Here's my reading for the year so far. Past: The Celestial Cafe by Stuart Murdoch. Present: Nileism: The Strange Course of the Blue Nile by Allan Brown. Future: It's Lovely To Be Here: The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent by James Yorkston.
Together they're a good Scottish musical trio. The Celestial Cafe collects short pieces of writing previously published on the Belle & Sebastian website in one book. It covers a few years from 2002-06, dipping in and out of different tours and albums, showing life on the road and at home. I absolutely loved it and was sorry when it ended. The writing is lovely, really warm and funny, like someone talking to you. It's good if you're a B&S fan but is more of a love poem to Glasgow than a warts and all rock biog.
The last chapter of The Celestial Cafe is called "Tinseltown In The Rain" which leads nicely into Nileism. The Blue Nile are a huge band in a small way. Also based in Glasgow, they released four albums over twenty years and made few personal appearances but their music was so distinct and atmospheric that they attracted a huge reputation and a devoted following. "A riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a raincoat", as it says in the book.
Only one member of the band was interviewed for the book (the band's singer, Paul Buchanan) so it reads more like a standard rock biography than an intimate memoir. As one of the devoted few I'm looking forward to reading more about them. I'm only a few pages in at the moment so the enigma remains.
Finally, I've sneakily dipped into It's Lovely To Be Here: The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent and it seems very good, full of James Yorkston's tales of life on the road (and in Fife) with the Fence Collective. I'm looking forward to reading more as I like these kind of books - a little glimpse into someone else's life, a bonus if it's musical.
If any of you can recommend other music biographies I'd love to add them to my reading list.