More Stool Pigeon
Phil Hebblethwaite, Editor. Mickey Gibbons, Designer.
Another issue of The Stool Pigeon – the six issues a year totally independent and free music paper found in music shops, student unions and arts venues across the country (full list of stockists here).
We’ve looked at it before and it always manages to remind me that I’ve completely failed in my mission to be as much like the late, great John Peel as possible. Since his death, it’s all gone wrong – my iTunes library last year had a lot of 2010 tunes, but 80% of those were downloaded for my 11 year old daughter, the rest were mostly the deluxe reissues of classic 80s albums and there were maybe a couple of new tracks I heard on Radio 2’s Radcliffe & Maconie show – hardly what I once dreamed of really.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, The Stool Pigeon.
Beneath a cover that alternatively strikes me as really clever and really bad, perhaps the only time I’ve been less than impressed with the solid design of the paper, lies the usual list of articles on and interviews with various music types I’ve never even heard of, never mind having an idea what their music is. Esben & The Witch, EMA, Jeff The Brotherhood, The Skull Defekts. Oh God. I’m old aren’t I?
However, once the fear of the new and my being old goes away the actual articles and interviews are all, as usual, enjoyable, informed and no matter how much you (I) may feel disenfranchised by the music, I can still enjoy the writing and the ever excellent design sensibilities throughout the magazine (although I’m still not sold on that cover).
However, what first got me interested in The Stool Pigeon is the comics section nestled in the middle pages. There’s a definite core group of artists that The Stool Pigeon uses – Krent Able, Martin Kellerman, Richard Cowdry, but this time around there are a few new names to the paper (although not to readers of the FPI blog): Steve Tillotson, David Ziggy Greene, Daniel Locke.
Richard Cowdry’s Somersault strips on the FPI blog have been getting better and better – his Charlie Chaplin gag of a few weeks back an absolute highpoint. He’s got two strips here – the first (“Down Town” – excerpt above) a very up to date look at the coalition governement’s very humane means of assessing Incapacity Benefit. It would be funny, if it weren’t so horribly true. His second is based on a Dead Kennedys song “Terminal Preppie” adapted for the British Uni – and again, the way things are going, we’re only going to have more of these self-centered, arrogant, in love with their own sense of entitlement, probably private school educated wankers infesting our places of learning in the future.
David Ziggy Greene pops up for a little 6 panel funny of “Benson Berner; Mad Scientist” – a man a little too obsessed with fecal matter, linoleum, hydrochloric acid and “the jizzbags”. Slight? Yes. But funny.
Krent Able’s Agent West is just brilliant, the best of his strips I’ve seen so far. With Kanye signing up for special duties in front of a very sharp President Obama. Lots of gags, great art and you wont quite believe how Kanye’s meant to control his genetically modified flying naked harpy thing. But it involves lard, Viagra and a picture of Jay-Z’s head photoshopped onto a donkey (and just wait till you see the smile of Kanye’s face at that last one).
And then there’s Martin Kellerman’s Rocky – a regular, but this time round it does a great job – two music fans discussing the origins of music, James Brown, psychology and the merits of music criticism – all with a ridiculously laid-back style and a cracking eaar for conversational dialogue.
The only one I’m not really enjoying is Hister Hitler. It just doesn’t do much for me – insubstantial, too knowing. But hey, just one dud in the crop is hardly a bad thing.
So, yet again, The Stool Pigeon proves itself to be excellent value for money – which is hardly difficult, given that it’s free. But it doesn’t rest on it’s free laurels. The comics section is well worth a look for a fine collection of strips – but the whole thing is a fine read, no matter how in touch with music you may feel.
Like it says in the paper: “Do you run a shop, bar, venue, launderette or brothel anywhere in the UK?” If you do, they’ll deliver a bundle to your door. Find out all the details of stockists, subscriptions and features online at The Stool Pigeon website.