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The planning of my journey to Distant Croydon on Tuesday night was HAMPERED somewhat by FIBS peddled by Transport For London. As anyone who's ever used it will know, usually the TFL Journey Planner is an utterly GRATE, if ever so slightly determined to put you on a half hour BUS journey instead of politely suggesting you walk round the corner. This excellent resource has, however, recently been BLIGHTED by the need to propogate the outright untruth that there is No Interchange At Bank Between The Central Line And Northern Line. There completely IS an interchange there, but TFL don't want anybody to use it so keep on FIBBING about it, and this FALSEHOOD has been added to Journey Planner so that, in this case for instance, it was telling me I had to leave Croydon at 10.30pm otherwise i would NEVER GET HOME. Further investigation showed that I was safe for an extra HOUR if I went via BANK rather than, basically, doing a COMPLETE CIRCUIT OF THE HOME COUNTIES as Journey Planner suggested.

ANYWAY - sorry, I know that is approximately as interesting as the "national" "debate" about Routemaster Buses, and EsPECIALLY so for people living outside the M25 - I got to Croydon in DEFIANCE of TFL and emerged to WONDER at the TRAMS. Croydon has TRAMS! Unfortunately they didn't really go very near where I was going, so i just LOOKED rather than RODE, but it was still nice to see.

I strode down to The Green Dragon and got my first INKLING that this night might be pretty good when I saw the sign outside saying "Croydon CAMRA Pub Of The Year." My SECOND inkling was when Mr Tim Eveleigh, promoter of the Freedom Of Expression gigs told me I was going to get my TEA for FREE, also as much BEER as I liked! HOOPLA!

Suitably FED and WATERED we all went upstairs for soundchecks, then the evening began with OPEN MIC. I found myself thinking terribly HARSHLY to start with - it's a LONG TIME since I've been to one of these and it took me a while to take myself to one side and say "HEY, Hibbett! This is meant to be fun, just people enjoying the chance to get up and play a few songs!" and then I RELAXED and enjoyed it, especially the chap who was doing instrumentals. He made a couple of mistakes but rather than a) PANICKING b) having a STROP he just tutted and tried again. It was lovely.

That part of the evening concluded with a few songs from Ben a.k.a. Superman Revenge Squad. As with the last time I saw him, also at a Freedom Of Expression gig, he was GRATE - LOTS of words, funny and touching and all round BRILL. Later I asked him to come and play Totally Acoustic sometime - he seemed very slightly AFEARED as he sings quite quietly, but I reckon he would be FANTASTIC.

Then it was ME, and I did THIS:
  • The Gay Train
  • Better Things To Do
  • Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
  • We're Old And We're Tired (and we want to go home)
  • It Only Works Because You're Here
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Stores Of Not To Be
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • I Did A Gig In New York

  • I REALLY enjoyed it - for once I planned to do a few new/unusual/rarely played songs and actually had the bottle to go through with it, especially doing The Stores Of Not To Be which I'd not put on the setlist out of SCAREDNESS and then put back on. I discovered that it IS actually a pretty good song, tho does rather require sitting down to play, so may not be making into many live sets just yet.

    After me it was Ms Jenny Lockyer, who I'd met at the aforementioned previous gig but never heard play. She was AMAZING - I spent her whole gig with a MASSIVE grin on my face, it was hugely tuneful, inventive, FUNNY and also LOVELY. This will probably not really sell it to anyone, but she was SORT OF like a cross between Laura Cantrell and Pam Ayres. Sort of. She was absolutely fantastic anyway, and as soon as she came off I pretty much BEGGED her to ALSO come and do Totally Acoustic. If all the bookings I have in mind OCCUR it will be sorted until MARCH 2009! Whoo!

    I strolled home EXTREMELY happy with how the evening had gone - two brilliant acts, an all right set myself AND free BEER and GRUB? It doesn't get much better than that really does it?

    posted 11/9/2008 by MJ Hibbett

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    I love how every couple of weeks another Hibbett song turns up that I've never heard of!

    The hockey girl is a very Stuart Murdoch character
    posted 11/9/2008 by Pete Green

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