Monday, May 14, 2018

Scott Hutchison: 'I'm trapped in a collapsing building'

Scott and Frightened Rabbit performing at the Manchester Academy 2 a few years ago. Sadly, the only time I saw them live.
I was surprised at just how upset I was by the death of Scott Hutchison. Founder and singer with the Scottish Indie band, Frightened Rabbit. I discovered the band when I accidentally landed on an obscure BBC Alba music show called Rapal..I was instantly hooked and set off to unearth their back catalogue. Pretty soon. 'A winter of mixed drinks', 'The midnight organ fight' and later 'Pedestrian Verse' and 'Painting of a Panic Attack' became my driving soundtrack with the band's stirring, almost anthemic songs guaranteed to lift the spirits. Ironic in the circumstances, given what I now learn was songwriter Scott's long term battle with depression. And doubly so as I listen to those songs now with this new perspective and can now hear Scott virtually scripting his end through songs written over a decade. In the much referenced 'Floating in the Forth', he writes...

“And fully clothed, I float away
(I'll float away)
Down the Forth, into the sea
I think I'll save suicide for another day.'

It is as brutally prophetic as John Lennon being shot in the film 'How I won the war' and exclaiming, 'I knew it would end like this'. As a Frightened Rabbit fan it always felt like you were one of a small number of blessed devotees. While others listened to pap and exclaimed 'Frightened Who???, you could smile and count yourself fortunate to one of their small number of devotees. Of course this was palpably not true. Although FB were never a U2 or Coldplay in popularity stakes, the band did have a sizeable following. Not only in Scotland and the UK but in America where their gigs were generally sold out but also, their creative output- downloads, vinyl and CD sales and YouTube video hits- suggested here was a band with a healthy following.

This was bourne out by the fact that the news of Scott's initial disappearance and subsequent death was the most viewed story on the BBC News page and featured heavily in the national newspapers in the UK. The band's Painting of a Panic Attack also started selling heavily again on Amazon. Obviously being bought by people who probably had never even heard of the band before Scott's disappearance.

The real tragedy is bourne by Scott's close friends and family but of course the real victim here was Scott who like so many young men-75% of suicides are males-carried the heavy burden of depression around with him like albatross. For those of us who get 'a bit down' now and again, it is impossible to contemplate just how much further down those with serious depression and mental health issues are on the blues scale. Throwing yourself off a bridge into a cold river is beyond the ken of most of us and therefore we cannot get our heads around the fact that for some people,life is not seen as a gift but a curse.

If we can learn anything from this then perhaps it is that we should always treat our fellows with kindness and just do the right thing. It might sound trite in the circumstances but how many of us have said things or reacted negatively to someone we love. Through ignorance, ego, vanity or just sheer bloody mindedness? I know I have and in the words of Scott's penultimate tweet we should be minded to 'Be good to everyone you love, it's not a given. I'm so annoyed that its not. I didn't live by that standard and it kills me.Please, hug your loved ones'

Amen to that.

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