Issue #51 - Belle and Sebastian Special! - October 10th - 16th
Belle and Sebastian - an Irreverent Who's Who to the songs + Back Catalogue
The Best Looking Boys Are Taken
Sobbing Murdoch Does A Bruno
Belle and Sebastian Memories
Sister Janice Sulks
Sister Janice is the Friends Of The Heroes agony aunt. She used to be a nun, but after becoming involved in an accident at her convent involving a papal emissary; the mother superior; the convent dog and a bottle of 'citrus fresh' bleach, she decided it was time to find herself a new career.
Write to Sister Janice Slejj care of Friends of the Heroes. She will answer your problems and questions with the insight unique to a disco-loving alternative-gardening defrocked clergy member and cosmic adventurer... well she would if she wasn't sulking.
Sister Janice was not at all happy that the friends of the heroes decided to dedicate a whole issue to Belle and Sebastian. She kept on muttering that we were wasting our time on a band that nobody cared about. She said she was only saying this for our own good and just didn't want to see our ratings fall. But frankly I think she is just sulking because no one else wanted to dedicate a whole issue to retrospective disco music. To cut a long story short she stormed out of the office 10 minutes ago saying:
"well if you really want to waste your time on a bunch of nobody's that's your business! just don't expect me to answer any problems from a bunch of cardie-wearing fools… if you really want to go through with this madness the dog can deal with the problems this week!"
Right now she is sitting in the shed hovering just above our offices glaring out of the windows at us. She looks so funny, sort of like a giant shed shaped pigeon who is feeling unhappy because I've stolen the bread the girl has thrown out for it.
So here I am, a dog to deal with all your problems, but part of the deal is that you feel something too. Or you can at least feed me toast and chocolate.
I think it is a very good idea to have an issue dedicated to this band, after all if it wasn't for them I wouldn't even have a name! Can you imagine that? When I first heard of them I thought they had stolen my name, but the girl told me that this was not the case. I can't help feeling proud that I share the same name as them though and even though Sister Janice won't admit it they are quite famous you know?
dear agony dog,
by now i must have sung along to the saddest song about a trillion-zillion times, and yet, everytime i hear it again, stuart still sounds sad. is our relationship really based on trust? is he being honest? should we break up? what is it i must do to pay for all my crimes? (please tell me - i would do it all the time: i've been keeping fit).
The Boy Done Wrong Again
Dear boy done wrong again,
Never heard of this Stuart bloke, but you should try listening to Belle and Sebastian. The bloke in that band can't half sing well. Listening to him is almost as good as a crust of toast. Almost. You mention you've tried singing, to make him happy, but do not say if you've tried to give him your paw? The girl almost always smiles if I give her my paw. You should probably also try sitting, and rolling over. If this doesn't work, I really don't know what to suggest. Sometimes no matter what you do it is impossible to make people happy but if you wait a little you'll find they get happy all on their own. I don't really understand why this is because all it takes to make me happy is the mention of the word "walk" or "food". Well I'm off to try to cheer up Sister Janice, Good luck with this Stuart bloke!
Love and kisses
Belle and Sebastian - an Irreverent Who's Who to the songs + Back Catalogue
Anthony: ("Lord Anthony", "If You're Feeling Sinister")
Belle: ("My Wandering Days Are Over", "Belle And
Bobby: ("Nice Day For A Sulk")
Chelsea: ("She's Losing It")
Chris: ("Seymour Stein")
Elvis: ("A Century Of Elvis")
Emma: ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song")
Hilary: ("If You're Feeling Sinister")
Jane: cf. (Lazy Line Painter) Jane.
Jean: cf. "(String Bean) Jean"
Jenny: cf. (Photo)Jenny.
Jo: cf. (String Bean) Jean
Johnny: ("Slow Graffiti")
Joseph: ("Beyond The Sunrise")
Judy: ("Rollercoaster Ride", "Judy And The Dream Of Horses",
"Judy Is A Dickslap")
Laura: ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song")
(Lazy Line Painter) Jane: ("Lazy Line Painter Jane")
Lisa: ("Beautiful", "The Model", "She's Losing It", "Like Dylan
In The Movies")
Lord Antony: cf. "Anthony".
Mary Jo: ("Mary Jo")
Michael: ("My Wandering Days Are Over")
Phil: ("String Bean Jean")
(Photo) Jenny: ("Photo Jenny")
Richard: ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song")
Sebastian: ("Put The Book Back On The Shelf", "Belle And
Sebastian", "My Wandering Days Are Over")
Seymour Stein: ("Seymour Stein")
Stevie: ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song")
(String Bean) Jean: ("String Bean Jean")
Stuart ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song", "A Century of Elvis", "You Made Me Forget My Dreams[?]")
Tony: cf. "Anthony".
Belle and Sebastian - an Irreverent Who's Who to the songs + Back Catalogue
Belle and Sebastian recorded their first album after they were chosen from over 100 applicants by Stow College to have their songs recorded professionally as part of the Stow College Music Business Course. Tigermilk was recorded in just three days and only one thousand vinyl copies were made. The record was released by the college’s record label Electric Honey in 1996. It was re-released by Jeepster in 1999, on CD and vinyl, when it reached number #12 in the British charts.
At that time, Belle and Sebastian were; Stuart Murdoch, Stuart David, Richard Colburn, Chris Geddes, Stevie Jackson and Isobel Campbell.
The girl baring her breasts on the front cover is Joanne Kenney, and the inlay card includes a sweet, fictional story about how Belle met Sebastian.
Tigermilk starts quietly, with Stuart Murdoch’s sweet, soft voice over the gentle strumming of the guitar. This sets the tone of the album, which is full of stories about messy relationships and awkward adolescence. The charm of these songs is in their simplicity and the emotion in Stuart Murdoch’s voice. Although the stories are about specific characters, the feelings expressed are universal.
If You're Feeling Sinister
If You’re Feeling Sinister was Belle and Sebastian’s first record with Jeepster and came out later that year. This record included new member Sarah Martin.
The first track on the album ‘Stars of Track and Field’ lent its name to the London club night Track and Field, and the title track gave it’s name to the Belle and Sebastain mailing list Sinister, which came into being in 1997. This record also includes the song ‘Fox in the Snow’ mentioned in the story in Tigermilk as ‘Sebastian’s most recent song.’ It's also a favourite of the band.
Sinister’s cover star is Ciara MacLavery, although a photo of the band is included on the back. The inlay card include a bio of the band so far and a thank you to Karn Glover, soon to become Karn David aka “wee Karn.”
I always think of Sinister as the smutty record. With songs such as ‘Seeing Other People’ and ‘Judy Dreams of Horses’ it just seems dirty, but in a charming sort of way. At the same time, it makes Tigermilk seems more pure and innocent.
Dog On Wheels
Dog on Wheels was the first of the three summer EPs to be released in 1997. It includes a second version of The State That I Am In, which is also the opening track on Tigermilk. The other tracks are Dog on Wheels, String Bean Jean and Belle and Sebastian.
This EP is unusual because it does not include the entire band. The songs come from early demo recordings made by Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David. It also includes Mick Cooke who only joined the band in 1998 despite contributing to everything they had recorded before that. The other contributors to the record were session musicians.
The cover stars of Dog on Wheels are Joanne Kenney and Patch, who was recently sold on eBay.
There is no story included with Dog on Wheels.
Lazy Line Painter Jane
The title track on this EP includes special guest vocalist, Monica Queen who has also turned up at gigs to sing live with the band. The story of Lazy Line Painter Jane is included in the inlay card.
The other songs on the EP are the achingly sad You Made Me Forget My Dreams and the cheerier Photo Jenny. The last track is Century of Elvis, which is spoken-word song by Stuart David.
Belle and Sebastian’s keyboard player Chris Geddes had a bet with Mark Jones that this record would not reach the Top 40. Chris won his bet, as Lazy Line Painter Jane only reached number 41.
There is a box set compilation of the three Summer EP, which is also called Lazy Line Painter Jane.
3...6...9...seconds of light
There is no song on this record called 3…6…9…seconds of light. The title refers to this bit of writing. The photo features Stuart Murdoch, founding member of the band, and Victoria Morton. It’s the first release to include a band member on the front cover. The inlay includes a story about photocopying and dreaming.
The songs that are on the record are Century of Fakers, which shares the backing music from Century of Elvis, Le Pastie De La Bourgoise, Beautiful and Put the Book Back on the Shelf.
There is another song after Put the Book Back on Shelf called Songs for Children. It is short and sweet, and very quiet. Belle and Sebastian were named after a French children’s book about a boy called Sebastian and his dog Belle. It was also made into a cartoon.
The Boy With The Arab Strap
This is the longest Belle and Sebastian album, including 12 songs and lasting over 45 minutes. It is also the bands most successful release and entered the album charts at number 12.
Mick Cooke is finally asked to join the band ‘and he did, after a while.’ Chris Geddes is the cover star for this record, and there are pictures of the rest of the band inside.
A couple of the songs from The Boy With the Arab Strap have turned up in other mediums. Seymour Stein features briefly in High Fidelity, the John Cusack movie based on the book by Nick Hornby, and the title track is used as the theme music for Channel Four’s Teachers.
Track 8 – Chickfactor – took it’s name from a music fanzine, and it was the fanzine and not the Belle and Sebastian song that was behind last year’s Chickfactor Ball.
There seem to be less characters in the songs on this album, and the songs seem to be more about real-life experiences than fictional stories. For example, the Chris mentioned in Seymour Stein is Chris from the band. Seymour Stein is a real person too. Also, there is more variety in the type of songs – there is a couple of Stevie songs, an Isobel song and another spoken word song from Stuart David.
This Is Just A Modern Rock Song
The title track of this EP was dropped from If You’re Feeling Sinister. It became a live favourite and so the band decided to release it. (The same thing may happen to Travelling Light, which was dropped from Dear Catastrophe Waitress) New chart regulations meant that This is Just a Modern Rock Song was too long to be a single, so despite selling well it did not enter the charts.
The other songs on the record are I Know Where the Summer Goes and The Gate, both sweet and summery even if it is a melancholy, overly long sort of summer. It ends with the perfect, bitter-sweet Slow Graffiti.
The cover star is Alan Horne, founder of Postcard records.
The band took a year out from recording before this record, during which they toured in Europe and the US, won the Brit award for Best New Comer and hosted their own mini-festival in Camber Sands.
Legal Man entered the Chart at number 15 and was performed by the group on Top of the Pops. The cover stars are Stevie Jackson, Isobel Campbell, Adrienne Payne and ex-flatmate of Sarah Martin Rozanne Suarez, who also sings on the record. The back cover features Katrina House who looks after band merchandise and has a band in running the website.
The other songs on the album are Judy is a Dick-Slap, an instrumental, and Winter Wooksie a charming song by Stuart David.
For the first time, the lyrics are not included in the in-lay card. Although a lot of the words from Legal Man are included in the letter to ‘Ms. Symington’ in the photograph inside.
Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant
By the time Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant was released founder member and bassist Stuart David had left the band to concentrate on other things, namely the band Looper and writing books.
There is no song on this album called Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant. The title comes from a piece of graffiti that Stuart Murdoch read on a toilet wall while at university.
The cover stars are Gyda and Kristín Valtysdóttir from the Icelandic band Mum. There is a photo of the entire band inside and a short piece about Glasgow hipsters.
There is a wide variety of sounds on this album, from the lush strings at the end of The Model to the moody, jazz-like piano at the beginning of Don’t Like The Light On Baby to the almost a cappella The Chalet Lines. Again Stuart takes less of the singing duties, and on a few of the songs there are two or more vocalists. This, combined with the fact that there are almost twenty guest player on this album means Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant has a much bigger sound than previous releases.
The title comes from the Bibical story about David and Goliath and David’s best friend Jonathon. The story is briefly explained inside the album. It was also the inspiration for the cover, which features new bassist Bob Kildea as Jonathon and Mick Cooke as David who got all the girls. This specific girl being Gill Dodds. Bob joined the band in the summer of 2001 for the tour to promote the single.
The other songs are Take Your Carriage Clock And Shove It and The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner, an old song which had been played live for a number of years.
I'm Waking Up to Us
This record was released later the same year. It was also perfomed by the band on Later With Jools Holland.
The cover features Sarah Martin, plus pooch, the back cover features Isobel Campbell plus pooch and there’s a photo of Richard and Colburn, plus pooch inside the inlay card. The car which appears in all three photos belonged to Stuart Murdoch. Max was sold on eBay last year, and the money was donated to charity.
The other songs on this record are the swinging I Love My Car featuring Dave Wilson & The Uptown Shufflers, and the delicate Marx & Engels, which finishes with a very nice piano solo.
This was the soundtrack to the film of the same name. Storytelling the movie was released in 2001. The soundtrack was not released until about a year later.
The song The State That I Am In from Tigermilk and Dog on Wheels is included in the film, but a lot of the songs on the actual Storytelling album didn’t make it into the film.
Because it is a soundtrack, a lot of the tracks are instrumentals. The music is also interspersed with short clips from the film. There are some very pretty songs on this album but I think I would like it better without the dialogue from the film.
The Best Looking Boys Are Taken
She wouldn't look back. Ahead of her was the future, and, having a future,
it seemed churlish to ignore it.
Such dreams. She often thought it was those that marked her out - a Strange One, the mothers said. What the kids said was less kind, but she was learning not to expect kindness from people. Or, not from these people anyway. Perhaps someone, somewhere, far away..
Just in time, she jumped back from the kerb as, under the wheels of a
passing bus, a puddle became a fountain. She glared at the driver as he
laughed, and she thought of the boy at school who dreamed of being a bus
driver and, even now, spent all his days sitting on the back of a number 11,
going round and round, in a never-decreasing circle.
Less like a boy.
Above her, the streetlamp flickered. The rest were broken: children - younger than her - and stones, or bricks, or bottles. Everyone was hard, everyone was untouchable and frightening and protected against everybody else. She would leave them behind.
Except him, perhaps. She tried to think of other things but he kept coming back:
'Judy... I don't know you'
Oh, but he did. Better than anyone. She already felt like she'd shown him everything, but it was only a song, a stupid song. It meant nothing, just like all the thoughts in her head. The thoughts that the tablets were supposed to stop.
Except...she hadn't taken them. She reached in her pockets and fingered one, and left it there. It was tempting, but it felt too easy, too unbelievable. If it was going to work, it had to be harder than that.
Her secret. She'd go to the doctor's and she'd tell them how well she was doing, how calm she felt these days and how the dreams didn't trouble her any more and -
How could he say he didn't know her?
What did he want? It was so easy to tell with the other boys.
She'd had that, the other boys. That was the past. Ahead was the future. She kept telling herself this, and hoped that at some point she'd be able to believe it.
Past the posh houses on the corner where the new girl lived: tall and elegant and already widely loved She considered stopping by, and saying hello, just to see the shock on the face of her prospective host.
But no... the next morning... all around the school: ' I don't know. She
was just standing there on my doorstep, looking at me as if she thought I
was going to ask her IN'...
Ahead, a light gleamed faintly behind trees. Saint Theresa's - the churchyard looked safe and forgiving, but she knew better and kept walking. She still remembered the day she'd found herself outside, pulling frantically at the door handle, crying, and knowing inside that it had to be locked. These things were always locked.
She lit the cigarette, fought the urge to retch as the smoke hit the back of her throat, and put it out again. She didn't know why she liked to pretend.
They said she shouldn't think the things she did. Not at her age. The dreams had to stop. She didn't tell them they'd got the dreams all wrong.
Tomorrow, she would talk to him. She didn't know what she was going to say, but she would tell him. And, if he had nothing to say to her in return, she'd give up on the books and learning and she would catch the first train heading North.
'SQUAWK! LONDON....YEAH LONDON!'
Silently, she cursed the parrot on her shoulder. She wished she knew where it had come from.
The star above lit the way as she walked. She wouldn't look back.
Ahead of her was the future.
Sobbing Murdoch Does A Bruno
"Hello. I'm looking for Stuart Murdoch."
"Murdoch. Stuart Murdoch."
"He e-mailed me. Told me to meet him here. Stuart Murdoch. He sings in a band." "A band? Hmmm…There was a man in earlier on. Pale, skinny, ginger hair…looks like he could do with a good meal and a makeover." Librarians these days. All style, no substance…
"Aye! That's him! Is he still here?"
"I haven't seen him leave, no."
"So he must be-"
"Here. I'm here. Are you Paul?"
He looked pretty much as I remembered, as I imagined him.
"Sorry about that" he said, offering his hand "had to nip to the bog."
"Adding to the collection of your ten biggest wanks eh?" I laughed at the obvious wealth of my own witty repartee. He didn't.
"I get nervous doing interviews" he said "it's like being on a first date, except in the back of your mind you kinda know it's an only date and that, in all probability, you'll probably never see the other person again."
"Stuart, get your hand off my leg."
"What? Oh, er, sorry. It's the whole first date thing."
"You do THAT on a first date."
"I take my chances. Especially when it's also our last 'date' too, so to speak."
"Stuart, I'm not shagging you."
"I know. It's just.."
"And you're not even gay! Get a grip man. No! Not there! I mean. Look this is getting us nowhere. Tell me about your music or something. Please!"
"I'm sorry. I mean…look, I haven't had a sniff, as it were, in many a month. I've been submerged under that whole Belle and Sebastian thing. Being squeezed into a sweaty single bed with Stevie Jackson- who farts and snores like a trooper by the way- has taken it's toll on me. I do miss Isobel."
"Miss Isobel must be a pretty bad lay if you are coming onto a male reporter."
"No, I mean Isobel Campbell. She was in the band once. She used to breathe huskily into a microphone. We had great fun trying to decipher what it was she was actually getting all husky about, especially at the live shows. I miss her."
"Hang on; You're telling me that you missed someone who's only task was to breathe in an indecipherably husky manner into a microphone?"
"She played cello too. Once."
"Oh come on Stuart."
"And she smelt nice."
"She smelt nice?"
"Yes. Like morning dew on a mountain top."
"You ever smelt morning dew on a mountain top?"
"Well, no, but.."
"It smells of wee. And sheep's dung. And it's pollen plays havoc with your hay fever."
"She didn't smell of wee…"
"Tell me about your band….Stuart. Stuart! Stuart?" Stuart was quietly sobbing, leaning against a pillar between 'Philanthropy' and 'Philosophy'.
"There! You've got your story now. I can see the fuckin' headlines. 'Sobbing Murdoch does a Bruno' or something."
"When did you do Bru…I mean, look…none of this need go any further."
"It's been nothing but stress, Paul. I dunno. I blame the Rough Trade thing. Some A&R exec apparently told them we sounded like the Smiths."
"Talk about getting ideas above your station."
"I know, I know…We just went along with it at first. We thought the whole Smiths thing would die away. I mean, we only ever wanted to be 'KC and the Sunshine Band'…"
"You're not far off."
"Sometimes I wish we were all still at Stow."
"So do I…Look, we don't have much time."
"I know. I'm really sorry about all this."
"It's ok" I sighed "I've had worse interviewees. Arab Strap tied my ear to my ankle with barbed wire."
"Just tell me about your band Stuart."
"Well, my name's Stuart Murdoch and I am in a band called Belle and Sebastian…."
That much is true…
EDITOR'S NOTE: Members of B&S were replaced with fictionary stunt doubles and none of the band were harmed during the making of this interview.
Belle and Sebastian Memories
#1 The first and only time I ever saw them live - it was Rotterdam, last year. The sense of thrill, the sense of excitement, straining closer to the stage, a bag full of merchandising clutched tight. The lights went down. and from the darkness came the plaintive wail of a harmonica. Some of the band were still sauntering on stage. Other instruments joined in - it was "Fuck this Shit". And then, just what I'd hoped: the trememdous opening bars of "Dirty Dream" - and it just got better.
My favourite part though - introducing the string section, Stuart paused and said (to one of them): "But you speak Dutch, don't you? Come up and say something!"
And she replied: "No, but I speak Afrikaans!" But the Dutch would understand her, and so I went across the globe to see my favourite band - and somehow fate conspired so that Stuart got someone to greet me (who else then?) in my own, obscure home-language! Glowing would be far too vague a term!
#2 I remember receiving "Fold your hands child." through the post, my first album, and without having really heard anything from the badn, except rumours they were great. As it happened, it arrived the morning after my final breakup with the girl I've loved the mostest. She was an art-student, and I cried myself to sleep (and awake again in the morning) to The Model for a week: "And with this chance I've missed, I feel remiss/ It's days and months before I'll see you again."
It was the days before tigermilk was re-released. Said album was like gold dust and extortionate amounts of money were changing hands for cassette copies. I, a self confessed obsessive... (not obsessed about anything in particular but whatever takes my fancy at a specific moment) stepped in a second hand record shop. The astute among you may have made guesses about what I was about to find, you may be on the right lines, for the rest of you I will take things slowly, and if you are in the mood to keep reading you will catch up. So my first port of call, as it it still is now, was of course the B's... more specifically as the astute will have guessed the section containing Belle and Sebastian. I thumbed through the CDs... the familiar well loved covers of Eps and Albums until i stopped. Slightly stunned. The cover said it clearly enough: "Tigermilk" but how could this be? I held the CD up to what little light there was in the dimly lit shop and if I had been a cartoon I'm sure my jaw would have hit the ground. The price ticket said import £17.99 . I was suspicious.
I was also very low in funds, my cheque book in pocket my only possible hope, but I was unsure whether this shop would take cheques. Especially those from students with a guilty look in there eyes from knowing their bank has recently declared them to be insufficient in funds to withdraw so much as 10p. I ventured forward, CD clutched in sweating hand, and enquired boldly. It seemed that my cheque would do just fine as long as it was accompanied by cash card of some sort. The excitment and guilt overcame me slightly as i hurried home. My first listen of this illicit album!
The room was yellow from an unusually fine April day, dust was visible in the sunlight, across the road people sat on their doorsteps taking in the good weather. It seemed the whole world knew this day was special and as I played the CD for the first time I knew the guilt had been worth it. A memory of the moment created was there and then amidst the falling dust. I knew I would look back on it often like a treasured possession. A few days later and wearing dark glasses (a precautionary step only) I re-entered the magical little shop. My ritual repeated I flicked through the Bs and stared lovingly at the familiar faces contained within. Including one with a little £17.99- import price tag. I smiled thinking about the next person whose life it would change...
I'd liked Belle and Sebastian for a while beforehand, but the Big Intro came at the Bowlie festival in 1999. Clutching my taped copy-of-a-copy of the then-unavailable Tigermilk, a Luna album and my '.....Sinister' CD...oh, and an economy-sized pack of beer, I accompanied my friends Sam and Sarah to the festival at Camber Sands.
We didn't know much about the band at the time so, when some people entered our chalet on the first night and asked if this was where the party was, we thought we'd just be friendly and said...yes, why not? They came in, had some beer, listened to some music. We were all quite drunk, talking crap... I asked them who they had come to see, apart from Belle and Sebastian, of course, and wondered why some of them sniggered. Later on that weekend, I found out why when we went to see the headliners and one of the people from our chalet on that friday night was on stage, playing the trumpet.
But that's not the memory. Its A memory, but not THE memory. That comes from later in the weekend. The sunday, I think. We had been at the beach all day, drinking red wine, smoking a little, doing handstands on the sand, making castles - these are unusual things for Birmingham kids. I was born by the sea, I always feel a pull to it. It makes me feel more calm, and yet more alive - and I'll never be able to explain it better than that, so I won't try now.
I suppose I was feeling that sea-feeling this day, after we'd finished our handstands. Sam had brought a little tape player with her. We had called it 'Fury' (you had to be there..I think) and we went for a paddle to the sounds of the Looper album, their first one - the one you bought.. and, for some reason, we started dancing. 'The Ballad Of Ray Suzuki' came on - a crazed bit of sampling, with the line 'you're a bunch of loopers' repeated over the top again and again, and we jumped around to it like maniacs, rewinding the tape over and over again when it finished and playing it again, and dancing some more. The sea was freezing, this being England in April, and the spray went all over us, and for a moment we forgot ourselves. It was one of those moments that come so rarely. Spontaneous, marvellous and completely unforgettable. When me and Sam talk about happy moments now, that's always one that springs to mind. The sun shone, thinly, pulling away from the day. The people on the beach took no notice, wrapped up in their own happy worlds. Sarah had a plaster-cast on her arm, but danced anyway. For the rest of that day we shouted 'you're a bunch of LOOPERS' at each other, and collapsed in laughter at our own wit every time we did so.
It'll never just be a song, its a place and time. It is Good friends, before life overtook us and me and Sam, remaining good friends, ended up in different cities. And its red wine, and handstands on a beach. And, most of all, its dancing in the freezing water, fully clothed, and not giving a hoot about anyone who might be watching us.