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Blog Archive: March 2012

In Session
Yesterday lunchtime I SAUNTERED out of my office, across the big square outside Birkbeck College and into the offices of our neighbours at SOAS, where I met Mr P Baran to record an episode of his podcast, "The Lost Property Office".

It's a GRATE idea for a show - part of Pete's job is to run the Union's lost property office, so he gets GUESTS to come in and LOOK at the objects that have been lost and then talk about them, also things they THEMSELVES have lost. It's a lovely idea and GOOD GOLLY it generated a whole HECKLOAD of chat. It got to the point where I kept thinking of REMARKS but had to swiftly DISCARD them as Pete came up with a BETTER REMARK which made me think of RESPONSES and... well, if he really DOES need it to be half an hour long he's going to have to do a LOT of editing!

That said though, I'm sure he could probably do with only HALF of the OLD MAN TALK that went on. Oh dear me, get us on the subject of The Indie Toilet Circuit Of The 1990s and it was like a Les Dawson In Drag sketch. "Ooh yes, The Bath Moles, they're all gone now aren't they?" "Eee, you're right, we had proper venues in them days, and proper bands, not like this lot nowadays" and so on. And on. And on.

It was DELIGHTFUL FUN, and also HANDY, as I got over, did the session, bought an EXPENSIVE QUICHE from the Farmers' Market (yes, that's how FANCY it is here On Campus, every Thursday we have a Farmers' Market, eee, in my day we had chips and cheese and were thankful etc etc etc) and was back at my desk within the hour. Lovely!

The show should be online on Wednesday next week, and in the meantime I've got MORE radio action booked. This teatime it's the final playing of Neil Jenkin's show on Dandelion Radio, which features Dinosaur Planet rather heavily, and then at 10pm I'm in SESSION on The Garden Of Earthly Delights on CRMK doing acoustical versions of songs from said album. Good times!

posted 30/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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Savage Sword Of Sileby
Whilst PREPPING the Pay-What-You-Like version of MOON HORSE for its official release on bandcamp next week, I came across a horrible realisation: our lovely SQUARE layout was going to have to change to fit it in!

DESPAIR! DOOM! Eventually I consoled myself with the idea that I could just put some MORE material up there, to even it out - there's TONNES of songs on various Multimedia Extras which I could plonk onto Bandcamp which are otherwise sitting unlistened to on hard to get at sections of CDs, I could do THOSE!

I was gleefully pondering this when I noticed that Chris T-T has been doing pretty much THAT with HIS back catalogue, adding LOADS of old albums to his bandcamp pages, including extra tracks and whole new collections. "I could DO THAT too!" i thought... but paused. "Hang on Hibbett", I said to myself, "Haven't you already done that with TWO rarities collections already? Do you HAVE anything else to hoover up?!?"

I looked through my iPod and realised that BY GOLLY i totally DO! There's a HUGE PILE of COVER VERSIONS that we've recorded over the years, including LOADS that have never ever been released properly. One PARTICULAR example is the version of "I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar" which I recorded with Mr FA Machine for a Jonathan Richman album which never happened. I had a listen to it last night and enjoyed it SO MUCH that I thought I might as well stick it on soundcloud, THUS:

A guitar solo like THAT deserves an audience!

The tracklisting so far is a thing of BEAUTY, tho I wonder if anyone else has ever released a Covers Album featuring The Wurzels, Bon Jovi, Allo Darlin' AND Guns'n'Roses? TOGETHER AT LAST?

Obviously there's MORE to do with Dinosaur Planet before we can sort this out (including at least TWO more videos), but The Validators can spend the MONTHS ahead constructively BICKERING about the album title. Suggestions so far include "Evington" (i.e. like Avatar), "The Frozen Planet Of Hathern", "Cloud City of Birstall", "May The Fosse Be With You", "Secrets Of Frog Island"... you see where this is going. I think "Savage Sword Of Sileby" is my favourite (NB because I THORT OF IT), but it's still all to play for!

posted 29/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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I was up in Leicester on Saturday for the Leicester Indiepop All-Dayer (aka LEICESTERVAL) organised by Mr S Tyers of Sweeping The Nation. on the way I popped into Kings Cross Station to have a look at the new ROOF there. COR! It was AMAZING, also BEAUTIFUL, and I headed off to The Midlands full of the joys of SPRING and LIFE. This feeling would only GROW throughout the rest of the day.

I arrived an hour and a bit later at The Firebug to find it FULL of lovely people. I went first into the beer garden to find THE TIGER talking to Mr S Metcalf, with Ms E Kawasaki and Mr C Wood close at hand. Upstairs I found Mrs S and Mr I Hodgkiss, and then a whole HOST of friendly faces led by Mr P Green - I could go on and name EVERYONE I bumped into throughout the day, but out of about 100 people there I think I ended up hugging MOST of them!

For LO! it was like one of the first Indietracks, where I not only KNEW nearly all the people but also was pals with nearly all of the BANDS! Up first were August Actually, who CONFUSED me mightily at first by playing at the OTHER end of the room - every few years they seem to swap the location of the stage at Firebug, so it wasn't really their fault. They were ACE tho - Russ the sound guy was doing a STERLING job all day, initially I thought "Something is very odd indeed about the music" and then realised i could HEAR what was going on. It sounded LUSH.

After that it was two OLD FAVOURITES with NEW NAMES - The Sweet Nothings (AKA The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut) and Anguish Sandwich (AKA Winston Echo) - both of whom were ACE, and reminded me what a long old time it is since I'd last SEEN either of them in full band mode.

By this time ALL Validators were in attendance, so there was MUCH larking/yakking/hugging going on, also consumption of BEER. It's ALWAYS lovely to be back together as a band and we stood around DELIGHTING each other. This did sadly mean we missed nearly ALL of Just Handshakes We're British, unfortunately, but we DID get our setlist in order, which led to us stomping on stage and doing THIS:
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Don't, Darren, Don't
  • Please Don't Eat Us
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • A Little Bit
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • It all seemed to go RATHER well - the new material did all right, especially A Little Bit, and if SOME members of the band made the TINIEST OF ERRORS occasionally, well, that's all part of the fun, right? I manage to keep my REMARKS fairly short (i think) but VERY MUCH enjoyed doing them, and there was JOINING IN where JOINING IN was required (especially an EXCELLENT Music Of The Future) and DANCING also.

    The rest of the evening descended into BEER and LARKS and general goodwill to ALL. We missed ANOTHER band, shamfully, The Rosie Taylor Project, via some of the aforesaid beer and larks, also PACKING AWAY, but did get to see Tender Trap, who coped HEROICALLY with half the drumkit not being there anymore.

    They were ACE, and the whole DAY was bloody marvellous. After all sorts of gigs lately where I've felt out of my depth, or too busy to enjoy it, or out on the peripheries, it was BRILLIANT to feel that I was back amongst MY LOT again. Well done everyone, it was GRATE. See you next year!

    posted 27/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Moon Horse Episode Three
    It is the DAY OF THE MOON today and so that must mean it's time for a new episode of Moon Horse VS The Mars Men Of Jupiter!

    This week's episode is available from the main Moon Horse website, as part of the Totally Acoustic series, a direct mp3 download or a good old fashioned LISTEN right here:

    Episode Three: Victory Of The Mars Men
    (direct download)

    It's a JOLLY exciting episode, with GAGS, SONGS, thrilling ACTION sequences, and possible the GREATEST CLIFFHANGER EVER, leading into next weeks tumultuous final episode. AMAZINGLY, given the range of VOICES and ACTING STYLES (hem hem) it's all performed JUST by myself and Mr S Hewitt, in a style which BBC Radio One likened to "two drunk Dads getting up and playing some songs at a barbecue", and we can think of no higher recomendation than THAT. Hope you enjoy it!

    posted 26/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Question Time
    I've lived in London for the best part of a DECADE now, but there's still some parts that I am entirely unfamiliar with. Hackney is very much one of these - even though it's just down the road to Leytonstone I think I've only actually been there ONCE, before I even moved here, when I narrowly avoided playing at a TERRIFYING SQUAT PARTY.

    Memories of this filled me with trepidation before I got there, so I was surprised to find it was Actually All Right. I doffed my metaphorical cap at the Hackney Empire and was soon inside The Hackney Picturehouse, where Ms N Guest was getting things set up for the Question Time Tweetalong EVENT that I was due to play at. I dimly understood that the idea was for people to watch Question Time... at the same time as each other, but there turned out to be MORE, not least a GIGANTIC TWEET WALL, where suitably hash tagged TWITS kept appearing. It was VERY exciting, I sat with Mr N Golding in AWE of the amazing technological future we were living in.

    As with ALL my gigs of late, the night was a SELLOUT (NB this is very nearly actually TRUE, I'm sure it MUST be due to my immense fame and reknown, and not just a string of lucky bookings!) and it soon started to fill up with people. I was on first, so took to the stage with a specially prepared range of Vaguely Political Songs, and did THIS:

  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • A Little Bit
  • That Was (SPOILERS!)
  • Things'll Be Different When I'm In Charge
  • We Did It Anyway
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • It went all right but I must say I have NEVER really got the hang of comedy gigs. I stomped on and SPOKE then did Theme From Dinosaur Planet and all was WELL, with the joining in and so forth, but after that I could feel myself LOSING the audience. People talking ALWAYS throws me a bit, and this ALWAYS seems to happen at comedy gigs - is there a long history of musicians appearing at comedy gigs and INVITING everyone to chat while they're on or something? It seems to be an accepted thing and not considered RUDE, as it would be at The Rock Gigs, so I didn't feel I could LAMBAST anyone, but my usual methods of Quelling Conversation (e.g. swearing, suddenly getting quiet, being LOUD etc etc) didn't work either.

    Everything was DELIGHTFUL, of course, I'm just very conscious of my own FAILINGS in situations like this - you'd think I'd've worked these sort of gigs OUT by now, but I always feel like they BEAT me. Still, there were plenty of LOVELY people there and everybody seemed to be quite happy with it, so I settled back to watch two EXPERTS at This Sort Of Gig in ACTION. Sara Pascoe came on next and did EXTREMELY personal material in a big room full of people out for chat and completely WON it - she was EXCELLENT - and then the MARVELLOUS Josie Long came on and, as usual, was charming, interesting, thought provoking and HILARIOUS. Seeing her in ACTION is like seeing a Comedy Billy Bragg, you want to JOIN IN. God help us all if she ever turns EVIL and decides to use her mighty powers to take control of the world, NONE shall stand in her way.

    And then it was time for the WATCHALONG/TWEETALONG bit. Goodness me! You know when you sit at home and watch Question Time and occasionally SHOUT at the telly? It was like THAT, except with a HUNDRED people all joining in. It was a bit frightening really, DEBATES broke out, INSULTS were shouted at the telly, and at one point I suddenly felt VERY OLD INDEED. A man in his fifties appeared suddenly with a big beard and the whole room WHOOPED WITH LAUGHTER! It shocked me a bit really - here was a crowd of Politically Aware Young People and the biggest LARF was for - OHO! - SOMEONE OLD!

    A couple of people did point out to me that it was someone old WITH A LUDICROUS BEARD, and maybe THAT was what the fuss was about, so I think it was probably me being a bit AWARE of the fact I was TOTALLY the oldest person there - it was all I could do to stop myself turning off the television and telling them I'd Question Time THEM in a minute if they didn't behave. It was an incredible thing to be IN - the big screen telly, the twit screen, the PASSION being shouted around the crowd, everything was a) AMAZINGLY organised and presented b) a bit OVERWHELMING. So many THINGS! I felt like a Medieval Peasant in his first cathedral!

    Thus I STAGGERED out full of EXPERIENCE into the Hackney night, and was relieved to find a BUS laden with people my own age to take me home. I had been CHALLENGED artistically, intellectually and technologically, and I needed my BED!

    posted 23/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Different Kind Of Interview
    Yesterday lunchtime I headed across town to A University Campus In London to do an INTERVIEW for an MA in Playwriting And So Forth that I've applied for. On the way I thought "Should I not have done some more formal preparation for this?" but then realised that I've spent the past TWO MONTHS not only THINKING about it, but running through INTERVIEWS about it in my head. Also, I thought, they'd seen my SCRIPT and whatever they wanted to know I ought to be able to TELL them. It's not, I reassured myself, a JOB interview - I'm paying them to EMPOWER me with THORTS.

    Being a) SUPER KEEN b) middle aged I arrived 15 minutes early, which caused all sorts of commotion. The chap at the reception desk rang around LOADS of people to find someone to deal with me, and sent me back over to another building, where a man who looked EXACTLY like a Lecturer In Novels came to meet me. "I lecture in novels!" he said, "What questions would you like to ask?" "I rather thought you'd be asking me," i said - he didn't realise I'd come for an Actual Interview, so went back upstairs and got someone from MY section of the course, who came down a few minutes later and took me back to the original building, where I waited while she fetched my FILES.

    It may sound like a bit CHAOTIC, writing it down like this, but the main thing that struck me throughout the five minutes described was how HELPFUL everyone was trying to be. A total of FOUR different people (including the receptionist at the second building) were trying to sort me out, and it was all really caused by an EXCESS of help.

    So, we went into a ROOM and had an INTERVIEW, which was a LOT of fun. When filling in the application form I thought that, as I was applying for a course in NARRATIVE I might as well include one in the "Why do you want to do this?" bit, so briefly mentioned the story of how I got a place at an MA in Playwriting back in 1991 so couldn't do it, and this was the first question ASKED by the Interview Lady, and I was thus DELIGHTED to be able to tell her the whole story again. I was delighted to tell MANY stories in fact, although I had to be on my guard and she was INTERROGATIVE. Whenever I'd say something like "... and I learnt all sorts from that" she'd say "Like what?" It was harder work than, say, a fanzine interview, but thanks to the many many Daydream Interview Rehearsals I had ready answers.

    I was also really really REALLY pleased when she said she'd enjoyed the script - I'd sent a copy of "Moon Horse" and was a bit worried that it was TOO SILLY, but she seemed really pleased with it and said all SORTS of nice things, which modesty prevents me from repeating here, hem hem, but GOLLY it did make me happy. The only place I fell DOWN really was when she asked me what PLAYS I'd been to see - I reeled off a few we'd seen in Edinburgh, but wasn't really getting away with it. Eventually I had to say that I'd not had much TIME due to all the GIGGING (which is TRUE), and then she asked how I'd manage THAT alongside two nights a week doing an MA.

    I then found myself saying out loud something I've only really said in my HEAD or at HOME - "I'm going to have to do a lot less gigs". It felt RIGHT to be saying it "officially" like this, so I'll say it here too - if I do get to do this MA I'm going to be doing a LOT less gigs over the next couple of years. Hopefully the same number of Vlads gigs - that's very do-able! - but not many solo gigs, so hey! The Kids! If you're hankering to see me, make sure you do before September, there won't be so many chances after that!

    What is that distant sound? Is it the distant rumble of MILLIONS of THE KIDS booking tickets and/or offering me emergency gigs? Or... er... not?

    Anyway, she then moved on to telling me more about the course itself. It sounded TERRIFICALLY exciting and EXACTLY the sort of thing I'd like to do. I fear I may have just sat there GRINNING and NODDING MANICALLY at everything, as it all sounded so GRATE, and I ended up having to go "Er... no, it all sounds brilliant!" when she asked if I had any more questions. I'm sure that's not right!

    We shook hands and I wandered off back to the tube station full of IDEAS and HOPES. I'd bloody love to do this course, I really hope they agree!

    posted 22/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    In The Media Spotlight
    It's a funny old thing, but MEDIA ACTION always seems to take place in CLUMPS. It'd be nice for us ATTENTION CRAVERS if, say, it could be gently doled out so every week or two you get a review or something, but no: CLUMPS it is, and today is a little bit of one.

    For instance, an interview I did a couple of weeks ago has just been posted over on Nerd Bastards all about Dinosaur Planet. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed doing it I must say - i wish more people would demand interviews about the album, i have a LOT to say about it!!

    We've also had a plug for the Moon Horse podcast from those delightful chaps at CMU. The podcast seems to be going down JOLLY well at the moment, with LOADS of downloads, though we did get a REJECTION letter this morning. I emailed several Comedy Types yesterday and today one of them sent a very nice, polite rejection (i.e. saying they wouldn't immediately turn it into a Top Radio Series!) with helpful remarks and explanations of why they wouldn't take it further. It was LOVELY!

    I've found this before with people over on the COMEDY PRODUCTION side of things - they actually DO bother to listen to stuff and take the time to get back in touch with you. Even when it's a rejection, it's SO MUCH BETTER than the standard response in ROCK circles which is just to IGNORE emails and say NOTHING, EVER. Promoters! Record Companies! FESTIVALS! If you don't want bands to play, just send us an email to tell us so. It puts us ALL out of our misery, and it's amazing how much FESTERING ANGER it prevents!

    And TALKING of festivals (and... er... not saying things) last night myself and The Clean Linen Provided In My Holiday Apartment last night decided to sort out our accomodation for the Fairly Big Festival Me And Steve Are Playing In The Summer But I'm Not Supposed To Say Which It Is Yet. After considering our options we decided TO HECK WITH IT and booked ourselves a HOLIDAY COTTAGE for a whole WEEK! ZANG! That way we can do the festival in STYLE, and then spend the next five days LOAFING ABOUT, possibly going to THE PUB!

    I've also booked my accomodation for this year's OTHER festival we're playing, Nuts In May. While The Pattisons and The Machines are ROUGHING IT on the campsite, myself and Mr McClure will be enjoying the LUXURIOUS SURROUNDINGS of... er... The Travelodge.

    That's the plan at the moment anyway - if the current MEDIA BLUR continues, who knows? We might be able to upgrade to an IBIS!

    posted 20/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Moon Horse Podcast Is GO!
    I'm very VERY proud to say that the first and second episodes of Moon Horse VS The Mars Men of Jupiter are released for download TODAY!

    We've put the first two episodes together to make a 20 minute download, with episodes three (out next week) and four (the week after) roughly the same length. The series is an edited version of the two shows Mr Steve Hewitt and I performed at The Criterion during the Leicester Comedy Festival this year, and when the whole series is finished there'll be a "pay what you like" download available from our bandcamp page with the whole thing edited together, so you don't have to keep listening to me doing my BBC Radio Announcer voice, or indeed the ADVERTS at the end!

    It's taken a little while to get ON AIR for two reasons - partly because I was waiting for a suitable gap in the ongoing Dinosaur Planet schedule to make sure Moon Horse had room to BREATH, but MOSTLY because I was having SO MUCH FUN listening to it that I kept forgetting I was meant to be paying attention to SOUND LEVELS and doing Proper Edit!

    There's a whole heap of ways to listen - I've put it up as part of the Totally Acoustic series as well as being on the revamped Moon Horse website. You can listen to it on mixcloud or soundcloud, and you can also download it directly from us.

    I apologise for the lack of availability in FUTURISTIC HOLOGRAM MODE - I'm working on it!

    If you get a chance to listen to it I hope you enjoy it - as you can tell we had a GRATE deal of FUN performing it - and if you DO like it, please tell other people! We're dead PROUD of this show, and would like LOADS of people to hear it!

    posted 19/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Schroedinger's Hibbett
    You find me today in a state of QUANTUM UNCERTAINTY, for LO! all sorts of things are happening but also NOT happening simultaneously.

    On the HAPPENING front there's all sorts going on, but I'm not supposed, really, to say what they are. There's a festival that I've never played at, for instance, that I WILL be playing at this year. Me and Steve are going to REVIVE the two man version of Dinosaur Planet especially for it, with hopefully a WARM-UP at a certain London-based Fringe Festival BEFOREHAND. I'd like to talk more - a LOT more - about this, but can't really, as nothing's finally finalised!

    Similarly there's two festivals that it looks like we're NOT playing this year. One of these is the Edinburgh Fringe, which we decided LONG AGO we'd not being doing properly this year. I was hanging on for the possibility of maybe doing a COUPLE of dates but in the end realised this would probably not be a Good Idea for us OR for audience - there's a chance we might end up doing a SPOT somewhere at some point, but nothing that'll go in the BOOK! As for the other festival we're not playing - I had high hopes and GRAND IDEAS about what we could DO if we played it this year, with the album out and everything, but it looks like it's not to be. I don't normally like smileys and so on, but in this case I'll make an exception: SADFACE!

    And then combining both ASPECTS of Happening and Not Happening we have the MINI-TOUR I've been planning for April, which is now turning out to be SLIGHTLY MORE MINI than originally planned! I'd hoped to do a whole WEEK but after a month of gentle badgering have only sorted out TWO dates as yet, and I'm starting to think I might leave it at THAT. It feels very much at the moment like THE UNIVERSE is saying to me "You know all this GIGS business, Hibbett? Maybe you should think about not doing that so much. Here, let me arrange it so you are not TEMPTED!"

    But just as THE MOPES come riding over the BRANE HORIZON there's the possibility of all sorts of EXCITING things which, once again, I can't really talk about as they're unconfirmed and, in some cases, unasked about. One of these involves me appearing at a CONFERENCE at CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY!

    And then on top of all that, we have the Dinosuar Planet promotional campaign. This feels like it has come to a GRINDING HALT at the moment - we've not had any more reviews for ages, video views have slowed right down, and the lovely press release I sent out hasn't been picked up by ANYONE. However, I know there's at least ONE review coming soon, an INTERVIEW too, and plans are well underway for one, possibly THREE new videos that'll be coming later in the year!

    So yes, it's all UNCERTAIN and very much IN THE MIDDLE at the moment. One thing tho that I DO know is happening is that MOON HORSE will be coming your way on Monday next week - I've finished mixing it, sorted out the download album for when the final episode's out, and got a new version of the webpage ready to go. It's all TERRIBLY exciting, and maybe this feeling of QUIETNESS is just the TIDE OF ROCK pulling back ready to UNLEASH it's mighty WAVE on Monday?

    I do hope so - Quantum Uncertainty is RUBBISH. I'm not surprised the cat tried to hide in a box to get away from it!

    posted 15/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Local Theatre History
    Myself and The People In My Audience went to see some CULTURE at the top of our road on Saturday night. It was the regular meeting of the News From Nowhere Club, a group named in honour of local boy William Morris, which gets SPEAKERS in to ... well, to SPEAK.

    This time it was Mr Murray Melvin, who was part of Joan Littlewood' Theatre Workshop and is still part of the Theatre Royal Stratford - he's had a huge and distinguished career but I must admit main thought as soon as I walked in was "Crikey! He was on Doctor Who!" I looked it up when I got home and discovered that actually he was in TORCHWOOD, as Billis Manger. He was TERRIFYING in that, it's no wonder I remembered it so vividly!

    His talk was AMAZING - I've never really thought of in that way before, but Joan Littlewood and company really did change THEATRE forever, and they did it all just down the road from us. It was GRATE, partly because of all the local history but also because of the SHEER QUALITY of Mr Melvin himself. You know when you see people pretending to be ACT-ORS on telly? He was like THAT, except MY GOODNESS ME he was fantastic to watch and listen to. Everything he did and said was POISED and ELEGANT and when he said "Darling Joan" and so on it didn't sound like a silly affectation because he was one of the generation of actors who WERE like that to start with.

    It was like seeing third generation knock-offs and mickey takes all your life and suddenly being confronted with THE REAL THING. It was MARVELLOUS - I could have sat and listened to him for HOURS, it was like being lectured to by POSH CHOCOLATE or something. The only thing that got in the way was that half of the other people in the room wanted to JOIN IN. I always find this is that case at these kind of DO's - most of the audience (in the politest way possible, of course) are teachers/former teachers and/or local councillor TYPES who are so used to being THE SPEAKER that they can't BEAR it if someone ELSE does all the talking. THUS there was a lot of PIPING UP and the sort of question that takes three minutes to ask because most of it is "Would you agree with ME that..."

    Mr Melvin dealt with it all with ELEGANCE and GRACE, it really was quite WONDERFUL to watch... so much so that it became difficult not to try and talk LIKE him or, indeed, write a blog in that way. We walked the short distance home RAVING about how excellent it had been. Sheer quality, right in the heart of Leytonstone!

    posted 13/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Podcasting Man
    I spent a large proportion of this weekend on PODCASTING. My EARS are now petitioning for a rest for the remainder of this week!

    The first big job was to sort out the latest Totally Acoustic Podcast. I was a bit worried about how I was going to do this - the four track had only taped the first TWO of my songs and Rebekah had asked not to be recorded, so I didn't think I was going to have ENOUGH to make a reasonable podcast. However, the two songs of mine that HAD been recorded were ones that hadn't been on before, and Peter Buckley Hill... well, he did do an HOUR on the night itself and there was PLENTY to choose from, so all in all it made for a rather BIJOU 22 minutes of High Quality Musical ACTION!

    I'd actually started listening through some old recordings with an idea to include some unbroadcast EXTRAS to PUMP IT UP, but they ended up being unnecessary. It did give me a GLIMPSE into the FUTURE tho - I'm intending to do a End Of Season FINALE again featuring extra tracks from this entire run, and so far it's sounding GRATE!

    With this succesfully uploaded and available to listen to NOW I moved on to finishing off the podcast serial of MOON HORSE. After much dithering and worrying I've FINALLY decided, in consultation with my colleagie Mr S Hewitt, to start broadcasting this NEXT week, with the first two episodes out together. Episodes 3 and 4 will then follow on a weekly basis, and then at the END of it all there'll be a full length version of the whole thing together as a Pay What You Like Download.

    It's taken me a while to finish it as I keep forgetting to EDIT and just LARF at it - it's based on the Leicester Comedy Festival shows, which were two of the best we ever did, so there are a LOT of LARFS! I also spent perhaps more time than it warranted doing the "end credits", which feature ME doing a BBC VOICE over the top of a specially recorded HOME ORGAN version of the theme tune. It may well end up being worth buying the full length version of the show just to avoid THAT!

    So yes, Moon Horse starts broadcasting a week today - stand by your INTERWEB for further information!

    posted 12/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Totally Acoustic
    I had a bit of good news on Thursday afternoon - I'd got an INTERVIEW for one of the MA Courses I've been applying for! This was all VERY exciting, tho it did remind me that if i DO end up doing an MA there'll need to be some CHANGES, as I'm not going to have TIME to do all the things I do at the moment. One of the things I think WILL change is the frequency of Totally Acoustic - we're booked up to JUNE now and I think after that I might REST it for a while, maybe switching to the occasional all-dayer or something instead. WE SHALL SEE.

    I was thinking these kind of THORTS because last night was the aforesaid Totally Acoustic at The King & Queen, and as I went upstairs to start putting out the chairs I began my usual routine of WORRY. Would anyone come? Would it work out all right? Would people be HAPPY?

    FEAR continued as time passed not just because there weren't many people there (tho as ever the ones who WERE were a DELIGHT) but none of the ACTS were either! By half past seven I was thinking "Is this going to be the first time NOBODY turns up? Is the world ready for three sets of ME?!?" Luckily the Universe was SPARED as Ms Rebekah Delgado arrived at just this point, and Mr Peter Buckley Hill would follow soon after. ALSO a good portion of PEOPLE were rolling in, so the room was nicely PLUMP with audience by the time I went on and did THIS:

  • Totally Acoustic
  • All My Loving
  • The Battle Of Peterborough
  • A Little Bit
  • Chips And Cheese, Pint Of Wine
  • We Did It Anyway

  • I'd forgotten to bring the words for the theme tune so ended up having to do EXTRA COACHING to get everyone to sing it, but I think it worked out OK, and then i LAUNCHED into my version of "All My Loving" with perhaps more VIM than TUNE. Still, it seemed to go OK and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the set, especially digging Chips And Cheese, Pint Of Wine out of the ARCHIVES. I've had a GRATE time practicing for this gig as I've rediscovered a LOAD of my old songs that, actually, are Quite Good! Being FREE from a SHOW has been lovely, if a little weird - I keep thinking "But... this song has no relation at all to the ongoing NARRATIVE"!

    After a break it was Rebekah, who was EXCELLENT - she'd asked me not to tape it, which was a real shame as it sounded GORGEOUS, with added VIOLIN and SQUEEZEBOX and BACKING SINGERS. I've seen her be really good loads of times but I think this was my favourite gig of hers I'd seen - as ever with doing things Totally Acoustically it all felt more PERSONAL and you could HEAR everything perfectly. Also there was SHOWMANSHIP: costumes! SUBTITLES! It was magic, and I've STILL got "We All Break Sometimes" ZINGING through my head.

    And then it was time for the man, the LEGEND, Mr Peter Buckley Hill. I'd wondered how he and Rebekah would GO together on a BILL, and how they went was GRATE - I think most people had come to see her, but PBH won the entire room round within MINUTES and then launched into an HOUR - an HOUR! - of hilarity. There was literally NO stopping him, with GAGS and SONGS and all round BRILLIANCE, ending triumphantly with "He's Dead, I'm Not". In a funny sort of way it's almost a shame that he's so well known as PBH Of The Free Fringe as that tends to overshadow the fact that he's a MIGHTY performer. Charming, fun, and VERY funny - i do think everybody who HE'S given gigs to over the years should think about booking HIM, he is GRATE!

    So in the end it all worked out rather well, and I realised how much I'd miss it if i just STOPPED doing these shows. They might not be happening as often in the future, but it's SUCH a lovely idea I don't think they'll ever disappear completely!

    posted 9/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    My Favourite Press Release
    I've just sent out the latest batch of press releases, this time TARGETTING newspapers and women's/family magazines. I've had loads of parents emailing me over the past couple of months to say that their kids love the new album, and I thought it might be an Interesting/Delightful news story. Well, you never know do you?

    I think this is my MOST FAVOURITE of all the press releases I've ever done, just because re-reading it makes me HAPPY - this is pretty much EXACTLY the result I wanted for the album (well, maybe selling a ZILLION of them would be nice too), and when ALLIED to one of my favourite ever gig photos it cannot help but bring me GLEE. Here's the whole thing in full:

    Indie Band Finds Fans Among The Under-10s

    When indie band MJ Hibbett & The Validators released their new album 'Dinosaur Planet' they hoped for the usual things indie bands hope for - the approval of Steve Lamacq, a few more gigs, and maybe a slot at a festival. They didn't expect to suddenly find themselves with a following amongst the under-10s.

    "I first noticed something happening a week after the CD came out" says lead singer MJ Hibbett. "Every day I'd check my emails hoping for reviews, and instead find messages from proud parents, telling me how much their children loved the album."

    Matt Crisp from Birmingham was one of the first to get in touch, saying that his son Josh "insists that 'Dinosaur Planet' must and shall be played every time he's in the car". Ian Greenall of Merseyside wrote to say "my five year old son Ethan goes around quoting and singing from it all the time."

    Some of these young fans are working to convert their friends too. Pete Shuttleworth of Kilmarnock reported that his daughter Millie "has imposed it on any child we give a lift to. Her best friend Euan was more interested in hearing the second half of the album on the return from a recent adventure than he was in the adventure itself."

    In Croydon, East London, there's even a Dinosaur Planet playgroup!

    MJ Hibbett plays for some of his newest fans

    'Dinosaur Planet' is MJ Hibbett & The Validators' fifth album. It's a science fiction rock opera which uses space dinosaurs and giant robots to talk about various adult topics. For instance, their current single 'A Little Bit' is supposed to be a hymn to the value of evidence-based academic research, but even that has been taken over by their new fan base.

    "We asked our mailing list to help out by each doing 'a little bit' of the video," says MJ, "and when the clips came back nearly half of them featured children!" The results can be seen on their webpage, with various indie mums and dads happily singing along with their kids.

    "It's a lovely thing to happen, and we're very glad to have made a record that parents and children can enjoy together", says MJ. "The only downside is that our new fan base can't get into our gigs. We usually play in pubs, and it'll be quite a while before they're old enough to get in!"

    The video for 'A Little Bit' (direct link to YouTube)

    Aaaah, isn't that lovely? I wonder if anyone will actually pick up on it? It's also available at if anyone fancies a LINK to it or something, and if YOU, dear reader, would like to make this a GLOSSY MAGAZINE FEATURE, do let me know!

    posted 8/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Ideas ATAK
    You find me in what is theoretically a QUIET TIME. I've not got a HUGE amount of gigs going on (though it's Totally Acoustic on Thursday, with Rebekah Delgado and Peter Buckley Hill, do come!), the new video is DONE and fully publicised, and I haven't even got a SHOW to be doing with Mr S Hewitt. It is QUIET TIME.

    And so, it appears, my BRANE has decided that now would be an excellent opportunity to go FULL TILT and spew out IDEAS at every opportunity. My poor old IDEAS BOOK is all of a sudden BURSTING with NEW THORT and FRESH PLANS. There's ideas now for FOUR videos for songs from Dinosaur Planet to be done over the rest of the year, and TWO other schemes to further promote it, for instance. One of these will be coming your way next week and involves my favourite EVER gig photo - prepare yourselves for thinking "aah, isn't that sweet?" because you PROBABLY WILL THINK THAT!

    Meanwhile I'm in FULL-ON THORT mode for the sequel to Moon Horse VS The Mars Men Of Jupiter. I don't want to say TOO much about it at the moment, as I'm hoping to reveal the title at the end of the PODCAST series, which should be coming your way next month some time. I'm currently EDITING the recordings of the show we made in Leicester, but it's taking rather a lot longer than I expected because I keep getting ENTHRALLED by it all, LARFING, and forgetting I'm supposed to be doing some WORK. The podcasts will be available for free, but I'm now thinking of doing a Pay As Much As You Like version A LA RADIOHEAD that'll come with free VIDEO and maybe a SCRIPT. Anyway, THAT'S happening, but the NEXT thing is even MORE exciting! ZANG!

    And then quite apart from all that all these OTHER ideas keep pinging around, for other SONGS or other SCHEMES or people to HASSLE - this last especially pertinent for the TOUR I'm going to do in April with Mr Gavin Osborn and Mr Frankie Machine - or just random nonsense. The phrase "UNLEASH THE ATOMIC GORILLA!" popped into my head this morning and REFUSES to leave until I do something with it. Hmm...

    So yes, all is quiet on the Going Out And Doing Stuff front at the moment, but BY GOLLY it is bloody noisy inside my head. If you ever think I go on a bit in this BLOG (I'm sure you wouldn't!) then do at least take comfort that it is a REFINED version of the raging FROTH that is boiling in my BRANE! Now, where's that ATOMIC GORILLA got to?

    posted 6/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    One Man PR Machine
    It's been quite an exciting few days on the PR front. After all the excitement of Theme From Dinosaur Planet being in io9 and Comics Alliance, the week ended with the A Little Bit video whizzing about all over the TWITTERSPHERE. Various RESEARCH sites, including Research Fortnight, Sage Methods and, most excitingly for an OLD HAND like me, The Medical Research Council (!) retweeted a link to it, as did loads of Top Twitterers like Robin Ince and Simon Singh.

    It didn't come out of the blue - I spent a good couple of hours diligently SPAMMING... sorry, gently informing people about it - but I was VERY pleased with these results. The song is ABOUT collaborative research so I was excited to think that those ENGAGED in it were getting to hear the song.

    INTERESTINGLY, after all this marvellous covergae, the video itself wasn't getting that many extra views. It's speeding up a bit now, so it may just have been YouTube being slow to update, but I find the link between TYPES of sites mentioning the video and the RESULTS rather FASCINATING. As I keep saying to anyone who'll listen, when we get mentioned on a MUSIC site pretty much nothing happens, but when it's somewhere more GEEKY then SALES, INTEREST, and requests for Other Stuff pretty much ALWAYS ensue. As I say, A Little Bit HAS picked up quite a few more views over the weekend, so maybe RESEARCHERS have to wait until they get home before they can look at Amusing Videos, whereas Geeky Types have their headphones in at work and can do what they like?

    I'm THOROUGHLY enjoying all this anyway, and am FULL of plans for further Media ATAK. As I type this morning there's ideas for at least THREE more videos going round Camp Validator, and I'm gearing up for a major assualt on The Women's Magazine Market. We're going to try and interest them (and newspapers, and blogs) in the FACT that CHILDREN seem to be enjoying the album as much, if not MORE, than their parents. Ever since Dinosaur Planet came out i've had emails from people saying how much their kids like it, and the latest video is FULL of young people, so I'm going to have a go at making it a FEATURE about Indie Parents FINALLY finding a record that they can share with their children.

    If anyone's IMMEDIATELY TANTALISED by that idea do let me know, otherwise HOLD TIGHT as it's BOUND to be hitting the PRESS very soon. Eee, it's like MAD MEN around here - someone make me a COCKTAIL!

    posted 5/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    London Stone
    I met The Foundations Of My Building after work last night for a scenic stroll around... er... some railway stations. To be specific, Blackfriars, Cannon Street and Fenchurch Street, for reasons VARIOUS.

    Blackfriars was first - it's been refurbished, so The Trains In My Tube Tunnels wanted to have a look at what it was like. It was quite nice, though not entirely finished, and had those big GREY STEEL barrier things like at St Pancras, and the huge open entrances to the platform that seem to be the THING nowadays. I realised that in the future you'll probably be able to tell stations built in the first couple of decades of the century BY features like that - FRESH looking but quite STERN.

    We walked through London Town to our next stop, Cannon Street, on the way MARVELLING how one part of London can seem totally ALIEN, only to suddenly be somewhere you know quite well 60 seconds later. Everything seemed UNKNOWN, for instance, until we all at once noticed we were passing The Bouncy Bridge. Cannon Street is one of those mainline stations in London that neither of us have never BEEN to, so we thought we'd go and see. As The Tickets In My Slot said, it's strange to think that places like this are a HUGE part of some people's lives, passing through them every day, but most of us have no idea they're even there. It was ALSO big, open, bright and faintly STERN.

    As we came out I noticed a pub over the road called "The London Stone", and recognised it from the story "Absolam" which has been running recently in 2000AD. I pointed it out and told The Beer In My Pump what I knew of the stone itself, all of which I'd got from the aforesaid story. "Let's find it!" she said so we crossed the road and there it was - as you can see from this person's blog it's hardly CONSPICUOUS, and I only recognised it from Mr Tiernan Trevallion's EXCELLENT illustrations of it in the comic strip. It's a funny old thing, POSSIBLY mythical and possibly nothing of the sort - the Wikipedia Article is well worth a read.

    We went to look at the pub The London Stone. "It didn't get a very good review in 2000AD" I said, and when I got in I saw that it was basically Bog Standard With Trimmings, also little in the way of BEER, so we carried on with our walk. We headed for Fenchurch Street, which again neither of us had ever been too but which, like most British people, we know from MONOPOLY.

    On the way we popped into The Ship, one of those MEGA OLD London pubs that have been there so long that the entire street plan and other buildings has had to be built AROUND it. You go down a little alley underneath a giant concrete building and suddenly find yourself in Ye Ancient Courtyard, all cobbles and weird outlines. I LOVE pubs like this, where hundreds of years' worth of Londoners have come for a drink after work. Currently there are many BANK TYPES braying away, and in another hundred years it'll probably be BRANE HOLOGRAM TECHINICIANS or something. It's a reminder of one of the most BRILLIANT things about living in London - it feels like a place where all sorts of things have HAPPENED on every street, and where things will continue to happen in THE FUTURE!

    Suitably enervated we wandered round the corner to try and find Fenchurch Street. We soon came into a CLEARING in the forst of new buildings to find a GORGEOUS old fashioned station. Inside it was techinically rather less old fashioned, but it felt MORE so, as it was a lovingly kept example of classic 70's station design - big rectangular tyles, a nice big open desk to talk to staff at, a proper multi-layered Station Pub and a WH Smiths. We both really really liked it, and felt the urge to one day visit SHOEBURYNESS, just so we'd have an excuse to use it.

    We had to get back to Leytonstone, however, so we set off in search of Tower Hill Station. Clearly many many people have got lost over the years as there were LOADS of signs pointing the way, and we soon found ourselves looking over at The Tower Of London. WOW! In all the years I've lived in London I've STILL not go around to visiting it, and rarely go over to this part of town, so was once again MASSIVELY IMPRESSED by how MASSIVELY IMPRESSIVE it is. It's a bloody great big ancient CASTLE! It's AMAZING!

    We hopped onto the district line and headed home, full of the joys of THAT LONDON. It may have it's fair share of idiots, stinkiness and travel issues, but GOR BLIMEY it is an amazing place to be in!

    posted 2/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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    Conference Talk
    I went to a CONFERENCE on Wednesday, the Technology For Marketing And Advertising conference at Earls Court, to be precise. Myself and The Name On My Name Badge had BOOKED in for it ages ago, when I was thinking about maybe doing That Sort Of Thing if my job finished, but since it now looks like the job WOULD continue I decided maybe I'd not bother.

    Things changed when I received a text from erstwhile Voon colleague Mr Simon Wilkinson. We'd arranged to go to the PUB on Tuesday night, but he texted the day before to POSTPONE, as he had "a keynote speech" the next day to prepare for. I thought nothing of it until, later than evening, I looked on Facebook and saw it was the exact same conference that he was talking at. I could go!

    I DID go! A long trek across town in the morning (during which i read a whole pile of COMICS!) found me strolling into Earls Court 2 and a whole BUNCH of Stalls featuring acronyms that made no sense at all to me - everyone was ESPECIALLY banging on about "CRM", for instance, which I had to look up when I got home. As an OLD SKOOL Computer Type I was a bit WARY of it all - all this SEO stuff is exactly the sort of thing that makes us HARRUMPH, grumpily thinking "I bet they've never hand coded anything in their LIFE!" and every so often I'd see someone else with greying hair, dressed in Computer Guy Trying To Be Smart GARB, looking confused, perplexed and mildly disgruntled.

    I didn't want to miss Simon's talk, so went and LURKED near the "Keynote Theatre", where there were a whole bunch of other people lurking, all leaning against a barrier. I went and stood at the very end of the barrier, and suddenly a FLOCK of people came and stood behind me. "Is this the queue?" someone asked. "I think it is now", I answered, HOPING that it was.

    With half an hour to go we were allowed into a QUEUEING ENCLOSURE - mainly, I think, so that people who'd bought Premier Advance Speedy Boarding Passes had someone to FLOUNCE past - and after a while we went in, with me thinking "We only ever had a queue ONCE for Voon, and that was of six people!"

    The keynote began with a man from Experian talking about "BIG DATA", which was interesting, then rambling on for AGES about an example of a JOURNEY in social media. He basically told a story about a couple who meet and get married and buy things, illustrated via social media terminology with lots of STOCK IMAGES. I tell you this for nothing - SEO people BLOODY LOVE stock images, they were EVERYWHERE. Got a slide about asking a question? Fill half of it with a picture of someone looking pensive, stood on a large question mark! It was EVERYWHERE, and CONFUSING - especially when he said "Here we see MIKE, who lives in PECKHAM" and showed a picture of someone clearly waiting for a train on the Paris Metro.

    ANYWAY, soon it was time for SIMON, who was GRATE - he works for Doc Martens doing their Social Media stuff, and did a BIT about how Doc Martens is a) an old firm with loyal customers b) attracting new customers by doing NEW stuff. I knew much of this already from pub talk, but it was interesting hearing it explained properly, about how they THUS don't want necessarily to show their Old Punk customers images of Florence & The MAchine, or pictures of old CORTINAs to 15 year girls after flowery shoes.

    I am PARAPHRASING, but that was the basic idea, and the way they DO it was ably explained through the medium of TOP TRUMPS. Simon said that they used research which allocated people into certain TRIBES, using key attributes which mean you only need to know a BIT about someone to be able to GUESS all sorts of other stuff about them. Like if someone said "I have Physical Strength 91, Fear Factor 81, Killing Power 86 and Horror Rating 100" they would reply "AHA! You are a DRACULA - here are some pictures of COMELY VIRGINS and CASTLES!"

    There were also several GAGS, more FASCINATION and a general air of BELONGING at a huge conference talking to hundreds of people about The Modern and The New. I must say I was VERY PROUD - I remember him being AFEARED of doing 20 minutes of SONIC NOISE TERROR in front of 3 people at the Princess Charlotte, but here he was now securing total victory over a range of fellow professionals. It was ACE!

    I QUEUED UP once more with a baying crowd of well wishers to tell him well done, and then he was dragged away to do a VIDEO INTERVIEW for their website. I said cheerio and strode off back home again, AGLOW with PRIDE and also NEW KNOWLEDGE. Well done everyone, well done!

    posted 1/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett
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