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The Stool Pigeon (newspaper)

The Stool Pigeon
Cover of the July 2012 issue of
The Stool Pigeon
Editor Phil Hebblethwaite
Frequency Bimonthly
Circulation 53,676[1]
Publisher Junko Partners Publishing[1]
Founder Mickey Gibbons, Phil Hebblethwaite
First issue January 2005 (2005-01)
Final issue December/January 2013
Country United Kingdom
Based in London
Language English

The Stool Pigeon was an independent bi-monthly free UK music newspaper, printed in the format of a Victorian tabloid.[2] It was founded in 2005 by designer Mickey Gibbons and editor Phil Hebblethwaite and had a circulation of more than 50,000.[2][3][4]


The Stool Pigeon was founded in 2005, with £10,000 in start-up funds provided by a Levi's marketing executive and former house music producer who liked the name, because he had once made a successful record sampling Stool Pigeon by Kid Creole and the Coconuts.[2] The initial print run of 10,000 had grown to 60,000 copies after five years, with five issues appearing per year, distributed free in 72 towns and cities.[2][5] The paper's articles are written by established music journalists (some contributing pseudonymously), industry figures and musicians.[5]

Founded by an award-winning magazine designer, Mickey Gibbons, The Stool Pigeon had a strong print identity that was modelled on Victorian tabloids.[2] According to editor Hebblethwaite, "This is a love affair with the printed word. We go to libraries to study old newspapers – we will never just be a website, and I've never thought of the internet as a threat. In a way, Stool Pigeon is the equivalent of a vinyl record."[2] As for its editorial philosophy, Hebblethwaite has said, "It will never follow hype, shake the oily hands of those who wish to influence her, lick the arses of musicians, or print top 10 lists."[4]

Stool Pigeon ceased publication with its last issue December/January 2013.


Michael Hann, writing for The Guardian, said that what set the paper apart was its unconventional presentation style, with word plays in headlines such as "Wet Paint dripping in confidence at dry run for Bloc Party tour" or "Wolf People as good as a bit of howl's your father".[2] According to TransitionTradition, The Stool Pigeon offered "a candid, if not sometimes ruthless, response to the music industry from the inside outwards".[5]

A 2011 article in Music Week reported that The Stool Pigeon had an average readership in excess of 50,000 readers in the UK and Ireland, putting it ahead of titles like Kerrang! and NME.[3] The paper was also available in Berlin.[3]


  1. ^ a b "ABC". Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hann, Michael (3 February 2010). "Pigeon fanciers coo song of love to newspaper with loft ambitions". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Pakinkis, Tom (18 August 2011). "NME continues to lose readers in ABC figures". Music Week. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Burford, Sebastian (7 January 2005). "Pigeon ruffles feathers in music world". Press Gazette. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Staff (18 June 2009). "The Stool Pigeon Music Newspaper; Interview with Phil Hebblethwaite". Transition Tradition. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 

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