I've been talking about collaborating with my lovely musical friends Little Fish for a while now. Like most good ideas, it was born in a pub after a few pints, and now it's an actual real thing: I'm writing a book! With them! It's called The New Original Little Fish Paper Club Handbook™, though it isn't exactly a handbook. The subtitle is "essays on a rock n' roll band", which is the closest we've come to describing it succinctly, and it's being published through Unbound, which means that you - and anyone you know - can help make it happen.
I wrote about Unbound just after they launched in May, and I'm thrilled to be working with them for all of the reasons I outlined in my original post. But I'm particularly pleased to be working with them on this project, because there's a lot of overlap between the reasons that Unbound was set up and the reasons that Little Fish - who've toured all over the world supporting acts like Supergrass, Placebo, Alice in Chains, Courtney Love and Blondie - chose to leave their label earlier this year, settle down in Oxford, and pursue an independent career. The intention of our book is not to cast the music industry as the big bad wolf, or to suggest that everyone should take a more DIY approach. But we do intend to explore the implications of independence, and the questions it raises, particularly for a band - questions like, "why do we play music?", "how do we make a living doing this?", and, indeed, "what is a living?". (These questions, by the way, are totally transferable: as a writer, I ask myself variations of them every day).
We officially launched the project on Monday evening at an event in Notting Hill with a short pitch and a performance by Little Fish. You can watch the pitch video, read more about the project (including a short excerpt) and pledge your support (if you decide you want to) on the Unbound site. A million very heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported or intends to support the project, or encouraged us in any other way, however small. It means a lot to me and to Little Fish.
Here's an excerpt from the pitch and then I promise I'll shut up about this for at least five minutes:
The New Original Little Fish Paper Club Handbook™ is a book about Little Fish, but it's also a book about making it work, making your own way, and making stuff - music, comics, t-shirts, fishy paper squares, stickers, badges, vinyl, stop-motion animations, even books. It's about declaring your independence and rewriting the myths you live by.
You can be part of the Little Fish story by pledging your support. Supporters will get access to a shedful of updates, photos, videos, and free exclusive downloads. And Little Fish will get the chance to share what they know - and don't know - about what it means to be a band.