I can’t remember whether it was me or my brother that had the book on Greek Mythology, but it was one of us. I’d like to say we feasted eagerly on the tales of Jason and Icarus and the like, but in all probability we showed the same indifference to the book as we did to many others. At the time I think I almost exclusively read Asterix books, or a book I got about outlaws which I renewed from the library every time we went for about 3 months.
One story I don’t recall being included in that book was that of Hero and Leander. turns out Leander fell in love with the beautiful Hero, and swam across the Hellespont every night to be with her. For her (slightly easier it has to be said) part Hero would light a lamp at the top of the tower in which she lived (naturally) to guide his way. Seems that not all of Leanders brains were in his head though, and he persuaded her that they should, well……consumate their relationship on some spurious notion that he would be rejected by Eros, the God of Love, if he didn’t. Amazingly, Hero bought it, and they spent the summer engaging in a summer of love. Being Greek though of course there was a slight turn for the worse, lest we suspect there was a happy ending in the offing. So during a storm Leander got lost after the wind blew out Hero’s lamp, and drowned, and she (pre-dating Shakespeare by some time) threw herself off the tower because she couldn’t live without him.
Fast forward to 2010 and the power of the internet brought Gary Cansell (vocals, guitar), Marc Sephton (guitar), James Halls (bass) and Scot Lewis (drums)who all knew each other from previous bands met with Andy Jones (Piano, Vocals) and Emily Sills (Vocals) online (I’ve heard about this meeting online, and I can only hope Emily was chaperoned on the first meeting. Thus a band from Essex, Liverpool and Reading was born, and they started making songs that in a way reflected their stated influences; Blur, The Beatles and Little Chef.
Hero and Leander - Collider
They’ve recently signed to Tapete records of Germany, with whom I have a slight ongoing love affair, based on the fact that they seem to work on the principle that if it’s impossibly catchy and memorable, they’ll sign them. (I sometimes wonder why more labels don’t work on similar lines)Their album is finished (it has a name and everything) , and will be out in May. They are planning to release a couple of singles to heighten the excitement, the first of which (technically a re-release) ‘Collider’ is imminent and has a video purely shot on an iPhone. It’s a delicious slice of indie-pop, the sort of things you can listen to for days without getting sick of it. Its harmony laden, Beach Boys meet…well, Blur and the Beatles quite possibly. and Little Chef. Well, maybe not all of it, but definitely a Jubilee Pancake (you know, the one with cherries, right) – looks great, is sweet without being sickly, and I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it.
Hero and Leander – me, Myself and I (De la soul cover)
The real story might have a sad ending, but right now we here at Backseat Mafia are in the middle of the Summer of Love with Hero and Leander. We’re just not going to bother with the end bit, that’s all. It’s not like me and my brother ever did.