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Belle And Sebastian: Just A Modern Rock Story (Anglais) Relié – août 2005

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Book by Whitelaw Paul

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 12 commentaires
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This is just a tender affair... 19 septembre 2005
Par Peter Arnold - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I am thankful to Paul Whitelaw for writing this book. The author has collected good material from right at the source, excepting that drummer Richard Colburn declined to be interviewed. He presents basic bios of the band members, and excellent detail about the blossoming period before and around "Tigermilk". Whitelaw even had access to Stuart's correspondence - he seems to have been quite a letter-writer. For the devoted fan just reading this stuff can make you remember how you felt when you first fell in love with Belle & Sebastian.

The book's weakness is the use of a journalistic style peculiar to the British music press, which might be called "NME English." In this idiom it is not a taste crime to use the word "copacetic" in public nor to affect aimlessly awful alliteration. We are treated to sub-headings culled from lyrics, another Melody Maker style-manual staple.

Along with the purple-prose-tinted spectacles of the rock journalist comes an entirely binary value-judgment system in which all that is good is inflated to perfection, all else banished to outer darkness. Everything the band did well he celebrates as a triumph, everything less successful is relegated to the discount bin of disaster. Naturally he venerates the "Tigermilk" and "Sinister" albums, but unjustly condemns the equally brilliant "Arab Strap" largely without musical evidence. Out of commendable loyalty he talks up "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" as a bold new step. This could be straight out of a press release - I was hoping for a more reflective evaluation. The events surrounding "Storytelling" get plenty of attention but the deceptively strong album itself gets short shrift and is tossed into the bargain bin with only FISHYCLAP below it. Similarly with people - attempting to be even-handed, the author still manages to forgive Stuart M. every admitted misstep. Isobel gets the opposite treatment.

However because the material is of great interest to us we can forgive such irritations. I suspect writing every week about intimately subjective experience (which is the lot of the music journo) eventually drains all meaning from everyday vocabulary and syntax, leading to train wrecks of modifiers heaped exponentially upon one-another in search of that original descriptive high. At this length it does begin to wear, but still this is a book all fans will enjoy.

So pick up the book knowing it is not rock criticism but a deservedly sentimental celebration of a beloved band. If Belle and Sebastian were an anime series, this could be fan-fiction. It's not all we want to know but it's a good start.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Dear Catastrophe Author 4 janvier 2006
Par Colly - Publié sur
Format: Relié
The best review was written below by Peter Arnold. While in total agreement with that reviewer, I just want to add a few things. Mainly, that reading this book feels like reading one very, very long NME review - the word play is suprisingly annoying and difficult to read when one just wants to understand a simple point. This kind of word play is fine for a one paragraph review in a rock & roll magazine, but wasteful within a book format. The little bits which are written in italics are especially wasteful and dramatic.

The author also had a tendency to portray band relationships in a gossipy way. While the dynamics of the band's friendships and romances are at first interesting and an important part of the history, the author tends to go on and on and rehash the same old thing even at the end of the book. He clearly disliked Isobel Campbell which made me wonder, was he emotionally involved with her? Did she scorn his romantic advances? Heehee, now I'm playing like the author!

In short, I would have valued more quotes from the band, none of the author's opinions, and a more straightforward manner of writing. Bottom line; Belle and Sebastian are one of my most beloved bands of all time and despite a frustratingly written book, it was still a pleasure to learn about them.
11 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
If You're Feeling Curious 3 août 2005
Par Steven Moore - Publié sur
Format: Relié
If, like me, you enjoy B&S's music but don't know much about them, this is an informative biography. It features capsule biographies, track-by-track details for all the albums and EPs, lots of photos, and is written with that witty flair that seems to come natural to British pop journalists. The author knows his music history, and contra PW's review above can be critical of the band when they deserve it. Finally, the book reprints the lovely liner/stories from the CD booklets, in a larger point-size for greater readability. Stuart Murdoch designed the cover, too.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Not perfect, but worth reading 16 juin 2007
Par J. Salvador - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I'm quite a big Belle and Sebastian fan, so when I saw this book sitting on a shelf at a local bookstore, I did not hesitate to buy it. I liked that Whitelaw was able to interview members of the band (sans drummer Richard). What I found slightly annoying was his evident bias towards certain band members. He tended to place Stuart Murdoch in a sort of demi-god-like, affectionate manner (Stuart M is usually referred to as "The Curious Boy"), while Isobel Campbell tended to be portrayed as a whiner, or some sort of a useless appendage. I thought it quite annoying that he was unable to keep his opinions out of his descriptions of band members or certain scenes.

During certain moments of the book, I felt as if I was reading a tabloid magazine. Take that as you will.

Overall, this is a great book, which gives the reader a great idea of how Belle and Sebastian formed and grew as a band. Your interpretations of Belle and Sebastian songs may differ from Whitelaw's, but it is quite fun to see how different people view different songs.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Pretty good read for fans only...if you can stand the typos and factual errors 22 mars 2006
Par David Thompson - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Anyone who isn't a fan would find this book totally boring. It gives a decent bio of the band. However there are glaring typo's. Whitelaw writes that Isobel leaves B&S after the Toronto show in May of 2001. I was at that show and after some investigating found that it was May 2002. A few pages later He writes something like "As the bus pulled out of Montreal sans Isobel..." Um, hello!? Isobel left the band in Toronto! He also writes that God Speed you black emperor! are an American band, but any hipster worth his weight will tell you that they are from Montreal Canada. I'm sure there are many more mistakes in the book that others have noticed. A bio is all about the facts, you must nail the facts, and Whitelaw fails miserably in this department. Oh, and his alliterations become annoying after awhile.
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