In a suitably perverse twist, the interview shy BELLE AND SEBASTIAN launched their new album with a London press conference. Are the Glaswegian pop kids coming out of their shells or just leading the media a merry dance?

Words: Ross Holloway


THE 'TEN ROOM' IS THE EPITOME OF the (s)wanky London venue. It is a louche playground catering for the media circus and aspirational young(ish) things. Famous Pop Art paintings reproduced in sequins, of all things, adorn the lurid purply-pink walls and retro 20$ sofas in vivid primary colours complete the picture. As suitable a venue as any for Belle And Sebastian to hold a press conference in anticipation of their new LP Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant. You almost expect to see Craig Brown or Kevin Keegan at the centre of such an event; it's surreal. But the table behind which the group line up is the most shoddy, worn item in the room, which brings everything down to earth with a bump. This is good. Belle And Sebastian aren't a band that need elevating to some rarefied plane. Not that there isn't a good deal of mythology surrounding them, but today they come across as regular people who just happen

18 THE llST H '25 Zia; 2000

to make exceptional pop records.

Band members in attendance are Stevie Jackson (guitar, vocals), Isobel Campbell (vocals, cello), Sarah Martin (violin), Chris Geddes (keyboards) Stuart Murdoch (vocals, guitar), Richard Colburn (drums) and Mick Cooke (bass)

Q: You're fond of Scotland. so how come you're holding this press conference in London'.’

Stuart: To save you a train fare. Richard: No. he‘s from The List. Stuart: Sorry. If we were doing this in (ilasgow you wouldn't get away with it. People would be like: "who the fuck do you think you are'."'.

Q: Your fans have a reputation for being scarily obsessive. Why'.’ Richard: Do these people [gesturing towards a stnall group of invited fans huddled before the stage] look obsessive to you'.’

Q: lir. no.

Richard: Nice people.

A Fan: Your fans are obsessive because you're the best band in the world.

Q: Why don't you do interviews‘.’

Stuart: We did a few right at the start and I did a few personally. I just kind of went off the idea. ljust didn't particularly enjoy them too much.

Q: Why'.’

Stuart: Well. talking about yourself is quite a weird thing to do. I felt like a bit of an idiot. I think we've all been frustrated by talking openly and truthfully to people and then what you've said being misinterpreted and put out of context. The only answer is simply not to do them. I think by inviting everybody here there is no way of what we say being misinterpreted because there are so many people here. Q: By being here rather than in (ilasgow is this a concerted effort to get the attention of more people'.’ To get bigger'.’ To get on lap 0/ TIM l’nps'.’

Isobel: I'd love to be on lit/i ()f The Pops.

Richard: Holding a press conference like this is just a good thing to do. Play a few records afterwards. get a little party going.

Mick: Also it's an obvious thing to do. all the press is here in London. lt's practical.

Chris: Also I think if we did this in (ilasgow we'd be perceived as being really awkward people.

Q: Aren't you perceived as being awkward anyway'.’

Isobel: We're not awkward people actually. we're just not puppets. There's a huge difference. you know. Q: Has it ever occurred to you that by not playing the game. by not marketing yourselves. that this. and I'm not in any way saying this is deliberate. is how you are now marketed'.’