New Stool Pigeon out now, smaller format, but just as free
Phil Hebblethwaite, Editor. Mickey Gibbons, Designer.
Stool Pigeon is the bi-monthly, six issues a year totally independent music paper that’s distributed (thanks to the editors driving many, many, many miles each issue) to music shops (the few that are sadly left), student unions and arts venues across the country (full list of stockists here). And it’s free. Yes, completely and absolutely free. Which immediately makes it great value for money. But, unlike so many of those free newspapers, The Stool Pigeon actually has a lot to say and says it bloody well.
The latest issue sees a change it’s previous broadsheet format to a new tabloid size. But the contents are still the same, with a host of bands that I, being old and so out of touch have never heard of, but that you, being our hip and happening young readership will already possibly be saying are getting too big and you preferred them on their first, impossible to get hold of EP.
Actually, that’s not completely true, there are some artists I have heard of, but they tend to be the older acts such as Ice Cube (with a typically prickly interview) and Nile Rodgers. No matter, it’s well written enough to mean I can settle down and read it without knowledge and passionate enough to make me want to track down a few of these new bands you young people are talking about.
The design of the paper is as strong as it always was, with every article pushing the boundaries style wise but never forgetting that we still have to be able to read the text.
The real interest for me is the comics section, a staple of the paper since day one. Although slightly reduced this issue, there’s still a nice mix of work here with pages by Krent Able, Lawrence Elwick, Paul O’Connell, Martin Kellerman, John Riordan, and Richard Cowdry. It’s a varied bunch, and very much in keeping with the determinedly alternative nature of the paper, but all of them are of interest; it’s nice to see Richard Cowdry (as featured on the FPI blog with his Somersault strips) get more page space, John Riordan’s Golum is still playing his Country and Western tunes and still getting nowhere with them, and Martin Kellerman’s Rocky spends his time worrying about what instrument he should be playing. But two strips take top billing; Krent Able delivers his usual grotesquery with a Beach Boys gone wild story “Surf’s Up”, disturbing and brilliantly drawn stuff:
(Surf’s Up by Krent Able, from The Stool Pigeon # 28)
And then there’s Charlie Parker; Handyman by Paul O’Connel and Lawrence Elwick, a strip I’ve talked about a few times before, but one that never fails to impress me with both the brilliant simplicity of it’s idea and the wild journeys of the imagination it takes you on. And it looks bloody lovely as well as Charlie tackles the difficult problem of the Ga-Ga robot:
(O’Connell and Elwick’s magnificent Charlie Parker Handyman, from The Stool Pigeon # 28)
Stool Pigeon is available completely free nationwide – it’s something well worth supporting. Go out to your local stockist and pick up a copy. Whether it’s for the comics or for the music it doesn’t matter, both sides of the paper are done well enough to make it worth your while.