Blog Gigs Facts Music Shop Links
Blog Archive: December 2022Coding For Christmas
As Christmas and its associated days off work looms ever closer, all our thoughts are surely turning to FUN CHRISTMAS PROJECTS i.e. something we've been thinking of doing for AGES but have never quite got round to, which now COULD be done in those lovely days that some of us get off between Christmas and New Year.
My thoughts this year have turned to GIGS, or to be more precise ONE THOUSAND gigs. For LO! as previously (repeatedly) mentioned I shall be doing my ONE THOUSANDTH gig early next year (and hopefully my 999th at some point too!), and ever since I mentioned it people have been saying things like "how deeply fascinating," (or words to that effect, if only in subtext) "I wonder what songs you have played most often, also at which venues and with whom?" These are VERY INTERESTING questions, only some of which I can currently answer. For example, I have kept a METICULOUS record of what songs I've played at nearly every gig for the last two decades, and RESEARCH has uncovered quite a few previous setlists, so I can have a good old go at doing STATS about songs played, and I have a record of ALL venues so can generate MATH about that too.
The only thing I can't do is work out WHO I had been playing these gigs with. I do usually know if a gig was SOLO, with a BAND, or with STEVE, but it's not listed in any coherent way in The Database Of Rock and other stuff like Other Bands On The Bill is extremely haphazard. It being CHRISTMAS I decided not to worry too much about that and just get on with the JOLLITY of DATA ENTRY, so spent a delightful couple of hours setting up a DATABASE SYSTEM I could use to record who else was playing ALONGSIDE me (i.e. in the same band) as well as an option to record some PALS who'd played on the same night so that I could answer OTHER questions such as "Exactly how many times have I done gigs with the likes of Pete, Gav, Matt ET AL?"
However, once I'd entered data for a few years-worth of gigs I started to get Quite Excited about the possibilities of this sort of data. When I did my PhD (yes, I've got a PhD, I just don't like to go on about it) I made the data I'd gathered available Open Access so that other people could use it, and ASTONISHINGLY it has been downloaded over 160 times so far. Why not do something similar with THIS dataset, I thought?
Once I'd thought that my BRANE carried on THINKING. "Well, if you're going to do that," it reasoned, "why not write an ACADEMIC PAPER about the data? After all, a dataset like this could be an HISTORICAL DOCUMENT." "What, of ME and how GRATE I am?" I asked. "No, DOLT!" (my BRANE maybe spent a bit too long on Doctor Doom). "Not of you, but of the whole MILLIEU what you is and/or was part of."
That was an interesting IDEA- welll done BRANE! Recently I went to see Mark Lewisohn do one of his BEATLES talks, and it had taken him YEARS to piece together data about where they played and who they played WITH. He can thus say how MANY gigs they did, but how can we tell if that was NORMAL or not? We don't really know what other, NOT BEATLES, bands were doing, so can't really say for sure if they were super-busy. Similarly, you couldn't tell how The Beatles' progression towards the headline spot compared to other bands, or indeed WHAT other bands existed at the time.
Nowadays we have a lot more of this sort of information available ONLINE, but actually once you start to look back this too gets very HAZY very very quickly. For example, a while ago I was trying to remember WHEN I'd been to a gig that I remembered from back in the 1990s, and thought I'd be able to find out from The Internet, but there was nothing at all there about it. There are whole BANDS who do not exist AT ALL on the internet, just because they weren't famous enough to get into any mainstream media, and existed before Band Webpages became a thing and/or were even archived properly.
With all THAT in mind I realised that maybe something like this COULD be a useful resource, and so went BACK to my database and tidied things up a bit, adding stuff like order of appearance and a LOT more named bands. It's now taking quite a bit longer to research each gig and with ONE THOUSAND of them to get through, some going back to THE NINETEEN FLIPPING EIGHTIES, it might take me a while to do them all, but I'm hoping that once it's finished it will perform two functions. Firstly, it will be a resource for future generations who want to investigate INTERNATIONAL ROCK STARS (especially those too ruddy PUNK ROCK for the popular music media hem hem), and secondly it will be GRATE fun for ME to be able to tell WHO I have done most gigs with! Stand by for MULTIPLE UPDATES!
posted 22/12/2022 by MJ Hibbett
(click here for permanent link)
Apocalypse Prepared, Video Unleashed
Over the weekend I DROPPED a brand new VIDEO, this time for Apocalypse Prepared. You can witness it for yourself HERE:
As you can see from the above, the video features a series of DRAWINGS what I have drawn. It may surprise you to learn that I have had no (NO) artistical training, not even a bit! It took me FLIPPING AGES to do it all too, averaging about one picture a day for WEEKS, but then actually filming it was pretty easy.
I thought I'd put it out NOW because there are a couple of Vaguely Christmassy bits in it - not as many as there are SCENES OF MILD PERIL, but some, as you'll see! Also, it feels like quite a nice place to PAUSE the VIDEO ONSLAUGHT for now. I've done EIGHT videos of songs from The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett so far, which means there are SIX left, and they should start coming mid-January. In the meantime, I really hope you like this one (it really did take BLOOMING AGES to make!) and as ever if you do please like, retweet, or generally approve of it in whatever way you see fit!
posted 12/12/2022 by MJ Hibbett
(click here for permanent link)
Comics, Books, And Literary Science Fiction
when I finished my PhD earlier this year I suddenly had a bit more time available for doing FUN things, which caused me to sit myself down and ask "Yes, but what does that MEAN eh? What is it I actually WANT to do, just for fun?" The answer came back with surprising swiftness, and it was "Watch telly, read comics and read books please."
THUS I have dedicated some SPECIAL TIME to doing these things, and I must say that they are indeed a LOT of fun. I've especially enjoyed reading some comics again, and have been popping into Gosh every few weeks to buy Trade Paperbacks of various things I've been meaning to catch up on (e.g. I'm on about three quarters of the way through "Descender"/"Ascender" at the moment and it is jolly good) and also buying ACTUAL NEW ISSUES of "Miracleman" as they come out. It's ACE!
There have been similar THRILLS in the world of BOOKS, not least a couple of weeks ago when I finally finished off all of the books on my KINDLE. As I'm sure most people who have one of these devices will know, it is VERY tempting to buy loads of books you like the look of and then never get around to actually reading them, so with my new free time I decided to read THE LOT before buying ANYTHING new. This didn't quite work out as planned - it turns out that buying PHYSICAL books doesn't count, according to my BRANE - but I did get through them all eventually, and was delighted to discover that most (though not all) of the books I liked the look of were dead good!
Having done that the next logical step was, of course, to BUY LOADS MORE, and so that is exactly what I did. For the past few years I've always tried to read some of the books on the Arthur C Clarke Award shortlist, as it is a GRATE list of science fiction books which I wouldn't necessarily have known about otherwise. There have been some RIGHT crackers on this list in the past, and so far this year is much the same. For instance, last week I read Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, which was FAB. It is very much a Literary Science Fiction book i.e. one written by a Posh People's Author (who doesn't usually DO this sort of thing) which is pretty much the same as their other books except they have a ROBOT or something in them. USUALLY this is a bit annoying and tedious, notably with Ian McEwan's "Machine Like Me" which was ALL RIGHT but was clearly someobdoy who had never really read any science fiction going "AHA! But what if we used science fiction as... A METAPHOR! Nobody has every thought of this before!" ANYWAY, THIS book was not at ALL like that. Well, all right, it did have a robot in it, and it was a lot like Kazuo Ishiguro's other books, but luckily Kazuo Ishiguro's other books are GRATE. It's all told from the point of view of the aforesaid ROBOT, and part of the fun is working out what they're on about as they describe a near-future world in their own terms, but it's also VERY emotional and beautifully told. He has FORM for this, OBVS, with Never Let Me Go, which was ALSO proper sci-fi and ALSO bloody brilliant.
After that HIGH I moved on with some trepidation to Wergen: The Alien Love War. I say trepidation because a) the title is not hugely inviting and b) the cover is... well, have a look for yourself and you'll see. HOWEVER, the summary sounded interesting and GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME the book itself is so far INCREDIBLE. It's beautifully written, rivettingly plotted, and most of all it features A WHOLE NEW IDEA (to me at least). The key THORT of it is this: human beings are colonising the galaxy alongside a bunch of aliens called The Wergen, who are a) genetically, unavoidably, TOTALLY IN LOVE with ALL human beings and b) a bit annoying. It's an amazing idea which Mercurio D. Rivera (who what wrote it) goes ALL IN on, which leads to a huge range of STORIES and IDEAS.
There's also a whole WORLD of other stuff that comes out of it, notably with the way The Wergen MATE, and all in all it's RUDDY AMAZING. I haven't enjoyed a book this much for AGES, and I have enjoyed a LOT of books, a LOT. As I say, I'm only halfway through but hopefully it will continue in this way. I guess it proves that, insofar as the contents go, you should not judge a book by it's cover.
Hmmm. Has anybody ever said that before? Maybe I should write a Literary Science Fiction Novel about it!
posted 8/12/2022 by MJ Hibbett
(click here for permanent link)
Video Schedule Update
When I sent out the latest newsletter on Wednesday it included a brief bit about VIDOES, which I thought I would EXTRAPOLATE on here. Nobody else is going to, after all, so it might as well be me!
Keen observers of my activities will have noted that there have been quite a lot of VIDOES produced for the album (The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett - why not give the gift of a USB stick full of ME this Christmas?), with SEVEN (7) unleashed so far and the promise/threat of more to come. The most recently allowed out into the wild was What I Always Think While Watching Poetry, the SHORTEST of all the videos and, funnily enough, the shortest song too. You can see it BELOW:
It was also the quickest video to MAKE too, unlike the next one Apocalypse Prepared, which is tentatively timetabled to head your way mid-December. That took FLIPPING MONTHS to do, as it is HAND DRAWN by ME using an exercise book and one of those pens with four different colours of ink in it. It was quite MEDITATIVE, drawing a picture every day or so, but it didn't half take a lot of time. Hopefully it will be WORTH it when you see it!
That will leave SIX (6) more to put out, of which THREE (3) are so far in the bank. I'm going to have a bit of a break from the video schedule after the next one, as this much THRILLPOWER can be difficult to cope with for everybody, and then start again mid-January, which gives me a nice slice of time to try and get them all done. After that I am very much considering re-editing THE LOT to tidy everything up (e.g. by seeing if I can DE-SHAKE Someone Else's Turn a bit, after MANY REMARKS) before joining them together into A CONCEPT FILM!
The DRIVING THORT of this is two-fold. Firstly, I just like the idea of turning an album into a FULL-LENGTH VISUAL EXPERIENCE, and secondly I see this as a way to INFLICT it all on a whole new bunch of people. I know from my experience of trying to do SCREENWRITING a few years ago that there are LOADS of film festivals you can enter such things into, and after spending most of the past YEAR working on this thing, I really want to make sure it is SHARED with as many people as possible. Also, I like the thought of SWANKING ROUND going "Yes yes, it us UN FILM what I have made, a concept movie IF YOU WILL where the concept is MOI."
All that is to come but for now, as they always say on TELLY, please LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE the channel. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but if it's good enough for DOCTOR WHO then it's good enough for me!
posted 2/12/2022 by MJ Hibbett
(click here for permanent link)
An Artists Against Success Presentation