Phonogram: Rue Britannia
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I once wrote a break-up letter to Belle and Sebastian after one day realizing we’d drifted apart. It was full of “It’s not you, it’s me” and “I’ll always value the time we shared” and even reassurance that while I had been hanging out with this other band a lot, we were just friends.
No, I didn’t send it to the band. I’m not that insane. I mostly just wrote it for my own amusement and the amusement of a few of my friends. I’m just sharing this story because I need you to know why going into Phonogram: Rue Britannia (Image Comics), I was already going to love it. If you know anything about me, you know I’m going to be pretty pre-disposed toward a comic where music is magic, where the music genre you love is literally your god.
No, seriously. I can’t really judge this comic in any proper way. Of course Kieron Gillen‘s writing is top-notch — witty, sly and fast-paced — as is Jamie McKelvie‘s art, which is crisp and emotional.
Is the music that main character David Kohl loves the music I love? Not exactly, although there’s some crossover. But I relate to his journey and his desire to not let go of the music that means something to him. We all have our first band, our first album, after all, even if want to forget about it. And I mean, you must have had that magical moment at a concert where the rest of the audience just dropped away and it was just you and the band — the music was there for just you. If you haven’t, you’re probably not the sort who thinks writing a letter directed at a band breaking up with them is something perfectly reasonable. And you probably won’t quite get Phonogram.
I know the relationships I have with the bands and musicians I love is real. It’s real for me. And that’s why I loved Phonogram. Like nothing else I’ve read, it’s the closest to capturing what that feels like.
And not my favorite Belle & Sebastian song (that would be “Seeing Other People”) but close enough:
(Yes, I’m going to read Phonogram: The Singles Club, but I need to stop being broke first before I can buy it. That may take a while.)