Stuart David – In The All-Night Café (4 stars)

Stuart David – In The All-Night Café

Belle & Sebastian co-founder takes a trip down memory lane

‘Stuart, this is Stuart.’ Those were the words, remembers the first Stuart (David), of the moment he was introduced to the other Stuart (Murdoch) in the kitchen of a friend’s flat in Glasgow – and a new chapter in the city’s musical history was born.

When they were finished singing songs to one another, their friend insisted on gleefully showing them the bondage dungeon he kept in his cellar. It’s that kind of tale, gentle memories and abrasive honesty going hand in hand, which tells of David’s early-90s journey from small town origins in Alexandria (‘a town helping the police with its enquiries’) to wide-eyed early years in Glasgow as one of the founders of Belle & Sebastian, ending with the launch of debut album Tigermilk.

David (now a solo artist as Looper and a three-time novelist) writes prose which is crisp, descriptive and easy to read, even as it feels filled with an evocative sense of place and character.

Fans of the group will be pleased with a book which never refers to anyone by their surname, diary entry style, and which favours fond memories over backbiting, while a wider audience are advised to explore this rich evocation of Glasgow’s music scene and the time capsule experience of starting a band in the 1990s.

In The All-Night Café is out on Thu 16 Apr, published by Little, Brown.

Stuart David: In The All-Night Cafe

The Belle and Sebastian co-founder discusses his work, In The All-Night Cafe, with Vic Galloway.