“Not only are you kind of smug, but you are amazing as well!”
Travis’ Fran Healy on Belle and Sebastian, via The AV Club:
“Stuart [Murdoch] is an old friend of mine from Glasgow. He and I were best friends with two sisters. His friend was called Kiera, and my friend was called Jude. His dad was a really famous Irish writer; it was a big eye-opening moment in my life to get to hang out at their place, because they were so cultured. His dad would listen to classical music in his front room and stand and conduct it. He would have loads of really cool arty-fartsy people over at the house. I was just a kid, like 16 or 17. Stuart was a really nice guy, but slightly annoying. He always pulled his cardigan cuffs over his hands and twiddled with the wool at the corner. He always looked down at his feet, and I was like, “For fuck’s sake!”
I remember I was just starting out in a band, and he wasn’t in a band or anything, one day he wrote a review of our show. It was like our second show, and he absolutely pasted us. He was just so horrible about it. I sat down and confronted him on the stairs at the front of Jude’s house in Glasgow. I was like, “Stuart, what the fuck? Give us a chance, man.” He was like, “Oh, I just thought, um, I just didn’t really enjoy it.” I’m like, “Fuck you, come on! It was our second show.” He totally gave us a pasting, and I never forgave him.
Then one day in Glasgow at the art school—I think Stuart was at university—I think we were in second year, and it was evening. We were at the art-school bar, and there were people setting up musical equipment. I saw Stuart and I said, “Say, man. What are you doing?” He was like, “We are going to play a gig.” I’m thinking, “Oh yes! This is going to be rubbish. Fucking brilliant!” So all of our mates, we all got pints, and we are sitting waiting for this horrible gig to happen, while we sit and gloat in the front row.
They were setting up and we had a few drinks. Then it all goes quiet. Stuart steps up, still playing with the wool at the end of his cardigan, and he’s like, [Whispers.] “Hi. We’re Belle And Sebastian.” “Oh God, this is going to be rubbish. He’s not even projecting.” He went up to the mic, and everyone is so quiet, because we couldn’t bloody hear the guy talk. You could hear a pin drop and he went, [Sings.] “I was surprised / I was happy for a day” and started playing [“The State That I Am In”]. Everyone’s jaws hit the floor. To this day, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. I was like, “Fuck! Not only are you kind of smug, but you are amazing as well.” I went up to him after and was like, “I so wanted that to be shit.” He was so sweet. He was like, “Thanks. Thanks a lot.” That was the first gig they ever played. It was the Glasgow Arts School at the Vic Bar. They are just amazing.”