Monday, July 12, 2010

Hand Claps: The Boy With The Arab Strap

Belle & Sebastian: The Boy With The Arab Strap


Belle & Sebastian's biggest hit, 1998 tune The Boy With The Arab Strap is quite possibly the poppiest song ever written about disappointment, desolation, prison, frustrated masturbation, and life in squalor.

Of course, most fans agree that the backstory seems to refer to the time when the band was on tour in London with sadcore indie band Arab Strap, a central part of Glasgow's influential late 1990s music scene, and band member Isobel Campbell slept with their lead singer as her relationship with Belle and Sebastian lead singer Stuart Murdoch turned to shit. But it's also worth noting that Murdoch was a chronic fatigue syndrome sufferer at the time, that an Arab Strap is an erection aid, and the term seems to be used here to mean both. Wheels upon wheels, in perfectly upbeat danceable time.

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