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Blog Archive: June 2010

Storm The Charts
Being a web-literature connoisseur of all that is modern and HEP as you doubtless are, I'm sure you're already aware of the Storm The Charts campaign (with obligatory facebook group). Just in case you've been too over-tasked with GROOVING or something to get wind of it, the basic idea is that it's LIKE the Rage Against The MAchine campaign that we all enjoyed at Christmas except that THIS time it's promoting FORTY different independent ("unsigned" in the old, nasty, parlance) bands.

I think this is a GRATE idea, especially as, having looked at the list, it includes lots of bands that are GOOD and INTERESTING and FUN, rather than being the ploddingly worthy Battle Of The Band Competition victors that you might have expected. It's ALSO lovely that it's a bid to promote NEW stuff, rather than an old song, which is being released independently rather than on major labels.

In fact there's nothing much about it that ISN'T a really brilliant idea, and I wholeheartedly urge one and all to go and have a look at it and, if possible, BUY a couple of tracks. I've gone for SHRAG (on iTunes and Amazon) and MARVELLOUS veterans of Totally Acoustic, The Grave Architects (on iTunes and Amazon), but there is a TON to choose from.

Go on! It'll be fun!

posted 29/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Everything's Turning Out All Right (everything)
I did have it in my head to have a bit of an old RANT about The Football today, but two thoughts occur:

THORT ONE: I think we've all heard just about enough opinions about The Football by now, haven't we?

THORT ONE: it's a LOVELY day outside

It's difficult to remain particularly ANNOYED about The Repercussions Of The Premiership when London town is FULL of people EITHER buying lunch to go and have sat in a delightful square OR sitting in a delightful square, having lunch, so let's have something MUCH more fun today: STREAMING SONGS!

As I think I have briefly mentioned (hem hem) our bandcamp site has several of our albums to stream online for free or to BUY directly from us for a Modest Fee. I've just finished putting up This Is Not A Library to go alongside WE VALIDATE! and Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez and, because I thought it would be NEAT I've also added LIVE STREAMING to the song pages.

It's EXCEPTIONALLY COOL - have a look at this page for an example. It's got the ACTUAL SONG streaming live on the same page as lyrics and sleevenotes, PLUS links to all the CDs it's been on AND every gig (in this case only one, but still) it's been played at!

Yes, you're right, it IS rather fantastic, and as I gradually put ALL of our songs onto bandcamp (next month it'll be everything from Say It With Words) it'll get EVEN GROOVIER!

And if THAT isn't enough for you... well, all I can suggest is a bit of an old stroll in the sunshine and a Cherry Brandy lolly. That's my plan anyway!

posted 28/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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The Crookes
I strolled through a muggy Kings Cross to The Lexington again last night, to see The Crookes and, more pertinently, their ROCK AND ROLL Managers, Ms P Blackham. I was RELIEVED to finally be going to see them, as they've played London LOADS recently and I've never been able to make it - Penny's put me on at SO many gigs that have been SO VERY GRATE (NB she used to book The Fuzztival in Sheffield!) that I felt like a LOUSE by not turning up so often.

I arrived to find The Crookes lurking around outside and Penny knocking back ICED ROSE - that's what i call PROPER Rock And Roll Management! I was MASSIVELY impressed to hear how WELL it's all going - she's spent the past year or so Properly Rock And Roll Managing them FULL TIME (i.e. without an Actual Job) and they've had radio sessions, toured all round the country, went to SXSW, been in the studio with Producers I've Heard Of, and have NOW been picked to go and play at CMJ. This was all VERY exciting, but it all paled into insignifance compare to the MOST impressive FACT of ALL: THEY HAVE THEIR OWN VAN!

I couldn't stop LOOKING at the van after that - imagine! Your own van! They'd even converted it into a SPLITTER to make it a Right Proper Tour Bus, i was HUGELY impressed. I was also hugely PLEASED by the whole thing - when i heard this was The Plan i was a bit worried about it, as i am a bit CHICKEN when it comes to Giving Up Your Proper Job And Pursuing THE DREAM and so get AFEARED when other people (e.g. when The Cash In My Pay Packet went freelance a few years ago) have a go at it. It all seems to be working out BRILLIANTLY tho, i was and am AGLOW with pride!

After a bit of chat we wandered upstairs, where it wasn't very full - it's Glastonbury weekend and it looks like most gig goers have GONE there, and also being MEGA HOT never helps for gig attendance, but The Crookes WENT for it in no uncertain terms. It's over a year since I last saw them and I was a bit STUNNED by how they'd come on, especially in the field of stage craft and ESPECIALLY especially with regard to their KNEES. Man alive, there wasn't a leg joint still throughout the entire set, it was GRATE!

And they SOUNDED brilliant too - i don't know what it is about These Young Bands Nowadasy, but they all seem to be able to properly PLAY. I kept thinking "Crumbs, the lead guitar is good" then realising the drummer was, and that they ALL were. Also: "Bloodshot Days", their last single, has got stuck in my head ever since.

It was just all round fantastic to see it all working out so well, although a bit scary to realise how much WORK has gone into it all - as well as a manager they have an accountant, a lawyer, and a TOUR MANAGER! It made me feel even more of a HOBBYIST than usual but, perhaps due to my AGE and MATURITY, i didn't feel even vaguely jealous about it. They're working in a whole other WORLD of Proper Music Industry ROCK and, tho it's exciting, also FASCINATING, to have a look into, i wouldn't want to have to go and do it myself. It looks like hard work!

They look very DRILLED too - as I was saying goodbye to Penny i noticed that EVERYBODY else involved was already in the van and ready to go. That NEVER happens with The Indie Bands, it takes HOURS to get everyone herded together! They headed off to Sheffield whilst I went for a quick look at the next band whilst finishing my pint before wandering off, AMAZED by the effort that's gone into it all, CHUFFED that it was working, and humming that song all the way home!

posted 25/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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The MAN Doesn't Want You To Do This
I don't like to moan... but I'm going to A LOT, for LO! I have spent a huge part of this week trying to get parts together for the manufacturers of our forthcoming second "Rest Of" album, "Forest Moon Of Enderby" and it has been an ALMOST UNIMAGINABLY HUGE PAIN IN THE ARSE.

This is ALWAYS the case when getting things together for manufacturers, but this time i thought it would be EASY. "I've got a snazzy new computer with an up to date version of NERO on it!" I thought, "So doing the mixed media CD will be PEASY this time!"

INCORRECT. It turns out that the lovely new version of NERO I have on my new computer has DISABLED this option in its "elements" version, so that you have to pay HUGE AMOUNTS OF CASH to enable it! And, of course, the old version which did this happily NO LONGER WORKS ON MY COMPUTER. Why, it's almost as if THE MAN planned it that way!

I eventually managed to THWART The MAN by loading Nero onto a Very Old Computer and doing it there VERY SLOWLY. It SEEMS to be OK tho, and with that I turned to the artwork. "This WILL be easy" I laughed to myself. "After all, I have BOUGHT a BRAND NEW version of Photoshop to do it! It will be but the work of a moment!"

BUT NO. Turns out I have bought Photoshop ELEMENTS which, of course, had DISABLED the function to work in CMYK colour mode i.e. the colour mode you HAVE to have things in to send it to the printers. You can upgrade for ABOUT SEVEN HUNDRED FCUKING POUNDS!!!! Seven hundred quid to do something my OLD (slightly less purchased hem hem) version did PERFECTLY HAPPILY! And old version which - OH OF COURSE - doesn't work with any current version of Windows I have.


THIS time I think I've got round it by BEGGING the manufacturers to have a look at it for us but MY GOOD GOD since when did it become OK for people to sell software that doesn't do HUGE CHUNKS of what you actually WANT it to do? It's like Word For Windows ELEMENTS which doesn't let you utilise the VOWELS.

In case you haven't guessed, this is pretty much my LEAST favourite bit of the whole process - and I haven't even MENTIONED the HIDEOUS SACRIFICE OF LIFE TIME that is GETTING BARCODES - and does serve to remind me that maybe there IS a reason that some bands prefer not to be involved in this aspect of things. NGGGG!!! And I'm going to have to do it all over again in a few months for the Dinosaur Planet album! I may finally CRACK and start CHASING UP all those Major Label A&R offers that must surely be getting lost in the post!

posted 24/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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First Gig Of My Forties
Saturday was a day of MUCH eating and drinking, and things continued in this vein when I found myself alone in the house at lunchtime with a TREACLE PUDDING. Well, what was I SUPPOSED to do?

It was thus a somewhat bloated Hibbett who wobbled up the hill to The Brixton Windmill, there to play at the Damnably All-Dayer, my first gig of my forties. George Damnably was there, as was Janice who was running the day and Sean and Rob from Airport Gurl, who were going to be doing a set of Go-Betweens cover versions. At times it felt like we were ALL the people there - at one point I was the ONLY person in the entire pub! - as it was a lovely sunny day with a barbecue outside, and also FOOTBALL.

People did come back in for the gigs though and we spent a delightful couple of hours in the company of Former Utopia and the aforesaid Airport Gurl set, before it was time for me to mount the stage and do THIS:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • Here Come The Dinosaurs
  • Don't, Darren, Don't
  • A Little Bit
  • For The Fate Of The Earth
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Literature Search
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • I hadn't intended to go QUITE so crazy on the Dinosaur Planet songs but once I started doing them I rather enjoyed myself. Oddly, perhaps, For The Fate Of The Earth seemed to go down the best, considering it doesn't make an AWFUL lot of sense without the story going beforehand, but everyone seemed to get into it, ESPECIALLY the sound guy who seemed VERY keen. Perhaps less surprisingly the end of Literature Search was greeted with a STUNNED SILENCE. It's been a while since I managed to do that, and I have to admit I did take some PERVERSE DELIGHT in it.

    I'd intended to stick around for a while afterwards but things had run a bit late and I had an appointment with HOME to get to (see also: curry and football and Feeling A Bit Tired Out At My Age) and so not long after I'd come off stage I was hugging my way out of the building and rolling down the hill to the tube station. That's the first gig of my forties DONE - I did 398 of them during my thirties, I wonder if I'll beat that THIS decade?

    posted 22/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Happy Birthday to ME!
    As I may have lightly mentioned (hem hem) it was my BIRTHDAY on Saturday, and I had a BLOODY LOVELY day of it. There were PRESENTS in the morning (inc. lots of shirts, a Peterborough Utd Mug, and a TRAVEL GUITAR, which is GORGEOUS) and then at lunchtime Cheese & Salad Cream Sandwiches. Also Cheese Toasties AND homemade cakes made by The Flour In My Muffin, which were GRATE. It was not a slimming birthday.

    We went into town for the afternoon and had a FAB time in the pub with various pals and also PARENTS. It couldn't have been nicer really - most of a nice pub all to ourselves with DELICIOUS beer and everyone CHATTED. I also got MORE PRESENTS, including a DALEK POSTER, a RUBBER HORSE'S HEAD (which will surely be in next year's show) and, from The Hewitts, AMAZINGLY, the original artwork for the page of Judge Dredd featuring Constable Hibbett. I was a bit taken aback by that one, as I ALSO was when my Mum presented me with "A BOX OF MEMORIES" (she'd labelled it) including my birthday cards from my 18th Birthday. There may have been tears!

    There was a LOT of hugging before we set off once more for HOME, where we had champagne and beer and CURRY and treacle pudding and some more TEARS (the nice, Christmas/Birthday kind which I believe were helped along by the appliance of GIN earlier one) and some GRATE football. It was thus a very happy, if rather FULL, 40 year old Hibbett who retired to bed that night. Thanks everyone, that was BRILL!

    posted 21/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    An Auspicious Day
    Today is a BIG DAY for me, for LO! It is the last day of my THIRTIES!

    I will pause a moment now so everyone can GASP in ASTONISHMENT and say "What? But surely you are only just TWENTY EIGHT or something? LAWKS! I am ASTONISHED (hence all the gasping)". You are TOO KIND, and also WELL DONE for saying 28, which as of tomorrow will be my age in HEXADECIMAL.

    But yes, it's my fortieth birthday tomorrow and I'm coping with it MOSTLY all right. I've been wanting to say "I don't THINK so - i AM forty you know!" about various things for AGES and have nearly persuaded myself that it's already happened, but every so often I get twinges where my BRANE suddenly goes "Hang on - you're going to be FORTY soon! That's almost certainly within the bracket of 'Late Youth' you know."

    In order to give myself a pre-Birthday TREAT at lunchtime I went for a walk around Lincoln's Inn as part of my ongoing LONDON WALKING CIRCLE SCHEME whereby I ... er... walk around bits of London in my lunch hour then go back to the office and colour in a MAP to show where I've been, I've been round Lincoln's Inn before but haven't been there at all during the time of the SCHEME so I thought I would, as I say, TREAT myself to it today. And MY, what a treat it was - it's fantastic round there. It's full of ANCIENT buildings, lovely gardens, exciting nooks and crannies and Amazing Architecture which LEAPS out at you. Any slightly MISERABILITY about my impending ancientness was cast into sharp relief by the IMMENSE age and BEAUTY of all the was around me, and I trotted back to the office and bit sweaty but a LOT happy. It's a lovely place, go and have a look next time you're in the area - and if you go on a weekend, when they try and lock it all up, just clime the walls. Tell them I said it was FINE!

    But anyway - this is my last BLOG of my thirties. It's been a BLOODY FANTASTIC decade and I'm actually rather looking forward to the next one trying to beat it. See you on the other side!

    posted 18/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    New Additions
    A couple of rather groovy ADDITIONS to tell you about today. First of all, and OF COURSE most importantly, we're happy to announce a new addition to our AUDIENCE!

    This is young master Evan Stanley MACHINE who arrived at Machine Mansions last week to the Mr and Mrs Machine. As you can see from this picture he is an HANDSOME young chap, and we all look forward to him being old enough to drive us to gigs. And yes, we've done the joke about him inheriting his Dad's hair. Apparently we're not the only ones.

    And in less MOMENTOUS news, the VIDEOS section of the site is now fully up and running. Goodness me but there is a LOT of stuff in there, go and have a look!

    posted 17/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Allo Darlin' / Standard Fare
    I met The Chickpeas In My Hummus for TEA last night in downtown Central London and then we got a TAXI (and OOH i did feel posh/sophisticated doing so) to The Lexington, there to see Allo Darlin' and Standard Fare.

    I got our tickets for this WEEKS ago and have been in an ongoing state of HIGH EXCITEMENT ever since, for LO! these are pretty much my two favourite bands of the NOW. When i got the Standard Fare album a few months ago i was STUNNED by the number of HITS on it and how GRATE it was. "This must surely be the best album I will hear all year!" i thought. Then i got the Allo Darlin' album and ... well, i believe I am on record with regards to JUST HOW AMAZING i think THAT particular set of recordings is. I listened to it several times a day when I got it and have listened to it every week, and usually several TIMES a week ever since, as it is BRILLIANT.

    So yes, there was some EAGER ANTICIPATION as we walked upstairs to see Standard Fare and I was not disappointed - they were GRATE. The big thing that stuck out for me was how much more DRUMS there are live than on record. By this I mean you really noticed them a lot more, and how the rhythms changed within songs and the Exciting Stuff that was going on. Being a normal human being I, of course, pretty much NEVER listen to the drums, but you couldn't help it here, as they were so GOOD. As indeed was the entire set, and I stood ROOTED to the spot, grinning, bobbing around, and singing along. It was FAB.

    There was time for some brief post-gig discussion and beer purchasing before it was time to get back up for Allo Darlin' who were, not to put too fine a point on it, FCUKING AMAZING. I stood AGOG for the entire set with one of those MASSIVE GRINS plastered all over my face that actually start to ACHE after a while, occasionally unable to stop myself LARFING OUT LOUD at the sheer RIDICULOUSNESS of how amazing they were. Honestly,it was one of the best gigs I've ever been to - i LOVE those songs and seeing them played with such GUSTO and JOY was utterly marvellous.

    It all felt like a BIG DEAL too - the room was PACKED with excited people and pretty much every song got a CHEER within the first few seconds as it turned out to be someone's favourite. MY personal favourite was the line in "Talulah" that's something like "I'm wandering if I've already heard all the records that'll ever mean something. I'm wondering if I've already met all the friends who'll ever mean something" (NB PARAPHRASING) which leapt out and smacked me in the BRANE. THERE MAY HAVE BEEN WELLING UP. Also, in that vein, the bit in "Silver Dollars" about "We do it because we love it" - i'd never realised, until it was pointed out in the introduction, that the song's about people who put out independent records, but once THAT was lodged in my head the whole song became even MORE BRILLIANT.

    It's not just the songs with this lot tho, nor with Standard Fare, in fact, it's the way they're played. Here in the Exciting World Of Indiepop we get USED to, even sometimes PREFER, bands who are a bit haphazard/ramshackle/occasionally verging on embarrassing, which is all well and lovely, but when two acts like these come along who can REALLY REALLY PLAY then it tends to knock you sideways. I shall now go back and be AGHAST to the GUITAR SOLOES, for instance, which LEAPT out of Allo Darlin's set last night but which are more gently settled into the overall sound on the record.

    It's also brilliant to be a part, even if just a minor stand on the side part like me, of the "SCENE" that produced these two bands who, I DO NOT DOUBT, are on the very verge of going on to be much much bigger and more acclaimed than both of us and, hopefully, to do so on two record labels (Fortuna Pop! and Thee SPC) who REALLY deserve it. Exciting times lie ahead for all concerned, it's going to be FANTASTIC!

    posted 16/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Camden Camden Camden
    I walked once more up to CAMDEN last night, strolling past the fantastic Greater London House a GIGANTIC, also MENTAL building which appears to be a massive homage to CATS. It says on wikipedia that it's designed after an Egyptian Temple to BUBASTIS (who was great in Watchmen etc etc etc) but looking closely at the cats along the top it looks more like AN HOMAGE TO MOGGIES.

    The rest of Camden was, as ever, significantly less than delightful, though it's nice to see where Corporate Festivals got the inspiration from for the Parade Of Dreadful Tat Shops that seems to be DE RIGEUR where'ere there is noodles, temporary stages and Mumford And Sons.

    Things picked up when i arrived at the rehearsal room to find Mr S Hewitt waiting, and together we went in for a BLOODY GRATE practice. As I may have mentioned before I'm really quite excited about how ACTUALLY GOOD the show looks like it'll be and we FROLICKED through it, stopping now and again to ADJUST bits, including FINALLY sorting out a bit that was causing us problems in For The Fate Of The Earth, which we were both RATHER pleased about.

    I also made a conscious effort to RELAX a bit about it - in previous times I have been a bit STERN (a bit) about doing THE RIGHT WORDS, especially when Steve's PARAPHRASED bits. This time around I realised that it was a JOINT EFFORT just like being in the BAND and that I should EMBRACE CHANGES as they might well make it BETTER. This made it MUCH more fun and, it has to be said, was helped along by the fact that a) Steve KNEW the words much better and b) er... i kept forgetting bits, so couldn't really complain! But there were several areas where I realised we'd CHANGED and ADDED to it as we'd gone along, where it was MORE GOOD as a direct result. An Important Lesson: LEARNT!

    With that done we hopped on a BUS down to Euston Road and The New Diorama Theatre, there to attend the launch party for The Camden Fringe. It felt a bit odd - it was basically just a DO with loads of people standing around in a bar area and small theatre SPACE, chatting. I thought there might be more to it than that, but it could be that we'd MISSED that at the beginning, so we picked up our copies of the programme, drank our beer, and then, more at my urging than Steve's, LEFT. I was reminded once again that we are TOURISTS FROM ROCK, just visiting The World Of Theatre And Comedy And So On and that, as ever, it's so much nicer to go home to GIGS and stuff.

    ALSO nice to go to was The Bree Louise just round the corner where we had a couple of DELICIOUS pints and watched some of The Football. MUCH more my cup of tea!

    posted 15/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Wedding In Harrogate
    For the first time in MONTHS I was heading North on the train to do a GIG, and a VERY SPECIAL gig at that. For LO! I was going to play at the wedding reception of Mr M Sturdy and Ms L Heraty in Harrogate.

    The journey got off to a Slightly Annoying start when East Coast Mainline decided to do a badly organised ticket before boarding. "There IS a queue you know!" said an irate East Coast Mainline official as people - SHOCKINGLY - kept trying to Get On The Train, having not noticed the five ticket checkers who were HIDING BEHIND A WALL. I joined the badly organised ticket check which, as ever, took SO LONG (on a thin platform only two people at a time can get to the ticket checkers, especially when theres BAGS and The Easily Confused around) that it was about to delay the train. Everyone ended up RUNNING DOWN THE PLATFORM to get on, as whistles blew, flags were waved by angry platform staff, and an Aggravated Announcement was made telling people that if they didn't get on board the train would leave without them. Ten minutes later there was an onboard ticket check. WELL DONE EAST COAST MAINLINE.

    The rest of the trip was fine!

    I'd never been to Harrogate before and everyone had told me it was DEAD POSH, and they were CORRECT: It WAS. I HAVE been to North Yorkshire before so I was at least prepared for the AVALANCHE of Yorkshireness that hit me as i walked to my B&B. In North Yorkshire it is IMPOSSIBLE to walk more than five yards without someone trying to strike up a conversation with you, and all the way there people LEAPT out of buildings, eager to help me reach my destination. When I got to the B&B everyone THERE was very nice too. I was a bit worried, going up the stairs, when I saw a sign saying "toilet". "Oh no!" I thought, "Is it going to be one of those places where you have to share toilet facilities? Happily NO, it wasn't, and I found my room to be Actually Rather Nice, with en suite and MASSIVE four poster bed (which meant you couldn't watch the telly in bed as, in the way of B&Bs, it was attached to a bracket near the ceiling). There were also KIT KATS with the Tea Facilities - SWANKY!

    Soon it was time to set off and I STRODE through Harrogate thinking "Nice, but smells of farts" - it was only later I realised this was actually The Sulphur Well. Aha! I got to The Sun Pavilion to find that proceedings had just reached The Speeches, so went back DOWN the hill to a PUB. There were bouncers outside so I was a bit worried about it being HORRD. It turned out to be LOVELY - it was Hales Bar a PROPER pub full of very nice people and DELICIOUS beer, and I had a DELIGHTFUL hour or so in there, watching most of the first half of the football and, again, talking to complete strangers.

    I set off back to the wedding to find things had progressed to the DRINKING stage so went in and said hello to everybody, not least THE BRIDE AND GROOM. It looked like it had been a lovely day, something confirmed by speaking to The Brothers Morricone who, I suddenly realised, i have known for DONKEYS YEARS, having gigged with them (mostly in Being 747) for about a DECADE. They are lovely chaps also, and, as I probably said at some length later on, it's going to make Edinburgh even MORE GRATE knowing they're also going to be lurking around at the same time we're there.

    The plan, as I was told it, was that various PALS of The Happy Couple would get up and do a couple of songs each, ending with them all doing four songs together, then I was going on. I must say I was a little worried about this - once Friends And Family had been on, doing Delightful Things, I felt people might object to someone they'd never heard of BELLOWING at them for half an hour, so I was RELIEVED half and hour later when Mark SWOOPED by and said "Mr Hibbett! Are you ready to go on?" PHEW! i was on FIRST, and this is what I DID:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • It Must Be Love
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Back For Good
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Can't Take My Eyes Off You
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • I had an WHALE of a time. Playing weddings (and I've done surprisingly MANY of them over the years) can feel a bit strange, as you're always in a large room where most people are chatting away. This can be a bit off-putting, for a Novice Wedding Rocker, but as a Hardy Veteran i now realise that IT'S A WEDDING and so people haven't seen each other for ages and want a CHAT, and it's FINE. It was actually, as I say, a whole lot MORE than fine - the covers seemed to go down well (though I chickened out of doing "Show Me The Way To Amarillo", which I'd almost learnt) and my songs seemed to work all right too - especially, perhaps surprisingly, Theme From Dinosaur Planet! ALSO as with most weddings there was a small group who were VERY KEEN on the whole gig bit, and they did a FANTASTIC bit of Mass Indie Dancing during Do The Indie Kid and an EXCELLENT "Music Of The Future" too!

    So yes, it was brilliant, and I relaxed into the rest of the evening very happily indeed. There was more chat, there was food (the cake was ACE) and I even chatted to someone who'd been in the train carriage at Indietracks last year. Everywhere I go, it seems, I meet people who were in that train carriage! Come midnight however it was time to say my farewells and wend my way home - i love weddings, it was GRATE!

    Next morning I had a Medium Breakfast and then went to catch my train. As I say on the platform Michael Portillo walked by, trailing a television crew behind him. I wanted to ask whether Diane Abbot would be coming back to the "This Week" sofa but thought it might seem rude. Harrogate is, as I say, DEAD POSH, and it didn't seem quite the right thing to do.

    posted 14/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Shift Run Stop
    HOORAH! The interview I did the other week is now online over at Shift Run Stop and, mentioned, I DON'T HALF GO ON! Blimey! Hibbett! PAUSE FOR BREATH!

    Well, I say "Hibbett", but for some reason they seem to have wiped out my own speech (which sounds, of course, like a slightly younger version of Patrick Stewart) and replaced it with one of THE WURZELS. And clearly a wurzel who's got a bit over-excited and had too many cups of Hot Coffee. For goodness sakes! Why oh why do people KEEP doing this whenever I am recorded?!?

    Other than that it sounds GRATE, and is a clear record of a lovely afternoon with rather nice versions of Hey Hey 16K and A Little Bit - thanks for having me, Team Shift Run Stop!

    posted 11/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Tickets are GO!
    I'm very very excited this morning to see that you can now buy tickets for Dinosaur Planet in Edinburgh. Last night I got home from work to find the Fringe Programme had arrived with us in it, and it all seems extremely REAL now!

    We're in the MUSICALS section this time, which appears to be even smaller than MUSIC, which we've resided in for the past two years, and contains even MORE stuff that makes me think "How wonderful that someone would want to DO that."

    That was TACT, by the way - we DID think about going into the COMEDY section, as we've THORT every year, but that's so HUGE i think we'd just get lost. At least we STAND OUT in the Musicals section, i reckon we're the COOLEST SHOW in the whole thing. And yes, i know, that's like being the ROCKINGEST ACT at a Folk Festival, but STILL.

    Anyway, it's all TREMENDOUSLY exciting and I'm ALREADY, three hours into the Sales Frenzy, wondering if I should just go in and check whether we've SOLD OUT the entire run yet. It can't be long, right?

    posted 11/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    And now it's time for the gallery
    All may seem serene and calm on the main webpage at the moment but I can assure you that work is going on night and day to improve your browsing experience. For instance, I've spent the past week or two re-writing the systems behind the images gallery so that it's a bit more useable than it used to be, and then adding a whole HEAP of pictures.

    There are now LOADS there, which I hope you will enjoy. There seems to be a bit of a GAP in recent times, but then i guess that might just be because we haven't done all that much, in the PUBLIC EYE at least, this year. However, now I've got a workable system (the old version used to take me AGES of BRANE WORK to get new stuff into) I'll try and get SNAPPING a bit more often.

    The next thing on the list of improvements is VIDEOS! EXCITING, isn't it?

    posted 10/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Dinosaur Planet: THE RETURN
    As threatened the brand new Dinosaur Planet webpage is now GO! It's got all SORTS of exciting things on it - posters, our pictures, press releases... er... and STUFF! I've been racing to get it ready before the Edinburgh Fringe programme comes out tomorrow, and I'll be updating it first thing Friday when TICKETS become available.

    It's all rather EXCITING and getting CLOSER, and the excitement was not UNDIMMED last night when Mr S Hewitt and I gathered once more in Camden for another practice. News from the rehearsal rooms is that Ocean Colour Scene are still BIG with THE KIDS (or at least those with drum kits) and that the show is shaping up pretty nicely. There's still bits where we're unsure of what to say and/or sing next but we've got two more practices before we start the preview shows, and I am full of confidence that by the time we start hitting THE STAGE it will be SOMEWHAT GROOVY.

    These feelings were ENHANCED by Steve's introduction of two NEW props - I won't say what they are, suffice to say they fit over his hands and solve the, until apparently unsoluble, problem: "How DO you represent a 'herd of hungry carnivores' in a two man stage show?" They're GRATE!

    posted 9/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Shift Run Stop Trailer
    There's a LOVELY trailer over on the Shift Run Stop webpage for my appearance on their show tomorrow. It really looks rather spiffing, tho I wish I'd paid a bit more attention to the fact they were filming, instead of looking a bit ODD, as if I was trying to ignore what was going on. ALSO, why oh why does my DAD once again appear at the end of both songs, squinting over his pint?!? Can he not be satisfied with appearing in half of my photographs?!?

    Anyway, yes - SONGS! There's two songs in there, live versions of Hey Hey 16K and A Little Bit, each done near a slightly different London Elephant, and each sounding - if I may say so - pretty all right!

    It IS just a trailer though - you'll have to wait until tomorrow for the full VENTING of my Many Many Opinions! I wonder how much of it they squeezed in? Hopefully not THE LOT!

    posted 8/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    The grim saga of My Bloody Hard Drive continues - I got an email on Friday saying it couldn't be fixed the ordinary way but MIGHT be mendable in another, even more expensive, way. PAIN! DOOM!

    Happily Mr P Myland emailed me a HOT TIP for a company in his fenland realm that might be a bit cheaper, and so I'm now waiting for the aforesaid hard drive to come back from its SECOND visit to a computer repair place in order to go off for its third and, hopefully, FINAL visit. Kids! Learn the lessons of what has happened here - BACK UP! MORE THAN ANNUALLY!

    With the realisation that it's going to be AGES before I can get hold of my data again I thought "Sod it" and got on with redoing stuff from SCRATCH. We thus now have a press release and a RATHER NICE flyer/poster design almost at final draft and a new version of the Dinosaur Planet webpage gradually coming together. This is one of my favourite BITS of the whole Getting A Show Together process, doing the Pretty Pictures and that, even though I know it will be followed as surely as night follows day by one of my LEAST favourite bits i.e. hassling printers to get on with it and waiting in for deliveries.

    Still, it is All Part Of The Fun and as SOON as it's all finalised I'll stick a picture up here. Get ready to say "Oh! that's quite good!"

    posted 7/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Silent Like The Container Tanker
    Things move slowly forward on all fronts here - all the PLANNING and diligent attendance to SCHEDULES that's been going on lately make it all seem rather quiet, and yet we've booked a bunch of previews and rehearsals for Dinosaur Planet, done HEAPS fo preparation and admin for same, have our forthcoming 'REST OF' compilation sequenced and mastered with the multimedia section (featuring an entire OTHER album) and the GORGEOUS cover art both at final draft stage, and on top of that continuing recording and planning for the album AFTER that one!

    Maybe it's just because it's sunny out? Also the fact that i STILL haven't got my data back from my crashed hard drive, and am waiting for a new copy of PHOTOSHOP to arrive in the post, means that there's lots of stuff i COULD be doing (Flyers! Posters! Stand-up Banners!) that I can't yet get on with as much as I'd like to.

    One thing I DID get to do yesterday, however, was to sort out the final track on the aforesaid compilation, 'Forest Moon Of Enderby'. We were under the, as it turns out, erroneous impression that we had some spare Music Of The Future left over from the sessions for Do The Indie Kid and were going to stick THESE on as a secret track. Unfortunately it turned out that these were but ILLUSIONS OF THE MIND, and so rather than choose one I did a MEGAMIX of THE LOT.

    It sounds AMAAAZING.

    I did consider doing the classic When CDs First Came Out thing of sticking it five minutes after the final track, The Drummer's Lament, but Tim pointed out that this would be annoying for the many people who would doubtless put it as the first track on homemade compilation tapes. I'd've thought they could just rewind over the gap, or PAUSE the tape player, but for some reason this wouldn't work. Maybe modern walkmans can't do that?

    Anyway, it's all beginning to look like it might just work, and I'll be able to send it off to be manufactured with, hopefully, my last HUGE CHEQUE of the summer. Then it'll be time to go out and about and start doing THE ROCK. I hope I remember how it goes!

    posted 3/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Dinosaur Planet at The Green Dragon
    Last night I met Mr S Hewitt at London Bridge Station and together we set off to distant Croydon to do a rather special PREVIEW of Dinosaur Planet. We were booked to play at the regular Freedom Of Expression night, run by Mr T Eveleigh, where I've played on my own many MANY times, but this time it was going to be the two of us, doing THE SONGS for the first time ever as a duo, amplified, in front of an audience of People We Don't Necessarily Know.

    Playing the Green Dragon's always lovely - everyone there's dead nice, the beer's GRATE, and they give you some for FREE. "It's the recession", said Mark The Sound Man as he explained that, rather than LIMITLESS BOOZE, as they've offered before, there was now a tenner a head limit. Curse you, The Economy! Still, that did buy us GRUB and several DELICIOUS pints, so all was well by the time we were due to go on stage and do THIS:

  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Don't, Darren, Don't
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • A Little Bit
  • Here Come The Dinosaurs
  • The Theory Of A Dinosaur Planet
  • The Battle Of Peterborough
  • My Theory Of A Dinosaur Planet
  • We Are The Giant Robots
  • Dinosaurs Talk Like Pirates
  • We Are The Dinosaurs
  • Literature Search
  • Strangely Attractive
  • For The Fate Of The Earth
  • A Little Bit More
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet

  • As you can see, that isn't ALL the songs, as we had to drop a couple just to get it to fit into our half hour spot... and we didn't exactly fit it in even then. I'd wondered how it'd work without (most of) the dialogue, but actually it went pretty well - we RATTLED through it at high speed and the audience rather went along WITH us - especially young Sam, son of the Landlady, who CHEERED at several places and INTERROGATED me afterwards as to where the Dinosaurs had got hold of their machine guns. An EXCELLENT question which I was MORE than happy to explain. At LENGTH.

    Everyone seemed to really enjoy it and there were MANY remarks to that effects afterwards, it was LOVELY. As I said to Steve afterwards, if that's how good a reaction it gets at an unprepared acoustic night WITHOUT even the costumes or dialogue, imagine the MIGHTY POTENTIAL of it when there's people who came to see it all on PURPOSE!

    I'm quite excited I must admit - now all we need to do is finish learning our lines and we'll have ourselves a SHOW!

    posted 2/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Bank Holiday
    Hello everyone, hope those who had one had a GOOD Bank Holiday. I had a GOOD, also a BUSY one.

    On Friday night I met my old colleague Dr N Brown for an evening of COMEDY in LEYTONSTONE - yes, LEYTONSTONE, my MANOR, where a new comedy club had started up just down the road from me with Arthur Smith on at their first night. He was very very funny INDEED. "It's just like The Spreadeagle", said Dr Brown, referring to the pub where I ran MY comedy club some... YIKES! Twenty years ago!! It was LIKE that, but with things in it that were FUNNY.

    On Saturday myself and The Items On My List had a BIG DAY OUT in That London. We got into town and went to have a look at a HOTEL (for purposes of staying there one night later in the year) then went round to try and take my hard-drive in to be fixed. It went WRONG last week and, as my local computer store seemed not to have a CLUE i thought I'd try some more swanky types... but they were all closed up and DISAPPEARED. I've tried to ring them today but have had no answer - it's probably best NOT to leave my hard drive with people like that really, isn't it?

    UNBOWED we strode forth to Cavendish Square to look at some ELEPHANTS. These are decorated elephants that are all over That London at the moment, in various locations, raising money for Elephant Type Charities. Save The Elephant, Royal Society for the prevention of Elephants, that sort of thing. They were Quite Good, especially one which looked like it was made of WOOD.

    A quick cup of tea (TOURIST INFO: one of the nicest cups of tea in all of London Town can be found in the fourth floor cafe of John Lewis. FACT!) and another stroll later and we were at the PICTURES, there to see "Four Lions". CRIKEY. I think the one word review for this would be "Disconcerting", as it left us both a bit WOBBLY afterwards. It was funny, quite charming, but also TERRIFYING - especially about half way through when you realise they really DO have explosives and are going to use them. Several days later i'm STILL thinking about it, it really spooked me - a dead good film, then, but to be perfectly honest I think I would have preferred to go and see something a little LIGHTER!

    We went for some TEA before heading for our final destination: The Buffalo Bar, there to see Pocketbooks, playing their first London gig in AGES. Before them were Cola Jetset, who I really liked - it was sort of a bit like a 60s girl group doing 70s Mickie Most songs. Sort of. Then Pocketbooks came on and were GRATE - whenever they did one of the usual songs I thought "This is a bit of an obvious cover, isn't it?" before remembering it was one of THEIR songs, and the reason it sounded so familiar was because, well, because I'd listened to the album A LOT.

    I spent most of Sunday singing "Footsteps" in my head - it's my favourite song of theirs, but 24 hours rotation is verging on TOO MUCH. The rest of the weekend was then a bit more relaxing, the only major ROCK ITEM on the agenda was for me to head out to The Landlady's allotment, where we filmed some BOOK BURNING. This was all in aid of Chris T-T, who'd asked people to film some clips of themselves to put together to form the video for his next single, "Words Fail Me". I was NERVOUS at the idea of burning books but bought one ESPECIALLY from the charity shop last week, which made me feel a bit better. Once we'd got the fire going myself and The Landlady stood GAZING at it, filming for about 20 minutes as it slowly disappeared. FIRE! It is VERY WATCHABLE!

    And that, I think, was about that. I need an extended weekend to get over it all!

    posted 1/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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