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Blog Archive: June 2005

Pre-Holiday Round Up
Tomorrow I'm off on HOLIDAY for a few days (we're going to LONDON! Hey HEY! There's loads to do, we've already GOT The Rough Guide, and travel time is LOW!) so today I'm dashing round Finishing Off bits and pieces, getting up to date with my email, and writing myself Things To Do Lists for next week. In the spirit of this TIDINESS, here's a few ITEMS of interest before I head off...

  • ITEM! I got tickets for Live 8 yesterday! Well, for watching it on the big tellies in Hyde Park anyway, but still. The Dominion Theatre is round the corner from my work, and when I walked past yesterday lunchtime and saw the HUGE queue i thought there was NO chance whatsoever of me getting any. When i walked past AGANE that evening on the way to the TOOB the queue had gone, and I thought "ah! i knew it'd all be over!" but was SURPRISED when I turned the corner and saw a queue of only about 20 people outside the theatre. I joined this queue, and within three minutes was being FROGMARCHED through the building - through the lobby, along the corridoe (we all GAWPED at the selection of almost identical pictures of Freddy Mercury along the way), and then to a desk where i took two tickets WITHOUT BREAKING STRIDE and then out the other door. EASY! I felt a bit sorry for the people who'd been queuing since the day before, mind you.

  • ITEM! This month's NEWSLETTER has now gone out, and I'm very much enjoying all the emails I'm getting back saying "I DEMAND PARITY!" Well done everybody!

  • ITEM! New GIG in the GIGS list today, I'm going to be playing at The Fox & Firkin in Lewisham again on September 15th. It was ACE last time, hopefully it shall be so again.

  • ITEM! I'm still worrying about Cornwall, what we're going to do, whether we'll all get on, how much BOOZE we'll need to get in, and so forth. However, as The Flex On My Kettle WISELY pointed out, it makes an EXTREMELY nice change to be worrying about something so much FUN for a change! HOORAH!

  • ITEM! For the COMIC GEEKS amongst us - BLIMEY, that Dan Slott is GRATE isn't he? I just read the last issue of his Spiderman/Human Torch mini-series, and I must confess to getting a bit WEAPY AND also to laughing out loud whilst reading it. This happens ALMOST NEVER. Everything I've read of his is BRILLIANT and, though i probably shouldn't say things like this, it really reminds me of when I first started reading Alan Moore's stuff. OK, i was about NINE when that happened, but still, watch out for Dan Slott to start worshipping puppets any day now!

  • ITEM! A couple of months ago i bought the British Sea Power album, "Open Season", listened to it a couple of times, and then stop. Today i have listened to it a couple more times, and i must say it is REALLY growing on me. It's a little bit Boo Radleys and a little bit SUEDE, and these are two things i LIKE!

  • ITEM! That's everything i think - now, where's my sun tan lotion?

    posted 30/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Too Good To Be True
    I travelled up to Derby in STYLE last night - due to the lunacies of our rail system, the only cheap ticket i could GET was in first class, but i must say i RATHER enjoyed it, especially now i know what to expect. I could get used to it!

    I got to Derby with a couple of hours to spare, so HIKED into town and had a good old wander around on my continuing quest to understand how it all fits together. I know think i can at least join together the LANDMARKS i know i.e. The Vic, The Station, The Blue Note, and Chez Frankie Machine, although the weird fountain thing always takes me by surprise. I had my TEA, got the RIDER in, and it was time to ROCK!

    Having observed The Rule Of Inverse Distance in full effect (i.e. we arrived as ever in the opposite order from how far we'd travelled to get there) we GOT STUCK IN, and spent most of the evening learning some NEW MATERIAL for the Wedding GIG we've got in a couple of weeks. We're doing "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", and BY HECK we did a VERY NICE version INDEED. This whole "Practicing" and "Playing Together" SCHEME seems to be paying off, these days we are Actually Quite Good - call me a RECKLESS SHOW OFF if you like, but it is the truth as i see it! Tiger Tom had a STRING mishap, and i felt his PAIN, but otherwise we ROMPED through, and finished the evening by reacquainting ourselves with "Looking At My Hands", "Breaks In The Journey", "The Fight For History" (all sounding GOOD) and "Girlfriend Alarmed" (less so!). We also did "Better Things To Do", mostly because it's FUN, and then headed to THE PUB for a) a DELICIOUS pint of Pedigree and b) discussion of ARRANGEMENTS for The Wedding and The Recordings.

    On the way in this morning we discussed the prospects for The Latter, and Mr Machine wisely said "Hey! There's no WAY we could get these five people in a room together and NOT have MAGIC happen!" and i think perhaps he is CORRECT. I RELAXED with gallons of free coffee in nice cups and Extra Leg Room on the way home, considering this prospect with some JOY. It's going to be GOOD!

    posted 29/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    If you've ever thought to yourself "You know, i really should get around to signing up to the MJ Hibbett & The Validators monthly newsletter, The Last Working Day Of The Month", then NOW is the time to take ACTION! For LO! this month we're going to have a competition!

    Well, sort of - as well as using it to store the emails for the newsletter, one of the OTHER things I use my ROCK DATABASE for is to send people ALERTS if I do a last-minute gig or something in their area, and for this i use POSTCODES. For about two thirds of the people who get the newsletter i either already have a POSTCODE for them, or know that they live outside the UK, so I'd like to get ahold of some FACT for the OTHER chunk of people, just so's i can keep them up to date, and things.

    THUS the next newsletter will contain details of a competition where i'll be GIVING AWAY free stuff - there will be PRIZES for early respondents who FACT me their required details, and so you might like to get signed up NOW, as it's out on Thursday.

    "But what of those of us who have already given you our postcodes?" you may ask. "Are we to be PUNISHED for our generosity of FACT?" AHA! NO INDEED, my friends, for there is ALSO a competition for YOU too! The nature of it will be disclosed only in the newsletter though, so as i say, if you want to know, go SIGN UP!

    Meanwhile, in other news - someone has rather beautifully set up an Amazon List of QOLEDs! Go look! It is a DELIGHT! And of course, if you're INSPIRED by it, don't forget to visit afterwards and send us your own QOLED.

    And finally, people of Austria take note: THIS is not us!

    posted 28/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Back To The Old House
    I went back to my Nan's house on Saturday, for probably the last time. The house should be being sold now, so I went to get her Bureau, which she'd apparently wanted me to have, and also to have a last poke around. I've been going to that house since I was born, and felt that I wanted to have a really good look round at everything, just to know that I'd seen the whole place for a last time, I guess. It was extremely strange in places - for instance, upstairs in the room that my brother and I used to sleep in when we stayed over there was a little door into the roof (it's sort of a bungalow, so the roofs were sloping on the first floor). I can't have looked in there for at least twenty years, but got a sharp stab of recognition when I looked in and saw the same huge torch/portable lightbulb that had always been there.

    I went with my brother and his girlfriend, and we'd talked about what we'd each take. I wanted to get one of their kitchen knives (my Grandad was a butcher and took pride in sharpening ALL their knives, most of which were thus only an inch or two long after at least 60 years of HONING, and i always picture my Nan using one to cut a bit of cheese off the corner of the wedge and onto her thumb) and their little sign that said "We're Working In The Garden" that always seemed to be hung over the door knob when we went round. My brother's off to Australia to live at the end of the year, and didn't see the need to take anything, but in the end he decided to take the LEGO that we used to play with round there. It had sat untouched in the upstairs bedroom, again, for about 20 years, and so there were model spaceships in there that we'd finished all those years ago, and never come back to. I tend to think of those spaceships a LOT - I always used to pride myself on making my ships SOLID, so you could drop them without them breaking and, just as importantly, WHOOSH them around your head without things falling off, and so i often think of them as METAPHORS for when I'm doing other things e.g. when, in my Proper Job, i'm writing a FORM for a database i think of those wings and try and remember to build it SOLIDLY so nothing can go wrong with them...

    It felt amazing, really, to find so many things from all those years ago still INTACT. I guess I sorted of expected that, because the ME of those years was no longer around, then the physical objects of the time wouldn't be either, but here they were. Also strange, in a more sad way, was seeing how delapidated quite a lot of the house had become. As The Tools In My ToolBox said to me when I got home later, maybe the fact that the house used to be so full of LIFE and living memories meant I didn't notice that the woodwork on the windows was breaking in places, but now the physical building was all that was left, and so it all became clear.

    ANYWAY, soon the Man In A Van (Peter from Man And Van In Peterborough, highly recommended by ME if you need things moving in Peterborough!) arrived and we hauled the Bureau over to my Mum's house, where I got to DISPERSE all the above emotion through PHYSICAL ACTION! I'd been told there was no room in their garage for ANY more furniture, but when i looked inside i was APPALLED! You could TELL in an instant that NOBODY else in the family had ANY experience of loading drum kits into small cars in the middle of the night, such was the DISARRAY and INEFFICIENT packing on display! I set too IMMEDIATELY moving things around and created a VAST ECHOING CHAMBER of SPACE into which to place the bureau. I also CHUCKED tons of stuff and ended up FORCING the parents to book a SKIP come the Autumn, so that i can go over and finish the job properly. OH how they QUAKED at the thought of their CLUTTER being forcefully evicted! Oh how i RELISH the opportunity! I do LOVE a good SKIP DAY!

    So ENGORGED with CLEANSING ACTION was i that on the journey homewards i laid my plans to have a massive clearout at home, and spent a very pleasant Sunday morning generating two huge BIN LINERS full of a) crap and b) clothes for the charity shop. Aaah! The latter ESPECIALLY was immensely satisfying, as going out were many of my FAT MAN clothes that I'd had to wear a couple of years ago when i was SIGNIFICANTLY HEFTIER than i am now. I tell you, it felt GOOD! REAL GOOD!

    posted 27/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    BONUS: Hot Tip
    Are you in a BAND? Is it really hot and you're getting nasty and sweaty? Then simply step back a little until you're as close as you can safely get to the raging TUNULT of ACTION that is THE DRUMMER! Counter-intuitively you will suddenly find yourself gently WAFTED with a COOLING BREEZE! I discovered this last night - having SEEN Tim in mighty ACTION on many occasions, and also seen the AFTERMATH (he makes me look like someone who... er... doesn't sweat THAT much onstage, but still quite abit) I'd've expected the HEAT levels to rise yet further when in such proximity, but actually all that thrashing around and WHACKING of cymbals and things acts like a sort of ROCK FAN which was immensely pleasant. Handily, these days, we have a few INTERLUDES of musical NESS when I'm not singing, so I was able to enjoy this occasonally, but i now intend to write a few INSTRUMENTALS, just in case we play somewhere that hot again!

    posted 24/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Is It Hot In Here?
    I STRODE OUT across London last night to The Bull & Gate to play our last minute GIG in the HEAT. By heck it was warm, but luckily i was already sporting shorts and had a pair of SEXUAL TROUSERS stocked in my bag for later. Unfortunatly i didn't have my usual post-gig t-shirt, which meant i ended up getting plenty of space to myself on the tube home, as i was SWEATY.

    Tim, Emma and Tom turned up just in time for soundcheck, which was a delightfully calm and leisurely affair - the combination of the air conditioning, new carpet and nice sound system in the back room of the B&G with the Really Good Soundperson made it a DELIGHT to experience. Mr Frankie Machine was stuck on a train just outside Bedford at this point (see previous entries - apparently Midland Mainline have no contingency plan for The Nice Weather) so had to do a sad, lonely little solo soundcheck when he turned up half an hour later.

    That all done we regrouped in the pub itself, for a discussion on Album Planning: we agreed that we would hand The Engineer our ACTION PLAN: "Make GRATE Pop Album", and that was all the planning we needed. This is going to be GRATE! About 11 people gradually arrived (which was pretty good, considering the heat, late notice, and Glastonbury Festival!) and we ROCKED in the following fashion:
    Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)
    Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
    Better Things To Do
    Hey Hey 16K
    Tell Me Something You Do Like
    Billy Jones Is Dead
    The Gay Train
    Easily Impressed
    I must say it felt BLOODY GRATE - we WHIPPED through the songs with only BRIEF interludes between, INDEED we SEGUED from "Things'll Be Different" STRAIGHT into "QOLED", and even slotted in "Billy Jones Is Dead" as an optional extra with time to spare. The new songs all felt GOOD and worked WELL, and there was an ACE response to "Easily Impressed". It basically felt NICE and I was EXTREMELY happy to be playing at the B&G again, if only there had been more time for more i'd've been even happier!

    Very soon afterwards Tim, Emma and Tom had to leave, and shortly after that Mr Machine did too. I've been asked to point out that his train was delayed nearly an hour from leaving, and then several MORE hours on the way, so a two hour journey (MAX) took him more than TWICE as long! Also Tim and Emma had to hire TWO babysitters for the night - these are the sacrifices we make for ROCK! Anyway, i then hung around and saw a bit of The Courtesy Group, who were dead good - i would have watched more, except it was VERY HOT INDEED. So hot, in fact, that i got SWEATY KNEES, which has never happened to me before. My favourite bit of them was when the singer was RAMPAGING around the room, and came and sang in my FACE as i passed by. I think he expected me to be freaked out, but actually i really enjoyed it, and he pushed me away in search of people to FREAK. It was dead good anyway - i didn't get to see any of Vaccine, who had very nicely lent us GEAR, due to Having To Get Home, which was a shame really as i always DISTRUST bands who don't watch the others, and yet here we were doing that very same thing.

    ANYWAY,i had a wander round and a chat to all our LOT who had very kindly ventured out, and ended the evening delightfully with TEAM KOOBA discussing cleavages and film ideas. What could be more pleasant? It was a very happy though slightly over-LAGERED (it was too HOT for BEER!) Hibbett who wobbled home, BRANE awash with thoughts of how GRATE this album is, surely, going to sound. YEAH!

    posted 24/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    It's a times like this i wish we could all be FREE of the degenerate capitalist system and, like, frolic freely in the fields all day, making love, beautiful music and hair beads (maybe not this last one, but some people seem to insist on it) in a bucolic wonderland of, like, FREEDOM!

    OR, failing that, i wish i'd taken the day off, for LO! it is GORGEOUS outside, the radio and much of my social circle is full of pre-Glastonbury fever, and the people in my office who AREN'T off there have gone home to sit in THEIR gardens and/or watch the tennis. BAH! HUMBUG! And I'm the only one still sat at work!

    Mind you, the reason for this is that we're playing The Bull & Gate tonight, so going home first would be DAFT, and I've got my exciting Sexy Trousers to Showcase AND a load of new songs AND of coure THE VALIDATORS to hang around with... so HOORAH! HOORAH for the day! I've just remembered i've got some tea bags in the drawer too - KERZANG!

    posted 23/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Sympathy For The Knob Twiddlers
    I've often been perplexed by how certain bands of my acquaintance (i name no names, let us use the entirely unrelated moniker THE FRANKIE EXPERIMENT to disguise their identities) can take FOREVER to record anything. I've sat at home with my four track and in the space of an evening written, recorded and mixed a whole song and STILL had time to pop to the pub, whilst CHEMISTRY MACHINE have taken YEARS to get 12 songs finished for an album. It BEFUDDLED me - what WERE they doing?

    Now i know. For LO! now i TOO have Recording And Mixing Technology at home, and last night spent two hours recording, mixing, adjusting and fading in and out the sound "OOOOOOOOO", or, rather by the time i'd finished with it "OOOoooOOOooo". YEAH! I was doing some recording on the EPIC "Zipcodes" and was trying to find something GOOD to play on the keyboards for the chorus. I'd got something worked out (using the previously mentioned Writing The Notes Down TECHNOLOGY - i tell you, it's so handy it's BOUND to catch on!) and then discovered that although that was all fine and dandy (and has been bouncing around my head all morning) the BEST bit was holding down a key at the very end, and LEAVING it there. THUS i fiddled and diddled with it, flanging, reverberising, equalising it and then using ENVELOPES to fade it in and out through the verses, MAN ALIVE i have rarely had so much PRODUCTIVE FUN for such a tiny final result. It was ACE! I can now fully understand how anyone COULD spend a whole year crouched over the computer screen every evening MINUTELY adjusting the EQ on every instrument until it is PERFECTISIMO.

    Fear not though - i am also MORBIDLY PARANOID that my computer is going to EXPLODE if i do too much more, so i think there's just the vocals and BACKING vocals to do now before it's finished. Mind you, maybe a ROBOTIC CHOIR of thousands would sound good?

    posted 22/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Actual Birthday Fun
    Sunday morning began with me FINALLY living the ROCK LIFESTYLE i so richly deserve i.e. i awoke in a massive hotel bed with a beautiful woman, surrounded by empty BEER cans, and then made my way downstairs where i enjoyed a swim, JACUZZI and STEAMING in the STEAM ROOM. Oh YEAH! Come ON! That's what i CALL a Birthday Morning!

    Things continued DELIGHTFULLY when we checked out, got some LUNCH from Marks & Sparks, and were soon sat on the train TUCKING IN. It was a beautiful picture of a day going WELL... so, of course, it being a) a Sunday b) on the train things went WRONG. The train ground to a halt just outside Bedford, and EVENTUALLY we were informed this was because of an "incident". I like the way they said "incident" to make us all think "Oh no! A BAD THING has occurred - we must not moan or complain, somebody has probably been hurt, and it is no fault whatsoever of the train company!"

    It later turned out that the "incident" was some cables falling down, BECAUSE IT WAS HOT! ARGH! How can the rail companies FORGET, every single YEAR that the seasons CHANGE? GAAARGGHH!!! We thus disembarked at Bedford and joined a queue of about 200 people waiting for a bus to take us to Luton, in the SCORCHING heat.

    I noticed a queue of people for taxis and thought "Ha! It's my birthday, i've got some CA$H, let's get a taxi to Luton!" We joined the line, found some people to SHARE with, and all was WELL. I was told by a Thameslink Guy that the rail companies would PAY people's taxi fares, but after about half an hour of queueing up (during which no buses arrived, no announcements were made, and nobody told us any different) it gradually emerged that this only applied to people who had a flight to catch, and everyone else was meant to queue for the buses.

    Now, this annoyed me, for several reasons. Mainly - why didn't they TELL us any of this? It got to being an HOUR that we were all queued up, and though there were plenty of staff MILLING around, NOBODY said ANYTHING to us - the people waiting for buses (which never turned up) knew nothing, and those of us in the taxi queue had no way of knowing what was going on either. MAYHEM gradually ensued as people went out into the street outside the station to flag down taxis, while the Thameslink Guy at the head of the queue said "All taxis will stop here!" I pointed out the five taxis that manifestly WEREN'T doing this, directly in his line of view, and he first of all DENIED they existed, and the claimed that they were private hire taxis that people had rung for... i wondered a) why don't YOU ring for some then and b) why do they look exactly the same as the station taxis then?

    It was all utterly bloody hopeless - after 90 minutes of waiting STILL no buses had arrived, NO taxis were coming to our queue (as they were all picking up private fares who'd TIP them outside), none of the staff were telling anybody ANYTHING (except to say "Oh no - i'll not get home on time tonight", to which the obvious answer was "NO, and neither will any of US, and we're not getting PAID to be here!") and RAGE was rising all round. I mean, for PITY'S SAKE, you'd think they'd have at LEAST a HALF-arsed plan for dealing with this sort of thing as IT! HAPPENS! ALL! THE! TIME! I reckon at LEAST one in three times when I've travelled this line at a weekend it's gone wrong, and yet each time it DOES everyone flaps around without a BLOODY CLUE what to do. GARGH! NGGG! RAGE!


    Choirs sang, light emitted, and from the car park came a man who did saith unto the Thameslink Guy: "I'm supposed to be picking someone up from here, but they're stuck at Luton. I'm going back there now, and my taxi can take 10 people there - so give me 10 people now for Luton and I'll help them out." Thameslink Guy consulted his clipboard. There was no contingency for this and he TRIED TO SEND HIM AWAY, saying "We don't have a form for that, we can't pay you." "I don't want paying", said THE ANGELIC TAXI DRIVER, "I just thought I could help out."

    Thameslink Guy tried AGANE to SEND HIM AWAY - this interfered with the Stupid System of Prioritisation they'd enforced (hey! who are THEY to say that people catching flights are more important than anyone else? who KNOWS what the rest of us might be going home to do?), but LUCKILY we MOBILISED, and soon a VERY HAPPY POSSE of 12 of us (we squashed up) were in the TAXI and heading off. My initial GUILT at NOT going to an airport (and saying we had a flight to catch - hey! i needed to get home!) was ASSUAGED when it turned out the only TWO of the other people in the taxi were off to the airport too, and soon we were at Luton.

    "Midland Mainline will probably use the trains that can't get further North as a Shuttle Service going back to London" said The Sheets On My Mattress, for LO! she is a wise and GOOD woman with SENSE. Midland Mainline are NONE of these things, and had of course CANCELLED all the trains, so there were even LESS running to ferry back all the people who'd got stuck. GENIUS! Luckily for us the coachloads hadn't arrived before we set off, so we travelled in COMFORT, but i DREAD to think what conditions were like later on...

    Still, all was WELL for us, and it was impossible to be ANNOYED any more after witnessing such HUMAN KINDNESS in the shape of our Heavenly Cabbie. Things went so well that, guided by aforesaid The Plump In My Pillow, we got off at West Hampstead and ZIPPED over to East London in record time via the OVERLAND TRAINS - it was QUICKER and also LOVELY as we whizzed across town in the sunshine, rather than in the subterranean BOWELS of the city.

    We eventually got home only having been delayed by two hours, but BY GOLLY we had WORKED those two hours! There was time for a SHOWER before we had some LOCAL FAMILY round for CHAMPAGNE (and also for me to show off my Star Wars Lego to the kids - HA! it was MINE!), and then we settled in for DOCTOR WHO.

    i've gone on QUITE long enough here, so in summary: COR! OOH! OH NO JACK'S DEAD! TEARS! ARGH! DALEKS! You can tell RTD's read a lot of X-Men comics can't you? HOORAY! PHOENIX... sorry, Rose... REVIVES JACK! (sudden disappointment about Bad Wolf not being THAT thrilling) YES! You both WERE FANTASTIC! BARCELONA!

    Or to put it even more SUCCINCTLY - that was BLOODY BRILLIANT, and i can't WAIT six months until the Christmas Episode - MORE please! And not just MORE of Dr Who, can we have some MORE programmes that ALL of us can watch, that are CLEVER and FUNNY and IMAGINATIVE and MOVING and OPEN-HEARTED and EXCITING and make us DELIGHT in being alive and human? Can we?

    The BIRTHDAY then gently slid into a reverie of BOOZE, CURRY, and the first ever episode of Auf Wiedersehn Pet. It was BLOODY GRATE!

    posted 21/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Pre-Birthday Fun!
    Off to LEICESTER on Saturday lunchtime, where The Sonic In My Screwdriver and i checked into The Holiday Inn (birthday treat!) for some LOLLING around in the jacuzzi/steam room/pool - it was ACE, helped along by getting some complimentary BEER when i mentioned that our mini-bar was a bit LACKING in same. HOORAH!

    We were there largely because The Validators were playing at The Victory, so at six o'clock i had to REND myself from the luxuries at the hotel and head down there, where i discovered that there was a whole other BIT of the pub round the back and upstairs. I've been in The Victory LOADS of times over the past 15 years, having lived near or known people who lived near by, so was a bit shocked to find there was a whole chunk of it i knew nothing about. Soon the entire MALE section of The Validators were there, as were the significantly less MALE The Fighting Cocks. Overseeing all was Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey, who had beautifully set the whole thing up for us, and John The Soundman, returning from his triumph at Woodhouse Eaves. We got the PA set up, did our sound check, and headed off for the traditional pre-gig CHIPS AND CHEESE. SMASHING!

    When we got back various TYPES had arrived, and there was an all round air of LOVELINESS about the proceedings. Just after nine o'clock i happily looked around the 20-30 or so people who'd turned up, thinking how lovely it all was, and asked Charlie from The Fighting Cocks if he was ready to get going. "Shouldn't we wait until people turned up?" he asked, and i had to tell him that, actually, this was pretty much everybody! As ever with The Cocks they took a while to get everything sorted out, but once they DID get going they were BLOODY GRATE. I have said it MANY times before, but these days watching The Fighting Cocks is SUCH a thing of GRATE JOY, and it made me very happy indeed that everybody else in the room thought so, and by the time they go to the end, with Charlie waving his "BEER"/"ENGLAND" sign, we were all singing along. He looked well chuffed, and Asha and Anna were GENTLY MOBBED by people wanting to tell them how ACE they were.

    Emma was a bit worried, as she said "How can we follow that? They're so... SEXUAL!" and she didn't seem reassured when i pointed out that she needn't worry, being SEXY was MY job - possibly this was because i was fannying around with my trouser legs rolled up. I thought I looked DASHING, others thought less so, but it felt so GOOD i am DETERMINED to go get me some three quarter length trousers ready for our gig on Thursday. It's practical AND sexy!

    Anyway, we got set to ROCK, and this is what we did:
    Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
    Better Things To Do
    Mental Judo
    Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)
    The Symbol Of Our Nation
    Never Going Back To Aldi's
    Billy Jones Is Dead
    Looking At My Hands
    Hey Hey 16K
    Tell Me Something You Do Like
    The Gay Train
    Easily Impressed

    Payday Is The Best Day
    Bands From London (are shit)
    ... with those last two being the ENCORE - oh yeah! It was all really really good - John The Soundman had done us PROUD, and it FELT dead good to play. Before we'd Officially Begun we had JAMMED a bit... i.e. me and Rob had played "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" a bit, and i thought, yet again, "COR! My band is BRILLIANT!" and it certainly felt that way when we were playing. One person let the others down by forgetting the chords to "Never Going Back To Aldi's" completely and The WORDS in many places, but HEY! It was my birthday (nearly)!

    There were lots of new songs played, and it was EXCITING thinking about how GOOD they're sounding - this Actually Practicing business seems to WORK, although we do need to practice SOME of the songs a tiny bit more! It's just nice doing a gig, looking round at the other people on stage with you and thinking "Oh GRATE! They're here too!" - like when we did "Mental Judo" and Emma and i were singing it AT each other, it was ACE! ALSO "Easily Impressed" was BRILLIANT! AND i liked it when a) Tom played his NEW BIT in "Better Things To Do" b) Tim did BIZARRE DRUM ROLLS in "Bands From London", and c) Mr Frankie Machine COMEDICALLY opened the door to the ladies when i was Introducing The Band. I think you probably needed to BE there for that last one, but it WAS really funny, honest!

    Afterwards there was much chatting and JOY before The Time In My Vortex and i strolled home to our LUXURY, tired but happy, and WELL geared up for the coming day of BIRTHDAY FUN!

    posted 20/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Service Break
    Oh dear, we've had a bit of a break in service today, as for some reason EasySpace (who i got this domain from) buggered up and if you came to earlier today you'll have got one of their place-holder webpages. If you come via or, if you're OLD SKOOL and come via or even (aaah! NOSTALGIA for the TILD, you don't see them around much these days do you? They are the white dog poo of the INTERWEB!) then everything will have looked the same, as it's just EasySpace who messed up.

    I must say i was NOT IMPRESSED with them - i emailed TWICE this morning and got nothing at all back except auto-replies, then RANG just now to talk to someone who says it'll all be back and working in eight hours or so. I was ALSO unimpressed by the fact that he didn't apologise or NOTHING - hey! Just think of all the people who've come here looking for "Grand Moth Tarkin" and "+Soduku" who'll have been disappointed! It's not good enough i tell you, and if i could be bothered i'd DO something about it! YEAH!

    In other news, the song "Zipcodes" is becoming a bit of an epic - last night i got the STRUCTURE sorted and it's SIX MINUTES long! Currently it features bass, drum and eight (8) gtr tracks, but i've got a GRATE idea for piano and cello parts, and there's BOUND to be more by the time i've finished. I fully expect my computer to IMPLODE before then tho...

    posted 16/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    As i may have mentioned lightly and in passing, we're off to Cornwall in August to record the next album. This is all VERY EXCITING obviously, tho there is one small blot on the ROCK landscape: it means that, for the first time in 17 years, i will NOT be at the Peterborough Beer Festival at any point this year. This news saddens me - I believe David Bowie was saddened by the realisation of the same fact when he went off to Berlin, although to be fair the Beer Festi as a very tiny affair those days, not the BEER MEGATHON it is today. Thus my pain is greater than Bowie's, QED.

    Anyway, in discussion of this FACT my good friend Mr Paul Myland suggested that he and our co-founder of The Masters Of Nothing , Mr Robin Hare, travel down to London for the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia. I thought "That's a GRATE idea!" for LO! It is. The Plumping Of My Pillow and I went a couple of years ago to see John Otway play and it was FANTASTIC, so I thought I'd just check and see who'd be playing this time...

    OH MY WORD! It's CHAS & DAVE!!

    I can't believe it - could there ever BE a better band to play at a Beer Festival? A few years ago in Peterborough we saw The Not Bootleg But Other Tribute To The Beatles play, and it was ACE. We sang along to everything, called out for them to do "Revolution //9", and CRIED during "Hey Jude", and i thought THAT was as good as a Beer Festival band could GET.

    I think i may have been wrong, except MEMO TO SELF: do not get too overexcited! The last time Mr Myland and I got this excited about a gig it was when we went to see David Essex, and MY LORD but that was a terrible disappointment. Surely Chas & Dave won't let us down like that though, will they?

    See you down the front!

    posted 15/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    A quick look at the GIGS page will reveal that we've got a DELUGE of gigs coming up in the near future, as there's been a bit of a RUSH of things being offered and/or asked for just lately. I'm really chuffed about it i must say, as i live in MORTAL FEAR of not having any gigs booked as it convinces me i shall NEVER ROCK AGAIN.

    Blame for this can be laid fairly and squarely at the feet of JOHN SIMS fondly remembered Leicester band of the late '90's who featured my good PAL and co-VOONist Dr Neil Brown. They got going at around the same time as i made my first tentative steps into the solo LIVE ARENA and for a brief period seemed to be on the CUSP of MAKING IT. Looking back now it seems odd that everyone i knew then was CONVINCED of this because they had review in Melody Maker. Nothing else happened to indicate anything MIGHT happen - all the other reviews they'd had at this point were for their part on the "Work Is A Four Letter Word" EP, and _i_ got review for that TOO and NOBODY was convinced my COAT-TAILS were worth hitching a lift on. Anyway, all seemed ready to GO for them at the time, and they did NOTHING. Maybe one or two gigs happened over the next year, but most of their time was spent recording bits of their album and (mostly) going to the graveyard and drinking CIDER near the grave of the man whose NAME they had borrowed.

    I was ASTONISHED at this behaviour (although now i think "Yes! Having fun and larking about - GOOD IDEA!") and so DETERMINED that i would NEVER do such a thing, and ever since then have DREADED the idea of Not Being Able To Do Any Gigs. HENCE all of the aforementioned GIGS.

    No, it isn't a very interesting story. It is, however, psychologically factually correct.

    ANYWAY, the next gig is in LEICESTER this Saturday at The Victory, as previously mentioned, then next THURSDAY (June 23rd) we're playing a Validators gig at The Bull & Gate. This came about because i saw they had a "Short Notice" GAP in their schedules, checked with The Validators, and finding that we could all a) do it and b) do with playing the new songs live a bit more, rang up and ASKED. I LOVE playing at The Bull & Gate, it is GRATE.

    After that we're playing a WEDDING - this isn't, i guess, technically a GIG, but I put it on the list to stop me looking at it and thinking "You know, I'm SURE we're doing something else in July" - and then the next weekend i have two SOLO gigs. The SECOND of these (Saturday 16th July) is an anti-folk all-dayer in Brighton which I think i MAY have mentioned, but the FIRST (Friday 15th) is RATHER exciting for me, as it's my first ever solo gig in the PETERBOROUGH region, from whence i came! It's even MORE closer to my ROOTS than that as it's in Tallington, 2 miles from Stamford where I was born, two miles from Deeping St James where I grew up, one mile from where my MUM lives now and just a short walk from Tallington Lakes, where I spent many a Saturday afternoon as a teenager. It's at the Blyth Power weekender at The Whistle Stop, the pub next to the railway crossing where my Nan & Grandad used to take me and my brother to look at the trains MANY years ago. Eddy The Manager had asked if i could play the gig AGES ago, but had been told there was no more space, so it was a LOVELY surprise this weekend to find out i'm playing after all. HOORAH!

    After that there's TWO trips to Birmingham, a return to Cambridge, the Retrovision Weekender in Manchester and by THEN we're into the AUTUMN, when there should be a couple MORE gigs slotting into place. It's all SMASHING i must say - i LOVE the fact that i get to go and visit all these different places that I'd never usually go to, even if i do only ever usually see the railway station, the taxi rank and a pub! hey! What MORE do you need, anyway?

    posted 14/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Weekend ACTION
    Cor, it was a BUSY weekend this weekend - not only was i beavering away on the American Tape, but also i HOOVERED and CLEANED things, for LO! The Air In My Balloon and The Landlady were coming home on Saturday! HOORAH! I was obviously looking forward to this A LOT (as were the cats, not least because this would mean an end to their Stern But Fair feeding regime) and so was all of a dither dashing around the household making sure everything was OK for their return.

    DITHER LEVELS were only INCREASED by DOCTOR WHO on Saturday - COR! Also BLIMEY! also WOW!!! Surely the living rooms of BRITAIN throbbed to people leaping up and down shouting "YEAH!" when The Doctor said "Rose -I'm coming to get you!"? And as for the Next Week trailer... MY THEORY: It's ADAM, who is now DAVROS! He got all the info about the FUTURE downloaded into his BRANE SPIKE! He hates the Doctor for dumping him! He knows about Daleks AND Time War stuff! AND the whole in his forehead could VERY EASILY be blocked up with a glowing blue bulb... JUST! LIKE! DAVROS!!

    I'm really not looking forward to the series ending... anyway, in amongst all this i also found time to do some recording, and have pretty much finished "Closer To You", "If You Need Loving" (after a hefty spat of re-recording), "Hey William" and "Sod It Let's Get Pissed". I made a small start on "Born Yesterday" and am now FULL of ideas for the SIXTH song. As mentioned last week, I'd decided to try "Do More Eat Less" instead of "Ctrl-Alt-Delete" but then last night had a BRANE STORM and realised i could do a completely RE-JIGGED version of "ZIPCODES" with the same lyrics but DIFFERENT (and less JAZZ) tune.

    I played this few a couple of times, thought of a bass line, and then had ANOTHER attack of the MIND THROBS: this could be the TITLE TRACK! Until now I've had no idea what to call The American Tape, but HEY! The song "Zipcodes" is, partly, about my youthful hankering after all things American, and as the tape's coming OUT in America it only seems right to name it AFTER all that. HOOPLA!

    All in all then, an EXCITING weekend! ZANG!

    posted 13/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Best Part Of The Day
    You'll no doubt be RELIEVED to hear that i DID sort out that Keyboard bit on "Closer To You"... although possibly SURPRISED to discover that i sorted it out at about 6.30am this morning. Last night i went out for drinkS with my brother, and he had a LENGTHY and DEEP conversation which ranged across a BROAD, yet FOCUSED range of points. Actually it was BLOODY BRILLIANT as we had some things to sort out, and we did it in a MATURE style - fingers were STEEPLED, brows were furrowed, and the phrase "but, obversely" was utilised extensively. YEAH!

    We got ourselves pretty well sorted out anyway, and all was GOOD. HOWEVER in the course of these discussions DRINK was taken, yay even though I hadn't had my tea yet. THUS i was awoken at 5.30am today by my BODY saying "We're all of a muddle and feeling unwell and it's YOUR fault!" I couldn't get back to sleep so eventually gave up and DID some things. I tell you what, maybe it's me getting OLD or something, but really early really IS a lovely time of day. The air was fresh, the light was clear, and in the distance a FINCH bellows across the rooftops. LOVELY.

    It doesn't look like I'm going to get the TAPE finished this week though - thankfully THE WOMEN return tomorrow night, and as it's taken me nearly a week to get four songs nearly done, i somehow doubt that I'll get the other two done by tomorrow. STILL, it does give me time to try and resurrect as song. Reading the METRO this morning i noted that some bloke is making a big deal about his "exercise more, eat less" diet plan. That was MY IDEA! I need to get the song "Do More, Eat Less" FINISHED pretty quick!

    posted 10/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Startling Research In Musicology
    I was in work a bit late this morning, for LO! i have been playing the PIAAANO. Wel, the keyboard with PIAAANO settings, but still. Last night i commenced "work" on the song "Closer To You" - as ever it took AGES to do the drums and GTR and guide vocal bits (which is the main disadvantage of DIGITAL recording, i find), but then i SET to with PIAAANO ACTION.

    It seemed to take FOREVER. When FINALLY i'd worked out something to play for the verses and got it sounding OK i realised it was a bit BARE. I am not the greatest PIANIST in the world, i must learn to live with that FACT - after all, i learnt to play piano on the STREET and let me tell you, that is not a convenient place to learn it. The music flies off whenever a car goes by and you have to watch out for dogs. Anyway, i can, these days, JUST ABOUT manage to play with four fingers and one thumb (not all on the same hand) which means that everything i do sounds a bit clunky. HOWEVER i realised that i could - AHA! - record ANOTHER track of piano featuring the notes IN BETWEEN and then COMPOSITE (or "comp" as we say in the RECORDING BUSINESS... and also in our spare room) them together.

    That was GROUNDBREAKING INNOVATION NUMBER ONE. I bet NOBODY has ever thought of THAT before! I then spent a frustrating HOUR playing the first BIT of the verse, but being unable to work out the second - it was the i hit on GROUNDBREAKING INNOVATION NUMBER TWO. Rather than trying to guess what to play i WROTE DOWN the Chords, worked out which notes would work, and then WROTE THEM DOWN TOO!!!!

    YES! I know it is hard to get one's head round something so radical, but by actually WRITING DOWN what i was supposed to play it was suddenly MUCH MUCH EASIER. Really I shouldn't be showing off about this on a webpage, i guess i ought to PATENT it or something, but HEY! i am here to share the LOVE!

    It was all very exciting, and it was all i could do to TEAR myself away from the keyboard ready for BED. This morning I sat down and did exactly the same thing with the MIDDLE bit and it was all MUCH quicker and easier... although i MAY have done a bit wrong. I realised this only when I'd done the BASS track too (i was EXCITED!) and it didn't quite work, so i might need to REVISIT the track later. This worries me not though as - AHA! - i have WRITTEN IT DOWN!

    It's the GRATE IDEA that keeps on giving!

    In other news from THE STUDIO: having got fed up of watching documentaries about "Lord Of The Rings" (I'm on disc SIX of the appendices now and, yes, Mr Jackson and co, i GET IT: you were all very sad to be finishing! ENOUGH ALREADY!) i decided to watch "SPACED" whilst having my tea. I've now watched most of series one, and BY GOLLY, it's still BLOODY BRILLIANT. Most of all i am amazed how much of it i remember, and how much has slipped into my daily vocabulary, and i haven't even GOT to the Robot Wars episode yet! I've only got two and a half days left RATTLING round the house, but I'm SURE we can get the second series watched by then too. Would the women of my household be pleased or AFEARED, i wonder, to be greeted by me and the three cats saying "Hullo Brian" at the door?

    posted 9/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Squinting In The Daylight
    Ah! The best intentions, how they FALL! As i may have mentioned, I'm ALONE in the house this week with THE CATS, and though I'd planned to spend a lot of time doing RECORDING, i also meant to get out and about a bit. Reader, i have FAILED in this last resolve for LO! The last two nights have AGANE seen me HUNCHED over my computer, crafting delicate SOUNDSCAPES.

    I say "delicate", but, actually some of it is a bit BEEFY. On Monday night i spent ages trying to record a MALE VOICE CHOIR which last night i completely scrapped and recorded again, also adding a CHURCH ORGAN and, accidentally, a rather SPIFFING organ riff for the end of the song i was working on. This PIECE now has acoustic, fuzz and lead guitar, a two part STEREO bass line, rather FAB MASSIVE drums (in five parts), FIVE different chorus vocals, the aforesaid CHOIR, TWO organs, TWO backing vocals and, oh yes, the lead vocal.

    I'm really chuffed with how it's sounding - I just wish the song itself was about something a bit more STURDY, as it's all in aid of "Sod It, Let's Get Pissed". Oh irony, i have spent so long RECORDING the song I haven't even had time to DO the thing it urges!

    That one's pretty much finished now, I plan to do final mixing on THE LOT later on, for now i am concentrating on getting things RECORDED before my housemates return and say "AGH! The whole top floor of the house is covered in WIRES and GUITARS and the bottom is a FERAL WASTELAND of CATS!" (Note to The Seperation In My Stereo: it's not that bad, honest)... I listened to what I'd done so far this morning anyway, and it sounds GOOD, especially "Hey William" i must say. "Born Yesterday" and "Closer To You" are still to do, and I am considering JETTISONING "Ctrl Alt Delete" for something else... we'll see how it goes.

    But what am i to call it? I FEAR that it may end up being DAFT and/or CAT based - stay tuned for UPDATES!

    posted 8/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Since I added the COMMENTS section to the site we've HAD some - it's been lovely, thank you! My SERVER STATS also indicate a few people who've arrived here GOOGLING for one thing or another, so to answer as many queries as possible, here's the first of a (MAYBE) regular feature: POSTBAG! Here's the answers to recent questions and queries:
  • Fake Fish: it's not so much fish in general i hanker for, it is BATTERED COD. A warning to the curious however - don't in under any circumstances try Fake Fish Cakes instead, they're DISGUSTING.
  • Popgun: yes, they ARE very GRATE and their webpage is HERE.
  • Tim doesn't bite his toenails, that would be HORRIBLE (though I'd like to see him try). Apparently he picks his feet. Ugh!
  • Robin from Thunder Bay - I'm sorry you lost your Adamantium skeleton, that Magneto seems to be doing it to EVERYBODY these days doesn't he? You think he'd LEARN!
  • The chords for my version of "Boom Shake The Room" are G and C . Much like many MANY of my own songs.
  • I advise everybody to visit Sorted Records as they have LOADS of videos of Gigs I Have Known. This month it's The Chemistry Experiment looking all FRESH and YOUNG - bless! See if you can spot the similarly fresh and young First Validators BASS Player OLLIE in the crowd!
  • My new wires are INDEED Quality Of Life Enhancement Devices, it is TRUE. Talking of which, I haven't had any NEW QOLEDs lately, do let me KNOW if you RHYME one up, won't you?
  • Everyone who ended up here looking for Grand "Moth" Tarkin - it turns out that ISN'T how you're supposed to spell it, although the image of Peter Cushing as a GIANT MOTH is, actually, pretty scary. Anyway, it's Grand MOFF Tarkin - that sounds RUBBISH now doesn't it? It sounds like a hip hop OTTER!

    Thanks everyone for the FACT - more another day!

    posted 7/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Studio Sweat
    You find me Slightly Confused this morning, as I've just spoken to my first couple of HUMANS for a day or so... for LO! on Saturday lunchtime The Factor In My Sun Lotion and The Landlady both headed off to CROATIA for a VERY well deserved holiday, leaving me at home to look after the CATS. Long term visitors may recall that on the other two occasions they've done this I've been a) in a constant state of panic about one or more of said cats keeling over/being kidnapped b) invaded by FOXES c) bored and PINING. The first two of these problems are easily dealt with as our cats are Old Ladies now and are quite happy, for the most part, to loll around the house watching telly or comparing scars, so there's less worry about them being out and about, and we don't seem to have any foxes in the back garden yet this year. I can only assume that a full blown HUNT must have rampaged across our gardens because, as we all know, there is absolutely no other way to deal with such things...

    The THIRD problem, however, needed dealing with, so i have SET TO recording this mini-album that's hopefully coming out on Popgun Recordings later this year. I got a couple of new WIRES to plug into the back of the computer, so I don't have to keep leaning round the back to plug things in, and have impinged upon the usual TIDINESS of THE STUDY (oh yes!) with LEADS, PEDALS, a microphone, keyboards, and my three AXES i.e. guitar, bass and ukelele. I'd got SOFTWARE installed, I'd just ABOUT got the hang of using it (still haven't figured out ENVELOPES yet mind you), and so on Saturday afternoon i sat down to begin WORK.

    I tell you what, it's a lot more complicated being DIGITAL. When my cassette four track was working it was quite an easy job to knock off a couple of songs a day. The hard part was playing each part correctly all the way through, ESPECIALLY when you were writing the tracks as you went along (ESPECIALLY especially the BASS), but once done it was DONE and you just accepted it. With BOUNCING I had 6 or 7 tracks to work with, and on with it i GOT.

    Now with the DIGITAL set up all I have to do is record ONE bit of each section of the song correctly and I can re-used it... i thought this'd make things quicker, but it makes it MUCH longer, as i keep re-recording stuff to get it PERFECT, then have to do all the different BITS seperately, and THEN take it all out into a WAV EDITOR to fiddle about to make it SOUND good. Also, funnily enough, although i now have (sort of) LIMITLESS tracks to hand, I've so far stuck to the basic drum, bass, GTR, 2 vocals + 1 other instrument set-up I'm used to, but this may change... also, I am happy to report, although there is of course a constant RISK or GLOSSY HOLLYWOOD OVERPRODUCTION, it does still sound reassuringly CLANKY.

    On Saturday i did "If You Need Loving", which went pretty well EXCEPT for at about 6 o'clock when I decided to stick a GTR SOLO in. BRILLIANTLY i was able to pretty easily move things around and stick in an extra VERSE to play over (thus immediately and FINALLY reassuring me that I'd been RIGHT to make the switch to DIGITAL), and then spent a nerve-wracking 30 minutes trying to play it RIGHT. NERVE WRACKING because at 6.30 I had to go downstairs and put the TEA ON, ready for my traditional appointment with TEA and DOCTOR WHO. GRATE this week wasn't it? Next week's ALSO looks FANTASTIC - I can't believe there's only two episodes left! What am i going to DO!?

    Anyway, after THAT i fiddled some more and started the drums off for SUNDAY'S action plan, which was "Hey William". I'd originally intended to DO STUFF yesterday, maybe go to the GYMNASIUM, maybe go and see Star Wars again... but i actually spent the whole day indoors. I DID make a big old LASAGNE for my tea, but otherwise i was upstairs playing unnecessarily complicated (but ACE sounding) pipe organ tracks, panning them around, and then COMPING (Technical Term!) three vocal "takes" (oh baby! DIG the TERMAGE!) into one OK one. It was GRATE, and it sounds pretty flipping LOVELY!

    It certainly explains why you get so many dull, grey people making DANCE music anyway - it is EXACTLY the sort of thing the appeals to the RAMPANT COMPUTER GEEK in me, it really PUSHES you to make extremely INCREMENTAL music with TINY progressions that you can spend DAYS working on, and it's so much FUN you could quite easily not talk to other human beings for WEEKS and get out of the habit. Expect, by the end of the week, me to have created an experimental symphony where a TRIAD of PULSES dance around each other for an hour, gently ROTATING through the STEREO SPECTRUM.

    Hey! I wouldn't be the first!

    posted 6/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Live Pictures
    I've been ALERTED to some photographs of our gig on Monday, HERE. You can see what I mean about Emma's Effort Making putting me and Tom to shame!

    There's also some ON TOUR pictures of The Chemistry Experiment over on the liverjournal section of their site - bless, they seem to have MUCH FUN, and i feel a) nostalgic for the Hibbett/Machine/Hectors TOUR and b) a bit jealous. Still, it's not long now until our STUDIO SOJOURN, i am sure there will be LARKS and HIJINKS aplenty then! Maybe we will stay up Quite Late!

    posted 2/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    First, the GOOD NEWS for Foolish Hat Factories and Sadistic Barbers: I was in Shoreditch last night, and i can BELAY any fears that the IDIOTIC HAIRCUT Event Horizon has been reached - there were even MORE woefully stupid haircuts on display than ever before! The current trend appears to be "Hitler, if he's lived to the early 1970's, and been a GROOVER", featuring as it does a FUHRER FRINGE combined with puffed up hippy hair, like Shaggy after a shower and a blow dry. I would have thought that the simultaneous RISE in WAZZOCK'S HATS would cover it up, but no indeed it doesn't. The over-riding THEME appears to be "I ran out of the house putting as many clothes on as i could as i left, forgetting that my elderly uncle was staying, with his lover, who works at the fair, and that it was THEIR clothes i picked up mostly."

    The nice thing about Shoreditch is that it EXCEEDS your expectations of what it will be like, but that's about IT. Anyway, I was there because I was doing a GIG at Catch 22, organised by Winston Echo. Mr Echo had asked me to be there by 6pm - usually these days I ignore this advice, knowing full well I'll spend two hours hanging around, but i felt bad so turned up on time... and spend two hours hanging around. STILL, it was in very pleasant company, as as well as Winston and Jamie from Undereducated there were The Bobby McGees, who were also playing, young Myles from Lewisham, and there was fine READING MATERIAL. Last week Undereducated got in touch to say there were putting together a FANZINE to sell at gigs to get The Diskettes (who were the headline act) some petrol money on tour. Several people wrote stuff, and i must say it looked DEAD GOOD - a lot better than an awful lot of fanzines that have had DECADES of gestation in people's bedrooms - and was full of ACE stuff. It also features an article by ME about QOLEDs, which I'll put up here sometime. It was LOVELY, and it made me think that maybe I'd do something the same - talking to Jimmy from The Bobby McGees about our History In ROCK i thought maybe I might write something about BANDS I HAVE KNOWN - not only would it be quite jolly to DO, but it'd fill in the RELEASE GAP a bit between "Warriors Of Nanpantan" coming out at the start of this year and "Mental Judo" coming out in 2006. I got quite a) EXCITED and b) KEEN about the idea, but obviously i have yet to write it. Stay tuned for updates!

    The Diskettes also had CDs in 3.5inch floppy packs, which look LOVELY, and better yet actual normal size computer discs with songs on them. This is SUCH an UTTERLY COOL idea i think i may at some point have to NICK it.

    Anyway, we got sound checked and I nipped out for TEA - falafel! DELICIOUS! - then came back and made good use of SODUKU. Like about half the people in the country i TOO have got a bit OBSESSED by them, and actually bought myself a BOOK at the weekend, which worked out a GRATE way of spending the otherwise pretty DREARY bit post-tea and pre-gig. It's not very rock and roll, but hey! It was BRANE FOOD!

    The evening then kicked off with Winston Echo on first - he's dead good but always seems to play VERY short sets. This time he included possibly THE MOST INDIE THING EVER when he got the whole room clapping along with "My Favourite Wrestler", and everybody struggled to stay in time to the end. It was lovely - we didn't manage it, but we TRIED VERY HARD. Next it was The Bobby McGees. The first time i saw them I found it all a bit TOO TWEE (well, a LOT too twee) and left before they'd finish, and Jimmy has NEVER LET ME FORGET this. Nowadays they seem to have reached TIPPING POINT and instead become rather LOVELY and heartfelt, especially with some new songs which are LESS about getting an audience reaction/laugh, and are MORE about being lovely songs in their own right. However, as Jimmy said afterwards, you need to have MUCH more guts to do those sort of songs rather than more smart-alecky stuff... anyone who has seen ME will know which way I usually go!

    Then there was a French Guy who... er... was pretty much what you'd STEREOTYPICALLY expect a FrencH Indie Guy to be. His first song had a two minute strumming intro before the words, which were "de dum de dum" in a slight, whispy voice, and later he played keyboards, singing about "the birds they came to visit, they played such lovely music". Saying anything NASTY about it makes me feel MEAN and NASTY, as if i would then give him a CHINESE BURN and steal his lunch money, but it was not really for ME, and by the time he'd finished i was RARING to go. I thought I would seem like ALICE COOPER in comparison (as opposed to Tommy Cooper like usual, ho ho ho) so was DISTRESSED when i had to wait five minutes before going on. LET ME ON! I WISH TO ROCK!

    Well, with all due humility etc etc i must say i think i RATHER DID. I was GAGGING for some ROCK ACTION, and RIPPED through the set, as follows:
    The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
    The Lesson Of The Smiths
    Hey Hey 16K
    Better Things To Do
    Things'll Be Different
    Billy Jones Is Dead
    Clubbing In The Week
    Fucking Hippy
    Easily Impressed
    Boom Shake The Room

    A pretty standard UBER SET then, but with the LIVE DEBUT of "Better Things To Do" in the middle, which seemed to go pretty well. It felt like i was on stage for AGES, even tho i was going at EXTREME SPEED, and i REALLY REALLY enjoyed it. BEST bits were some people getting VERY excited at "Hey Hey 16K", an EXCELLENT "Oi Hibbett!", a man looking ASHAMED for laughing when I said everybody in Canada had ADAMANTIUM SKELETONS, and me forgetting the start of the second verse of "Boom Shake The Room" and (almost) making it look like I'd meant to do so. It was GRATE!

    Finally The Diskettes played, and were BRILLIANT. As I'm sure 300,000 people have said before, they're very like Jonathan Richman, but also like a BEACH PARTY band in a film. It was simple and pure and LOVELY and I bought one of their CDs at the end for listening pleasure. They were GRATE - i wish i could see them next time they play That London, but can't. Boo! If only people would check MY diary before they book gigs, things would be MUCH more efficient!

    I strolled through the alternately SEEDY and PRETENTIOUS streets of Shoreditch towards home, carrying reading AND listening material, full of IDEAS and also of PLEASURE. It had been a REALLY good night out!

    posted 1/6/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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