Can everyone stop fighting please?

A couple of weeks ago, the Radar music blog ran an editorial titled Is friendly fire killing our music scene? in which the author (Billy Hamilton) was curiously affronted by “the same old faces we’re seeing on the same old blogs” and went on to claim that some Scottish bands were being written about favourably not because the writer particularly liked their music, but because of personal friendships.

Unsurprisingly, this accusation did not sit well with a few Scottish bloggers, although the matter of who the intended target(s) was remains open to conjecture given that the author has so far been unwilling to give a single example of perceived favouritism. Indeed, I brought this issue up as a comment on the original article, to which Billy replied “What’s the point?”. The point is, until he does, the argument simply doesn’t carry any weight.

The reason I found the article so counter-productive is that new Scottish artists need all the help they can get – no matter how much talent they have. Take this weekend’s T in the Park festival as an example. If you disregard the T Break Stage (which is confined to local musicians) only 10% of all acts who have been invited to play this year are Scottish. That isn’t a slight on the band bookers, it’s simply a reflection on Scotland’s standing when it comes to producing bands popular enough to attract punters to a large-scale music festival.

However, where I could find common ground with the Radar piece is on the level of camaraderie, togetherness and co-operation that this country’s music scene enjoys, something I discovered first-hand when everyone rallied round to support The Pop Cop’s recent salvage operation. It’s heartening to think that Scottish artists, podcasters, bloggers and gig promoters appreciate and respect each other’s worth and contribution…

…or so I thought.

Two episodes have left me gobsmacked this week.

First, Matthew Young of the universally respected and long-standing Scottish music blog Song, By Toad has had to deal with some “pretty serious legal threats made about having the site shut down” courtesy of PCL, a Glasgow-based gig promotion company who are responsible for putting on the likes of Mika and Scissor Sisters.

PCL took exception to being insulted by a couple of Song, By Toad readers (let’s just say a word that rhymes with “runts” was used) on the comments section of this post when the topic of debate turned to Meursault gigs they were promoting. The comments relating to PCL and Matthew’s response (in which he emphasised that he had no problem with the promoters personally, but just wanted to have a couple of things cleared up since Meursault are on his record label) have since been removed due to the threat of legal action, but needless to say the heavy-handed response – and that’s not even going into the issue of censoring comments – has left a lot of people disgusted and angry.

As if that wasn’t shocking enough, along came this frankly astounding email exchange between a Glasgow-based indie group called Un Cadavre and the organisers of the city’s Pin Up Nights club night. To summarise, Un Cadavre were invited to play at the Flying Duck venue in May. They were told in advance that payment was on a “door split” basis but since there were ZERO people there to see them when they played, Un Cadavre were not paid for their efforts (although they did help themselves to free beer).

Now, the band made it clear they were unhappy at not being paid for playing to no punters but instead of accepting the organiser’s offer to meet face-to-face to discuss it, they thought it would be a much better idea to immaturely doctor a photo of the man who booked them to play and post it on the internet (see above).

However, the Pin Up team took it all in their stride (sample quote: “Perhaps an apology would have been appropriate today given your language, behaviour and unfounded defamatory allegations but that would probably never occur to someone with their head so far up their own arse that they must have difficulty breathing”), and proceeded to obliterate the band’s increasingly desperate, pretentious, arrogant arguments to sawdust in a series of emails which they decided to make public here.

Who said this place was too friendly?

Freelance WhalesWe Could Be Friends


20 Responses to “Can everyone stop fighting please?”

  1. chiris Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 05:15

    I’ve read the 3 features mentioned and they all have left me wondering why such animosity is present.
    The only thing the radar piece left with me was: why have such a lack of faith? to think that anyone who invests so much time/effort/money in promoting unsigned music in scotland would be so easily led is unfair to those who do.
    I have only read the Song By Toad thing after the comments were removed, but I think it is crazy that a forum can be censored in such a way. What are things coming to if that is going to happen?
    As for Un Cadavere, they’ve just shown every unsigned band how to not get anywhere. I havn’t listened to them but probably wont now. Not as part of a group effort, but simply as I think the way they acted is ridiculous. Not what happened on the night or whether they are right or wrong in the argument- the fact that they started a petty internet hate campaign over a probable 30 quid. Why would I subject my blog to a potential barrage like that?
    Basically, chill out folk, we’re (almost) all going in the same direction.
    Apologies for this being so long

  2. Mark Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 06:49

    RE: Song by Toad

    The censorship issue of `legal threats` from big companies throwing their weight around is outrageous and wrong on so many levels, Although im entering this unbeknown to the full facts of what was actually said, Im confident that this sounds almost like bullying

    RE: the Radar debate

    The self-censorship of bloggers/ writers not wanting to upset their friends or people in their outer social circle which is completely understandable but can be slightly frustrating as at times it seems from the outside that the majority of writers are sometimes always in agreement with each other (I do not include Pop Cop in this statement)

    RE: The pin-up saga

    Here both parties have went on the complete opposite extreme of not rocking the apple cart and resulted to the pettiness of calling each other out over the internet. To be fair, It was the band who started it and it was the band who came off far worse but im sure the band have generated publicity as a result. They`re next gig will probably have far more than `ZERO` people through the door and I for one will be interested to see if they can cut it live and read the reviews afterwards if they were to play a good gig.
    Would the reviews reflect that?
    Would their be any?
    They sound like obnoxious pricks but arent most bands? Ok maybe not you or my friends that are in bands but it should be music first, Personality second.

    I think Its good to see people asking if our scene is too friendly because it means we actually have a scene. A scene full of great bands and bloggers although it could well seem a bit daunting and too close-knit for people who have just arrived. Its everyones duty to be friendly to the lesser known and prove the doubters wrong and let it grow bigger. We should support each other whilst still maintaining our own individuality . This scene helped save Pop Cop and did its small part for 6music. It can grow from strength to strength if we do it right

  3. peenko Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 09:30

    cracking post there kidda,
    I particularly enjoyed your Un Cadavre picture 😉 I must admit that I had never heard of them until two days ago when I read that Pin Up nights article. That’s one way of getting your name out there I guess!

  4. Fiction Scouts Anonymous Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 10:24

    PCL are cunts.

  5. Mint Tea Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 10:25

    Oh my, Un Cadavre. You’d think someone that pretentious would be a little more restrained with his exclamation marks. Although, I’m sure he could write me a referenced essay on the merits of needless repetition of punctuation when not used for comedic effect but dour, humourless dummy-spitting.
    As for Mr B. Hamilton, he should really have the man-parts to name who he is levelling this criticism at. I suspect he doesn’t as The Scotsman may take a dim view of him laying into blogs promoting Scottish Music and he probably doesn’t want to upset bloggers from whom he could possibly need favours or support from. He certainly wouldn’t want them to turn on him en masse, I imagine. This is not his first and I suspect won’t be his last self-important, and frankly dull, editorial. He’s sparked a debate he refuses to take further, which is rather limp.
    I must admit that I laughed quite hard when I read that a representative of PCL had threatened to stuff “£100 pounds in notes up” Matthew Song, By Toad’s arse. I wish I could have heard his reaction, as judging by his podcasts the language must have been rather colourful. The threat of legal action over opinion is absolutely ridiculous, however.
    And you! Mr Pop Cop seem to have sparked further handbags!

  6. thepopcop Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 10:43

    I take full responsibility for the doctored Un Cadavre photo. And to think I called THEM immature, ha!

  7. Ian (HF@D) Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 11:10

    Did no one else find the Radar piece hilarious? Given the fact that three of their writers are in bands that they have ‘tipped’ at one point? Blue Sky Archives, There Will Be Fireworks, Dems. It just made me laugh as they are as guilty as anyone yet seem to look down at the rest of the blogging community because they like to think of themselves as proper journalists. All that piece equated to was ‘WAAAAAAAAAAAH’. Counter-productivity at its worst.

    PCL- that is completely shocking. When did big promoters become the Gestapo?! CUNTS!

  8. Mint Tea Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 11:30

    Is Billy in a band? I’d love to hear them as, quite clearly, the must be the most incredible band in the world. Or is he just a serious journalist?

    I don’t think you went far enough with your Un Captioning. “Un Cadavre are front bottoms and their music is like a foghorn covered in Nietzsche quotations poo-ing in your ears”. Let’s immature it “to the max”.

  9. Ian (HF@D) Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 11:36

    “their music is like a foghorn covered in Nietzsche quotations poo-ing in your ears”

    Nothing has cheered me up this much since the double rainbow video.

  10. Nick Says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 19:34

    Can of worms officially open! All we wanted to do with the Radar editorial was raise a question that most of us have probably wondered at some point. Taboo maybe, but not that controversial surely.

    And it wasn’t directed purely at blogs (of which we are one) – the wider issue was whether too much positivity can be a bad thing for a music scene – especially when viewed from the outside. That’s a valid question is it not?

    For the record Ian, we featured There Will Be Fireworks a year before Gibran ever offered to write for us, we have never once mentioned Dems (yet) and, yes, we put on a gig with Blue Sky Archives and plan to feature them in the future, but that’s because we think they’re a bloody good band. Any accusations of bias are frankly laughable.

    I stand by the decision to run the editorial because open debate keeps things from stagnating. It’s a shame that such debate becomes personal on comment threads. I’m sure we’d all get on fine and maybe come to some kind of consensus in the real world, over a pint, but there you go.

    Stop fighting indeed.

  11. mr bear Says:

    July 10th, 2010 at 14:07

    i think the problem that most people had with the radar piece wasn’t so much what billy had written, more the fact that he completely disengaged from it. i think if you’re going to write something which is undoubtedly going to generate such a heated response then you have an obligation to interact with the comments thread. this is what makes blog writing so worthwhile. without doing this the article doesn’t stand up as a platform for debate, it just stagnates and distances the writer from any potential conversation.

    Oh, and for the record, PCL are just lovely.

  12. Pete Says:

    July 10th, 2010 at 19:49


    Pin up nights is an average club in my opinion, but they go on the defensive a bit too quickly – that band was obviously drunk and pushing their luck, nothing more… why argue back? We once came to pin up nights to play with a band from Canada who we’d agreed to play on a song with and had to pay into pin up nights for the honour… we was quite miffed about it but we did it because we liked our Canadian pals. I mentioned afterwards that I thought it was a bit odd and the chap was quite defensive about it and pulled out a host of statistics about their costs etc. I found it a bit over the top. It’s definitely not the worst run club in the world though, or the most selfish, but it’s kind of churlish to respond to a band who are out to annoy them for a bit of fun. It hardly said ‘I’m a pure cunt’ on the wee MS Paint thing they made likesay. I wonder why they feel this is necessary.

    In respect to the radar thing, I get what the guy was saying, though I think it could have been more eloquent. As someone who plays in a fair few bands in Glasgow and in Edinburgh and having been around playing in them for a long, long, long time, it is definitely a topic of contention about how bloggers ‘fit’ into music. It is something that hasn’t settled and may never but it must be true that some people are social networkers with a blog and some people are bloggers that happen to establish a social network. The same is true with band members – you get people that can chat their way to anything. I can’t and I don’t but without people that did, I’d not meet lots of new people and do new things.

    I do feel that Radar and Song by Toad, to pick two examples, are exacting in praise and criticism. I think that’s mainly down to really good writing and a variety of contributors. That’s not to say I don’t value other people’s input or think anything in terms of them being cliquey or whatever. Not any more than the average band member anyway.

    We should celebrate the variety of things like podcasts, people uploading radio sessions, doing reviews, interviews and so on. For me (and I think maybe the guy that wrote the Radar thing) the important thing is that the good outweighs the bad. It’s stupid to say ‘blogs are rubbish’ because that’s true in many ways and false in others. But it’s also stupid to get angry at the insinuation that people aren’t entirely selfless or that they form cliques using a social networking tool. Of course they do. Criticism is the greatest tool for improving any group of people really and it should be welcomed – what I’d rather see is everyone that cares trying to do things to improve independent music rather than try to industrialise something that simply isn’t going to be a career for most people involved in it – especially following the rules of the music industry.

    So maybe someone should post their top 5 things they would do to make music better in Scotland, rather than just getting wound up. I’ll send a beautiful CD of my band to the first person that does. If that’s not enough reason to do so, I don’t know what is.

  13. Ian (HF@D) Says:

    July 12th, 2010 at 16:33

    1. I think an aggregation site of some sort with all Scottish blogs and music sites would be quite helpful.
    2. More attention given to other areas rather than just Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are some fantastic bands up north that constantly get overlooked.
    3. Young fans. Most gigs I go to featuring up and coming talent are full of 30 years olds. There needs to be a pull for younger fans to come to small gigs rather than just going to club nights. If there is no future audience then the Scottish scene is going to be fucked in coming years.
    4. Better integration between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Press-wise and promotion-wise.
    5. It is never going to happen, but money. Norway, Sweden and Canada get money pumped into up and coming bands and it really shows. Read this interesting piece by Pitchfork. It talks about America, but it is applicable for Scotland too.

  14. Hicks Says:

    July 13th, 2010 at 03:58

    I find this discussion interesting because I play in some bands based in Glasgow and therefore I’m aware of the blogging network that has been building up around the Scottish (Glasgow/Edinburgh anyway) music scene.

    It wasn’t so long ago that all you had was hard copy newspapers/magazines that did the music industry chat and that was it. Forget the radio and the television stuff – not many people on the radio or TV were ever looking to really examine the state of affairs in this music world. It was the zines that commanded respect of the underground music scenes.

    It was folk working for no pay, printing only a hundred copies and passing them out to friends who in a way were helping start the blogging generation. They didn’t have comments boxes – they sat around and discussed it. The most disturbing movement the internet has caused was to make it easy to wax lyrical right from the comfort of our computer desks. It has made us anonymous and cold in some ways.

    My problem with the article is the way it talks about our responsibilities. How we are striving to create a good scene and that the conduct of how bloggers and bands are becoming to chummy.

    First of all, no-one in their right mind strives to create a scene. It’s a natural unassuming process unless you have a seriously Napoleonic mind. When I started playing music in Glasgow I knew no-one involved. This changed over the course of years playing gigs, working in bars, etc. I didn’t make any conscious choice to talk to this guy or make sure so and so liked me. I just lived my life and through working in this industry got to know folk. You can’t manufacture that – it just happens.

    Secondly, why would you consider this to truly be a problem? If you strive for a ‘good scene’ then surely this should be a big part of it. Why can’t a good scene be one where the people writing music and the people writing about it have a true connection? The most fascinating pieces of journalism have come when a writer and a subject have had some kind of connection. Cameron Crowe and the Allman Brothers or Hunter S. Thompson and the Hells Angels to name two of the top of my head. You’ve got to know what you’re writing about and it’s not a very big town.

    This isn’t a rant or a rave, merely my unadultered thoughts on this situation as I wax lyrical from a computer desk. I suppose that’s what it’s about. We can finally all say what we want rather than just reading what other people say.

  15. Lenny Says:

    July 15th, 2010 at 18:37

    I thought the Un Cadavre thing was pretty funny to be honest,a bit pretentious, but their obviously not serious. Not seen them live, but I just heard their stuff on myspace- sounds pretty good. To be honest, my mates band Peter Parker were ripped off by Pin up Nights. John D wanted to give them 20 quid, after making two grand on the door- doesn’t sound like a fair policy to me.

  16. Nick Says:

    July 15th, 2010 at 21:48

    The Un Cadavre v Pin ups affair – and the subsequent reaction to it here – is incredibly depressing. I left Glasgow because of an utter lack of colour and variety in the music circuit. Whilst I’ve never heard of these guys (although I will now look them up) and know nothing of the spat other than the one account printed here, it does seem as though the club is being a bit joyless and neurotic about it all. I don’t really understand their reasoning for giving a band they clearly dislike loads of exposure, other than the fact the band must have hit a nerve (as well as a mannequin).
    The arts here in Berlin are very much centred around the freedom to be ‘pompous’ and ‘arrogant’ (my primary school teacher used to say that people who used those terms disparagingly are the worst culprits, that it assumes an unacceptable rightness. She also liked Muriel Spark too…And Byron…What a woman.) and that is something the Glasgow establishment is clearly still resistant to. Colour and nuance are wonderful things. Good luck to Un Cadavre. I won’t be back anytime soon. Peace.

  17. Jonathan Says:

    August 8th, 2010 at 15:50

    This whole article seems a false, or dubious. You’re always talking about the outrage of the on-line blogging community, when I know for a fact that nobody reads music blogs, particularly about Scottish unsigned bands who play the T-Break stage.

    I think it’d be safe to say that most of people that read are probably the friend’s bands which you review, and some mid-thirties music fans who want a bit of reprieve from their jobs through thinking they still have a connection to the youth of today.

    RE: Un Cadavre V Pin-Ups. Been to Pin-ups once when it was at the woody, it was pretty rubbish to be honest. I would say: who said we all have to be nice and pretend we like each other’s awful music & club nights?

    Im confused why Pin-up nights made this public? Its not like people are gonnae read it and think, ‘oh, they might not pay bands and sound a bit like dicks- I’m gonna go to that night!’ I wouldn’t say they’ve done themselves any favours.

    Also I thought that the way they said ‘vapid, uninspired night of indie cliché’, was pretty funny. I’d probably describe Pin-up nights like that an all!


  18. John D. Says:

    August 16th, 2010 at 02:56

    Some interesting comments here. The main motivation for publishing the un cadavre correspondence was because they refused to meet me,and also because they made themselves sound very silly. It has given a lot of people a laugh. I’m amused by attempts to intellectualise about,or lend dignity to,what was essentially a nasty wee guy writing nasty wee emails and getting rightly ripped to shreds by the reasonable pin ups chaps. I also hoped to spark a debate about how bands are paid by venues/promoters across Scotland. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened. I actually suggested it to RADAR as a valid editorial subject. It’s a more practical subject for the “scene” than hand-wringing about blogs. I expect the pin ups system would look pretty fair compared to most other venues/promoters! Re Peter Parker,i freely acknowledge they spurred me into creating a system. Turnover is a bit different from profit though. We took £1500ish and spent about the same on the event. I wasnt hoarding cash. I also expect its one of the biggest crowds that Peter Parker have ever played in front of. But yes they were entitled to ask for cash and let’s be clear – they got it.

    In Peter’s comment above he fails to mention that I paid his Canadian friends £100, and that 2 of the Super Fury Animals were Guest DJing. I was therefore keeping a fairly close eye on the guestlist as costs were pretty high. Pretty reasonable I think, and it also sounds like I took the time to try and explain this reasonable position, when I could easily just have said “if you don’t think your pal’s performance or the super furries are worth paying for then just stay at home.”

    Finally, I thought the range of ideas, themes and guests we’ve booked is pretty unique, but since Jonathan reckons it’s “cliche”, I assume he must know of loads of other nights doing the same thing. Tell me about these nights please! Since we get ripped off pretty relentlessly by clubs throughout the UK, I’m looking forward to turning the tables. Of course, it might just be that Jonathan was spouting rubbish in the course of trying to take a cheap shot, and will be unable to back up his neat little soundbite. Surely not.

    Apologies for the length of this post, but when you see this much gibberish you have to comment.

    Keep up the good work Pop Cop! Dx

  19. Jonathan Says:

    August 16th, 2010 at 20:07

    Whatever John D- you’re a pure laughing stock mate. Specially since you decided to print these e-mails, now everybody thinks your a cunt, and they actually think that Un Cadavre hav done good for standing up to you. Good luck to them! I don’t need to give any other nights that are more fair, every cunt knows that pin-up nights is the worst night ever, full of sad old bastards.



  20. Kelly Says:

    August 16th, 2010 at 20:25

    Just stumbled on this from a link on Jonny’s facebook. I think its quite pathetic how John D feels the need to comment to protect his reputation, what a dick. I’ve never been to pin-up nights, but im definitely not going now.

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