Soul Of An Unearthly modern rock song

[two steps step out]

Standing on the quayside wrapped up in mist, it's the middle of the morning and there's nothing but the sound of beating wings. Swans are gliding near the river's surface, sweeping beneath the wire that crosses between the banks, across which the ferry once pulled before it sank at the height of the season. There's a bridge to the left, suspended in the lightness.

A faint and familiar green glow emanates from the clouds to my right, as though a beacon were slowly materialising. A voice breaks the mist, whispering words I can't quite hear and don't quite want to.

Chris looks strangely older than usual, although this is probably impossible, and it's more likely only my own eyes reflecting defeat. He looks at me and silently smoothes my hair with his fingers of gold. 'Things move on' he says, and then is gone.

[December 7th, 1998]

I'm waiting in the bar, watching the door for Jo and wondering how things come to these ways of working. I've got my third Haig and Perrier in hand. Outside the lights of the city are winking at me, twinkling white in the treetops, swaying in the light wind. There's a man who looks like my father walking past Debenhams, pointing and laughing at the plastic puppies riding exercise bicycles in the window display. The seat next to me is cold and although there's always hope, even empty expectation is lacking.

It's always a cold and desperate time of life, or so Chris is always saying. I saw Isabel three weeks ago and she didn't seem to agree. She was wearing Jo's pedal-pushers and had a top of gauze underneath a snow white cardigan, despite the wind. Some people never feel the cold, and some never know the warmth of anything but a summer sun creeping up the back of their neck. If you had to choose, you'd say Jo was the former and me the latter, which explains a lot if there were any explanations to be made. Which there aren't.

[dream a million and one]

I'm talking to Jo again, and again it's not real. I go 'I used to dream of the sounds of the Velvet Underground being made by people my own age' to which she looks up at the campanile and frowns. I continue, and say 'there's just these folk on a stage and there's an amazing noise coming out of the air and I'm stood transfixed. Lou Reed is wearing a shirt that says 'Felt' and instead of a viola there's a cello.' Next thing I know I'm telling her about how once I wrote a whole paper on the feelings of dreamed musical moments, of how they were a response to death and anxiety about age. By now though Jo has stopped listening and is flicking through the pile of papers for recycling. She holds up a Guardian Friday Review and the cover headline says 'Interminable Three Chord Break.'

[the escapapologist's heart]

A small green car turns left down a farm track near a town a thousand miles away and rolls to a halt. Smiles in the sunset betray the escapapologist's heart. From a tape deck in the dashboard the sounds of slow music drift. The singer says something about imaginary friends whilst the sky turns silver and brown. Lips impossibly kiss.

[the last music journalist]

The new Belle & Sebastian four track EP is released on December 7th 1998 by Jeepster Records of England. The Cover is rust coloured and features a picture of Mr Alan Horne of Postcard Records of Scotland. The four songs are 'This Is Just A Modern Rock Song', 'I Know Where The Summer Goes', 'The Gate' and 'Slow Graffiti'. 'The Gate' is a song by Isobel Campbell and sounds like Tiger Trap at their slowest and sweetest. 'Modern Rock Song' is an old live favourite, according to the press release, and my friend said they heard all six minutes and more on the radio. 'I Know Where The Summer Goes' is, alongside Jonathan Richman's 'That Summer Feeling', 'Hungry Beat' by Fire Engines, and 'Summer In The City' by the Lovin' Spoonful, one of the four greatest summer songs ever written. 'Slow Graffiti' is from the soundtrack to the 'Acid House' film and is the single best song I've heard in too many years. Sublime was made for moments like this.

©Alistair Fitchett. 1998.