Friday, January 20, 2006

It's not terrific, but it's competent.

Book 5: Belle and Sebastian: This is Just a Modern Rock Story by Paul Whitelaw

Things I learned from this book:
-People in bands together should not date.
-The band, their manager, and generally everyone in the book agrees with me that Sinister and Waitress are currently the strongest albums Belle and Sebastian have made.
-Arab Strap was a wee bit peeved about that album title.
-Stuart is a connoisseur of abnormal pants.
-Isobel is the reason Arab Strap and Peasant falter, because Stuart indulged her too much. (See first point.)

Even though the author takes pains to say that maybe Isobel was unfairly blamed for tension within the band, he then goes on to make her sound like a silly twit afraid of travel, sex, adulthood, big crowds, and rock music (oh, and she’s incapable of sustaining an entire solo album). With her memorable quotes including “back when Chris used to bring cakes to practice, that’s when I liked being in the band” and “when you’re on the road, you’re always bent over, rummaging in your suitcase, it can hurt your back”, either Whitelaw is very cruelly sending her up, or she’s an utter twee twit. And speaking of twee, the italicized intros and outros to each chapter are god-awfully precious. Must we keep referring to Stuart Murdoch as “the curious boy”?

Apart from that, though, it provides interesting background on a band that shunned publicity for a long time, and shows the importance of the welfare system for artists in Scotland in the early to mid-90s. Seriously. Everyone was on the dole.