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Blog Archive: November 2011

The Joy Of Filing
I got home last night to find that the Dinosaur Planet Christmas Cards had arrived - and they look GORGEOUS!

As I think I've mentioned before, the original idea was to get these done for Promotional Purposes, but as a) they look so FANTASTIC and b) it was only a few more quid to get TWICE as many I thought I'd order a load more and see if anybody wanted to buy some. I thus had a happy half hour last night putting together PACKS of 10 cards and 10 envelopes, containing the lot in MYLAR bags from the comic shop (which just happen to fit PERFECT) sealed with homemade stickers. The packs look even NICER!

It felt BRILLIANT to finally be able to START putting things together like this. My HOME STUDY looks like a WAREHOUS at the moment - there's boxes of Dinosaur Planet postcards, Dinosaur Planet Christmas Cards, an Dinosaur Planet T-Shirts, BAGS and BAGS of pre-addressed pre-stamped ENVELOPES in various categories for mailing the CD out, and THREE boxes seperate kinds of ENVELOPES ready for when we start sending stuff out. The one thing missing from all of these piles is the one thing we really NEED, the Dinosaur Planet album itself!

Quite apart from all the hassles about getting the album manufactured the main frustration of all the delays has been the FACT that every day I see ALL THESE PILES, sat LOOKING at me, reminding me that things can't get started yet, so it was a JOY to be able to DO something at last. In order to celebrate this fact I treated myself to a frenzied half hour of FILING. Aaah, FILING! Was there ever an activity so well designed to calm the soul AND be easily done whilst listening to the radio? CDs were put in their correct places, reciepts and invoices were LOGGED, future train tickets were put into the Future Train Tickets drawer, and order was derived from CHAOS. I also put the various boxes neatly on top of each other, so at least they LOOKED a bit neater, it was GLORIOUS!

We may not be quite out of the FOREST OF FRUSTRATION just yet - I'm _hoping_ to have CDs of the album next week, tho this is by no means certain - but I feel I am at last beginning to hear the distant sound of the motorway beyond the edge of the woods. I'm hoping beyond hope that, by the end of the year, we shall be fully LAUNCHED... at which point I guess I'll have to think of something ELSE to worry about!

posted 30/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Moon Horse in Brighton
I arrived at The Prince Albert to find Mr S Hewitt waiting with a pint of Old Chestnut on the go. We went and CHECKED IN, continuing our habit of DELIGHTING SOUNDMEN by saying "We don't need any sound, thanks." They always seem to like that! This gave us more time to drink BEER and eat GRUB, in preparation for the SHOW.

I must admit I was a bit worried about how it would work - we were supporting The Lovely Eggs, who had been VERY LOUD INDEED during the soundcheck, and I wondered what on earth people who'd come to see THEM (and it was very much their crowd!) would make of us. It was a BIG crowd who were all standing up, so when we came on we explained what we were going to do, how long it would be (I always think this has got to HELP - if people think it's going to be a normal 30 minute support slot they're like to be SURPRISED!) and then got ON with it. We've not done many gigs like this at all with 'Moon Horse' and the first ten minutes or so felt a bit odd, with sections that usually get LARFS being met with nervous titters and PUZZLEMENT, as people didn't seem sure what to make of it. We did some AD LIBS at various points to try and make it clear that everything was all right and it was MEANT to be like this, and by the second half we were rolling along nicely - people STAYED and WATCHED and by the time we got to the EMOTIONAL bits at the end you could have heard the proverbial PIN dropping.

It all reminded me why i love doing this show so much - i LOVE it when it starts to turn POLITICAL and you can HEAR people realising what's happening. Even now I'm tempted to say out loud "Hey kids! IT'S A METAPHOR!!" as if I'm scared people wouldn't NOTICE, but they always SEEM too, and i ESPECIALLY enjoy the very very end bit, when there's four big GAGS in a row. It's GRATE!

Afterwards Steve flew off back home and I hung around to have a CHAT and watch the Lovely Eggs. It was all lovely, except that I found myself getting a COLD, so bought some LEMSIP on the way back to my hotel room which, it turned out, was located not only on the seafront but also directly opposite a TAXI RANK near a NIGHT CLUB. It was a night of not much sleep when I thought "Gosh! Why do people GO to places like that when EVERYONE seems to come out so ANGRY?" It was a bit of a RUM end to an otherwise ACE night out - the last chunk of Moon Horse for a while now, but fear not, we shall return!

posted 29/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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The June Brides
I had a GLITTERING night out in That London on Friday, beginning with a meeting with Mr J Kell. Over BEER and CURRY we discussed a new IDEA that we're going to have a go at over the next few months. It was all VERY exciting as THORTS flew across the formica table in Indian Veg, and we agreed to have a good old THINK before regrouping over the Christmas Holidays to discuss CHARACTERS. It's basically an idea for a podcast sitcom thingy, and I already have the KILLER CATCHPHRASE for one of the characters which, I am convinced will lead to it taking over from That Bit With The Chandelier as Most Loved British Comedy EVER: one of them says "Actually, I'm a Cellist." Teachers beware, that one is BOUND to take over the playgrounds of 2012!

After all that we went back to The Lexington and were soon joined by The Jokes In My Sitcom to head upstairs to see The June Brides. We've seen The Phil Wilson Big Band several times, but only the actual June Brides once, a few years ago somewhere near Stoke Newington. It was pretty much the SAME band - there's two other June Brides who play with Phil anyway, but i think the key is that if Mr S Beesely plays then it's The June Brides, if not it's a SOLO show.

Anyway, it was very much June Brides on Friday, not least because they did a set ENTIRELY of their songs, though it did feature "Small Town" from his solo album which, it turns out, was meant to be the fifth June Brides single. POP FACTS! I bloody love that solo album, and it's a shame to see Phil and NOT hear huge chunks of it, but GOODNESS ME they went some way to making up for that minor disappointment by being BLOODY FANTASTIC. It's always funny seeing Mr Wilson on stage - in normal life his is a gentle man and indeed a GENTLEMAN, but when he hits the stage he ROCKS OUT like nobody's business, and I always think "Oh yes, I forgot - he isn't just Phil, he is Phil Wilson, ROCK LEGEND."

As ever at The Lexington the sound was FANTASTIC and a HUGE crowd of people got WELL into it - it was GRATE to see them get the LOVE, also RESPECT, they are due, but even better to watch them just being FANTASTIC. There is a school of thought that says that the reason the C86 era indie bands are thought of as being a bit twee and/or jangly is because they had tiny little amps and were recorded tinnily, whereas if they'd had the GEAR we have today they would have sounded IMMENSE. This theory was very much BORNE OUT on Friday, it was GRATE!

After they'd finished we went downstairs and saw many of the Old Faces from Back In The Day - it was a bit STRANGE, as it was like seeing the GROWN-UPS (i.e. the Senior Scene Members) from around 1996 when I first started coming to gigs in That London, and now as then it made me feel a little TIMID. We also bumped into Phil who was looking VERY happy with things, as well he might do, whilst smoking a very FUTURISTIC looking Electronic Cigarrette. You didn't get THOSE at Alan McGee's Living Room Club!

The excitement continued when we went back up and had a chat with Mrs P Wilson, who reported that it was even MORE full of The Old Faces, as loads of the people from the distant NINETEEN EIGHTIES scene, a whole DECADE before my first time, were lurking around. "Someone said they saw Midge Ure!" she said. I pointed out that it might just be someone doing MOVEMBER, but he was just one of a long list of people that had been reported, including a number of BOOKING AGENTS. I've seen talk on the interweb between people discussing the need to BOOK a PROPER TOUR for The June Brides, rather than relying on PALS doing one-off gigs. As a PAL who BOOKED a couple of those one-off gigs I could not agree more - this is a GRATE band making a MIGHTY sound who need to be heard by people as much now as they did then. Come on, FESTIVALS and SO FORTH, make them do it!

posted 28/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Brentwood's Only Alternative
I went to Liverpool Street after work and caught the Shenfield Train - not that unusual an occurrence, as it goes through Stratford (two stops from Leytonstone) so I've often used it as a shortcut home but this time I was going NEARLY all the way, for LO! I was heading out to distant BRENTWOOD to do a session for Phoenix FM.

For the second time this week I had the strange feeling of remembering a route I hadn't walked for YEARS, as I strode through town to the radio station's offices. As Mr Paul Golder aka Eddie Curry, the host of the show "Brentwood's Only Alternative", said it must be at least a couple of years since I was last there, although I still maintain the record for MOST SESSIONS. I am, basically, The Fall to his John Peel. It was lovely to be back there anyway, especially to see it THRIVING. When i first started doing sessions for Paul the station was running on various temporary licences, usually broadcasting from a TINY little room above a Community Centre - i distinctly remember one time having to SQUEEZE three of us in there to do some recording, and constantly having to shut doors and/or wait for quiet moments in the ROWDY TEENAGE PARTY downstairs. Nowadays they've got a permanent licence, their own offices and studio and are in fact MOVING to larger premises in a few weeks. It's brilliant!

Paul produced some BEER for me, which got things off to a very pleasant start and then we nipped back in to the studio to get set up while he cued a series of songs. Once we were on air I kicked off by doing THREE songs from the album, as follows:

  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • A Little Bit
  • Please Don't Eat Us

  • I LAUNCHED into the first one a bit too loudly, going by the PANICKED RESETTING of volume controls, and messed up the start of A Little Bit, but otherwise it all seemed to go over all right, though I'm not entirely sure how well my attempts to do the CHILDREN'S CHOIR sections in Please Don't Eat Us worked on the radio. After that we embarked upon a LENGTHY chat, during which we discussed where the story came from, how it's developed, what we're going to do NEXT and my appearance in Judge Dredd Magazine. Towards the end we veered perilously close to SPOILERS, also CONFUSION when Paul asked "What's all that stuff about a Moon Horse at the end?" and I had to very carefully explain that there IS a moon but not a Moon Horse without divulging any further details. It was HARD!

    After we'd finished we shook hands and I stomped off back to the station, leaving Paul to continue doing his show on the station that he a) runs b) loves, with me promising to come back a lot SOONER this time. I certainly intend to - it's lovely to go off and see a right proper COMMUNITY PROJECT doing so well, especially one that gives you BEER!

    posted 24/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    More Christmas, More Greeks
    Hark! What is that sound? Why, it is the lilting RACKET of hundreds of indie bands up and down the country, wondering how much SLEIGHBELL they can get away with on their Christmas song this year!

    For LO! it is very much That Time Of The Year again, when Christmas deadlines LOOM and everyone had to get their song finished, and we are no exception. Over the weekend i was GRAPPLING with my version of A Popular Classic which'll be featuring on the Joyzine Advent Calendar (and which features some MIGHTY vocals by The Melody In My Harmonies) then LAST night I was adding the final component to the Validators' song "Thank Goodness For Christmas", which will hopefully be on Fika Recording's calendar.

    As with last year we've recorded all our parts seperately, emailing them to my Central ROCK Depository where I've gently pieced things together. It's been a strange mix of STUFF this time though - Tim sent in some VOCALS, Frankie did SLEIGHBELLS, Emma did PIANO and The Tiger... well, he did some violin, but ALSO some KEYBOARDS. It all sounds rather lovely, especially since last night when Emma's piano arrived, JUST nudging us over the border into MEGA CHRISTMASSY. I'm right looking forward to getting these two out to people, I was listening to them this morning on the way to work and feeling DEAD FESTIVE.

    Not long after I'd got to work I found an email from The British Museum saying that they'd put our animation online. Here it is:

    Ours is the first Herakles And The Hydra clip, about 3:20 in. GOOD isn't it? We were VERY pleased with it I must say! It almost - ALMOST - made me want to have a go at doing another stop-motion video like last year... but then i looked at my diary, saw all the Germany PREP and Envelope Stuffing that lies ahead and thought maybe best not!

    posted 23/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Third Time Lucky
    After a weekend of much COGITATION and WORRY I decided on a new company to ENTRUST the manufacture of the 'Dinosaur Planet' album too, and emailed them the FACTS. I was very impressed to find an email back from them first thing Monday morning, and by lunchtime I had not only PAID them and sent ARTWORK, but had arranged to go off to their offices in CAMDEN to hand over the AUDIO files. Things were moving FAST!

    As I strode through Caaaamden towards their offices I was struck with memories of the last time I'd visited their offices, nearly nine years ago when I'd first moved to London and we were getting This Is Not A Library made. As I recalled this I was suddenly gripped with PANIC: that was AGES ago. If they were so GOOD why did I stop using them? Had something gone HORRIFICALLY wrong?

    Just as I arrived I remembered - our next proper album had been a DIGIPACK, which they hadn't been able to do, I think. I went upstairs and met David, our new PLANNER. Everything looked PROPER and PROFESSIONAL but still PLEASANT - he was just sending me the proofs for approval, and when he explained what was happening i NOTED that he used The Proper Terms for things (CMYK and all that) but then happily explained what he meant when there were bits i didn't understand i.e. THE RIGHT WAY of doing things. There were questions about the onbody artwork, which their Artwork Person explained, and all in all I felt CONFIDENT that they were going to do things CORRECTLY.

    This feeling was enhanced TWICE. Firstly when I asked if maybe they hadn't been able to do digipacks last time and he said "That sounds right - we wouldn't have had a reliable dealer. We have SEVERAL now!" and then when we talked about delivery dates. I'd told them it would be NICE if there was a chance of getting them BEFORE Germany, but I'd rather take the time to get it right than risk it going wrong. "We've had so many problems..." i said. "You won't with US!" he immediately replied, PROUD of his FINE COMPANY.

    It was all i could do to stop myself from HUGGING him.

    I left feeling REASSURED and, as I type, have just sent final approval for the artwork. I have EVERYTHING crossable CROSSED in the hope that it goes through without problems this time. I'm tempted to start HOPING for it to be with us in time to take to Germany, but really what I want is to have it DONE so i can finally SEND them to people. As SOON as they're ready, you'll hear it here - and hopefully before Christmas!

    posted 22/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Greeks Alive!
    On Sunday morning I donned my Responsible Adult DISGUISE and set off with The Exhibits In My Gallery to collect ourselves a NEPHEW. For LO! the pair of us were taking Young Max to a WORKSHOP at The British Museum called "Greeks Alive", where we were set to do two hours of animation, with a Greek Myth theme.

    All was going well until The Students In My School dropped the pair of us off at the classroom where it was all happening. Max and I sat down at a table with a little lad and his Dad and I was suddenly gripped with PANIC: "I am NOT a Responsible Adult of ANY kind!" i realised, and had NO idea how to do this sort of thing. Am I MEANT to talk to the other kids? Do I even sit down, or should I be on the other side of the room talking to the DADs about CARS and FOOTBALL? EEK!

    Panic ROSE when the workshop started and we were told we would be working in groups. FEAR! DANGER! DOOM! This is the sort of thing that TERRIFIES me - i get flashbacks to The First Day Of Polytechnic and CRUSHING SOCIAL ANXIETY takes over.

    Things gradually calmed down once things got going though - if there is anything more relaxing than Cutting Out Shapes then I want to know what it is, and our table very quickly settled into a PROPER TEAM, with the adults doing that thing of trying to a) Gently Guide the YOUNGSTERS through the tasks alocated while simultaneously b) trying not to completely take over but c) really rather enjoying an excuse to make things out of PLASTICINE.

    It was, to be honest, BRILLIANT, and we worked together really well, with everyone chucking in ideas. We did "Herakles VS The Hydra"... or rather, the first bit of it, as we got a bit carried away with BLOOD and NECK HACKING and a BIG FITE so didn't quite get around to animating the rest of the story. Ooh, it was ever so good tho, every time we'd done another second of animation we'd all gather round the laptop to watch the whole thing, and GIGGLE - especially when we did CLOSE UP: Herakles looks SURPRISED. That bit was MY idea!

    The two hours ZOOMED by and when everyone gathered together to watch ALL the films I had to contain myself in order NOT to stand up and yell "HA! In your FACE, small children! Our film is THE BEST! GO US!" because, well, my dears it was far and away the most excellent. Ours was shown last and when it finished a small girl said "Encore!" (NB there were some quite posh children there) and the Supervisor said "You want to watch them all again?" "NO!" I thought, very loudly, "JUST OURS! IT IS BEST!"

    It was a whole HECKLOAD of fun, and afterwards The Water In My Kettle bought us TEA and SCONES. This Responsible Adult business is a whole lot easier than people make it LOOK i reckon!

    posted 21/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Dinosaur Planet In 2012
    So, I was sat at work on Wednesday grateful that we had FINALLY pretty much sorted out the rhyme for the Christmas Card and looking forward to a delightful evening in Cambridge, when an email arrived in my inbox from the CD people. "Aha!" I thought, "That'll probably be them saying that they'll be arriving on Monday, rather than Friday as promised. Hey ho."

    I was right to be pessimistic, but things were much worse than I expected. The email said that the Digipacks had come out all scratched and marked AGAIN, had been failed by the factory's OWN Quality Control Department (who must have been on holiday last time this happened...) and would need to be repressed.

    Oh blimey. It also said that they "couldn't say when the new ones would be ready", which was a bit annoying - surely if they'd buggered it up for a SECOND time they'd just put it straight through AGANE, rather than waiting around any longer? Still, I get the impression that the factory itself is a different organisation from the CD BROKERS I'm dealing with, who were EXTREMELY apologetic and offered me a full refund. I thought about it for a little while - I'm not MASSIVELY keen on going right back to square one again, but then again I'm not exactly CONFIDENT that this lot would EVER get it right. Also, if they can't say when the THIRD attempt would be done we would be missing our release dates ANYWAY so in the end I decided that a clean break would be best, and agreed to the refund.

    To be fair to the brokers the money was back in my account the next day, and they apologised once more saying they'd be having an enquiry into it, but really I'd've preferred it if it had been done right the FIRST time - they've been good on the last two albums which we've done with them, but suffice to say I shall not be getting them to do anything else in future!

    The result of all this is that the album will now NOT be coming out on December 5th as promised, which is VERY UPSETTING INDEED, but can't be helped. Our lovely distributors, Proper Distribution, have been very nice about it and have even offered to find someone ELSE to do it for us, so I'm hoping we WILL get proper copies done in the next 3 or 4 weeks, and as SOON as I've got them in my hand they'll be available to buy in our online shop. The Official Release date will probably now be in January.

    It's a right bugger but, as ever, I'm trying to see the positives in all this. The REVISED PLAN means that now the Dinosaur Planet Christmas Cards (which I'm going to order later today) will be coming out BEFORE the album (almost like some sort of Promotional Item! Imagine!) and I'll have a bit more LEAD TIME before sending CDs to journalists and it being Officially Released. In addition it'll come out in the traditional Quiet Time of January, so we might be able to get a bit more coverage, and the Launch Gig i've booked for January 26th at The Wilmington Arms in That London will now be a lot nearer to the actual launch!

    So yes, it will probably work out for the best and we should get product to be PROUD of. Still, I can't help thinking it's my own fault. The day the first lot went wrong I'd seen a penny on my way in to work and picked it up, tempting FATE by thinking "I'll need some luck today!". I was due to head out of town for a Moon Horse gig that day too, just as I was on Wednesday when I once again saw a penny, coming out of the GYM, and thought "I'll need some luck today!" If anyone sees me picking pennies up on November 28th, when I'm later off to Brighton, for goodness sake STOP me!

    posted 18/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Moon Horse In Cambridge
    I had a bit of a FRAUGHT afternoon yesterday, DETAILS of which will be displayed later this week, but suffice to say: i was a bit STRESSED when Steve and I hopped on the train to Cambridge last night. I needed an evening of FUN and PALS to get over the experience... and luckily that's exactly what I got.

    After checking in at The Hamilton Lodge (my B&B of CHOICE in Cambridge - lovely breakfast!) we wandered down to The Portland Arms where we found promoter Mr S MacAllister waiting for us. He apologised for the fact that he'd ordered our TEA in a bit early - surely one of the things that anybody ANYWHERE would LEAST need to apologise for - so we got straight on to VEGGIE SAUSANGE AND CHIPS. By the time we had finished, and got through a pint of Surprisingly Nice Greene King Mild, I was feeling MUCH better about the universe!

    This feeling only increased as various PALS arrived. Ooh it was lovely, and as usual it felt a shame that the CHAT had to STOP so I could go on and do THIS:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • "Hang on", you may say, "I thought you were there to do Moon Horse?" Yes, yes I was, but Steve The Promoter had suggested that I could do a SOLO SPOT as first support, and by golly I'm glad he did. It was GRATE fun, and I managed to get out a large amount of my REMARKS - every time we do Moon Horse I think "OOH! I've got an excellent REMARK to make!" and then CAN'T because The Show Must Continue, so it was nice to have an opportunity to get them out of my BRANE early. It was also a good way of assessing the audience - they were WELL UP for a bit of joining in and singing along, which was an excellent sign for the second set later on.

    Before that, however, we had Model Village. The first thing I noticed about them was the SINGING, which was PROPER and lovely, but then I got distracted by the BASS PLAYING, which was just the right side of WIDDLY to make me happy. Then I noticed the guitar playing and... well, basically I went round the whole band LIKING them before settling down to THOROUGHLY enjoying the whole thing. It was like one of those alt-country type bands suddenly went "Hang on, why don't we have some FUN and play some SONGS with GOOD STUFF in them?" It was ACE!

    And then it was our turn to go on and bring THE SHOW. I know I keep saying it every time we DO Moon Horse but GOLLY I think I'm actually enjoying it MORE the longer we do it, especially when it goes wrong - which it did a couple of times last night, with LARFS ensuing. Steve, SOMEHOW, seems to have got USED to this now and seems to be doing his Postgraduate Work on Saying Amusing Things when this happens! We got the biggest reaction EVER to the "you can't just pretend to go to the moon" BIT - INDEED we got big LARFS nearly everywhere, the only exception being the "Doctor Who" gag, which we expected to TAKE THE ROOF OFF but actually people just smiled at. "Shanklin We Have A Problem" is still my FAVOURITE bit tho!

    So yes, it all went EXCEPTIONALLY well, and then we sat around afterwards for a bout of that most DELIGHTFUL of pub conversations: Saying Bands Everyone Likes Are BORING In A Forthright Manner. There was SPLUTTERING, there was semi-serious DEBATE, and there was GOOD TIMES all round, it was excellent!

    And so I finished the day in a SUPREMELY happier mood than I'd been in earlier - thank you, CAMBRIDGE, that was lovely!

    posted 17/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Meanwhile, In The Writers' Room
    If you've ever seen a documentary about the making of American sitcoms - or indeed a SITCOM about makingb sitcoms - you'll be familiar with the scene where they go to The Writers' Room. This is where the comedy is FORMED, it's a room full of writers [NB HENCE THE NAME] all SLAVING over a script, drinking coffee, throwing paper at each other, tearing their hair out, all in search of ONE MORE GAG.

    This is what it has been like in The Validators this past week - albeit VIRTUALLY - as between us we battle over the VERSE for our CHRISTMAS CARD. OH! The ideas! The BATTLES! The constant STRIVING for PERFECTION! And each time it looks like we're nearly there... WOAH! Objections are raised, inconsistencies are pointed out and it is HO! for the drawing board!

    It has been a LONG and ARDUOUS process but I think we're nearly there (mind you I thought that last week). The rest of the card has been quite simple to perfect, however, very greatly helped by the FACT that it's been designed by the marvellous Mr John Allison. Look! See what he has DRAWN

    If all goes to plan we'll have a few of these available for sale in the SHOP in a week or two, and MY WORD but whoever RECIEVES these beauties will be in for a treat. I just hope some of them read the verse!

    posted 16/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Local Community Action
    I had a lovely day on Saturday, all in LEYTONSTONE. I met some OLD PALS in a cafe for COFFEE (swanky!) then joined up with The Java In My Beans and The Landlady at our local church for a TALK and then a WALK around the World War Two bomb sites of the parish. It was AMAZING - we kept drawing up outside 1950s flats and being told of the devastation that had preceded them. I've always known our area was heavily hit in the blitz but it was fascinating to see where such an important part of history had happened. Then we went to the PUB - I do not think I was alone in needed a PINT or two to settle my mind after all that.

    Sunday was ALSO spent in Leytonstone, but this time mostly in MY HOUSE as I set to MIXING. The big job of the day was to sort out the new Totally Acoustic podcast which is ready for downloading NOW. It was a tough job deciding which of the A Little Orchestra songs to use. Part of me wanted to use ALL of MY songs, but that would have been GREEDY, and they ALL sounded SO GORGEOUS. My little four track did a GRATE job I reckon, it sounds LUSH. Like, well, an ORCHESTRA.

    The editing of the Moon Horse section was a LOT easier: I just did "Episode One" and left it at the cliffhanger. CUNNING!

    I think it's rather a good one, all round, and it's FUN to be back in the groove of DOING these podcasts. ENERGISED by this I set to finishing off the first draft of my Christmas Cover for the Joyzine Advent Calendar ("Needs more 'OOO'" according to my co-vocalist, final draft to be done later this week) and then headed out for a little bit MORE Local Area Useage with a STRIDE into Epping Forest with The Trees In My Wood.

    It was all in all a rather WHOLESOME weekend spent in The Local Community, which we finished off with a TRIUMPHANT visit to our local curry house for a takeaway. Result: VICTORY!

    posted 14/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Brixton Windmill
    I zoomed South after work on Friday to head to Brixton, where I was due to play at the Damnably 5th Birthday Party along with Lazarus Clamp (featuring T "The Tiger" McClure) and various other bands. As I walked up Blenheim Gardens towards the venue I saw someone re-parking a car, to be more properly placed. "I bet that's Tom", i thought. And LO! it was!

    We went inside and while the Clamp soundchecked I SNUCK over the the soundman and said "I don't really NEED to soundcheck, so i?" He readily agreed, which pleased me enormously as I had my heart set on a CURRY. THUS once the soundcheck was done Tom, Huw The Drummer DASHED round to Curry Paradise and got ORDERING. As we sat down the table behind us look INTERESTED to see me - I'd like to say this is the NORM and happens all the time, but it just turned out that they were friends of A Little Orchestra who'd been to Totally Acoustic the night before! It was an a) strange b) DELIGHTFUL coincidence!

    The rest of the Clamp arrived and ordered, and the restaurant decided to hold ALL the meals back until they were ALL ready... which meant I ended up having to SCOFF my (actually bloody delicious) Balti down in about 8 minutes, before RUNNING round the corner back to the venue, arriving about two minutes before I was due on stage. I needn't have worried QUITE so much, as music was still ongoing in the Smoking Room (they were running two "stages" for the evening) so I waited for them to finish and then, as everyone started to filter back, did THIS:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • A Little Bit
  • One Last Party
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • It seemed to go OK - it was nice to have another go at One Last Party and My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once seems to be clambering manfully into my List Of Songs That Usually Work. It's a funny old venue The Windmill tho - the sound is always GRATE, but it feels like people are almost encouraged to stand FAR AWAY, and you can always here The Regulars having a chat at the back. They're a bit odd too - it's lovely playing in a pub that HAS regulars, but I always get the impression that some of them object to bands BEING there at all, which is strange in a pub that has gigs EVERY NIGHT and has done for years and years. They'd not HORRID about it or anything, but I always wonder why you'd go out hoping for a quiet pint and a chat in a pub which is never, and has never BEEN, even vaguely quiet.

    Anyway, it was all good, and I was enjoying the fact that my hangover was significantly ABATING. When I arrived George Damnably had asked why i was LIMPING and he seemed AMUSED when I told him it was due to a WHISKY HANGOVER. Surely I'm not the only one who gets this? But due to sensible intake of some Diet Coke and then BOTTLED LAGER I was feeling MUCH better as the evening progressed, and THOROUGHLY enjoyed watching the majestic CLAMP in action. Michael said part way through that they'd been together 17 years, which is incredibly - I remember watching the early iterations playing at The Phsyio & Firkin back in the 17th Century, and it's a lovely thing to see them travel through the intervening years to become something of a POLISHED ROCK ACT. I don't think they'd necessarily like that description, but sorry chaps, you have become SLIGHTLY KICK ASS!

    It was really good, and a brilliant way to finish off the evening. I hopped on a bus back down the hill to the tube station invigorated and heartily cheered - such is the healing power of ROCK!

    posted 13/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Totally Acoustic Returns
    I arrived last night at The King & Queen to find TWO signs that the return of Totally Acoustic was going to be FINE. First of all there were a couple of POSTERS up on the walls, demonstrating that the pub was ready for us, and secondly, in front of the posters, were The Acts On My Bill and Mr S Hewitt, having BEER. Everything, I thought, will be GOOD!

    And I must say, I was RIGHT. We went upstairs and got the tables set up then sat back and chatted whilst A Little Orchestra variously arrived. Othe people ALSO arrived and by 7.30pm we were getting nicely FULL ready a hearty sing through The Theme Tune before it was time for the ORCHESTRA (I know they're CALLED "A Little Orchestra" and I've seen them several times BEING an orchestra but the fact that they ARE an orchestra continues to amaze me!) to strike up. They started with the theme from Twin Peaks, which sounded BEAUTIFUL - it's amazing being in such a small room with so much music going on, you can hear all kinds of melodies wafting by, and the fact that it IS all acoustic means you're hearing instruments being played at the volume they were BUILT to be heard at. It was fantastic!

    Halfway through the set, after two orchestra members had done some lovely Proper Singing, some drunken twit got up and bellowed THREE songs of his own compostion. We started off with Billy Jones Is Dead and I noticed that everything seemed a bit quieter than it had done at practice in the Community Centre the other week. Maybe it was less echoe-y, but I found i didn't have to SHOUT quite as much. It may have been this level of THORT that made me get a bit confused - after the second chorus I thought "Wow! How lovely! They've added an extra section at the end of the song!" and stood listening to it appreciatively... before realising that it was actually the middle eight and I was meant to be singing. Oops. I've only done that song about 500 times, you can't expect me to remember how it goes...

    Next we did It Only Works Because You're Here, which was LOVELY to do - I'm still hearing new bits in the arrangement and i LOVE it when everyone stops and I do the extra long "Iiiiiit Ooooooo-nly" bit. SMASHING. And then a Krazy DREAM came true as we did One Last Party, a song I NEVER thought I'd EVER get to play live, especially not in a way so CLOSELY ALLIED to the way we recorded it. It had an ORCHESTRA! Did I mention that already?

    After the usual break we moved from ORCHESTRA to THEATRE - it was a WELL sophisticated night out - as me and Steve launched once more into Moon Horse which ROCKED along at high speed. I'm always amazed that we get to the end so soon, even after nine months of doing the show I still REALLY REALLY enjoy it, there is a LOT of room for larking about and hi-jinks. Something else that surprises me is how the TOPICALITY changes every time too - sometimes it feels like The Price Of Your Mistake is YESTERDAY'S news, but last night it felt BANG up to the minute, and the whole "Lazer Cannons On The Moon" bit felt like SEARING SATIRE. Unfortunately, as so often happens, I was so busy thinking about how i might make REMARKS (despite the fact that there's never TIME for REMARKS) I did forget a few bits of a couple of songs, but we DID warn people beforehand that this might happen, so I think it was OK.

    With the show over we settled into CHAT and BOOZE, and I found myself sat with Steve and Mr Charlie Flowers, Mr Jonathan Yes and Mr Keith Top Of The Pops. It was like a BEST OF for people to sit in the pub with, and probably explains why I ended up thinking it was a good idea to try several different WHISKIES to "top off" the evening. ONE whisky at the end of the evening is FINE, it turns out, more than that is a bit SILLY.

    THUS you find me today somewhat the worse for wear, but VERY happy with an EXCELLENT evening. Totally Acoustic is MAGIC!

    posted 11/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Christmas Is Coming
    Ooh, it's ever so Christmassy round our way at the moment as, like some SUPER ORGANISED who wishes to spend December DRUNK (hem hem), we are getting all our preparations done EARLY.

    Yesterday, for instance, I spent a happy hour or so recording my version of A Popular Christmas Classic ready for the traditional Joyzine advent calendar. As ever when recording at home I looked forward most of all to recording the BASS part, and GOODNESS ME but I came up with something RIGHT complicated. It was in fact SO COMPLICATED that I didn't really understand how it WORKED, so ended up having to have several goes at it in the hope that my fingers would ACCIDENTALLY play it. Eventually they did, but CRUMBS it didn't half hurt!

    Later in the evening I sat down with The Tinsel In My Tree to get her to record some backing vocals, which was ACE - we did FOUR TRACKS so it sounds like a CHOIR. It was so GRATE that I really have to go back and re-do MY vocals to bring them up to scratch... which, all right, is not necessarily a rare thing, but STILL, it sounds FAB, and should be available to listen to sometime in DECEMBER.

    As should our OTHER Christmas song, "Thank Goodness For Christmas", which is going to be a full VALIDATORS track and available as part of the Fika Recordings Advent Calendar. I've done a very rough demo - in fact I did TWO very rough demoes, the second in a different key at a slower pace with an extra BIT in, GUIDED thus by Mr F A Machine in his role of Music Editor - and over the next few days the Vlads are going to record their own sections. There probably WON'T be a video for it this time around - we're a LITTLE bit too busy with Dinosaur Planet, to be honest - but I think it will make an HANDSOME addition to our festive portfolio.

    That isn't the only bit of Validators' Christmas currently ongoing, however. We are currently EMBROILED in FEIRCE COMPETITION to write a Christmas Poem - yes, it is the OLD OLD STORY that ALL bands surely go through, ending up at each other's throats over who has written the best YULETIDE RHYME. The reason for this lyrical outporing is that we NEED a poem to go in our CHRISTMAS CARDS!

    Yes! Christmas Cards! Mr John Allison has designed us a MAGNIFICENT Christmas Card which we'll be getting made in the next couple of weeks. The Serious Business Idea was to use this as a Promotional Device (it is a DINOSAUR Christmas Card!) to go along with the album BUT I'm intending to use it for all my OWN Christmas Cards this year and hopefully Vlads will too. We'll be giving some to cast members too, but then I'm hoping to be able to put a few up for sale in the SHOP too, in case anyone wishes to join our Dinosaur-Based Merriment!

    I'll show you what they look like once the cards are ordered, by which time we may even be into ADVENT itself and then it is the gentle tiddly wobble down CHRISTMAS HILL to YULE TOWN when... er.. I get to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Hark! Is that Santa's Sleigh coming oe'er the hill? It must be nearly (ish) Christmas!

    posted 10/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Into The Digital Future
    Yesterday I sent out loads of review copies for Dinosaur Planet.

    "Eh?" you might stammer, possibly spitting your tea out as you do so. "How is that possible? I thought you said you were still waiting for the CDs to be re-done?"

    To which I would reply "Get with it GRANDAD! These were DIGITAL copies! YEAH!" for LO! I have grasped THE FUTURE and worked out not only how to do DOWNLOAD CODE for our bandcamp site (where the album is currently secretly stored, waiting to be UNLEASHED soon) but ALSO how to use the capabilities of this very website to send out TAILORED EMAILS, like some kind of crazed online marketing machine!

    It's VERY exciting! As anyone who knows me will be aware I am WONT to get all GIDDY when thinking of new ways to combine SQL, php programming and ROCK, so when I realised I could use all of these to send out formatted emails... well, if I DIDN'T have a new album to promote I would have run out and MADE one just so that I could do this!

    After MUCH testing (with a HUGE amount of help from The @ In My Email Address, who has done TONS of work behind the scenes for this and MANY MANY other aspects of this Campaign - SALUTE HER!) I sent the emails out yesterday... followed by another one from my NORMAL email a couple of hours later to tell people I'd sent the first one. This felt a bit like when emails first started and people would RING to check that it had worked properly, but I'd heard that some of my emails were going straight to SPAM folders (as automated emails often do) and wanted to ALERT people.

    The FUN didn't stop there though - after spending much of last week checking the YouTube page for Theme From Dinosaur Planet every hour, on the hour, to see how many HITS it's had I spent yesterday clicking REFRESH every ten minutes on my bandcamp TOOLS page to see if anyone had downloaded the album. I've set the systems up so I can even work out WHO has downloaded it, it's ACE!

    The trouble is that not everyone in the world is quite as EXCITED as I am about the album, and after almost a DAY since the email went out the MAJORITY of people I sent it to haven't been and GOT it. How COULD they? Don't they known it's a science fiction rock opera concept album? Haven't they READ the press release?

    The PLUS side of doing things this way is that it's a LOT cheaper and you can tell straight away who's listening to it, but I do wonder if the lack of a Physical Item and the fact you do actually have to download something means that Busy People In The Business Of ROCK are just not likely to bother. All the GUIDELINES for doing publicity these days say that people prefer to get downloads, but maybe that's just because they're easier to ignore than ACTUAL CDs?

    It's early days, but we'll see what happens. Obviously I was half expecting EVERYONE to download it STRAIGHT AWAY and then start GIBBERING in EXCITEMENT at how AMAZING it is, but it'll be interesting to see how the reaction so far compares to what happens in (hopefully!) a couple of weeks when we send out the Actual Albums. It would be nice to think that in the future we won't have to go through all the PALAVER of paying someone to make physical items, but I think we're a bit of a way off yet!

    posted 9/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    I'm EXTRAORDINARILY EXCITED to announce that the all new Dinosaur Planet Webpage is now FULLY ACTIVE!

    The website has been there for ages, of course, ever since the first Edinburgh show, and first the past week or so it's been showing the video for the download single, but as of today it is now fully functioning with TONS of new material.

    There's a full tracklisting for the album, a detailed history of the live show, close-up views of the AMAZING artwork and, my favourite bit, a complete cast list with pen portraits of everyone involved.

    In addition there's PILES of things to listen to or download, including the single and various SONGBOOKS. The only thing you can't do yet is BUY the album, but don't worry, as soon as we've GOT copies to sell I'll let you know!

    I'm really rather PROUD of the website I must say, and very very pleased to FINALLY be able to show it to everyone. It's the first chance to fully show everyone what we've been UP to for the past few years and gives a small GLIMPSE into what is to come. The adventure has really BEGUN!

    posted 8/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Return Of The Validators
    I had two rather different strolls down Memory Lane last week. The first was on Thursday when I went to the last of the "15 Years Of Fortuna Pop" gigs at The Scala. I had a LOVELY night - not least going to The Lamb with a bunch of PALS and TERRIFYING Leigh The Landlord who thought I'd come to do a GIG and he'd lost the booking - but I felt oddly MELANCHOLIC. The gig itself was GRATE - we saw Darren Hayman and Allo Darlin', both of whom were ACE, and I bumped into several PALS, but it all felt a bit like going back to your old school. Things looked sort of the same - same Headmaster, Mr Jervis still behind his desk and so on, but everywhere you looked there were different people who knew nothing of what had gone on Back In The Day, and in the nicest possible way, didn't really care. I came away CONFUSED - it's not like I was ever a big part of ANY era of Fortuna Pop!, I'd always been on the sidelines of it, and I'm very VERY happy that Sean's made such a success of it all and all that, it just felt like a bit of a POIGNANT reminder of a time that's long gone.

    Or maybe it was just seeing my HUGE FACE up on the cinema screen during the Messages Of Congratulations. That WAS a bit discombobulating!

    The second Return To The Old House was ENTIRELY free of Complex Emotions, for LO! The Validators were back together playing our first gig since Indietracks 2010 and JOY was UNLEASHED. Oh but we had a LOVELY time, right from soundchecking (with the MASSIVE PA system in the TINY upstairs room of The Chameleon Cafe, which sounded ACE) right through to the end of the evening, sat watching TIM listen like a small child on Christmas Day to someone telling him tales of the time they'd played in BOGSHED, it was all bloody brilliant.

    Well, nearly all - when Tom arrived Alex The Promoter said "Don't park there, you'll get a parking ticket!" and sure enough HE DID. It was awful - the lady Traffic Warden was being so friendly about it, explaining what was wrong, that i was SURE she'd let us off. I HATE it when i see people shouting at Traffic Wardens in the street, as they're Only Doing Their Job but NGGG! It was only ten minutes until we WOULD have been fine! YARGLE!

    Everyone else arrived shortly afterwards, and were pleased to find we had a RIDER. I'd thought it might be best to wait until we got to the PUB later before drinking, but Emma was having NONE of this. "I WANT BEER!" she exclaimed, and it seemed rude not to join in.

    After soundcheck we went to the pub underneath The Pattisons' hotel, and then to ASK for our tea - we are RIGHT posh these days - during which we conducted a big old BAND MEETING. I'd done us a proper AGENDA, as there was a LOT to get through, and over the next couple of hours many IDEAS and THORTS were proposed and DISCUSSED fully. We may not be the world's MOST rocking outfit (MAYBE) nor perhaps the greatest ICONOCLASTS of FASHION (possibly) but GOODNESS ME if you want a band to run and effective meeting then we are you GUYS. It was EXCELLENT - the future of ROCK is safe in our hands!

    We got back to the venue all RELAXED and ready for DELIGHT except for Frankie, who was a bit WORRIED, as he feared Frankie Jr (15), who was staying HOME ALONE, might bring a MOB OF TEENAGERS back to WRECK the place. All through the evening he was nervously checking his phone for a call from THE COPS or THE FIRE SERVICE, tho when he got home he found that all that had been damaged was a Pot Noodle. PHEW.

    And so the night ROCKED on, with most of us getting up on stage with August Actually to play Toy Percussion (or, in Frankie's case, Lead Plastic Saxophone) with their "Lighthouse Song", which was a) fun b) SO INSANELY CATCHY that it's STILL in my head this morning! After this it was OUR turn to go on, at the ungodly hour of 11.15pm, and THIS is what we did:
  • Better Things To Do
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Don't, Darren, Don't
  • A Little Bit
  • We Are The Giant Robots
  • Please Don't Eat Us
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • The Gay Train

  • Given the lateness of the hour and the Mild Tiddliness of 60% of the band it went AMAZINGLY well, and even an Unbiased Observer might say we ROCKED PRETTY HARD. Beforehand I'd been worrying that we'd not have time to get ALL the songs on our list performed, but we just about did - I managed to keep the BANTER and CHAT to a reasonable MINIMUM throughout, which felt pretty DARN GOOD as it mean we ROCKED through the set. I'm not sure doing FIVE songs from the new album ALL IN A ROW was necessarily the best way to do it, but it did mean we had a ROARING end to the set. My favourite bit of all was when Sam ALayerOfChips shouted for Billy Jones Is Dead in EXACTLY the right part of the setlist (about 3 seconds before we started it) so it sounded like we were just playing ANY REQUESTS at the drop of a hat.

    It was LOVELY to be all back together and bodes well for next years plan of a Mild Increase In Gigs - we still won't be doing LOADS of gigs, due to COMMITMENTS VARIOUS, but we're hoping to do a few FESTIVALS and a couple of SPECIAL NIGHTS in 2012 and if they're anything like as ACE as last night was I would highly recommend popping along. Next year is going to be GRATE!

    posted 7/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Whither Mr Big From Big Records?
    As I scamper through the daisy fields of ROCK you can often here me saying things like "Boo to booking agencies! Tra-la for self-releasing! Pixie kisses for bandcamp!" as I fruitily sing the joys of being an Modern Independent ARTISTES, free from the archaic structures and iniquities of the "music" "industry", able to do what I want and WHEN, creating thrilling new forms of creativity without worrying about commerciality. It's LOVELY.

    Sometimes, however, sometimes you just wish Mr Big from Big Records would turn up at a gig with a DEVIL'S CONTRACT and say "Boys! Just give me your LIVING SOUL and I will take all the pain away!" because OCCASIONALLY being a Modern Independent Artiste can be a bit of a pain in the Modern Independent ARSE.

    The past week or two have very much fitted into this latter model - as I have mentioned MORE than enough times we've been having a bit of a STRUGGLE with the PRODUCT for the 'Dinosaur Planet' album. They arrived in 9 big boxes on Thursday and just looked TATTY. They eventually got picked up again by the manufacturers and today - FINALLY, a WEEK later - they've agreed that they're NOT good enough and they'll be RE-DONE.

    I don't know how long this'll take but whatever happens it puts various plans out of JOINT - i've used POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE to work around this and keep looking at the rest of our CDs thinking "Nearly ALL of these were a MASSIVE HEADACHE to get made, but now they ARE made and they are LOVELY" but I bloody wish this wasn't the case. Over the years I've MASSIVELY cut down on the amount of ANNOYANCE I go through to put stuff out simply by gradually meeting NICE PEOPLE and working with THEM instead of WAZZOCKS, but sometimes there's nothing you can do and the GRINDING GLUMNESS of trying to deal with people and companies who Just Want Your Money is inavoidable.

    And, as I say, it's at times like this you think "GollY! It would be much more *FUN* if somebody ELSE was dealing with this while I was having COCKTAILS by the POOL, or taking part in STRICTLY or something." The good thing tho is I have an ACE TEAM behind me - The Tequila In My Margarita has been a TOWER of a) STRENGTH b) ADVICE c) HELP throughout the entire process, The Validators have been PACKED with THORT and IDEAS for Progress Going Forward Throughout, and the CAST have been Fully INvolved and DELIGHTFUL. All in all I'd much rather have all of THEM on my side than Mr Big and his lawyers, but still, next time I see a Fake Indie Band on telly flaunting their haircuts and talking about how their record company is behind them I will be more FORGIVING. Maybe they too, once upon a time, waited in all day for a courier that never came, and could take it no more.

    posted 3/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Dream Come True
    Ever since we recorded the song One Last Party it has been used as a point of DELIGHTFUL HUMOUR during Validators Setlist BICKERING SESSIONS. At some point someone is always legally obliged to say "Ooh! How about One Last Party?" and we will LARF - doing One Last Party live! The very idea!

    This HILARITY has become so ENGRAINED in Validators LORE that it even features at the very end of One Last Party as the HILARIOUS PUNCHLINE - it sounds like one of OUR setlists, but one with One Last Party on it! THEZE GUYZ ARE KRAZY!!

    Thus it was a bit weird last night when I arrived in a Community Hall in Distant Kilburn to hear what sounded very much like One Last Party being played by an Orchestra. Could it possibly BE?

    Well, yes, of course it could, because I was there specifically to have a rehearsal with A Little Orchestra, who are going to be playing at the next Totally Acoustic. When we arranged it they asked if I'd like to do It Only Works Because You're Here with them again, and maybe another song? I said "YES PLEASE!" and as I couldn't think of anything in particular to DO Nat from them suggested Billy Jones Is Dead. This sounded GRATE to me, but a couple of days later I was discussing various items with The Validators, and One Last Party was mentioned again. My CHORTLES were almost immediately curtailed when I realised that, actually, maybe we COULD do it live, with an ORCHESTRA! Could one young lad (me)'s dream come TRUE?

    It DID! We spent the next 45 minutes with me singing along to all THREE songs, orchestra and all, and as before it was AMAZING. Orchestras make a HECK OF A LOT OF SOUND so I had to sing at the fullest of my powers - goodness me, you can see why Opera Singers have to sing in that WEIRD WAY to get over the top of their BAND, it takes a LOT of effort, and it felt at times like my entire BODY was RESONATING with the effort to bellow. Obviously I lost a bit of my TRADEMARK JAZZ PHRASING (hem hem) and NUANCE, but I think I'll be audible over everyone... especially when A LOVELY THING happens at the end of One Last Party, ooh! That bits ACE!

    When you've played with the same band for SO LONG it's always ODD to play with other people, and A Little Orchestra were no different in being DIFFERENT. At one point we had a long discussion about how to know the end of the song was coming - there was much discussion about BARS and LOOPS, and I just thought "Surely Kenny" [ARRANGER and, this time, DRUMMER] "will just do THE DRUMS SIGNAL?" I kept this thought to myself though - it seems that Orchestras need more than A Special Drum Fill to enact a change of direction.

    Also DISCONCERTING was the fact that there was SO MUCH going on - there were about 10 musicians (and me! HA HA!) in the room and they were pretty much ALL playing different bits, and I lost my place a couple of times trying to listen to what they were doing - there's a lovely FLUTE bit, for instance, near the line "Mark E Smith sings melodiously" that I just wanted to stop singing and HEAR. I guess I'll have to wait until the podcast!

    After three quarters of an hour I staggered out into the night, JOYOUS, WREATHED in sweat and KNACKERED - I'm amazed Pavarotti ever got LARGE, this sort of singing is like a WORKOUT!

    posted 2/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Dinosaur Planet Press Release
    I spent much of yesterday emailing press releases to radio types, magazines, webpages and BLOGS - so MANY emails did I send, in fact, that i BROKE my hotmail account and SWELLED my other two emails to near BURSTING, but I did not mind for LO! it was a vital message that I was sending out i.e. that Theme From Dinosaur Planet was available to DOWNLOAD, also to WATCH.

    In order to get this publicised I wrote a PRESS RELEASE, based on a remark by Mr T Pattison that, in putting out a download single and video, we were very much going back to our ROOTS. I liked this idea a LOT, so this is what I sent out:

    PRESS RELEASE: Theme From Dinosaur Planet

    MJ Hibbett & The Validators, the band who invented the free download single and viral video, are going back to their roots today with the title track from their new science fiction rock opera concept album.

    Theme From Dinosaur Planet is available to download for free right now at with a fantastic accompanying video. It's the lead track from their forthcoming album Dinosaur Planet, a full cast rock opera based on MJ Hibbett's acclaimed Fringe Show, which tells the terrifying story of what happens the day the dinosaurs return from space.

    "It's like a cross between The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and Giant Steps by The Boo Radleys," says MJ Hibbett. "Or an indie War Of The Worlds."

    In October 1999 MJ Hibbett and the Validators released the first ever free download single, Hey Hey 16K. Four years later b3ta's Rob Manuel made a flash animation for the song and turned it into one of the first ever virals videos, before YouTube had even been invented. It had two million hits in its first fortnight and has continued to be hugely popular ever since.

    The video for Theme From Dinosaur Planet features artwork by John Allison, the brains behind one of the most popular internet comic strips, He's designed all the visuals for the album, including t-shirts which will be available when the album is released later this year.

    In the words of Harold Wilson in Moon Horse, "Good eh?" I was quite nervous at first about making such BOLD ASSERTIONS but then i LOOKED UP the history of the download single and think that YES, we might have a POINT. I remember at the time that Elastica had an offer where they'd EMAIL you an mp3, and Duran Duran definitely released an internet only "MIX" of a song that you could buy in 1999, but I think Hey Hey 16K might well be the first ACTUAL SINGLE (with b-sides and all that) that you could DOWNLOAD, and almost certainly the first that was FREE, like all these singles of the modern day.

    The VIDEO a few years later may have come after The Hamster Dance, I'm not sure, but goodness me it didn't half go VIRAL - it was KRAZY round here the week it came out, according to reports it was one of the TOP TEN websites in THE WORLD (and therefore THE UNIVERSE). Imagine what it would have been like if YOUTUBE had existed then, or iTunes!

    So yes, I thought I'd put these statements out there to STAKE OUR CLAIM on the achievements. History can be the JUDGE of it all - and while history's looking, I hope it enjoys the video too!

    posted 1/11/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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