Thursday, 21 January 2010

The dramatic return of Glasgow Indie EyeSpy

Years ago I used to run a website called Glasgow Indie EyeSpy. It's premise was that you got points for spotting folk from Glasgow indie bands in Glasgow, in the street or at gigs.

The reason I mention this now is because on this morning's Lauren Laverne Show on 6Music, as part of their Indie Travel Guide slot, a gentleman called Tony Kienan mentioned the site and I got a wee blip of unexpected traffic.

Aye, about 55 minutes in here.

Whilst I did have doubts that it would become a stalker's charter, it was broadly well received, and received a tonne of traffic for bands searching for themselves.

I had a party once at my flat in Glasgow's leafy south side, and found myself chatting to the King of Partick and Robbie from IoMoPS about who'd you include in a Glasgow music scene Top Trumps and what the scoring would be. A few weeks later it had evolved into EyeSpy and include mostly folk you always see at gigs rather than a list of bands.

Whilst it was a great idea for a website, it was never going to be mega-popular, its constituency of visitors was too small. Sure you could repeat the exercise for other cities, but that would be a whole lot of work and it doesn't scale well.

Glasgow is a city of a specific size, all distances are walkable within reason. Decent venues are close enough together so you can cover lots of ground in one night. Not like London, where once you're in Brixton or Shoreditch, or Kilburn, you're there for the night. In Glasgow the indie band people are ubiquitous, from Stephen Pastel selling records in Mono, uncle Brendan from Teenage Fanclub lounging in the 13th Note to seeing Camera Obscura playing records at The Flying Duck, in one afternoon.

Although I once saw Penelope Keith near the Serpentine and Andrea Spinks in Brick Lane in the same day, its hardly the same thing. It wouldn't work.

In Glasgow you can pencil in twenty minutes to get home after any gig anywhere in the city, for London its more like an hour, or two hours if you go by bus.

Maybe Manchester's the right size for this sort of thing, I dunno, its been fifteen years since I indulged that music scene.

If I were to pick up the batton once more, I'd use Songkick and data, rather than the old google, myspace and technorati algorithm.

Hmm, maybe "London Indiepop EyeSpy" would work...

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