search for something...

search for something you might like...

Everything is Possible  It is!  let Simple Minds lead the way...

Everything is Possible

It is! let Simple Minds lead the way...

by Jay Lewis, Reviews Editor
first published: January, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

the documentary is a required reminder of what an extraordinary and influential band Simple Minds were and may still well be

SIMPLE MINDS
Everything Is Possible 
(Paramount+ TV)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

'Everything is Possible' is a three-act play.

It is the well-worn documentary format that, in this case, charts the rise, the fall, and then the somewhat older, more gradual, and far wiser rise again of Simple Minds. It traces the band from their punk-leaning origins in their hometown of Glasgow, their celebrated art pop creative prime, their infamous catapult into superstardom, and how they admit they lost their focus. In 1982, their live debut on the newly launched The Tube TV show was introduced by a delirious Muriel Gray who describes them as '…the greatest band in the entire history of the universe'. At least part of this documentary shows just why such hyperbole was considered acceptable

By the time of that appearance, the band had made a series of long players of experimental, unconventional pop, dazed lyrics like subconscious snapshots, arty (but never pretentious),   cinematic, and definitely European. Decades on, Gray is amongst the hefty cast of talking heads coming to pay homage to the band: Irvine Welsh, Bobby Gillespie ( who responded to their second album with the most Gillespie-esque of quotes: ‘these guys don’t give a fuck, that is defiant music’), Mariella Frostrop, James Dean Bradfield, Dave Gahan, Bob Geldof, and, when it comes to describing the impact of the Mandela Day concert, Jerry Dammers. I know that they’re all there to convince me that the band I lost contact with nearly thirty years ago shouldn’t be written off. And they do a damn fine job of it. Better still though, there's something endearing about the latter-day level-headedness of the band's only surviving members (Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill).

 

Hindsight is a beautiful thing and you can trace how the magic of those first five albums got sidelined, you may wince at how the muscular, pounding drum-driven sound of 'Waterfront' (1983) et al seemed so hollow after the subtlety of 'New Gold Dream' (1982). Again, you will hear for the umpteenth time their much-repeated story of how they really fought against recording a song that they hadn’t written, the one that made them internationally famous. Kerr, with some defiant humour claims that the ‘la-la-la’-ing that he added to the end of the song is the band’s best lyric, and that it's the only part of 'Don't You Forget About Me' - that their audiences chant en masse.

For those who feel only scorn for those internationally big hits, there’s still glorious coverage of 'Chelsea Girl' ,'I Travel', ‘Love Song’ et al to adore. There’s also an entertaining tale of how they responded when they umbrage to a record company exec who asked them to make the vocals 'Reel to Real Cacophony' (1979) clearer and louder in the mix. There’s the irony of how that version of Simple Minds morphed into the one that admitted to being lost and no longer in control of their careers. The band don’t gloss over their wilderness years (fortunately none of their lesser albums are picked over for reappraisal), they respond to it with a great deal of equanimity and they are now in a place to move on.

Although Simple Minds may never have been '…the greatest band in the entire history of the universe' the documentary is a required reminder of what an extraordinary and influential band Simple Minds were and may still well be. There is a genuine sense that the band now adore performing live now more than they have done for a very long time, you can sense that they have reconnected with what made them so special initially. Everything may actually be possible after all.


Photo credit: 

By Sven Mandel - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53801191

Jay Lewis
Reviews Editor

Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based poet. He's also a music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.


about Jay Lewis »»

RECENT STORIES

RANDOM READS

All About and Contributors

HELP OUTSIDELEFT

Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]

WRITE FOR OUTSIDELEFT

If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]

OUTSIDELEFT UNIVERSE

Ooh Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha May 29th
OUTSIDELEFT Night Out
weekend

outsideleft content is not for everyone