this is a story about a beautiful teenage boy
who fell in love with BSP's bass player........

oh dear! poor bear.



His hair is orange, flaming like when Scorpion in Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance wears the special fiery skull head. His skin is chalk-white as Dover cliffs. He is gibbering with post-gig passion. He touched Hamilton's bare arse, he says.

Hamilton, (Neil, British Sea Power's bassist) was crowdsurfing, eyes glazed, coated in sweat because he'd kept his check scarf and ear-flap hat on throughout the whole gig. As Hamilton passed above the red-headed boy's head, the boy (beautiful, sixteen if he's a day, limbs like pale twigs) tells us how he reached out the flat of his hand and crashed it down on the rock star skin exposed by the scrabbling of the frenzied crowd. He stares at the hand, smiling, as though gazing into the flesh that was briefly held cupped in his palm.


That British Sea Power arouse such lust and devotion in England's pale-skinned sons is no surprise. Sure, Crazy Titch and Lady Sov and Kano et al are conveying the sound of the sink estates, the delights of faredodging and acts of random meta-violence (happy slapping, anyone?) - but there are swathes of strong-backed public schoolboys, in London and outside it, for whom that will never be a reality. It is for these boys – Albion's finest, their slender necks draped in maroon paisley scarves, their voices warm with the sound of money – that the good Lord created British Sea Power.


British Sea Power's new album, Open Season, may swap the Joy Division influence for that of Echo and the Bunnymen, but the visual and cultural aesthetic remain the same. Their promotional literature is written in stilted, mock-formal language; their songs centre round subjects like the 1942 assassination of the Czech Reich Protectorate Reinhard Heydrich; they play gigs in village halls, prefacing them with poetry (a recent gig featured a poem by Isaac Rosenberg, a Great War poet who was too short for regular regiments and was sent to a 'Bantam' battalion for men under 5"3'); they extol the glories of Cumbrian hill-walking; they collaborate with museums of natural and maritime history...

In short, British Sea Power are fusty, eccentric old men trapped in the bodies of 20something boys.
They are vandal-philosopher-aesthetes draped in earth tones and swaddled in scarves. They are male drag kings, performing a nostalgic masculinity, finding refuge from its so-called crisis in memories of redundant empire-building, passionate comradeship and desperate self-sacrifice.

No wonder boys like our redheaded homeoerotically charged ass-grabber are enraptured: BSP's maleness is as alien to the modern man of today as a pin-up girl's longline bra, powermesh girdle and RHT stockings might be to me, with similar reversionist appeal.












Back to the redhead. I tug the palm-staring boy's shirt-tails, and tell him I'm going to be interviewing the band the next day. Is there anything he'd like me to ask them? He looks surprised for a moment, then smiles and tells me he wants to join them. Sign up. Leave all this. Hi
s friends laugh at him as I scribble his words down, and the next day, sitting in the Alpine-styled barn that will host that evening's gig, I pop the question. What lies in store for the band's newest auxiliary member?

Appropriately, it's Hamilton who has the answer. 'Colonic irrigation.' You what? 'That's how we'd grow our new band member. We'd clean all the shit out of him. Get rid of all the rubbish. Start afresh.' Singer Yan – Hamiton's brother – agrees. 'Once we'd made him clean and new, we'd teach him things. I'd teach him about Haruki Murakami.'

'And I', says Eamon, 'would teach him how to make a fire. I've been learning how to build the perfect fire – with oak, maple, beech, ash, hickory, all properly seasoned. And an apple log because it smells lovely.' Noble smiles and lights a cigarette. 'I'd feed him temazepam and take him to a field and make him listen to the cows.'

'Yeah and then', says Hamilton, 'I'd make him walk from Leeds to Kendal. It's 81.96 miles. I did it once.' And that's it? Hamilton nods. 'That's what it would take. And if he can do all that…then he's in.'

Redheaded assgrabber, I hope you're listening.


Open Season is out now on Rough Trade Records
2) This article previously appeared in the rather fab Good For Nothing magazine. Get one - it's free!
3) My wife insists that I insert the following line at the end of what she calls this 'exceedingly fey' article:
'Shame they sound like U2 really, isn't it?'
3) Nobody shagged anybody in any tree


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