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Blog Archive: January 2014

The London Finale
Last night we were at the Hackney Attic for the final London performance of Total Hero Team, where we had Mr Matt Tiller and Ms Jenny Lockyer as support. Rather wonderfully we ALL arrived there early - possibly because Hackney is known to one and all as Slightly Tricky To Get To. (For people who don't live in London - this just means it isn't on the tube, it's actually PEASY.

We spoke with the organiser about expected audience size - "about 20?" we said, honestly, and much to my relief she seemed FINE with that, so we arranged tables accordingly, did our soundchecks, and waited to see if we'd guessed about right.

We totally did, and rather wonderfully the vast majority of the 20 were people I didn't recognise, some of whom had seen the posters and decided to give it a go. Hoorah! We kicked off with Matt who I've not seen play for AGES, and who was ACE. I always like his song The Plymouth Hotel, so was very pleased to hear it, but the high point of his bit was when he invited Matthieu The (French) Sound Guy onstage to live translate Henri Le Chauffeur De Camion Amoureux. Usually he gets an English person (e.g. ME one time) to translate his French into English, but getting a French person to do it has Unforseen Consequences e.g. he couldn't understand much of Matt's version of French, and when he could he didn't know the English!

When Matt came off people looked a bit confused, expecting a compere, so I stood up and said "Next act in 10 minutes!" but there seemed to be a feeling that this was insufficient,so I went and did a proper intro for Jenny, who was GRATE as ever. There were new songs, REMARKS, and an especially lovely version of Granny Pearl, another favourite of mine which I was very happy to hear again.

After that general excellence all that remained was for me and Steve to stomp on and do the show, which seemed to go over fairly well. It felt a bit WEIRD because we had to use microphones and have the guitar and uke plugged in, but CERTAIN members of the group seemed to LOVE it. Clearly Steve has been missing his days as a Lead Singer, and took the opportunity to remove the microphone from its stand and SWAN ABOUT a bit. He loves it!

Afterwards Matthieu came over and said I had to go downstairs to see about payment. I was AFEARED that this meant they wanted me to cough up some deposit, but actually it turned out they wanted to pay US. This on top of the BEER TOKENS we'd had earlier meant we'd actually made a profit of POUNDS, even including travel! A first!!

Some of us moved over the road to The Cock Tavern for a celebratory pint. It's a very nice place, and had many very nice people in it. After a while I had to drag myself away in order to catch my train, and was a bit peeved to find that the trains seemed to be a bit knackered, as I ended up spending 20 minutes sat on a cold platform, when I could have spent most of that time in a nice warm pub!

It was the only (very mild) low note in a lovely evening. Being on tour is FUN - next stop Glasgow!

posted 31/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Perfect Nonsense
On Friday in Sheffield Mr S Hewitt and I were having a DEAD INTELLECTUAL conversation about The Theatre, during which I posited the idea that yr West End Musical is the true successor to Music Hall i.e. it is a big FUN, also COMMERICAL, entertainment that Actual People LIKE, rather than the subsidised theatre which is - according to ME at least - largely a bit annoying and boring.

I had a chance to test my theory almost immediately as on Saturday The Cast In My Play and I were off to the West End to see Perfect Nonsense, the new Jeeves & Wooster adaptation starring Stephen Mangan, Matthew Macfadyen and Mark Hadfield. We bought the tickets AGES ago, as we both love PG Wodehouse and thought it might be something to look forward to after getting the MOVE all sorted out.

I went hoping to enjoy it - I LOVED the Fry & Laurie show, but then thought last year's Blandings Castle adaptation was awful, so you never know. I expected it to be a pretty straight adaptation, as it has been on telly, sort of like a nice calm PLAY or Gentle Farce. It wasn't like that at all!

The general idea, it turned out, was that someone had told Bertie Wooster his stories were good enough to be on the stage, so he'd decided to give it a go. THUS it began with him trying to tell the story alone but quickly having to call Jeeves on to help out. Jeeves then got another butler to fill in the spare parts and, as the show went on, he BUILT the set. This meant there was a lot of costume changes between them, a lot of Prop Comedy, and a LOT of Titting About.

If this seems EERILY FAMILIAR to the sort of Showing Off me and Steve have been doing then you will not be surprised to find that I thought it was BLOODY GRATE. We LARFED and LARFED all the way through, sometimes because of the WORDS (one big advantage of having Bertie sort-of "narrate" the show was that he could get in LOADS of PG Wodehouse's hilarious authorial descriptions), sometimes because of the ACTION, and often because of the all-round good time daftness of it all. Even now, several days later, I keep getting reminded of bits of it, and LARFING some more.

When we came out, faces aching with grinning, I said that it had reminded me a LOT of Morecambe & Wise, with the warmth, the daftness, the slickness masquerading as near-chaos, and of course the PROPS. I love BOTH PG Wodehouse and Eric & Ern, but I wouldn't have ever thought of putting them together, and it worked surprisingly well. I was thus PLEASED when I got home to find out it had been directed by Sean Foley, who'd previously done "The Play What I Wrote", which was ABOUT Morecambe & Wise. HA! Well done BRANE!

It was a GRATE night out, the most I've laughed at a show since we went to see Pappy's last year, and made me agree with... er... myself that your big West End Production has the potential to be EXCELLENT. Now, what shall we go and see next?

posted 28/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Superheroes in Sheffield
On Friday lunchtime I sat in the pub with Mr S Hewitt having a delicious PINT in lovely St Pancras, waiting to head North for some good times, for LO! we were Back On The Road again!

We were off to Sheffield to begin the final tour of Total Hero Team, and we toured in STYLE. There was another pint in the delightful Sheffield Tap, our Usual Suites in The Ibis, and then a GRATE night at The Rutland Arms - INDEED the only fly in the ointment was that the telly in my room wasn't working, so I couldn't watch "Pointless". Watching "Pointless" is one of the BEST BITS of being On The Road, but I coped manfully and read a book instead. I don't expect a medal.

The evening was LOVELY. On with us was Mr Kriss Foster and friend, doing the show I'd seen up in Edinburgh. They were MARVELLOUS - so understated, calm, and very very very funny. I loved the whole thing but my favourite bit was at the end, when he asked if anyone knew what noise a puffin makes. Ms E Pemberton DID and said so. "Nobody's ever answered that before", said Kriss, and demonstrated that she was right with a cuddly puffin toy that made the noise (it's a bit like a cow, growling).

Then it was our turn and we had a smashing time - we only went wrong a couple of times, but nobody seemed to mind (least of all us) and there were LARFS aplenty, especially in the charming children's song "Come On Pussy" which they all seemed to find amusing, for some reason. It felt GOOD to be back doing the show again, and didn't FEEL like nearly TWO MONTHS since we'd last performed it... although to be fair we HAD had a practice the night before. PROFESSIONALISM!

Then it was time for BEER and CHAT and all round FUN with our lovely Sheffield chums before staggering home to bed for a BRIEF KIP before getting up with THE LARK next day for the 09:29 home. It was a long journey but we were sat next to a group of Sheffield ladies having a beautifully voiced, constantly fascinating and GRATE discussion on Many Topics, political and otherwise. When they sat down I thought "Oh noes, STEVE is hungover (STEVE) and here's a bunch of ladies on a hen night or something who'll be LOUD and ANNOYING" but no, they kept us entertained the whole way. What was I expecting? They were from Sheffield, everything in Sheffield is GRATE!

posted 27/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Total Hero Team Podcast
After WEEKS of going on about it I am very happy to announce that the first episode of the Total Hero Team podcast serial is online RIGHT NOW!

You can find it over on the Total Hero Team website, with details of how to subscribe via iTunes and our own atom.xml feed. You can also, i think, follow my soundcloud channel, or indeed just pop back every Friday for another episode.

The plan, as subtly hinted at above, is to release a new episode every Friday, with the last one out on February 28th, so that it's going on alongside the last batch of gigs that we're doing. Once it's all done I'm going to put an album version, with all the songs seperated out, on a "Pay What You Like" deal on our bandcamp page. If all goes to plan there'll also be a sort of MOVIE version, done with still photographs, all unleashed at the same time.

For now the first episode, eight minutes of THRILLS and NEW SONGS await you - go on, have a listen, it's GOOD, honest!

posted 24/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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In General Practice
Now that we're officially MOVED it's nearly time for us to get on with ACTUAL life i.e. Things That Aren't Moving House. There's still a couple of things to sort out though - one of these is to get ourselves weaned OFF The Christmas Diet, as we're still "treating" ourselves to SNACKS at any opportunity, getting through bottles of WINE at a fair old pace (moving house is STRESSFUL!) and staying up until 2am. The current plan is to tackle that NEXT week, THIS week's job was to go and get my GP sorted out.

My old GP was lovely, and still not very far away, but there's a massive medical centre only 2 minutes from our new flat, and it's named after Sir Ludwig Guttman, so I HAD to register really, didn't I? It's all VERY swanky and new, and as there's only about 5 people living nearby I REASONED that I'd get super attention and service. However, i STILL didn't get to see my new GP until 15 minutes after my appointment - there was NOBODY there, so I can only surmise that it is part of their training to keep you waiting a bit. It's like going to the Chemist's - you can SEE your prescription on the shelf, but it is the LAW that you have to wait for it.

Other than that all was delightful - knowing there was nobody else waiting meant we could have a bit of a chat and go through all my various minor ailments. I wanted him to say "Aha! There is a revolutionary new treatment for Psoriasis/Bad Back/Occasional Ulcer Twinges that will cure you INSTANTLY! Also: it definitely IS just Psoriasis/Bad Back/Occasional Ulcer Twinges, and not SOMETHING HORRIBLE" but instead he said "Yes, that seems fine, keep taking Gaviscon/applying psoriasis lotion/doing back exercises", which I suppose is near enough. He also told me that my BMI is too high. "The way to lower it is to lose weight", he said. "Or get taller", I pointed out. He was unable to argue with my PURE LOGIC.

They also handed me a FORM with details of how to register for their online service. It featured a lovely list of very clear instructions which, of course, don't actually WORK. I rang them up to point this out, feeling Professionally Obliged to do so. Turns out that they'd missed AN ENTIRE FIRST STEP, after which it works FINE. Like everything else about living in East Village, it does feel like we're the guinea pigs/PILOT PROGRAMME, going through everything being not quite right before everybody else gets here!

Still, all done now - I think that deserves a whole pack of Pringles and bottle of wine!

posted 23/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Olympic Legacy
I spent a happy hour or so yesterday trying to find out which team had lived in our block during the Olympics. I didn't find out - i guess it was SECRET at the time - but i DID look at lots of interesting pictures, including this interesting DIAGRAM of where things were. They're building a Sainsbury's now where the "chill-out zone" was, and I've got a check-up tomorrow with my new GP in the "Polyclinic", but it's all still quite recognisable with how it is now - INDEED, if you could just zoom in a bit you'd be able to see into our flat!

I also found a couple of pictures of inside the flats themselves during the games, and got EXCITED when I saw a reporter in what appeared to be OUR bathroom! I eventually realised that there's probably a lot of them that look the same, but STILL: it does mean that the bathroom we have was there during the games, and thus our loo has been used by OLYMPIC ATHLETES!

And that got me thinking about the PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY of the place - all the things that had happened there over the years. I found some maps of what the area looked like before they built the Olympic Park, and found that our bit was mostly rail yards. I remember all the fuss when the games were announced, about how the history of the area was being wiped away, to be replaced by something new and, somehow, less "real". But that's the thing with yr HISTORY - all the stuff that was in the area before they built the Olympics was itself built on top of OTHER history (archeologists found evidence of habitations going all the way back to neolithic times), and now there's MORE history (also, a Sainsbury's) being built on top of THAT. I imagine, in a hundred years time, exactly the same sort of people who bemoaned the loss of the old rail depot coming to the site and talking about the historical importance of the old Olympic site. I wonder if FUTURE PEOPLE will know that that's why the place was built?

I apologise if all this is only of interest to ME, but it IS very exciting to be living there. On Sunday i went for an early evening STROLL round the new PARK they've just opened, and WONDERED at all the buildings STILL to be opened. On that diagram there's only the triangular building and ours, next to it, that are even OPEN yet, and those are still less than a quarter full. Over the next year or so, apparently,the whole LOT is going to be filling up with people and they're building MORE houses too, round where the basketball arena was.

I can't wait to see what happens to it all - so GIRD yrself, gentle reader, I'll be banging on about it for a while yet!

posted 21/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Full-on Foley Fun
In just over a week's time we begin the final TOUR for Total Hero Team - we're bringing it to Sheffield, Hackney, Glasgow and Leicester, so do please pop along if you can, won't you?

As stated before, we're going to be doing a PODCAST version of the show to go alongside the tour. We recorded the dialogue and SONGS last week and I've spent most evenings since HEADPHONED UP editing it together. The PEASY bit of this is lining up all the different sections, taking out the mistakes (yes! amazingly, there ARE some - hard to believe, I know, for anyone who has ever seen the show hem hem) and INTERESTINGLY taking out the little gaps when one of us changes voices. I say "INTERESTINGLY" because I didn't realise it was happening at the time, but when (say) I do The Womandroid replying to Chester Champion there's an audible GAP, as if I'm having to change costume to do the voice. I do accept that this may only be interesting to ME.

The really FUN bit, however, is doing the SOUND EFFECTS. To my surprise there are a TONNE of these (I never noticed them when doing the live version) and I've had a lovely time wandering around various sound effects pages on the interweb, looking for JUST the right EXPLOSION, or trying to work out what a Future Kitten uploading villains onto the internet might sound like, apart from just me going "MIAOW! MIAOW! MIAOW!" When we recorded the vocals I thought "Gosh, having a Proper Script doesn't half make this easier" and this THORT is even MORE valid when applied to doing sound effects - the Proper Formatting what I did means I can just look through and SPOT where they're meant to be, NOTE what they should sound like, then GET them. As per, I know this is blindingly obvious and is part of a process of Radio Production that has built up over DECADES, but I am still taking DELIGHT in it actually WORKING.

I was also spending some time this morning thinking about it, and wondering why it was so much EASIER to do this time than when we did the Dinosaur Planet album. That was ALSO an adaptation of one of our Rock Operas, of roughly the same length, how come that took THREE YEARS to record, while this one's taking just over a week? I eventually realised that MAYBE the fact that that album had about twenty guest stars, ORCHESTRAS, huge soundscapes and a full BAND throughout might have lengthened the recording process, also travelling to DERBY to do it added a bit, as opposed to this one which is me, Steve, a guitar and ukulele, and a few explosions. That would probably explain it.

Anyway, I'm on course to get the first draft of the whole thing DONE tomorrow, then on Sunday we're doing some PICTURES, more editing next week, and then all being well we'll have the first episode (of six) ready to download next Friday (24th) just before we go to Sheffield. I can't WAIT for people to hear it, I think it's going to be GRATE!

posted 17/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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We're In!
Apologies for the lack of BLOGS this past week, most of my time has been taken up with moving house.

"But Mark", the attentive reader may say, "Surely you moved house three weeks ago?" Well, yes, we did, but we left a TONNE of stuff back at our old place which needed moving, and also our new place is SO new that the landlords have needed to keep sending MEN around to check and/or MEND things. Thus the we have spent a LOT of time going back to the old place to PACK things, bring stuff back to the new place, and then moving furniture around to either allow access to THINGS or to make places to out NEW things.

Monday was a BIG day for this, as we had The Removal Men in. I've never needed to use removal men before, as previously I've moved by car or borrowed a VAN, but this time we had some Big Furniture to shift so decided to get in the PROFESSIONALS. On the one hand it was a bit SCARY, as I kept leaping up to check they were taking the right stuff, but as time went on it became more REASSURING, as I reminded myself that they were, as previously stated, PROFESSIONALS, who a) knew what they were doing and b) didn't need me interfering. They did a LOVELY job too - if you ever need to move house in East London i heartily recommend George's Removals, they were dead good!

I spent a happy Monday afternoon putting things away, and the flat is now looking PRETTY DARN GOOD! However, we still had a parade of "visitors" coming into to do stuff - we've had so many assorted plumbers, movers, heating contractors, carpenters, cleaners, general handymen and landlords' staff in the flat over the past three weeks that I reckon it's more people than we ever had in the last house the entire time we lived there! Yesterday, however, we had our (hopefully) last batch which means we're pretty much DONE. There's a few bits and bobs to finish off and some sorting out that needs doing, but for most intents and purposes we are now officially MOVED and can get on with The Rest Of Our Lives! In theory I now have hours EVERY DAY which i don't have to spend thinking about house moving - stand by for an onslaught of STUFF!

posted 16/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Radio Days
On Tuesday night I found myself once more in Tottenham Hale, in the hallowed halls of Bally Studios, where Mr S Hewitt and I had spent so many hours rehearsing Total Hero Team. We weren't there to rehearse this time though, we were there to RECORD!

Now that the show is coming to an end (final tour details HERE!) I want to make sure we have a permanent RECORD of it. I'm not ready to spend 3 years recording ANOTHER Massive Science Fiction Concept Album (i probably never will be!) but I wanted to do something a bit more than the live version we did for Moon Horse. Do not misunderstand me - i LOVE that recording, but several people have said that if you never SAW the show you can't always understand what is going on. This CAN'T be because of the ACTING, what is always distinctively voiced for each character (hem hem), so is probably due to the fact that a LIVE show has different NEEDS to an AUDIO-ONLY production.

THUS I decide to sit down and do an Audio-Only RE-WRITE i.e. a RADIO SCRIPT version. Mostly this involved saying characters names a little bit more often, and re-arranging some of the lines so everybody got to say something more often (apparently if someone doesn't SPEAK for a couple of minutes in a radio play listeners forget they're there: i read an article about it!). I didn't want to do a BIG re-write as a) I like it as it is and b) we've still got to do the show a few more times, so it'd just confuse us, but I did YIELD to the temptation to change ONE bit. If you've seen the show, it's the flashback to Chester Champion in New York City - I realised that this could be the SECRET ORIGIN of Total Hero Team itself and, once I'd written it, i CURSED myself for not thinking of it before!

Anyway, that's what we were there to do, so we sat down with my little four track gently moving it back and forth across a folding chair to get it in the Optimum Recording Position i.e. a lot closer to Steve than me, as I tend to PROJECT ("SHOUT") more than him! I'd done the new script in Proper Radio Format, with SCENES and everything, which turned out to be extremely handy as it meant we could just record one chunk at a time, rather than doing it all in one go. This really WORKED, as it meant we could focus on each bit one at a time, easily do re-takes, and take wee-breaks when needed. It's such a good idea, I'm sure it will CATCH ON!

It took us about 90 minutes to do the whole thing, which was pretty good going, and a quick listen later on informs me that it actually sounds pretty good. The plan is to put it out as six episodes, spanning the TOUR DATES, so in theory people will FLOCK to the live show to find out how it all ends! I'm going to stick it all together and then add a few EFFECTS and SOUND EFFECTS here and there, and we're hoping to do a YOUTUBE VERSION with Fumetti style photograph illustrations. First one should be online in a couple of weeks, so there's a lot of EDITING to do for me over the next fortnight - wish me luck!

posted 9/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Bloo(ming busy) Monday
The First Proper Monday Of January, when pretty much everybody is back at work, is always called "Blue Monday" in the newspapers as it's supposedly The Most Depressing Day Of The Year. This is a complete load of rubbish but always gets reported all over the news, probably because not much else ever happens on The First Proper Monday Of January.

For those of us in the ROCK community, however, The First Proper Monday Of January is always HUGELY busy as people all over the world think "Right. Christmas is properly over, let's get on with the New Year" and start booking gigs. This year, for instance, I had FOUR gigs properly confirmed and/or sorted out, all over the course of the day, as follows:

ITEM! On Friday 24 January me and Steve kick off the final Total Hero Team TOUR with a vist to the Rutland Arms in Sheffield, where we're joined by the MARVELLOUS Kriss Foster (and friend). This was sorted already, but Mr D Hartley emailed yesterday to let me know that tickets are now available - there's only about 30 tho, so get in FAST!

ITEM! Shortly after that we're in Hackney for the show's LONDON FINALE on Thursday 30 January at the Hackney Attic. Yesterday we finally NAILED DOWN the line-up, with me and Steve being joined by two fabulous veterans of Totally Acoustic, Ms Jenny Lockyer and Mr Matt Tiller. It's a GRATE relief to have got this sorted out, and it looks like being a lovely night - if you fancy it, tickets are available for this one too.

ITEM! A week or so after that, on Sunday 9 February, we head north of the border, to the Glasgow Pop! South All-Day-and-a-halfer at the Glad Cafe. This was booked ages ago, but they've been keeping us a SECRET until now - perhaps to make sure people by tickets before they know we'll be there? I'm right looking forward to this, as it's AGES since we were last in Glasgow, and tickets are available for this one too

ITEM! Similarly they've been keeping my appearance at the post-Leicester-Indiepop-All-Dayer afternoon on Sunday a SECRET, but yesterday it was Formally Announced with POSTERS. No tickets for this one as it's FREE (though i think there'll be a WHIP ROUND), and features a PHALANX of ROCK in the shape of Messrs Pete Green, David Leach and Alexander Christopher Hale. I imagine BEER will be taken at this one!

Further details (including POSTERS!) for all of these are available over on the gigs page, as are details of the OTHER couple of Total Hero Team tour dates in Leicester. It's going to be a HEROIC couple of months!

posted 7/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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The Past And The Future
We had an ACTION PACKED weekend of HOUSE MOVE THRILLZ this weekend. We had FOUR people in the flat - one was a CHUM that came for a look, one came to fix a cupboard, one to fix the taps, and another to discuss the REMAINING stuff that needed fixing. Not satisfied with this i booked some MORE people to come and SHIFT stuff around - I think I've already had MORE people round in our first fortnight than I ever had to visit in the previous decade at the old place!

Talking of which, we were back round at our previous residence on Sunday to do some packing up. This mostly involved packing things in BOXES, although I also did a little bit more chucking away, including, sadly, sending two old friends to ... er... "live on a farm". Here's a picture of the tender farewell:

These are, of course, the ROBOT HEADS from the live version of Dinosaur Planet, last used at Green Man Festival and in a VERY delapidated state ever since due to getting AN HOUR OF POURING RAIN on them. I consulted with Steve about their future (i.e. asked if he wanted to keep them at HIS house) and we decided to let them go. I'd've liked to have given them a VIKING FUNERAL, but neither Waltham Forest NOR Newham offer this as a disposal option, so alas it was "the farm" for them.

I also discovered a ROCK MEMENTO as I cleared out - something we picked up on TOUR, during a FESTIVAL WEEKEND. Other bands might have used underwear, scars, or DISEASES as their tour memorabilia, I have a set of Birds Of England tea-coasters that I got from a National Trust shop when we went to look at William Wordsworth's house in the Lake District. ROCK AND ROLL!

It wasn't all ROCK and PACKING, however - I went to see Gravity (GRATE!) and we both saw Anchorman 2 (OK but you're probably fine watching the original and imagining what a not-quite-as-good remake would be like), AND i bought a NEW COMPUTER. It used to be that when you got a new computer you'd spend ages setting it up by adding new programs that you need, whereas now you spend ages deleting all the programs you don't need that come pre-installed. I also spent a few hours trying to stop Windows 8 being Windows 8, but otherwise it is PRETTY FAB and FUTURISTIC, with all SORTS of new exciting connections. When the new laptop went "Oh, here's all your Kindle Purchases too, by the way" I emitted an audible WHOOP!

Later that same day I spent 15 minutes trying to work out how to OPEN it. I checked buttons, read the instruction manual, GOOGLED it on my phone... and then realised I had it back to front. I guess we can't blame ALL technical issues on Bill Gates.

posted 6/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Bring Me My Helmet, My Theodolite and Clipboard
One of the (many) odd things about living on a high tech building site is that most of the time you're the ONLY person not wearing a high vis jacket. This morning I took the 3 minute stroll down the road to Stratford International, and EVERYBODY I passed was wearing either a yellow high vis jacket or a full-body orange jumpsuit. From our window I cane see even MORE of them scuttling around, the orange and the yellows, wielding clipboards and studiously LOOKING at things. This morning there were about twenty of them stood behind a high wall LOOKING at three bulldozers, each picking up piles of mud and placing it a few metres away. It's like having a human ANT farm - this must be how ALIEN SCIENTISTS feel!

I was struck by all this last night too. The Rules Of My Regulations said that we didn't really NEED to put pictures up on the walls, as the flat is COSY as it is, and I thought that part of the reason is that we have BIG windows, each of which is constantly full of Interesting Activities. In the daytime it's like a Richard Scarry book, as we watch different professions buzzing around, doing their Important Tasks, and it's all we can do to prevent ourselves WAVING at bus drivers.

Another weird thing is that we're only about 180 seconds from a GINORMOUS shopping centre, so any and all of our WHIMS can be met within minutes. Well, providing we HAVE these whims between 8-10pm (or 12-6pm on Sundays) and they don't cost too much. For instant, last night I popped into Click And Collect on the way home to pick up my new LAPTOP (NB not a whim, i worried for WEEKS about it) and found it RAMMED with everybody ELSE who'd been shopping over Christmas, so just LEFT and went home instead. Finding myself alone with a few hours to spare I decided to go and see "GRAVITY", as everyone in the WORLD had been going on about how good it was. There's a cinema in the shopping centre, so less than quarter of an hour later I was THERE, sat in my seat with some popcorn, and about two hours later (there were a lot of adverts) i came out thinking "Yes, in this instance everyone was RIGHT, that WAS very good."

Then I went back to John Lewis, found it Customer Collection area empty at that time of day, and GOT my new computer. HA!

What I'm trying to say is that after eleven years living miles from The Big Shops and over 20 years of living in various Victorian terraced houses, suddenly being thrust into the FUTURISTIC WONDERLAND that is The Olympic Village, with all its access to STUFF and THINGS, is still turning my head a little, even without taking into account the MIND BLOWING FACT that my on-train commuting time has come down from a 23 minute journey to one lasting SEVEN MINUTES (the HS1/Javelin! It's amazing!). It's all rather exciting - I do hope it stays this way!

posted 3/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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New Year New Flat
Happy New Year one and all, and apologies for the complete drop-out in BLOGGING for the past couple of weeks. The reason for this was simple: we moved house!

I'd been gearing up for the move for AGES - selling stuff on eBay, giving tonnes of things to the charity shop, and generally CLEARING OUT ready for the BIG move, which is happening in the next week or so. For now, however, the "small" move was MORE than enough, as there's been a lot of going back and forth between the old place and our swish new pad carrying boxes of STUFF. There's also been a lot of form filling, Property Manager Emailing (we're in a rented flat in a block all owned by the same company), Deciding What Goes Where, and BUYING stuff. This latter has been especially enlightening, as I have discovered that I have opinions about TOWELS, also CROCKERY!

It's been a lot of work - with more to come - but it's all worth it when we get to potter around in our SUPER SWANKY new flat. There's still things to sort out, but this morning I came into work on the JAVELIN TRAIN, and it all felt worthwhile!

I must say tho, I am VERY much looking forward to getting properly settled in so's I can get on with the Exciting Stuff that's happening this year. There's a SOLO TOUR in the air, a PODCAST for Total Hero Team, VARIOUS writing things, not least my MA Thesis, and maybe even some new Validators Recordings. I can't WAIT to get going on it all - just as soon as I've worked out how our new hoover works!

posted 2/1/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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