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Blog Archive: August 2005

New News
This month's edition of the newsletter, The Last Working Day of The Month has just been sent out, and is up in the Newsletter Archive for reading. If you're not on the mailing list and would LIKE to be (or if you think you SHOULD be, but haven't recieved it this month), do Let Me Know and I'll stick you on the list for next time. Happy reading!

posted 31/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Curry Shins: A Correction
I have recieved an email from Mr T Pattison of Leicestershire, which states:
"Curry Shins does not involve sweating, just an aching tiredness"

I am happy to make this correction.

In other news, I'm listening to the album VERY LOUDLY at work, and it sounds ACE! I have also discovered the following CONTINIUM of Relative Enjoyment Of Recent Life Aspects: Being In Cornwall > Being At Work > Lying In Bed Being Poorly. Being In Cornwall ESPECIALLY > Being At Work, it's like the first day back at school!

posted 30/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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There's been a couple of changes and additions to the GIGS section of the webpage. First of all my spot at MALCFEST next weekend has been moved to Sunday afternoon, for maximum SUNSHINE (hopefully). I'm going to attempt to do the ULTIMATE UBERSET at this one and see if i can get a RECORDING of it for future useage, so i rather hope it goes OK. Cambridge on September 8th and Manchester on the 10th are AS PREVIOUSLY, then I'm BACK to South London to play the Fox in Lewisham on the 15th. I think I've already mentioned the Water Rats on September 23rd (about which we are RATHER excited), and then we're playing our first gig in Leicester for a while at The Charlotte on October 6th, as part of a Sorted CELEBRATION. Next night I'm in Wimbledon supporting Boo Hewerdine, then we've got ANOTHER Leicester gig on Sunday 16th, when The Validators play at The First International Horsefair at The Barfly. We're on fairly early in the day, i think, so i can try and get there and back on a day return!

The next scheduled gig is October 27th in Liverpool, although I'm not sure if that's still happening, before i make my (hopefully) TRIUMPHANT return to the FUZZTIVAL in Sheffield on the 29th. There's also hopes of additional gigs in Manchester and London, maybe one in MAJORCA, and I'm nosing around for some extra gigs in NOVEMBER, before we fly off round the world on November 20th. I'm still hoping to hit the magic 50 GIGS this year, and I think it is almost within my grasp.

And while I'm here - am I the ONLY one to notice that, mere DAYS after I discussed my plan for A Million Ukeleles, Mr Tony Blair was seen clutching THAT VERY SAME INSTRUMENT? Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

posted 29/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Collective Curry Shins
As you might have guessed from yesterday's post, i wasn't QUITE sure how good the album was. Actually i went to bed convinced it was 50% RUBBISH and would need completely re-doing, and i woke up NERVOUS, even tho i DID remind myself that I've thought like this before, and been proved wrong.

We spent most of the morning watching the CRICKET (for the first time in my life i am officially Following The Cricket - i've never cared a HOOT for it before, but having watched it all week i woke up this morning EAGER to get watching today's play. "We forced the Australians to follow on for the first time in 191 test matches!" i confidently explained to the, doubtless, AWESTRUCK kitchen) whilst Mr Machine checked that the DVDs we'd burnt actually WORKED. Scarily, most of them DIDN'T, but after several hours work we got 9 of the songs safely onto disks, and Mark promised he's burn us another of the remaining 5 songs, so all should be well. I'll worry until we get them though!

We all said our goodbyes, and myself and Mr Machine were soon FLYING off to BRISTOL. He plugged in his MP3 player, and we listened to the album. A few songs in he turned to me and said "Actually, this isn't too fast at ALL, is it?" and i had to agree. Actually, it was GRATE! It appears I wasn't the only person to have worried - whilst he and i sat and listened with mounting JOY to what was, actually, REALLY RATHER AN ACE collection of songs, The Pattisons were doing the same - later I recieved a TEXT from them saying "It isn't fast - it's fantastic!" and, again, i AGREED. Tim suggested we were suffering from collective CURRY SHINS (Information overload: when he eats a lot of curry his SHINS go STRANGE and sweaty), and I think he must have been RIGHT. Also the version we'd listened to had been RESEQUENCED, and I think we'd had all the VERY FAST ones at the start too, which can't have helped.

Anyway, RELIEF flooded the car, as indeed did the terrible odour of Francis Albert's BOWELS (we'd been EXTREMELY non-ROCK all week with our "Driving the session", not drinking until BEER O'CLOCK, collective excitement at being ON SCHEDULE, and all going to bed early, so I think some LADDISH WIND was allowable, if not inevitable), and we listened to what SHOULD have been the GRATEST ALBUM EVER: "Motown sings the Beatles". It was actually pretty awful, as it was mostly "sophisticated" Motown with really pernickety arrangements of everything and vocals that followed neither the melody or the rhythm, so instead we switched to "MELLOW DUBMARINE", the REGGAE Beatles collection. It was BLOODY BRILLIANT, and thus we reached again the central TRUTH of all music: Reggae Is Better Than Soul. YEAH!

With this truth established we reached Bristol, where he went off to see his young lady and his SON, and i got on the train. I was WHISKED to London where i was met by The Glass In My Greenhouse, who a) took some photoes of me "arriving" and b) made clear her opinion of my moustache. SIDEBAR: it never really occurred to me before, but this DOES explain the 1967 Image Change for The Beatles - "Sgt Pepper" took AGES to record, and it was the first time the band hadn't HAD to be presentable at all times, so obviously they didn't bother shaving as much. One day one of them must have come in with a COMEDY MOUSTACHE which went down SO WELL that everyone else decided to have a go, just for a laugh. As i found myself, when trapped in a confined space with a moustache you soon get a) USED and b) to LIKE it, and THUS i surmise that by the time final mixes were being heard they were ALL swanning about smoothing down their fine handlebars, and it appears Jane Asher LIKED the new look a lot more than The Blade In My Razor did, for LO! mine is now GONE!

It feels MUCH better... anyway, we then made our way home, only stopping when a HORRIBLE member of London Underground staff was RUDE in the extreme to us, and THEN challenged me to come outside and FIGHT him! It was all VERY STRANGE INDEED, but DID give me an ADRENELAINE jolt and wake me up a bit. Aaah! Back in the big city for half an hour and ALREADY back in the swing!

Soon though we were home, and it was LOVELY. The wide open spaces! The extreme cleanliness! The cats! The remote control in MY hand! I BATHED and SHAVED and felt GOOD, and we listened to the new album in full. I was RELEIVED to find that the household opinion was EXTREMELY FAVOURABLE, especially to "We Only Ever Meet In Church" (partly for my HOT SOLO, mostly for Tim's BOINGS!) and "The Fight For History" and it's MINERS' CHOIR. It sounded ACE!

This morning I awoke, as I say, with thoughts of CRICKET, but also MISSING the Vlads. We've had a FANTASTIC week together, they're SUCH lovely people, and I'm PROUD BEYOND MEASURE of the way we've all worked together, got stuck IN and got ON so well with each other, and the various FUN and ADVENTURES we've had. I know I'll always look back on this week as one of the BEST EVER - so many PHRASES and THORTS and Actual Human Relationship Advances have come out of it, I'd hoped it'd be GOOD, but it's actually been BLOODY FANTASTIC. The trip to the beach! Emma's homage to The Beatles! The Toad On My Toes (NB not a euphemism, a baby toad crawled over my foot in the back garden on Friday)! The Barbershop Quartet! A week of Edie and Lola Pattison! Tim's BOINGS! The MIXING Book (and Rob's "hilarious" illustration)! Tom driving down the ROUGH TRACK at 100 mph! Beer O'clock! The LOT!

I just hope it sounds as EVEN MORE GOOD when we do the proper mix as it does in MY HEAD, and that it sounds THAT good to people listening to it. I'm SO happy we did it - even now it's all fading into the realms of MYTH as i think "Did we REALLY go and do all that? Are we ALLOWED?" It was LOVELY - and watch out next week for the GALLERY UPDATE: FACIAL HAIR AHOY!

posted 28/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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At about 8 o'clock last night Tom and i headed into Launceston to get our CELEBRATORY CURRY, and by the time we got back the album was FINISHED. As mentioned yesterday, i think, we spent most of Friday listening through the tracks, checking everything was done, and doing a rough mix. As is the way with these things, the mixes got ROUGHER, also QUICKER, as the day went by, but at about 11.30pm last night we'd finished curry and were physically and emotionall ready to LISTEN at last to the first version of "A Fridge Full Of Nice Things".

It's FAST! I mean, it's REALLY FAST! It could be the BEER and CURRY consumed combined with the out and out KNACKEREDNESS of many of our number, but by the time we were four or five songs in we were WORN OUT. It was a bit of a surprise to be honest, we hadn't realised we'd gone AT it quite THAT much, but it certainly SOUNDS dead good, and HEY! there's nothing wrong with UPTEMPO and URGENT, right?

There'll be a LOT more listens to come, and some definite TWEAKING, but goodness ME we have WORKED HARD while we've been here - we've finished fourteen songs! In six days! (Tim points out that maybe this is the reason it's so fast...) It is surely TESTAMENT to our DISCIPLINE and goodness me ROCKING TIGHTNESS that we've managed to do it all, but i must say I am looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend of NOT sitting doing puzzles in the studio and/or ROCKING OUT with my AXE.

The packing has begun ready for the trip home, and soon all this will be a oddly COMPRESSED memory of a GRATE week. We have worked for you pleasure, dear readers!

posted 27/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Album Title Decision
We've just had LUNCH - new potatoes, beans and yorkshire puddings, it's Eating Everything In The Cupboard Day - and are halfway through the very FINAL stages of the album. This morning Emma did her last bit of singing, and we're now sitting through all of the songs, checking their finished, doing a rough mix, and checking everything's DONE as far as it can be DONE before we go home. It's sounding GOOD!

This morning we made an attempt on some COVER SHOTS which, while heavily featuring my LUXURIANT moustache, didn't end up being QUITE what we were after. THUS we've spent the rest of the day discussing alternative album titles, in the hope that this might also lead to a new album title. Tim and Rob read through the lyrics and we spent an HILARIOUS couple of hours reading out CHUNKS which would EITHER be possible album titles OR sound a bit rude if taken out of context, until we SUDDENLY arrived at a possible title that we all liked: "A Fridge Full Of Nice Things".

It's a lyric from "Never Going Back To Aldi's", it's got MEANING, and best of all we can use it to do the COVER - it's going to be one of those GATEFOLD CDs, so the front will be the front of a fridge (with one fridge magnet per band member - I'll be having the Isle Of Wight PIRATE from our fridge), the back'll be the back, with the GRILL and that, then when you open it up it'll be the INSIDE of the fridge! AHA! Good idea, no?

So that's the plan - hopefully this one will STILL sound good tomorrow, but it's working for me now. RIGHT then, back down the garden we go, to get FINISHED!

posted 26/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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The Final Day
I'm sitting in the living room with Mr Francis A Machine having a cup of tea before we prepare to embark on the final day of recording. I've just said to him, it feels like we've been here a REALLY LONG TIME, but a really long time that's gone really quickly. It's going to be weird to get back to That London where there's people i'm NOT in a band with, and there's actual NOISE all around us and not TREES.

We had our most ROCK night YET last night, as me and Messrs McClure and Machine went out to the CONSERVATORY to watch "Shaun Of The Dead" on the huge DVD projector screen. MAN, we was up until HALF PAST MIDNIGHT! Oh YEAH!

This morning we've got one more vocal to do for Emma, then Tim and I are going to sit through the remaining songs to check and see if they need any more guitars or anything. Everybody is IN and ON CALL today in case we need anything, and I'm very much looking forward to doing some TICKING OFF. Not telling people off, i mean, but TICKING the "DONE" box on the bottom of our ROCK SPREADSHEET. We've already Officially Completed six songs, so there's just eight to go. When that's done Mr Machine will be drafted in to listen to them AGANE, apply any EFFECTS that we need to take away with us, "GLUE" all the tracks that need glueing (i.e. mixing all the takes into one take and making them the right length to put back together again), then get it all onto DVD for taking home. After THAT we're going to get a rough mix of all the tracks, go and get a CURRY, and then go and sit out in the aforementioned conservatory to EAT the curry and LISTEN to what we've done so far.

We may end up WEEPING into our Balti if it turns out we're unhappy with what we've got, but i rather doubt it, it's all sounding pretty SPIFFING so far. I was worried that we'd just get to record one track EACH of bass, guitar, drums, violins, and each vocal, and that it'd sound very SPARSE compared to previous efforts. This has, however, not happened. Sitting listening to "We Only Ever Meet In Church" last night with it's three part harmonies, double violins, GTR SOLOES and all round SONIC ASSAULT I thought "No, it's OK, we've done WELL here." I think we have, anyway - hopefully I still will by the time we get to BEER O'CLOCK tonight!

posted 26/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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A Great Day In Rock History
Take note of today, oh thou fans of ROCK, for today is the day i laid down the guitar solo in "We Only Ever Meet In Church." OH GODS OF ROCK BE PRAISED!

Other things have happened also. I celebrated the end of my antibiotics yesterday at BEER O'CLOCK, Rob has had the day off and is, presumably, paddling in the sea even as we speak, and not thirty minutes ago Tom finished ALL his violins. This afternoon we're doing a couple more bits of guitar and trying to finish off Emma's vocals, then we're pretty much DONE. Tonight we'll try and listen to Work So Far, then tomorrow morning it's BITS AND BATS recording, before settling down to an afternoon making sure we can actually GET everything off Mark's computer and onto Rob's. Then we'll be done!

Album titles are still being debated - "Mental Judo" doesn't FEEL right, now that we're here, althought the alternative suggestions so far aren't doing much better. "The Siege Of Castle Valid" is top of the list so far. The list needs to be extended.

Right then! Lunch for me, then back to work - more news, as it happens!

posted 25/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Escape From Castle Valid
We're losing people here - yesterday Garry The Other Engineer went off to Reading for the festival, and this morning the Arrival Time In My Timetable left us, heading back to THAT LONDON and Telephone Reception. I must confess i had a small WEEP re. this latter, but the work must go on, and GO ON it certainly is.

We've now completely finished three songs - "The Fight For History", "The Gay Train" and "QOLED", with eight others very nearly done. We've just got electrical guitars, some of Emma's vocals, and some bits and bobs to do on those ones, and then this afternoon we're heading back in to record the last three or four songs that need starting. We've decided NOT to embark on the additional songs that we haven't ever actually LEARNT, which is probably for the best, so we're hoping to end up with 14 songs DONE. It's going really well i must say!

The DE-ROCKIFYING of us all continues - yesterday we had a LATE NIGHT PRACTICE, at about 10.30pm. Before we'd arrived we'd been expecting to be be Burning The Midnight Hour most of the time, but we've actually been up and about with a cup of tea in the studio at 10.30am every day, so 12 hours later we were utterly KNACKERED. It was perhaps the LEAST vibrant and ROCK practice we've ever had.

Things may change tonight though, for i am BACK ON THE BEER! I finished my course of antibiotics at lunch time (oh yes, i have been POPPING PILLS) and have MANY MANY bottles of BEER in the fridge ready. I must say i have done Very Well i think, it's not been easy - last night the Fabric Of My Brolly and i went to see her friends Suzie and Steve. We had a LOVELY time, especially as they have a LOAD of animals to look at and say "Ooh!" (especially especially STANLEY the dog, he's my favourite) but it was a bit of a GRIND not to have a beer when everyone else did. Oh well - tonight i DRINK!

Anyway, the news in general is GOOD - things are all going to plan, it's all sounding GRATE, and the drink is about to FLOW. HOORAH!

posted 24/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Communication From The Studio
Greetings from the Cornish countryside! You discover me sat in the living room at the studio, with half of us having finished our tea and the others just getting stuck in. It's all going very well!

We arrived on Saturday to find the studio RIGHT out in the countryside - it's about four miles to the nearest village, and then another mile or so up a PROPER dirt track. The house is lovely, with the studio just down the garden and a conservatory also nearby.

To be honest it's all a bit hazy how things have worked out. I know Tim went down on Saturday evening to get his drums set up, then in the morning i went to get my guitar sorted. I was feeling a bit NERVOUS, as i think the DRUGS i'm taking for my INFECTION were, i reckon, effecting my EMOTIONAL STATE. I REALLY missed the presence of Mr Kev Reverb, also Mr Frankie Machine hadn't arrived, so when Mark The Engineer said "how do you want your guitar to sound?" i got myself in a bit of flap, as usually one of them sort me out. Luckily said Mr Machine arrived just then, and got me sorted. He got his BASS plugged in, and then he, Tim and I embarked on our DAY LONG ODYSSEY of ROCK! Here's what we did:
  • Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
  • Never Going Back To Aldi's
  • The Gay Train
  • Better Things To Do
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Breaks In The Journey

  • It was a WHOLE LOT OF WORK! By the end of the day we were all UTTERLY KNACKERED, and I have to confess i was feeling a bit SAD - tired AND emotional, not helped by the fact i couldn't drink anything!

    Next morning however i awoke feeling MUCH MUCH better and RARING to go - indeed i felt ELATED, and have done all day long. Therefore DRUGS CAN be GOOD! Anyway, the three of us reconvened in the morning, and recorded THESE:
  • Mental Judo
  • Looking At My Hands
  • Girlfriend Alarmed
  • The Fight For History
  • Tell Me Something You Do Like

  • It sounded GOOD - we'd had a GO at "Mental Judo" on Sunday night, and decided to try it fresh in the morning, and it WORKED. It all came out pretty well, and i realised that, actually, it was ALL sounding pretty good. INDEED it was all sounding rather TIGHT and ROCKING - for instance "Breaks In The Journey" is suddenly fairly SNAPPY and FAST, and i think the whole thing is going that way. The Battery In My Effects Pedal and Emma and The Girls (NB The Pattisons are here EN FAMILLE) had been into Launceston for PASTIES, so we BROKE to eat. Tim was off to THE BEACH with The Girls, so me and The Jack In My Socket went off with him, and we had a LOVELY time - MAN ALIVE, if there's ever been an album based on so much INNOCENT FUN then i haven't heard it - my theory that Acting Like Someone's Dad is NOT dependent on BEING someone's Dad was borne out by mine and Tim's SANDCASTLE ACTION.

    We got back to find everyone had been VERY busy - we'd left Rob in charge (or "driving"), and he'd overseen Tom laying down FOUR tracks, including a rather lovely four part PIECE at the end of "The Lesson Of The Smiths". I stood in the kitchen cooking TEA and thinking how LOVELY it was to be with such a SORTED bunch of people who can get on with such things. Emma had been IN all afternoon, and at about 7pm she moved over to the MIC, and has recorded THREE songs including, i am told, FOUR PART HARMONIES at the end of "The Gay Train". It's all going VERY well anyway - the plan NOW is for me to record GUITARS (with Rob DRIVING) in the morning, also maybe some vocals, and then have Tom and Emma back in in the afternoon. Then on WEDNESDAY we'll try and do the last three or four songs with the RHYTHM SECTION then carry on with the overdubs.

    We're having a LOVELY time anyway, that is the MAIN NEWS. Stand by for further updates!

    posted 22/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Packing Panic!
    I've just reached the stage in any man's life where he thinks "How am i going to carry all this to the train?!? And where will if put my spare trousers?" for LO! i am MID-PACKING for CORNWALL. Myself and the Blocker In My Sun Tan Lotion are going a couple of days early so's we can see my Dad, and then meeting up with The Vlads on Saturday. We've got INTERWEB apparently, so hopefully we'll be able to keep you updated while we're there... must dash now though, SOCKS to STUFF!

    posted 18/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    No Humour Potential Whatsoever
    Hello all - sorry about the lack of updates for the last couple of days, I've actually been POORLY. Worse than that - i've been PROPER poorly.

    My extreme need for a KIP on Sunday transmuted into lethargy, FEVERS, shivering and shaking, swollen GLANDS, stiffness, headache, and... well, not to put TOO fine a point on it, a massive rash across my backside that makes me look like one of those RUDE MONKEYS. MAN! You can ACTUALLY (really!) feel the HEAT coming off it from a distance, THROUGH CLOTHES. It is really something.

    THUS i spent most of Monday and Tuesday in bed feeling VERY sorry for myself, although being EXCELLENTLY nursed by The Pestle In My Mortar, who gently asked last night that i ring NHS Direct to find out what's going on. This i did, and was AFEARED to find out that they thought I had either IMPETIGO or SHINGLES! YIPE! also OH NO! Either of these could have BIG implications - my sister's over from Dubai this week with my two nephews, and I'd already missed seeing them on Monday, but this could mean i couldn't see them AT ALL. It also THREW next week in Cornwall into Question - even if i was WELL enough to go, i couldn't really BE around Tim and Emma's girls if i had something as CONTAGIOUS and DANGEROUS to children! OH NO!

    This morning I went in to see my LOVELY GP, Dr Sharma (he really is a LOVELY GP) who took a look at my BEACON BUM and told me i actually have ACUTE CELLULITIS, which is due to my Psoriasis. I don't know if I've mentioned this before here, but HEY! we're all friends right? Psoriasis is like SCABBY BITS on the skin, it's a bit annoying but not anything Life Impinging - if you'd REALLY like to see a picture you can see what Mr Frankie Machine calls my "zombie elbows" in the gallery of our gig in LEEDS.

    It's not particularly exciting though, don't feel you have to. ANYWAY, he gave me a prescription and i was MUCH relieved - it's not infectious, it's not life threatening, and it's not really MY FAULT either. Oh the ignominy if it had been alcohol poisoning! PHEW! HOWEVER!

    My prescription included two courses of antibiotics, to be taken for a week, with the strict instruction to drink no alcohol whilst I'm taking them. Thus, for most of the time that we're in the studio next week i shall be unable to touch a drop of drink. If only there was some humour potential in the fact that I'll be teetotal whilst with the Validators for the week because of my huge red burning arse then we could have fun the whole time, but alas, I can think of none!

    And I'm sure the Vlads won't find it mirthful either.

    posted 17/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Very Busy Weekend
    Oh the mad social whirl! On Friday morning The Chick Pea In My Hummus and I headed for FOLKESTONE, their to attend the grand society wedding of Clare and Pauly (the noted interweb hundredaire), and we had a BLOODY GRATE time. It was really nice to be at a wedding where I didn't have to actually DO anything, and as soon as we got on the BUS to the CASTLE (oh yes! It was in a CASTLE!) we could sit back, relax, and be gently moved from place to place throughout the day. THUS we did PIMMS, Ceremony (aah! Pauly seeing Clare for the first time! ), Champagne, Lunch, Speeches (i LOVE Wedding Speeches), BEER, Ceilidh (sp?) Band (DANCING!), DISCO (even MORE DANCING!) and then bus home, this last featuring SPIRITED SINGING, even tho we were hard pressed to find a song that any of us knew more than two full lines of. It was a lovely day full of lovely people. HOORAy!

    Next day it was up and OUT of our Traditional English Style Hotel, a NIP to the beach to dip some toes, and then back on the train. In That London The Salt In My Sea Water headed back to the OLD EAST END, while i got on ANOTHER train, this time for Birmingham where i was playing at Ray's Birthday Barbecue, as is TRADITIONAL. Last year i was embarked on a FOOLISH experiment with The V Plan Diet (i.e. replacing BEER with Vine, Vodka and Vhisky), and when offered a drink i asked for Whisky & Ginger. There was no Ginger Ale in the house, so THIS year Ray's Mum had got a MASSIVE bottle in... then poured me HALF A PINT OF WHISKY! I felt honour bound to drink THE LOT, and so DID - it was Actually rather a pleasant way to spend the afternoon in BOOZE!

    I did the first half of my SET in the back garden, and the second half indoors due to RAIN, and here is what we had:
  • Red & White Sockets
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Fucking Hippy
  • Good Cooking
  • Payday Is The Best Day
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • It feels odd to be typing a setlist for playing in someone's HOUSE, but HEY! There were ar DARN sight more people there than at SOME gigs i've done! There was also TONS of delicious VEGAN style food, and when it came time to leave I was presented with a plastic carton which i STOCKED UP with more food for later, and ALSO found myself clutching two carrier bags full of BEER and a whole OTHER bottle of whisky! Aah! It was LOVELY - roll on next year!

    We got a taxi into Birmingham, and I met mein hosts The Graham Parsnip Liquidiser Torture Think Tank (Project) who are a SMASHING bunch of chaps. Soundcheck was DONE, SNEAKY BEERS were extracted from my Big Bag Of Beer, my former Voon Colleague Mr Simon Wilkinson arrived, and i hit the stage and played THIS:
  • The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Fucking Hippy
  • Dino At The Sands
  • Red & White Sockets
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • I REALLY enjoyed it - things seemed to go well, and i felt CONFIDENT enough to Actually Do Different Things. I'd originally intended to do "Hey William" third, but it didn't seem right when it came to it, so i moved on and so later found myself running UNDER TIME. I EMBARKED on a version of "Things'll Be Different" but for some reason got all confused and thought I was doing the second verse wrong, which actually i might not have been, so went STRAIGHT into "Fucking Hippy". It felt GOOD to feel IN CONTROL, so thought "to HECK with it, let's try something A LITTLE DIFFERENT" and did DINO! Oh yes, i am WELL EXPERIMENTAL, and instead of going "la la la" in the middle bit i made up a ditty about the need for an orchestra to make it work. OK, in the cold light of Sunday it sounds a bit daft, but at the time i was MOST CHUFFED with myself. SHortly afterwards "Easily Impressed" and "Boom Shake The Room" went REALLY well, not least because we'd had a practice of it at Ray's house earlier on, so a large portion of the audience knew what they were meant to be doing!

    It was MUCH FUN anyway, and there followed a period of CHAT and BEER before we gathered once again to watch The Graham Parsnip Liquidiser Torture Think Tank (Project). I'd only heard their stuff on CD before, so was prepared for some jollity and humour, but NOT for the full on FUNK ASSAULT that is their live experience - they were REALLY FANTASTIC! Ray and Co also REALLY got into them, and were last seen dancing down the front, as Simon and i made a RUN for it, to catch a train. We walked, then got a taxi to Moor Street, then a TRANE to Leamington Spa, then a LIFT to Coventry, and we were at HIS. PHEW!

    This morning he treated me to TEA and Them Vegan Baco-Slice Thing SANDWICHES, before we FLEW once more, this time to RUGBY (it was a West Midlands ROLLERCOASTER ride yesterday!) for the first train to London, and HOME, very tired but very happy, where i discovered our BOILER had gone KAPUT. STINKING as I did there was nothing to do but have a COLD SHOWER, and now you find me clean, WORN OUT, but very alert!

    It was a lovely LOVELY weekend of varied ACTION, but now I'm ready for a KIP!

    posted 14/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Million Ukeleles
    On the way into work this morning i was thinking about ARTS FUNDING. Okay, i was ACTUALLY imagining doing a BIG INTERVIEW and having "Things'll Be Different" brought up, and then being asked exactly WHAT would i do... er... and then outlining my REASONABLE PLAN to become ENNOBLED (temporarily, until i get round to democratising the House Of Lords, as stated in THE SONG obviously) and become Arts Minister, abolish ARTS FUNDING and introduce HIBBETT TICKETS (this isn't the time or place for that one...). This is why i have got into SODUKU on long journeys, it keeps the BRANE busy. ANYWAY, abolition of Arts Funding is favoured by ME because to GET any you have to fill in loads of forms and, crucially, know the KEY WORDS involved to GET any, so that the actual CA$H would, i would suggest, be MUCH more likely to go to The Middle Classes who know how the system WORKS. Hey! Call me crazy, but I've SEEN the Local Paper stories about "Local Band Gets Arts Council Help" and they always seem SUSPICIOUSLY well kempt and ALREADY in possession of EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT.

    But then I thought "HANG ON! But then HOW DO we get THE KIDS into the beautiful and health-giving world of music?" I considered my own MUSIC schooling, which PUT ME OFF the very IDEA for several years, because it was so BORING and HORRID. Learning to play "Yellow Bird" on the xylophone for weeks at a time did NOT inspire me to go out and ROCK, and playing scales on the RECORDER didn't either. It sometimes seems to me that Schools, and indeed THE MUSIC ESTABLISHMENT, actively try and DETER most people from getting involved in music. Just look at the ridiculous arcane terminology that's STILL used (Muslim Preachers may well be persuaded to preach in English, but I doubt they'll ever get Music Teachers to do it), and don't get me STARTED on the LUNACIES of having different instruments playing in different "keys". PAH! Small babies DANCE in the womb, but we are excluded from music from an early age by an establishment that OBSCURES itself in language, BORES us with awful sounding instruments that can't play anything interesting, and then anybody who isn't deterred YET is forced to either play INCREDIBLY DULL yet DIFFICULT pieces of music on an INSANELY EXPENSIVE piece of FURNITURE (i.e. Piano), or a VIOLIN, with a guarantee it will sound HORRIBLE for at least the first couple of years of playing it.

    Is it any wonder, i say, IS IT ANY WONDER, that SO MANY people say "Oh, i'm not musical, i can't sing"? We can ALL sing, there's only about 12 people in the COUNTRY who are Actually Really Medically TONE DEAF, the rest of us are PERFECTLY able to sing, but have been PERSUADED that we can't, and made to feel BAD about it. OR! OR! "Trained" to sing in that horrible KARAOKE style - goodness me, the British Voice is a multi-faceted, many accented thing of DELIGHT and INNOCENT BEAUTY, but everywhere we go it is DERIDED and DROWNED out by people EMOTING in a variety of unreal accents heard off the radio or BELLOWING in a tortured "classical" facsimile of the long dead. All children EVERYWHERE can sing, and they do so in their own UNIQUE ways and voices. My friends, let us sing AS THE CHILDREN DO, in our OWN ways. It's GRATE!

    AHEM. RANT over... temporarily. So yes, this led me to think "But what would you do about it Hibbett? What would you replace Recorders, Xylophones, Pianos and Violins with? What IS there that's easy and FUN to play, that you can play recognisable and ACTUALLY PLEASANT TO HEAR songs with almost instantly, that can also be used to write NEW songs or versions of songs in the charts, that can lead on to OTHER instruments if need be, that is PORTABLE by children, and that is WELL within everybody's price range?"

    All together now: THE UKELELE!

    Imagine it! A whole generation of children introduced to the delights of The Ukelele! CLASSROOMS all belting out THE TUNES OF TODAY, then going out into the playground and playing their OWN songs, or songs off the telly. THE KIDS, they LOVE the music - look at RINGTONES for heaven's sake - and this way they could make their OWN. The money NOT spent on subsidising Posh Kids In A Recording Studio, or Daring Musical Theatre, or OPERA for heaven's sake, could buy A MILLION UKELELES, to be PRESSED into the EAGER young hands of a new generation of MUSICALLY ENABLED YOUTH! (NB not Musical Youth, necessarily). The pleasure and the beauty of the REGIONAL SINGING ACCENT could be CELEBRATED and ENCOURAGED - goodness me, i grew up on several summer holidays worth of GEORGE FORMBY films on BBC2 at my various Nans' houses, they are RIPE for enjoyment by kids. George Formby as CORE to a new history curriculum! "Emperor Of Lancashire" on the GEOGRAPHY SYLLABUS!

    All right, maybe not the latter, but i think you see my point. As I thought of all this i thought also "Hey! SONG IDEA!" and the CHORUS came STRIDING into my brain, also VAGUE STRUCTURE and also THE EXCITING CHORUS BEFORE THE END: "I heard a million ukeleles, strumming still. I heard a Million Ukeleles... COMING OVER THE HILL!" HUGE drum fill, into A MILLION people PLAYING UKELELES and MARCHING towards us! I actually became deeply MOVED at the idea, i am not ashamed to admit it.

    I also felt i was CHANNELLING Chris T-T (i would say "I felt Chris T-T in me, but that gets worrying close to SINGER SONGWRITER SLASH FICTION: "Just then i caught the eye of Winston Echo..."), as it does bear similarities to his GRATE SONG "Giraffes", in a sort of Inspirational Metaphor kind of way, so we shall have to SEE how it PANS OUT as an actual song, but still - STICK IT IN THE MANIFESTO, i think it's a WINNER!

    posted 11/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    They probably ran out of hot drinks too
    Is it me, or is there something peculiarly BRITISH RAIL* about the Space Shuttle? I don't mean the fact that it was LATE arriving - and anyway, by British Rail RULES that probably counts as EARLY, they'd say it was RETIMED - but the REASONS for its problems. It can withstand IMMENSE pressure on lift-off, INSANE acceleration to get out of orbit, the almost ABSOLUTE ZERO temperatures of OUTER SPACE, the WHITE HEAT of re-entry... and yet it can't land when it's raining. Was that bit handed over to the British Team to sort out, do you think? Is that why they had to wait so long for the engineer to get out and look at it?

    Whatever happens in the future, i will therefore NOT be going to THE MOON on a Sunday, there'll probably be a bus replacement service. Can I have my weekly Sideways Look column in the Evening Standard now please?

    * I know it's not called British Rail anymore, but it SHOULD be, and the sooner it goes back to being so the BETTER! HA! That's right, THE MAN, BE afraid!

    posted 10/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    My New Guitar
    This lunchtime the PIN in my SWITCH and I went to lovely Wunjo Guitars just round the corner from my work, to have a look at the DELICIOUS Burns Cobra i saw on their webpage. I was all EXCITED because i knew IN MY HEART that this would be the guitar i wanted, and when i SAW it in actual real life i knew EVEN MORE. I asked the LOVELY chap if i could have a go on it and he said "Ah! This is the one I'm promoting on the webpage" and i said "YES! i KNOW!"

    It LOOKED lovely, and it FELT good in MINE HANDS, and when i played it - OOH! it sounded GRATE! It sat and dutifully played it a bit, knowing full WELL i was going to buy it, but thought i ought. As usual i BLANKED COMPLETELY when PUSHED to play something in this environment, so soon stopped and readied myself to COUGH UP. Sensibly, The WHAM in my Whammy Bar said i should at least TRY a Telecaster (which I'd previously been recommended), so sat and had a go on it. For about 30 seconds.

    I was TOO EXCITED to even THINK about getting something else, and ANYWAY the Telecaster sounded a bit WEEDY, a bit STRINGY, and frankly NOT AS GOOD. ALSO - and this is the important bit - My New Guitar is SORT of being bought with some money I got when my Nan died, and as SHE was NOT run of the mill I felt I should be getting something at least a BIT out of the ordinary. SO! Buy it i DID!

    The lovely man gave us some free picks, GUITAR OIL, and knocked some money off my spare strings, and we went to CELEBRATE with FELAFEL! Whilst there I told The Chick Pea In My Hummus that I ALSO needed to get a guitar strap, a new lead, and a proper case, but hadn't wanted to say at the time as it felt like i'd be taking advantage i.e. if he was giving stuff for free it might seem like i was TAKING THE MICK asking for more stuff, to see what i could GET. I said I'd probably go and buy these extra bits from somewhere else, so she CORRECTLY pointed out that not only was this a bit DAFT, but that i would be PENALISING him for being NICE.

    THUS, tasty lunch CONSUMED, we went back again - he looked a bit WORRIED when we came back in, but i reassured him that i wasn't returning anything, and bought my lead and case... and got the strap for free. HOORAH!

    Now it's sitting in the office with me - i haven't got my AMP at home to try it out on, but i have a feeling i may spend a LITTLE while tonight THROWING SHAPES with it. OOH! My new GUITAR! It's GORGEOUS!

    posted 9/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Mr Ned Raggett has got some pictures of my gig at The 12 Bar the other week - you can see them by clicking JUST HERE. Good, aren't they?

    And talking of pictures - am currently thinking of buying an Electrical Guitar, for ROCKING BAND purposes, and saw THIS BURNS COBRA. Oh boy! Oh lumme! Oh YEAH!

    posted 8/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Yet More ROCK
    I've updated the GIGS page today with FOUR more gigs, many of which appear to be in That London. One of these is our first time at The Water Rats, one is MY solo return to the Fox & Firkin and one, rather ACEly, is a festival in CATFORD run by the people who run Orange & Blue Studios. This last one turned out PARTICULARLY nicely for me, as I was thinking about EITHER trying to tape one of my gigs OR trying to get into a studio in London (like... er... Orange & Blue) to record THE UBERSET ready for the much thought about (by me) LIVE album. Just as i was considering ringing Orange & Blue to DO this the phone rang and it WAS Malcolm FROM them, asking to do this gig, which he's going to RECORD. HOORAH!

    TELEPATHY TESTING: Hmmm... shall i go round to Paul McCartney's for tea tomorrow night? Shall i?

    Oh well. The other gig is back in LEICESTER, playing at a Sorted Night, AGANE with The Validators - both this and the Water Rats gig will be after we get back from Cornwall, so we should EITHER be fighting fit and ready to rock OR arriving in seperate transport and demanding seperate dressing rooms. We ALREADY arrive in seperate transport, I know, but still. We shall SEE!

    At the moment, if all goes to plan, I'll have done 39 gigs this year, and so I am considering giving it One Last Push to get to FIFTY. There's a good few tentative gigs in the air at the moment, with the VERY VAGUE possibility of playing a couple of places ABROAD when we set off on our Circumnavigation in November, so it might just be a GOER. It was suggested to me yesterday by The Pound Off With My Flyer that i should go for 52 gigs, and make it one a week, but surely that is INSANITY GONE MAD!? Can one man ROCK so hard?

    posted 8/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    We've had a FLURRY of comments just lately - thanks everybody who COMMENTS on all this, it is a JOY to me to hear FEEDBACK like this, even when it is - astoundingly DISAGREEING with my THORTS. To answer a few questions:
  • Yes, the titles (and several of the lyrics) on the TAPE "Zipcodes" may well be confusing for some Americans. I hadn't really thought of this before, and there seems to be an INORDINATE number of possibilities for transatlantic colloquialism translations on this collection, so I will try and put some information on the INLAY to explain things. I am helpful in this way.
  • That chap wearing a SHIRT in the pictures is ME. Also, the one in the VERY SEXY TROUSERS, that's me too.
  • Yes, the Would Be Goods ARE called The Would Be Goods, not The Would Be Gods, although that too would be a perfectly acceptable name for a band, and I guess that may be where it comes from.
  • It IS a bit weird sitting down in the downstairs bit of the 12 bar - I did it the other night, and it was like watching STADIUM GIGS in someone's PARLOUR. Weird in a GOOD way!
  • One way to SOLVE interweb etiquette problems IS to get a yahoogroup going - INDEED, the shady organisation known as The Lunch List ORIGINATED in this way, as I'm sure did many others (the Brandenburg Group nearly split up over a furious ROW over whether George Bush Sr. had used BCC or CC whilst sending round a link he'd seen on B3TA one Friday afternoon...) - but what about when it's just a temporary AD HOC grouping? What then my friend, what THEN?
  • I'm glad other people enjoyed "Forever Autumn" - i actually sat and listened to the ALBUM yesterday, it was SCARY. It reminded me of the time I took a TAPE of it into school so we could listen to it in MUSIC LESSON (i wonder what Trendy Music Teachers let kids listen to these days?) and it was only half an hour in that i remembered: at a particularly TENSE bit i had taped over Richard Burton with me going "AAARGH!!!" in order to scare my brother... i remembered JUST as it happened, with a pre-pubescent me going "AAARGH!!" at all my school chums. OH the embarrasment!
  • The Laniard/Lanyard debate continues, as more and more people begin to utilise them in their daily lives. Let's hope we don't have cause to become HUGELY FAMILIAR with them and ever find out for sure.
  • Note to self: do not DOUBT the immensity of The Shithouse Masters, ESPECIALLY not in public LEST you incur the WRATH OF DOMINO and RISK the arrival of THE COMPLETE SHITHOUSE MASTERS. I am afeared, and so is my CD player!

  • posted 5/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    The History Of Life
    Ten years ago I was involved in the Rock Opera "The History Of Life". This was devised and performed by members of various bands in Leicester who had been randomly placed in new bands with people from other bands, then given two period of history to write about and told to go and get on with it. The Rock Opera told the entire history of life on planet Earth, and was performed one afternoon in Town Hall Square, Leicester, funded by the City Council.

    Believe me, the above description is as sensible as i can possibly make it - it's STILL a huge glowing SCAR of LUNACY across my mental landscape - it DID actually happen, but even THINKING about it makes my mind hurt. The reason I mention it is that Sorted Records is going to be showing a new video of one of the songs every week this month, and the first one is up today - GO LOOK!

    It's accompanied by an ARTICLE what i recently wrote about it, in which i attempt to come to terms with the whole experience... it was a KER-RAZY time!

    posted 4/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Laniard Lariness
    My very good friend Mr Paul Myland came down to London yesterday, and together we sped off to OLYMPIA, for the Great British Beer Festival - a festival well named INDEED, for it was BLOODY GRATE. We wandered around drinking BEER for a good long time, and I must say i had some LOVELY drinks. The song Hibbett's Golden Rules Of Beer is actually based on rules he and i FORMULATED over many years with our mutual friend Mr Robin Hare at The Peterborough Beer Festival, and not only does it mean you get to drink pretty nice beer most of the time, it also means you save time on LOO visits i.e. "I'm off to the loo, get us a beer in - YOU KNOW THE RULES."

    After a little while Mrs Myland arrived, a lovely woman who appeared to be on a MISSION to drink the most unpleasant MILD she could find. MILD is NEVER, in my opinion, very nice, and GOODNESS ME she found some stunning examples of the form. Katherine, NO! Shortly after THAT The Hops In My Mash arrived, with The Landlady, and DEFIANTLY drank Lager Shandy. "I'm a paid up member, I can drink what i like!" she declared to those who questioned her decision, and quite right she was too.

    It wasn't all BEER though (although it mostly was) - LEON'S was there! Anybody who's ever been to a Proper Festival should know the stall i speak of, Leon's is a FANTASTIC place for getting ASTOUNDINGLY cheap Veggie food that is DELICIOUS, and i am glad to report it hasn't changed. ALSO of course on the BILL was Chas & Dave, who got better and better the more i watched them, and the more BEER we had. The BEST bit, for me, was when everyone started BELLOWING along - most of us didn't know the words to some of the songs, but REALLY wanted to join in. A couple of people just started bellowing, and soon we were ALL at it, waving our pint glasses in the air going "WAAAAAAAH... La la DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH de dum... There ain't no pleaasing YOOOOUUUU..." It was GRATE! Also "Ain't No Pleasing You" itself was ACE, so much so they played it TWICE.

    ALSO also they had a very clever way of getting home on time - when they went off the played "The Sideboard Song" over the PA in its ENTIRETY, so by the time we'd all finished dancing the lights were all on and Chas & Dave had cleared off. CLEVER!

    Other points of note were that Mr Myland and I maintained our record of Hilarious To Us Heckling (shouting "Go on, AND!" every time the drummer did anything - do you see? - as a worthy successor to shouting "Do Revolution //9!" whilst watching a Beatles Tribute Band at the Peterborough Beer Festi a few years ago. The important words are "To Us"), and that i learnt a new word: LANIARD! Also spelt Lanyard, it is the piece of string, cloth, chain or elastic that people wear around their necks to keep their security pass on, and thus is in extremely common use these days. LANIARD!

    posted 4/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Last night i had an exciting brush with THE FUTURE!

    As we get closer to the commencement of the actual Mental Judo sessions, we're all thinking about what we're going to do when we get there, and also how we'll get everything finished off afterwards. 'Tiger' Tom McClure has been CHARGED with doing the string and BRASS arrangements, and he's been trying to get started on this using a programme called SIBELIUS. He's been working on "Girlfriend Alarmed", and I recently discovered that he's been painstakingly recreating the other instrumentation AND vocal melody in MIDI format, to use THEM as the basis for his arrangements. It TROUBLED me to think of Tom sat in his house late into the evening trying to replicate the BASS patterns, when surely there was no need, so we have been EXPERIMENTING with different ways round it. The favoured idea was for him to use something ELSE to play along with, using his MIDI keyboard, then export THAT over to his Music Scripture programme...

    SO last night he sent me a MIDI file, and i whacked it into my Sonic Foundry programme. It worked! It sounded like STRINGS! Excited, I then added in the Ukelele Version of "Girlfriend Alarmed" i'd one for the last Demo CD... and that worked too! It was like an EERIE 80's remix of George Formby, with ukelele to the FORE backed by a plinky casio organ version of the bass and vocal melodies and HUGE STRINGS!

    It was also RATHER THRILLING - if we can get this to work it means he and i can pass each other WORK IN PROGRESS over the email, and work TOGETHER on sorting things out! If he wants me to hear something, he can SEND me it, rather than trying to play it down the phone! If i want to describe something to him, i can SEND it, rather than getting the train to Leicester and saying "It goes sort of DER DER dum de DAAAH! But green-grey!"

    It is, in short, a thrilling glimpse of a future almost too beautiful to comprehend! Let's GO there!

    posted 3/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Etiquette Of THE FUTURE
    The Hypothetical Scenario: you are enjoying rumbuctious debate with your fellows utilising email to send messages around a group of three or four people. One member clicks "reply" instead of "reply all", and thus sends a reply to yourself only, and not the rest of the group. WHAT DO YOU DO?

    a) ignore the faux pas
    b) politely email them to say "Sorry old chap, you did 'reply' not 'reply all', maybe you should try again?"
    c) impolitely email them saying "YO! L8M0r! U SuX!"
    d) forward the email YOURSELF to the whole group, with an explanation at the top saying "I just received this, and believe it was meant for the whole group."
    e) switch off the interweb, run away, and hide.

    b) and d) seem sensible, but both risk seeming patronising and/or humiliating to the person involved. I thought the future would be a classless society based on tinfoil and hovercraft, not this social MINEFIELD - where is the GUIDE to GUIDE us through?

    (NB i only ask because I thought I'd just done "reply" instead of "reply all" myself, but realised I hadn't - it's as well to ask for future reference though, right?)

    posted 2/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    We're starting a Thrilling New Era for AAS today, as we've just "released" the first of a new range of ONLINE ALBUMS. Obviously we've done similar things before - Hey Hey 16K was, as we keep insisting, the FIRST EVER Interweb Single, and we followed it with our online compilation Now That's What I Call Valid, but we've been a little quiet on that front in recent years.

    This changes TODAY with the release of The Best Of The Shithouse Masters by the MIGHTY Johnny Domino. "The Shithouse Masters" has long been their name for all the 4 track recordings they made before they released "Rabbit Themes" (Steve Domino claims there are at least 10 full CDs of these - i doubt him, but not too loudly LEST he BURNS them at me), and they've recently been beavering away selecting the BESTEST bits and remastering them for this release.

    It is, of course, BLOODY GRATE - Johnny Domino have ALWAYS been BLOODY GRATE and, i must confess, are one of my SECRET FAVOURITE BANDS on the label - and is full of the ANGULAR FUNKULARITY, EXCITING THINKING and goodness me GOOD TIMES that characterises all their stuff. My favourites at the moment are "Potential Bong" and "Monkey Nuts" but it's ALL GOOD and i say unto you now: Go listen! It's ACE!

    posted 2/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Now You're Not Here
    On Saturday I noticed that The Sheepwalk, just down the road from us in Leytonstone, has a regular club called What's Cookin' which has a BIZARRE array of People I've Actually Heard Of playing, for FREE! Martin Stephenson's played there, the Broken Family Band are on soon, and in October it's HANK WANGFORD!! Eh? What? How did that happen?

    THAT is likely to snatch the record for Proper Gig Nearest My House, but until then it is likely to be LAST night's gig, at The Pleasure Unit in Bethnal Green. I went to see The Gresham Flyers and The Chemistry Experiment, both of whom were ACE. The Gresham Flyers were doing their First Gig Ever, and as is THE LAW there were LOADS of people there to see them. As ISN'T the law, however, they were REALLY good, especially as song called (i think) "Sex With Strangers". I was rather impressed by the whole thing, not least seeing Mr Andrew Newman, who i've known for YEARS, DRUMMING. I didn't know he could DO that!

    There was time for some CHAT with several DELIGHFTUL people, until eventually The Chemistry Experiment took to the stage. I've said it many times but they REALLY DO look like A BAND, it is a beautiful thing to see their DYNAMIC on stage. They've also got much more CONFIDENT and apparently RELAXED on stage, which suits the super groovy sound they've got now. I don't like to Pick Favourites, but it has to be said, Paul The Bass Player is an ESPECIAL STAR in the line-up. MAN! He is SO GOOD at playing the bass, it is not something you see often!

    Anyway, it was all dead good until they got to the last song, when they played their cover of "Forever Autumn". I knew this was going to happen, and thought I was prepared for it, but when they started - OH MY! I hadn't realised quite HOW MUCH this particular song would RESONATE. The album "War Of The Worlds" (along with the red and blue Beatles albums) was the SOUNDTRACK of the childhoods of MILLIONS of us, yet it seems to have been forgotten or, at best, laughed off as something "seventies", so we tend not to hear it very often. As soon as they began playing it though, BRANES all around the room went POP - also POP! - and GRINS exploded everywhere. People cheered FLUTE RIFFS! It may sound odd to say it, but it was SO VERY EXCITING that the band looked a little embarrassed by it. They're meant to be releasing it as a single, which will obviously be a GOOD THING, but i doubt it will compare with the experience of seeing it actually played LIVE. Reader, it DONE MY HEAD IN.

    posted 1/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Zipcodes: FINISHED
    I had a spasm of CONSERTED EFFORT over the weekend, and have pretty much FINISHED recording "Zipcodes", the six track cassette mini-album I'm doing for Popgun Recordings. I was SPURRED ON by sending out the Newsletter last week and realising it was the THIRD month that I was claiming to have nearly finished it, so thought I'd best get ON.

    Obviously when I say "FINISHED" i still mean "NEARLY finished" - there's some fade-ins and outs to do, some gaps between songs to correct and maybe some NORMALISING of volume levels, but the actual Musical BITS are DONE. I've messed around with the tracklisting this morning, and it looks like being THIS:
  • Sod It, Let's Get Pissed
  • Closer To You
  • Born Yesterday
  • Hey William
  • If You Need Loving
  • Zipcodes

  • I must say, it sounds RATHER GOOD. Listening to it all yesterday i was QUITE SURPRISED by this - it feels like I've been recording it for AGES, and I've concentrated on bits i DIDN'T like, and occasionally have thought "AK! It's all RUBBISH! And i've spent AGES doing it!" This is ALSO because I've had to LARN UP how to work the software I've got while doing it so that, for example, "Closer To You" sounded WELL ROPEY when I listened to it again a month later, as at that point I'd not worked out how to record certain things properly - especially VOCALS actually. Half way through the RECORDING PROCESS i realised that ALL the vocals had horrible "fluffs" on them (i.e. where BREATHING heavily on the microphone makes a noise like THUNDER), but SOLVED the problem with the simple expedient of placing an SOCK over it. Aah, studio technology!

    I also realised last month that I could do BIG REMIXES without harming the original versions of the songs (you know, like people have been doing for YEARS...) so set about some major RECONSTRUCTION, especially on "Closer To You" and "If You Need Loving" which, i must say, now sound rather ACE. In fact, it ALL does - i'm quite EXCITED about it i must say, and last night when I was out and about i spent some Happy Time gazing blankly into the middle distance thinking "Ooh! It actually sounds all right doesn't it?"

    THE PLAN now is to make a couple of CDs and get it CHECKED by four other ears, then send it off to young RAOUL in California, and see what happens next. YEAH!

    posted 1/8/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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