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Blog Archive: March 2017

Aspects Of Daftness
After work yesterday I set off for distant Islington, there to meet Ms S Jenkins at the Almeida Theatre cafe for a CUPPA. One of the things that never fails to DELIGHT me about That London is the way that VERY different neighbourhoods can sit RIGHT next to each other, in this case the, frankly, stinky bit around Highbury & Islington tube station which suddenly turns into Super Swanky Proper Islington. Super Swanky Proper Islington is JUST like you would expect it to be, with fancy people swanning around, gluten free bakeries on every corner and ANTIQUE shops hither and thither. It is, to be honest, Quite Nice.

Steph was at the theatre to see a PLAY - Hamlet Starring Him Out Of Sherlock (The Baddie). It was, apparently, FOUR HOURS long. Four hours! My ideal length of play is 50 minutes pretending to be 60, and even though it had TWO (2) intervals I still think it would be a bit much. Four hours! Surely one's arse would go numb and never come back!

While we were chatting my phone rang. "Private Number", it said. I've had a couple of these this week and have been ignoring them, but my PHONE SENSE was tingling this time. What if it was something important? I picked it up and was SO GLAD that I did, for LO! it was The Passport Office. A couple of weeks ago I realised I'd LOST my passport and, after two days of PANICKED SEARCHING, accepted the inevitable and applied for a new one. This involved getting a picture taken (at a machine that kept saying "THIS IS NOT A VALID PASSPORT PHOTO" no matter WOT I did - maybe it was a BREXITEER?) and hassling old pal Mr S Wilkinson to sign my form for me - I told him that this was the moment his entire CAREER had been building to, that he was now considered A Responsible Member Of Society - and ever since sending everything off I had been AFEARED that something somewhere would go wrong, meaning I wouldn't get my new passport in time to go on HOLIDAYS. THUS a chill ran through my veins - was something AMISS?

Something WAS - the idiot who filled in the form had somehow managed to get his own Date Of Birth WRONG! In my defence, I spend large parts of the day looking at NUMBERS so may well have got confused, OR perhaps my "6" for June just looks very similar to an INCORRECT "5" for May, but either way they were very nice about it. I suppose they deal with this sort of thing all the time, but still, Her Majesty's Passport Office now sits alongside The Trademark Office as my FAVOURITE government agency for phone calls!

When the announcement came for SHOWTIME I headed off for the tube. On the way there I had seen an EXCELLENT Train Loonie - he had not only a PLACARD but also a SHINY HAT and was SINGING loudly, really raising the game for Train Loonies everywhere - so felt slightly CHEATED that all I saw this time, after disembarking at Kings Cross, was a man dressed up as a Christmas Fairy. He was VERY pleased with himself, but nobody paid him much heed, as we were heading to Central St Martins, where the Art Students live. He wasn't even in the top ten most daftly dressed people.

Alas, when I arrived, I faced further self-inflicted foolishness, as the Library was CLOSED. I do WORK for a University still, but am so far divorced from TEACHING that I had no idea we were now into student holiday time, which meant that much shortened HOURS were in effect. I slinked away, past an Private View for POTTERY, hoping nobody would see my THWARTED SWATTINESS. Denied access to a library book! I didn't know if this was TOTALLY PUNK or the OPPOSITE!

posted 31/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Pubs Are GRATE!
I've been back working in the centre of London Town for nearly six months now but my DELIGHT in it has yet to dim, especially on nights like last night when it meant I could leave work and, ten minutes later, be in The King & Queen!

I was there to meet my old chum Mr S Wilkinson, but on the way I bumped into another, newer, chum: Mr Ivor Game. Amazingly he was on his way to the same place, to take part in a night of music and poetry upstairs - there ALWAYS seems to be something going on upstairs at The King & Queen, all it needs is a hand-typed and badly photocopied piece of A5 with gig listings on it and it would be like The Magazine Hotel Leicester circa 1993!

Ivor said he was thinking about hiring a PR company to help him with his next release, and I related my DREADFUL experience with the one I hired to promote Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez all those years ago. On further investigation it turned out that he'd been in touch with THE VERY SAME PR company that I'd used, and so I was UTTERLY DELIGHTED to be able to give him the full details and advise NOT using them. It was MOST satisfying!

Ivor went upstairs to do his SHOW and Simon turned up for some PINTS and DISCUSSION on what was and wasn't wrong with The World Today, differing only on the subject of whether or not Weatherspoons pubs are "all right" (NB they're not). We also got to re-do "Shop Cop", an ongoing SKIT what we used to do 100,000 years ago in Leicester when we co-hosted The Casbah, a monthly student comedy club which ALSO saw the debut of VOON. I'd been reminded of it while talking to Mr John Dredge the other day, and was delighted to find that between us we remembered the whole thing.

A very pleasant evening was topped off by an offer to CHOOSE BEERS for the Totally Acoustic all-dayer that's taking place in August. "If you're going to be here all day I might as well get some beers on that you'll like", said CJ when I went to the bar. My eyes did that thing that Cartoon Characters do when they think of CA$H except instead of DOLLAR SIGNS it was PINTS that flashed by! This is going to be GRATE!

posted 30/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Sticking It To The Man
I had the afternoon off on Monday to go to a DEMO, for LO! there was a debate in the House Of Commons about the Badger Cull and so The Words On My Placard and I were there to support The Badger Army.

It felt weird coming out of Westminster Tube, into a scene which had been all over the news the week before. As I walked around Parliament I saw policemen going about their business and tourists being tourist-y, and then I saw all the flowers laid out in front and attached to the railings. It was all suddenly very moving and real, that something awful had happened here just a few days ago, to people just like all of us, here for all our various reasons in one of the most exciting cities in the world.

Like everybody else I carried on, literally, in fact, carrying along downn the road and soon found myself at the demo where The Members Of My Crowd had been given a LAB COAT to wear and a placard to hold. The lab coat was part of the plan to draw attention to the Scientific FACTS around the Badger Cull i.e. that there is absolutely completely no evidence WHATSOEVER that Badgers are carrying Bovine TB to cattle. The actual truth of the matter is that David Cameron brought in the cull as a way to allow gits to murder badgers, EITHER because some farmers think they're a "pest", OR to allow easier planning permission for HS2, OR just because some people enjoying killing animals, depending on who you believe. Whatever the reason, it's a total pile of bollocks which results in the cruel deaths of animals that are meant to be protected.

We stood around for a bit and then there were SPEECHES, during which we discovered that Bovine TB may not have been found in badgers (they're not actually TESTING the badgers they kill for some reason, almost as if that's not why they're doing it...) but HAS been found in Hunting Hounds! So, the people who are most keen on killing animals are CAUSING the disease they're using as an excuse for doing it! Worst still, this has been the case for DECADES, but has apparently been covered up - we stood AGOG, taking in this news!

After the speeches we were told there'd be half an hour or so break and then some more speeches. This, I thought, would coincide with the debate in parliament which was due to start at half past four. Time passed, however, and nothing much happened - the lab coats and placards were collected up, people drifted away, but of speaking there was none. At about half past five someone started up a chant of "Save our badgers - stop the cull!" which everyone joined in with for about fifteen minutes, until some of the (very friendly otherwise) police came over to ask us to stop, as there'd been a complaint from over the road. There were about six loudspeaker things being used, so it was quite loud, but The Voices In My Chorus suggested that maybe this was just part of the process. The demo makes a right old racket for fifteen minutes, the police come over and give us a reason to stop, and everyone can go home happy.

It was a perfectly reasonable plan, spoilt slightly by an "anarchist" who took this as his cue to stick it to the man by continuing with the shouting. When asked to stop he looked all innoccent, waited two minutes, then started blowing a HORN. SIGHS all round were heard as the policeman dutifully plodded over to ask him to stop - it was a bit of entirely unnecessary dickheadery which resulted in a KERFUFFLE which was SOMEWHAT undermined by the self same Anarchist leaving five minutes later because "I've got a train to catch".

Or maybe that was just another part of The Traditional Process that I was unaware of?

Anyway, we stood around a bit longer until the organiser said that that was the end and we could go home now. As ever with these events I found it slightly infuriating, also PUZZLING - if someone has the wherewithal to ORGANISE a demo like this, with all the police negotiations and booking of locations, PA systems and speakers, why do they always allow it to drift off into complete disarray on the day itself? The only time I've ever been to ANY demo that was properly organised all the way through and DIDN'T end with everyone standing around going "Is that it? Can we go home now?" was another badger demo a few years ago when BRIAN MAY came and talked. It was almost as if everyone thought "Crikey, Brian May is coming, we'd better make sure it all goes properly!" That one finished EARLY!

Still, it was good to be there and make our point - with all the utter nonsense about flipping Brexit going on, and all the unutterable crap that will be filling up the news for the next two years about it, it's important to make sure the Tories don't get completely away with everything unchallenged!

posted 29/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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A Trip Completed
This Saturday, The Sights On My Excursion and I headed way out West to Hampstead Heath, to finish off a trip we'd begun way back in October. On that occasion we'd had a big walk and then gone to Kenwood House to look at some ART, but we'd only ended up looking at the ground floor of the museum. We'd promised ourselves that we'd go back another time to see the upper floor, and so that is what we set out to do.

On the way there we passed through Mirabelle Gardens, a small park near chez nous, and heard a BURD singing in one of the trees. In the past couple of years I have realised that if you HEAR a bird singing nearby then there must BE a bird singing nearby, and if you look you can usually see it. I know this sounds BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS but it's been a bit of a revelation to me, as I've realised that there's all SORTS of birds all over the place. This time we stopped and looked and were astonished to see a GOLDFINCH. Apparently these are super common but I've never seen one before, so we stood AGOG. Later on that day, on Hampstead Heath, we saw a GREEN WOODPECKER, something else I'd never seen before. "I wonder how many birds I COULD see," I wondered to myself, "perhaps noting them down in a book when I have seen - or 'spotted' - them?" Luckily I realised what I was thinking before I had gone too far - I do NOT need another hobby right now!

Hampstead Heath is an AMAZING place to stomp through, it's like a wallop of countryside dumped in London, with all sorts of different parts all over the place so that (as happens most times we go there) we managed to get LOST. We eventually found Kenwood House where we DID go upstairs and saw The Miniature Room - lots of tiny portraits, including one that looked like a HOLOGRAM, also jewellery and BUCKLES - and then The Suffolk Collection, which is a room full of ancient paintings of posh people. It was Quite Good but didn't GRAB me in quite the same way as Paolozzi the other week, which probably definitely means I am SUPER MODERN.

And that was IT! It turns out the upstairs has SIGNIFICANTLY less things to look at than the downstairs so we were able to wander out and stomp back across the heath for our meeting with a woodpecker. It was a RUDDY DELIGHTFUL way to spend an afternoon and it only cost us a few quid each for the TRANE too. Sometimes That London can be pretty flipping GRATE!

posted 28/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Socks And Cocktails
Thursday night found me out and about in downtown ISLINGTON, where I was due to meet Mr S Hewitt. It seems weird these days when I enter a pub and DON'T see him sat at a table glaring at his phone with a half drunk pint in front of him. This occasion was NOT a weird one!

As other people arrived I went to get some drinks and ended up waiting TWENTY FLIPPING MINUTES as it was one of those pubs that a) serve cocktails but b) do not seem to train their staff how to do it and c) have only one person on at a time, so it took FOREVER or, at least, until 6pm when some other people came out of the kitchen to help. It made me GRUMPY!

Luckily for all concerned GRUMP was deflated by the fact that we were going round the corner to The Bill Murray to see The Scottish Falsetto Sock Theatre Company Do Shakespeare. I have seen The Socks MANY times but this was my first time seeing them anywhere outside of Edinburgh and with me anything but Quite Drunk. It turns out they are JUST as good Mildly Sober (i.e. VERY GOOD INDEED) and there was MUCH chortling, sniggering, and general GUFFAWING. It really is a very silly sort of show indeed, and I liked it a LOT.

I also liked the fact that the bar served St Mungo, the Only Lager Brewed To German Purity Laws Outside Of Germany as certain BORING and possibly WRONG people will tell you at length if you let me... I mean THEM, do so. It was LOVELY and may well have been the ingredient that allowed me to cope with not being in Scotland while I was watching. I would heartily recommend it, and The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Company, to ANYBODY, and if you can combine the two then all the better!

posted 27/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Another Secret Revealed
For the past few weeks I've been going ON and ON about all the various Exciting Things that I couldn't talk about - one of these was The Validators appearing at this year's indietracks, and today I can REVEAL what one of the others is, for LO! I have got an LITERARY AGENT!

"That is not quite as exciting as I was led to believe" you may think, which is fair enough, but to me it is THE MOST EXCITING. Ever since I (re)started with The Writing back in The Space Year 2012AD one of the AIMS has been to get an Agent - everybody always says "You don't need an agent, you can do it all yourself" but, to be honest, after 500 years in ROCK I have got pretty much all the transferable skills I need. I know about PRS, PPL, setting up PA systems, invoicing, manufacturing schedules, and the difference between CMYK and RGB, so would rather NOT have to learn the equivalents of the above for the BOOK world!

For LO! (again), it is MY NOVEL that this is all related to. When I re-read it a few weeks ago I thought "Actually this is quite good, maybe I should try and see if anybody wants to put it out?" After taking ADVICE from various sources I did The Proper Thing and got myself a copy of The Writers And Artists Yearbook, went through the lists of agents, identified ones which looked suitable, emailed them with whatever their requirements were for Unsolicited Enquiries (usually a covering letter, synopsis, and first 30-50 pages of the book), and then sat back to see what would happen.

I must admit I had precisely NO expectations WHATSOEVER - all my experience of doing The Proper Thing in regards to AND of The Arts has been that you sit around for months and nothing happens. I was fully expecting to get either NO replies or polite form letters, and had put a note into my diary to wait six weeks and then start properly investigating self-publishing via Amazon. Imagine my SURPRISE then when, a week or so after sending the emails out, I got a request from one of agents for the FULL novel! "It might take a few weeks to get round to reading it", she said, so imagine my FURTHER ASTONISHMENT when she emailed my the other side of the weekend to ask if we could have a phone chat! "Maybe she wants to tell me personally how rubbish it is?" I thought.

To cut a very long story short, that WASN'T the purpose of the call and so, some further weeks later, I am VERY PLEASED INDEED to say that I am now Officially Represented by Franca at Zeno Literary Agency! I'm on their webpage and EVERYTHING!

The next stage, apart from SWANNING AROUND saying "Oh I shall have to ask My Agent" (OBVS), is for them to send the book out to PUBLISHERS to see if they will, well, PUBLISH it. It's being PITCHED as for the 9-12 age group, which a) was a surprise to me as I didn't WRITE it that way b) meant a couple of very minor adjustments (apparently you're not allowed to rampantly kill human beings, textually, but small dogs are fair game) and c) probably says more about my MENTAL AGE than I would care to consider. That said, it is MORE than fine with me - I went to Waterstones to look at THE COMPETITION the other day and there are a HECKLOAD of AMAZING books in that age range!

My sole hope at this point is that I might help to DELIGHT and EDUCATE a few CURIOUS MINDS, and I have definitely NOT been fantasising about making 100 BILLION QUID from MOVIE DEALS, nor have I spent hours rehearsing CHAT SHOW APPEARANCES, and anybody who says I have is a rotten fibber. Either way it is all EXTREMELY EXCITING - it may, of course, all come to nothing, but you never know, it might end up with an ACTUAL REAL BOOK with my name on it! ZOINKS!

posted 23/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Banned From The Technical Area
Last Thursday found The Seats In My Stadium and I going round the back of The London Stadium for a Residents' Meeting about the Olympic Park. I must admit I was slightly GIRDING myself for BOREDOM as I have been to quite a few profoundly DULL meetings of late, but this was actually DEAD interesting. For one thing, we got to go into the Hospitality Area of the stadium, and then listen to some INTERESTING FACTS about what was coming up in the area. We also got to hear from some ARTISTS from the local area, one of whom seemed to think he was a REVOLUTIONARY ACTIVIST. He challenged one of the speakers, saying "Film has EMERGED of you saying this thing that is slightly inaccurate!" We thought "Ooh, secret filming!!" but it turned out to mean someone in the meeting had been recording it on their phone, in full view of a public meeting. Oooooh! SCANDAL!

After the talking was over we got to go on a TOUR of the stadium, starting in the Directors' Box where we stood out on the balcony looking onto the pitch. It felt WEIRD - I could see the SKY but still it felt like we were inside and the actual pitch looked TIDDLY. We then went to look at (and SMELL) the changing rooms, before heading down a tunnel and - LAWKS! - onto the pitch itself. As you can see, I found this EXCITING!

Other people - especially West Ham fans - were EVEN MORE excited, and all took turns sitting in the players' seats. I, of course, was much too dignified to do anything a silly as pretending to be a Beleagured Manager.

All right, maybe I wasn't. It was GRATE tho - we watched Match of the Day ESPECIALLY on Saturday to shout "LOOK! We have SAT there!" - and when we were finally SATED we headed back down the tunnel and OUT, for LO! it was the BEST kind of tour i.e. one in which we followed the route at our own pace without people telling you what you're looking at. After all, when one is presented with a football pitch one doesn't really need someone telling you what it is. And CRIKEY, when you're in a Football changing room your NOSE can definitely work it out!

posted 20/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Paolozzi Good Times
Saturday found the Theme Of My Curation and I off to see some of that there ART, in the company of Ms H Arnold. We were off to The Whitechapel Gallery ("I did a gig here once" I said, as i seem to do EVERYWHERE) to see the Eduardo Paolozzi retrospective. Short review: it was BLOODY GRATE.

Living in That London I like Paolozzi mainly because you keep bumping into his WORKZ all over the place, like the murals at Tottenham Court Road, or the big Newton outside the British Library, or the Self Portrait With Banjo that used to be on High Holborn. ALSO, his sculptures 'Piscator' and 'Head Of INvention' feature pretty heavily in MY NOVEL, and ALSO he did the cover to Macca's 'Red Rose Speedway', so he is compliant with my interests on MANY levels.

Despite all this the exhibition was packed with LOADS of things I didn't know and loads of ART I'd not seen before, and the way it was laid out in vaguely chronological order made it weirdly EXCITING. "Ooh look, he's started doing collages!" I said to myself, when they popped up, and you could see his LINES starting to appear and then mutate into sculptures and SO ON. It was also full of HUMANITY e.g. the sculptures of people that look like calcified cyborgs are a) weird and strange b) weirdly TOUCHING. AND there was a sense of humour throughout, especially when he got DEAD SARCASTIC around the early 1970s.

It was the best ART thing I have been to in AGES and has stuck in my BRANE ever since. Even better, we bumped into that nice Mr Dec Munro, Hero Of Edinburgh, on the way round, and it turned out he's one of the people behind The Bill Murray pub where ALL comedy gigs seem to happen now, including the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppets that me and Mr S Hewitt are off to see next week.

It was, all told, a pretty flipping great afternoon out. ART! It's GOOD!

posted 14/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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DOS Reunited
I am STILL unable to reveal the various SECRETS what I have been going on about lately, and it is starting to do my NUT in. One of them in particular is something I am DESPERATE to shout about online, but so far am only able to do so in PERSON for fear of tempting fate. MANY is the time I have sat on Twitter about to TWEET about it or - worse yet - say "I have AMAZING news I cannot tell you about" and only just managed to pull away (and write a blog instead...).

Yesterday THINGS were going on to do with it and I felt as if I would go LOONEY if I did not tell SOMEONE. "I know", I thought, having deleted a tweet for the millionth time that day, 'I shall go to the comic shop. I often bump into people on the way there, maybe I shall do this time and manage to BLURT it out to the THEM!"

I set off for Gosh and DIDN'T meet anybody. "Probably for the best", I thought, as I stood before the RACKS perusing the most recent releases, but then Mr N Metcalfe, who works there, said hello and then FOOLISHLY added "How's it going?"

"GRATE!" I said, loudly, with a MAD GLEAM in my eye. Nat did not take this as a clue to FLEE (he works in a comic shop, I guess if he RAN every time someone said something KRAZY to him he would be winning Marathons) and instead said "Really? What's happened?" and reader, I TOLD him. At SOME LENGTH. Sorry Nat!

I CALMED myself back at work by reuniting with an old colleague: DOS!

There's a DOS database what I have been GRAPPLING with lately to try and get some information out of, and it has been surprisingly emotional. Looking at a DOS interface is like looking back a quarter of a century to my first endeavours in the field of employment, when EVERYTHING on computers was done this way. The way you move around the screen, the type face, the way it represents ICONS, the incredibly limited ways you can DO stuff - EVERYTHING about it is a nostalgia trip which I found myself ENJOYING whilst also wishing for stuff we take for granted now, like OPTIONS and MOUSE CLICKS and proper HELP functions. This database is SO VERY OLD that there isn't anything on Google to tell you what to do (which leaves a Computer Guy like me FLUMMOXED, as I have to use my BRANE instead!). Wonderfully, the system is very proud of being able to use new-fangled .dbf files (which was a legacy format even when I first started) although it is unable to export more than 15 variables at a time. AND! AND! I spent ages trying to work out why it was refusing to do something before finally realising it was because my FILENAME contained more than 8 characters!!

It's all oddly lovely, and I can't shake the sense of WONDER that it still actually works, although there's no reason why it wouldn't. The PROGRAM is a series of zeroes and ones, it's not like a rusty old PLOUGH or something that would wear out - as long as the files don't get corrupted something like this could work FOREVER!

PHEW! It was a right rollercoaster of THRILLZ - I thought when I sat down to type this blog entry that my inability to reveal The Big Secret Thing would lead to a dull blog, HOW WRONG I WAS!

posted 9/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Art School Confidential
Despite nursing a SEVERE post-Totally Acoustic hangover, I managed to DRAG myself over to West London on Friday lunchtime to meet The Artist Tom Smith for a cup of tea and a PRACTICE, for LO! that very afternoon we were due at Wimbledon College Of Art to do a TALK SLASH CHAT called "Scary Monsters And Super Creeps" about superheroes, performance personas and SUCHLIKE.

It was all to do with the Acts Reacts festival at Wimbledon College Of Arts. The college is a part of UAL so as a GRADUATE (him) and CURRENT STUDENT (me) of Central St Martins (as seen in That Pulp Song, and ALSO part of UAL) we thought we'd apply to DO something at it. When we got ACCEPTED we had to think about what we were going to say and, several emails, one skype chat and one trip to the pub later, we found ourselves sat in his kitchen with a fully loaded Powerpoint Presentation having a bit of an old run through.

Much to our mutual relief it turned out to make some sort of sense even OUTSIDE of the pub, so we set off for the tube ready to ROCK. Unfortunately the tube itself was not so inclined, as the District Line was KAPUT, so we had to go back to his house and use the CAR instead. This took AGES and denied us the time for nipping into the PUB on the way, but it did at least mean I was able to discover that my phone has flipping SATNAV on it. It was INCREDIBLE! "Just put in the postcode we're going to and press that button" said Thomas and LO my phone TALKING to me! I was ASTOUNDED!

We got to the college and met the VERY friendly and capable people running the tech side of things, who got us all set up in rapid time. We then went in search of a coffee or similar, and were DELIGHTED to find a whole table of coffee and cups just outside... though less delighted to be told to GERROFF in no uncertain terms by the people who a) had ordered them b) were nothing to do with the festival. FOILED!

Further investigation uncovered a vending machine and, duly refreshed, we returned to the room, which remained empty until PRECISELY 5pm at which point a whole BUNCH of people - 18 of them, I think - rolled up and came in. PHEW! I had been imagining the two of us just sitting there CHATTING to each other ALONE - I mean, that was what we'd PRACTICED, but I had hoped some other people might come and listen.

We got going and I THINK it all went all right - it was hard to tell as it was so ALIEN to what I usually do. For a start, everyone was STONE COLD SOBER, and also some people didn't seem to understand poorly spoken Peterborough-accented English hugely well, so were relying on the slides (which didn't have text on them) for guidance. Also also I'm used to doing 3 minute bouts of SHOUTING followed by (hopefully) applause and occasional LARFS, whereas here we were talking at LENGTH about various ARTY-TYPE THINGS with no discernible gaps.

Thomas seemed happy with it, and audience members who approached us afterwards said they'd enjoyed it, so I reckon it was OK. Weirdly, for the second night in a row, I found myself talking to another Peterborough United Fan - you don't tend to talk to them that often when you're IN Peterborough, so two in London was very odd!

Job done we FINALLY made it to the pub, for a VERY MUCH needed pint - who knew YACKING about ART could be so stressful?

posted 7/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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From Despair To Wahey
Last Thursday's Totally Acoustic began with PANIC - the acts had arrived, the audience had arrived (in LARGE number - we only just managed to fit everyone in), the beers were bought, but where was Steve?!?! His seat has sat sadly empty on other occasions, but those times I had been forewarned. Seeing it UNEXPECTEDLY unfilled like this was UNSETTLING. Had he been KIDNAPPED? Had he been waylaid by an EMERGENCY?!? "Where is he?" we asked. "Oh, where?"

"In the pub", came the answer, as he made it just in time wearing the face of a man who has had one too many while staying at his Mum's house. An "I'm ferpectly pine" sort of face. WOT a relief! After all that excitement it was almost relaxing to get the actual gig going, even though it was starting with ME doing a whole HEAP of new songs. Here's what I did:
  • Cheer Up Love
  • Come The Inevitable Apocalypse
  • My Computer Guy Voice
  • I Like You
  • Wallies
  • I'm Doing The Ironing
  • The Saturday Lunchtime Wrestlers

  • It all SEEMED to go OK - I had my music stand with me so I didn't need to worry about remembering all the WORDS, but that didn't stop me messing them up a couple of times ANYWAY and also getting the chords wrong, but other than that it all went pretty smoothly. Cheer Up Love surprised me by going down well, the joining in bit of Wallies worked (even though I PANICKED and did my bit wrong) and my belief that I'm Doing The Ironing is the first SUREFIRE HIT of the new batch was borne out by it getting the best reaction of the LOT. HOORAH! I also did The Saturday Lunchtime Wrestlers at the request of Mr J Anderson - if you ever want me to do a request, get it in several weeks in advance (NB months for The Validators) and I/we'll most likely do it!!

    Next up was Mr Matt Abbott, POET and recently arrived Londoner, who was GRATE. I'd asked him to come and play at short notice, after Ms G Petrie found herself double-booked, and he was an EXCELLENT replacement, being STRIDENT and funny and well worded and so GOOD in fact that - hey - you almost forgot he didn't have a guitar round his neck!

    And finally there was the always wonderful Mr G Osborn who was, as always, WONDERFUL. Seeing him and Matt one after the other gave me a serious bout of the MAN LOVES, especially when I got to be PART of Gav's new song "Don't Know Enough About That", reading out a series of questions at the end, most of which I managed to read out almost correctly!

    It was a pretty bloody fabulous night PACKED with goodtimes and also AUDIENCE - one of those shows which make me think I must keep doing this FOREVER!

    posted 6/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Secret Revealed
    For the past couple of weeks I have been BLEATING ON about the TWO (2) Exciting Things that have been in the offing which I can't tell you about. As you may know I absolutely HATE going on about myself (hem hem) so it has been a bit frustrating not to be able to get it OVER with and tell you, but thankfully ONE of the Exciting Things has been revealed: me and The Validators are playing Indietracks this year! HOORAH!

    We are OBVS very excited about it and have been DISCUSSING setlists and walk-on music (it is the only time we ever GET to have walk-on music!) since late January when Team Indietracks got in touch. Some of our BEST EVER gigs have been at Indietracks, also some of our BEST EVER weekends as a whole, so we are RIGHT looking forward to playing there again!

    The OTHER Exciting Thing is not quite ready to shout about yet, and it has been joined by not one but TWO more Exciting Things which I cannot speak of either! I don't know why this is all going on at once - if I COULD bang on and on about these Things then believe me I totally would, and very much hope to be able to soon. Just to prove these are REAL, one of them is a SCRIPT what Mr J Dredge and I have SOLD and has been FILMED (with proper actors and everything!) but has not yet been UNLEASHED, and another is a SONG wot the aforesaid gentleman and I have recorded which WE THINK is going to be on an album. The final one I shall save for a full SHOW-OFF about another time!

    In the meantime though, the Indietracks news is very much out there and SHOUTABLE about, and features a metric TONNE of GRATE bands, including Ms G Petrie FINALLY making her Indietracks debut. It's going to be BLOODY GRATE, come along if you can!

    posted 3/3/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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