Frightened Rabbit bandleader Scott Hutchison knew that he was sinking into an abyss—mentally, emotionally, even spiritually—after the 2013 release of Pedestrian Verse, the Scottish group’s breakthrough album. But he couldn’t gauge the true depth of his situation until he began seeing his followers in a dreary new light. But the singer finally got help, from some rather unusual sources. All of which led to the fifth Frightened Rabbit epistle—the aptly dubbed Painting Of A Panic Attack, produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Hutchison and his bandmates—Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature.
Scott Hutchison: I’ve slept until 1 p.m. or 1:03 p.m. A thin shaft of sunlight slithers across various parts of the room, but it’s not even nearly annoying (i.e., it’s nowhere near my face/eyes). The version of me who lived yesterday has already left a glass bottle of Irn Bru in the fridge. What a gem. It’s a strange relationship we have with our self who lived through an entire day before us, mere hours ago. Sometimes, they have done well; completed the shopping, cleaned your hair in advance or exercised enthusiastically so that you (the “you” of today) don’t have to. Anyway, that’s all been done, thank fuck.
I brew some coffee just for the fragrance. I don’t like the taste much or the constant heart palpitations thereafter, but the smell is something else. I can’t believe it hasn’t been made into a perfume. Downing the Irn Bru on the porch (pyjama bottoms, no top) I survey the lake (quick aside: I’d like to note that I’ve shaken the Bru bottle and released the gas three times until there is only a mild spritz left in it. I want to use this opportunity to put it to AG Barr Soft Drinks that the stuff is just too bubbly right off the bat, and there should be a “half-fizz” alternative on the market. (Irn Champagne, if you like). As I said, I survey the lake. That’s all there is to it. Feels good. It’s not my lake; it’s the lake built at the centre of the caravan park. “Boatiful,” I say, flashing my big, beaming face around to see if anyone heard the joke. Nope again.
Pacing back inside I take just five minutes to look at the internet so that I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. “It’s still there!” I shout, “The internet is still there!” I run outside just to check. Nobody heard it. I’ll keep trying, and nothing can bring me down today. Still topless, I open a can of Guinness. It’s the first of many on this perfect day. How else am I going to work up the courage to sing at the karaoke pub later? I’m going to do it. I mean it. (I won’t ever do this, but it’s the thought that counts.)
Now I want to read just one poem and listen to a clever play on the radio before I get stuck into the good stuff. Much like the “me” of yesterday, I do this is so I don’t have to do anything else of intellectual worth for the rest of today. Try it. Do something cultural and nourishing at the beginning of the day and feel the utter liberation it brings. “Yes, I can now watch seven straight hours of House Hunters International without even a wink of guilt!” But not today. No, this is my perfect day. On this day I’ll be watching Terminator 2 again as if you couldn’t have guessed. Ah yes, Terminator 2. It’s as good as it gets. The only great film of the 1990s, Terminator 2 still shits metal bricks on everything produced since. I don’t care what advances have been made in CGI in the years between, this is the apex. The franchise is also notable for providing the only role for which it’s appropriate to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger. He shouldn’t have been in any other films. It’s madness. I have a dream that one day I will rewrite the soundtrack to Terminator 2 and perform it live in front of the film itself. I must add that I think the soundtrack as it stands is perfect. Brad Fiedel created the most beautiful, terrifying sonic landscape within the film, and I’m certain that my version would be inferior, but you can’t bring a boy down for setting himself some healthy goals.
Having watched the absolute shit out of the film and spilled Guinness all over my torso, I go back to bed. Yeah, this is my day, you punk. I know I said I was going to the karaoke, but guess what, I’ve ordered Chinese chips and a curry pizza over the phone, and it’ll be here any minute! Before I left the bedroom that morning, I had placed an empty tumbler glass, a small jug of water and a bottle of Balvenie 12 year on the nightstand. I told you, that guy is a gem! From this moment forth, there’s a lot of pouring and sipping going on in that bedroom. The food arrives, and I make Perry the delivery boy bring it to the room (I left a note on the door didn’t I?! The note read, “Come on in, Perry. I’ll give you an extra £3.00 if you do. And can you bring me the Irn Bru from the fridge? The one that’s already been opened. Thanks.”
I dismiss Perry immediately, having given him an extra £2.40 (it’s my day). To the listener on the other side of the door, you’d think there was a wanked-up party going on in here, with lots of fun peeing and slurpy sexual favours. Not in this caravan, mate. I’m eating and drinking myself into a frenzy, and it’s going everywhere. My torso fucked at this point, so I go for a shower, using five different gels to wash off the sticky residue. Now it’s time to sing and dance. For the rest of the night, I play records. There’s a healthy dose of Phil Collins, followed by a pinch of Jackson Browne, and I end it all by listening to the whole of Making Movies by Dire Straits. If you don’t already know this album, I compel you to seek it out. Forget what you’ve ever thought about Knopfler and Co. This is a belter of an album, front to back. As the final bars of “Les Boys” pass (such a bizarre song, it’ll have you in stitches), I plunge onto the couch and in one fluid movement I whip a blanket over myself and pull a pillow under my head. Sleep comes easily after such a day. It doesn’t get any better than this. Goodnight.