Fleeing from Pigeons Records

A record label and blog from the same idiot that gave you Bearded Magazine

New FFP Site in Beta…

The new Fleeing from Pigeons site is now in public beta stage: http://www.fleeingfrompigeons.com/

All posts from this blog are on there, and you can view every issue of every magazine FFP has put out, see every poster, every flyer and every t-shirt.

For the records, you can download every record and stream certain tracks. We’re looking into putting full album streams online, that should come shortly.

In the meantime, this blog will not be updated – so leave!

Filed under: Blog

DIY Merchandise Video

Almost way too much news and stuff to catch up on after Unconvention this weekend, but one thing that does manage to get the first post up about it is the one hour conception to release of Bolton band Merchandise‘s latest video.

Shot by New Music Strategies‘ Andrew Dubber in a kebab shop in Salford after a few too many Lancastrian shandies, the results are here for all to see.

The story of the ‘shoot’ is on Dubber’s website.

You can buy the track from the Cityscape Records website.

*In other news, the new site is coming along rather nicely, its construction is the reason for the slowness of content on here at the moment. More news soon though…

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Nice People Take Drugs

Release – the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law – have launched a bus advertisement campaign with the simple, but overlooked, slogan that NICE PEOPLE TAKE DRUGS.

They say, quite rightly:

“It is time that we demanded that politicians and the media have a realistic and honest discussion about drugs. It’s time to shift the debate – we need laws that are fair, information that is accurate and a debate that is meaningful.”

And also point out the following facts:

* Over a third of adults in England & Wales have used illicit drugs
* More people have used cannabis than voted for Labour at the last election
* 13,000 children were arrested for drug offences in 2006/07
* Over 1 million adults used class A drugs last year

This country is desperately in need of an overhaul of its drugs legislation. The fact that legislation comes down to a woman who spends taxpayers money on pornography telling us that ‘cannabis is bad’ is a sad state of affairs, especially when decisions seem to be based upon political posturing rather than medical evidence. Not to mention against the recommendations of the government’s own advisors.

I could go off on a rant, but I always boil it down to the same question: ‘would you prefer commonly used dangerous substances to be under the control of criminals who put profits back into criminal activity that kills people and damages lives, or would you prefer them to be controlled, taxed, where the purity and safety of substances can be regulated, and the users can have access to help without persecution?’

Thanks, too, to Transform, another magnificent organisation doing tremendous work in this area, from who I pinched this story.

Filed under: Blog, , ,

eMusic moves with the majors

All has been a little quiet over the weekend while I battle my latest case of Swine Flu. Anyway, news is this morning that my old chums at eMusic – famed for their non-relationship with the major labels – have finally reached an agreement with SonyBMG.

The background to the story is simple. When founded 11 years ago, eMusic refused to put DRM on the music they sold. This, up until very recently when iTunes followed suit, was always a taboo subject with the major labels who subsequently refused to licence their music to the service.

Since then, eMusic has carved itself out to be the biggest (and best) legal independent music resource online. They were amongst the first to introduce a monthly subscription fee and have gone from strength-to-strength whilst other services have come and gone. By the end of last year, they had sold over 250 million tracks – a phenomenal amount of independent music (and made even better taking into account the fact that Domino don’t have any artists on the service).

The deal isn’t quite as succinct as you’d hope for though, according to the New York Times, the deal will only cover tracks that are more than two years old, and that eMusic will “slightly raise prices and reduce the number of downloads for some of its monthly plans” in return.

eMusic boss Danny Stein continues to say that the price hike is supported by its existing indie labels, and I guess that’s the best we can hope for. Let’s just hope this deal is as beneficial to the vast number of independent artists on eMusic as it should be.

As an aside, you can get 35 FREE tracks from eMusic and support FFP by clicking here.

Filed under: Blog, ,

Beaver stuffing

I’m feeling ill today, so the subject of the day in the office has been taxidermy and beaver stuffing. So here you are:

Filed under: Blog

Cassetteboy vs The Apprentice

I’ve only ever seen one episode of The Apprentice but it seems to be spreading into the world of musical comedy. After the lastest ‘Song Wars’ feature on the Adam & Joe show on 6music focused its energies on creating songs around the show (which you can hear here), now those masters of cutting up famous people to form knob jokes Cassetteboy have done an epic 6minute video, which is here:

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Book club of one

Last Friday I got sent The Last Mad Surge of Youth by author Mark Hodkinson. I’ve been waiting for a good excuse to read a new book on the tube so this, coupled with the bank holiday sun and what starts as with well written prose, makes for an excuse too good to ignore.

The story involves a musician in both the present day (as a washed-up success) and in the seventies as a new wave punk start-up forming a band. It’s taking a little while to get going, primarily due to the format of the story (see below), but has engaged me enough for me to dislike putting it down in these early stages.

I’ll be back intermittently with thoughts and something of a more traditional review at the end of the book. To start off with there are a couple of thoughts on the novel thus far.

– It’s well written, engaging and accessible
– It has a non chapter format which flicks between our protagonist in the present day and in the past (when he was forming a band), this I like and dislike in equal measure. I’ve never been a fan of chapters (preferring something relating to a stream of consciousness), but the chopping and changing can be confusing, especially when you’re awful at remembering names.

I’ve motored through the first 100 pages already, so should be done by the end of the week.

Filed under: Blog

Un-convention Manchester II

Last year I had the pleasure of chatting at the first Un-convention – held in Salford – and, unable to wait 12 months, seven months later they’re holding another one.

It may be the first one I’m not speaking at (I spoke at the Belfast event earlier this year), but I’m hoping to get up there next week.

It’s a great event, organised by great people with their hearts and minds in the right place and isn’t filled with the posteuring of most industry events.

You can get a taster of last year’s event by watching this video. You can also see me in the vid, and by awful posteur is due to being on crutches, although they seem to have been cut out…

Here’s the blurb and follow the link for discounted tickets:

Un-Convention 2009 is a not for profit grassroots led music conference for DIY and Independent music makers and companies. Born in Manchester in 2008 as an alternative to the more mainstream In The City event, it has already inspired Un-Conventions in Belfast and Swansea and future events in Glasgow, London, Barcelona and Reykjavík. This year’s UK national event in Salford will have a range of key musicians, bands and industry personnel in attendance.

This year’s panellists include Marin Elbourne (Glastonbury), Crispin Parry (British Underground), Andrew Dubber (New Music Strategies), Al Farquhar (Modern Art Management), Peter Hook (New Order), Liam Frost, Ashley Beedle (X-Press2), Jo Good (XFM/MTV), Simon Aldridge (BMI) and John Robb – plus many, many more (see attached).

In addition to panels and workshops Un-Convention presents the best new live talent, across genres, from all over the country. Un-Convention is not an industry showcase – more a celebration of talent below the mass media radar. Artists will perform during daytime acoustic sessions and over three nights of gigs.

Un-Convention 2009 bands include: I Am Kloot, Everything Everything, Kyte, The Loose Salute, Magic Arm, Kasms, Arthur Delaney, Gallops, Sisters of Transistors, The Tombots, Arch Nazards, Fangs, Jamie Finlay, Withered Hand, Louis Barabbas and the Bedlam 6, John Smith, Jake Flowers, Jesca Hoop + Lil’Fee (The Whip) DJ Set.

There will also be bbq’s in the graveyard on Friday and Saturday served by Wild At Heart.

Tickets from £7.50. To book tickets visit: http://unconvention3.eventbrite.com/ and enter UNCON019283, valid until Friday 29th May, 2009.

Filed under: Blog, ,

What now for Plan C?

The closure of Plan B, confirmed yesterday, is testament to the sad times we’re living in.

As I’ve said before, I’m a massive fan of the internet, the opportunities it provides and its benefits to independent companies of all sorts – including print publishers. It is cheap and incongruous to blame the internet for a business not being sustainable in the modern age.

The reason Plan B has closed it doors (after its fifth anniversary issue printed next month), has been attributed to lower ad revenues, which is directly linked to the fall in revenues that independent record labels can generate during troubled times.

This is the key time of the year for music magazines to generate advertising revenue – being the dawn of the festival season – and the current issue of the magazine includes 22 pages of adverts (not all of which were paid for I’m sure). Picking up January’s copy of The Word (the closest mainstream mag I have to hand), I see 20 pages of ads.

Now the numbers are similar, but the clientele isn’t. Opening the front page of The Word shows a double page spread ad for BMW, another turn shows another DPS for Budweiser then you get a full page ad for Sony before you even get to the contents.

Plan B on the otherhand showcases a full page ad for HMV-owned retailer Fopp, then after the contents and editorial you get to a Wichita ad.

Clearly these aren’t the same situations, and it showcases the problem Bearded had from day one: you may have good intentions, but the people who want to support you are the same people you want to support – the little man without the money. In 2007, BMW posted a profit of €3.135 billion, Fopp went into administration.

What that says to me is that the arts community, the government, the music industry and others need to come together to support a magazine on the newsstand that can showcase work of those who don’t have the finances to promote themselves into the vision of the mainstream magazines.

It’s easy to point to sales figures, but the fact is that magazines don’t even get half of the money generated by sales, and it would take a staggering number of sales to make a magazine profitable without major advertising. That means magazines need branded adverts, like The Fly secured, or companies the size of BMW offering up a hefty cheque at the end of each month.

The problem then though is who is going to appreciate a major company-funded publication and trust them to provide an independent
insight to the music industry? The joy of magazines like Plan B and Bearded is that you knew what they were about from the moment you picked them up: wholesome music, intuitive design and fighting for the little man. We need someway to bring that back to the newsstand.

Afterall, you can’t read a computer screen in the bath!

Filed under: Blog, ,

An advertisement…


19 June 2009 – The Dog House, Kennington

Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences
Pagan Wanderer Lu
Dig for Fire


That is all

Filed under: Blog, FFP Projects, Live shows, , ,

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