33 1/3 Part 26


Belle and Sebastian -‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ (Jeepster, 1996)

I once told a (perhaps understandably rather incredulous) member of Aberfeldy that Belle & Sebastian were one of the reasons I moved to Scotland. An overstatement? Well, not much of one, and it served as an important introduction for the band for me.

I hadn’t heard Tigermilk when this came out, towards the end of my first term at University. Not many copies of the 1,000 pressed had made it down to London, so when a friend at university played this for me, I was somewhat hooked. Thanks for that, Ben.

I recorded, and and took it home for the winter holidays. During that holidays I took my brother to his first gig (The Cure –quelle surprise), but the musical memory of this time is listening to this album almost on repeat. I’d heard twee-pop before in many guises, but coming at a time when the musical goliaths, for better or worse, were Britpop, The Spice Girls, and drum’n’bass, this was something totally different.

I fell hook, line and sinker for them.I’ve bought pretty much every single, EP and album as they have come out, even if it took me a while to see them live. On a visit to Scotland in 2000, I was briefly introduced to guitarist Stevie Jackson in Fopp on Byres Road, which is there to this day (the shop, not Stevie Jackson). A couple of years later I was even privileged to go round to his flat with a mutual friend 9thanks Sandy!), where he played me a track from the then-forthcoming Storytelling LP ‘Fuck this Shit.’ And awed as I was, I even managed not to make an idiot of myself. The only thing that disappointed me was that the stories on the sleeves of the back of the records weren’t true (!).

THe occasion when I did make an idiot of myself involved the drummer in a bar in Glasgow in 2004. Several pints down, having been introudced by the same mutual friend (and chatted up the woman who’d directed The Delgados’ ‘No Danger’ video) I took it upon myself to raise something with the drummer. ”ere, that track on your new album [‘Stay Loose’ from Dear Catastrophe Waitress], are you f**in’ takin’ the PISS out of Elvis Costello or what?’ Sorry mate. I gave up drinking a few years later.

This is just a gorgeous, gorgeous album. There others have been great, too, but this is the one for me. And is it any worse to move to another place for a band than a girl (or boy))?

Belle and Sebastian -‘The Stars Of Track And Field.’ mp3

Belle and Sebastian -‘Fox In the Snow.’ mp3

Belle & Sebastian

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