Unique Merch Release: Alas I Cannot Swim
Words by Adam Tudhope
I met Laura when she was 16. I saw her play a solo show at Nambucca on Holloway Road, London and I was certain she was brilliant. She had already signed to Virgin Records and together with Ferdy Unger-Hamilton who was running the label at the time, Mark Terry who was the head of Marketing and Joy Elton who was Head of Art Direction we cooked up a unique plan with Laura for her first album release. In addition to the standard CD, vinyl and download versions of the album, we also did 5,000 copies of a ‘box’. Everything in it was designed by Laura with a woodcut artist called Andrew Mockett, and laid out by Alex Cowper.
The big innovation here, apart from the beauty and collectability of the item itself, was that each one contained a ticket which gave you the ability to sign up for one of five UK gigs. The boxes all sold out immediately, and the gigs were incredible. When the visceral experience of seeing an incredible artist performing in the flesh is combined with an extraordinary collection of recorded songs and a physical product that you can genuinely love, then a fan is made for life.