Issue #51 - Belle and Sebastian Special! - October 10th - 16th

Sister Janice Sulks
"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…
By Belle

Belle and Sebastian - an Irreverent Who's Who to the songs + Back Catalogue
A well-rounded girl with a slight speech impediment, who first had the misfortune to be deluged with a long boring sob-story about a story which turned out not be much of a story anyway, since nothing really happened, and then, for her pains, got to be described as a barely-intelligible whale by her so-called "friend".
By JohaN and Grainne Lynch

The Best Looking Boys Are Taken
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..
By Ian Anscombe

Sobbing Murdoch Does A Bruno
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…
By Paul Williamson

Belle and Sebastian Memories
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?

 

 

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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).

please help!

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

 

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Belle and Sebastian - an Irreverent Who's Who to the songs + Back Catalogue

Anthony: ("Lord Anthony", "If You're Feeling Sinister")
The Cheshire cat of the two-fingered salute - and the none-too-toothy smile: it'll happen if you just won't listen when they tell you to shut your mouth and kick the damn ball. Kick, boy, kick. That means feet! Although created a Lord by popular opinion, if not demand, cursory descriptions of sartorial habits point to "queen" as a more appropriate title. Still, got a lot more than he had coming, although lucky not to burn down the damn gym. Ended up by taking Pascal's wager on the delights of the hereafter: having become terminally sick of the transience of feelings, and of Wednesdays, he turned his back and walked the other way, away from home.

Belle: ("My Wandering Days Are Over", "Belle And Sebastian")
Infamous for turning a strait-laced square like SEBASTIAN into a patent danger on the roads, she was last seen reclining on a piano in a Japanese restaurant. There she made amends for her previous road-safety record by making the eponymous narrator pack in his wandering days. If Belle = 'Bel, it becomes clear why a grand piano and none of your standard barstools was required to accommodate her legendary behind, about which mysterious rumours of alleged sightings abound in circles electronic.

Bobby: ("Nice Day For A Sulk")
Dr. Belfast Bobby Kildea, of all-round Rock'n'Rollness, I presume? Next time you feel like buying him a drink, be sure to throw in a life-preserver too!

Chelsea: ("She's Losing It")
Most people rinse the dishwashing liquid from their cups, but not our Chelsea. This habitual oversight is perhaps exacerbated by the fact that out Chels is NOT a morning person, sometimes not functioning much before four o'clock. But then, she'd never had a good start to life. Abuse at an early age, started a snowball which led from a simple change of heart in matters metaphysical down a long road of juvenile delinquency to culminate in a reputation for senseless violence and hell-raising all-night parties. All of this is redeemed however, by her school-hopping devotion to LISA, whom she picked as partner after an exhaustive "weighing up" of options, and not doubt embarrassing, measuring comparisons.

Chris: ("Seymour Stein")
"Beans" to his friends, but little more than a snazzy dresser and Johnny Marr clone to the record industry at large, as represented by one SEYMOUR STEIN.

Doris: ("Expectations")
Your supervisor - will boss you round when in lingerie. Hey, is it just me, or does that sound kinky?

Elvis: ("A Century Of Elvis")
After successfully baffling generations of critics with even the basic "animal, vegetable or mineral" question, was last seen, not working in a 7/11 in downtown Carrot Creek, Minnesota, but bothering the diligent Glaswegian postal services. Not renowned as a conversationalist - though presumably a good listener - Elvis is apt to take liberties when visiting, though he does not require much in the way of hospitality. If you think he's you're dad - well, HE'S NOT okay, just deal with it!

Emma: ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song")
Unsuccessful abscondee with a touchingly naïve belief in the service-ethos of major airlines - for which, read "disastrous planner": a brief litany would reveal - lack of budgeting, arbitrary choice of destination and neglect of mode of transport. Add to this proficiency in the martial arts, and eagerness to use on friend and foe alike, and we're NOT talking "great traveling companion" here. Stresse-elle?. Toujours!

Hilary: ("If You're Feeling Sinister")
Anyone who tries to combine kinky sex and church-groups is off to a rather bad start, but back that up with a distinct lack of scintillating conversation, and you're really off to a bad start. Cue our Hillary. finally found something to say, only to be misunderstood by a priest - and they're trained to listen aren't they? Having gone uphill to the church, there was - alas - only one way left for her to go. Deconstructing her identity televisually was only the first step, and then the remnants just walked away. R.I.P. (And the moral of the story is: whatever you do: DON'T go and see a minister. Sometimes things are more fun on your own.)

Jane: cf. (Lazy Line Painter) Jane.

Jean: cf. "(String Bean) Jean"

Jenny: cf. (Photo)Jenny.

Jo: cf. (String Bean) Jean

Johnny: ("Slow Graffiti")
A proto-feminist who contributed his part to a re-definition of gender-roles around the home, Johnny finally got all confused and regressed to the foetal position. Not even his best attempt at a Dorian Gray-like portrait could save him from the process of aging, as can be seen by his penchant for household maintenance at the expense of his girlfriend's fun.

Joseph: ("Beyond The Sunrise")
Drunk and drowsy and ready to sleep, Joseph, journeyman who hasn't hear of travellin' light, lay about all around the place - only to fall into the company of loose women. Let that be a lesson to you! (What's the moral of the story again?)

Judy: ("Rollercoaster Ride", "Judy And The Dream Of Horses", "Judy Is A Dickslap")
Early ripen, early rot, so my mother used to say. A teenage rebel with no direction, Judy at one time or another experimented with songwriting, books and learning, scholarly ambition, puzzle-building and groupie-striptease (heh?). An undercover reader, she is famous chiefly for falling asleep all over the place, dreaming equine dreams, and turning them into a series of songs whenever the blues strike. Only later did she discover the joys of pharmaceuticals, taking her large-pocketed coat for endless jaunts up and down the road, waiting for the best looking boys to poke their noses outside, so she can shaft 'em with her bows and arrows. This seem to have led - inevitably - to her own confinement indoors, from where she was a passive witness to the cleverdick girl grabbing all the boys. But it's alright - she's only happy when it rains.

Laura: ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song")
Met EMMA the day it all came together - her horoscope, her birthday: an ideal day for an idyll in the park indeed. She took Emma by the hand. hang on, is this 1995? Are the girls just friends? (Mmh - wrong song.)

(Lazy Line Painter) Jane: ("Lazy Line Painter Jane")
Bit-part slave to the working week, she had to get out, she ran for miles in a fashion-statement, going far too far again, all the way to being brutal, and past it to the comfort of the bus-stop, where it's time to sleep. You got to be fresh to pick up boys on the late bus, you see. With those sort of arrangements, it's perhaps not surprising to note Jane's acquaintance with the women of the night. Tempting - money for free and your boys for free. But then you have to aim to please. and what to do about that dose of thrush? If only there was a Boots close by - they always seem to have the answer, somewhere! What was she thinking, licking those railings. if that's REALLY all she did! Perhaps she should phone her mom - if only she had a coin to flip - but she's skint. She's going to have to re-consider her name. and what she's going to do about it.

Lisa: ("Beautiful", "The Model", "She's Losing It", "Like Dylan In The Movies")
Tenderly she turned the light off in her room. She put on some pure easy-listening music, kicked off the othopaedic shoes - note to self: NOT a success! - and settled down on the pillow soft. She lay in bed all night watching the colours change, thinking about the best sex she ever had, with that blind boy she'd met at the party, and how she'd blindfolded herself to see what it would be like. She thought about the irony that she was turning blind too, that it could all have been stopped simply by taking the stupid pill.) She thought too about all the crazy things she'd done - about her experiments in photography, the youthful flirtation with pornography, with lesbianism. Even tonight, she'd walked home alone through the park, though she knew she shouldn't. She regretted the little hell-raiser she had been. (She blamed CHELSEA though - that girl really was no good influence. But then - she'd been worth the trouble and she'd been worth the pain; if they could both go back to another time, she would do the same again). If only she had someone to talk to, some way to make sense. If only there was a documentary on Radio 4 - if she heard it, somehow this would all make sense. She watched the morning change. she lay in bed and watched the morning change to green and gold. She was tired of sleeping.

Lord Antony: cf. "Anthony".

Mary Jo: ("Mary Jo")
Yet another Sapphic in the fold, it seems MJ has ended up a lonely and drunken spinster pining away in melancholy insomnia for all the men that - you have to say - she treated pretty shabbily when younger. But with dreams so small, you almost wish their fulfillment in the form of a trailer-trash ham.

Michael: ("My Wandering Days Are Over")
Bloody useless boy who apparently can't even change a light-bulb for himself. What more do you need to know?

Phil: ("String Bean Jean")
Apparently "Phil" as in Phillipa, she lives with STRING BEAN JEAN in a feelgood house that's rather like a caravan, with a king-size bathtub built for three.

(Photo) Jenny: ("Photo Jenny")
Terminally confused, or a Hermaphrodite - you take your pick. I've given up. Certainly not a sight sore eyes in popular opinion, she has a certain je ne sais qua: star-quality perhaps?

Richard: ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song")
Strong-arm man and general Rock'n Roller in the band. Ladies & Gents, I give you Mr. Richaaaaaaard Colburn!

Sebastian: ("Put The Book Back On The Shelf", "Belle And Sebastian", "My Wandering Days Are Over")
He had a dream, and he followed it; he left his school he left his job - but became neither king or queen of the hipsters. No sir, all he achieved was to crash his car in the rain, and clear every dance-floor he approached. No wonder he's too bashful to look you in the face. No wonder he's determined to turn all this into a book again (his first one was a flop - everyone thought it was a shame about the singer belle and the boy Sebastian, but no-one bought it either. Then again, it was a crib from some spooky witch in a sexy dress in the first place). If I can slip in a word of advice or two: don't go with all this introspection; look around a little, take an interest - take it easy in the rain. Love and care, and don't worry what those sassy lassies think. Please, listen to what I say! 'Cos things are going wrong your own way.

Seymour Stein: ("Seymour Stein")
Record company man with a penchant for dinner parties, and Johnny Marr on his mind, he has been known to lure innocent highland lassies away from Dundee on lighting trips criss-cross the USA with promises of fame, promises of fortune, but still won't even lay out for a limousine. Style, Mr. Stein, does not come cheap!. Might as well send her back to me.

Stevie: ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song")
Bespectacled guitar-maestro, armed with Fender Telecaster, more reverb than is reasonable, and a satchel full of good intentions.

(String Bean) Jean: ("String Bean Jean")
Real name: Jo. Address: The only caravan-like house, above the caf'. Close friends: housemate PHIL, and an unnamed bath-companion ('nuff said). Pets: presumably a dog-on-wheels, and the odd well-fed tiger-puppy. Looks: great. Financial status: unstable, but thrifty. Likes: the odd movie, a bath, that sort of thing. Neurosis: well, let's face it, she's half-anorexic, isn't she? I mean: 7-8 years old. that IS pretty small!

Stuart ("This Is Just A Modern Rock Song", "A Century of Elvis", "You Made Me Forget My Dreams[?]")
The eternal question: which one is it? At least we know which one's the rocket scientist, but who keeps count of foxes when he's jumping over fences? Is it the troglodyte who only leaves the house to buy his grog? So many mysteries, so few clues.

Tony: cf. "Anthony".

Veronica: ("Expectations")
A well-rounded girl with a slight speech impediment, who first had the misfortune to be deluged with a long boring sob-story about a story which turned out not be much of a story anyway, since nothing really happened, and then, for her pains, got to be described as a barely-intelligible whale by her so-called "friend". Honestly, as if that's just reward for sticking up for someone. Just don't do it, kids - It ain't worth it.

JohaN 

(More by this author)

Belle and Sebastian - an Irreverent Who's Who to the songs + Back Catalogue

 

Tigermilk

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.

 

Legal Man

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.

 

Jonathon David

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.

 

Storytelling

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.

 

Gráinne Lynch 

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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.
She fumbled in her pockets for a cigarette, lifting it to her mouth and leaving it there. She didn't like to smoke, but she liked the reassurance, and the solidity, and the fact that it wouldn't clear off the next morning, leaving her with only her dreams.

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.
She thought of his eyes, and his mouth and she thought that she should never have showed him her song. Boys were useless at keeping quiet. And yet this one felt different, warmer, softer.

Less like a boy.
But, yet, not quite like a girl either.

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.

She would.

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'...
No. She didn't need that. She didn't need them. Let them stay inside, she'd rather be alone.

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.

Or South.

'London....yeah, London'

'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.

Ian Anscombe

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Sobbing Murdoch Does A Bruno


"Hello. I'm looking for Stuart Murdoch."

"Stuart who?"

"Murdoch. Stuart Murdoch."

"WHO?"

"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."

"You too?"

"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…

Paul Williamson

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.

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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."

JohaN

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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...

Rachel Queen

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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.

Ian Anscomb

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