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Blog Archive: December 2020

From A European Viewpoint
A few months ago Mr Marcel Plaum contacted me on behalf of the Cologne PopFest to ask if I'd be able to contribute some sort of PRIZE for their fundraising raffle, to cover costs incurred by it not being able to go ahead this year. I had a bit of a THORT and considered the usual options (i.e. any number of CDs from the Unsold CD Mountain in my cupboard) and realised that anybody who would LIKE one of our CDs probably already HAS them by now. Thus I came up with a plan to offer something UNIQUE: me writing a new song!

I realise that a) me writing a new song isn't really UNIQUE and, more importantly, b) that this is possibly even LESS likely to be something that most people would actually WANT to happen to them, but if nothing else it would at least save everyone the trouble of navigating the postal system. With all that in mind I was DELIGHTED when, a few weeks ago, I got an email from the WINNER, Mr S Dietrich, who was actually PLEASED to have won it. PHEW! What are the chances?

We had an email discussion around what the song could be about, and he suggested that I could write a song about the UK leaving the EU which he could use for an upcoming edition of his radio show Emma's Housemates on Indie Lounge Radio. This sounded like a VERY good idea, with the only difficulty for me being that he wanted a "non-bitter" tune from the European point of view. I'm happy to write from the European point of view because as far as I'm concerned I AM European, but being non-bitter about Brexit is a bit harder!

It was a challenge but I think what we eventally came up - Goodbye To Great Britain - turned out pretty well, and I recorded a version of it featuring my new found MAD MIDI SKILLZ. Stephan suggested that I put it on BANDCAMP ready for when his show went out, and so I DID!

The cover image is (I think) Charles Fox departing somewhere or other, from an eighteenth century political cartoon what I found on the (EXCELLENT) Open Access At The Met site. These Open Access sites are GRATE!.

Stephan played it on last night's show (which should be available on his Mixcloud soon) so I think that means I'm now free to show off about it. I'm really happy with how this all worked out - it was a GRATE bonus bit of songwriting to finish off the year of ROCK with, so I hope you like it!

posted 22/12/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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Release Day!
Let the bells peal and the children sing, for LO! today is that most joyous day in the ROCK and/or POP calendar: RELEASE DAY!

The release in question is the debut single by Jane and John i.e. the band what The Keys On My Keyboard and I formed during LOCKDOWN. It's called 'Our Year' and it's available on our bandcamp page, on Spotify, and indeed ALL major streaming services. There's also a rather natty VIDEO too which you can see below:

We wrote the song during the first lockdown, so it's VERY exciting for it to be actually out in the world at last. I personally am ESPECIALLY keen on people FINALY getting to see the video, as it took me flipping AGES to make and I think it is Quite Good. I hope you agree!

posted 14/12/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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Is It Too Soon For Christmas?
I am absolutely flipping DELIGHTED to say that A Very Cherry Christmas EP 2020 is out RIGHT NOW on bandcamp for you to stream and, hopefully, PURCHASE. Look, here is is!

As hinted a couple of weeks ago, this features a song by Jane and John, the new band that I joined during lockdown. It's called Is It Too Soon For Christmas? and, as you will hear above, the overall sound is SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT to things I've previously been involved in, but I do believe that it has one common element: it is GRATE!

All proceeds are going go to the Music Venue Trust to help struggling grass roots live music venues, and today is BANDCAMP FRIDAT which means that if you buy it today then ALL the money will go directly to MVT without the usual fees. I have just been listening to the full EP and can confirm it is RIGHT CHRISTMASSY and also ACE, so I would recommend you do so IMMEDIATELY!

posted 4/12/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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The Advent Of Advent
In previous years it's seemed mildly controversial to say that Christmas Actual begins on the first of December. You always get someone who'll claim (incorrectly) that this is somehow WRONG and the "right" way to celebrate Christmas is to spend as little time doing it as you can, and that it is also ALL RIGHT to criticise people who would like to get as much Christmas in as possible.

THIS year, however, these voices appear to have been QUELLED as an exhausted nation says, almost as one, "SOD IT. IT IS CHRISTMAS" and I for one join in the chorus of Christmas, for LO! IT IS CHRISTMAS AT LAST! HOORAH!

With this in mind there are certain traditions that need to be observed, such as putting on The Bob Dylan Christmas Album and, most pertinently today, following the progress of The Joyzine Advent Calendar. This is a MARVELLOUS institution which we have been a part of in one way or another MANY times over the years, and this year is no exception - INDEED you can download a brand new song by ME on it TODAY!

The song is called At Least It's Christmas and it was written WAY back in July (which is why a couple of the references are out of date!) with the idea that The Validators would be able to get together at some point to record it. ALAS, for obvious reasons, that didn't happen, so I ended up doing it all by myself. As you'll hear, a by-product of this was that there is now a definitive answer to the question "What did you do during Lockdown Mark?" It is this: "I finally learned how to use MIDI!"

It's also the start of a last minute RUSH of 2020 music coming from round here, with TWO songs from Jane and John and another solo song heading your way before the year is out. Stand by for more details as they become available, but in the meantime please allow me to say, from the very depths of my heart, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

posted 1/12/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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