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Blog Archive: January 2012

A Little Bit Of Help
Newsletter subscribers should hopefully have just had this month's newsletter gently fall into their inbox. By golly it is a PACKED edition this month - just LOOKING at all the GIGS i've got coming up this month fair makes me WILT - but I would like to draw attention to one item of news in particular - the video for our next single!

After some discussion last week we agreed to do A Little Bit as our next free download single, and as we'll need to do a VIDEO for it we thought it might be RATHER JOLLY if we asked for A Little Bit (clever!) of help doing it.

The plan is to get as many people as humanly possible to film themselves singing along to the final chorus. We're going to do this as a MASS of headshots - sort of like the titles of The Brady Bunch - with the number of people multiplying as the chorus goes along. I think it might look rather ACE!

Full details of how to go about this - and a video with the music AND the words on it - are over at this page here. We're also after a few people to do a bit EXTRA too, and act out a single LINE from the song, sort of like in the crowd-sourced version of Star Wars that a) has just come out and b) features our very own Mr Tim Pattison as HAN SOLO (about 46 minutes in)!!! Again, details of how to do it are on the Joining In page.

I hope plenty of people are able to get involved with this one, I think it could turn out LOVELY!

posted 31/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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Yesterday afternoon I sat at my desk getting all EXCITED about the ALBUM LAUNCH GIG that was about to happen. My excitement was INCREASED by watching my Facebook and Twitter timelines FIZZ with various people on their way to London and/or the gig, although it was a bit STRANGE to see nearly ALL The Validators (NB Tim was driving, but otherwise he'd've been on it too) TWITTING and COMMENTING away. It was MODERN.

JUST as I was about to set off for The Wilmington my BOSS came in and ASKED me things - it was OUTRAGEOUS! Didn't he know I had a launch gig to get to? Well, he soon did, I WAS a bit excited!

I thus got to the Wilmo a bit later than planned, to find The Vlads had already got the gear loaded in. Luckily - LUCKILY - I had arrived in time for the drum soundcheck which, as anyone knows, is THE BEST BIT. We stood around having a bit of an old chat - including discovering that most of us had taken THE SAME AMOUNT of The Ecasticies back in The Day (i.e. half) - before doing the full band soundcheck. This passed VERY easily - it was our usual chap doing the sound there and he was, as ever, GRATE at it, also TACTFUL about some of our sound.

Mr K Top Of The Pops had already arrived, so I introduced him to the sound guy so they could sort themselves out, then popped next door where Mr S Hewitt was holding court. He kindly agreed to act as RESPONSIBLE ADULT, while The Validators and I nipped round the corner to Gulshan for our traditional BAND CURRY. We'd been to this place last time we played the Wilmo, and it was ACE then too - they even gave us WHISKY at the end!

As ever we processed the BUSINESS swiftly - we agreed the set-up for the Dinosaur Planet section, and that we'd probably do a VIDEO for A Little Bit and/or Please Don't Eat Us next - and then spent the rest of the meal talking nonsense, re-telling stories of The German Tour, and... er... making the hot flannels into origami penii. Sorry.

Back at the venue all was progressing well, and I got back to find that Mr T Eveleigh and Ms J Lockyer had soundchecked, and a wide variety of GUESTS had arrived. They were soon joined by The Names On My Guestlist and Mr M Sutton, and together we set up the MERCH table. Steve got on the DOOR, joined for much of the evening by Mr C Flowers, and soon we were ready to BEGIN.

I had, as I say, been WORRIED about how things would go, but it later struck me that this was foolish - if I had to pick a team of people to do, well, pretty much ANYTHING, then this was the SQUAD I would go for. You know when you do a gig and some people are a bit flakey, or have to be hassled into getting on stage? That happened NEVER last night - everywhere I looked people were diligently tuning up, appearing in front of the stage several minutes before their time, and generally BEING ACE.

So it was that we kicked off bang on time with Tim Eveleigh (aka Captain Keith) and Jenny Lockyer (aka WPC Jenny), doing a MIXED COMBO of some of Tim's songs, some of Jenny's, and some COVERS. They don't usually play as a duo, but I asked them to do so this time just so's i could get them BOTH on the bill, as they are KEY PARTS of the album. It worked really well, especially when they finished with the Kirsty MacColl version of "A New England". The ENTIRE CROWD sang THE WHOLE SONG except, as is traditional, for The Extra Kirsty Verse. It was BRILLIANT!

Then we had Keith Top Of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie All-Star Celebrity Backing Band, featuring a VERY SPECIAL Minor UK Indie Celebrity, for LO! on the drums was Mr Tim "Most Important Punk In The Country 1907" Pattison! Diligent chap that he was he'd done some revision earlier on but was mostly WINGING it, and GOODNESS ME but DIDN'T HE DO WELL! It reminded me of when he soundchecked with Half Man Half Biscuit, watching other band members appreciating his SKILLZ, nodding at each other and generally enjoying the chance to ROCK OUT. I think I speak for all his fellow band members when I say we were SO VERY PROUD!

The whole SET was ace too - it not only sounded but LOOKED brilliant, as everyone was squashed onto the rather small stage. There were french horns, trumpets, saws, and hundreds of guitars poking in all directions making a KRAZY sound which came together especially well for THE HIT at the end, i.e. "Two Of The Beatles Are Dead". It was gorgeous!

And then, at last, it was our turn. Here's what we played:

  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet (overture)
  • Better Things To Do
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Don't, Darren, Don't
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • A Little Bit
  • We Are The Giant Robots
  • Please Don't Eat Us
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • Easily Impressed
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • Billy Jones Is Dead

  • Mr Jonny Yeah had calculated how many SECONDS it had been since we last played London, which rather marvellously was around 71 MILLION, so he came on and used that as the INTRO to the whole set over the top of the OVERTURE, before we LAUNCHED into a few older songs to get us going. It was HECKLOADS of fun - very NOISY on stage, as usual, but there were a LOT of people in the room who seemed to know the back catalogue and there was dancing, joining in and ALL SORTS.

    We'd decided to do the Dinosaur Planet songs in SEQUENCE, so kicked off with Jenny, Steve and Big Tim (as he was referred to throughout the evening to distinguish him from our "Little Tim") joining us for Don't, Darren, Don't. Steve had brought the PROPS from our version of the show with him, so everyone was in COSTUME, which was GRATE, not least when he and Big Tim acted out the EVISCERATION in Theme From Dinosaur Planet next. That one got off to a SLIGHTLY bumpy start due in part to Jonny not being able to read the SCRIPT in the dark, as we did the LONG INTRO version of the song, but it actually just added to the DELIGHT of the evening - everyone was enjoying themselves, and if things got a bit ramshackle that seemed to be FINE.

    We were joined on stage by two GIANT ROBOTS for We Are The Giant Robots, which is something I've often thought of and was VERY pleased to see finally happen, especially when the Robots began fighting, and then making friends with, each other in the end section. It was THEATRE!

    We ended this section with Please Don't Eat Us, featuring Mrs C Gibb as General Truelove and Mr FA Machine as Corporal Shaw. Frankie had been a little WORRIED about his ability to play bass AND sing but he managed it with APLOMB, and Claire was BRILLIANT - the song seemed to FLY by at MEGA-SPEED which was my only disappointment of the night, i wanted it to go on for AGES!

    We finished with MORE back catalogue, and it turned out to be one of those gigs where i DIDN'T have to explain the audience participation for Easily Impressed. I really LIKE those sort of gigs! We did the one encore and then that was it - DONE!

    The rest of the evening featured quite a lot of HUGGING and thanking, and MUCH too quickly it was time for everyone to head off. I ended up sat in the kitchen talking to The Crisps In My Packet and drinking The Whisky until MUCH too late in the evening which has, I must say, contributed to making today a rather DIFFICULT day to be in work!

    It was all bloody worth it though - crikey! You know those days when you wander about with a GRIN on your face, thinking of all the brilliant things that happened yesterday and all the lovely people who were involved with it? This is one of those!

    posted 27/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    You find me today all EXCITED and A-DITHER, for LO! tonight The Validators return to LONDON for the Dinosaur Planet LAUNCH GIG!

    click for bigger

    It's been a long time since we played down here, but even more than that it's been AGES since we last self-promoted a GIG at ALL, and I'd quite forgotten how much WORK it is. I mean, I do Totally Acoustic every month, but that's pretty EASY - I block book the rooms, there isn't any soundman or DOOR to worry about, and the acts just turn up themselves.

    Similarly, doing the Moon Horse and other Fringe shows is fairly straightforward, as most of it is worked out FOR you. There's forms to fill in and ARRANGEMENTS to be made, but most of the difficult bits are laid on for you and all you REALLY need to do is be organised and follow the instructions.

    But doing a one-off GIG - that's a WHOLE THING. Venues need booking, soundmen need HIRING, soundchecks need scheduling, EQUIPMENT needs organising, bands need contacting, tickets need arranging, audiences need informing, and MERCHANDISE needs PREPARING. All for, basically, 45 minutes on stage! It's KRAZY!

    It DOES make me appreciative of all the work PROMOTERS have done for us when they've put me and Steve on over the past few years - ROLLING UP at a PUB to find someone else has done the posters, the facebook and ordered some GRUB is a delightful luxury that is all too easy to take for granted. Similarly just DOING gigs as the pair of us - or, indeed, on my OWN - is SO much simpler than trying to arrange for a Mighty Rocking Outfit like The Validators to not only get THEMSELVES down to London town, but also their INSTRUMENST, AMPLIFIERS and PERCUSSION.

    But so far it all seems to be working out - a LARGE number of people are involved, including The Albums In My Discography (Merchandising Stand) and Mr S Hewitt (DOOR), and we've got various cast members coming along for guest spots too. The Wilmington themselves have been LOVELY, putting up posters and coping with my occasional NAGGING, and our Guest Acts ALSO are well prepared.

    I _think_ it's all going to work out, and though i DID get a bit of THE FEAR last night (for the first time in AGES) today that seems to have transformed into EXCITEMENT! We're doing an ACTUAL GIG! TONIGHT! ZOINKS!

    So, if you're in That London this evening (Thursday 26 January) and fancy some ROCK AND ROLL GOOD TIMES, it would be lovely if you could pop along to The Wilmington Arms on Rosebery Avenue, where me and The Validators will be joined by Jenny Lockyer, Tim Eveleigh, Keith Top Of The Pops, a lot of Minor UK Indie Celebrities, some Special Guest Stars, and, hopefully, an audience! Sounds GRATE, doesn't it?

    posted 26/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Everything's Turning Out All Right
    I'm sure you won't have noticed - i've kept it very much to myself, and have hardly mentioned it to anyone - but I've been a bit worried these past few days about whether the album would go over all right.

    No, I have, honest - i may have been my usual STOIC and TERSE self here on the blog and on twitter, but the secret truth is my EGO has been CRAVING SUSTENANCE these last few days, as the three years spent making the album finally reach a CRESCENDO.

    I'm happy to reveal that my EGO is now feeding very well, as a gentle stream of actually RATHER LOVELY reviews have been coming in. Maybe it's just people who DO get it who are doing the reviews, but so far everyone pretty much HAS. There's a particularly GRATE one over at Norman Records for instance, or an equally lovely one at We Are Unseen. PHEW!

    There's some interesting TRENDS gently rising in the reviews so far. "Britishness" seems to pop up in most of them, and the ACTING being, specifically "not all of Oscar standard" is another. I'm happy to take "Britishness" as it seems to be meant in terms of the HUMOUR, which is fair enough, and I even don't mind the slight hint that the acting isn't of QUITE the highest standard. Well, it's NOT that sort of ACTING is it? I think if it was ENTIRELY naturalistic it would be a bit weird, and that everyone has got more into the SPIRIT of the thing. There's also a bit of a hint of everyone thinking "I really really LIKE this album, but I've got to say something that isn't ENTIRELY raving to give balance. Aha!"

    So yes, so far SO GOOD. I know that there WILL, at some point, be a SNOTTY review and I fully expect it to use the words "comedy music" in a derogatory sense, but so far everyone seems to be ON BOARD, which is a GRATE relief. We've also had the first person LIKING us via the FACEBOOK ads, and I'm taking great JOY in looking at the various COMICS sites that occasionally have us featured in ADS.

    It's all turning out pretty good - which gives me PLENTY of time to worry about the LAUNCH GIG instead. EEEEEEK!!!!

    posted 24/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Release Day!
    At last it's here, after over three years of writing, recording, performing and Sending Stern Emails, Dinosaur Planet is officially released!


    In this day and age the actual release day doesn't mean a huge amount - I don't think it's even IN any Old Fashioned Record Shops, so those of you who have been camping out outside them all night have probably gone home slightly disappointed by now, and you've been able to pre-order it (or just BUY it direct from us) for AGES. However, today's the day we traditionall HANG all sorts of stuff on, and all sorts of stuff has indeed been HUNG!

    For instance, I've gone ADVERTISING KRAZY and bid for adverts on my THREE favourite online comics - Hark A Vagrant, Scarygoround and, obviously, Dinosaur Comics. It's a bidding system thingy, so they may not be on there all the time, but they ALL were when I looked just now and it looked VERY exciting! We're also doing some Facebook advertising to promote the facebook page, but I'm not entirely sure how, of if, that works!

    Meanwhile a further flurry of PRESS RELEASES went out (which you can read here, if you're so inclined) to radio, press, websites and blogs all over the world. I've still got my fingers crossed for a few more reviews, and hopefully a bit of radio play too!

    That's the other thing about release day though - this is an album, not a single or a telly programme, so doesn't live or die on what happens TODAY. I don't think ANY of "our" magazines are released today, and there's radio shows all week that I've got my eye on, and then of course we've got METRIC TONNES of activities planned over the next couple of months, not least of which is the launch gig on Thursday.

    But still, it IS release day - a day which, at various points over the past three years, I wondered if I'd ever SEE - and that is in itself something which I think is very much worth celebrating! SO - let us raise a TOAST (of whatever you have to hand) to all those people who came to see the shows, either with me and Steve or just me alone, everyone who said "No, that doesn't sound like a stupid idea, honest", and especially to everyone who helped to MAKE it, Validators, cast members, engineers and artists alike. Thank you all VERY much for letting it happen, and here's to a whole STARCRAFT LOAD of GOOD TIMES ahead!

    posted 23/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Future Starts On Monday
    Last night The Text In My Article and I went out for a DELIGHTFUL evening of BEER in the company of my little baby brother and his girlfriend. It was LOVELY, and as we retired to bed later that evening we were discussing how GRATE it had been when I suddenly thought "Hang on a minute, this music [on 6Music, which I'd tuned our bedside radio to] sounds VERY familiar!"

    For LO! It was ME! That nice Mr Gideon Coe was playing My Grandad Is Nuts on his radio show AGANE!

    It was all very exciting, tho it did make me slightly RUE my impatience over the rest of the week as I worried about nothing happening with Dinosaur Planet. These worries were pushed further back today, when not one but TWO more reviews came in. The first is a right old RAVE from Keep Pop Loud and the second ALMOST as enthusiastic from SFX Magazine. I actually BUY that magazine sometimes, and will DEFINITELY be getting the next issue, when the review will be in print!

    This has all come as a MASSIVE relief to me, as you can imagine, and it's sort of led to me getting a bit ahead of myself and UNLEASHING a new video too. I was planning to hang on until release day, but could not WAIT any longer, and so i give you a SECOND video, for Literature Search, THUS:

    My favourite ASPECT of this particular video is when it becomes like a NIGHTMARE VERSION of 70's Top Of The Pops towards the end, i MAY have got a little carried away there!

    Watch out for this, and various other items, being FOISTED on a startled world on Monday, when I launch the BIG PUSH for the album. Everything appears to be in place and it's almost, FINALLY, time to UNLEASH THE DINOSAURS!

    Have a relaxing weekend, everyone - as of Monday Nothing Will Ever Be The Same AGANE!

    posted 20/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Ego The Living Planet
    Usually when there's a film made about ROCK there'll be a character who is a RIDICULOUS PARODY of a ROCK STAR - preening, egotistic, prone to sudden mood swings. Surely nobody could exist like that in real life, the innocent observer might ask?

    Innocent Observer: you don't know the HALF of it! Those of us who get into, and remain within, The Krazy World Of ROCK do so for various reasons - some people might try to tell you it's because we like MUSIC and ART, but really it's so we can TALK TO GURLS, have an excuse to go to the PUB a lot, and MOSTLY it's because we are SUPER-NEEDY and see it as a way of getting VALIDATION.

    I am, it has to be said, no exception to ANY of this, and I am being made especially aware of this last item at the moment, as I frantically SELF-GOOGLE in the hope of finding REVIEWS. As I've said before, I'm currently at the WORST stage of the entire album production CYCLE as, after years MAKING the album and then sending it out to people, all I can do now is sit and WAIT to see if anyone likes it. It's a HORRIBLE bit and for the past few days there has been a light dusting of FEAR coating my PSYCHE, as the continuing non-appearance of much of ANY reaction, good OR bad, is starting to make me think that after all THIS it's going to be IGNORED.

    I would of course SOLDIER ON BRAVELY if that DID happen - there's a whole lot of OTHER stuff coming up, after all - but, on balance, I think I'd be happier if it DID get praised to the skies and LAUDED globally. On balance.

    So yes, I was sat in MILD PANIC about it when LO! a fresh googling did bring me a review! At last! And it's a GOOD ONE too!

    Suddenly shafts of light did gleam through the window, and in the distance a LARK sang! Somebody had LISTENED to it! And LIKED IT! HOORAH! Ring the bells, let loose the doves and order up a batch of COMMEMORATIVE MUGS, maybe we SHALL go to the ball!!!

    I am EXTRAORDINARILY aware of how this makes me look, but I'm also aware that there is a DARK DAY approaching when we get a pissy review saying EITHER they don't get it OR it's a load of stupid rubbish, and on THAT day all will turn to ASHES and children will be forbidden from going outside lest WOE befall them. It is for this reason that I fully intend to enjoy THIS bit!

    In summary then, next time you see Richard E Grant (it's often him) or similar actor flouncing around making DEMANDS and CAREERING between mood swings, don't think "What a load of old nonsense!" but rather "Poor thing, next time i see such a person in real life i shall HUG him and tell him he's ACE." We'd all like that!

    posted 19/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Curse Of The Green Dragon
    Last night Mr S Hewitt and I were due to perform Moon Horse in Croydon. It was our first show for a couple of months so I was a bit worried about it, but I had a couple of Lines Revision Sessions and a practice of the songs and it all seemed to be okay. Everything, I thought, would be fine.

    Little did I know that this night would be a night of [very minor but still] DISASTER!

    Things got off to a troublesome start when I got on the TUBE to find there were HUGE delays on the Victoria Line due to someone under a train in Stockwell, so that it ended up taking nearly half an hour longer than expected just to get from Euston to Victoria. When I eventually arrived the tube station was SO RAMMED that we couldn't even get OUT. I'm used to stations getting overcrowded so you couldn't get IN, but I don't think I've ever experienced this before.

    In the end staff opened an entrance as an exit and we poured out, only to find CHAOS. Someone ELSE had been hit by a train, this time near Norbury, so LOADS of things were delayed and/or cancelled, in addition to what seems to be the EVERYDAY CHAOS that is SouthEastern Trains. Everywhere I looked were jolly little electronic signs saying "Only four carriages instead of eight today, sorry!" as if HALVING the available space AT RUSH HOUR was somehow CHARMING, even when things WEREN'T in total disarray. Thus when I managed to find a train going my way and RAN to the platform with everybody else I found that the QUEUE to get IN was about five deep the whole length of the train.

    There was NO WAY i was getting on, and ended up waiting around until it just so happened that a clutch of delayed trains were leaving from nearby platforms at roughly the same time, and we eventually sailed out of Victoria with SPACE... only to take on ANGRY PASSENGERS at Clapham. There was SHOUTING and that thing where someone REFUSES to move down the carriage, as if their comfort is more important than five or six other people being able to get ON and get HOME.

    I was thus RELIEVED when I finally arrived in East Croydon, thinking our troubles were over... only to get a text from Steve saying he'd just had his card eaten by a cash machine!

    In the end we DID get to the pub, and all was fine... until I found myself sat talking to Mr T Eveleigh, wondering why my vision was suddenly going BLURRY, as if i was watching a 3D film or something. I turned my head and realised it was my glasses BREAKING - the NOSE bit had fallen off, and a huge SEARCH ensued. "Found it!" i said, holding it aloft... then dropping it again. This time the whole pub joined in, moving tables, turning on lights, and Mr Mark Strange eventually found it using his LAPTOP as a HUGE TORCH. It turned out to be beyond repair, but my glasses still worked without, so the show could go on.

    And the show itself was FINE. As Steve said later, we usually do it really well when we're WORRIED and/or AFEARED as then we're CONCENTRATING. It's only when we feel safe and start to MUCK ABOUT that things go AWRY, and indeed this happened about 40 minutes in when certain people relaxed and once again started making REMARKS, about getting the Mars Men a ROYAL YACHT, amongst other things. i just got excited!

    It was all LOVELY tho, as was the rest of the evening, sat with pals old and new and even some CHILDREN this time, both of whom REALLY enjoyed it. I also gave Steve his first INKLINGS about my idea for NEXT year's show - he seemed a bit STUNNED by it, but then he HAS got a Major Sporting Event That He Can't Really Talk About to be getting on with, so I'm sure otherwise he would have been dancing for JOY at the GRATE NEW IDEA.

    The journey home passed without incident, and I finally got to bed very happy to be back in the MOON HORSE SADDLE, ready for a ROCKING last few gigs. Watch out, The Midlands, we're coming your way in February!

    posted 18/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Night At The Theatre
    I met up with The Lead On My Microphone last night in that traditional London Meeting Place, "underneath the giant Freddie" i.e. outside "We Will Rock You" on Tottenham Court Road, where there is a GIANT fake statue of Freddie Mercury. I was thus singing "'Neath The Giant Mercury" all the way down the street.

    First of all we headed off to a Leaving Do, which was GRATE fun. When it's YOUR leaving do these can be quite NERVE WRACKED, as you're wondering who'll come, what people will say and, often, you're mostly wanting to GET THE HECK OUTTA THERE, but when it's somebody's else's they're actually rather good fun. It was especially jolly for me because it was the DO of one of The Staff On My Payroll's former colleagues, so I finally got to put FACES to some NAMES that I had heard a lot of when she'd worked there. It was ace!

    Then we headed NORTH up to Camden Town and The Camden Head, scene of many past victories, for a night of COMEDY courtesy of Mr Nathaniel Metcalfe and Mr Chris Boyd. We'd seen their joint show at Edinburgh last year and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves (around our house you can often hear us singing "He's gonna make it! He's gonna make it!" which was quite a large part of the show) so thought we'd go and see them again, with what turned out to be a try-out for both of them of New Material, as well as some of the stuff from the old show. It was DEAD GOOD, and the couple of hours FLEW by, although it was strange to be watching comedy in That London as opposed to Edinburgh. We're both so used to seeing this sort of thing THERE it feels WRONG to be elsewhere - especially when you recognise half the audience from Scotland. We'd arrived for a 7.30pm start as stated on the publicity, and were PANICKED when it didn't begin EXACTLY on time - surely we had 18 OTHER shows and then our own gig to get to? Also, when it finished, NOT having a curry and popping to The Albanach for a Posh Whisky felt AGAINST NATURE.

    Luckily we had some swanky booze at HOME, so set off to get some of THAT drunk. It was a GRATE evening - I'm purposefully not saying what was IN the shows as that would spoil it rather if you went and saw it yrself, but I would advise going to see them if they're in your vicinity.

    It all rather reminded me how much FUN it all was, which is extremely handy as this very evening I am back ON THE ROAD for the final hoorah of Moon Horse at The Green Dragon in Croydon with Mr S Hewitt. That IS the one with the Space Dinosaurs in it, isn't it?

    posted 17/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Totally Acoustic
    When i got to The King & Queen last night it felt odd, for LO! Mr S Hewitt WASN'T there! He's usually first in the pub but wasn't able to come at ALL for this particularly Totally Acoustic, and thus i was UPSET: I would have to set the tables and chairs up ALONE!

    I got this job done and was soon joined by The Seats On My Sofa and a steady gentle stream of other people, including our ACTS for the evening Ms E Morris of Allo Darlin' and the band Model Village. I'd been a bit worried beforehand, as usual, about a) NOBODY coming and b) TOO MANY people coming, but by the time we got to half past seven we had pretty much EXACTLY the right number in. All the seats were taken, a few people were stood up at the back, but nothing was crowded. It was DELIGHTFUL, and so i STOMPED on and did THIS:
  • Totally Acoustic
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Don't, Darren, Don't
  • A Little Bit
  • Mental Judo
  • Family Wedding 2021
  • We Did It Anyway
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once

  • It seemed to go fairly well, although halfway through my throat decided it wasn't quite ready for 2012 GIGS yet and decided to try and pack in, but i BELLOWED my way through. I really wanted to make sure I had a CHOICE of songs for the podcast which hadn't been on there before, hence the slightly odd setlist, but everyone very politely listened, for which I am ever grateful!

    After a short break we had Model Village on, who were EXCELLENT. I'd really enjoyed them when they played in Cambridge but this time they were even better, especially when it came to the singing bits and we found ourselves in a room with HARMONIES. Harmonies! PROPER ones, like you see on telly but can never imagine actually hearing in real life, it was FANTASTIC and the sounds just sounded GORGEOUS.

    And after them Elizabeth came on and did a whole HEAP of new stuff to a STUNNED room, all of whom were RIVETTED. The sound of UTTER SILENCE from everyone else was amazing, especially during songs like "Tallulah" when you could hear people's hearts THUMPING. It was amazing, although there was one SLIGHT drop in quality when, for one man, OPPORTUNITY KNOCKED. Here's the video evidence:

    I was, as you can possibly tell, VERY VERY NERVOUS INDEED, especially when the song started and I realised that my COVER VERSION had been in an entirely different key, hence the REX HARRISON-ism at the start. Still, it didn't DERAIL the whole thing, and it was LOVELY to be asked (I didn't just STEAM ON STAGE, honest)!

    And so the show ended and everyone settled down for a bit of an old chat after a DELIGHTFUL evening - if you'd like to have a listen to some editted highlights you can do so via the podcast, which I've just uploaded, and if you fancy coming along we'll be having another one on February 9th. I've got The Bobby McGees AND Jim'll's Brain booked for the one, it'll be FANTASTIC!

    posted 13/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Meanwhile, At The Cutting Edge
    I think I might have just about got the POINT of having a Dinosaur Planet Facebook Page - it's like having a normal webpage, but IN THE FUTURE, right? Where EVERYONE knows how to work a computer, not just hairy men in flip flops in the basement, is that correct?

    For LO! I have been HARD AT IT getting the whole thing updated and to my liking, and I think i've got it to a point now where I can INVITE people to LIKE it. So, if you're PALS with me on facebook you should have just got (or, knowing the rapidity of Facebook Alerts if you send anything to more than three people, WILL get sometime this month) an invitation to go and DO so. I'm going to LAUNCH the facebook page properly on release day, but it'd be nice to have a healthy CROP of... er... LIKERS by then, if you'd be so kind.

    Hold up tho - "Launch"? Yes, for LO! again, i have invested some HARD CA$H (over 30 quid!) in an ADVERTISING campaign!! Starting on RELEASE DAY (which, as I'm sure you have felt-tipped in your diary, is January 23rd) people interested in Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy will be getting ADVERTS to persuade them to come and look at the album. You can go for "interests" on Facebook, and as those two things a) are mentioned in the press release b) have a lot of facebook types c) seem like fairly logical comparisons, I thought I'd go for those first.

    We'll see what happens, but it's all TERRIBLY exciting and I've been having lots of fun digging out stuff to PUT on the page - I've got a whole SCHEULE of things to be put on there over the next few weeks, including a NEW VIDEO, so do keep looking! I'm also thinking of doing some small advertising ELSEWHERE. Having spent two and half GRAND on a RUBBISH Advertising Agency last time around I think I can afford to spend TENS of pounds doing it myself this time!!

    posted 12/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Gig Poster Renaissance
    One of the nice things about the rise of FACEBOOK as a device for Event Publicising is that it seems to have helped revive the idea of GIG POSTERS.

    When i was a young lad just starting out on The Road Of ROCK gig posters used to be VITAL - apart from the listings flyers that pubs used to do, a decent poster was your MAIN way of telling people the gig was happening. Aah, the delightful Saturday afternoon spent wandering round the gig pubs, music, record and CHIP shops of Old Leicester Town, saying "Is it OK to put a poster up?" And OH the Saturday night/Sunday mornings spent creeping around Dark Streets with a bucket of wallpaper paster and DREAD in the heart lest THE COPS caught us.

    It all feels a long long time ago, and once the INTERWEB took over as the main way of keeping in contact posters went into decline. Why bother spending a whole afternoon cutting out headline letters from the local paper (before computers THAT is how we used to get decent looking lettering!) and pritt-sticking them above an Amusing Photograph before photocopying a batch of them (using a DODGY Photcopy Card which gave HUNDREDS of free copies in the Polytechnic library) before schlepping them round town, when you could just send an EMAIL to hundreds of people who would probably be interested?

    However, in recent years gig posters have become popular again, though mostly used as illustrations for Facebook Events and also PLUGS on web forums. It's quite QUAINT that, in my experience, these still stick the the A4 proportions of the traditional gig posters, when they could be ANY size really, but it's been lovely to see them back in use again.

    I've been thinking about this over the past few days as I've been up to my neck in posters recent and ancient for MY gigs. I've recently done posters for tonight's Totally Acoustic and also for the Dinosaur Planet launch, and thought it might be nice to find some way of including them on the GIGS page. Then I thought it might ALSO be a good idea to include OLD posters, so RE-JIGGED the code for the gig pages then went on an ODYSSEY OF DISCOVERY, looking for old images.

    It was GRATE fun - there's loads of them out there on Flickr, Facebook and, especially, on, and it was lovely to be reminded of all the exciting and VARIED ways people have tried to represent me, The Validators, and the various OPERA what we have done. There's a wide variety of them up for last year and>the year before's shows, and if you look back through the gigs from history you'll find them all the way back to 2005, with a little spattering in 1993 and 1995. These really old ones come from the collection of Mr CM Lawson, to whom I am EXTREMELY grateful. When I moved to London I - STUPIDLY - decided i didn't NEED my huge collection of old gig posters, so chucked them all away, so it was BRILLIANT last year when he put his own collection up... on Facebook!

    posted 12/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    We Were On The Radio!
    As our tube emerged from the tunnel at Leyton last night I got a txt message from Twitter, from someone saying we'd just been played on Gideon Coe's show. Excitedly I got on the interweb and found that Mr Coe had INDEED played My Grandad Is Nuts - you can listen again, it's on about half an hour in!

    After the last couple of days' worth of WHITTERING this was rather a wonderful surprise, and a wave of RELIEF came over me. It's been on the radio! PHEW! I listened to the rest of the show and was amazed to find that, coincidentally, PROLAPSE were in session, making it a Tim Pattison THEME night. Oddly, Mr Coe had The June Brides on in session last night. He also, funnily enough, had the Occasionally Confused With Me RM Hubbert on later, and the Playing At Totally Acoustic Allo Darlin' on earlier too. The stars were obviously in ALIGNMENT!

    Shortly after this I was alerted to a TWEET from a former Melody Maker journalist and Architect Of Romo saying "Sweet Baboo, MJ Hibbett there's a horrible wave of sub-TV Personalities/HMHB/Sidebottom shamateur tweeness on the rise." Now, fair enough, hearing My Grandad Is Nuts directly after Joy Division DOES make it sound possibly a BIT twee, but the rest of it is a bit WEIRD. I really LIKE Sweet Baboo, TV Personalities, HMHB and Frank Sidebottom - who in their right mind doesn't? - but a WAVE of bands sounding like us? Is there? WHERE?

    I mean, there must be - if The Architect Of Romo says there's a genuine MOVEMENT happening, then it MUST be true, right?

    The thing that really RANKLES is the word "shamateur", which I think is an accusation that a) we sound amateurish b) that's a bad thing c) we're doing it on purpose. For goodness sake, we spent THREE WHOLE YEARS working on this album trying to make it sound as good as possible, if it sounds in any way cack-handed or poorly done now then that's because it's AS GOOD AS WE CAN DO IT!! And of course, there's also the assumption in there that if somebody not APPROVED by Proper Journalists is doing something for fun, then it must be crap.

    This last bit has been addressed on TWITTER today, with various people PILING IN and pointing out that old music weekly journalists used words like "twee" to denigrate acts that were happening without their permission. It's very true - i remember Belle & Sebastian being SLATED repeatedly by many of the dreary old print media, who couldn't cope with the idea that a band was becoming popular who didn't even do INTERVIEWS, let alone hung around in the same clubs as the journalists. That's why Belle & Sebastian STILL don't get the credit they deserve as a band that inspired HUNDREDS of other bands, labels, and internet groups to take up arms and start MAKING music, rather than waiting for the weekly newspapers to tell them what to like.

    There's tons of other stuff around this (much of which has been addressed on twitter where, DELIGHTFULLY, the indie band people have been friendly, thoughtful and have a sense of humour, where The Other Side have been pompous, self-righteous and humourless) but I'm trying really hard to stay away from it... apart from, you know, writing a really long blog about it. You'll notice i've spent LOADS more time here RANTING about a tiny little poorly thought remark than a whole SLAB of National Radio Play, so in future I'm going to try and IGNORE trolling like that and stick to the good stuff.

    Fingers crossed, let's see how I get on!

    posted 11/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Last night myself and The Programmes On My Station met outside Broadcasting House to go and watch another radio show being recorded, this time Click for the BBC World Service.

    As ever we went through the security checks (where for some reason they wanted to look at my keys), were guided by many many staff members down a corridor, and then bought some BEER while we waited to be let in. The show's presenter, Gareth Mitchell, came through all excited about the fact that there were loads of people waiting, and even stopped for a bit of a CHAT with us. I realised that he was doing the radio equivalent of Standing Outside The Pub, Wandering If Anyone Would Turn Up.

    Soon we were inside being WARMED UP with a chat from the producer and then the presenters. We hadn't realised before arriving that it would actually be LIVE, which was TERRIBLY exciting, and the show itself SPED by. There was talk about ART in Technology, seem HACKERS operating a machine containing Ping Pong Balls (which, charmingly, was being operated automatically by twitter, but seemed to need a LOT of FiddlinG With) and some pretty AMAZING music played on an Air Piano. This was GORGEOUS, and quite similar to what I'd heard at the Interesting conference last year - samples being triggered by hand movements and then manipulated, ALLIED to a quite stunning voice. It was GRATE - have a listen!.

    I think it was my FAVOURITE of all the shows we've been to, and much of this was to do with the fact that it WAS live. When we've been to recorded shows they seem to spend AGES on the warm-up bit (usually the main comedian GABBLING) and then EVEN LONGER doing re-takes at the end, so this time it actually finished WAY before we'd had enough. They did do a PODCAST intro and outro, but these TOO felt too short if anything, and we walked out into the night wanting MORE. I only knew Click from the News 24 TV version before, but I'll definitely be listening in again, it was brilliant!

    We strode off into the night to DINE OUT in London's Sophisticated Restaurant District before heading home, where we were to find MORE Radio Activity had occurred...

    posted 11/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Interregnum Of Uncertainty
    You find me today WHITTLING. Anybody who knows me will know this is not exactly a RARE occurrence, but it is at a high level at the moment for LO! it is THAT week of the Album Release Campaign where NOTHING happens.

    I hate THAT week, it's AWFUL. Every time we put an album out I have to go through THAT week, when the whole thing is FINISHED, the albums are sent out, I've emailed as many people as I can get away with to REMIND them about it and all I can do now is sit around and WAIT. If it's GOING to get into the PRESS it won't be until at least February, if it's going to be on any BLOGS it'll be more likely to appear around the release itself, and any RADIO plays will probably be next week at the earliest.

    Thus all I can really do is sit around and WORRY. I know, INTELLECTUALLY, that this has always happened every time, but knowing that doesn't really HELP. It happened with WE VALIDATE! and we ended up getting a Radio ONE session, it happened with Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez and we ended up being Album Of The Day on 6music... but then it ALSO happened with Forest Moon Of Enderby and, well, let's just say I have slightly more copies of THAT left in the corner of our spare room than I might ideally prefer.

    So all I can do is WORRY. Does it actually SOUND all right? Is a 50 minute science fiction rock opera concept album REALLY what the world is waiting for? Or was it maybe a terrible, GHASTLY mistake? I listened to it on the way in to work this morning and, to my relief, it still sounded AMAZING, but I must admit the silence is getting to me now. It feels like I've walked MILES to get to a WAREHOUSE and have just walked in to find it in PITCH DARKNESS. I'm waiting for the lights to come on and have no way of knowing whether it's going to be full of AMAZING STUFF... or completely empty.

    Or to put it another way - my current job is due to finish at the end of March, but during the recording of the album I was CONVINCED I'd make my millions through Dinosaur Planet and was happily planning the West End run of the HIT ADAPTATION while practicing my SOFA technique for all the interviews I'd be doing. This week I find myself thinking maybe it MIGHT be an idea to check some job sites.

    This is the situation inside my BRANE at the moment - WHITTLING! I'm sure this'll change, one way or the other, over the next fortnight or so, but at the moment all is ONGOING WORRY and a desperate need for some reassurance. So, if you see me over the next couple of weeks, look kindly upon me, for I am AFEARED!

    posted 10/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Lost In Leyton
    Being caring citizens of MOTHER EARTH myself and The Paper In My Pulping Machine set off to distant LEYTON on Sunday to drop some broken Electrical Equipment in at our local Recycling Centre. I visited the council's website, printed off a map, and off we set with a hessian bag full of STUFF to dump. If the planet must burn, it will not be on OUR heads!

    Things were going well until we arrived in Leyton and found that our map didn't actually show us HOW to get to our destination, and also that things had CHANGED round E10 way. I don't know if you've been told, but apparently THE OLYMPICS are coming to the Old East End this year, so there has been a lot of work done on the "street furniture". Charmingly in Leyton this seems to have included planted loads of street lights which bend over in such a way tnat nearly ALL of them are entangled with the telephone wires, but there's also been some NEW ROADS put in and OLD ONES sealed off. We thus became ever so slightly lost.

    We knew we were NEAR the recycling centre, but couldn't work out exactly where we were or how to get there, so asked a passing Generational Trio (toddler, father, grandfather) how to get there. To our amazement the middle member of the group asked if we'd got a postcode and, when I'd said we had, offered to DRIVE us there!

    What a lovely man! We thus HOPPED into his car, put the postcode into his satnav and set off. Leyton, clearly, is full of SAINTS... tho, it turns out, not the kind who have working SatNavs. He said "Ah! The SatNav says it'll take 8 minutes" which seemed a LONG time to me, but assumed there'd be a one way system or something. Similarly when we set off in the OPPOSITE direction from the map I thought the same and assumed we'd be circling back... but we didn't. In fact we headed off towards WALTHAMSTOW and KEPT heading that way until, roughly 8 minutes later, we arrived in a deserted SQUARE in an ESTATE.

    I thought he MIGHT be right, but if not didn't want to FORCE him to ferry us around any more, so we hopped out, waved our Good Samaritan goodbye, and then looked at the MAP again. We were MILES away from where we'd been and so had a DELIGHTFUL half hour STOMP through Leyton, seeing Interesting Churches, an old BOWLS CLUB and some ALMSHOUSES on the way. "This is what it's like on TOUR" i told The Green Of My Bowls Club, "We're having an ADVENTURE!"

    Eventually we got back to just round the corner from where we'd got in the car and went down many side roads, none of which led to the recycling centre. We could SEE it, but couldn't get in, and eventually ended up at The Allotments (where The Landlady harvests many items for our TEA). I could see a big sign 100 yards away saying "Recycling Centre" but there was a 20 foot high LOCKED GATE between us and IT. The Rungs On My Ladder saw two MEN working along the road, so we waved and called to them. "No public access! No public access!" one shouted back at us. "Go round!" he added, but we kept waving and eventually he came strolling over (despite his colleague telling him not to bother) to tell us that this road was now LOCKED and we'd have to go MILES around in a whole other direction to get in.

    We were UPSET to say the least, but then our SECOND Leyton Miracle of the day occurred as he took out some keys and UNLOCKED the gate for us. "Put your stuff over there, near those tellies" he said, and we JOGGED down the road to add to a small pile of electronics already there. ANGELS sang and JOY was UNCONFINED as we finally achieved our goal, thanks to the general overreaching GENTLE KINDNESS of these Leyton Folk.

    In TRIUMPH we went to Leyton Mills and bought some FOOTWEAR and FOOD before heading home, where I CHECKED the postcode given on the council website - the MAP they gave was STILL rubbish, but at least the postcode was correct, so I guess our first new friend must have had a WONKY GADGET.

    In summary, then, as long as they provide enough STREET MARKINGS I think that THE WORLD is going to be in safe hands this summer, thanks to the people of LEYTON: land of ill-gadgeted yet friendly ANGELS!

    posted 9/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Witnessing Lamacq
    On Friday lunchtime I wandered into London's Fitzrovia to pop into The King & Queen to drop off a few posters for the next Totally Acoustic, which is on Thursday 12th from 7pm and features Elizabeth from Allo Darlin' and Model Village. Here is the poster itself:

    Nice, isn't it? I did those Kirby Dots at the bottom MYSELF! So, I dropped them behind the bar and wandered off for a short stroll around central London, and as I did so I REMINISCED about some of our adventures in the area, not least the afternoon spent in The Ship when I gathered together a bunch of ROGUES for a quick practice of The Advent Calendar Of FACT and "Boom Shake The Room" before doing a live spot on Mr Steve Lamacq's old 6Music Sunday Show.

    This in turn got me thinking about the fact that I was surely due to SEE him soon, for LO! since coming to London EVERY time I've had an album or single or SHOW about to come out Mr Lamacq has LOOMED into view, like some kind of MYSTIC PORTENT of Rock To Come. Just before Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez was released, for instance, I got off the TRAIN after a Band Meeting in Derby and bumped into him on the station platform. Similarly, when Mr S Hewitt and I met to discuss the two-man Edinburgh version of Dinosaur Planet Mr Lamacq suddenly appeared before us IN THAT VERY PUB!

    He's basically been the MONOLITH from 2001 tracking the development of HUMANKIND in the form of our RELEASES, basically. "My my", I thought to myself, "What a fanciful idea! As if that could every actually be true!! Oh look. There's Steve Lamacq."

    And sure enough, just as I was passing the King & Queen again, who should come stomping by eating a bag of chips but The Great Man himself!! We stopped for a quick chat, during which he gave me a CHIP and I told him how nice the upstairs room of the King & Queen was. AWARE that his chips were rapidly cooling I thought it best not to PESTER him by saying "YOU ARE AN OMEN OF ROCK!" (I'm sure he gets that all the time) so did not MENTION how EERIE it was to see him. Also, it would probably have sounded a bit CREEPY.

    So we said our farewells and he marched off to FORGE DESTINIES VARIOUS while I walked back to work happy in the knowledge that, know The Lamacq has been WITNESSED we can consider the album ready for release!

    posted 9/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Come Back Myspace Tom
    As part of the build up to the FULL POWER PUBLICITY CAMPAIGN for Dinosaur Planet I thought it was probably about time for me to get ON and set up a proper Facebook page.

    Now, I quite like Facebook but tend to use twitter or email or indeed YE OLDE HTML to do most of my interweb communications, so I'm probably not quite as AU FAIT with its workings as I might be, but still: CRIKEY! It's a RIGHT old PALAVAR isn't it? I want to have a page with a nice big picture on it, some links, some images and maybe a video but GOOD LORD it isn't easy. It's like one of those computer games where you can complete MOST of a level fairly sensibly but then have to spend HOURS going round and round looking for TINY CLUES to find SECRET PLACES where you can get the final pieces of THE KEY / click the button that'll allow you to DO the thing you want to.

    After HOURS of trying to work it out I've finally managed to turn my OWN page into the new "timeline" thing, which suddenly makes everything look REMARKABLY like a MYSPACE page. Well done Facebook! I've also found tips on how to customise a page to be more how you want it, and it too is REMARKABLY Myspace-y, with HACKS and renamings and bits of code to insert until YOU TOO can make it next to useless. NGG! Come back Myspace Tom, all is forgiven!

    I couldn't find a way to make a PAGE (Facebook seem to have DELIBERATELY called everything by UNHELPFUL NAMES - a "page" is a VERY specific thing for them, as is a "timeline" and a "cover". I expect they'll call the NEXT version just "the" and have done with it) do the TIMELINE thing, so I think I'm probaby going to leave it fairly simple and concentrate on CONTENT. We have a LOT of content to stick on there, but as an irregular user of the site I'm not entirely sure how/IF people use it.

    Still, we might as well have a go, right? I'm going to properly LAUNCH the site, with a new video and some other bits and bobs, on RELEASE DAY (January 23rd! Not long now!) but if you'd like a quick look you can see how far I've got at Hope you like (and indeed LIKE) it!

    posted 5/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Launch Gig AHOY!
    You discover me today all of a WORRY, for LO! I am become GIG PROMOTER once again!

    Gig promotion is, of course, a noble and heroic pursuit and I am always grateful to the people who DO it, but it is not something I particularly enjoy myself - it's frightening enough doing Totally Acoustic every month, but gigs with BANDS and SOUNDMEN and TICKETS are a whole world of FEAR and PANIC. I used to run club nights in Leicester YEARS ago and would always find myself too concerned about audiences, soundchecks, bands turning up, running times etc etc etc to actually ENJOY myself.

    HOWEVER! The launch of Dinosaur Planet is so MOMENTOUS an occasion that I am willing to return to the FRAY and try and sort it out. THUS, we are BOOKED to play at The Wilmington Arms on 26th January - BEHOLD! A POSTER!

    click for bigger

    It's the first Validators gig in That London for over TWO YEARS, and we'll be playing a healthy CHUNK of songs from the album, along with a variety of Old Favourites. We've got support from the ever marvellous Keith Top Of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie All-Star Celebrity Backing Band, and I've also persuaded Ms J Lockyer and Mr T Eveleigh to get together for a first ever DUO performance, so it ought to be a fairly SPECIAL evening. There'll be t-shirts and albums and all sorts on SALE and there might even be some CAMEO PERFORMANCES by a couple of the album's other STARS too!

    I'm actually quite EXCITED - tho still WORRIED - about it all, and rather hope that people will COME. If you'd LIKE to we do have advance tickets available and also one of those modern Facebook Event Pages if you'd care to tell other people about it.

    Go on, come out and see some LIVE DINOSAUR ACTION, it'll be GRATE!

    posted 4/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Back In The Jug AGANE
    As I trudged back to work in the rain this morning I was full of Molesworth-ian THORTS re: back to SKOOL ect ect, with this picture pretty much summing it up:

    As is probably obvious the Molesworth books were a HUGE influence on me, and so i was very sad indeed to hear today that Ronald Searle, their illustrator has died at the age of 91. I know he was more famous for St Trinians, but for me Molesworth will always be the GRATEST - I bought the books when I was in Junior School from the Puffin Readers Club and was THRILLED with the magical fantasy land of 1950s boyss public prep schools. I also went to a boys' school, and tho St Marks was a MILLION miles from St Custards in terms of POSHNESS and PUPILS it felt similarly delapidated and crumbling, and the HEROIC BOYS seemed to face the same problems we did.

    Reading and re-reading it over the years I realised that it had a lot MORE to say about life than just avoiding lessons, and came to love the illustrations more and more. The way he drew was full of LIFE and FEELING but also made pretty much everything look HILARIOUS. I went to an exhibition of his ART a few years ago, and everything he did seemed to be scrabbling to get OFF the page and wiggle around for fun. It was GRATE.

    I was also thinking about Ronald Searle over Christmas because I got the BOOK of Hark A Vagrant which is BRILLIANT, but which also reminds me of Ronald Searle in Kate Beatons LINE WORK and general SUBVERSIVE JOY, although I don't know if there's any direct influence.

    Anyway, what I was wanting to say was that i LOVE Ronald Searle's artwork and it always has, and always will, brung HAPPINESS and INSPIRATION to my life. Thanks Mr Searle, you were TOPP!

    posted 3/1/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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