B&S ON SUNDAYS (8)

Belle_&_Sebastian_-_Step_Into_My_Office,_Baby

From wiki:-

“Step Into My Office, Baby” is a song by Belle & Sebastian, released as their first single for Rough Trade Records in 2003. The track was produced by Trevor Horn and is lifted from Dear Catastrophe Waitress – the first of the band’s singles or EPs to also feature on an album. The front cover features band member Bobby Kildea with Roxanne Clifford (later of Veronica Falls) and Hannah Robinson.

Interesting that the move to a larger indie label saw the band move away from the tradition of keeping singles and album tracks separate; Indeed, it’s worth recalling that the single was released a full six weeks after the album,and so must have been part of a strategy to drive up sales beyond those of the loyal fan base. I suppose it’s part of the price to pay for being allowed to work with such a big name producer as Trevor Horn, a move that was a worry to many long-term fans who feared the unique sound of the band would somehow be forever lost. But what did the reviewers make of it all??

From allmusic:-

“Step Into My Office, Baby” is the lead single from Belle & Sebastian’s fine 2003 record Dear Catastrophe Waitress. Produced by Trevor Horn, the song is the most produced B&S song, with shifting moods and sounds, veering from bouncy, almost glitter rhythms to weepy string sections.

It is a stunning song, easily one of their best. The other two songs on the EP are very good as well, certainly good enough to be included on the album. “Love on the March” is a sweet bossa nova ballad with many cute ba-ba-bas and the usual pithy lyrics, and “Desperation Made a Fool of Me” is a laid-back piano with stately piano and a wistful vocal from the ever graceful Stuart Murdoch. The disc also contains the very funny video for “Step Into My Office, Baby” as a bonus. Belle & Sebastian have always released very high-quality singles and this is no exception.

So there you have it…a thumbs up from the critics and a thumbs-up too from the long-time fan. Yup, it was totally different from the older material but it was great to hear the band having the confidence to make such great strides forwards. It would have been easy enough to go synthetic on the sound but nope, this was the full-blown orchestral backing with 22 additional musicians involved. And that wouldn’t have been a cheap day in the studio.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Step Into My Office, Baby
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Love On The March
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Desperation Made A Fool Of Me

The single stalled at #32 in the charts. A reasonably good showing for a B&S effort, but I’m sure a source of disappointment for the team at Rough Trade who had staked so much on the band.

B&S ON SUNDAYS (7)

ImWakingUpToUs

From wiki:-

“I’m Waking Up to Us” is a song by Belle & Sebastian, released as a single/EP on Jeepster in 2001. The track saw the band work with another producer besides usual collaborator Tony Doogan for the first time – Mike Hurst, former member of The Springfields and producer of Petula Clark and Cat Stevens.

The front cover features band member Sarah Martin and a beagle.

The all music review:-

The worry was that Belle & Sebastian had settled into a comfortable, premature middle age — treading water in their tried and true, admittedly pleasant formula but slowly relinquishing their potential to greatly move us. That notion is hereby dispelled, nay, smashed to smithereens by this wonderful piece of art.

“I’m Waking Up to Us” is the matter that striking pop is made up of, like a golden Bacharach staple, where sharp acoustic guitars, a chiming lead, supple bass, resonant background violins, agreeable piano, and a trio of bassoon, oboe, and flute cameos combine to supply the perfect tuneful four-minute pop song. Having drawn us in like sorcerers to this lush, tantalizing, but precarious concoction, Stuart Murdoch delivers one of his most sterling and memorable vocal performances, perfectly timed to correspond to an equally accomplished set of direct-feeling words. He was always a vigorous poet, but he outdoes even himself here, impressively turning a superb firsthand soul-search into regretful acidity. This is the sort of rich lyrical complexity, with the unfolding hook of narrative like a great film, that top shelf ’60s pop once trafficked in — but no longer cares a rats ass to deliver.

And it doesn’t stop there, on the two other non-LP B-sides. “I Love My Car” is a sublime one-two quarter-note rhythm step meeting both a playful feel, and an equally frilly, intoxicated lyric highlighted by a clever Beach Boys tribute. Then, as a fitting closer, “Marx and Engels” is another lithe piano-led pretty-gem, the kind that made this U.K. collective cult-famous. It’s yet three more minutes of pure bliss, punctuated by a sumptuous turn on the ivories at the close. You’ll never see this on an LP, but that just makes it more of a must purchase.

The band was augmented on the lead song by twelve violins, three violas, a bassoon, an oboe and a flute, while I Love My Car has a jazz/skiffle band on board with banjo, trumpet, trombone, clarinet and sousaphone all put to good use. The end result is one of the best of their singles/EPs and one which was deserving of a much higher chart position than #39.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – I’m Waking Up To Us
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – I Love My Car
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Marx and Engels

I’m Waking Up To Us is surely one of the nastiest lyrics of all time. Stuart Murdoch and Isobel Campbell‘s romantic relationship had run its course although she was still an essential part of the band. So he pens a song about things not working out and gets the subject matter of the song to play on it. It was an act of real cruelty and I’m sure Isobel was pretty humiliated by it all.

You could even extend it to the b-side where the lyric talks of loving cars, cats and dogs but not the human being in the song……

I suppose Isobel got her revenge the following year by quitting the band in the middle of an important tour of the USA and putting the frontman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

B&S ON SUNDAYS (6)

Belle_&_Sebastian_-_Jonathan_David
From wiki:-

“Jonathan David” is a single released by Belle & Sebastian on Jeepster in 2001. The lead track gets its name from the biblical duo of Jonathan and David, while “The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner” is a reference to Alan Sillitoe’s short story “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” The front cover features band members Mick Cooke and Bobby Kildea with Gill Dodds. All three tracks from the single were later collected on the Push Barman to Open Old Wounds compilation. The title track was the band’s first single to feature lead vocals from guitarist Stevie Jackson.

The allmusic review:-

The B&S railroad rebounds from that mess of unforeseen mediocrity, the “Legal Man” EP. Perhaps it’s hard to carp at a group that’s restored the lost Brit tradition of “all exclusive tracks” EPs (making them like Buzzcocks, the Smiths, or Mega City Four in that regard), as opposed to LP singles with rip-off B-sides on two separate CDs. But “Legal Man” mixed an advanced sense of humor with… shockingly zero musical inspiration. So, hurrah, these three tunes tap back into this bunch’s pumping artery of graceful, sonorous songcraft. Perhaps “Jonathan David” should have been sung by superior talent Stuart Murdoch, but its piano-driven brooding chords (enhanced by an eerie church organ) support a sterling melody more arresting than anything off Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant. Great Zombies-inspired a cappella harmony bridge, too! Then, when Murdoch retakes the mike on the oddly titled “Take Your Carriage Clock and Shove It,” he trills over deep orchestral violins, cellos, and sweet country lap steel that float like carefree balloons, making old fans swoon the world over. Finally, the similarly excellent, more bouncy/jaunty “The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner” wins official release at last.

Readers from last week will know that I disagree strongly with the above reviewer as I thought, and still do, that Legal Man was a tremendous single. And I disagree too with the view that Jonathan David was a return to form. And that’s primarily down to the fact that Stevie Jackson‘s attempts at lead vocal have tended to grate over all the years. Yup, its a fine tune but I don’t listen to it very often.

The other two songs though really are worth it. Carriage Clock is a lovely lament about the futility of devoting your life to the factory or office while Middle Distance Runner is something of a lost 45 in my opinion. It was a song that had been around for a while, including if my memory serves me correctly, a live performance on TV about a year or maybe as much as 18 months prior to its release.0

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Jonathan David
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Take Your Carriage Clock and Shove It
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner

The song reached #31 in the UK charts; not as high as Legal Man but still very respectable given there was hardly any radio play.

B&S ON SUNDAYS (5)

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From wiki:-

“Legal Man” is a single released by Belle & Sebastian on Jeepster Records in 2000. The title track also features Jonny Quinn (on congas), Rozanne Suarez (on vocals) and The Maisonettes (on vocals). The cover features band members Stevie Jackson and Isobel Campbell along with Adrienne Payne and Rozanne Suarez. All three tracks from the single were later collected on the Push Barman to Open Old Wounds compilation. The track became their highest charting single up to that point, reaching #15 in the UK singles chart. They also made their debut on Top of the Pops to perform this song.

The two B-side tracks are notable for their historical significance; “Judy Is a Dick Slap” is the first instrumental released by the band, while “Winter Wooskie” is the third and final lead vocal from former bass player Stuart David, who left the band in 2000. Initially a demo, the track was completed by the other members after David’s departure as a farewell gesture.

The review from all music:-

I must admit that I have no idea what a “Legal Man” is-a pimp, a policeman, a meter maid? I’m clueless. This knowledge, however, is not necessary to enjoying this single. “Legal Man” find Belle and Sebastian picking up on the 60’s pop sound of “Lazy Line Painter Jane” complete with backing female vocalists The Maisonettes and, strangely, a sitar. An odd combination, but it works. The second track “Judy is a Dick Slap,” is perhaps the funniest B&S song ever. Mainly because of it’s rather, er, attention getting title, but subsequent lack of vocals. This, the first instrumental song by the band, is also an excellent joke. The final song, “Winter Wooskie” is a slower more tear-jerking ballad, but humorous as well-the object of the singers’ affection nearly sleeping though his ode. This record shows the band going forward, albeit in many different directions at once. Clearly there is some “growing” going on here, but it all seems a welcome step for the band.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Legal Man
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Judy Is A Dick Slap
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Winter Wooskie

Legal Man was released in May 2000, some 18 months after This Is Just A Modern Rock Song. In the interim, Belle and Sebastian had picked up best new act at the 1999 Brit Awards, a result that had left many establishment figures in the music industry speechless.  What had happened was the vote for this award was open fully to the public with the winners fully anticipated to be Steps who had enjoyed a run of hit singles and massive media exposure; however, it was the first real used of internet voting and the B&S fanbase, many of them using their personal and student e-mail addresses, voted en masse and got the award.  The reaction of the tabloid press in the UK was hilarious – how dare a band who nobody had ever heard of it take such a prestigious award?

The new single was a dramatic shift in sound for the band.  It was aimed full-on at radio stations and it did get daytime play.  For many people, it was the first time they had bought a B&S record/CD.  I’m sure many of them would the following month go out and buy the new LP Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant and been bamboozled by the fact that none of the songs sounded anything like Legal Man!

 

BONUS POSTING : HAPPY TALK

smile

I went on Facebook last night and posted something. It’s not normally something that I do…I tend to use the place as a way of throwing out pithy one-liners in response to what others have said; indeed, I only joined up in the first place as it was the way to keep on top of certain announcements around events and ticket availability. But such was the magnitude of the happening that I felt I had to share my thoughts with my cybernet mates:-

They say good things tend to come in threes. Here’s some evidence….

I recently had the good fortune to catch incredible live performances, at small intimate venues, from two of my all-time favourites in the shape of Robert Forster and Belle & Sebastian.

Not too many things could top that. But the announcement that Aidan and Malcolm are reforming for three live shows this coming October does exactly that.

2016 started off real shit for music fans with far too many sad and untimely deaths. The summer has so far been an awful lot better…..

A wee bit of explanation.

Robert Forster is a total legend. But his visits to these parts are, naturally, few and far between and so the fact he was coming to Glasgow and playing, of all places, the wonderful space that is King Tut’s made it a ‘must see’. However, I was nagged by the fact that someone as talented and revered as him wasn’t playing a larger venue given the legacy of his time as a Go-Between and not forgetting last year’s Songs To Play was such a wonderful listen. I was concerned too that I’d go along and end up annoyed with folk who were only there for the old stuff and would show a lack of respect by talking their way through the material they either didn’t know or were less fond of. And in a venue with a 300 capacity, all it would take is a handful of such idiots to ruin the occasion.

My fears came to nothing as this was one of the best audiences I’ve ever had the privilege of being part of. Robert and his band got a rousing reception and the cheers for his solo material were every bit as loud as those for the songs by his old band. He was on stage for the best part of two hours, struggling a bit with his voice as he had a dreadful cold, but where many would have been tempted to use that as an excuse to hold back in a performance he seemed to use it to push himself that bit harder. He played around 20 songs with half coming from the Go-Betweens back catalogue…and he had such a talented group of musicians with him that it felt as if the clock really had been rolled back more than 30 years. It was bliss. I didn’t think I’d enjoy myself so much at a gig in 2016.

And then, just two weeks later I find myself at the Debating Chamber of Glasgow University Union (capacity 500 – 250 standing and same again seated upstairs). I’ve been in this space quite a few times but never for a gig….and by my reckoning it will be about the 75th different Glasgow venue that I’ve paid to see live music performed (must do a posting o that sometime). Belle & Sebastian are due on stage for what will be the first of three nights to celebrate their own 20th Anniversary and the 21st Birthday of the West End Festival, a highly popular event held every summer in the most bohemian quarter of my home city. I’m not sure what to expect as my expectations of the band have been gradually diminishing in recent years with recent albums leaving me disappointed and then there was a farce of a gig at the Hydro (capacity 13,000) in which they failed dismally in their efforts to put on a show in keeping with that size of venue. It was full of gimmicks, stage-managed to the point of ridiculous and just not in keeping with the band so many of us had fallen head over heels with.

Another show just under two hours long, with most of the material drawn from the very early albums and EPs , and almost all the songs being aired in the live setting for the first time since I didn’t have any X’s in front of the L in the label of my indie-kid t-shirts. And it was joyous and a celebration of everything that not only makes the band special but brings out the best in folk from my home city who know instinctively when they are seeing and hearing something special and react accordingly. There was no talking in between songs, no attempts to sing-a-long and drown out the band, and there was hand-clapping when the band sought a bit of accompaniment at the right times. I smiled at the opening note of the first song and I was still grinning as myself and Aldo made our way home in time for the last train thanks to the venue being in an area where there is an early curfew – this would normally be a bone of contention but not on a Monday night when there’s a long week at work ahead!

Two days later though, all of that gets topped.

Arab Strap were together for ten years from 1996. Since then, Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton have carved out successful and critically acclaimed solo careers which has played a part in how revered their original band had become since they walked off stage for the last time in December 2006. They jokingly (or so it seemed) said at the time said they might reform in another ten years.

The internet stirred last weekend when the band’s website suddenly carried the teasing message ‘HELLO AGAIN’ imposed on top of a very early promo photo. A countdown to Monday lunchtime led to a message to listen in to Steve Lamacq’s show on BBC Radio 6 on Wednesday afternoon. That was where it was confirmed they were getting together for three shows in October in London, Manchester and Glasgow. Furthermore, a download single was being available – a Miaoux Miaoux remix of The First Big Weekend – which would be released 20 years to the day when the actual weekend in question took place. Which just happens to be today.

I’ve purchased and downloaded the song and it is fucking amazing. A musical highlight not just of 2016 but of the 21st Century.

A year that was threatening to be the worst ever has suddenly, and very unexpectedly, taken a huge turn for the better.

mp3 : Robert Forster – Rock’n’Roll Friend
mp3 : Belle & Sebastian -If You’re Feeling Sinister
mp3 : Arab Strap – I Saw You

Sigh.

B&S ON SUNDAYS (4)

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From wiki:-

This Is Just a Modern Rock Song is Belle & Sebastian’s fourth EP, released in 1998 on Jeepster Records.

The front cover features Alan Horne, founder of Postcard Records. It is the only Belle & Sebastian release never to be issued in North America, although all four tracks from the EP were later collected on the Push Barman to Open Old Wounds compilation.

A chart ruling was put into place shortly before the EP was released stating singles or EPs must contain no more than three tracks and last no longer than 20 minutes in total to be eligible for the UK singles sales chart, and thus – with its four tracks and carefully crafted total running time – This Is Just a Modern Rock Song failed to chart.

On-line review from allmusic:-

Belle & Sebastian still insist on making their single tracks all non-LP. They’re just about the last band left in England following this once-common practice. Compare their singles to the usual two-part LP single release designed only to fleece the faithful, and B&S look all the better, particularly since they insist on quality songs, not throwaways, remixes, or ambient doodling. Too bad their singles are all imports, as some Americans are missing out on more gold from the same vein as the last two LPs.

Perhaps this A-side would have made a better LP track; it’s a slowly developing, seven-minute epic, but it’s also an ever-building and comely track that gets more clever lyrically as it begins to bubble and grow brighter and louder. “This is just a modern rock song/This is just a sorry lament/We are four boys in our corduroys/We’re not terrific but we’re competent” is a sentiment belied by the beguiling textural base, an insistent acoustic in the background flanked by an even more obscured violin and muted trumpet in the further background. It swells and burbles until you don’t want it to end.

“I Know Where the Summer Goes” is more of the same fare, with the shadows filled this time with a mood organ, brushes on the drums, and an occasional tambourine. It’s lithe and rather sweetly, slowly catchy, with Stuart Murdoch’s up and down, nursery rhyme-like verse melody.

The Isobel Campbell-sung, more jaunty “The Gate” and the much better piano, cello, oboe, trombone, sax, and clipped-electric guitar backed “Slow Graffiti” both waft by with equal grace, and one regrets it when the 19 minutes are over.

This kind of unhurried, gentle, and friendly music is tailor-made for summertime. It’s fresh flowers on a morning walk, a breeze, and cloudless sky. It’s sublime.

I’m assuming the wiki entry meant to say ‘with its four tracks and despite its carefully crafted running time of 19:57…’ while I’ll sort of forgive the all music journalist for saying the band were from England.  I’m surprised all these years on the review hasn’t been corrected.

This EP was released in December 1998, some three months after the LP The Boy With The Arab Strap had been lavished, quite rightly, with all sorts praise from all corners, and it is to the band and the label’s credit that they avoided the temptation of a lifting a single l to boost sales approaching the Xmas period, especially when so many of its tunes were tailor-made for radio play.

The title track is something of an epic, opening with as fragile and sad sounding a lyric as you can imagine and, as the all music review indicates, builds up majestically in sound and ambition while remaining totally in ballad time.  It could very well be Tindersticks at their best…..

As for the other songs – I’m very fond of I Know Where The Summer Goes (another classic ballad) and The Gate, which has an upbeat country feel to the tune albeit it’s a reminder that Isobel Campbell‘s early vocal efforts were twee in the extreme.  I’m not all that keen howver, on Slow Graffiti, but that’s as much to do with me feeling that it isn’t up to the quality of the tracks on The Boy….and this EP.  It all feels a bit too much like a demo rather than a finished effort.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – This Is Just A Modern Rock Song
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – I Know Where The Summer Goes
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – The Gate
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Slow Graffiti

Little did we know that it would be almost 18 months till the next release….

B&S ON SUNDAYS (3)

3.._6.._9.._Seconds_Of_Light

From wiki:-

3.. 6.. 9 Seconds of Light was Belle & Sebastian’s third EP, released in 1997 on Jeepster Records.

The lead track on the EP, “A Century of Fakers,” uses the same backing track as “A Century of Elvis” from Lazy Line Painter Jane. Another song, “Songs for Children” (sometimes known as “On the Radio”) plays directly after “Put the Book Back on the Shelf” (on the same track) on both the CD and 12″ versions of this release. The front cover features band member Stuart Murdoch with Victoria Morton.

The EP was later re-packaged as part of the Lazy Line Painter Jane box-set, and all four tracks were collected on the Push Barman to Open Old Wounds compilation. Both NME and Melody Maker made the release their Single of the Week, and the EP became the band’s first to reach the UK top 40 singles chart, peaking at #32.

On-line review from allmusic:-

3.. 6.. 9 Seconds of Light concludes Belle & Sebastian’s streak of three extraordinary EPs in 1997 in grand style, offering four remarkable songs from Stuart Murdoch. “A Century of Fakers” has different lyrics and a melody than Lazy Line Painter Jane’s “A Century of Elvis,” which consisted of the same backing track and a spoken story. “Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie” is a reverb-drenched song that is the closest the band has ever come to rock, and “Put the Book Back on the Shelf” is a typically lovely slow number, but “Beautiful,” with its graceful, lyrical melody, ranks among Murdoch’s best ballads.

It is true – this was the third extraordinary EP in succession.  The lead track in this instance however, is probably the weakest of the four/five tracks.  Le Pastie….is the standout on this occasion and which to this day still gets a huge ovation whenever it is played live.

Again, this EP came with a short story in the sleevenotes.  This one could be made into a great short film…….

It was a day like today, really warm, when everybody is out of doors, happy to be lying around. Jim had something going. A little project that involved making posters for concerts that would never happen, and record sleeves for records that never existed. He had got up at around six am. Sprung out of bed as if the thought of sleep scared him. The sun was coming directly against the wall just beside his bed. There was a picture of Echo And The Bunnymen. It was very quiet apart from that.

He didn’t wonder what would happen today. He was going to make things happen. He felt like his enthusiasm would rip his heart out of his chest. He worked himself up into a state of excitement. The possibilities of the day were endless. He has nineteen and limber, and the sun sparkled through his tea as it splashed into the cup.

He lined up his various papers and packed them into his bag. He sat at his desk at the window and arrayed his athletes’ breakfast in front of him. He listened to Radio Four for a bit, and then he set to work with his blunted pencil and rub down transfers. He kept what he was trying to say in a straight line by using the edge forged Matriculation Card. As far as the University authorities knew, his name was Arthur Cooke.

Pretty soon, with all pressing matters blissfully set aside, he fell into a reverie the type of which could go on all day if you let it. he gladly let it because it echoed a dream he had once had, and dreams were as close as he ever got to matters spiritual. He had known a girl once who had a tent. They talked about going camping into the country one summer. He was fond of the girl and he was fond of her friend both. Her friend was nice and though studied architecture in another city was around often enough to be in on their plan. When they were around Jim often looked straight at his boots and wondered at the gifts the girls had for their various brainy pursuits. He was a bit ashamed. He was older than them, but was a bit of a flop in the brain department. His reverie involved the tent, the dusk, the smell of hot trainers and not much else. He never managed to the country with them.

Jim woke up again, his plan for the day lying in tatters he thought. It was a quarter past twelve. he had fallen asleep in a pool of sunlight and he had been woken by a ring at his neighbour’s door. He was drowsy and his head full of false literature of dreams and failed schedules. He dressed with not much care. When he flicked on the radio a song was playing that he found unexpected pleasure in. This was very, very lucky. His bag was packed for a quick getaway which was lucky too. So out and over the hill to the busy arcade where he did his photocopying. He was lucky on a day like today that he lived in an area of schools, tenants and flowering cherries. In the winter it was dour, but his one room flat was ok as long as he had outside to step into. He stepped along the street and noticed the heat off the pavement through his black plimsoll boots. He wondered, if he painted them with hot tyre rubber if they would last him till his housing cheque came through.

Jim came to the steps of the arcade. It was cooler for a second or two, but the hotness was replaced by the dry heat of photocopy fans. He waited in the queue of students and small business women, and he felt endless sympathy for the men that worked the machines.

Photocopying was all the rage that year so there was quite a queue of young trendies and h——-s. A man with the forward slanting mother of all pudding bowl haircuts struggled to see what he was doing. His machine was throwing out endless prints of psychedelic swirls. Chatty undergraduate girls warmed to the new craze. Jim wished slightly that he could have beaten the rush. But at least he recognised another boy at the copy shop. He watched in a trance as the boy’s illustration of a cat banging a drum got bigger and bigger.

Soon it was his turn to get on a machine. He was there to make a picture for his room. He had a tiny photography that he kept in a keyring. He had found it in an art college when he was working as a cleaner. It was only a test for a real photograph he thought. He didn’t think they would miss it.

It was a picture of a boy and a girl on a beach. Jim took the picture and put it in the machine. He booted the enlarge up to as far as it would go. He pressed print and the light flashed across the picture. He wondered if it would come out at all but it looked pretty good, about the size of a bank card. He did the same thing twice over. He was pretty excited. The picture was terrific, burnt out and grainy, he thought it didin’t look like real people at all. He felt much better now. He started to look around the little copy shop.

He noticed a paper lying underneath one of the machines. He stooped down to pick it up. It had stuff written on it. He picked it up and started to read.

“Claire and I decided to devise a music workshop for a group of 20 children around the age of five. It could be carried out in a school or in a community centre. Children of this age are still very uninhibited and energetic, which potentially provides teachers or workshop leaders with a vast and unlimited musical scope. The idea of our workshop is to introduce some very simple movements (such as hand-clapping and marching) that will effectively relax and improve the childrens’ overall coordination and concentration. Alongside rhythm, melody and movement, we would also like to draw the childrens’ attention to musical dynamics and tempo. To demonstrate, we will get the children to perform their warm-up and song at varying speeds and volumes. The workshop will finish with a performance of the song.

To introduce the workshop we will begin with a warm- up, lasting about seven minutes. The children should be instructed to form a spacious circle. We will then demonstrate marching and clapping along to a basic 4/4 rhythm. This game can be a lot of fun. Whilst maintaining the clapping and marching along to a beat, individuals take it in turn to create any sound, at any pitch, of any length, with any words. The only restriction to the game being that they can only make their sound when it is their turn, and it must always be the same. They have to remember their own personal sound.”

The report reminded Jim of the time when he was an administrator of the sick and young. He wanted to think about that for a while. He took his thoughts to the cafe nearby.

It was busy with people eating and talking in booths. He got some coffee and watched a man and a girl in the next booth. He thought they had been there for quite a while. There was books and paper scattered on the table, along with debris from cup after cup of coffee. They weren’t aware of him watching. They weren’t aware of anything as the girl was writing, while the boy read a magazine.

A another table, a girl stared solemnly into her cup. Jim wished he could’ve taken her picture. But then he was afraid that he might steal the moment away from her…

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – A Century Of Fakers
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Beautiful
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Put The Book Back On The Shelf/Songs For Children

The fact that a little know band, with next to no radio play, on a tiny independent radio could take an EP (which retailed for slightly more than a standard single) into the Top 40 of the UK charts was a significant achievement.