With a key focus from the offset on the relationship between Stuart Braithwaite and his father, the last maker of astronomical telescopes in Scotland, there’s an intimate storytelling approach to Spaceships Over Glasgow, the memoir of Mogwai’s frontman. Published by White Rabbit Books, it delves into the history of one of the most loved and innovative post-rock bands of the past three decades.
An avid Cure fan with little interest in school, it becomes obvious that Stuart was destined for the heady life of making and performing music. Each gig he attended was added to the highlight reel of his childhood. Discovering bands like Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and The Jesus and Mary Chain, and attending seminal gigs that many of us could only dream of (one of which he attended dressed as a young girl with long hair, to compensate for his baby-faced features), it was clear where Stuart’s
After Stuart formed Mogwai, along with friends Dominic Aitchison and Martin Bulloch, the band released their first single, ‘Tuner/Lower’, in 1996. Championed by the legendary John Peel, the band went from strength to strength, but with many hedonistic slips along the way. Although entertaining, this is not where the best bits of the memoir can be found. Stuart’s warmth and ability to regale, as he delves into his past with what’s clearly a vivid fondness, is what makes this biography.
And I would go as far to say that you don’t need to be a Mogwai fan to enjoy this one; simply a reader on the hunt for a gorgeous story with humour, pathos, and a love of music. There is no shortage of these throughout Spaceships. A love letter to more than rock and roll, Stuart encourages us to appreciate those gigs we’ve been moved by, life-changing or not, and this is what allows a pathway into Stuart’s life.
Spaceships Over Glasgow is out on 29th September by White Rabbit Books