18 September 2009

Simple Minds - Travels In Europe

You've seen the pictures smuggled back from Europe, remnants of a surreptitious journey. They were taken in the nineteen-fifties, nineteen-sixties, nineteen-seventies... and are invariably in black and white. These frames are glimpses into a grey-scale world -- decadence and pleasure towns thriving under an economic pall. Someone got shot crossing a border. Here's a photo of a shadow on a pebbled street. High contrast, with the light from a lampost leaking into the top-right corner.

And here's a picture of a parade, taken just outside the Presidential Palace. Men are marching through town squares. It's rumoured that plunder is hoarded somewhere inside, forgotten remnants of the last war. And always train stations, platforms, locomotives. These stations are useful. These stations, we love them.

travels in Europe?There's always a journey by train, a trip to meet victims of some barren bureaucracy. We pull out of the station, crawl on to the next city on the agenda, travel the swerve of coastline. The carriage sings as it goes. Crossing borders here is a challenge; not just arbitrary lines on a map, each is a real boundary between one set of laws and the next. You see the land as you crawl by night. It's expected that you insist on the privilege your first class ticket provides. What's the point of power if it is unwielded? That's what these places teach, the empty squares full of scaffolding.

Any act of love here is a luxury; time is measured so close, in static drum beats through the snow. The clothes worn here date back to the war, but people refuse to remember. It's not time yet to move on. Half a continent lies in denial of violence and vivisection. There are marines in the next room at the hotel. Somewhere a voice echoes through a shower stall. Such relationships lie unacknowledged.

At the kino, each image flickers on from the previous, like wheels over railway ties: statues, parks, galleries move by endlessly. It's never daylight. Art and jazz fill the twilight world in these pleasure towns. Here you can purchase a new warm skin; a novocaine suit, expensive to the touch.

This is not a world of stability. In a single moment a president could fall. You'd lose your job, security, self-confidence, bank account, identity. Like a film going backwards, falling into the snow. The filmstrip curls a bit at the edges. It becomes brittle. Pick up the image and it might fall apart, a formless negative of the world it supposes to capture. Shattered into crystals, silver on silver. Everything turns white here.

Europe, full of silent men in lonely rooms, looks to the West. And the West stares blankly back. In fear of the age of empires. In fear of the dance of violence. In fear of Gods.

-- Second Chameleon (with thanks to Jim Kerr)


Simple Minds - Travels In Europe
01 New Warm Skin
02 Kaleidoscope
03 Film Theme (dub)
04 I Travel (special remix version)
05 Celebrate (extended version)

These rarities, uncollected on any official CD release, have been ripped from our own collection of the following releases:

I Travel 7inI Travel 7"
A1 I Travel [edit] (3.06)
B1 New Warm Skin (4.35)
7" Arista [ARIST 372] 1980




I Travel flexifree flexidisc
A1 Kaleidoscope (4.13)
B1 Film Theme (dub) (1.23)
7" flexi Arista [ARIST 372-C] 1980




I Travel 12inI Travel 12"
A1 I Travel (special remix version) (6.13)
B1 Kaleidoscope (4.13)
B2 Film Theme (2.25)
12" Arista [ARIST 12372] 1980.10.10



Celebrate 12inCelebrate 12"
A1 Celebrate (extended version) (6.42)
B1 Changeling (4.04)
B2 I Travel (3.47)
12" Arista [ARIST 12394] 1981.02.20



  1. Fantastic post.

    Many many thanks

  2. This brought back memories for me.

    Empires & Dance came out at a formulative time for me and heavily influenced my musical thinking from that point on. I had the flexi sampled here and loved the dub version of "Film Theme". Alas, over the course of the years the flexi went the way of many a forgetten gem and I've been searching for a copy for years! Thanks for this, muchly appreciated!


  3. Really good to hear this stuff again but, erm, isn't "Film Theme (Dub)" at the wrong speed?

  4. Nope. "Film Theme (Dub)" is the second track on a flexi-disc with "Kaleidoscope," and as that track plays fine, it stands to reason that this is the speed at which "Film Theme (Dub)" is meant to play. Further, this is the timing provided by Dream Giver Redux, which hosts the most complete and accurate discography of the band. Have a look here:


    My guess is that the "sped up" effect is evidence of the band's growing fascination with NEU! during this period. Recall that NEU! 2 features tracks that are simply sped up or slowed down versions of other things they had recorded.

  5. I remember the first time I heard the 12 Inch remix at my local youth club Friday disco, I must have been 12 or 13 and I was so blown away by the Moroderesque production sound (though I can guarantee I did not express it in those terms) and that driving relentless DAF style teutonic beat...still sounds amazing thirty years later!
    I had bought Life In A Day and Chelsea Girls prior to hearing I Travel (mainly because they were in the cheap bin) as my economic buying power seldom stretched to the full price releases but paradoxically I heard so much good music that did not "sell" in large quantities...that also how I got into Crass but thats another story). I never came across the 'dub' version at the time so in effect I am listening to it 'fresh' despite its thirty year pedigree and I had to listen to it several times just to get over the astonishment, it sounds as though I could have bought it next week, it sounds so different and so experimental..its ironic that listening to Neu! would have so little impact once New Gold Dream sold in bucket loads and the road to the stadiums was opened up to them like a huge cavern of non-creativity!

    Thanks so much for sharing this rarity, its such a shame it was only released in flexi but having said that, its muffled quality gives it an almost avantgarde edge and makes the beats sound like harsh Aphex Twin tinged industrial strength heavily processed beats.

    A truly great post.

  6. Many thanks!
    Simple Minds' "Celebration" compilation was one of my first album purchases as a high school student, and I've been thoroughly frustrated not to find "Kaleidoscope" (the last track on the comp) released on CD or digitally.

  7. Great post! Any chance of posting the Changeling/I travel mix from the Celebrate 12''? Would be lovely to hear it after all these years! Cheers!

  8. Kaleidoscope is on the Celebration compilation CD of simple minds.. I travel is on cd release Theme Volume 1 disc 1 cd.. so only film theme dub and celebrate has never seen CD releases..

  9. Thank you so much for posting these rarities. Great rips, too. Is there any chance of getting them in FLAC?

  10. It's a wonderfull post . I like in FLAC, too, if you can. Sorry for my english and thank you so much !!

  11. Please, is it possible you could re-upload to a new working link. Thanks so much x