Thursday, 5 December 2013

Thanks, Thanks & More Thanks

Pete & Terry's Kickstarter campaign ended up successfully funded, with a total of £6766 - almost twice their unofficial target.

Minister for Finance Pete Fij said "Wow!"

The duo will now be able to press up the album which is planned to be delivered to Kickstarter supporterrs on Valentines Day 2014 with a general release a short while after.

You can keep track of all things Pete Fij/ Terry Bickers related on their Facebook page, or you can laugh as Pete struggles to come to terms with the modern technology of Twitter.

Photo credit: Tiya Ivy

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Rich in sad melodies they may be, but in the cold, hard currency of cash messers Bickers and Fij are as poor as two church mice who have spent all of their meagre savings on recording a downbeat melancholic album called 'Broken Heart Surgery'. In order to rectify this, and make sure that the album comes they have launched a Kickstarter campaign.

Finance minister Pete Fij said "The album has been a labour of love, but we're completely broke and to get it over the finishing line we need to fund pressing up the album and then marketing it. We've set the bar low at £1000 beacuse the way Kickstarter works if you don't reach your funding goal you get nothing, but in order to do everything we'd like to do, we require quite a bit more in order to pay for press and radio PR, so we really need your help on this. "

Benevolent fans can get their name on the CD credits; own the rare lost Pete Fij 'Broken Heart Surgery' album made some 4 years before the Bickers & Fij recordings; own a used Terry Bickers plectrum; receive a Christmas card from Pete & Terry; or have a song written and recorded about themselves by Pete.

The way Kickstarter works, you can only make one pledge - but if you want more than one item that isn't included in one package, simply make one pledge, then in 'manage my pledge' increase the amount up to the value of the extra items you want to have and then message us with your extra requirement & we'll sort that out for you.

So start pledging... the funding project runs until Nov 27th, though some of the items are limited edition - so get in there sooner rather than later.

You can also follow Pete & Terry on their Facebook page here to get updates on the Kickstarter project.

Photo Credit: Photomatic Photo Booth, Snoopers Paradise, Brighton

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Downsizing Video - Director's Notes

Pete Fij explains how he came to sift through 8000 photos of derelict shops and businesses for the video to Downsizing.


When I originally wrote 'Downsizing' the idea was to use the language of HR departments laying people off in the context of the song of a romantic let-down. 

"She had an audit of her life, and something had to go / Last in first out, well I guess I should have known / 'It's nothing personal' she said, in the e-mail that was sent / You could say I was surplus to requirement."

'Burger Van' by Steve Bevan
I wanted to make a video for the song, but had no budget & no camera, so I stumbled upon the idea of using images of empty shops as an extended visual metaphor for the theme of the song, and I was told by Dan Thompson of the Empty Shops Network of the wonders of Flickr - a world I had previously not inhabited, which is to photographers what Soundcloud is to musicians - a way of displaying your art for all to see, and I started sifting through the themed pages devoted to empty shops, as well as using as many inventive keywords as I could to cast the net wider. I set about contacting the various photographers to get permission, as well as putting a call out to fans from our Facebook page  who also contributed . I e-mailed about 50+ photographers, of whom around half came back agreeing to be involved. Fans from Germany complained that they had no empty shops to photograph, whilst those in Italy & tellingly America sent lots in. In the end I focused mainly (though not exclusively) on the UK shops to keep a coherent theme & feel. What I liked about the images was that despite these being just empty shells of once-inhabited shops, there was a real poignancy to them. Maybe because these are almost exclusively small businesses, there's a personality to them, and a realisation that behind every one of these shut shops & businesses is someone's dream that has also closed down. 

Some of the artists I contacted had made it their project to catalogue these pieces of urban decay. One of the first photographer's I came across was Peter Bartlett  Of all the photos I saw of Peter's (I used about half a dozen of his in the final cut of about 100 images), the image that immediately struck me was of Patricia's hairdressers which I chose as the very last shot, as it was perhaps the most poignant of all the I sifted through in researching the film. It's a combination of the faded hand-painted sign, the flowers in the window, the awkwardly nailed board across the door that appears like a  teacher's angry strike through some homework, but probably most crucially because the business is just someone's name. I wondered what happened to Patricia?  Did she die, or move away or did not enough people from New Mills want their hair cut? Peter told me it was seeing Patricia's that acted as the starting point for his photographic journey - it seemed fitting that his starting point was my ending.

Patricia's - Peter Bartlett 
I asked Peter about what had captured his imagination about this shop in particular & how it influenced him to embark on his project 

"The business had obviously been closed for a number of years and in addition to the peeling paintwork, old signage and shabby appearance, I was struck by the grubby net curtains and faded artificial flowers in the window. It was as though some major event had occurred in the life of the business or the proprietor that had caused trading to stop suddenly, leaving the premises in a sort of time-warp.  A peep through the windows revealed that all the, now dated, equipment of a hairdressers was still in place, gathering dust.

This got me thinking about other shops that I knew that had obviously been empty long-term - in many instances for several years and pre-dating our recent economic woes.  Why had the businesses ceased trading?  What had the business once been?  Why had the shop never been sold or let or re-opened as a new trade?  In some instances, the faded signage gave an insight into what the business had once been, but in others, all the signs had been removed and all that the casual viewer could see were anonymous faded curtains, blinds or shutters.

I have been asked whether I researched the back-story to any of the shops. I did consider this, but decided that I preferred to simply present the images of these shops and allow the viewer to use his/her imagination and build their own story from the information in the picture.  This prompted me to frame the shops "square on" in most instances and crop them as tightly as I could.  As far as possible, I shot the images in cloudy conditions, so as to avoid unwanted reflections and focus on as much detail as I could - the choice of lighting I thought also added to the sadness and poignancy of the collection

What Peter has to say about not having a back-story to the images is part of the appeal - I think it's the fact that we let our imagination run with the story presented by the images that make them more interesting. Sometimes it's not important to know everything - but let our minds do the fictional detective work for us. It was interesting to see in the comments posted on my Facebook page, how others were entering into the spirit, seeing reflections in the window I had missed, which seemed to add another layer to the narrative of the plot to each little tale.

Rendezvous Cafe - Leon Daley

Within my research, it quickly became apparent there was one photographer, called Leon Daley, whose work I really wanted to include - not just because of the number of photos he had up on the subject but also because of the quality of his work, which captured the essence of what I was hoping to achieve, and several of the photographers I contacted also pointed me in his direction - one of them referring to him as "the king of the empty shop photo". I sent a few messages without hearing back, and was resigned to the fact that I might have to do the film without his contribution,  It was maybe a blessing in disguise that Leon didn;t reply back sooner, as had he said yes straight way, I might have been tempted to end my search for other photographs, such is the extensive nature of his work  I could have probably done a video using exclusively just his photos, so it made me go out and find other alternatives - picking off one or two images from photographers here and there which, although it meant a lot more work researching and contacting artists did undoubtedly  make for a more complete final film. However, I have to admit when I finally got the message from Leon saying that he was willing to be involved a did a little whoop for joy as I knew the quality of the film had just jumped up several notches, and I was going to be able to include a lot of quick edited shots as a result in time to the music, as I would have a breadth of strong images to call on - in the end about 20% of the film uses his work. 

I asked Leon what his inspiration for his mammoth task was

"I am by nature a meanderer. My greatest joy is to wander the none-place areas of our towns and cities unaided by maps, prior knowledge or any preconceived idea of where I might go, or what I am looking for." 

Leon estimates he has photographed between 3-4000  empty shops since he started 8 years ago. I suggested that this level of commitment to his project was border-line addiction, though he saw it as 

"more an obsessive interest.  I like the idea of taking things beyond the level that most people would (or even care to). My intention is to record the fa├žade and its environment in as unemotional, unsentimental and direct way as I can."

To achieve this he keeps to a set of very strict self-imposed parameters  - similar to Peter Bartlett -  flat light, no people, straight perspective and controlled framing. I wondered if being confronted with this seemingly endless array of defunct businesses was depressing:

"No and Yes.  To open a shop is a very aspirational thing to do.  Nobody ever opened a shop with the intention of seeing it fail, so on a personal level a failed shop is always saddening, but all that is created will one day pass: lifestyles and habits change.

I'm more saddened by the hand wringing nostalgia one so often hears for the High Street: when it comes from people who do their shopping in Tesco's.  And irritated by the empty platitudes one hears from government and councils, as they voice their concern for the hard working independent shopkeeper, and then proceed to create an environment in which developers and multi nationals thrive, and the individual priced out, and what was once public space (The Street) become private property (The Mall). 

One mystery that still remains unanswered to me is how come so many of these shut shops have posters for a visting circus in the window? How do these posters get put up? Do contortionist midgets somehow manage to squeeze through the letterbox, sliding past the final demand bills & junk mail to blue-tac the posters up?

Mirror TV - Emily Webber

After spending hours and hours looking through empty abandoned shop after empty abandoned shop I must say I did start to find the whole thing a little depressing myself. It was then I stumbled on some images from Emily Webber who had a few great photographs of closed shops, but on looking into her portfolio of work I discovered she had a huge number more (well into the thousands) of shops that were still alive and well on her ongoing London Shop Front project. Of course these images were outside of my remit for my film, so I stuck to some of the little gems of forgotten closed shops she had uncovered whilst criss-crossing the boroughs of London - A1 Fresh meats, Greenway Electrical or Mirror TV (which if one looks carefully had s been sign written over a Fruit & Veg shop). However, after all these visual tales of failure there was something very joyful about her pictures of small businesses that are still going - and as an a bit of a font-addict myself they are bit of a wet dream in their own right as well.

There is a real sense of love for her City in her project: 

"The project is a dedication to London and a documentation of the city. These are the backdrop to the everyday, but often overlooked. I started the collection in 2004 as an interest in capturing some of my favourite, but it has morphed into a bit of an obsession and a collection of photos of London in the early 21st century."
Rather like Bill Murray in 'Groundhog Day' Emily's work is a seemingly never-ending loop - and she has begun re-visting some of her old favourites to re-shoot them 5 years on, and you can see the daily growth of 'the best of' here  

"I choose shops that have a story to tell. I look for clues — worn signage or a sign that is half written-over, layers of paint, a tile design, any mark of individuality.

I see the owners of a shop as the current caretakers, the building will outlive their involvement in it, each owner adds its own mark to the shop and I'm interested in shops that show that. Chains tend to remove most of this, so I find them less interesting."

These three artists have shown a dedication to the task of constantly chronicling the urban environemnt around them. Whilst I spent several weeks searching for my images on the internet from the comfort of my two-in-the-morning computer desk, their work is something that spreads over years, and looks like being an ongoing-project strecthing out into the horizon. Leon Daley best describes the thrill of the hunt in the real world of capturing that one moment in time of a forgotten shop

"I find pleasure in finding some long closed and boarded-up shop hidden down a litter strewn side street and taking a photograph that no one else may ever take."
One person's closed derelict eyesore, is another man's truffles.

Monday, 30 September 2013

London Show Announced

Following their two sell out shows in Brighton, Pete & Terry will be journeying up the train line to the bright lights of London where they will be playing at Heavenly's The Social (Oxford Circus) on Monday October 28th.

Tickets are available from Ticketweb and are £5 in advance / £7 on the door

You can also join the Facebook event here

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Both Brighton Shows SOLD OUT

Both the Brighton Bom Banes shows are now sold out. Many thanks to everyone who bought tickets. You can next see Pete & Terry in London on October 28th at The Social (Oxford Circus) in London - tickets are available from here. Facebook event etc will be added shortly.

Like the Pete Fij / Terry Bickers Facebook page to be kept informed of the duo's gigs and releases.

Photo Credit: Tiya Ivy

Monday, 23 September 2013

New Single Release - Live Dates & Video

Pete Fij & Terry Bickers announce the release of their new single 'Downsizing' which will be made officially available on October 28th (which will be known as 'Downsizing Day').

A special pre-release MP3 download is available now from the Pete Fij / Terry Bickers Bandcamp page on a special 'Pay What You Want' basis - so whether you are a prince or a pauper you can own a little piece of Pete & Terry in your very own digital file.

"It's a song for the current climate of cutbacks - how the austerity measures in the economic world mirror those in some people's private lives"  said economic spokesman Pete Fij.

The single comes with an accompanying video directed by Mr Fij, made up of stills sent in by fans as well as photographers Pete contacted specially for the project. An article devoted to the video will appear on the site in the next few days.

As befits the subject matter the single is being promoted with a downsized marketing budget - so far it's been £3 for a photoshoot in a passport photobooth. Any offers for ways of promoting the single  will be greatly received, as messers Bickers & Fij see if it is possible to have a worldwide #1 hit single on a £3 marketing budget! So if you can help in any way, please lend a downsizing hand.

The duo are also performing 'Pay What You Want' shows in Worthing  on Tuesday September 24th and Brighton (2 shows, 7pm & 8.30pm) Sunday September 29th. Please note the second evening show for Brighton is now SOLD OUT, but tickets are still available for their early evening performance at 7pm.

The duo are also headlining a London show on Monday October 28th at The Social, Little Portland Street, (Oxford Circus). Tickets are available from here from Ticketweb

 Don't forget you can keep up to date via the Pete Fij / Terry Bickers Facebook page.

Photo credit: Dan Thompson

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Brighton Show SOLD OUT - Extra Brighton Show added plus Worthing Show Announced

Pete & Terry's Brighton Bom-Bane's show at 8.30pm on 29th September has now sold out, but a special early evening show on the same night has now been added, and the pair have also announced a Worthing show on Tuesday 24th September at Bar 42.

Both gigs are  'pay what you want' affairs in keeping with the 'Downsizing' theme of the single, so fans from all income brackets can attend.

It is strongly recommended to get tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

Brighton (Sun 29th Sept) early show doors are at 6.30pm, with the duo on-stage at 7pm. Tickets are available for the Brighton show from wegottickets here

Worthing show (Tues 24th Sept) features support from Ben Salter & Ross Absell-Maurice. Doors are at 8pm.Tickets from wegottickets are available here

Full details and facebook event page can be found at the Pete Fij / Terry Bickers Facebook page

Monday, 2 September 2013

'Pay What You Want' Brighton Show

 To celebrate the imminent release of their new single 'Downsizing' (details to follow) Pete & Terry will be doing a very special 'Pay What You Want' show at the hidden gem of a venue that is Bom Banes in Brighton on Sunday 29th September at 8.30pm. Just visit the Wegottickets site and choose how much you would like to pay - anything from nothing to £100!

Mr Fij said "We know how times are tough for a lot of people at the moment, so we thought in keeping with the subject of the song ' Downsizing' we would make the gigs as accesible to everyone regardless of how much money is in their pockets - so both paupers and kings can come and rub shoulders together, to a sound-track of downbeat melancholia."

Don't forget to follow our two recession-busting troubadours on their facebook page and/or follow Pete on Twitter

Photo Credit: Tiya Ivy

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Brighton Show - SOLD OUT

Tickets for the Sunday Service Brighton show at The Albert, Trafalgar St, for Sunday 28th April have now sold out. There might be some returns at wegottickets, but otherwise they will not be available on the door.

Another Brighton date will be arranged in August, alongside other UK dates. Details will follow. keep up to date at the Pete Fij / Terry Bickers Facebook page or follow Pete on Twitter

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Betty Ford Out Now

The Pete Fij / Terry Bickers debut release 'Betty Ford' is now available as an MP3 download  from Bandcampi-tunes, spotify, as well as a host of other online retailers.

To celebrate the duo will be perfroming live at The Albert, Trafalgar Street, Brighton on Sunday 28th April at 8pm - tickets are £4 advance from wegottickets / or £5 on the door. Those buying tickets in advance will also get a special free gift.
Support is from the mighty fine Al Chamberlain

You can sign up to the Pete Fij / Terry Bickers Facebook page and follow Pete on Twitter here

In case you haven't yet seen the video for 'Betty Ford', you can revel in the odd couple's discomfort here:

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Betty Ford - Video


Here is the video for 'Betty Ford' with our two damp troubadours battling with the English Channel.

"It was a ridiculously cold day" says Pete "20 minutes after we finished filming it began snowing, and my body went into shock shortly afterwards. The playback packed up after the first take, so what you see is an unrehearsed first time take, but I'm not sure my body would have allowed any more - I began showing all the classic signs of hyperthermia afterwards and became quite light-headed and disorientated for some hours after."

Dried-out and warmed-up our two mermaids will be playing live in Brighton at the Albert on Sunday 28th April. Tickets are now available here (£4 advance / £5 door), with a little present for the first 20 who buy tickets in advance or through the door on the night.

Betty Ford will be released as digital download on April 23rd from i-tunes, Amazon and other online retailers. In the meantime you can obtain a special preview of the track at Bandcamp.

Keep up to date with all things Pete Fij / Terry Bickers-shaped on the Facebook page or follow Pete on Twitter

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Pete & Terry's Live Sunday Service

To celebrate the launch of their downbeat debut single 'Betty Ford', messers Bickers & Fij will be playing a suitably laid-back Sunday gig in Brighton at The Albert, Trafalgar Street on Sunday 28th April at 8pm.

Pete said "Quiet is the new loud, and slow is the new fast, so with that in mind we thought a Sunday gig would be the best night to play a live launch for our debut single. Like the train service on a Sunday everything will be a little slower, but you'll have more time to take in the view, and you'll get there in the end."

Tickets are available in advance for £4 from Wegottickets or £5 on the door. There will be a special present for the first 20 through the door or buying their tickets in advance.

The night will also include support from  the fabulous Al Chamberlain who will be giving his own low-key take on love & trains.

Don't forget to keep abreast of all PF/TB news via the Pete Fij / Terry Bickers Facebook page or via Twitter

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Pete Fij / Terry Bickers announce debut single

Pete Fij / Terry Bickers announce the release of their debut single "Betty Ford" which will be made available on April 23rd. A video to accompany the single will be unveiled shortly, as well as details of a Brighton show to coincide with the release.

Pete says "I can't believe we've finally got to the eve of the release. This project has been a tale of obsession and meticulous care, and at times I think both me & Terry were protective of these tunes and didn't want to let them out of our grasp, but it's time to let the songs begin to  leave the nest one by one, and live on their own in the outside world. They are big enough to handle it now. Fly 'Betty Ford', fly"

Full details of how to obtain the single will be announced shortly. You can also keep up to date on all things Pete Fij / Terry Bickers -related by liking their Facebook Page. For the Twitterati amongst you you can follow Pete on Twitter.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Bickers & Fij on Bandcamp - Free Download

The Pete Fij / Terry Bickers Bandcamp page is now up and running, and featuresthe expletive-ridden "I Don't Give A Sh*t About You" as a free download. At the check out, you can just put in '0' if you want and have it for free, or you can donate millions and Pete & Terry will dine like kings for a year.

The track, is as close to a love song that our downbeat mariachis get, once you get past all of the cuss words. Those of purer minds who don't like that kind of rudeness can avert their ears for now, and wait for the next release which the duo promise will be a swear-free zone.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Pete & Terry Go Psychedelic

Messers Bickers & Fij will be slipping on their craziest shirts and kaleidoscope shades as they make their first live appearance in 2013 on February 16th as part of a psychedelic night at the Dome, Brighton from Source New Music , playing alongside The Physics House Band, Reds, Baron & Baal Fire.

Full details can be found here.

If you haven't already done so you can like the Pete Fij / Terry Bickers facebook page here

Photo: Michael Orvis