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Blog Archive: July 2010

Video Of Indietracks
I really AM going to stop going on about Indietracks at some point soon, but I can't help but point you in the direction of these fantastic videos which I've grouped together in our gallery.

It's film taken by Mr Eolrin De Bara of our set last weekend, and it is BLOODY GRATE. All the bits I remembered as being ACE are there in full colour (plus some I didn't notice, like Tom's LUSTY singing along) but my favourite favourite thing of ALL is in THIS:

It's a mass Music Of The Future, at a festival, with choreographed DANCING! If any other band has managed this I would very much like to see it - HOORAH!

posted 30/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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The Final Preview
After our brief hiatus back in The Krazy World Of ROCK Steve and I were back to WORK yesterday, ZOOMING off down to Brighton to do the final preview for Dinosaur Planet.

We got there extra early for SOUNDCHECK purposes... before realising we didn't actually NEED one as the room wasn't that big, so settled down for a chat and a BEER with Phil The Promoter, who told us about the One On One Festival he'd played at. He say in a small box and played a five minute GIG for one person at a time. It sounded dead interesting, but we all agreed it ART that we had all inadvertantly created SEVERAL times before!

As show time approached PEOPLE arrived - it was lovely, some of them I didn't even KNOW! Many of the people i DID know had also been at Indietracks, and the first person ANY of us asked each other was "How's your post-Indietracks comedown?" There was HUGGING, but it still wasn't quite the same. Gopal's Curry was NOWHERE to be seen!

Our support act was Autumn In The Fall, which I thought was going to be a band but was actually a young lady doing some vaguely First Aid Kit-y songs - I was AMAZED when she said "This is a Beatles Cover" and she did "DOn't Pass Me By"! It was a LOVELY version of it - all changed around and rethought but CLEAVING to the original, it was GRATE!

I was conscious of the fact we had a TRANE to catch, so come half past nine I patrolled the pub HOOVERING UP anyone I could find who'd paid to get in - partly because without microphones it's a bit easier to get distracted by people talking as they come in, but mostly because I wanted to make sure everyone got it right from the start!

Everyone DID seem to get it - we ROMPED through the whole thing and there were BIG LARFS throughout, it was brilliant! We made almost NO mistakes and there was MUCH larking about, almost as if we've been practicing it or something! Steve had received NOTES that he needed to "grab the focus" (or "try not to let Hibbett get ALL the limelight") so the ongoing WAR OF ATTENTION GRABBING reached new and highly prosperous HEIGHTS. It was VERY MUCH FUN INDEED!

Everyone else seemed to enjoy it too, and there were many SWEATY HUGS and FIRM HAND SHAKES of appreciation afterwards. It felt really really good and we dashed off for our train thinking that this KRAZY IDEA might just work.

Only a week until we actually find out... YIKES!

posted 29/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Right, time to stop the post-Indietracks REMINISCING and look to the FUTURE, for LO! Tonight we're playing at The Prince Albert in Brighton for our FINAL Dinosaur Planet preview, and then it's ONWARD to Edinburgh.

Yikes! And with that in mind, here's this year's trailer, fresh off the Computer!

As per, any links or mentions MOST appreciated - now, to the TRANE!

posted 28/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Indietracks Tour: DAY FOUR
If I'd felt a bit nervous on Saturday morning it was as NOTHING to the WOBBLES I had on Sunday, for LO! It was GIG DAY!

Things started a bit daftly by me arriving for BREAKFAST with 60% of Legendary Sheffield Rockers Velodrome 2000 an hour EARLY. I THOUGHT it was a bit early, but dared not to disobey what I thought had been stated, so was surprised/relieved to get a text just as i got back to my room to find I'd been WRONG, not STOOD UP. Phew!

I was soon in a taxi to Butterly, where we arrived just in time to hop on the train. Stood in the buffet carriage I saw an example of what's so BRILLIANT about Indietracks. The chap behind the counter noticed that some people chatting were from America, and asked them whereabouts - "San Francisco" they said. "Aah, I used to fly into San Francisco all the time" he said, going on to tell various tales of INTERNATIONAL JET SETTING through the ages. Like so many of the GRATE Midland Railway Volunteers he was someone who'd live an EXCITING life of ADVENTURE and was now enjoying himself helping on the train, selling beers and cheese cobs, and chatting to all the different people who came along. At how many festivals does that happen, especially when members of BANDS are the ones being chatted with?

We disembarked and I wondered over to the MAIN STAGE. I'd half thought they'd be back to the Back Of A Lorry stage they'd had in 2008 but no, it was a MASSIVE PROPER FESTIVAL STAGE. The Tiger was already setting up so I thought I'd go backstage and have a LOOK at the stage, hoping it would become less TERRIFYING. It did NOT. It was HUGE! How we WERE ever going to fill it?

The stage was SO BIG it had TWO people whose job was JUST to manage the monitors! When we soundchecked we had to persuade Emma that she really DID have her own monitor mix and just had to ask to have it made PERFECT for her. It was STRANGE - wonderful, but STRANGE!

I'd already got myself TWO beers (i was PANICKING) and Frankie was the only one who also fancied a beer, so wandered off to get one. People started arriving to see us. Lots of people. Lots and LOTS of people - FEAR! Mr S Mackay arrived backstage to say hello and ask if we were ready to start... but hang on, where was Frankie? As is his WONT he had DISAPPEARED. Imagine our RELIEF when he was spotted strolling back 2 minutes before stage time. "We're ready, he's coming!" I said and our introduction began... but Frankie appeared NOT. Where WAS he? I had to run round the front, and spotted him sat relaxing, having a chat, seemingly unaware that he was meant to be going on stage. "Please do come on the stage old chap, if you have time", i shouted. More or less.

And then we were ON! PANIC, FEAR, and DREAD disappeared almost immediately. "Who's still pissed?" I asked and, though I was INCREDIBLY SOBER I felt oddly relaxed and at home as we launched into THIS:

  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Please Don't Eat Us
  • We Are The Giant Robots
  • Leave My Brother Alone
  • The Merchant Ivory Punks
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • It was THE BEST GIG EVER! Man alive but we had fun - the crowd was our largest EVER and ready to ROCK, the sound sounded FANTASTIC and we played pretty much as well as we ever possibly could. Tom had some issues with his amp for some of it and SOMEONE (hem hem) apparently missed a bit of a song, but otherwise: AMAZING! My highlights included:

  • Looking out into the audience and seeing SO MANY faces of lovely people I know. AND some i didn't!
  • Saying "take it down, Validators" in Please Don't Eat Us. Hey, it's MY highlights!
  • Spotting someone with a red mohican down the front during The Merchant Ivory Punks and being RELIEVED that he was smiling!
  • Getting The Vlads to NOT play The Music Of The Future and standing in AWE of the audience doing it VERY ENTHUSIASTICALLY during Do The Indie Kid.
  • Remembering to do "All the people at The Premier Inn! Now everyone at The Travelodge! And now everyone at the campsite!" during that bit, something which I've been WANTING to do at Indietracks ever since it started.
  • The singalong for "Hey there Emo Boy" during Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • NOT having to explain the shouty bit in Easily Impressed and it working INCREDIBLY well.
  • Best of ALL though was suggesting that everyone TWEET the word "happiness" during Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid and, a few hours later, discovering that SO MANY people had done so that LOADS of those who hadn't been there were desperately trying to work out what on EARTH had happened. BRILLIANT!

    As I say, it was THE BEST GIG EVER and I just hope that my constant HARPING ON about how we were the only band to play all four times (and, somewhat cheekily, bellowing "SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!" at the end!) doesn't damage our hopes of making it to an unprecedented FIFTH gear because, GOODNESS ME, we fcuking love playing Indietracks. I don't think I've ever SEEN happier Validators than those I saw for the rest of the day, it was BRILLIANT!

    Afterwards we strode over to the merchandising tent and had an AMAZING hour or so meeting tons of people who wanted to buy CDs. It was all a bit overwhelming to be honest, but VERY exciting to finally be getting copies of Forest Moon Of Enderby to people, as well as to be handing out a METRIC TONNE of leftover badges. I left that tent light of heart and MUCH lighter of luggage to take home!

    There then followed a lot of wandering around GRINNING like LOONIES before it was time for my FAVOURITE band of the weekend, STANDARD FARE, who were BRILLIANT on the main stage. There was huge dancing, there was mass singing along, and there was general DELIGHT to be watching a band who are so SO clearly going to be HUGE any time now. The best thing about it was how HAPPY they seemed - they've played LOTS of proper festivals and big gigs, and yet they seemed AGHAST at how much people liked them. I thought the Young Guitarist Lad was going to BURST, he looked so happy!

    After they'd finished myself, Mr T Pattison and Miss E Pattison went to get PAID. We took Edie with us so she could start to CRY if they didn't have any money for us, but they DID. It was a bit odd as we had to queue up behind other bands to go in for an INTERVIEW in THE OFFICE, where two BURLY CHAPS stood on either side of the desk while a lady gave us our CA$H and reciept. It was like going in to see The Head in a particularly rough inner city school!

    I also did a quick BIT for a PODCAST, playing The Gay Train (as it seemed wrong NOT to play it at some point in the weekend) and doing a quick interview round the side of the tram shed. Apparently it'll be online just before NEXT year's festival - which reminds me, I was also one of the people doing WINKBALL interviews. These people wandered the site all weekend asking how it was going - here's a Lightly Refreshed ME looking very happy to be there:

    And then the day FLEW by - I was upset to miss out on Sarandon, due to QUEUE, but DID get in to see The Pooh Sticks, who were BLOODY GRATE. Somehow I'd got it into my head that they'd be a bit mimsy, but no - they ROCKED!

    Soon it was the end of the bands and I realised I was MASSIVELY EXHAUSTED. Tom offered me a lift home so, rather than DISCO DANCE, we headed over to see Penny, Steph, Jo and co at CAR BAR for a FAREWELL DRINK/HUG and then hopped into The Tiger Mobile to a) listen to the Standard Fare album VERY LOUD b) discuss what a GRATE few days it had been and, as is traditional c) get slightly lost on the way back the Travelodge.

    Next morning it was a TIRED but very very happy Hibbett who found himself on Alfreton station platform, boarding the train home. A very nice chap came over and said "Well done - that was one of the highlights of the weekend for us". PLEASED, I said "It was for me too!" but i FIBBED: it was more than that, it was a highlight of our entire career in ROCK!

    Thanks Indietracks and, as I said, one way or the other, see you next year!

    posted 28/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Indietracks Tour: DAY THREE
    I woke up on Saturday morning feeling a bit ODD - strange in the tummy and shaky in the legs. It took me a while to realise that this was because I was EXCITED, for LO! after nearly a YEAR of waiting it was finally time to go back to INDIETRACKS! Hoorah!

    After a big Holiday Inn Breakfast and a SPRINT through the Spa Facilities, The Rooms In My Hotel and I checked out and strolled back to the railway station, where we said TEARFUL GOODBYES. I was excited to be heading to the festival, but was really going to miss her - touring is a lot more FUN and a HECKLOAD more SALUBRIOUS when she comes along!

    Still, i bore up MANFULLY and was soon in Alfreton, in my long-booked room at The Travelodge for an unpack, a bit of a wash, and then another taxi ride back to the site. I'd asked to be dropped off at Butterly station, but the taxi driver took me to the Swanwick Junction site, leading to INDIE PANIC: if I was SEEN arriving in a LIMO like this at the main foot entrance, then surely that would blow ALL my Indie Cool?!? What would Bobby Gillespie do in such a situation eh?

    Luckily we weren't allowed to go all the way in, so i got turfed out, whereupon I heard someone say "Are you in MJ Hibbett & The Validators?" "Yes, yes I am", I said, and it turned out be be Be Like Pablo, lovely people who gave me a GRATE CD last year. I wasn't going to be able to SEE them, as we were on at much the same time, so it was nice to MEET them like this.

    I gained access to the site and IMMEDIATELY starting bumping into various lovely people. About the THIRD group of pals I met included Mr S Hewitt who, before the festival, had been expressing some doubts. "PAH!" he would declare, "Indie Schmindie Nonsense! PAH!" I was a bit nervous about how he'd going on, so asked how the weekend had been so far. "Everyone here is SO LOVELY!" he said, practically EXHALING BUTTERCUPS as he did so - like everyone else, he had GONE NATIVE!

    The rest of Saturday is a little bit of a blur, to be honest. I wonder why that could be? Still, I do remember seeing part of La La Love You (GRATE jackets!), The Just Joans (i SWELLED with glee at how BRILLIANT they were), The Parallelograms (ALWAYS a delight), The Smittens (IBID) and... er... eventually The Primitives (a bit rubbish). MOST of the day was spent just wandering around with and towards PALS, not least 80% of The VAlidators who had arrived mid-afternoon.

    I know everybody says this about MOST Festivals, but at Indietracks it is EVEN MORE TRUE: it really ISN'T mostly about the bands, it's the lovely people that MAKE it so GRATE. Everyone was having a BRILLIANT time and weren't afraid to show it and, as I struggled home and into my hotel bed at WAY past my bed time it was with a HUGE grin on my face. Could this possibly get any MORE fun?

    Yes. Yes it could.

    posted 28/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Indietracks Tour: DAY TWO
    Friday found myself and The Bed In My Hotel Room up bright and early and off to Leicester station, there to journey to distant DERBY for a recording session. The Indietracks Bumping Into People CONTINUED as we bumped into RAY at the station. HOORAH! A swift hug and chat later and we were striding across Derby, arriving to find Rich was in the studio waiting for us.

    The Microphones In My PA had been a bit nervous about this, her first recording session, but she was soon in the BOOTH, ROCKING OUT. Man alive, she is a pretty bloody amazing woman at the LEAST of times, but I was positively BOOMING with pride as she - as we say in the recording industry - KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK. We got her vocal for Here Come The Dinosaurs done in TWO takes, and then moved on to DIALOGUE. This took a few more runs through, largely because I had slipped into DIRECTOOOOOR mode. "Yes, one more time, more emphasis on syllable twelve, with a hint of fear and a SOUPCON more angst, if you will." That sort of thing.

    It sounded FANTASTIC, especially when mixed with Mr Bob Fischer's lines recorded a couple of months ago. Her session COMPLETE, The Items In My Exhibit set off to view The Pickford Museum ("GRATE!", apparently) making way for Tom, who'd just arrived. My DIRECTORIAL BENT was now at full extension as we worked through his scenes (as Professor Peter Probersite), trying out different voices and casting around for The Right Inflexion. Tom took direction EXCEPTIONALLY well and we were done with time to spare. Seizing the moment, Rich asked what mixes we wanted in our Individual Monitors for Indietracks, as he was doing our SOUND for us. "Mixes in individual monitors?" I thought, "Is he mad? It'll just be one broken monitor on the back of a lorry this year, surely?"

    Next we were joined by The Family Machine, with Frankie ROARING through his lines as The Corporal. To be fair, almost all of his lines are "Ma'am!", "Ma'am?" or "Yes Ma'am!" but he did them BRILLIANTLY and MY GOODNESS ME when his work in For The Fate Of The Earth is made public i reckon WAR as we know it will be OVER.

    During this bit Mr Steve Morricone arrived hot foot from Huddersfield to record his parts as The Giant Robots. I'd always thought of them as being a bit BLUFF and NORTHERN, but Steve took it to WHOLE NEW PLACES with the most positively EVIL vocals I have EVER heard - we did his bits four lines at a time, partly because he wasn't sure of the tune, MOSTLY so he could recover from the EVIL CACKLING that was going on. It was AMAAAAAZING!

    We finished at 4pm prompt, giving me and Tom to dash back to Leicester and our respective abodes before he, I and The Lanes On My Motorway were BACK in the car and heading for Kirby Muxloe, where we were due to play our SECOND warm-up gig, at Tim's Work's DO.

    It was LOVELY to be together again, although a) Frankie was DISGUSTED by the rest of us mocking his Astoundingly Almost Punctual Arrival and b) Tom was surprised by EVERYONE saying, individually, "Are you not wearing your Black Sheep T-Shirt tonight?" We got the PA set up (with some gentle "help" by a very worried looking man from the club who kept changing things - Frankie used his Stern Calm Voice a bit, which sorted it out), and then fell into CHAT. Tim had to keep going off and CHATTING but it gave the rest of us a delightful chance for a CHINWAG.

    We had, in fact, a lovely time all round. Everyone there was dead nice and relaxed, the beer was GRATE (Burton Bitter on tap! ZANG!), the BUFFET was plentiful, the other people playing music were good (my especial favourite was the acoustic version of FREAKSCENE!), there was a QUIZ which I'm sure we would have won if we'd remembered to hand in our quiz sheet, and there was even time to do The AAS Football Trophy Presentation. Pictures to follow!

    Inevitably it was time to ROCK, so we gathered together "Tim Pattison & The Validators" (or "EMMA AND THE VALIDATORS!" as Emma put it) and did THIS:

  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • The Merchant Ivory Punks
  • Leave My Brother Alone
  • We Are The Giant Robots
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • It was a LOT more together than last time - despite, or possibly BECAUSE of some members of the team being slightly tiddlier than usual. I mention no names - because we all spent much of Sunday "HILARIOUSLY" doing so - as it wouldn't be fair to single anyone out, and anyway it's not like she does it very often...

    I JEST OF COURSE - we had a lovely time even though I think we might have been a bit too loud and played for a bit too long, but people seemed to like it. It was BRILLIANT to be able to do it, and come Sunday we would very much appreciate the chance we'd had to work ourselves up a bit. For now though we finished our drinks, packed up, said bye bye and headed off back into the night.

    The warming up was complete - tomorrow it was time to head for Indietracks!

    posted 27/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Indietracks Tour: DAY ONE
    At long last, after months of discussion and planning it was time for The Validators to get back on the road - a road that would lead us to Indietracks.

    The tour started, for me at least, before it had much chance to begin (poetry) as I bumped into How Does It Feel's Mr Ian Watson as I walked to King's Cross to catch the train North. Bumping into people is pretty much the main excitement of Indietracks, so it was lovely to get started early.

    Inside i met The Trains On My Tracks and we WHIZZED off to Leicester, where, as a special treat, we were staying at The Holiday Inn. Half an hour later we were sat in the JACUZZI, discussing how nice Touring can really be!

    We'd agreed to meet at The Musician at 6.30pm and I was pleased to see Tom getting out of his car at exactly half past, as I strolled up the street. I was about to comment on how PUNCTUAL we were when The Pattisons rolled up! I said hello and carried on unloading before realising that I hadn't seen Emma all YEAR- it felt so natural and normal for us all to be together like this that I'd forgotten we'd not done it for AGES!

    We got set up, updated each other about our various families (you know you've been in a band a long time when you ask after each other's mums), soundchecked and then went out for CHIPS and a discussion about how GRATE Dinosaur Planet is sounding.

    Back at The Musician we were made complete by the arrival of Mr Frankie Machine. I think i was not the only one to be bit over-excited about us all being together again. "It's like getting the band back together!" I kept saying, before realising that, actually, that's EXACTLY what it was!

    I enjoyed seeing The Lime Chalks again and then SANG ALONG with almost the whole of Standard Fare's set. As i have probably mentioned ENOUGH, i LOVE their album and am fairly convinced that this time next year nobody will BELIEVE that we were able to do a gig with them, let alone with them playing before us. They were GRATE!

    And then it was our turn to go on, and do THIS:

  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • The Merchant Ivory Punks
  • The Merchant Ivory Punks
  • The Merchant Ivory Punks
  • We Are The Giant Robots
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Please Don't Eat Us
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • It was a LOT of fun, and a LOT ramshackle - The Merchant Ivory Punks is not there twice by mistake, we just messed it up so badly the first time we had to have another go! Most of it was surprisingly all right however, and I enjoyed it ENORMOUSLY - as shown by the LARGE amount of CHAT that went on. I had to remind myself that there were people there who MIGHT want to hear songs rather than Various Remarks, and get ON with it!

    Get on with it we DID, although that didn't stop a convulted ramble about Prolapse being unforgivably missed out of Britpop retrospetives, a "cover" of one of their BBC Sessions, nor The Tiger's ROAR. It felt NATURaL to be back together but also a bit STRANGE to once again NOT be doing songs that were all about Dinosaurs!

    It all seemed to go quite well though, helped by GRATE sound and, after some more CHAT and BEER finishing (I had a pint of Kodiak Gold that was AMAZING!) it was time to pack up and get gone. Day one had finished, but there was a LOT more tour still to go!

    posted 25/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Dream Come True
    It was a STRANGE day yesterday - i felt like I was at the NEXUS OF ALL REALITIES as so many different bits of current activity were all coming together at once. I was editing the trailer we shot for Dinosaur Planet the other day, receiving a delivery of FLYERS for the Edinburgh run, writing a press release for us and two other shows, writing the Tour Booklet for the Validators gigs this weekend, having a practice of our SONGS for INDIETRACKS, doing an INTERVIEW with The Brighton Argus for our gig THERE next week (which was a LOT of fun), rehearsing with The Ticks On My To Do List for our recording session on Friday (an afternoon's work on the CONCEPT ALBUM in Derby), doing some bookings for the new Totally Acoustic season, working out a Spotify playlist for a future edition of CMU Weekly, starting my PACKING for today AND doing my laundry! With all that going on the fact that I was about to fulfil A LIFETIME'S AMBITION just seemed like part of the natural flow of the day.

    FOR LO! in the evening I found myself in DISTANT BATTERSEA where Steve and I were going to perform Dinosaur Planet in a PROPER THEATRE! ZANG! Here I was, FINALLY putting on a Play What I Wrote in an Actual Theatre - 19 Year Old Me has waited a LONG LONG time for this dream of his to come to fruition, and now I was able to DO it. HOORAH!

    We met in the beer garden where we were DELIGHTED to be sat next to twenty end-of-term teachers, ALL of whom were using The Teacher Voice At Full Pelt To SCREECH And/Or Bitch About Whoever Had Just Gone To The Toilet. It was the loudest thing EVER, so we had to lean in to hear The Theatre Guy who'd come down to tell us we had a "Small House". I thought that that sounded very nice, if a little twee, but Steve later pointed out that that meant we'd sold NO tickets! Ah!

    We went upstairs to see THE SPACE and COR but it really WAS a Proper Theatre. OK, it was ALSO a room above a pub, but it had proper tiered seating, an all BLACK stage area, a dressing room, lighting box etc etc. It made me feel a bit NAUGHTY turning up to do this daft thing about SPACE DINOSAURS when, surely, we should have been assessing The Situation In Northern Ireland or something?

    Still, it looked a LOT more proper when we'd put our PROPS out on a table at the back - SURPRISINGLY proper in fact - and even more so when Isabelle, who's going to be our Tech Person in Edinburgh, arrived for a TECH RUN. Even if nobody'd come it would have been FINE as we could have used it as a run through for us and her together, but happily we DID get an audience, in the shape of Mr J Kell and Mr D Paton. PHEW!

    So we went on and DID the show, and I must say it seemed to go pretty well. I'd forgotten that we'd re-written the first scene so messed that up but otherwise it felt GRATE, with the general increase in LARKS and OVERACTING moving along nicely. Doing this show is a whole LOT of fun!

    Afterwards we all went for a Well Done Everybody drink and then got the BUS to Victoria. It was only when I finally got home that I remembered that this was a Dream that HAD Come True. I must admit it WASN'T quite like I imagined it, due to the lack of film crews, huge audience, curtain calls or AWARDS, but it was still GRATE. It bodes well for the 10 days in Edinburgh - if we can enjoy it this much with only 2 people watching, imagine how GRATE it's going to be if we get FOUR!

    posted 22/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    International Glamour
    This morning I rang up the people printing our flyers, to find out why they hadn't been delivered yesterday. There was a slightly oddly phrased automated message and then i got through to a VERY polite young lady who seemed to have a German accent. "That's unusual", I thought, "That's not an accent your hear often in this country, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have call centres in GERMANY would they?" She went on to explain that they were on the way but "They are coming from Germany and so will be arriving on tomorrow." AAAH! It WAS Germany that I was speaking to!

    And that's JUSt the kind of INTERNATIONAL GLAMOUR LIFESTYLE that I'm enjoying at the moment, as we teeter gently towards the HUGE MILESTONE that is INDIETRACKS at the weekend. Indietracks! I can't believe it's almost here, in all the EXCITEMENT of everything else (like Dinosaur Planet in an ACTUAL THEATRE tomorrow, or the wonderful prospect of seeing all The Validators on Thursday) it had sort of slipped by me. I'd best get learning some of the songs really, shouldn't i?

    posted 20/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Updating The Records (of records)
    It's always exciting when a NEW RECORDS enters into the hallowed halls of our DISCOGRAPHY and this is ESPECIALLY so for me as it's the first new album to get added since we moved websites and, THRILLINGLY, went over to a database-based system of STUFF.

    FOR LO! I have just added Forest Moon Of Enderby to the list of ALBUMS and it's little brother Hibbett's Superstore to the Multimedia Extras section.

    This latter is the most exciting bit for me as there's a TONNE of songs there that hardly anybody's ever heard - the title track is one of my favourite things I've ever done and I am EAGER to have the various INSTRUMENTALS foisted onto people at last. I am, however, aware that the main event is the full ALBUM'S worth of Validators material that makes up the CD Proper, THUSLY:

    Billy Jones Is Dead
    Never Going Back To Aldi's
    The Merchant Ivory Punks
    The Other Rush Hour
    Other Bands' Setlists
    City Centres
    Leave My Brother Alone
    Graffiti On The Cenotaph
    The Primal Rhythms Of The Bolivian Nose Flautist
    Let The Weird Band Win
    Praise The Traffic Warden
    The Drummer's Lament
    Music Of The Future (MEGAMIX)

    It is, I have to say, rather a SPIFFING collection of songs. When we were compiling it I was surprised by how much i LIKED it - if only we were the sort of band who practiced a LOT (or, indeed, AT ALL) I would be constantly agitating to get The Other Rush Hour, for instance, into the set, and the JOYOUS Big Finish for The Drummer's Lament is a thing of beauty to behold.

    As I said last week, this probably won't be available to BUY until October, as I've got Indietracks and Edinburgh to ROCK through first, but when it does it'll be accompanied by the usual array of special offers, maybe a VIDEO and definitely a whole new season of Totally Acoustic where I'll be trying to play at least ONE song from EACH of these albums at every gig. As most of them have NEVER been played live before, this could be something of a CHALLENGE!

    In the meantime though you WILL be able to buy copies out our forthcoming GIGS in Leicester, Kirby Muxloe and, indeed, INDIETRACKS. I'm going to take a couple of boxes with me, so please come and buy them if you're at the gigs, I REALLY don't want to have to lug them all the way home again!

    posted 19/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Things Keep Occurring
    On the tube into work this morning I was thinking about how much i LOVE this bit - the bit in The Cycle Of ROCK where things kick off and start OCCURRING. I'm currently sat at work awaiting for the Forest Moon Of Enderby CDs to arrive, whizzing off interviews hither and thither (here's TWO for you - one at Behind The Fringe about Dinosaur Planet and one at the Indietracks Blog about ... well, Indietracks!) and generally getting EXCITED because new things keep coming in.

    Here's a FABULOUS example for you of Things Just Sort Of Happening - I found out this morning that someone has made a VIDEO for The Lesson Of The Smiths! Look, here it is:

    Isn't that fantastic? It looks like they've done LOADS of them, but I'm ESPECIALLY pleased they've done one of ours! SPOOKILY they uploaded it on the day of my 40th Birthday too - it's like The Gods Of ROCK said "LET IT BE SO!"

    posted 16/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Forest Moon Of Enderby
    The excitement CONTINUES! "Mark? There's seven heavy boxes in reception for you." It's Forest Moon Of Enderby!!

    Due to all the OTHER stuff going on at the moment this won't be "out" until October at the earliest, although we'll take some copies with us to Indietracks, so it'll be a while before people can get their hands on them... crikey tho, they look GORGEOUS!

    posted 16/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Always a good night at The Fox
    Wednesdays is Working From Home Day for me, which is always LOVELY, and as we got to 4pm I felt I had done WELL, accomplished MANY things, and was relaxed about the prospect of heading off to Lewisham later on. Two hours later, however, all was PANDEMONIUM - I'd had a BURST of activity which had made me LATE, a text from Steve saying he was already there which had PANICKED me, and I left the house at a DASH, having packed up my various items in HASTE.

    Too MUCH haste, in fact, as when I got onto the tube I realised I'd left behind my SHOOTING SCHEDULE. The plan was to shoot a VIDEO to advertise the show in Edinburgh (like we did last year) BEFORE doing the gig tonight. My idea for it was quite complicated and we wouldn't have much time, so I'd spent AGES working out the easiest way to get it done. And I'd left it on my desk!

    Happily, when I arrived to find Steve and Mr Tim Eveleigh in the BEER GARDEN we were soon joined by Mr Johnny Yeah who had PRINTED IT OUT. PHEW! I'd asked him to be IN it earlier in the week, and look for me he is SUPER DILIGENT. After chatting to the Pub Cat for a bit (who seemed to think it was a Pub DOG, from the way it was eyeing up GRUB) we decided to get cracking, and me and Johnny walked through to the front of the pub to do a couple of shots.

    This took AGES - not because it was difficult, but because it's impossible for Johnny to walk ANYWHERE in Lewisham without being POUNCED UPON by well-wishers. It's MENTAL - as we walked through the pub women flocked to kiss him and young men stepped forward to shake his hand. Every time I thought he was done I'd turn round to see someone ELSE grabbing him. Even when we were outside, several TAKES were spoiled by people seeing him and running over for a HUG!

    Eventually we got finished and started off on the MAIN bits, featuring Carl TwoBob as A Dinosaur, Tim as A Robot and me, Steve and Johnny as OURSELVES. It was LOTS of fun and got done at HIGH SPEED, although the final scene did get some raised eyebrows. Honestly, what is the world coming too when one man cannot lie at the feet of another being filmed, in a toilet cubicle?

    Once we'd finished MORE people turned up, including, all the way from Germany, Mr Martin Petersdorf! That is, of course, Martin who booked our GERMAN tour for us - he was over with his daughter, taking her on a driving tour of the UK, and his first stop was LEWISHAM! I was IMMENSELY pleased to see him, and there was much joyous reliving of the FANTASTIC time we'd had!

    Soon it was half past eight and time to get on with the show, which we DID. Wednesday night at The Fox & Firkin is KNITTING NIGHT, so half the audience were KNITTERS, who knitted as they LARFED throughout. We had a really good turnout of all sorts of people who'd come from all corners, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. We did it all Totally Acoustically and I'm starting to think that's how we're going to be doing it in ALL venues - it allows for much more MOVEMENT and the ever increasing use of DANCE!

    My favourite bit was Steve changing "sexy awkwardness" to "awkward sexiness" which was about 10,000,000 times funnier, but the whole thing's feeling much more RELAXED and FUN. I begin to see why comedians DO so many previews!

    Afterwards we handed out badges, GRINNED at each other and audiences, and generally relaxed after a job well done. It's ALWAYS a fantastic night out at The Fox and Firkin, and so far it's always been good fun doing the show - let's hope it continues that way!

    posted 15/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Dinosaur Planet In An Actual Theatre!
    I'm really VERY excited today as I've finally managed to achieve one of the ambitions harboured by Young Me: To have a play performed in a THEATRE!

    When I was in my teens and early twenties I was convinced that a life in THE THEATRE awaited me, and I actually got a little way towards it. As well as being PRESIDENT of The Leicester Polytechnic Poor Theatre (yes, BE impressed) and taking a whole batch of PRODUCTIONS to the Fringe (see: "The horrible time I had at the 1991 Edinburgh Fringe" for more details, playing on request in pubs NOW and forever) I used to write loads of plays and sketches. I managed to SELL a couple of sketches to Radio 4, had a Rehearsed Reading of one of my plays scheduled (and CANCELLED due to CUTS!) at The Royal Court, and got accepted onto an MSc Course to do PLAYWRITING.

    Unfortunately for me (and THE THEATRE, obviously) I couldn't take my place on the course - due to a mix up with addresses I only found out I HAD the place a fortnight before it started so didn't have time to apply for grants and couldn't afford to fund myself. I was DEVASTATED and after that it all sort of drifted away from me, helped somewhat by the LURE of ROCK. It turns out that being in a BAND is a whole HECKLOAD more fun than sitting in a Lonely Bedroom, typing PLAYS that are unlikely to ever be seen, so I pretty much gave up on the whole thing.

    I've always felt a bit bad about it - poor old Young Me REALLY wanted to do this and I always feel like he'd look on DISAPPROVINGLY if he knew I was going to spend SO much time larking about in PUBS rather than sipping cocktails at West End Openings. Only a BIT bad, mind you - Young Me was a bit of an arsey sod, after all, and not that much fun to be around, so I'm sure I took the right route, but it's nice at LAST to be able to do SOMETHING he'd've liked.

    For LO! As stated above, we're going to be doing Dinosaur Planet in a THEATRE! OK, I know Dinosaur Planet isn't exactly a "play", we're only doing it for one night, and the theatre in question does look suspiciously like A Room Above A Pub, but I still think it counts!

    The theatre in question is Theatre 503 near Clapham Junction and, as I say, it IS a room above a pub but ALSO a Proper Theatre with LOTS of Proper Stuff on in it. We're playing a one-off preview there on Wednesday July 21st at 9.15pm, so if you're in the area and fancing a bit of the ARTS do pop along won't you? If you can't find it, just follow the sounds of a forty year old man SQEAKING with GLEE, it'll be broadcasting from the area for at least two hours beforehand!

    posted 14/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Say It With Words
    One of my favourite things about Having Lots On The Go is that it tends to GEE UP your BRANE so that you end up getting lots and lots done at INCREDIBLE HIGH SPEEDS. Well, usually anyway - sometimes it makes you go and sit down in the corner and SHAKE, but mostly I find it's the latter.

    Thus at the moment I'm organising posters for Dinosaur Planet, doing SEVERAL online interviews about the same, making arrangements for Indietracks, booking the new SEASON of Totally Acoustic and, in the gaps, continuing to upload stuff to our exciting BANDCAMP page.

    And as a result of all this FRENETIC ACTIVITY I'm very happy to announce that you can now stream for free and/or download (for small amounts of CA$H) our debut album Say It With Words! ZANG!

    This means that all those people who, over the years, have asked for alternative file-types in which to download Hey Hey 16K can now HAVE them! And... er... anyone who isn't that bothered and just wants to listen to the full version online can do so too. Everybody's happy!

    As with This Is Not A Library, I didn't have a good version of the cover art on disc anywhere anymore, so had to partly recreate it using the bits and bobs of the originals that I still had and, ALSO as with This Is Not A Library, I think I made quite a nice job of it. So much so, in fact, that I've used these new versions of sleeves for the album's pages on this site, making it all look MUCH neater.

    I've ALSO once again linked all the song pages to the bandcamp files so that, should you want to listen to Where Is My Torch?, for instance, you can now do so at the time of your choosing with the lyrics to hand in case you want to sing along.

    SUCH luxury - it's like living in THE FUTURE!

    posted 13/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Steve and I gathered at St Pancras station on Saturday and headed NORTH to SHEFFIELD, for the next in this lengthy season of Dinosaur Planet Previews. We had a LOVELY time.

    After checking in at The Ibis (YES! I GOT MY USUAL ROOM) we wandered off to The Red Deer where the gig was DUE. It was a proper backstreet pub, a bit off, a lot cosy, with a nice lady behind the bar and TONS of different beers. Also, very handily in this weather, a BEER GARDEN, which we went and sat in. Mr Pete Green (promoting) arrived and recommended a CURRY HOUSE which Steve and I headed off to.

    It was an EXCELLENT recommendation, Butler's Balti House (being men of a certain age and inclination we both said "I 'ATE YOU BUTLER!" within seconds of arriving) where me, Steve and Ms S Jenkins, who joined us swiftly had an ACE curry and also mucb DISCUSSION. We were pleasantly FULL when we arrived back at the pub, where several other people had arrived. The top room was WARM and Pleasantly Packed when we went up, and watched Oxo Foxo, who did a set almost ENTIRELY of covers of pop songs. I think this is a REALLY good idea and I wish more people did it - if you play songs that people mostly a) already know b) already LIKE, then surely that's a guarantee of a MUCH better time for EVERYONE?

    Then we went on and I must say it went REALLY well. Steve started off saying "HELLO SHFFIELD!" as this was his first time ON THE ROAD. We got LARFS from the very start, which was very reassuring, and Steve did the best version of A Little Bit to DATE. I have to admit i did BRIDLE a bit at the fact that HE was getting LARFS (at the age of 40 i have decided to try and be completely honest about wanting the attention to be on ME. Everybody I know seems to have noticed it already anyway!) as opposed to all of them being MINE but BRAVELY consoled myself that it was For The Good Of The Show. I am like a THEATRICAL SAINT in this way.

    RIGHT at the very end, just after the hornpipe has been danced for the second time, we got interrupted by Massively Arsey Landlady, who BARGED in, shouted "LAST ORDERS! LAST ORDERS now!" and, despite seeing exactly what was going on, LOUDLY started collecting drinks. "We won't be long!" said Steve, jovially. "I CAN'T STOP LAST ORDERS!" she shouted, and STORMED out. It was fine for us (tho, as Pete later pointed out, one of us should have said "But it was Last Orders for mankind - aaaah!") as we DID finish a couple of minutes later, but I always think it's funny (BOTH ways) when people who run pubs get like that. "GRRR!" they think, "PEOPLE in MY pub! How i hate them!"

    So yes, we finished HOT and VERY SWEATY but also PLEASED and everyone made it down in time for Last Orders. I had been planning to go back to BED but we were a bit UP and EXCITED, so decided to go elsewhere for MORE BEER - hilariously LOADS of people made a SPECIAL POINT of saying "Bye! Thank you!" and being SUPER POLITE and grateful to the Arsey Landlady, which only made her ANGRIER STILL!

    We ZOOMED down the road to The Washington wherein I engaged upon a Lengthy Political Debate with Mr P Green and we also had some BEER and more CHAT. It was BRILLIANT and a happy precursor to the GOOD TIMES to come at Indietracks. The next morning was ALSO a precursor to the slightly less enjoyable MORNINGS to come at Indietracks, and it was a very quiet Hibbett and Hewitt who rode the train home. Quiet, but happy, and looking forward to the gigs to come.

    posted 12/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Good Stuff
    I know I have been having a bit of a MOAN here just lately ("really Mark, we hadn't noticed hem hem, do tell us MORE about CMYK vs RGB colour formatting"), and that's because I've been having to do the bits of ROCK ADMIN that i HATE - dealing with manufacturers, filling in forms, trying to make individual arrangements with people who have dozens of bands/acts to deal with etc etc. All that stuff is a right pain in the arse to slog through and is why, foolish tho it is overall, so many people think "Sod this, I'm getting me a manager/lawyer/agent/massive international corporation to do it instead."

    HOWEVER. Once all that stuff is DONE it lets you get your hands on THE GOOD STUFF and BY JIMINY I think I have got to the top of HASSLE MOUNTAIN this week, clambered over the peak, and am now sliding happily down the GROOVY TIMES SLED RUN. I can pinpoint pretty clearly when this happened too - yesterday lunchtime. Having had a morning of HASSLE CONFRONTATION I returned to my work station after dining to find a SLEW of brilliant emails.

    One example of this would be Totally Acoustic. I've had a GRATE idea about how to continue this which I'll go into in more depth next time. The SHORT version is that I'm going to do SIX of them over the course of TWELVE months, and yesterday morning managed to BOOK them with The Lamb. I then sent out the first wave of emails to people who I'd like to do it (for various reasons I'm mostly asking people BACK for these ones, and sent the first wave out to people who'd be likely to have difficult doing dates). When I got back from lunch I had a GORGEOUS bunch of emails from people giving their preferred dates - it was both PEASY and LOVELY, and it looks like my GRATE idea (see above, and To Be Revealed) might actuall WORK!

    Another thing that came in was the possibility of doing a Dinosaur Planet preview in an ACTUAL THEATRE! Imagine! Us! In a THEATRE! I don't know if it'll really happen or if it'll do us any good but I'm MASSIVELY excited at the very IDEA of it! THEATRE!

    Also in that batch of emails was an idea from George Damnably, about an Olympic Project we could put in a BID for. I'm sure the people organising it want CLASSICAL MUSIC and/or Young Offenders Rapping or something, but I've had a LOVELY idea for what we could base our PIECE (yes!) on - I don't want to go into it in too much depth right now (NB because there isn't really any depth to go into yet!) but have a look at this picture of Tebbs Johnson. Doesn't it make you want to know MORE about him? It did me!

    I bloody LOVE it when things get like this, with all sorts of IDEAS and POSSIBILITIES swimming around. I've also got "Forest Moon Of Enderby" tentatively scheduled to be delivered to me by next Friday, which will be FANTASTIC, and flyers for Dinosaur Planet should be turning up around the same time. I've written a SCRIPT for our YouTube advert for the show too, which we hope to be filming in Lewisham next week, and we've even got our train tickets all booked for the various Summer Events that are coming up.

    There's more previews, the Fringe itself, the Camden Fringe and on top of all that it's only a couple of weeks until I re-unite with The Validators for our warm-up dates and - HECK YES! - INDIETRACKS itself! It feels like the organisation and admin is almost all DONE and it's time to leap into THE EXCITEMENT!

    The water looks LOVELY, howsabout we all jump in TOGETHER, eh?

    posted 9/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Forest Moon Of Enderby - the cover
    I've been banging on about the TRAVAILS of getting "Forest Moon Of Enderby" sorted out at the manufacturers A LOT just lately, so I thought it was probably time to show you the cover. So here it is!

    Forest Moon Of Enderby

    GOOD, isn't it?

    It took us AGES to get round to this. Originally I asked Tim to do us something that looked like Warriors Of Nanpantan and, under my BADGERING, he came up with a design which we came to know as "The Giant Space Cabbage". In retrospect i have to say this was possibly not the best DEMAND I have ever made.

    HOWEVER, Tim had his OWN idea and so, one weekend, crept into the forests of Mauritius with some cuddly toys and small items of clothing and a camera... what? WHAT? CLEAN YOUR MINDS! He was there to find a suitable LOG upon which to take the picture you see above. Goodness me!

    Anyway, some toying with LIGHTING and the addition of the LOGO (which I'd knocked up for the multimedia and didn't expect to see on the FRONT) and some TEXT and LO! The rather DELIGHTFUL cover you see above.

    The inside looks DEAD ARTY too, but we'll save that until it comes out. At the moment I am poised by the email waiting to hear if the AUDIO CD is actually going to work properly. Being a LABEL, it's just FUN FUN FUN!

    posted 8/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Action Action Action (moan moan moan)
    PHEW, it's all go here, as we move SEVERAL projects forward. Today i have been dealing with issues mostly on TWO of the above, "Forest Moon of Enderby" (making sure we're actually going to GET copies before Indietracks and WORRYING about whether the CD-R stuff is going to be replicated OK) and Dinosaur Planet, trying to get the flyers done and ENJOYING the delights of DEALING WITH PRINTERS.

    I know I RANTED about this the other day doing the cover for FMofE, but MY GOODNESS ME: if you have the correct software then it takes ABOUT THREE SECONDS to convert something from RGB to CMYK. Lots of people don't have this software - in Photoshop, for instance, the past couple of versions have forced you to pay SEVERAL HUNDRED POUNDS EXTRA for this Useful Function - but you would think that a) professional print companies would HAVE the professional versions of software and b) they would prefer to TAKE the THREE SECONDS to use it rather than indulging in DAYS AND DAYS AND DAYS sending files back, saying "No no, the bleed isn't right and it's still RGN ner ner ner."

    And it's ALL bloody printers that are like this - even lovely ones STILL make you do artwork to ridiculous specifics, JUST IN CASE they set the machine up wrong and they get cut in the wrong place. Here's an idea, printers of the world: DON'T SET THE FCUKING MACHINE UP WRONG, then you'll save us HOURS of tedious annoyance. JUST AN IDEA.

    And BREATH.

    In slightly more DELIGHTFUL news, we now have BADGES! This year there are four different colours of Dinosaur Planet badges, available to all who attends. They're bloody gorgeous too - as usual I did them with Wee Badgers, who have clear templates and instructions, accept all sorts of readily available file formats, charge very reasonable rates, are easy to contact, and deliver at HIGH SPEED. All other similar retailers: BE MORE LIKE THEM!

    posted 7/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Hangover Lounge
    I was up bright and early on Sunday morning to help OVERSEE (still being A Bit Poorly it would have been ILL ADVISED to do TOO much Actual Work) the setting up of a trampoline. If you've never put up a trampoline before, here is the KEY FACT: it involves a LOT of springs. I guess that's obvious, once you know it, but it surprised me quite how many there were.

    With that almost done I had to dash off to catch the TUBE into sunny Central London, where we were booked to do ANOTHER preview of Dinosaur Planet, this time back at HEP Sunday Hangout The Hangover Lounge at The Lexington. I'll tell you this - if the future of Fairly Trendy Venues On The London Gig Circuit is going to be place like The Lexington then I am ALL for it. They have Proper Beer, decent food, and nice seats - three things which you would never find at, say, The Garage. It also doesn't STINK and has WINDOWS! A recommendation INDEED!

    I enjoyed a TASTY (if slightly lacking in gravy - that's the only bad thing I have to say about the entire pub!) Sunday Dinner whilst listening to Disc Jockeying and watching people gradually filter in - The Hewitts, The Nuts In My Nut Roast and a, to be honest, slightly alarmingly large number of PALS and ACQUAINTANCES. NERVES started to happen!

    Upstairs some people had ALREADY gone and got seats (these people also gave out CHOCOLATES, which I think should be encouraged, they were dead nice) and by the time we'd shephered everyone up we had by far the biggest audience yet. As previously stated: NERVES!

    The show itself, however, went off pretty well. We tried out a REVISION to the first scene, ditching the telephones and bumping up the HILARIOUS GAG about Norwich, which went down rather well, and then THREW ourselves into it. The aforementioned NERVES made us make a couple of mistakes, but nothing we couldn't jolly our way around, and a couple of props fell down a GAP between stage and stage extension, which meant Steve had to EXTEMPORISE a little while I DIVED after them.

    Other than that it was VERY enjoyable - it feels like we're getting towards the point now where we can relax and ENJOY doing the show, and can start to feel fairly secure in the knowledge that there ARE some LARFS in it. We're also increasing the OVER ACTING (NB some of us more than others, hem hem) which I guess we should keep an eye on... although it's a LOT of fun. Also, apparently, Certain Cast Members spent the entire showing MOUTHING the words that Certain Other Cast Members were saying. I'll try and not do that in future!

    We finished in high spirits and went downstairs for a congratulatory DRINK. For the second day running I was in an area of BOOZE but sticking to the soft drinks, which frankly I think deserves a MEDAL. Weirdly I kept thinking "Mmm, this Blackcurrant cordial is really sorting out my hangover", even tho i didn't HAVE one. Almost as if my inner BRANE was latching onto the only possible explanation it could find for me NOT drinking BOOZE in a pub.

    We finished up and headed home on the tube, where The Wheels On My Bus was BLESSED, once again, with my in-depth analysis of every aspect of our performance. I am so good to her - I repeated it all over AGANE when we had our tea, just to make sure she didn't miss any of it.

    So yes, things are looking pretty good I reckon - next stop LEWISHAM!

    posted 6/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    I got home from work on Thursday KNACKERED. "I feel like I've been weightlifting or something" I told The Bar In My Bar Bell. Struck with SUDDEN FEAR I went upstairs and discovered the reason for this: i had once again succumbed to my Ongoing Cellulitis Thing i.e. had got ANOTHER infection of "the lower back". I knew the drill for this: headed STRAIGHT for bed, pausing only to cancel the next two evenings' engagements.

    I thus spent the rest of the evening and ALL of Friday in bed, being ministered to by The Moisture In My Cool Wet Flannel and drinking WORMWOOD AND YARROW drinks made for me by The Landlady. These drinkes were UTTERLY HORRIBLE but, combined with the nursing care and early action DID seem to work, so much so that by Saturday morning all had cleared up sufficiently to allow me to travel to HIBBETTFEST! HOORAH!

    I was thus able to meet Steve at Marylebone station and enjoy the long but DELIGHTFUL journey up to Cradeley Heath, where Mr Ray Dann met us and drove us over to his house. I've been playing HIBBETTFEST in various versions of Ray and/or his parents' back garden every summer for YEARS now and it's always good fun, but I was ESPECIALLY pleased to see that this year there was an ADVERTISING HOARDING outside the house (see below).

    l-r Steve, Ray

    We went through and were gradually joined by a bit of a THRONG of Ray's family and pals. One of the MANY nice things about doing this gig is that I've got to gradually now Ray's Lot, who are a RIGHT lovely bunch of people. The passage of time was VERY noticeable too this year, as there were LOADS of kids there too, so much so that The Dog had to stay inside, which was a shame.

    We had some GRUB and most other people had BEER. I had decided not to risk a RELAPSE - which was hard work when there was so much lovely BEER around - and instead stuck to Ray's home made ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL which, COR, was DELICIOUS. I got a bottle to take home with me too, which was MUCH appreciated!

    Suitably FED we did the show, which seemed to go pretty well. It's always a bit difficult for people to know what to make of it at that start, and especially so when we're looping around in someone's back garden, but everyone soon got into it and we had a lovely time. We did find out, however, that it is IMPOSSIBLE to hear what's going on when you've got the robot heads on if there's no amplification!

    With the job done we hung around a bit before heading into town, where everyone went to the pub. Everyone except for ME - i REALLY didn't want to risk HEALTH and it was a long journey back, so I hugged my goodbyes and set off for an earlier train. An EXCELLENT thing about working these gigs as a double act, however, is that Steve is MORE than able to deputise in such situations and stuck around for a good while to sample some of the MANY excellent beers available in The Wellington.

    I arrived home tired but VERY pleased it had gone so well, ready for our LONDON preview the next morning!

    posted 5/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Sheffield: CoRRECTION!
    A quick AMENDMENT: I've been banging on about Dinosaur Planet being on at The Red House in Sheffield next week, but it ISN'T! It's the Red DEER, the Red DEER!

    Sorry about that, force of habit i guess! All the details are HERE but basically it's Dinosaur Planet at The Red Deer on Saturday 10th July. And it'll be GRATE!

    posted 3/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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    Performing Pals
    I've been out TWICE in the past two nights - i know, i know, i should be writing an IN SOCIETY column or something - both times to see some PALS, performing.

    On Tuesday night I headed out to The Green Dragon in Croydon to see Mr Pete Green playing at Freedom Of Expression. I've been there so very many times that it felt WEIRD not to have my guitar with me, and I kept PANICKING every few minutes when I realised i didn't have it. It was LOVELY to be there again tho, and there was MUCH HUGGING. It was also GRATE to see Mr Green again, as it feels like ages since I last saw him or, indeed, Mariantha Atomic Beat, and it reminded me of what I've missed most about not doing so many gigs this year: the bit beforehand with the beer and the chatting. It was lovely, and made me excited about the prospect of a whole WEEKEND of that sort of thing, come Indietracks.

    Pete was, of course, GRATE, and it was brilliant to see him in a room like this where it WASN'T an Indie Scene type gig. It's lovely to play to people who already like you, but it takes a special kind of something to do it to a room full of people who have no idea what you're like and could get up and leave or just sit and CHAT if you don't entertain them. Pete, of course, GRABBED them , turning them from a chatting mobile crowd at the start to a LARGER one hanging on his every word by the end. Well done sir!

    Then last night myself and The Punchline In My Joke went to Leafy Stoke Newington to see my friend Cathy do her first stand-up gig. She's been doing a Stand-Up Comedy course and this was their big end of term show where everyone was doing five minutes. We'd heard some of her GAGS a couple of weeks ago and were thus assured of some LARFS, which we indeed GOT. I always find it weird watching my friends, especially my friends I know from outside of BANDS, doing this sort of thing, and get VERY NERVOUS about it, but she was DEAD good, got everybody on side, and had the whole room cheering by the end. She also finished with a last line so... MEMORABLE that pretty much EVERYONE referred back to it over the rest of the night. I shall never look at a plastic knife the same way again!

    It was lovely to be out seeing OTHER people doing THE SHOWS, but I must admit it did make me hanker a little for some of my own again. Luckily, I've got LOADS coming up!
    posted 1/7/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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