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Blog Archive: September 2016

The English Earth
At the weekend, between leaving work and starting my PhD, the Events Of My Life and I went to TWO (2) cultural things and they were both a) differently ENGLISH and b) similarly ACE.

The first was on Saturday night, when we went to see Chris T-T do his album launch at Housman's bookshop. It was in a Radical Bookshop with an inaccessible toilet and no BOOZE, with people sat on the floor not really minding because they were getting 90 minutes of Chris serenading them with his MIGHTY SONGS. It was all so polite and simultaneously ANGRY, folkie but psychedelic, ROCKING but thoughtful - very him and very English in a way that people rarely shout about. Also VERY enjoyable - I usually start to FIDGET after 20 minutes of a gig, but this one FLEW by!

Next day we went to The Harvest Stomp, which is basically a harvest festival in The Olympic Park. There was a Women's Institute Cake Stall, a bar, JAM making, dogs, kids, country dancing, vegetable competitions and everything you'd expect from a village fete, but with a crazy WHIRL of people of all shapes, sizes, colours and ages mixed up together and, basically, mucking about, getting it wrong, and having fun. I sat on a bale of hay drinking a pint of (BLOODY DELICIOUS) Locally Sourced CRAFT ALE watching a VERY East London set of people being guided through Country Dancing in GLORIOUS sunshine and found myself incredibly MOVED by the whole thing. I did Country Dancing at infant school (a MILLION years ago) and have seen "displays" of it elsewhere, but here it was exactly what it should be - a right laugh, with a few people doing it "right" and everyone else mucking in, dancing with babies, jumping over dogs, bumping into each other and generally being DAFT. It was beautiful!

I felt Actually A Bit Patriotic, not a common (or BECOMING) sensation for a true born Englishman like myself to feel. "When did I last feel like this?" I thought... then looked into the distance where the SQUIGGLE and Olympic Stadium smiled back at me. Ah - that was when!

posted 29/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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Beginnings and Endings
It's a right funny time for me at the moment, as I undergo BIG CHANGE in a couple of areas.

The first BIG CHANGE is in my job - I'm moving from Imperial to UCL, starting there in a couple of weeks, with a fortnight of Other Stuff in between. I finished officially on Friday, but I had my leaving do on Thursday after everyone was over at South Kensington campus for a Conference Day. This included a presentation what I had been working on for the past several months, some DATA VISUALISATIONS of Anti-Microbial Resistance data which looked, I don't mind telling you, Quite Impressive.

After it was all done we went over to a nearby bar where some DRINKING ensued. All was well until TEQUILA was purchased. I had a go at it, with the salt and lemon and all that, and didn't see what all the fuss was about... until about half an hour later when I found myself suddenly walking backwards and then falling flat on my arse! I like to think that it is this Professional Attitude that I will be remembered for!

It was a lovely do anyway, and featured quite a lot of me talking about the OTHER big change: the start of my PhD! This began on Monday, with a morning of enrolling at University Of The Arts London, and is continuing all week with LECTURES and SEMINARS and all that sort of thing. It's all a bit strange - it's not THAT long since I finished my last chunk of postgraduate studies so I'd been rather BLASE about it until a few days ago when I suddenly realised that a) it was HAPPENING and b) it would involve WORK. EEK!

On Monday I got enrolled, learnt some Practical Aspects of study, and met the other chaps (they're all chaps, obviously) doing Comics Stuff. We had a chat which involved us all mentioning names of creators and agreeing freely on terminology and it was GRATE! In my working life I'm often called on to have discussions about EITHER computer stuff OR research issues and I can just about get by, but with THIS stuff I thought "Hang on, not only do I understand ALL of this, I have OPINIONS too!" It was AMAZING!

Yesterday was a giddy whirl of people saying "THIS IS A LOT OF WORK" which got a bit overwhelming, and I'm there for the whole rest of the week having much of the same. To be honest it is starting to HURT MY BRANE but, as I keep reminding myself, this is going to be five or so years of thinking, writing and TALKING about COMICS - it's going to be GRATE!

posted 28/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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Burn It Down For Free
Party Conference season is upon us once more and to celebrate we are offering a FREE DOWNLOAD of Burn It Down And Start Again via those fine folk at Is This Music? which you can get RIGHT NOW, RIGHT HERE.

When I wrote that song the lyric "Every party all the same" was VERY CURRENT, though there is probably an argument that that is not QUITE the case anymore, not on the surface at least. The rest of the track, however, I believe to be still correct, and I do sometimes think that a comprehensive burning down and restarting is the only achievable way of getting politics right again.

Crumbs, that all got a bit REAL a bit quickly didn't it? Come back tomorrow for some slightly LIGHTER musings!

posted 27/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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Modern Mixtapes
It may surprise many people to know that I am not a total EXPERT on Modern Media Management. "But Mark," you surely explain, "Your mastery of Myspace modification is beyond reproach, and your use of FLASH tags is the talk of Geocities!"

This may be true but even I can benefit from WISE COUNSEL sometimes, and lately this has been coming from International Rock Manager and all round GURU Mr G Gargan who has been EXTREMELY handy with THORTS. It was George who told me about getting online ZINES to "premiere" videos, it was George who told me that you need to put them on Facebook as well as Twitter, and it was George who informed me that these days SPOTIFY PLAYLISTS are where it is very much AT.

Apparently that's how LOADS of people hear new music these days, so I went and had a read up about it and found that in order to get OUR stuff on Big Playlists I/we need to be "verified", and in order to do THAT I/we need to get followers and also DO some Playlists. THUS, always willing to try new things (I even have an "App" on my "mobile" telephone!) I decided to give it a go.

COR! It is LOTS of fun - it's like doing a MIXTAPE but a) you don't have to spend all weekend rewinding cassettes to the right place and b) you can inflict it on LOADS of people, rather than just one. The first of these Modern Mixtapes what I made is available for you to have a listen, if you like, right HERE. I have made it a SOFT ROCK playlist in order to maximise cross-media fertilisation capacity (hem hem) with the video for '(You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock' what came out yesterday, but being as INDIE as I am I needed to get some HELP i.e. I asked The Licks In My Solo to suggest some songs as she KNOWS this sort of thing a heckload more than me - you can probably spot which were her suggestions and which were mine by where they sit on the spectrum from HARD ROCK (her) to EASY LISTENING (me)!

I had so much fun that I'm planning to do MORE of these, with one next week to mark a) Party Conference Season b) the release of Burn It Down And Start Again as a free download. All I need to do NOW is find out how to upload the COLLAGE I made for the cover by cutting out pictures from Select Magazine!

posted 21/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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Take On Me Via MS Paint
Yesterday that fine periodical Impose Magazine PREMIERED the new video of our song (you make me feel) Soft Rock from off of Still Valid, which means that TODAY I can show it to you right HERE:

As you can probably guess from looking at it, it took me BLOODY AGES to make. It was actually quite RESTFUL, doing a doodle or two every night, and then getting almost MINDFUL with the colouring in, but I was quite relieved when it was all done! We're saying on The Social Media that it's Take On Me by A-Ha COLLIDING with Roobarb & Custard on MS PAINT, and I think that's fair enough!

Hope you enjoy it and, as ever, any help getting it out to people who DON'T already read the blog or follow me on twitter would be EXTREMELY appreciated!

posted 20/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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This Isn't Culture, It's A Laugh
This weekend just gone has featured a whole HEAP of varied and various CULTURED events what I/we have done. It kicked off after work on Friday when I went to see "Eight Days A Week" AKA The Beatles Touring Film. There's been LOADS of publicity about it so I was very surprised to see that it was only showing for ONE day in most places, with only ONE cinema in central London showing it any other time. Turns out the reason for this was that the Thursday night showing was a LIVE SCREENING, so I guess they expected most people to go THEN. As it turned out the showing that I went to was SOLD OUT, so I suppose I wasn't the only person who EITHER was busy on Thursday OR wanted to see it WITHOUT a tedious hour of "famous people arriving" beforehand.

Anyway it was BLOODY GRATE from start to finish, with several things that I hadn't seen before and AMAZING sound. Cor! The live gigs especially were REALLY exciting, and when we had the half hour Shea Stadium gig at the end it was difficult not a) applaud b) SCREAM. Also it was just nice to SEE them again - The Beatles feel like a bunch of PALS who we're lucky enough to see every so often (my big theory about why The Beatles are the BEST: they never set themselves apart from anybody else in an effort to be cool, so when they found The Secret To Existence or A New Sound they SHARED it with everybody else, rather than trying to be COOL and MYSTERIOUS), so it was lovely to spend an extended period of time in their company.

Saturday was Open House Day, which is when lots of normally CLOSED buildings open their doors so that the rest of us can have a good old nosey... I mean, so those of us interested in Architecture And That can be further our educational interests. This year The Drafts Of My Design and I went to have a look at Here East. It WAS the media centre for The Olympics in 2012, but now it is... well, sort of the same, but with Loughborough University chucked in and various ideas about mixing Big Companies Needing Creativity with Creative People Needing Support. We started off watching a slighty Tossy corporate video about it, where people used a LOT of Five Dollar words to say "We are a bit poncey and don't really know what we're up to" so I was a BIT cynical, but then we went on the tour and I was completely WON OVER by it all.

It's an AMAZING also HUGE place - our guides, Roger The Senior Architect and Jake The Young Wunderkind Architect were ACE were full of FACTS and also had that thing where they were happy to TELL us stuff without being CONDESCENDING. They told us how the whole DESIGN of the building was done to disguise how MASSIVE it was by using similar ideas to DAZZLE SHIPS and cor blimey but it worked. You wouldn't notice how VAST the building was (apparently bigger than Canary Wharf lain on its size) unless you went inside like what we did and saw the ENORRRRRMOUS great hangar-sized spaces lurking INSIDE the other vast office spaces. I took some pictures but they came out as HUGE DARK NOTHINGNESSES, which is a) accurate but b) not particularly illuminating.

Anyway it was BRILL and we celebrated by going to Mason & Taylor's on the other side of the building for BEER, BEER and CHIPS. Hoorah!

Then on SUNDAY we went to look at a Paralympics Fun Day and a RAVE, two separate events on the South side of the Olympic Park. The Fun Day was just some GAMES to play, but the RAVE was a HUGE thing consisting of loads of big tops hidden behind a VAST wall that was A COLOSSAL BLOODY RACKET. Bloody heck, you could hear it from MILES away and what you could hear was AWFUL. I was never a fan AT ALL of The Rave Music when it was current, and I must say that time has not improved its CHARMS. It sounded like a very very drunk GIT shouting into a dustbin while fifteen early ringtones go off at the same time. PLUS BASS. We looked at it from afar, then went home. Who knows, maybe in another 30 years Ron Howard will summon experts to do a RAVE retrospective, with Giles Martin remixing it all to sound better. He will have one HECK of a job on his hands!

posted 19/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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Chekov's Parrot
Last night I was back at my ALMA MATER City University - or rather, City University OF LONDON as it is now - for a meeting with chums about THE WRITING. A bunch of us are doing another group show (like "The Sexy Seven" and "London Calling" from last year), this time on the theme of refugees.

We've been working away at it for a couple of months now, though to be honest most of MY work has only been in the past week. The idea is that their are SIX short plays about refugees from throughout history, which i then tie together in some sort of story that links them all together. The six main characters are also all in a BOAT together onstage, telling their stories - if you care to be HIGH FALUTIN' about it it's sort of like 'The Canterbury Tales' and sort of like Caryl Churchill's 'Top Girls'. But, you know, with a BOAT in it.

I volunteered to do the in between bits because it sounded like GRATE fun - partly because of the CHALLENGE of trying to make a coherent story from six VERY different characters, but also because I thought that that meant everyone else would do all the research and I could concentrate on putting some GAGS in between them. ALAS it didn't quite work out like that, as I spend a large part of my weekend looking up correct terms for sea safety equipment and trying to work out if Idi Amin had ever been to Nigeria (I may be the only person EVER to be disappointed to find that he probably didn't).

It all seemed to work out in the end, and last night we had an EXCELLENT evening reading out the different plays and links and then TALKING about it. The lovely thing about these get togethers is that we've known each other for quite a while now and feel safe to CRITIQUE and BE critiqued about what we've written, which means that we end up getting to the GOOD STUFF by the end. On the down side it does mean that sometimes people get a bit over-excited and say things like "But this is Chekov's fcuking Parrot!" in public (hem hem) but I guess you have to take the rough with the smooth.

The PLAN is to put the finished play on for a couple of nights in November, on the 11th and 12th, in fact, at Oxford House in Bethnal Green. Before we do THAT though we still have to agree on a TITLE - the working title has been "Six Refugees and a Parrot" but some people (hem hem again) have been arguing to change it. Once that is resolved and we have got TICKETS available do not FEAR - I shall DEFINITELY be letting you know!

posted 15/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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What To Do?
As mentioned yesterday, apart from work stuff and TELLY there has not been an awful lot going on lately, which WORRIES me when we have an excellent new album very much OUT and AVAILABLE. I mean, yes, we DID do the SUMMER OF ROCK and have had a couple of VIDEOS out, but surely that should mean we're still selling copies and further INCIDENTS are occurring rather than, as is the current case, it all drying up bit?

I guess part of the problem is that I am out of the LOOP on all things ROCK these days. Time was when I READ the papers/magazines/websites so KNEW what was going on and went OUT to GIGS a lot more, but over recent years I haven't done any of the above as much. Also I seem to have SEVERELY cut down on DOING gigs - for most of the past decade I've done 50-70 gigs a year, this year I'll have done 28, and if you EXCLUDE Hey Hey 16K and Totally Acoustuic I will have done just 14. That's not many at all is it?

I mean, it's not like I WANT to be going out all the time doing gigs and being constantly HUNGOVER like what I was ten years ago, I think I would be DEADED if I tried, but I would like to do SOMETHING to get more people to listen to the album - especially to get NEW listeners, as sales so far have mostly been to the DELIGHTFUL people who've brought previous stuff. There are some plans afoot - there's at LEAST three more videos to come (which Mr G Gargan of Damnably records has VERY kindly been trying to get some BLOGS interested in) and Steve and I are planning some SHOWS based on the album songs - but I'm at a bit of a loss to think what else we can do. The Names On My Mailling List and I had a chat about it the other night, and had to face the problem that neither of us know what goes ON at the moment!

THUS if anyone has any IDEAS I would be EXTREMELY glad to hear of them in the comments below. Everyone who reads this blog is clearly HEP and UP TO THE MINUTE with the current GROOVE, I'm sure you'll find the answers!

posted 14/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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Oh Wow Have We Got Netflix?
Sorry it's been a bit quiet again on the old blog lately, this has been due to THREE things: 1) not much happening 2) being a bit busy as I'm changing jobs soon 3) NETFLIX.

Point ONE shall be dealt with another time. For Point TWO - In a couple of weeks I'm doing my PhD Induction Week (nobody as yet has said "Hang on, surely you can't REALLY become a doctor of MARVEL COMICS?"), then going on holiday, and then I start a NEW job back in BLOOMSBURY working for UCL. I'm very much looking forward to having The King & Queen as my work pub... I MEAN finding new challenges in health research yes.

It is, however, Point THREE I wish to discuss in depth, for surely doing a PhD and starting a new job are all well and good but NEITHER is as LIFE CHANGING as getting NETFLIX?!? It came about a couple of weeks ago when The Seasons Of My Boxset and I found ourselves facing the Olympics/Paralympics GAP with no SHOWS ongoing. We decided to give Netflix a go and OH MY WORD but it is AMAZING! So far we have mostly been gorging on "Community" (three episodes a night on average) and, in my case "Jessica Jones" (whole thing in approx 5 days and COR but it was ACE). We've flicked through bits and bobs of other stuff, and I'm currently trudging dutifully through "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (I started with Season 3 but I think I maybe should have gone straight to 4 as it is SHALL WE SAY not QUITE as good as I remember) but there is still a WORLD of telly out there.

It's ACE but also a bit PRESSURED. There's SO much that I keep thinking I should be watching MORE of it. I mean, we've GOT to watch "House Of Cards" haven't we? And how can I call myself a TELLY FAN when there's a whole series of "Firefly" i haven't re-watched yet? Or "Breaking Bad"? Or... you get the idea.

The main worry is that I feel GUILTY that we're PAYING for something we're not using. I mean, we're still on our free month but after that it's SEVEN POUNDS a month! That's nearly 25 pence A DAY! Part of me KNOWS that seven quid is barely TWO PINTS in that London, but another part of me thinks "But this is WASTEFUL!" You can thus imagine my INNER TURMOIL about the prospect of getting Amazon Prime too - when I get my NUS card it'll be FREE for six months then 3.50 a month after that, but still I think "There isn't TIME to watch all the telly you will LEGALLY HAVE TO WATCH!"

It's probably a remnant of spending my twenties with approx ZERO ca$h and doing things like ensuring the boiler was ONLY switched on when I DEFINITELY needed a bath (I STILL get excited about having hot water ALL the time!) or moving EVERYTHING into the front room so I only had to have one radiator going. Nowadays I am of course King Of Swank and own THREE pairs of jeans even though i only wear ONE at a time, so I am sure I will get used to it, but in the meantime I have three and a half seasons of Earnest Space Meetings to watch!

posted 13/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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A Trip To West Ham
Myself and The Players On My Pitch went to see West Ham on Saturday. Ever since the Olympic... sorry, "London" Stadium re-opened we've been talking about getting tickets to see a game, just so we could see what it's like in the aforesaid stadium, so when "Community Tickets" were offered (part of the ongoing campaign by West Ham to get its new neighbours to like them!) we SNAPPED them up.

I was a bit worried on the way there about getting in and it all being All Right. I, of course, am a hard-nosed TOUGH GUY but I did not like the idea of The Illustrations On My Antique Bookmark being exposed to ROUGHNESS and uncouth behaviour as it is not what she is used to hem hem. Also, to be honest, I was worried about the PROCESS of getting in - would there be big police checks? A hierachy of entrance? Something else common at Premiership grounds that I was unaware of?

As it turned out everything was, of course, FINE. We got swallowed up in the big crowd stomping through the park towards the ground and everyone was happy, getting audibly more excited the closer we got, and once inside it was the standard THRONGING to our seats. We were sat up in the second tier, which was actually really nice - very close to where we sat when we went to the Olympics, in fact. It LOOKED just like other big grounds I'd been in, and the gap between crowd and pitch that people had talked about so much wasn't really noticeable. It felt, as The Managers In My Area pointed out, really COSY. You could see everyone else around the whole ground, so it felt very friendly.

The game itself was EXTREMELY enjoyable. For most of the first half West Ham were really good - in the nicest possible way, and with full respect to Posh, it was not the sort of thing I was used to. HOWEVER, towards the end of the second half this changed, as Watford scored Against The Run Of Play and then, just before the break, scored AGANE as a result of a RIDICULOUS cock-up by defenders. I began to almost feel at home!

Shortly after that the half ended and the teams left, with some West Ham fans BOOING. I have to say I was a bit surprised by that - yes, the end had been rubbish, but GOODNESS ME the rest of the half had been good, and this was only the SECOND home game of the season. I don't think you should NEVER boo your team, but crikey, it's a bit early in the season to be doing THAT, especially when you've spent the preceding 45 minutes singing about how much you LOVE them.

The crowd, by the way, were a) mostly perfectly delightful b) STANDARD in many ways but c) surprisingly diverse. When I go to see Posh it's NOTICEABLE how overwhelmingly white everyone is, but where I was sitting there was a proper East London MIX of people, including lots of women and kids too. Also the HUMOUR was GOOD - when West Ham moved to The Olympics I was worried there would be TROUBLE, but actually it's been FINE, and it seemed to be that way inside the stadium too. We DID see a bit of a kerfuffle at one point when some fans were arguing with each other, but it was nothing more than that, so I was VERY surprised later in the evening to see it reported as "unsavoury scenes" and "rioting".

There were also the usual NUTTERS - Guy Who Thinks He's Leading The Singing was sat behind us for a while, Inexplicably Furious Man was in front of us too, but they left during the break, I guess to go behind the goals to join in with the mass Shouting behind the goalposts.

Unfortunately for home fans there was to be SIGNIFICANTLY LESS singing and shouting in the second half, as Watford amazingly scored two more times and a GREAT QUIET fell around the ground. The turnaround was quite astonishing, as the team that had been RAMPANT earlier on basically CAPITULATED. We watched the small, yellow, group of Watford fans leaping around for JOY over on the far side, but felt that it would have been impolite to join in. It would have been nice to SEE the extra goals, but the BIG SCREENS rather pointedly didn't show them, which I thought was a bit rude. They were disappointing all round actually, those big screens. I'd expected them to show close-ups and replays, but they spent most of their time showing A LOT of adverts!

Watford had a FIFTH goal disallowed as offside, which seemed to be a signal for everyone to LEAVE - I think several people thought it WAS 5-2 so got up in DISGUST, then couldn't really go back to their seat when it wasn't. Over the last ten minutes huge SWATHES of the ground cleared, it was REMARKABLE. I haven't seen that happen to that extent at Posh, but then i guess you need SWATHES of the ground to be FULL in the first place!

It always seems a bit OFF to me to leave early, especially, as I say, when you've spent most of the afternoon shouting about how you love the club through thick and thin, but then I've never had a season ticket and so have never a) known I'll be back in a few days b) felt the need to protest particularly. Reading the reports later on there does seem to be quite a bit of unhappiness amongst fans about their new home, especially RE: seating allocations, which I can well understand. If you've sat in the same seat your whole life, with the same group of people around you, it's going to be UPSETTING to say the least to have everything changed. I mean, yes, the club HAS been basically GIVEN a mega-stadium, but that's not necessarily to the benefit of the actual supporters.

Anyway, we DID stay to the end and thus found that getting out was PEASY! Everything about the day HAD been nice and easy, in fact, and despite the above apparent discontent we'd had a LOVELY time. I hope the club and the supporters do manage to get themselves sorted out quickly, if they do they'll have a GRATE ground to enjoy, even if the actual football is not always of the same standard!
Big screem - adverts, no Watford goals.
posted 12/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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Totally Acoustic End Of Series
Thursday afternoon found me rocking up once more at The King & Queen for the FINAL Totally Acoustic of the current season. Even before I got into the pub I found the first of the evening's acts, Mr O Tromans, and we went inside for a right old CHAT about things various, notably Doing This Kind Of Thing At Our Kind Of Age. I don't see Owen nearly often enough, so it was a DELIGHT to have the chance for a bit of a natter, and he even helped set the tables out!

Downstairs we found Mr J Kell, Mr K Top Of The Pops and then a whole STREAM of other people. When Mr J Brodie arrived our roster of ACTS was fulfilled so I rounded everybody up and headed upstairs, closely followed by a TONNE of other people.

For LO! The room was PACKED! We were once again missing Mr S Hewitt but his absence was a) noted by someone ASKING where he was when I said "Any questions?" and b) filled by about a MILLION people, all squashed up together. We've had pretty good audiences for this run of shows, but this final one was by FAR the busiest!

I kicked off with a couple of songs - 20 Things To Do Before You're 30 and I Come From The Fens (after attempting and FAILING to play The Perfect Love Song) - before bringing Owen on for a MARVELLOUS set full of INTERESTING subject matter. His songs all (in murky retrospect) seemed to be about the life stories of minor 19th Century European Royals. I'm pretty sure that's NOT what they were all about, I think my BRANE has gone "This was a bunch of topics not generally covered in indie or indeed any other kind of music, let's FILE them under that so it doesn't make me feel quite so LIMITED in my own subject matter." Anyway, it was ACE!

We then had our usual five minute break which turned into nearly half an hour as there was a MAD SCRUM at the bar. It was already unusually busy downstairs, so when the ENTIRE ROOM from upstairs descended even the legendarily CAPABLE staff of The King & Queen took a while to catch up. I have never seen the like!

James Brodie was next and he did of set of what SEEMED to be to be at least partly improvised songs. I mean, they MUST have been partly made up because one of them was about getting the train there that afternoon and another had ME in it, but the whole set felt quite RAW and FREEWHEELING, also quite LOUD and FUNNY. It was unlike anything else we've had at Totally Acoustic before, and I hope the PODCAST manages to cover it adequately!

Finally, after a more USUAL length break, which had the ever wonderful explosion of ROCK that is Keith Top Of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band. As ever i got the name wrong while introducing them, which lead to the whole GROUP saying it in unison and sounding like the start of the BEST Saturday Morning Kids TV Show EVER! They then played a set featuring only ONE guitar but a whole HEAP of other acoustical instruments, which meant that a) the Day In The Life bit in "Two Of The Beatles Are Dead" was INCREDIBLE and b) it really did get awfully close to JAZZ (except good) at several points.

It was, in fact, ACE and a PERFECT way to draw this series to a close, as you can hear for yourself on the podcast which is up RIGHT NOW. The NEXT series will be beginning in December, but between now and then there'll be TWO (2) extra special podcasts featuring unused tracks from ALL the acts featured in the past year. It's going to be a right royal TREAT, I guarantee it!

posted 5/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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Last weekend The Art In My Gallery and I went to see some MODERN DANCE, because we are well sophisticated like that and also because it was only round the corner from our flat so not to do so would have felt RUDE.

The Performance was called BLOCK, by NoFitState and Motionhouse dance companies and it was QUITE a thing. It started off with a huge pile of massive grey blocks piled up into a sort of CAVE arrangement which the dancers clambered over, bent over backwards looking like insects. They then proceeded to spend about 40 minutes LEAPING about, throwing each other across huge spaces and clambering into teetering piles of blocks in a mixture of DRAMA SCHOOL and CIRCUS SKILLS.

It was actually DEAD impressive as they flew around all over the place, and also SCARY when they clambered onto not very stable piles of blocks, especially at the end when they built a giant JENGA tower about 20 feet high and were all jumping around/into/off it. At one point the sky grew dark and cloudy, which was very atmospheric but a bit worrying when a WIND whipped up and started shaking the blocks!

I wasn't sure what was going on - I THORT it was something about mankind developing, also society and cities - but I must say I rather LIKED it. It was, as I say, impressive but also quite ENGROSSING, and it certainly drew a great CROWD to that corner of the Olympic Park. I always get a bit uncomfortable when you see DANCERS doing "acting" (in much the same way as OPERA SINGERS do) but that was more than made up for by all the jumping and FLYING. I'm not sure we were supposed to burst into applause for individual feats of athleticisim, but some of it was SO amazing we couldn't really help it!

I wouldn't say it made me want to go and see MORE Modern Dance, but it was certainly fun to watch. Having said that, if you see me THROWING Steve through the air in our next show, with him doing double back flips as he flies, then you'll know where the idea came from!

posted 2/9/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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