In the All-Night Café

In the All-Night Café
In the All-Night Café

In the All-Night Café

A Memoir of Belle and Sebastian's Formative Year
By Stuart David


208 Pages, 6 x 9.25

Formats: Trade Paper, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF

Trade Paper, $15.95 (US $15.95)

ISBN 9781613730782

Rights: US

Chicago Review Press (May 2015)


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"One afternoon in 1994, I had an idea." So begins Stuart David's charming, evocative memoir about the indie pop band Belle and Sebastian. Determined to make his living writing stories and songs, Stuart had spent several years scraping by on the dole in his small, industrial hometown. Then he had the fateful idea to learn bass guitar, and to head for Glasgow in search of likeminded artists. In the All-Night Café describes his fortuitous meeting with the group's cofounder Stuart Murdoch in a course for unemployed musicians. It tells of their adventures in two early incarnations of Belle and Sebastian and culminates in the recording of their celebrated debut album, Tigermilk. This portrait of the group and its origins will resonate with anyone who has put together—or thought of putting together—a band. It is a story of a group of friends who wanted to create a different kind of music, and how—against all expectations—they succeeded. Written with wit, affection, and a novelist's observant eye, In the All-Night Café brings to life the early days of this most enigmatic and intriguing of bands.


"This slim, charming memoir...brings warmth and wit to tales of mixtapes, house shows and their haphazard path to becoming one of indie rock's greatest acts." —Rolling Stone

"David takes a magical meander down memory lane to the early years of Belle and Sebastian... a lovely look at a lost world" —Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express

"Masterful and often-moving" —Sukhdev Sandhu, The Guardian

"David's naiveté and honesty, though it surely brought him pain in those days, serves him well as a writer...The quality that makes In the All-Night Café great is the sophisticated way David treats his lingering feelings toward his former bandmate." —Paste Magazine

"David has discovered what eluded him during the period he is writing about: his own creative identity, one that is made manifest in the memoir's calm, observant voice. The end product is a funny and unpretentious meditation on finding your own shambolic magic, probably best enjoyed with a cup of (thick Scottish) tea." —Los Angeles Review of Books

"Stuart David was the cofounder and bass player of the band, and the memoir he has written here is much like Belle and Sebastian's music: gentle, delicate, and wistful." —Booklist

"David possesses a whimsical narrative voice that balances optimism and realism with a clear-eyed, easy grace...It's well-written, personal, friendly, and quirky – just like a good Belle and Sebastian song." —Houston Press

"David's prose, light and airy but blessed with a wonderful eye for detail and nuance, interestingly mimics the feel of a Belle and Sebastian song." —Consequence of Sound

Author Biography

Stuart David is a Scottish musician, songwriter, and writer. He cofounded the band Belle and Sebastian (1996–2000), in which he played bass guitar, and then went on to front Looper (1998–present). He is the author of the novel Nalda Said.