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Blog: Happy Birthday Everybody

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It was a long, GRATE, day of ROCK for me on Saturday. I was up bright and early at 8am (ON A SATURDAY!!!) to get to Euston in time to catch the train to WOLVERHAMPTON. Virgin Trains, brilliantly, have decided that the best way to make sure their trains get there on time is NOT to, I don't know, spend money on the tracks, train staff, take on more drivers, or anything KER-RAZY like that, but to add in ten minute stops at every station, so that it takes an HOUR longer to get to The Midlands than it should do, but at least you get there roughly when the timetable says. Still, I had the paper AND The Princess Bride with me, and the latter especially was FANTASTIC - like the film, but strangely even MORE good. It was LOVELY!

I was in Wolverhampton to be SURPRISE BIRTHDAY GUEST at a DO for Dan/Ray (he goes by many names), former Winchester Promoter and All Round Good Guy. I'd been to his birthday last year and met his parents, who asked me to come and SPRING a SURPRISE on him this time. He was duly surprised.

It was SO NICE though to be in The Midlands. There is no such thing as "famous Midlands hospitality" because, like all things Midlands (NB not including Nottingham), people there don't show off all the time about things, they just get on and DO them. THUS everyone was REALLY nice and friendly, but without making a BIG DEAL of it. Midlands people are BLOODY GRATE, and they have the BEST accents - ooh, it was ripe with DUDLEY accents, it made me want to join in, but that always seems a bit rude.

Anyway, there was DELICIOUS Vegan grub, also WHISKEY, after which i FORGOT what songs I knew... eventually though I worked some out, and sat in the back garden in the sunshine singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You", "I Can See Clearly Now", "Hey Hey 16k", "Easily Impressed", "Boom Shake The Room" and, but of course, "Happy Birthday". It was LOVELY, and then i had to DASH OFF straight into a car to get the train SOUTH again.

I was heading SOUTH to LEWISHAM, where in the evening I was to play on a Kooba Radio Show especially for Johnny Yeah's birthday. On the way down i discovered a copy of HEAT, which i haven't read all year, and GOGGLED at the new batch of apparently famous people who I had never heard of. OK, Nadia from big brother, I know who she is, but all the others looked like the 4th or 5th best members of boy bands, or people who were evicted in Week 3 of Big Brother (n) ... which they probably were, I guess.

So yes, eventually, after much TRAINAGE I got to BLACKHEATH, our meeting place. Ooh, Blackheath was dead posh and NICE, so much so that i PANICKED and rang ahead to make sure I'd gone the right way, as it seemed like I'd strayed into the countryside. Once in the pub i BROKE my beer-fast (they had IPA on, and I was HARASSED by travel - who but a saint would have done any different?) and had a BRILLIANT evening. This radio show business is all well and good, but the best thing about Kooba Radio, for me, is how GRATE they are at Being In The Pub. I had a WONDERFUL couple of hours in the pub, discussing many Issues Of The Day, and I must confess I was one of the people who kept saying "Yeah, let's just have one more pint, THEN we'll go and do the radio show".

We were supposed to start recording at 7pm... we ACTUALLY started at 10pm, which meant I was once again facing the RUSH for the train station. I recorded a version of "The Fight For History", in case they fancied editting it into the show later on, and after a JOYOUS practice, me and Johnny did a version of "These Foolish Things" with special new lyrics he'd written. It was a LOT of fun, and then, for the second time that day, i was again WHISKED from the room, into a car, and off to catch a train.

I was KNACKERED, but I'd had a LOT of fun. The next day, unaccountably, i felt tired, weary, and Oddly Hungry, but I also realised just HOW MUCH I have missed doing gigs over the past few weeks, and, thinking about it, how much i missed playing with The Validators. Thus, a PLAN was set in motion, to sort this out...

posted 16/8/2004 by MJ Hibbett

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