Work is the curse of Stevie Thomas Jackson and Christopher Thomas Geddes. Stuart David, visionary and poet, cursed it before trying it, and would only lift a finger to pick his nose or write a book. The Idle Thoughts Of A Daydreamer, Volumes 1 to 10. Ten in 10 years. Like Felt records flowing freely from an uncluttered mind.
Before his idea occurred to him, Stuart David fished the Leven for seven years. before he thought about drums, Richard practised snooker day and night for seven years. Stevie Jackson, however, was already absorbed with rock’n’roll. He was listening to The Fabs and was taking a beating for it before most of us had reached puberty.
Happy to have found the tool of his trade, he played his guitar where he could, and worked so that he could play. He serenaded diners, then washed up after them. Stevie was a rock myth in his own post code area. He changed his middle name to ‘Reverb’ at an early age. He played his Telecaster, and the veins on his arms would stick out like a Rock Family Tree.
Belle and Sebastian were the product of botched capitalism. It would be nice to say they were the children of socialism, but it would be a fib. They rolled together as loose change is bound to. Change in the pocket of some fat civil servant. Who thought up Youth Training to make his boss look good. Who pokled the figures to make her boss look good. Who slept with a prostitute for credibility. We take our hats off to them all.
Chain ganged by employment training, Stevie sang Negro Spirituals as he built footbridges over the Dumbartonshire marshes. Stuart David heard his sweet voice coming over the reeds as he was fishing. Richard heard his voice as he was trying to get a position on the black. When they heard Stevie sing, they laid down their rod and staff and were comforted.
Meanwhile, Chris worked in a canteen serving coffee and food. He took whatever work the agency would give him. He liked where he was working just then, because the dish-washing machine was the best he had ever used.
The canteen was in a building that broadcast radio programmes to the whole nation. The feeling amongst the staff was that radio was the medium of the future. That didn’t mean much to Chris. All he knew was that as long as they used and maintained a Hobart Elite, they must be doing alright.
But then Chris made it on the radio. I was thinking – Ah, wee Chris. The casuals tried to do you in when you were at school, but they’re all listening now. They’re sitting with their bairns and they’re sweeping up in Burger King. And they’ll be thinking, ‘Jesus! That’s Chris Geddes from Dalry!’ And Chris is sitting there, cool as a cat behind a Steinway Grand on national radio. Still, Monday morning and it’s back to the sink for you boy.
Isobel’s thinking of giving up her college. But Isobel, who’s going to support us when our dreams crash against the rocks? We’re looking to you. And Sarah. Your art degrees may not be worth the paper they’re written on, but you could always temp for a while. Or teach. . .
I was on trial for the corporation, driving buses in the town. I think they were sad to lose me. I had a way with the customers. A great rapport! They thought I was scum, I drove past their stop. They gave me abuse, I gave them close shaves. But it was hard to smile. The crossword was my only relief. Abuse was from punters and bosses. I was glad to get back on the dole. At least you know where you are. Rock bottom. I’ll wait a while, then go back on employment training. Train to be a blacksmith or windowdresser. Then go back on the buses.