Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I'll Only Pick A Book For The Way It Looks

If this is the case then "Belle and Sebastian: Just A Modern Rock Story" by Paul Whitelaw would definitely catch my attention with a cover and binding ignoring a shiny slipcover and going for a style where the page edges aren't finished, giving the book the look of something you'd pick up in a musty used bookstore not your local Barnes & Noble.

At first, the idea of a Belle and Sebastian biography seemed slightly strange to me, surely the band haven't done enough to warrant a book? However, once you start reading the book it beecomes apparent they have, it was just that the band have kept the drama and tensions far away from the public, or in this case the NME's, prying eyes. This means that instead of the normal music biography, cobbled together from press releases and magazine clippings, the author, Whitelaw, tells a history of the band gathered from interviews with almost everyone involved inlcuding departed members Stuart David and Isobel Campbell. The repsonses to his questions throughout appear extremely candid and Whitelaw himself, although showing a deep love for the band and their music, is not afraid to criticise them or some of their records. Although at times the band members themselves are their own greatest critics.

The main undercurrent of the book is Stuart Murdoch's relationship with Isobel, which at times led to the band almost breaking up, and his struggle to involve the other band members more while retaining his vision of what the band should do. This is handled very well by Whitelaw who doesn't turn Campbell into a scapegoat for the band's struggles, but allows all the parties to state their case. Filled with pictures the band members have provided, a full discography of releases, radio & TV appearences and all those cover versions they've played (and a handful of typos!!) this is a book most fans of the band will get a wealth of insight from.

To tie in with this today's downloads are two songs from the band's Peel session in 2001 and if you follow the link below to the webpage devoted to the book you'll find the chance to win an iPod along with links to purchase the book itself.

The webpage for the book can be found here

1 comment:

spuckle said...

Good tunes, one of the B&S sessions I don't have actually.

Might even buy this book....