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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Fairport's line on The FLK hardens, a bit

A while back I wrote about some chancers calling themselves The FLK, who appeared at Cecil Sharp House one evening, pursuing some kind of marketing campaign on their own behalf that involved dressing up in cows' heads and not saying who they were.

Later there was a video on the web of them burning some copies of Fairport Convention's Liege and Lief, a reference to a band called The KLF who claim to have burnt a million quid in the early 90s.

It was annoying because of the nature of the marketing: no one likes to feel as if they're being played. Still, it was mildly intriguing as well as irritating.

Simon Nicol, Fairport's front man, said at the time that he'd been thinking about it but the point was lost on him.

Running into him at Cropredy, his position seems to have shifted slightly. I'd been wondering whether burning copies of someone's musical output was similar to burning books? Someone thoughtful on a message board made a good point when they said that the reason the burning of books is totemic is that for so many years - before printing presses - books were hand made so they represented hundreds of hours of labour, whereas records and CDs can be printed in a moment.

"It's not really in me to get too wound up about it," said Nicol. "Partly because that's clearly what they want, but also because I really don't think that whatever they're up to is going to make any difference to us in the long run."

According to someone who went to the Cambridge folk festival there were CDs for sale there by The FLK, but they didn't appear to be flying off the shelves and there doesn't seem to be any trace of it online. Is it  a slow month in the FLK's marketing department (which I imagine as an office full of people wearing badger and pig masks, listening to slightly downbeat techno)?

"I'll look forward to setting fire to that then," said Nicol. "Though in the interests of fairness I might give it a listen. Then set fire to it."

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