falling to bits when we lived in it, was demolished long ago. But I still drive past that street each time I make my way to Gorbals Sound Studios, where Simple Mind have been mixing recordings this past week.

To listen only once to the beauty of Telstar again after all those years was never going to be enough. And so as he sat with his eyes closed enjoying that sound of for the second time in succession, I stepped outside into the garden that Dad has cultivated so passionately.

The grass, freshly cut, looked greener than ever.
And the magpies, who had remained, watching us throughout.
Had gone silent.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPDvsLSnUGc
... See MoreSee Less

TELSTAR - FATHERS DAY
Jim! Will you put on some music and drown out the sound of those magpies! He called out.

“Bagpipes? What bagpipes? I dont hear any bagpipes.” I called back from the front room.

“Not bagpipes. Magpies stupid!!!” He was becoming more frustrated by the second, and as I approached him to see what all the fuss was about, I was starting to think that the medication had begun having an effect on his mind?

I had never known him to complain about wildlife visiting his garden. Foxes, squirrels, all type of birds arrive regularly, and usually he is happy to observe. This time however, as he sat in his big chair at the back of the house, he was annoyed, and had given up trying to understand the continual screeching sound of magpie mayhem emanating out of a hedge that runs parallel to his conservatory door. A door that he likes to leave open while he sits reading from an ever changing pile of books that almost tower over him.

But I thought you liked magpies? I protested.

These b*stards are too noisy for some reason. Plus, magpies are bad luck.

He had a point. In much of the UK people will superstitiously greet a single magpie by saying “Good morning Mr Magpie. How is your lady wife today?” By acknowledging the contentious garden bird (BBC have described the magpie as, “the bird people most love to hate?”)  in that way you are showing him proper respect. Hoping in turn, that the mysterious bird will not pass bad fortune on to you. 

I nevertheless reminded him that although superstition dictates a single magpie might be ominous, more than one - brings luck!

Just put some music on. Anything. Will you? Please.” Clearly his patience with the magpie malarkey had ran out.
And so I did just that. And there,  in front of me, I noticed the transformational, power of music.

My choice had been completely random. I could not tell you the last time I had heard that tune. Likewise Dad, who within seconds of listening, had changed his facial expression  from a frustrated scowl - to a boyish smile. His eyes darting as he grappled with a sound that to him belonged to the mists of time. A time that we now both look on and consider as being magical, not that we would have known it to be back then.

Who is this again? This is great! Suddenly, he was almost laughing. I was laughing also.

One of the first ever sci-fi-influenced pop songs, Telstar may well be the first record to completely draw me into its sound. I would have been around 3 years old when I heard that instrumental tune - coming out of a bakelite radio that sat on our little kitchen table. 

Dad himself, would have been around 25 years. And as the sound of Telstar filled the conservatory in his house a few days ago, I witnessed him emotionally recall who he was, and what life was like when the sound of Telstar sat atop the UK charts almost six decades ago.

Among many things for us, there would have been no conservatory, or the kind of houses in leafy suburbs that we had become used to in the passing years.
Glasgow then would still have been at its grimiest, and I would still have been the only child. Our family home was a one bedroom flat, sharing an outside toilet with the rest of the tenants.

That building, already falling to bits when we lived in it, was demolished long ago. But I still drive past that street each time I make my way to Gorbals Sound Studios, where Simple Mind have been mixing recordings this past week.

To listen only once to the beauty of Telstar again after all those years was never going to be enough. And so as he sat with his eyes closed enjoying that sound of for the second time in succession, I stepped outside into the garden that Dad has cultivated so passionately. 

The grass, freshly cut, looked greener than ever. 
And the magpies, who had remained, watching us throughout. 
Had gone silent. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPDvsLSnUGc

 

Comment on Facebook

Loving your stories. Hubbie grew up on Duke street in the late 60s. His family moved to Carntyne when he was about 5 but he recalls living in a tenement with the out side toilet. Rats the size of dogs...well..he was only little. At that age..oblivious to the hardship his parents were going through. Infact has fond memories. I grew up in Waterloo, Sydney in what are now the notorious ghetto flats about to be demolished. My parents, migrants. Mum from Whitburn. Dad from Bootle. We lived on the 14th floor of a 16 story high block. I was allowed to wander around on my own. Couldn’t reach the buttons in the lift, so had to wait until adults got in so I could ask. Seems like a lifetime ago. Now..living in semi rural Gooseberry Hill, Perth Hills with views to the city. Magpies.....we have a family living in our trees. Have seen many generations over the last 10 years. Must say..our Australian magpies have the most beautiful call. Love hearing them first thing in the morning. But different to UK Magpies. Sending healing vibes to your dad. These days are precious. Xx

An absolutely beautiful little story. I even forwarded it to my mother.

Awesome Father's day story & music !!! : ) <3 Tune that put a smile on one's face indeed, I can totally picture your dad's sweet face & you listening to it :) The magpies superstition story is so engrained in the collective psyche, I do my sign each time I see one alone lol, & much prefer to see a pair 😘

Thank you for sharing this story and the music. Brings back memories, it also improves my English, since I had to look up magpies. I hope your dad is doing ok.

Aww the magic of music can transport to a another time or remind of great memories. A little side note I put on soundscapes it’s calming and soothing music when we leave the house for Orion. (He’s my 5 1/2 year old springer) He doesn’t like to be by himself.

Wonderful memories so beautifully told, as ever Jim. Music stirs the soul and gives a power to our memories that brings them to life. I'm currently revising for an exam tomorrow and thinking back to 30 years ago when I was revising for my GCSE'S. Back then I was listening to a new album called Street Fighting Years by a band that I had just got into. I adored the lead singer and his incredible voice, and lyrics, took me far away from the subjects I was supposed to be studying! And here I am 30 years later...still procrastinating and still in love ❤️ Happy Father's Day

Matt Bellamy's Dad was in The Tonadoes. Thank you to him for giving us the truly incredible Muse. Happy Father's Day. :)

Aw,love this Jim ♥ brings back memories of my dad also, thank you 💕

You not only have a talent for writing music but for stories too ....and what a beautiful one this is ! Happy Father’s Day to you Jim ! Xx

Hope your Dad is coping well with the treatment

I love the way Glaswegians sing along to instrumental riffs at gigs. Would love to hear the crowd at The Barrowland give this one a go! Happy Fathers Day to you and your Dad

What a beautiful story. The power of music can heal, soothe and calm almost anything - even magpies! Bless your dad. ⭐️❤️⭐️

Such a wonderful Father's Day story. I look forward to an instrumental piece on your next release ... Perhaps entitled Silencing The Magpie?

Wow! That music bought back memories just then thank you. Bless your Dad i hope he has a wonderful day and many more to follow. Every morning and evening i have a couple of families of magies greet me when i feed my horses .. i always feed them they make better friends than enemies.

You’re so good at turning things around. Makes me smile. Boarded a flight a few weeks ago. Put on some SM music and relaxed immediately. Happy Fathers Day.

Hi Jim. Happy Father's Day to you and your dad. Lovely story by the way. Back in the day may old man's favourite was Little Old Wine Drinker Me, by Dean Martin. And he didn't even drink wine! Have a great day! Cheers.

Wonderful poignant post x Obviously the Magpies enjoyed a bit of Telstar too

Buona domenica Jim and Jimmy 🙌 i read your post carefully ...with the adeguate concentration that on a Sunday morning you can have. 💅 you both are two beautiful and precious dads so ...have a nice day, in the music you love and which makes you feel better and that joins your memories and feelings. Hey you both there ..Take care of yourself ☺️..🌹 Adri

Love Telstar! Yes, a sound from our childhood too in Australia.

I started playing your link and doggie #2 immediately got off from her cozy spot on the sofa and left the house (through the open door of the conservatory). She seemed unimpressed? Hahaha! 🤨😅 Happy sunday to you and dad!! x

It's amazing how music can change a mood. I took a couple of days, and went to my happy place, the beach. I must say, I was a bit stressed, couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me. I thought maybe it is just a multitude of things. When we left, I put some tunes on, just wasn't soothing me. Then I put on SM, I thought my husband is gonna get sick of me playing them. Nope big smile on his face, and a calm came over me, and a smile on my face. He was even singing, and tapping the wheel. Waterfront, Step in, step out of the rain. Your song pick does put a smile on one's face❣️ Happy Father's Day, papa Kerr, feel better, and Happy Father's day to you sweet Jim.

I'm glad you posted this, because now I know who did it. It's one of those melodies I've heard many many times, but never knowing what it was called or who did it. By the way... Happy Father's Day to you and your dad.

Happy Fathers Day, Jim. Those magpies obviously recognised a good piece of music! A great track and the first number one hit by a British group in the U.S. charts (an instrumental at that). I am going to play Acker Bilk's, 'Stranger on the Shore' in memory of my father today, another British artist U.S. number one from that period. And great to know that more SM musical memories are being created. 🎼

Whenever I see magpies in our garden I always hope to see more than one, then remembering the Magpie tv theme tune(Blue Peters rival!) that I used to watch when I was young. My own father died when I was very young but I do remember this record being in our house then most likely most of the music passed on to my oldest brother, I know he did like it also.I’ve said it before but the most fascinating people and life stories are the one that come from the humblest of backgrounds. Happy Father’s Day to your Dad, I hope he’s doing fine 😊

I feel like part of the family reading this! Happy fathers to all Dad and the Jim’s in the post 😀🎶😛

+ View previous comments

THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS
According to Mick Brown’s biography of The Doors, whenever things were going wrong in the studio, lead singer, Jim Morrison would yell, “We need meat.”
Likewise whenever there was something to celebrate - again he’d yell “ Meat! Must eat Meat .“
I guess Jim would have approved of my first job then? The one that I worked in for a few hours each day after school, from the age of 13 to I6. That same job that saw me clean the back store of a butcher shop, where the older boys would take it upon themselves to ‘rough me up’ by locking me in a room - size freezer, and where I’d find myself surrounded by meat carcasses. Some still dripping blood.

No doubt JM would have been happier still to accept the shot of whisky offered to warm me up 15 to 20 minutes or so later. I never accepted it, but I did accept that there was little malevolence behind the prank. Mischief more than anything lay at the heart of it all. And no, I didn’t feel bullied.
Sometimes I may even have deserved it, for being ’too lippy.’

Then again, Morrison was no stranger to being locked up.
On a number of occasions he found himself awake on a morning after being drunk as a skunk - and way on the wrong side of the law.
Alternately, I’ve only once heard the clang of a cell door slam behind me. Charlie Burchill - inevitably - was in the cell right next to me throughout that long cold night.

I also recall that on being released, around 6 am - we helped ourselves to a couple of bottles of fresh milk, piled up in crates, delivered outside the still unopened general store directly across the street.

Returning to the entrance steps of the police station in Ladbroke Grove, London, we sat mostly in silence, gathering our senses and enjoying the morning sunlight.
Later we agreed that we had never come across milk that tasted so good as it had done on those steps.Somehow it tasted like the milk of human kindness itself.

No doubt Jim would have scoffed at us for that thought. “Booze alone is mother’s milk to me, and better than any milk ever that came from any mother.” His quote of course. Not mine.

Morrison’s influence on me was omnipresent nevertheless, and among the contents of the shoulder bag I had with me that morning - were a bundle of notebooks full of lyrics (mine) and a couple of Doors albums that travelled with me everywhere throughout that period. Truly, I cannot imagine my then young life without an accompanying daily/nightly soundtrack that featured The Doors gothic rhythms.

Milk finished. We soon left the steps of the police station and headed back up through Notting Hill towards the studio apartments where we were then living.
The previous night was already starting to feel like a dream.
Everything seemed like a dream back then.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r679Hhs9Zs
... See MoreSee Less

THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS
According to Mick Brown’s biography of The Doors, whenever things were going wrong in the studio, lead singer, Jim Morrison would yell, “We need meat.” 
Likewise whenever there was something to celebrate - again he’d yell “ Meat! Must eat Meat .“
I guess Jim would have approved of my first job then? The one that I worked in for a few hours each day after school, from the age of 13 to I6. That same job that saw me clean the back store of a butcher shop, where the older boys would  take it upon themselves to ‘rough me up’ by locking me in a room - size freezer, and where I’d find myself surrounded by meat carcasses. Some still dripping blood.

No doubt JM would have been happier still to accept the shot of whisky offered to warm me up 15 to 20 minutes or so later. I never accepted it, but I did accept that there was little malevolence behind the prank. Mischief more than anything lay at the heart of it all. And no, I didn’t feel bullied. 
Sometimes I may even have deserved it, for being ’too lippy.’
 
Then again, Morrison was no stranger to being locked up.
On a number of occasions he found himself awake on a morning after being drunk as a skunk -  and way on the wrong side of the law. 
Alternately, I’ve only once heard the clang of a cell door slam behind me. Charlie Burchill - inevitably - was in the cell right next to me throughout that long cold night. 

I also recall that on being released, around 6 am - we helped ourselves to a couple of bottles of fresh milk, piled up in crates, delivered outside the still unopened general store directly across the street. 

Returning to the entrance steps of the police station in Ladbroke Grove, London, we sat mostly in silence, gathering our senses and enjoying the morning sunlight. 
Later we agreed that we had never come across milk that tasted so good as it had done on those steps.Somehow it tasted like the milk of human kindness itself. 

No doubt Jim would have scoffed at us for that thought. “Booze alone is mother’s milk to me, and better than any milk ever that came from any mother.” His quote of course. Not mine. 

Morrison’s influence on me was omnipresent nevertheless, and among the contents of the shoulder bag I had with me that morning - were a bundle of notebooks full of lyrics (mine) and a couple of Doors albums that travelled with me everywhere throughout that period. Truly, I cannot imagine my then young life without an accompanying daily/nightly soundtrack that featured The Doors gothic rhythms.

Milk finished. We soon left the steps of the police station and  headed back up through Notting Hill towards the studio apartments where we were then living. 
The previous night was already starting to feel like a dream. 
Everything seemed like a dream back then. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r679Hhs9Zs

 

Comment on Facebook

Powerful Jims. I love both of your music . 😍

The Doors......one of those bands I’d love to have seen live sadly I don’t think I was even born when Jim Morrison died! Doesn’t stop me loving and regularly playing their music. The first two albums The Doors and Strange Days are seminal!!

Thankfully walk in freezers and chillers have handles on the inside nowadays. Or even maybe back then? Put's Break on thru to the other side into perspective.

Great piece. You truly have the gift of words Sir, expressed in lyrics or otherwise. Brilliant.

Oh really? Haha! I ask Jim ( Morrison) every other moment when I feel like(from collective consciousness)..Anyhow I introduced my very dear close loved one on to this tune...tunes out to be you both out same 'horrorscope', haha explaining that Minds and The Police were more than life. So now we supose to listen The Doors? You all did it din't ya! Put the last generation of us right. Watch the Outlander series!!! Rolling and tumbling, ambition in motion...Great face, white soul...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YANgZatQSeQ

I like your posts, where you look back at your youth. You are a really good storyteller :^)

One of my favorite songs that really makes me feel good when I listen to it is, "Touch Me". The music, lyrics, Jim's voice really make it so exciting to me.

Love reading your lines! ☕️

What a post to read! Decades ago my uncle introduced me to this, one of his beloved, bands. Since then I'm a bit addicted to Jim and The Doors. What I do really regret is that I won't be able to see them live, but their music lives on and on. "Break On Through", definately one of their most energetic and powerful songs and what a true quote that is!

The Doors classic band - I gave always thought Jim & Pam go together🤣🤣🤣😛

All “before my time” although very impressed with the legacy of JM. Two years ago we visited- Gordon Machray- Père Lachaise and visited his grave in Paris. As we were there for a Depeche Mode gig. Very impressive! And somehow very soothing to spend an afternoon at this cemetery.

Times are beautiful, moments are lovely.💕☺

Did you lock yourself in the freezer, so you could get a shot of whiskey? 😋Awesome song pick. Great story, I hope you write a book soon JK. ☺️

Jim every post you write is an absolute belter ,Just the same as the songs you also write Perhaps one day theres gonna be a book ?. i can remember the days when i done the same as you The Butcher shop in Dunoon scrubbing the block after school Striping the mincer for a clean & putting it all back together again for £30 a week it wasn bad for a 14 yr old in them days 😁

This reminds of primary school in the summer and the crate of warm milk which awaited us ......yuuuuuuk Lol 🤢nice story though 👍

A man of profound words and even better music! Such a loss! Such a a great story Jim 😊

My favorite Morrison quote: "I like a man who wears his soul on his face." Brilliant stuff.

you've given us so much amazing music you owe us nothing but, you gotta write a book .

Amazing reflection Jim!

Wonderful in young life

I really loved as you did roadhouse bluse/waterfront.. Was fantastic

I WAS ALSO LOCKED IN A ROOM SIZE FREEZER FOR 30 MINUTES ' MY EARS GOING ICY HARD - NO JOKE ABOUT THAT! NO SKUNKS IN THERE BUT FISH LAY OUT WITH STARING EYES - SO GLAD ALSO WHEN I LISTENED " WITH THOSE DOORS OPENING UP ' AND MAYBE IN SOME WAY I WAS BEING PUNISHED FOR EMPTYING THE SHOP CALLED " THE CHOCOLATE BOX MACHINE OUTSIDE FULL OF CHOCOLATE BARS WITH ESSO COLLECTION FOOTBALL COINS ' see things can be used of same in a different way' it was wrong but it felt like you with that milk in the sun " unlocked

We are all looking forward to a novel from you, Jim. Your writings are always very entertaining.

You obviously were exposed to a deep fear, Jim, then you were freed. And no doubt the milk of human kindness was drunk on the police station steps while it was still cold, long before it started to 'turn' in the sunshine! 😆

Oh gosh when i think of milk deliveries i think of my early school days and living way out West in the suburbs of Sydney. We would be marched to the gatesand given a small 1/2 pint bottle to drink. Not at all good for a lactose intolerant kid. As far as being locked in the butchers shop with carcasses i think i would have died. Sorry only vegies for this one.

+ View previous comments

Load more

Video

The latest album from Simple Minds: ‘Walk Between Worlds’ is OUT NOW.

History Timeline