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Blog Archive: May 2022

Over the course of the last six years or so, whilst doing THE PHD, I have struggled with what to CALL one of the key ASPECTS of it. It's to do with what makes Doctor Doom (or whatever character you're talking about) Doctor Doom (or whatever character you're talking about), and I've always ended up saying "the Doctor Doom-ness of Doctor Doom" (or whatever... you get the idea). People generally tend to GET this, but it never feels particularly elegant, and I have long wished to sort it out, preferably via a FANCY WORD. Academics LOVE fancy words, and I wanted to GET one.

The problem was always that I didn't KNOW one, but then the other day I realised I had a vast well of RESOURCE which I could use i.e. BRAINY people on Facebook! Over the past few months I have asked a few questions using this method, and have been delighted to discover that I know LOADS of people a) with MIGHTY BRANES b) who are very happy to help, and so I put it to them: "WOT", I enquired, "is a good word for this?"

Good golly, but I was not prepared for the influx of BRANES which ensued. Lots of great ideas came forth, which tended to fall into a number of CAMPS. The first were words around the idea of the "essence" of a character - the things which quintessentially make them THEM. This may sound like exactly what I'm on about, and certainly fitted with how I phrased the question, but to my understanding they sounded like ESSENTIAL things that only that character could have, and without them would not BE that character. That doesn't quite fit with what I'm after because the Doctor Doom-ness of Doctor Doom is NOT exclusive to him (or to one version of him) nor does he HAVE to have all those aspects to BE a Doctor Doom. Lots of characters have a green cape for example without being Doctor Doom, and there are Doctor Dooms which have a slightly DIFFERENT coloured cape but are still him. Similarly, when I ran my survey, most people thought that it was essential for Doctor Doom to hate Reed Richards, but when I looked at the actual TEXTS there were several versions of Doom where Reed Richards doesn't even EXIST, and yet he was still clearly Doctor Doom.

Crikey, I have written "Doctor Doom" a lot of times there - you can see why I wanted to find a terminology that didn't have his name in it ! The next category were SPIRITUAL terms which were a bit more like it, but also slightly too QUALITATIVE, in that they were BROADER than I needed and tended to become more about who one specific individual was, rather than the big old bunch of different yet RELATED versions of the same character that I was after.

None of these MIGHTY THORTS were in any way WRONG, by the way, and I was DELIGHTED that so many people came up with so many GRATE ideas, but there was one clear winner amongst all of them that fitted my requirements precisely, and that was "Haecceity". This was suggested by my old pal Mr C Lawson, and wins because a) it is GREEK and therefore FANCY and b) it directly translates as "THIS-NESS", which is bloody perfect. Not only do phrases like "The Haeccity of Doctor Doom" (almost) literally translate as meaning "The Doctor Doom-ness of Doctor Doom" and similarly "The Haeccity of Lara Croft" as "The Lara Croft-ness of Lara Croft" but it ALSO sounds hilariously (NB to me anyway) MADE UP, as if some Ancient Greek BRANE went "Oh sod it, let's just call it "THIS-NESS" and knock off early for the day.

THUS anyone who attends any of my upcoming Conference Presentations can expect me to be saying "Haecceity" (pronounced, I think, as "Heck SEA At Ee") an LOT. INDEED I expect this to become something that people EXPECT from me, and if I DON'T do it it will become odd, TO THE EXTENT that LO! it becomes part of my own HAECCEITY! What a GRATE word!

posted 27/5/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Last weekend I went once more the the British Museum, on my own this time, to see their new The World Of Stonehenge exhibition. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: it was Quite Good.

It took me flipping AGES to get into the musuem, as there was a MASSIVE queue outside to get your bags checked. Years ago, when I worked around the corner from the BM, you could just wander in, and I spent many happy lunch hours visiting exhibits within or sometimes just sitting and having my lunch in the courtyard out front, but it is Very Different now. There were two queues - one for people who'd bought a ticket for something (e.g. me) and one for people who'd just rolled up. I quickly realised that a) my queue was taking AGES and b) behind me were two people with no bloody idea about personal space. They were the sort of people who think it's FINE to stand so close to you that you can hear their stomach rumbling. I tried the thing of Not Moving Forward when the queue ahead did, and even gently backing INTO them to try and get them to shift backwards, but invariably I'd have to move forward a bit every couple of minutes and they'd be right back in my NECK NAPE. THUS I switched lanes and REVELLED in the fact that I got in AGES before them. HA! Also: TOP TIP for the future!

Once I got through the queue I was directed to a Special Counter, where I thought they were going to quiz me further on the contents of my bag, or ask the reasons for my visit. Instead they were HUSTLING me for CA$H, doing the thing where they make it sound very much like you HAVE to pay to get in, so get confused tourists to make a "donation". "Would you like to give to the British Museum today?" they asked. "NO THANKS!" I said in as jolly a way as was feasible. I did not feel bad about this because a) I pay THE TAXES b) I also paid for a TICKET and c) most of all, once I finally got into the building I bought a small vegan donot and a can of drink which cost roughly A MILLION POUNDS so felt as if I had done my bit!

Anyway, I then went into the exhibition, which was BUSY. VERY busy - I don't think I have been in a room QUITE so full of people since before COVID. It also seemed to be full of EXPERTS as everywhere I turned there was somebody Explaining Things to somebody else, who would then often reply by Explaining The Same Thing back to them. They must have been experts because everything they were all explaining to each other extactly matched what was written in BIG LETTERS on the description boards behind them!

Luckily for me this was not my first RODEO/big exhibition, so I knew what to do - I simply strode purposefully through the first area into the next bit, where people had spread out a bit and had got bored of explaining things to each other. It was still busy though, so I skipped several large chunks until I got to the end, and then went back to the start again - it was getting close to closing time by now, so by this time it had cleared a little and I was able to get a good old LOOK at most stuff.

What I saw was QUITE INTERESTING. As with my previous visit the title of the exhibition was a little misleading, as there was an awful lot of stuff there that was nothing at all to do with Stonehenge. Actually, a surprisingly large amount of it was from PETERBOROUGH or thereabouts! It was more about the TIME that the various iterations of Stonehenge were built in, so I SUPPOSE that the fact it's called "The World Of Stonehenge" is just about excusable. I guess I was somehow expecting there to be some BITS of Actual Stonehenge there!

The really cool thing they did have was a big chunk of Seahenge which was pretty amazing - it was like something from a SPOOKY MOVIE, especially the idea of having an upturned tree in the middle, with its ROOTS splaying out. That was worth the admission on its own, to be honest, but then there were some STUNNING and STUNNINGLY OLD artefacts all the way through which were dead interesting. Also, the THEME of it - which took me a while to GET as I was hopping back and forth - was the way that human civilisation (or at least the bit of it happening in Northern Europe) changed pretty quickly from hunter gatherers to farms to the begins of societies, with stone axes at the beginning and PROPER SWORDS and ARMOUR at the end.

As i say, it was pretty good, although as per I did wonder why Archeologists and Historians are always so completely OBSESSED with EVERYTHING being religious. Reading the boards it seemed like every single thing these ancestors ever did was TOTALLY to do with religion. "We found these broken pots, which would have been buried here AS AN OFFERING", "this sword was buried FOR A CEREMONY", this person was placed like this FOR RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE" etc etc etc. I mean, all right, there might have been a BIT of this, but surely SOMETIMES pots are dropped in a trench by ACCIDENT? Are FUTURE HISTORIANS from SPACE going to fall upon our rubbish tips and be convinced they were grand cathedrals of offerings? "SEE how early HUMANOIDS would ritually BURN A CAR as an offering to their Gods, possibly hoping for an easing of ROAD TAX!"

As I left there was still time to have a quick look at something else before proper closing time, so like a FOOL I went and looked at some Ancient Greek stuff. This was a mistake, as it reminded me that while MY ancestors were tooling around with stone axes and being very pleased with themselves for drawing a very rough CIRCLE, the Ancient Greeks were merrily drinking WINE out of PAINTED AMPHORA and whooping it up with POETRY. Come on, Ancient Peterborians, get your act together!

posted 25/5/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Further Progress
I reached at ROCK MILESTONE over the weekend, as I finished the first drafts of the whole new album! By this I mean, I had got a MIX of every single song done, ready for re-listening, re-mixing, and almost inevitably some re-RECORDING also.

There's still a little way to go before I'm ready to UNLEASH it onto an unsuspecting world, but it did feel good to have got this far. There's fourteen tracks at the moment - I says "tracks" because one of them isn't really a song at all - but the final ITEM may have less. Or possibly more. For some reason the story of BLUR recording "Modern Life Is Rubbish" has always RESONATED with me i.e. their record label rejected the first version and sent them back to record a couple more hits (which turned out to be "Chemical World" and "For Tomorrow") so I always imagine my record label (ME) listening to whatever album I have done and saying "No ME, you must got back and write two more HITS!" Unlike Blur, however, I do not have access to Producers or Free Studio Time and so largely cannot be arsed, invoking the right of THE ARTISTE (also me) to follow their instincts, but I always think it would be nice to actually DO this.

I guess I'll see what happens at the end of the NEXT stage, which is to do SECOND mixes of THE LOT then stick it all together into a vague tracklist and work out if anything needs to be dropped and/or added and/or created from scratch. I've used up nearly ALL the spare songs I had lying around - certainly the ones that are any good anyway - so it would be nice if I didn't actually NEED to go Full Dave Balfe on myself, but part of the OVERRIDING SCHEME for this album is that I'm not planning any dates until I'm totally ready. MANY MANY times in the past we have scheduled GIGS and all sorts around a putative release date, only to have to either a) RUSH everything to actually hit the deadline or b) do gigs WITHOUT the promised album available. I keep reminding myself that nobody is exactly CLAMOURING for this,so there's no need to RUSH - the Universe has gone (checks discography) ELEVEN YEARS without an MJ Hibbett solo album and SIX without a Validators one too, so I'm sure it can wait a few more months.

Having said that, I've just realised that in the six years since I or we last released an album we've had Brexit, Trump, Boris Johnson and Covid. I mean, I'm not saying all that was BECAUSE of the lack of my/our unique brand of ROCK, but you never know do you? Quick! TO THE PRESSING PLANT!

posted 24/5/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Doctor Strange
Last week I went to the pictures with my delightful old chum Mr S Carter to see "Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness". It was good!

The film had been out for a few weeks at this point so we had been both been doing our best to avoid spoilers. This mostly involved not looking at ANY geeky websites, as they have a terrible tendency to spoil things massively while pretending not to e.g. when they say "What THOSE exciting (objects/cameos/other) really mean!" etc etc which tells you there ARE exciting (objects/cameos/other) in the film, or ESPECIALLY when they stick in walloping great pictures of aforesaid (objects/cameos/other). I had been doing quite well until - INFURIATINGLY - they day before we went a Sponsored Advert showed up on Facebook with a BLOODY PHOTOGRAPH of the really REALLY big exciting (objects/cameos/other) in this particular film, intended as a "joke". All I'm saying is, if I was EVER tempted to read "The Collider" I would definitely NOT be doing so now. Take THAT, M Zuckerberg and your stupid algorithm!

ANYWAY apart from that I had not much idea what was going to be in the film, and as it turned out the (objects/cameos/other) bit wasn't hugely important anyway, although it DID lead to some excited GIGGLING from me and Steve as various WORDS and PHRASES were spoken aloud. The actual film itself was quite good for the first bit, then a bit of a mess in the second (where all sorts of THINGS just seemed to HAPPEN, one after the other without much reason), but then BLOODY GRATE in the final section. The BIG FITE at the end was PARTICULARLY crazy and FAR-OUT and I really liked it!

I also liked the way it USED loads and loads of comics stuff but in different an INTERESTING ways, like... well,some of the above words and phrases which we both went "OO!" at. It's really weird with this whole PHASE of the Marvel movies - for phases 1 to 3 there was a clear PLAN underway, but as we discussed on our way out, this time there doesn't seem to be. Does that mean there isn't? Or is there going to be some SUPER AMAZING thing that will turn out to have been there all along? I don't know, and that is IN ITSELF quite exciting - this whole long form multi-movie/telly/transmeida type of storytelling is a whole new thing that Marvel are doing, and I must say I am VERY much enjoying being along for the ride!

I ALSO really enjoyed the fact that Dave Thorpe was thanked in the titles, along with all the other comics people whose stories and inventions had been re-used in the film. Dave Thorpe was the original writer for Marvel UK's Captain Britain strip approx 100,000,000 years ago when it appeared in "The Mighty World Of Marvel", and it was here that the designation "616" was first used for the core Marvel universe in comics. For many years it was assumed that Alan Moore invented it when he took the series over, but nowadays the general consensus is that Dave Thorpe had come up with it but it was an Alan Moore script where it first appeared. Either way, it was AMAZING to see his name pop up alongside lots of MUCH more famous comics creators, and realise that something I bought in the newsagent in Millfield in Peterborough, while my Nan was picking up her copy of "The Weekly News", would one day form a part of one of the biggest movies of the year. All right, back then I probably would have thought "Of course - Captain Britain is THE BEST story ever, and The Fury is THE BEST baddy ever, clearly People Of The Future have their heads screwed on right", but who knows? Maybe a proper adaptation of that story is coming in Phase 5, 6 or 7? If it is, I shall be at the front of the queue, armed with a ticket and FULL EXPLANATION in case anybody asks!

posted 23/5/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Progress Report
I had a very CREATIVELY REWARDING day on Wednesday, all because I couldn't be bothered with going for a walk in the rain. Instead of having my Lunchtime Stroll I went to the shops, and on the way out was WAYLAID by somebody who decided the best place to stop for a chat was IN THE DOORWAY.

This sort of thing winds me RIGHT up - as human beings we have entire LIFETIMES worth of experience of What A Door Is For And How It Works, so why oh why oh why do some PILLOCKS think that they can also be used for Just Standing In, notably when other people (e.g. me) are trying to use them for their primary purpose i.e. MOVING THROUGH? It's even worse when, as happens OFTEN at my work what is an Art College, you get people thinking outside the box in an attempt to entirely reimagine the uses of doorways by SITTING IN THEM. I am pretty sure that there is not a court in the land that would convict me of anything more than General Good Citizenship if I went on a RAMPAGE when faced with this, but my general tendency is to remain calm and GLARE at the perpetrator.

Anyway, that happened and it made my BRANE go through all my usual THORTS on the matter, some of which are featured above. Usually that would be the end of the matter, but this time it combined with the fact that I am working on a SOLO album. It's going quite well at the moment - I'd got TEN (10) songs done to First Draft stage with another TWO (2) just started - and my mind had turned to what ELSE I could have a go at. These 12 were the original dozen I'd intended to record, but all the way through I've thought it'd be nice to have a couple of EXTRAS as I'm planning to do a couple of SINGLES (NB digital ones, OBVS) and it's always handy to have something for a b-side. THUS I thought to myself "Maybe I could write a song about it?"

By the time I got home I had pretty much worked out the entire structure and over the course of the afternoon I kept going back to it, FINESSING lines and rhymes and so on until I had the whole thing pretty much sorted out. After work I got out the ACOUSTIC AXE in order to do a KIND OF demo. My THORT was that I'd record something Quite Rough in The Acoustical Style and then pretend it was an old track what I had found to SAMPLE. I imagined myself crafting a BANGING HOUSE TUNE and gently laying this song o'er the top of it. It was a great plan, with the only flaw being that I have absolutely no idea whatsoever how to make a BANGING HOUSE TUNE, and also that I probably wouldn't enjoy it if I did.

This was all happily resolved by me ending up enjoying the "original" guitar-y version and deciding to stick with that, and so by 6.30pm I had recorded and MIXED the whole thing. As with all of the tracks I'm doing for this album, the current idea is to get THE LOT done to a certain standard, then go back and listen again to see how they sound once freed from PROXIMITY before doing any extra overdubs and remixes. I must say though, I think THIS one (which ended up being called "People Who Stand In The Door" for MAXIMUM clarity) is pretty much DONE, which means it was basically FOUR HOURS from first thought to final MEISTERWERK. I wish the others had been that easy, if they had I'd already be hassling you to buy the album!

posted 13/5/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Pals On The iPod
I haven't really bought a lot of new music over the past two years, as I've not been in record shops or especially GIGS much/at all, and so have ended up listening mostly to the RADIO, where they play it all for you. Also, I wear headphones most of the day for WORK, so going hunting for stuff online felt slightly OPPRESSIVE.

However, earlier in the year I happened to hear a couple of tracks by a new band who sounded dead good and made me want to BUY some stuff. The band were "Wet Leg" who you probably haven't heard of as hardly anybody else has ever mentioned them and .. all right, yes, it is pretty much OBLIGATORY to have listened to them just lately and you cannot move for Isle Of Wight-based bass lines, but I got the album a few weeks ago and thought "this is dead good!"

This coincided with me finishing listening to the MAMMOTH day-by-day series of "Get Back" podcasts from I Am The Eggpod. This was a WONDERFUL thing where they interviewed a different person for their thoughts on every single individual DAY shown in the "Get Back" movies, then released each episode on the anniversary of each day. It was GRATE but by the end of it EVEN I was a bit Beatled out. Usually I listen to Beatles podcasts while out on my daily Government Mandated Exercises, but I felt it was time to take a break.

THUS I went and got myself a new mp3 player to enable myself to listen to the aforesaid Wet Leg album (my phone is FULL!), and as I copied the files over I thought "Hang on, I'm sure I HAVE bought a FEW other records over that past several months haven't I?" I looked at the top of the pile of CDs and found that yes, I HAVE bought some other albums lately, especially if you define "lately" as "since about 2019", most of which I hadn't listened to very much at all. In addition to all of the above, I don't really have a functioning CD player (or other DEVICE) and so any listening gets done via headphones which AS DISCUSSED is not so great. Wandering around in The Olympic Park (have I mentioned I live there?) with an mp3 player, however, seemed like a much nicer way to get some music in my head, so I decided to develop a RULE: I would ONLY transfer music to my mp3 player that was NEW(ish), so I could get some NEW(ish) tunes into my BRANE.

This has proved to be an EXCELLENT plan, not least because it means I have found out what loads of my PALS have been up to. For LO! it turns out that MOST of the albums what I have bought has been by people I know or have at least MET, and often had on at Totally Acoustic. The only real exceptions to this have been the Wet Leg record mentioned and the new album from Peaness which I got last week and is ACE.

Otherwise it's been PALS and COMRADES all the way. This week I've had on the recent EXCELLENT albums from Frankie Machine and Gavin Osborn and my brother-in-law (who I don't think has a BANDCAMP as yet), but I've also caught up on recent-ISH records by Pete Green, Tim Eveleigh, Matt Tiller, The Popguns, The Just Joans, Emma Kupa and Model Village. This latter espeically was one I got AGES ago but never gave the proper attention to and it, like all of the others, is GRATE!

It is a policy, and a pile of music, which I would HIGHLY recommend to anybody. I've enjoyed it so much that I'm almost inclined to go to a GIG again sometime soon!

posted 11/5/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Three Exhibitions At The BM
Last Bank Holiday Monday myself and The Works In My Collection went to the British Museum to look at some of THE ART. The British Museum - or The BM, as all the cool kids call it - is much more known for its Historical Artefacts (even in The Marvel Universe, where it's somehow located in Trafalgar Square, it's All About The Egyptians) but it has a HUGE collection of ART, parts of which we have regularly been to see in the mighty Room 90.

Room 90 is a big room at the back of the museum towards the top of the building, so it feels like you are ASCENDING to rarefied heights when you eventually get there, after a LOT of stairs. It's about the same size as the Treasures Of The British Library exhibition at (guess where?) the British Library, which is the PERFECT size for an hour or so's Looking At STUFF. By the end you feel SATED but not yet completely KNACKERED.

We were there to see THREE (3) exhibitions, all of which fitted into this space and thus were all nice and short. The first one was called Drawing Attention: Emerging British Artists which, to be honest, wound me up no end because a) most of the artists weren't Emerging b) a large proportion weren't British c) a lot of the artwork wasn't drawing! The INTERESTING (to me) thing about it was that they'd done a REVERSO of the usual practice in Modern Galleries i.e. usually, whenever they show OLD STUFF, they feel compelled to stick something MODERN in too, in an effort, I assume, to appear RELEVANT. For this one they were showing lots of their recent modern ACQUISITIONS and had put them next to other OLD stuff that they had in their storecupboard. The Text In My Description pointed out that the effect of this was to say "You thought this was a new idea? Here is someone else doing it 300 years ago!"

The aforesaid Picture In My Frame enjoyed this one more than me - as I say, I allowed myself to get Annoyed by the title which put me off! CONVERSELY I enjoyed the next one more, which was called Printmaking in Prague: Art from the court of Rudolf II. This was MUCH more related to the title i.e. it was a bunch of PRINTS from Rudolf Junior's time in charge and also some other ones INFLUENCED by it. I had never heard of him or INDEED any of the artists involved but I enjoyed it very much indeed, despite the fact that the main artist, Aegidius II Sadeler (for some reason they put HIS number in the middle and Rudolf's at the end, I have no idea why) was completely incapable of drawing HORSES properly, despite having lots of practice. He was VERY good at drawing people and SCENES though, and especially MOUSTACHES and I liked it very much.

The final one was called Raphael and his school: Drawing connections and we BOTH loved it this time. As per the title, it was a collection of DRAWINGS done by Raphael and his pupils, and they were AMAZING. Just seeing the ACTUAL DRAWINGS and knowing that these were the very sketches made by their hands several hundred years ago was MIND BLOWING. Also, the fact that these were loose sketches made them feel much more IMMEDIATE and REAL than the actual finished paintings, which looked very stiff and FORMAL in comparison. It felt like these were REAL people which could have been drawn yesterday. Seeing for instance a sketch of JESUS being carried away from the cross was Quite Emotional in the pencil drawing, as you could see people struggling with the body and being UPSET, rather than the painting which looked quite STAGED. It was gorgeous!

Also of note was that the DESCRIPTIONS got better as we went through - the ones for the first one were full of what we in the world of Art Colleges (hem hem) call "ART BOLLOCKS", whereas the one for Raphael told us what it WAS and what it was MADE OF. For instance, rather than telling us that a picture had "intimacy tantalisingly out of reach" it pointed out that you could see tiny holes around the outlines of figures where pin pricks had been made so that DOTS could be put through onto ANOTHER sheet of paper as a way of transferring the image. I would LOVE to know more about this sort of MECHANICS - if anyone knows of an easily accessible DOCUMENTARY about this sort of thing I would love to know about it!

Thus we completed our ART VIEWING for the day, returning to the ground floor for a really really nice cup of coffee and a pretty bloody fabulous bit of vegan COCONUT CAKE. It was an EXCELLENT day for the SOUL, the BRANE, and also the STOMACH!

posted 9/5/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Divine Comedy at The Palladium
On Tuesday night I met Mr M Sutton for a night of FINE DRINKS and MUSIC. He had SCORED us some tickets to see The Divine Comedy at The Actual London Palladium, so we met up in the traditional meeting place for anyone arriving into Kings Cross Station i.e. The Parcel Yard. What ensued was a DELIGHTFUL evening of BEER and CHAT as we wandered into town to the King & Queen (which was ACE as ever) and thence for some GRUB. I was having such a lovely time that I must admit I was feeling slightly resentful towards Mr N Hannon who was forcing me to go to his gig!

I was somewhat mollified when we got to The Actual London Palladium, got a drink, and found our seats. We had AISLE SEATS! As anyone who regularly attends EVENTS into their late 30s (hem hem) and beyond will know, these are the PRIME POSITIONS, especially if you have just been in the pub, and they were also comfy and nicely SPACED too. Whatever happened, we were going to be COMFORTABLE!

In addition, it turned out, we were ROCKED, for LO! the gig was AMAZING. It's in support of the new GRATEST HITS album, so that is what they played "Just the ... 'hits'" as Mr Hannon put it, and crumbs there are a LOT of them. Gloriously, the set was split into two halves with an INTERMISSION, which is something I think ALL gigs should do - you often see reviews saying "Ooh, they did two hours without a break" but does anyone actually WANT that? Much better to have an ACTUAL break in the middle, instead of everyone shuffling off to the bar/loo during The Acoustic Section.

They started off with "Absent Friends", then "Indie Disco", and then... well, it just carried on like that, with HITS. My favourite in the first half was possibly "The Certainty Of Chance", which is not a song I have ever particularly loved but sounded INCREDIBLE done live, with HUGE backing vocals. In the second half I realised that "How Can You Leave Me On My Own" is possibly my NEW FAVOURITE, we all sang along to "Songs Of Love", they finished the main set with a GINORMOUS "National Express" and then came back for "Perfect Lovesong" and I decided to FORGIVE the TITLE PILFERING, as it was lovely. Again, this is one of those songs I've never really thought much of, possibly because it's on my least favourite of their albums, but here it was ACE. And then they did "Tonight We Fly" and MY GOODNESS ME it was BRILLO. I always remember hearing that for the first time, having got the TAPE out of Leicester Library and being blown away. Several thousand years later, I was again!

It was, in summary, a GRATE evening and a GRATE gig. Live music, it's dead good!

posted 5/5/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Spectrum 40
I had an epic journey to get to Walsall on Saturday, as various LINES were down. THUS I had to get my usual train to St Pancras, a tube to Baker Street, walk to Marylebone, get a train to Birmingham Moor Street, walk to New Street, and then get another train to Bescot Stadium. Incredibly, every leg went perfectly, and along the way I saw one of the GRATEST pieces of Public Information EVERm at Moor Street station:


That's exactly where it was! It must have been SO tempting to put "To facilitate access to services departing New Street passengers are advised to traverse..." (ETC ETC ETC) but just "ACROSS ROAD, THROUGH TUNNEL" totally did the job. Well done Chiltern Railways!

I was doing all of this travelling in order to perform Hey Hey 16K at the Spectrum 40 event, following on from my previous attendance at Spectrum 35 and Spectrum 30. This time it was being held in The Stadium Suite at Walsall football ground, which meant you got a great view of the pitch and also access to the stadium chippy stand and toilets! I arrived to find the event in full swing, with The Oliver Twins on stage talking about the "Dizzy" series of games. I must admit I was a bit hazy on this, as their games came out when I'd gone off to Poly and stopped buying new games, but after that we got a screening of Will Brooker's ZX Spectrum Experience film. It was GRATE - althougb for some reason the bits with ME in had been augmented using - I ASSUME- sophisticated CGI technology to enlarge my delicate nose into something quite NOTICEABLE. I'm not sure when or where the film is going to be officially released, but I would VERY much advise having a look when it is, and you can see a preview HERE:

By this point my avowed intent NOT to have a drink before going onstage had rather fallen by the wayside, and I was wandering about having a chat to various people, notably Ms E Pemberton who'd come along especially, and Mr L Fogarty, organiser and Person Who'd Booked Me. We'd agreed that I'd go on after the raffle (the BEST support act), but when it came to it there were two small problems: there wasn't a stand for the microphone, and there wasn't an easy way to plug my guitar into the PA. Luckiliy I HAD had a couple of pints by this point, so I just got the microphone, said "HELLO it is ME I am now going to SHOUT" and then just did Hey Hey 16K without PA. It seemed to work out OK, but I'm glad I didn't have to do more than one song, my throat is a bit out of practice these days! You can judge for yourself, HERE:

After that I spent the evening talking to various people and being MOVED by how LOVELY they all were. It was really nice to be able to mooch around a room full of people with a similar interest, but who also had LIVES and THORTS and were all-round DELIGHTFUL. An absolute highlight for me was talking to Sandy White of "3D Ant Attack" fame. I asked if I could have a picture with him, and to my surprise he said "I was just about to ask you the same thing". Sometimes you meet someone and thnk "But you're really nice, can we have a pint please?" (INDEED now that I think of it I have done written a whole song about it) and this was very much one of those occasions.

I must admit, earlier in the day, I'd been a bit WARY of the idea of spending approx FIVE HOURS to go somewhere to play ONE SONG, spend the evening in a hotel, and then travel all the way back for, but it was TOTALLY worth it. I suggested to Lee that they do "Spectrum 48" next, and hopefully I'll get invited back!

posted 3/5/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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