Put the Book Back on the Shelf


Belle and Sebastian: Just a Modern Rock Story, by Paul Whitelaw – This book details the career of the Scottish band from their formation until the time it was written, when Dear Catastrophe Waitress was their newest album. It was interesting to read, because I’ve liked Belle and Sebastian for several years now, but I really didn’t know a whole lot about the history and the personalities involved. I have to say that reading about bands make me think there’s no better way to get people to despise each other than putting them in a band together. Really, though, considering the somewhat haphazard way B&S came together in the first place, what’s surprising isn’t so much that they’ve lost two founding members (Stuart David and Isobel Campbell), but that all the others have stuck with it. I also found the fact that they were able to rise to relative musical prominence without doing so much of the usual promotional stuff (in the early days, anyway; Stuart Murdoch has apparently softened on such things in recent years) to be somewhat inspirational. Even in the modern era over business-over-everything, it’s apparently still possible to succeed through talent and hard work instead of kissing record company arse. As for the writing style, it was mostly pretty good, but I can’t say I really got what Whitelaw was going for with the little introductory stories at the beginning and end of some of the chapters. I guess he was trying to ape the style of the band’s liner notes, but it came off as a bit pretentious to me. The author also drifted into opinionated rants occasionally, like when made a big deal out of how he didn’t feel the “twee” label, apparently very commonly applied to B&S in the United Kingdom if not so much here in the States, was appropriate. I can’t say I disagree with the guy, though.

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2 Responses to Put the Book Back on the Shelf

  1. vilajunkie says:

    On my old LJ account (a different one from my current one that I don’t use anymore), I think I had a picture of Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) reading a “Belle & Sebastian” book as an icon. If so, the title of the book was “Put the Book Back on the Shelf”. :)

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