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travelling man

The new official Simple Minds fanclub is launched 1.4.98. Travelling Man is more than just a fan club. With three publications per year, packed with exclusive information, photographs, competitions, features and even articles by the band. Included in the annual subscription is an exclusive fan club only CD. This year it's a stunning live recording of the band from their highly successful 1991 Real Live World Tour.

With Shadowlands now defunct, the band looked to other options for a new fan club, now a growing necessity thanks to the imminent arrival of Neapolis and the forthcoming summer tour. They took on the services of Rob Ayling who not only could run the club itself but had the added benefit of his own record label, Voiceprint, which could put out limited runs of rare releases.

The initial plan was for three issues and an exclusive CD each year. As an additional bonus, Stuart Mackenzie was heavily involved in the design of both the magazines and the CDs, therefore ensuring a high standard and continuity with the albums.

The first issue was patchy. Jim and Charlie brought everyone up to date, Billy Sloan's sleeve notes for The Early Years (1977-78) added some much needed history, but the rest was trivial and ephemeral. What car do you drive? hinted at a Smash Hits teeny mag approach rather than a more serious Q or Uncut narrative which I expect most fans wanted. (Incidentally, Derek Forbes summed up the banality by just replying "a blue one.")

As Simple Minds brought down the shutters and knuckled on with their next album, Ayling and (increasingly) Mackenzie were left floundering for material to fill the pages, neither well versed with the history of the band. Gaps between issues lengthened, page count decreased, paper quality and (for the final issue) colour disappeared altogether.

The last issue limped out in January 2000 as the future of Our Secrets Are The Same, now compromised and broken, looked increasingly uncertain. Unsold copies were bundled together with the remaining stock of Real Live 91 and sold to retailers as the fan club shut down. Fans were pointed to on-line resources, but the official site had also disappeared, leaving unofficial websites and fanzines to pick up what little nuggets of information there were.

After Simple Minds' successful reboot with Neon Lights, Cry and The Floating World Tour, and the launch of the new 2fluid_creative official site, there was never any attempt to resurrect the world of the old fanzines and fan club. After Simple Minds News and Shadowlands, Travelling Man was their third and final attempt and remained an interesting, if not frustrating, lost opportunity to enthuse and inform the fans.

Real Life 91 fan-club only album

Issue 1 (May 1998, 24 pages)

Jim on Neapolis
Glitterball lyrics
VH1 Live Uncut Pictures
The Early Years (by Billy Sloan)
Glitterball The Video (by Stuart Mackenzie)
War Babies rejected picture

Included was the fan club exclusive CD Real Live 91.

Issue 2 (December 1998, 20 pages)

Face To Face: Interview with Jim
Progress Update
News Round
Jaipur 95

Issue 3 (January 2000, 12 pages, black and white)

Face To Face: Interview with Jim
Fan View (by Simon Cornwell)
Face To Face: Interview with Charlie

"Next year will kick off with the release of a new Simple Minds studio album, then possibly a double compilation with some new material towards the end of the year. All in all, we intend to keep Simple Minds productive and prolific throughout the up and coming decade."

"Everyone should look out for the new website which will inform the latest news and future plans of Simple Minds" - Jim Kerr

The new studio album was Our Secrets Are The Same whilst the double compilation shows that Virgin were always intending to ride the tails of the band's next release with a compilation - which eventually emerged as The Best Of.