It is, by any standards, an incongruous combination for a pop song, but in Watching Xanadu, Mull Historical Society's fourth single, the band from Tobermory has written about people living on

the streets in London, with the kind

of memorable, sugar-coated melody that is likely to see it dent this

week's top 40.

With support from Radio 1 and MTV and, for the first time, the backing of the Warner Brothers' machine, it is no real surprise that the single has seeped into the national consciousness, especially after the band's breakthrough during 2001.

In the year between November 2000 and 2001 their profile was raised substantially, thanks largely to a series of support tours, notably with Elbow and The Strokes, and a string of festival appearances. From lowly support slots at Glasgow's smaller venues to a headlining tour of decent-sized venues in their own right in 12 months was rapid progress by anyone's standards - far less for a band whose music is markedly less accessible than many of their touring companions and contemporaries.

Songwriter, Colin MacIntyre, who in a generally unassuming manner has always had the air of a man who was going to be a pop star even through his formative years in underwhelming bands like 7:11, is pleased with, rather than surprised by, the success of Watching Xanadu.

''I guess it stood a better chance of making the charts because it is the first one to go through Warners,'' he says, ''but ultimately I don't think that alone is the reason, because it hasn't really changed the way we do things. I think it's one of the songs from the poppier end of the album: I guess it is one of the more throwaway songs in the set.

''I remember writing it. I had the idea when I was in London and it was recorded as part of a batch of five songs, of which it was the last to be done, and one that I was least clear on. These are quite often the ones that people pick out. There are quite a few different strands running through it, but basically the song is about a homeless couple, and the girl in the song who is sleeping in a doorway is called Xanadu. There is something mystical about the whole Xanadu thing and I think there is this notion that maybe she is sleeping in the doorway of Dixons or something and watching the film Xanadu.''

Whatever its inner workings, the song has also provided the platform for a media blitz of sorts. With the possibility of CD:UK and Top of

the Pops next week - depending on chart position and what else is about - in the past few months the band

has appeared on Later With Jools

Holland and in a whole host of other unexpected places.

''I was on Soccer AM on Sky last weekend,'' he says, ''with a fairly woeful display of footballing skills. I

had to try to kick the ball through a wooden cut-out of Sven Goran Erikkson's mouth. I missed and my rebound shot was even further away. All these kind of things have helped the single, but I think it is just good to be getting the attention at all. MTV has been particularly good, just because we have made the videos with our friends - a real team effort - and they really seem to have caught people's imagination. With Jools Holland, it was just good to be asked and appear in that kind of environment.''

With a brass section and steel drummer in tow for that appearance, it looks like MacIntyre's singular musical vision is expanding, and both will be along for the forthcoming UK tour, and the special show in Tobermory which will ease them back into live work for 2002.

''When I was young, the town hall in Tobermory was the only stage I aspired to,'' he says, ''and that's where all the covers bands play. It is a bit weird going back there when you have been to loads of other places and I am not sure what people will make of it, but I am sure it will be fine. It is going to be quite light and mainly acoustic, along the lines of a show we did recently at the Elbow Rooms in London, but that is more to keep costs down because it is a benefit gig.''

The cause in question is

the Kenny MacIntyre Memorial Sports Park Trust. Colin's father was, for many years, the BBC's Scottish political correspondent, and his memory is being served by trying to improve the sports facilities

on the island.

''It is still at the first stage,'' he says, ''but since I was a child the football park on Mull has always been lop-sided, and I think someone worked out that it was unplayable for 48 weeks of the year. My dad was football mad, and the trust is aiming to raise (pounds) 25,000, which will then be matched by the sports council and other public funding. We did a gig last year and there has been lots of other fund-raising, so I think there is only about (pounds) 3000 left to go.''

It is the type of event that also pinpoints Mull Historical Society's uniqueness. They may be about to go global in every sense, but they are very much thinking local.

Watching Xanadu is out now.

Mull Historical Society play Tobermory Town Hall (Feb 16), Aberdeen Lemon Tree (Feb 20), Inverness, Blue (Feb 21), Ullapool Seaforth (Feb 22), and Glasgow, Queen Margaret Union (23rd).