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Blog Archive: March 2015

Break In Service
Apologies for the rather drastic drop-off in BLOGS just lately - the reasons for this have been TWOFOLD.

Firstly there hasn't been an awful lot going on. Well, there HAS, but it's mostly been "I spent all day sat at home AGANE doing Admin/Editing/Typing stuff out and then I went for a swim/to the shops". This is, of course, nice for me but would not make HUGELY engaging reading if repeated daily. Fear not though, more films, gigs, shows and even a Validators album* are on the way! (*terms and conditions apply, delivery may take up to three years)

Secondly I've had all SORTS of problems with the website lately. I've been trying to set up a new section for just THE WRITING but every time I changed a page the entire site CRASHED. Then, when I didn't change anything, the whole site crashed ANYWAY. It got to a point where it was going down four times a day whether I did anything or not, which led to me going DERANGED with RAGE having to talk to the "live" "help" "desk" run by my hosting company. Every time someting went wrong they'd get the site back up OK but would refuse to answer any of my questions, give me a different CLEARLY MADE-UP excuse, then say "We are monitoring the server". After a while MAD VEINS in my neck would start to THROB whenever I even THOUGHT about the internet, so I decided it was probably best to get it moved elsewhere. THUS one of the "Typing" activities mentioned above has been me doing the necessary re-coding and adjustments necessary to get everything moved. We're not quite there yet, but hopefully when it is done the only differences you'll notice is that the site WORKS all the time! So, it's back to work for me then - these afternoon repeats of Wogan aren't going to watch thems... I mean, there is IMPORTANT CODING to be done!

posted 31/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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For the past ten weeks I've been spending my Monday nights at a stand-up comedy course. I've not mentioned it here much because there's not been a HUGE amount to mention - we go to a room above a pub, Mr Chris Head tells us some things about stand-up comedy, we do some exercises and then each have a go at a few minutes of material - and also because I wasn't sure if it was something I wanted to be doing.

I signed up for it after going to that Comedy Conference last year with Mr J Dredge. I noticed that all the people over 50 on the panels were saying "The best way to get into comedy writing is by sending stuff to the radio" but all the people writing things NOW, usually in their thirties, ALL had a background in stand-up comedy and had ALL got their first break that way. "Aha!" I thought, "If I want to get my WRITING to Producers I must do some stand-up comedy!"

This had been my plan approx 25 years ago when I'd had my first attempt at this sort of thing (the attempt that ended when I got into BANDS and BEER instead!) and I'd based my entire career plan on that of Mr B Elton, so it was an idea I was familiar with and have TOYED with every now and again during this second attempt. The only things standing in my way were a) I don't like stand-up comedy very much b) I don't like most stand-up comedians very much c) I really really really don't want to have to go and do 2 or 3 open mic nights every week then spend a couple of years schlepping round comedy clubs. Apart from that it all sounded good!

Around the time of the conference John was doing a stand-up comedy course so I thought "Right! Let's DO this flipping things and once and for all give it a proper go!" and signed up for the next term. Unfortunately, approx 0.02 seconds after paying my money, I had a sudden realisation: Radio was the way to get into comedy in the 70s and 80s, and stand-up was the way to get into it in the 90s and 00s but the way people were starting to do it NOW was ONLINE! This seemed to indicate that I'd signed up to spend ten weeks doing something I didn't really like that probably doesn't work anymore. CURSES!!

Still, I'd paid up so went and DID it, even though pretty much every week I thought "Can i just phone in sick this time?" The actual sessions were fine - the other people were lovely, it was GRATE watching everyone develop and try new stuff, and much to my surprise (hem hem) i actually enjoyed the chance to SHOW OFF for 3-5 minutes every week. WHo'd've suspected THAT eh?

The main problem I had with it all was that the course sat there in my MIND all week, saying "Have you written a routine yet eh? have you?" Every time I got worse and worse at actually writing anything, so that by the last few weeks I was thinking "Sod it. I'll just do one of the stories from My Exciting Life In ROCK." Admittedly it worked out all right - I know the stories, and it turns out that half the battle with stand-up is looking as if you know what you're doing, so 20 odd years of ROCK experience came in handy - but it did feel a bit like cheating!

The final night of the course was an ACTUAL GIG, which took place this Monday just gone at The Wenlock And Essex in Islington. As per I thought "Right, I'm going to put some effort into it and write a proper set this time!" and come Sunday night found myself thinking "Yeah, I'll sort that out tomorrow." On the advice of various people on the course I ended up (mostly on Monday afternoon) WELDING together two stories - the time we supported Zodiac Mindwarp, and various things to do with Hey Hey 16K - into something that seemed OK, and set off for the gig.

By the time I arrived I was BRICKING it. It would appear that making up something in front of 12 friendly faces is FINE, but doing it to a Paying Audience is a bit more scary, especially a SOLD OUT room of paying punters. Mondays are usually one of my "5:2 Diet" days, so I've stuck to Diet Coke for classes, but this time a beer was NEEDED. Beer was TAKEN!

I was on in the second half, so got to relax a bit in the first half as people got up and did their sets. It was BRILLIANT to see how much everybody had come on - everyone had LEARNT and had GAGS and was confident in the room, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Chris who runs the course had said that this was the thing he concentrated on more than other courses - giving people the ability to interact with the audience and with whatever happened in the room, and this certainly came across as everyone made extra REMARKS and GAGS.

Come half-time I discovered that First Gigs For Comedians have one very definite thing in common with First Gigs For Bands - everyone gets their CHUMS to come but some of those chums leave when the person they've come to see has finished. Thus by the time we filed back in the room was about 25% emptyso it was a bit more work for everyone, increased by the fact that there were TWELVE of us coming onstage, one by one, and everyone was getting TIRED, meaning that the poor mug who was on LAST was going to have his work cut out.

And LO! It was ME! When I'd first seen the running order I'd gotten all excited and thought "Ooh hark at me, HEADLINING!" but very quickly realised that no, in this case it was very MUCH going on last! Still, this did take a bit of the Internal Pressure off me - I'd been worried that I was telling a STORY, which therefore had less LARFS in it than other people, but decided that if nobody laughed AT ALL then it was just because they were feeling worn out.

Happily people DID laugh and I had a LOVELY time - it felt a bit strange not having a guitar round my neck but once I got up there it all felt perfectly normal and I thoroughly enjoyed SHOWING OFF once again. QUELLE SURPRISE!

Afterwards there was CHAT and BEER and MUCH RELIEF. One common question buzzing round was whether people were going to do any more, and I surprised myself with how quickly I said "NO!" It's not entirely true - I quite enjoyed the Just Making It Up and talking to the audience stuff, so might do something else in that direction - but I certainly don't want to have to Write Comedy Sets or go out and do gigs. I always said that part of the idea of doing the course was to get it out of my system, and it certainly seems to have done that!

It was an interesting thing to do, and I met some very nice people, but I'm RELIEVED it's all over - no time for a REST though, as me and Steve start re-rehearsing the new show this week, and that's got lines I really SHOULD know properly!

posted 26/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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Double ROCK
As mentioned yesterday I was in Leicester at the weekend, accidentally seeing the Richard III procession but purposefully there to do a double dose of ROCK.

The first shift commenced outside Stayfree Studio at noon, where I met Mr F Machine to watch the various bands lurking around outside waiting to be let in. Everyone was dressed according to their GENRE - the Britop Dads looked very Britpop, the Metal Band looked very Metal, and we looked very half-arsed indie. All was right with the world!

Inside we were joined first by Mr T "The Tiger" McClure and then by Mr T Pattison, who had probably been waiting outside building himself for the deluge of Very Mild Joshing RE: Prolapse Gigs that ensued. Once that was out of the way we moved onto the business of ROCK, rampaging through versions of the remaining four songs we had been rehearsing ready for recording - Can We Be Friends?, In The North Stand, The Future Is Amazing and Get Over It. The original idea was to have another practice before going back to the studio, but we WHIPPED through them so easily there didn't seem to be any need. Tim suggested having a go at History's Rewritten too and, after a bit of persuading, we did. It was dead good!

We were joined by Mrs E Pattison for about 10 minutes (on her way into town for the procession) making us briefly QUORATE for the first time in ages before she left closely followed by Tom, heading off to ORCHESTRA. This left "The Dresden Validators" to have a runthrough of a couple of other things and vaguely discuss album titles. I told them how GRATE the "album" is sounding so far, and discovered that they hadn't heard the latest mixes so promised to get that DONE, and also to sort out another studio day. Who knows? We might get it finished THIS YEAR!

With all that sorted out Tim and I headed into town, him to the procession and me to Cafe Bruxelles for my second slice of ROCK for the day - the traditional post-Leicesterval afternoon of Totally Acoustic, curated by Mr A Hale. I'd been worried that nobody would be there due to the Royal Events, but there was a nice cosy crowd and a delightful set of acts, including Alex, Mr Joey Chickenskin and Mr D Ransome. Unfortunately I missed large chunks of everyone else's sets due to INTENSELY SLOW bar service. It's a lovely place, Cafe Bruxelles, but crikey oh riley they can't half make a fuss of getting you a beer. At one point I was waiting 15 MINUTES for them to find a pump that was actually working!

Apart from that it was lovely to see people and also lovely to be able to take to the stage and do THIS:
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Red and White Sockets
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • History's Re-written
  • In The North Stand
  • The Ballad Of Alan Moore
  • That Guy
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30

  • It was a slightly odd set botched together with suggestions and vague ideas - Red and White Sockets was a request from Mr M Whitaker, who had brought his son along for his First Ever Gig (always an honour to be there for such an event!) and History's Re-written was there because I'd enjoyed doing it earlier with the band - but it all seemed to go off OK, leaving me with plenty of time to actually GET some beers before the King went past! If only all gigs could climax so regally!

    posted 25/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Royal Funeral
    I was in Leicester on Sunday for reasons that a) I'll come on to another time b) were entirely unrelated to the fact that there was a procession going through the streets carrying the coffin of Richard III. When i first realised that I'd be there on that day my initial reaction was of Slightly Annoyance, in that it might interfere with getting there and/or the gig I was doing . As it turned out though everything went as planned and the procession itself was an Oddly Moving Experience.

    When I'd got to Leicester in the morning there didn't seem to be anything happening, but when I returned to the City Centre just after 2pm there were lots of people milling about. Temporary fencing had been put out, security people were wandering around in high vis jackets, and there was a Big Screen set up so that, I guess, people could watch the procession as it came towards them. The general idea, i GLEANED from speaking to the aforesaid security people, was that the coffin had left the University Of Leicester that morning for a TOUR of relevant parts of the county (including Bosworth Field) before coming back to the Cathedral where the body would lie in state before the proper funeral service on Thursday.

    I lived in Leicester for about 14 years so was WELL aware of the Richard-related history in the area. I could hardly miss it really, especially spending most of that time living just off King Richard's Road and walking over Bow Bridge nearly every day - this is the bridge where "legend had it" that he banged his spurs on the way to Bosworth Field, banged his HEAD when his corpse was carried back afterwards, and where his body was thrown into the river and lost later on. There's a big PLAQUE saying all this, with a smaller one next to it now saying "Yeah, not actually that last bit."

    My favourite part of the Finding His Body story though was when it turned out he totally DID have a spine condition. When we were taught the story at school my history teacher went on for AGES about how we should be aware that history is written by the victors and that the only evidence we have of a "hunchback king" was vile Tudor propaganda years later, so it was very unlikely that there was any truth in the rumour at all. HA! In your FACE, Mr Cook in 1982!

    Anyway, I had a gig to do so DID it (see next blog for more!) then hung around in Cafe Bruxelles with The Family Whitaker waiting for something to happen. The procession was going to go right past us, so we sat around watching the crowds get bigger until there was Definite Flurrying and me and Mr M Whitaker RAN out to have a proper look.

    It wasn't remotely what I was expecting - I thought there'd be POMP and GUARDS and OFFICIALNESS but it was all oddly homemade and low-key. Two police on horseback went by first, followed by TWO ACTUAL KNIGHTS IN ARMOUR! They were followed by an old-fashioned (NB not as old-fashioned as knights in armour, but still) horse drawn carriage with two people in full mourning sat up front and then a very very plain open cart behind with a very plain coffin on top. As it went by people weren't sure what to do - cheering a coffin doesn't seem hugely respectful, but it wasn't as if his death was a recent shock or anything, so instead we all made Remarks e.g. as the actual HEARSE went by more than one WAG was heard to ask if that was where his wife was etc etc.

    And that was that - the procession rolled on and people wandered off. It was one of the most LEICESTER things I have ever seen, a massive historical and scientific event carried off very pleasantly with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of polite good humour and then everybody just going home without any trouble. THAT is Leicester!

    I wandered off towards the station and found myself back on the route of the procession. On the other side of the city centre they hadn't even bothered with crowd barriers - people just stood on the pavement happily waiting to see the knights go past. When they did people smiled, said "Did you see the knights?" to any available children, and wandered off home again. It was lovely!

    posted 24/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    Luigi Shapponi
    Sorry for the lack of updates here this past week, I have been busy with all sorts of things, including putting THIS together:

    This is one of the sketches that Mr John Dredge and I filmed a couple of weeks ago and editing it has been a HUGE learning experience. I've edited lots of videos but they've pretty much all been free of dialogue, which (it turns out) is a LOT easier than trying to edit together talking! Apart from having to make sure everything was roughly the same volume and matched the talking I also spent AGES trying to remove extraneous noise like passing HELICOPTERS or people next door. I now have a) great respect for people who work in SOUND and b) a copy of Audacity downloaded on my computer!

    Anyway, hope you enjoy the film, and if you do please tell other people!

    posted 23/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    On Saturday night I headed to the Deep South (of London) on a lengthy journey to WALLINGTON.

    Wallington! It's basically next door to Croydon, which is AGES away. Living in Stratford I've become used to pretty much everywhere in London town being dead easy to get to, but this took nearly an hour and a half over three different forms of transport - the Underground, the Overground, and the Wombling Free... sorry, I mean the normal TRANE. Still, by swiping my Oyster on the Interchange thingy it ended up only costing me 3.20 to get there and back - amazing!

    The gig was organised by Mr A Brook, who used to run Studio Sonic on Denmark Street, where I used to go many many years ago to record demoes at lunchtime. He first asked me about it over a year ago and I couldn't go, then sent me some dates last MAY to choose from. Thus this gig had been booked TEN MONTHS ago! I don't think I've booked ANYTHING that far in advance before!

    The venue was unusual and, once I'd worked it out, IMPRESSIVE. At the front is a tiny little cafe with three tables and at the back is a small gig room, but in the middle, I discovered, is a CONTROL BOOTH which changes the whole thing into a fully functioning high tech recording studio that just happens to have a cafe attached! It was amazing!

    The gig itself was fun, if a bit quiet. It started off with the chap who used to be in Goldheart Assembly - I couldn't tell you what any of their HITS were but he was really really good. Proper tunes, really good singing, it was thoroughly enjoyable! After that was the marvellous Ms J Lockyer which was GRATE because a) she is and b) it's always nice to have someone to talk to at these things (Mr T Eveleigh was also there, which made the whole thing very pleasant). Then it was me and I did THIS:

  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • In The North Stand
  • That Guy
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • I enjoyed it (apart from completely cocking up Hey Hey 16K - someone had mentioned it beforehand so I thought I'd have a go, but made a right old mess of it), not least because I was SITTING DOWN. I haven't done a gig sitting down for AGES but the stage was so high and the atmosphere was so relaxed that I thought it would be OK. It was! The audience were RIGHT up for it and I had a lovely time!

    ALAS once it was all over I had to DASH off to get home, arriving another 90 minutes later just in time for a night cap. A very pleasant end to the evening!

    posted 16/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    Readthrough Night
    Last night I went to The Poor School on Pentonville Road for an Theatrical Event featuring a metric TONNE of delightful people.

    For the past couple of months Ms E Morgan and I have been meeting every couple of weeks to nudge each other along with / EDIT each other's sitcom scripts. She's writing one called 'Popscene!' about a band in 1995 who accidentally get involved in Britpop, while mine's called 'The Department' and is about a University research department. Write what you know! A few weeks ago Emma suggested we organise a readthrough so that we could a) hear what the scripts sounded like when read out load and b) get various CHUMS along to get some extra feedback. This seemed like a GRATE idea to me so we hunted round for venues, then for actors, and got ourselves a night sorted out.

    I thus arrived at The Poor School at approx 6.15pm and was immediately CONFUSED about how to get into the building. Luckily two of our cast, Mr J Yeah and Ms T Al-Bassam, arrived ten seconds later and together we found our way in. It was a funny old place - nobody seemed to be in charge - but a nice young man came and kicked some other young people out of our room for us, then left us to it. As more people arrived we set the room up and also laid out a splendid BUFFET of BOOZE and biscuits!

    We'd advertised the start as 7pm for 7.15pm, but ended up starting a bit late as I was lurking round outside looking for latecomers and Emma had to dash out for more red wine! When we came back in we found a room nicely full of people. The MIX of people did my head in a bit, as all the people I knew came from different parts of my life - there were people I knew from the MA, from ROCK, from computer stuff and ALL sorts. It was a bit like (comics reference) SECRET WARS: BATTLEWORLD would be, I expect, but with less fighting and more biscuits.

    The readings themselves were ACE - Emma's was first, then we had a break, then it was my turn. When you have one of your PIECES read you're meant to sit quietly and take studious notes, but I just sat there and LARFED, especially at my own jokes - hey! if you're not laughing at them, why should you expect someone else too eh? That's my justification and I'm sticking to it!

    The CAST were bloody brilliant, and also a MIX of people we knew. From college there was Tamara, Mr H Carr and Ms N Racklin, from South London ROCK there was Johnny and Ms J Lockyer, from the crazy world of comedy there was Mr J Dredge and from Fringe ACTION there was Mr S Hewitt. It was a whole bunch of people who'd mostly not met each other before, but it seemed to work well, especially during the dialogue scenes in Emma's script when suddenly a BAND appeared before us, in all its bickering glory!

    When we were done there was much CHAT and MINGLING like some sort of proper DO or something before we headed off down the road to The Parcel Yard for more of the same. I sat at a table and witnessed all these different delightful people YACKING away to each other in strange Not-Usually-How-I-Know-Them groupings, feeling proud and privileged to know such people, and to be able to get them together so that I can laugh at my own jokes!

    posted 13/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    Office Work
    Saturday found me in Farringdon this weekend, in the old offices of The Guardian which have now been turned into a) some other offices and b) THEATRE SPACE. It's basically some rehearsal rooms which they've converted from offices by taking most of the furniture out and... er... that's it.

    I was there with Mr John Dredge to film some MORE material, this time accompanied by Andy of Ah Gee Productions who was going to FILM it for us. This was all very new and exciting, as we've done everything ourselves before but this time both of us were in the films AND there was talking, so we needed someone with proper GEAR.

    We arrived at Theatre Delicatessen to find that not an awful lot had changed since it had been offices, which was EXCELLENT for us as one of the two SKITS we were filming was set IN an office. INDEED when I'd rung I'd asked for the most office-y looking room they had. It felt a bit odd at first that they really were just empty offices, but then I guess for a THEATRICAL rehearsal room that's fine - it's not like a ROCK rehearsal room where you need a drum kit and PA and soundproofing, all you need is SPACE. It fair took me back to me and Steve's first rehearsals together in my old office at Birkbeck!

    We got set up and got ON with it, and it felt a bit strange to be Just Acting this time - for previous filmings I've mostly been bossing John about from behind the camera, but this time it was Just Acting. The last time I did anything like this was over a year ago when we made the "Christmas Party" webseries and I remember that being EXHAUSTING, much as THIS all was. It should have been peasy, as I was sitting down all day occasionally saying things, so maybe it is all the BRANE POWER that wore me out that time and also this. Spending two hours CONCENTRATING on a) my lines b) moving my face correctly c) not saying other people's lines and d) pretending to be surprised every time you hear a line as if it is NEW took a lot of THORT!

    Another handy thing about the location was that it was full of all sorts of various FURNITURE which we borrowed for Set Dressing. Here's a picture of me and John pretending to be in a TV studio for the second film:

    As you can see we are both wearing METHOD TROUSERS. After a couple of hours it was all done and transferred over to my laptop, ready to be taken home and made into two more films. It looks pretty good, FILM-wise, I must say, though I am a bit nervous to actually watch the ACTING. John's is really good, but mine looks a lot like a man concentrating!

    posted 10/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Lunch Break
    As mentioned the other day I spent a delightful afternoon last week with Mr J Dredge filming a new short film. We've since spent many hours editing, CRITIQUING, and HONING it until it reached the present state of Being Quite Good which we are now able to share with the world at large. For LO! it is here and it is called 'The Lunch Break':

    We are quite proud of it it must be admitted, and as per would be very grateful to anyone who LAUDS, highlights, passes it on or just goes "That was quite good." Hope you like it!

    posted 9/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    An Edinburgh Frame Of Mind
    You find me today in an Edinburgh frame of mind i.e. like I tend to feel when me and Steve are at the Fringe: a bit tired, a bit hungover, and (literally) full of beans.

    For LO! last night it was Totally Acoustic and it was MARVELLOUS. I arrived just after six to find Liz From The School ALREADY there, and Charlie From The Retro Spankees arrived not long after, giving us a 100% attendance for the first time in MONTHS! Steve and I sorted out the tables and then EXACTLY the right amount of people arrived in PRECISELY the right mix of DELIGHTFULNESS to give us a right lovely evening.

    I went on first and, having researched which songs I a) knew b) hadn't done at all OR for ages on the podcast, did this:

  • Work's All Right (if it's a proper job)
  • The Ballad Of Alan Moore
  • Do The Indie Kid

  • It all appeared to go all right (you can judge for yourself when the podcast comes out) as did Charlie's set which was next. I particularly liked the "Orange Moon" one, and it was also fun to hear some of the Retro Spankee's multi-parted songs done on an acoustical guitar, something which I doubt was EASY but which Charlie with MANFULLY.

    After the break Liz took to the stage with a GLOCKENSPIEL and Mr S Love, fully recovered from last month's Stomach Troubles, on guitar, for half an hour or so of Liz's brilliant songs. It was GRATE, and I found myself singing along, hopefully not quite loud enough to spoil the recording!

    With that done there was time for another pint and some YACK before The People In My Audience and I headed home for an after party of Our Tea At Home and some WHISKY. She had the day off today so we didn't set an alarm, which meant I had that lovely thing which I only usual do during the Fringe of waking up every hour or so and then just NODDING OFF again. When i eventually DID get up I had to zoom BACK into town to meet Mr J Dredge where a) we discussed our new FILM what will be online on Monday and b) I had some BEANS ON TOAST.

    And so it was that I wandered back to the station in beautiful sunshine, full of Actual Beans, slightly hungover, with a BRANE full of a great night just enjoyed and the prospect of LARKS ahead. Or, to put it another way, very much in an Edinburgh frame of mind.

    posted 6/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    On Location
    On Sunday I was out and about in London Town with Mr John Dredge filming the SEQUEL to our film The Job Interview. As with the previous film we started out in Angel, filming the character coming out of the building he went into that time, but then wandered far and wide through various streets and then off to Hampstead and the Heath.

    It all felt very exciting LEAPING onto pavements, setting up the tripod and then taking a few shots. The nicest bit was in Hampstead when we were trying to film a short bit outside someone's house. People kept flipping wandering past, RUINING our shots, then when we finally got it done the owner wandered by and said "HO! I only charge a small fee!" gave us a CHEEKY GRIN and went inside. It was all extremely jolly!

    It was a lovely day to be outside filming and we were both EXTREMELY grateful that we'd not planned to do it on Saturday, as it had RAINED a lot. Unfortunately this meant that some of our more rural settings were a bit muddy and we had to SCHLEP around rather a lot more than expected. Still, we DID find some GRATE locations (the final scene was pretty much exactly as i'd imagined it), saw some PARROTS, and got to tit around to our hearts' content. Here's a few MOODY SHOTS from the day:

    It looks quite ARTY from those doesn't it? SPOILERS: it probably isn't.

    When we'd finished we made our way to Hampstead Heath Overground, where I was reminded that it was SUNDAY i.e. half the transport network was OFF and so I couldn't get the direct train home. Outside was a sign saying "Belsize Park Tube 800m", which didn't seem like far, but turned out to take about TWENTY MINUTES going up RUDDY MOUNTAINS. That sign was FIBBING!

    I was knackered for the rest of the afternoon, but was perked up by a) a trip to the pub for a Cheeky Pint with The Beer In My Glass and b) looking at the film we'd shot. It looks pretty good - let's hope the Editor (me) doesn't ruin it!

    posted 3/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    Hugging Your Heroes
    On Friday evening, as most other people in London were heading home from work, I was heading OUT to Euston and then to distant Northampton to play a gig with Mr Robin Ince and Mr Alan Moore!

    It was all very short notice - this was meant to be the first in a podcast series which would usually feature Ms G Petrie, but she had a prior booking so they decided to get me in as UNDERSTUDY. Unfortunately Robin forgot to tell ME about it until he came back from holiday, but luckily I was still FREE. Lucky for me, that is, as I wouldn't want to pass up a chance to do an Actual Gig with Alan Moore!

    I'd been asked to get there before eight, which I thought was when soundcheck would be, but when I rolled up at ten to I was surprised to see that the room was full of people. I knew it had sold out (before they'd told anyone I'd be playing: CUNNING) but didn't expect everyone to get there so early. As I entered the building Tamsin Who Runs It All told me there was FREE BEER as a new local brewery was launching, and then Mr Ince THRUST CA$H into my hands before I could even take my coat off. It was already turning into a pretty good night!

    The three of us then marched into the front room, for LO! 8pm was the time the GIG was starting! Robin then did "a quick intro" (25 minutes!) and I was ON. I'd been asked to do 2 songs at the start of each set, so did It Only Works Because You're here and then (because it seemed to very easily lead into it) That Guy. It all seemed to go well, much to my relief as I'd had NERVES all day. This is unusual for me, but then I've not done many gigs this year so far and THIS one was with Alan Moore!!

    After that Alan and Robin came and sat on big comfy chairs and had about 40 minutes of CHAT about a Very Very Wide range of topics - the show was being recorded for a podcast, so I guess it would all end up being very Radio 4-y, if Radio 4 could cope with the MIGHTY BRANE of Alan Moore.

    At half-time I enjoyed a free beer while chatting about DARK MATTER and The History Of Science Fiction with the two of them. All the time this was happening my brain was going "Holy HECK you are talking about that with ALAN FLIPPING MOORE!!!" but I think I managed to keep it under control. The second half was much the same as the first, with me doing 20 Things To Do Before You're 30 and The Ballad Of Alan Moore (it would have been rude not to) before another half hour of DISCUSSION.

    It was DELIGHTFUL, and also finished about an hour before I expected. I went to get sorted out backstage and witness Mr Moore being MARVELLOUS with people who wanted to talk to him about old stuff which he probably didn't want to talk about but he was CHARMING and, really, everything you could wish for in one of your all time heroes. Before he headed off we shared a MANLY HUG and then, when he was definitely out of the room, I allowed my brain to FREAK OUT. ALAN MOORE!!!

    After further goodbyes and hugs Mr Ince and I headed for the station and the London train, where we had a VERY pleasant chat on Diverse Topics, almost like we were two similarly aged people swapping SHOP TALK about our different, yet sometimes complimentary, entertainment backgrounds. It was lovely, even when I stood up to let him off at his station and realised that I was a BIT more drunk than I realised, knocking over a bottle, clanking my glasses against another seat and seeing them FLY off. He didn't seem to mind. PHEW!

    Things continued in this Turning Out Well VEIN when I got back to That London. I'd PLANNED for getting a night bus but I managed to get The Last Train Out Of Euston, walk from Moorgate to Liverpool Street, and then get the last train leaving THERE as well! I thus got home VERY late but in one piece, a bit tiddly but very happy. What a GRATE night out!

    posted 2/3/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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