And now something personal.
Today Simple Minds and myself have two anniversaries.
It was exactly15 years ago today that I bought my first ever Simple Minds record, and it was 10 years ago that I attended on a Simple Minds concert as a fan. In fact it was my 2nd Simple Minds concert but the first one where I went to with knowing the songs and the band.
But going back to 1998. By that time I was a university student, exploring how music can influence my days. I loved music, and discovered some great music magazines and 2nd hand record stores. Even though I had bought records earlier as well, but in 1998 I began listening to music in a totally new way. I began reading about the bands, about how they made their records. It was the dawn of the internet, there were a few websites about music - of course I read them every day.
One day I was reading a great Hungarian music magazine called Z Magazin. (Z is for "Zene" which mean "music" in Hungarian.) And on one page I saw a half page advert of a new album and it said: "The brand new album from the legendary Scottish rockers." It was an ad of the album Neapolis by Simple Minds.
To be honest, I knew nothing about the band. I didn't know any of their songs, they meant nothing to me. Unfortunately just a very few 80s bands could gain popularity here, behind the iron curtain. Simple Minds were not among them. Maybe because they didn't tour here, unlike Dire Straits or U2 or Depeche Mode.
Even though I haven't heard of the band, I was really interested. And the reason why I showed interest of this new album was the cover artwork. I just loved it. The stability of the photo, in which we could see something moving that was captured brilliantly, the straight letters, the colours - I just loved it! By this time both Glitterball and War Babies, the two singles of the album, were released, and they folowed the same conception. I loved Andy Earl's design.
And when I went to a record store a few days later to buy something else, I discovered that there were a limited edition version that came in and embossed tin box. I became even more satisfied, as this packaging was even more interesting as the regular one. It was amazing. A stickered tin box, with the letters embossed into it, nothing else - wow!
But that day I didn't have enough money with me, so I decided to buy it sometimes later. A few weeks alter I went to my favorite 2nd hand record store… and there was something really beautiful in the shop-window - the promotional only deluxe box version of the album, packed in a 10" diameter round tin box. And it had a price tag on it that was ridiculous. The price was about the same as the price of the limited edition CD in a regular record store. So I decided to buy it, but (as always) I was low on money and there was always something more important to buy. The box was there in the store-window for about a month. So one day I decided that the next day I will buy it. The next day I went to the shop. And it wasn't in the store-window anymore.
I was shocked. It was there for a month and no one took it, then on the day I finally wanted to buy it, someone took it? When I entered the shop my heart was aching when I asked who bought it - and it turned out that it wasn't sold, they simply needed some space in the store-window for other items.
So I bought it.
My very first Simple Minds item was one of the rarest collectibles. Not a bad start, is it? And what a bargain it was!
Anyway, I still remember the day. 1st July 1998.
And how this thing changed my life? I bought this album just because the artwork. And this was the moment when I finally decided not to be a chemical engineer, but a graphic designer. I finished university as soon as possible, and went on to another university to get a 2nd diploma.
Even though I could have, I have never worked as chemical engineer.
The next day Simple Minds had the first (and so far the only) concert in Hungary. Originally it was going to be held at Petofi Csarnok in Budapest, but there were some problems and then it was decided to held it at the Coca Cola Beach House, about 100 kilometers from Budapest is Siofok, right at the banks of lake Balaton. Even though I loved the music they played and the energy that came from the band, I didn't know the songs, so I couldn't enjoy it 100 percent. I don't even have real memories of my first concert.
It was a free show that wasn't well promoted, there were just a very few posters promoting the concert, but they had to put stickers on them as the posters showed the original venue. And there were some posters showings the weekly program of the venue itself listing Simple Minds among other bands performing there.
It took me years to find out what happened to the original concert tickets. It was thought that they were all destroyed by the promoter company - but it turned out that the company that printed the tickets kept the first one as proof sample.
Some more years passed and I could collect nearly everything from that concert. The ticket, the passes, the setlist. I only miss an original copy of the poster.
This is how the passion started. Since then I count myself a Simple Minds fan.
Then, let's jump to 2003.
By that time I was a huge Simple Minds fan, but only attended one concert, way back in 1998. I began building my collection of Simple Minds records, but at that time I only had all the albums plus some singles.
Somehow I missed The Floating World Tour in 2002, so when the band announced a show in Zagreb, Croatia during the summer leg of the the Alive & Kicking 2003 Tour, I decided that this time I will travel to see my favourite band live.
I was lucky enough to attend the soundcheck and could meet the band members as well as many friends from the Simple Minds Community. One of the greatest memories of my life. And it started something else. Through music I could meet some great people. Whenever I go to a Simple Minds concert, I always meet new people, some amazing nice people. I call them friends.
Since then Simple Minds became a huge part of my life. In the last 10 years it was really good to be a Simple Minds fan. Countless numbers of amazing concerts and great albums. I loved the album Black & White 050505, and thought it had been the finest work they had done. I couldn't imagine they could overtop it. But with Graffiti Soul they did. What an amazing album! And what a great tour followed the album. A tour that I thought can not be overtopped. And then... then the unexpected happened. The 5x5 tour was something really special. I loved it.
But way back in 2003 I simply enjoyed the concert in Zagreb. It was the beginning of a new phase in my life. Since then I have built a huge collection of Simple Minds concert memorabilia - a collection which formed as the base of this website. Everything started in Zagreb. Unlike most concert tickets by the time, the Zagreb show had a beautiful picture ticket. And it was the first show of which I could get the setlist after the concert.
That's how the madness that managed me to make this website started.
Thank you Simple Minds!