that would be just too good to be true. There is a lot of self-indulgence when it comes to Fence, but let’s be honest, music should be an indulgence. Music shouldn’t be carpet underlay or bathroom cleaner it‘s an and should be fun at that. and this indulgence isn‘t being forced down anyone’s throats, unlike, say, the ‘spectacle’ of a new Sting record.

Fence takes the cliche’d notion of ‘I make music for myself and if anyone else likes it then great‘ to a whole new, vaguely absurd level. Some releases have sold no more than a handful of copies but Anderson admits this is hardly the point.

‘lt’s like being at adult playgroup, really. It’s like “who's got the scissors? Who’s got the guitar?" It’s just a shambles but most of the bands have jobs. That’s why they’re relaxed about the money and fame. We have the occasional hair brained scheme like Picket Fence but mostly we're not daft.‘

Picket Fence is their subscription CD club which is now into its second series. Each artist has 30 minutes to fill with whatever they wish and subscribers pick three or six from a list of 12 discs. So far there’s been everything from spoof radio shows to ambient, flamenco and even straight collections of songs. All of which makes for uneasy listening at times but there are moments of truly inspired joy to be found.

The geography of Fence is perhaps symbolic more than significant. They may be gigging largely to each other and their friends at home in Fife but this is a group operating independently and there are similar pockets thriving all over the globe. This was perfectly illustrated in a new series for MTV entitled This is Our

16 THE LIST 19 Feb—4 Mar 2004


Music in which a group of Swedish filmmakers explored some great totally independent music scenes worldwide. Ironically, MTV funded the show. but significantly, chose Fence as the people to kick off the series that took in Tokyo. San Francisco and Helsinki. among others. The result was a wonderful whirlwind tour of Anstruther punctuated by live performances by the collective.

Standing in the organised chaos that is the Fence HQ, the upstairs room in a house which borders on the derelict in several places, it dawns on me that this could be the start of something huge. It is obvious, though, that Fence would much rather it was the continuation of something great. Anderson shows me where he has put together the covers for every Fence release. Every surface is awash with stencils, spray mount. paint and cardboard something which only reinforces his notion of it being like a playgroup. Gummi Bako accompanies our tour of the tumult on Lone Pigeon’s harmonium, a huge wind powered organ, whose deep. sonorous wheeze has found its way onto many a Fence recording. Pointing out of the window to the grey blue expanse of the North Sea. Anderson says: ‘I saw dolphins here one day l was looking out. It’s different every day here. Why should I leave‘?’

And looking out at the view and listening to the music. I can’t help but agree with him.

The Fence Collective play the Subway, Edinburgh, Sun 29 Feb. Fence Reunited is out Mon 22 Mar. This is our Music premieres on MTV2 on 24 Feb.



A quick stroll through the Fence catalogue throws up a wealth of tasty nuggets. Here are half a dozen to whet your appetite.

‘Pirates' by Pip Dylan from the Let's E J I? Get this Ship

* on the Road 9“ _ _ m compilation. u What happens

when sea shanties and hip hop collide? A blinding squeegee pop song replete with an underwater vocal line and parping shuffle accompaniment.

‘Easily Led’by James Yorkston from the Fence Reunited compilation. A weary Yorkston moseys through this most whimsical of his tunes with the sweetest of harmony- laden choruses. ‘Going Down to the Water’ by the Plctish 'n‘ail also from Fence Reunited compilation. The most beguiling of heartfelt pleas in a song that belies this man‘s youth. King Creosote makes accordions cool again.

‘Amsterdam’ by UNPOC from Fifth Column. This notoriously gig-shy top only played his third live Show . ever in December and this track from his Domino release long player has him coming over like Mull Historical Society if they weren't so obsessed with the Beach Boys and were, well, much better.

‘The Stain on My Skirt’ by HMS Ginatore from The Racket They

.v I Made, Picket Fence Winter Collection Vol 4. A playful and suggestive lil' country tale from Jenny C about doubts in the spotless quality of a virginal young lass' reputation.

.afl» ‘Taking {flirts-1:33;; Chances, by "$3,: ,; ‘1. On the Fly

{WM . from Maican 33.52“ L; Jam, Picket ' Fence \‘ “I Summer

Collection Vol 4. Plaintive whispered vocals mixed into On The Fly's beatific acoustic breaks'n’strums. Like if Boards of Canada hung with Nick Drake.

I For more info visit

www. fencerecords. com