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ONE STEP CLOSER - SIMPLE MINDS : Yesterday's post re Da Maria naturally had me thinking about our time spent in and around Naples while working on our album Neapolis.

A city that seems to divide opinion strongly among travellers who either love it for its full on intensity and wild beauty? (Me.) Or those who cannot abide the place, or even begin to see beyond an all encompassing unruliness - one that matches those famous dirty pavements, horrendously graffiti'd walls, and of course that never far away criminal reputation? (Definitely Not Me.)
Anyway, who can really resist a place that has been identified in travel journals as something of a "A risk-taker's paradise. A crime-ridden labyrinth. A beautiful, death-haunted shambles. It's the Keith Richards of cities, a menacing, espresso-crazed circus clinging tenuously to a fierce slope." Again... (Not Me.)
Plus people who really know Keith will tell you that underneath all that surface image stuff, lies a warm and gentle soul.

My grandad was in both Naples and Sicily during the war. Tough times for all - that is an undersatement. He loved those places, and loved the character of the local people he met. As he got older and much more sentimental, no doubt aided by a few wee whiskies, he would get all misty eyed for Naples. A place to which he always wanted to return.

I obviously inherited that same sensation - also falling in love with both, undoubtedly we share something of a fascination for the Romans and the ancient Greeks. Plus, I cannot wait to go back.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest memories of being in Naples for me has to be the long weekend that I spent recording/with local heroes Planet Funk.
( Spring 2001 )

As with anywhere in the world, it is only through being and working with 'natives' that you quickly get a true sense of the heart within a community. That unfortunately is beyond most tourists as we whizz through destinations, gulping in the sights and the atmospheres, but little else really.

In any case, they were not only a musical outfit, as in every sense I could feel that they were indeed more like a huge family. A brotherhood for sure. And even if I was never sure how many were actually in the group, I can tell you that I have never been in a more packed studio control room. Particularly so at the end of the day, when the wives, girlfriends, and even kids seemed to have also turned up in their dark and dingy (forgive me) studio basement.

And what a feeling that was. Seeing them all together - bouncing of the walls to the groove of their music - while listening to the song that we had created together that same day.

And what a tune they gave me to work with? Because although I had never heard of the group previously and literally knew nothing about them. Those opening orchestral chords sealed the deal with me, and I knew on hearing them alone that I wanted to go to work with this band from Naples - called Planet Funk!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeoO_-kmu7k
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ONE STEP CLOSER - SIMPLE MINDS : Yesterdays post re Da Maria naturally had me thinking about our time spent in and around Naples while working on our album Neapolis. 

A city that seems to divide opinion strongly among travellers who either love it for its full on intensity and wild beauty? (Me.) Or those who cannot abide the place, or even begin to see beyond an all encompassing unruliness - one that matches those famous dirty pavements, horrendously graffitid walls, and of course that never far away criminal reputation? (Definitely Not Me.)
Anyway, who can really resist a place that has been identified in travel journals as something of a  A risk-takers paradise. A crime-ridden labyrinth. A beautiful, death-haunted shambles. Its the Keith Richards of cities, a menacing, espresso-crazed circus clinging tenuously to a fierce slope. Again... (Not Me.)
Plus people who really know Keith will tell you that underneath all that surface image stuff, lies a warm and gentle soul.

My grandad was in both Naples and Sicily during the war. Tough times for all - that is an undersatement. He loved those places, and loved the character of the local people he met. As he got older and much more sentimental, no doubt aided by a few wee whiskies, he would get all misty eyed for Naples. A place to which he always wanted to return.

I obviously inherited that same sensation - also falling in love with both, undoubtedly we share something of a fascination for the Romans and the ancient Greeks. Plus, I cannot wait to go back.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest memories of being in Naples for me has to be the long weekend that I spent recording/with local heroes Planet Funk. 
( Spring 2001 )

As with anywhere in the world, it is only through being and working with natives that you quickly get a true sense of the heart within a community. That unfortunately is beyond most tourists as we whizz through destinations, gulping in the sights and the atmospheres, but little else really.

In any case, they were not only a musical outfit, as in every sense I could feel that they were indeed more like a huge family. A brotherhood for sure. And even if I was never sure how many were actually in the group, I can tell you that I have never been in a more packed studio control room. Particularly so at the end of the day, when the wives, girlfriends, and even kids seemed to have also turned up in their dark and dingy (forgive me) studio basement. 

And what a feeling that was. Seeing them all together - bouncing of the walls to the groove of their music - while listening to the song that we had created together that same day.

And what a tune they gave me to work with? Because although I had never heard of the group previously and literally knew nothing about them. Those opening orchestral chords sealed the deal with me, and I knew on hearing them alone that I wanted to go to work with this band from Naples - called Planet Funk!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeoO_-kmu7k

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I actually had Non Zero Sumness on in the car today. It doesn't feel like an album born out of Naples. SM fans need to check out Under The Rain, which Mr Burchill lends a hand. Great album.

I like the picture of "the Keith Richards of cities": hard shell, soft core! Sometimes it takes some time to discover the true beauty or a hidden treasure of a person, a city or whatever.

I'd love to visit Naples one day. I love Italy in general and Naples as well as being utterly stunning to look at with it's views, I'm a big football fan and Maradona was a God to me growing up so I'd love to visit the San Paolo. They've still got one of the most entertaining teams in Europe! It's just that criminal aspect you mention that puts me off (it's a criminal world, perhaps??) But I'd still like to visit one day

My only encounter with anything Neapolitan (other than Planet Funk music by way of SM) is the tricolour of ice creams. That was exotic stuff back when I was a kid. But as much as I love chocolate, for some reason, I don't "do" chocolate ice cream. Only ever wanted the strawberry and vanilla ones.

Reminds me of the Australian town Cobber Pedy. It's a moon scape on the surface but littered with years of mining debris and stinking hot. Below the ground is a different story. There are houses, churches, shops, restaurants and motels. It's extrodinary but many people have missed the experience because they didn't look beneath the surface.

We all know that to find true beauty we often have to look beyond the surface and scratch deeply within....it takes time, something we often don't have, as you point out, Jim. Is there anywhere in the world you haven't recorded but would like to?

Non Zero Sumness is a great album and I really enjoyed your collaboration with the song "One Step Closer" ... really beautiful. W Napoli, W Planet Funk, W Simple Minds๐Ÿ’—

Love reading your posts. Never heard of planet funk or indeed one step closer. Just listened to it this morning. What a wee gem.

Neapolis is a great album. I always thought Killing Andy Warhol would sound amazing live!

Thanks Jim. You just made me want to go to Naples!

Spent a few weeks working around Naples. Many memories from such a beautiful place. I learnt how to truly relax out there ๐Ÿ˜

What a brilliant track the intro is so cool

We need Neapolis 2!!!

I play it loud and often! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Hey Jim Just got back from Sicily. What a beautiful place. We didn't make it along to your hotel but perhaps next time.. Chatting to our chauffeur and I asked the question " so who is the most famous person you have driven in Sicily ? " He thought for a minute and said "You know I've driven lots of Royalty in this car, but without a doubt the nicest guy has been Jim Kerr, a one hour journey with him was like 5 minutes. "

Jim, I am known for loving the album, 'Cry'. And 'One Step Closer' is a brilliant track. Please try to get this album out on vinyl for next year's IRD! Planet Funk produce their own interesting work, too. As for Naples, I have only experienced the railway station (and airport). But I have heard the coffee is fantastic! ๐Ÿ˜€

I was out in Naples in 2008 - we sailed across to Ischia to film the National Children's Orchestra GB play at the Teatro Greco in the Walton's Giardini La Mortella - truly amazing venue (and amazing mozzie bites but I won't go into that ๐Ÿค) ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿ˜Ž Like you I found Naples colourfully fascinating and could have spent much longer in the city ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Must dig out my photos!

Neapolis always feels like a bit of a low in the SM back catalogue for me. Almost like a break up album at the time. But Cry was the start of a re-birth and I am sure 'One Step Closer' could have been an even better song with different producers.

I was mesmerised with the view of the bay and Vesuvius when we stayed in Sorrento. Is there any chance Neapolis could be released on vinyl / does the band own it JK?

We were in Naples this summer- The city blew our minds. It is ace. It is mental. It's like being in an Asian city but you're in Europe!!!!!!!

Ciao Jim... Napoli has its fascination...caotic traffic, wonderfull center town, beatifull people, great history and of course the most famous pizza, caffรจ and Vesuvio!! As said many many times...im so proud to have you Jim & Charlie in my home country and that you feel home yourself... Grazie one million times๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

Definitely a Marmite city. I know people who have visited , stated their dislike and would never return. However we spent a few days early this year as a base for ferry โ›ด crossings to islands. Yes when we arrived at the station from Rome it was a bit of a I am not sure about this moment! We explored and saw some beautiful sites and some interesting sites. Like all cities , when visiting you should always see beyond that first impression. Explore ......... ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ™‚ x

We only buzzed through it from the train station up to Sorrento and same on the way back so it was hard to get a proper impression. With vesuvius looming it was an amazing sight. Would love to see it properly.

I recall in the Lostboy electro rehearsals working on a version of The Switch from Planet Funk. Great tune. Non Zero Sumness is a cracking album, Paraffin being my favourite song.

Ciao Jim I'm in a hurry today I'll read your post when I'm home and relaxed..too many troubles at the office today ciao !

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"IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE, PLAY ON."

During those early '80's years when we were living and recording not so far from from Notting Hill Gate, London, we'd pop in to this tiny Neapolitan cafe/restaurant that sits adjacent to the Gate Cinema...another of our favourite hangs.

That's right, on the way to Townhouse Studios on Goldhawk Road, walking from Bayswater while working on the recordings of New Gold Dream, Sparkle In The Rain, and some of Once Upon A Time etc. We'd make a stop at this sometime fave of ours. I easily recall a few pre session meetings with producer Pete Walsh. Maybe Steve Lillywhite also?

We had yet to spend much time in Italy - all of that was still to come - and therefore had not much experience of Italian food. More precisely, in the very early '80's we were still fairly skint and therefore had little experience of any kind of restaurants no matter how small or basic.

Nevertheless Da Maria was a treat, and the experience made me in extension a fan of all things Napoli.

As happy as I've been, to see that after all these years it still seemed to be enjoying an on going popularity - I passed it just last week but unfortunately no time to stop. Likewise it was a little sad today to see this report. Great review though!

So many places remind me of scenes from our story. This gem is one of them. I hope it survive this challenge.

Actually. I'm kind of hungry now!

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/17/da-maria-london-the-kind-of-place-that-keeps-london-...

P.S. Although no mention in the review, there is always plenty of veggie choice.
... See MoreSee Less

IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE, PLAY ON.

During those early 80s years when we were living and recording not so far from from Notting Hill Gate, London, wed pop in to this tiny Neapolitan cafe/restaurant that sits adjacent to the Gate Cinema...another of our favourite hangs.

Thats right, on the way to Townhouse Studios on Goldhawk Road, walking from Bayswater while working on the recordings of New Gold Dream, Sparkle In The Rain, and some of Once Upon A Time etc. Wed make a stop at this sometime fave of ours. I easily recall a few pre session meetings with producer Pete Walsh. Maybe Steve Lillywhite also?

We had yet to spend much time in Italy - all of that was still to come - and therefore had not much experience of Italian food. More precisely, in the very early 80s we were still fairly skint and therefore had little experience of any kind of restaurants no matter how small or basic.

Nevertheless Da Maria was a treat, and the experience made me in extension a fan of all things Napoli.

As happy as Ive been, to see that after all these years it still seemed to be enjoying an on going popularity - I passed it just last week but unfortunately no time to stop. Likewise it was a little sad today to see this report. Great review though!

So many places remind me of scenes from our story. This gem is one of them. I hope it survive this challenge. 

Actually. Im kind of hungry now!

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/17/da-maria-london-the-kind-of-place-that-keeps-london-human-restaurant-review

P.S. Although no mention in the review, there is always plenty of veggie choice.

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Do you prefer Sicilian or Neapolitan food... ?

Better "your" Sicily Jim ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ .....I start To love Scotland after see your concert support band of Peter Gabriel.....tanto tempo รจ passato e voi non avevate ancora inciso gli Lp sopra

Quorn burgers all round then Jim ๐Ÿ‘.

Good food is important in life... Is it more important than good music ? I don't know ! What's your opinion ?

I really hope they survive this too! London has quite a few of these hidden gems, and we've been lucky enough to eat in a few during various days & nights working in the city ๐Ÿ™‚ We'll be at a favourite Lebanese place for lunch next month during a filming day - fab veggie options there too ๐Ÿ˜‹

Grazie Jim... Napoli, Taormina, Roma..Milano... Italy is full of wonderfull dishes!! I could even invite you here by us and make you some good Sicilian dishes, as my origin would say๐Ÿ˜ƒ! So if you and Charlie sometimes want...it'll be a great honour to have you here!! Minkia Jim๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ...

Funniest moment ever Jim was at La Botte 2002 when we were sat at a table and there was que outside inc the lead singer of Jamiroqui.We ordered an extra bottle of wine to make him wait longer but Mrs wanted a photo with him. We finished our drinks and went outside to say hello to him. He had pic with us and said to me thanks for coming over for our gig. I said no we didn't come all this way for your gig we have come to see the greatest live band in the world Simple Minds. You should have seen his face.

Any eatery, big or small, is all about the food and ambiance, Jim. The decor can be important, likewise the staff. It can also depend on your mood and the company you are keeping at the time A 'greasy spoon' can actually be just as good as a Michellin star restaurant, if the ambiant 'ingredients' are right. Simple, really! ๐Ÿ™‚

ยฃ30-60 for a meal for two!!!! Erm...you're shouting me, right, Sir? When's the date? As alluded to earlier, it's my birthday in about 6 weeks time. That would be one AWESOME present ๐Ÿ˜‡ (I know! I'll keep dreaming. Never hurts to ask though)

My friend and I always stayed in Bayswater when we went down to London. Wish we'd found this gem too, the food sounds amazing, I hope it survives

An unpretentious and honest eatery, so I hope it survives. It's rare to find such a reasonably priced restaurant in that part of London. A special part of your memory banks too. It's not far from one of my mother's childhood homes, in Arundel Crescent, off Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, before they moved to Scotland. So some history for us. There is also a good Italian restaurant in Holland Park Ave, called Edera Restaurant, Jim. Sardinian-influenced with a number of vegetarian dishes.

From Scottish parents and lived most of my life in Edinburgh I was born in London, 1977. We lived just at the other end of Goldhawk Road in Black Lion Lane .. if only I'd known then that you were just across the road.. the connection deepens. Next time I'm in London I'm going to look this place up ...

Good food and good music....perfect. I like this Portuguese Restaurant near my hometown....great food and the owner also loves Simple Minds. So everytime I have dinner at this place....well guess what?? ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Shame on Kensington and Chelsea council and the landlord, too many of our cities are becoming identical with the choice of overpriced bland chain restaurants. It gets me really cross. Sorry, rant over.

The Guardian food section... the bane of my existence: I put on weight just reading the succulent descriptions in Jay and Marina's articles ๐Ÿ˜‰. This place is definitely going on the London List. Sad to see so many similar places disappear for stark and glitzy developments. They're the places that breathe soul into a city.

This made me check out if my own favorite was still in operation - Il Siciliano in Dean Street, Soho - run by a couple of brothers Nino and Aldo. Sadly it's gone. Really hope Da Maria survives - Italian "home-style" is the best!

Mariaโ€™s tiramisu sure looks good. I just hope we don't have another hurricane (Maria?) as Irma was really scary. We just got our internet back too.

Sometime's it's the small thing's or-small restaurant's,..in this case-in life that we remember-most fondly. Music and food go together -because -it bring's people together. Good stuff!!

Lovely post Jim ๐Ÿค— ...and cute couple in the pic!! Well we all know that nothing can beat Naples and Sicily ๐Ÿ˜‹ cuisine so I lost in departure ๐Ÿค

Bethany Park - summer has gone without our picnic plans. Perhaps we can go here before the year is out with Hannah Park too? Xxx

Keep the ideas coming. Im putting all these tips in my notebook for next year .. Only vegetarian dishes for me so Leslie's suggestion sounds great

Sounds and looks nice there, Jim and happy memories for you guys too. Really hope it gets to stay, would be sad for it to close. โ˜บ

Looks great,but seeing as it's Sunday night,only one thing for it Jim my dear pal.....roasted cheese on toast......โœŠ๐Ÿป

Love and agree with your title ๐Ÿ’– And thanks for the ps, there are so many delicious vegetarian dishes in the south Italian tradition ๐Ÿ˜‹ buon appetito Jim ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well we are in Protaras, Cyprus...any thoughts on best Italian restaurant here? Swimming towards the sun

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Taken from the new album SIMPLE MINDS ACOUSTIC.

 

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