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Blog Archive: January 2023

Validator Permutations
Today we're beginning an in-depth look at gigs I have done with The Validators. I say "Beginning" because there was SO MUCH DATA I had to split it into two blogs, both IMMENSELY FASCINATING!

Before we get into any of this the first question that needs answering is "What Does 'The Validators' Mean?" These days that is PEASY, as The Validators are Tim, Emma, Tom and Frankie and have been for LITERALLY DECADES. However, in our early days it was a bit more complicated, as we had various additional members at different gigs, notably Ollie on bass for much of the Say It With Words era. There's also the pre-history of me and some of these ROCK TITANS - Tim and I did several gigs together before The Validators were even an idea, most often in The Council, and Frankie and I palled up onstage several times too.

I'm going to call those four people the Core Validators for the next bit, and look at gigs where one or more of them played WITH me. As discussed in previous blogs, when recording PEOPLE I also recorded whether they played with me or just on the same bill (or indeed BOTH), and clearly in order to count as a Validators gig it needs to feature some of these Core Validators in the same band as me, rather than playing seperately. THUS, looking at the actual data I found 186 gigs overall at which I played alongside at least ONE of the Core Validators mentioned above, but 15 of those were Council gigs with Tim, another was the legendary "Voonlapse" gig, where Voon and Prolapse formed a SUPERGROUP, and five were various early adventures with Frankie before the official First Ever Validators Gig - this took place on 26 April 1999, and I know this was the first one because we got together SPECIFICALLY to do that gig so we could get in free to see Half Man Half Biscuit!

So, if we ignore any gig BEFORE that date we're left with 165 gigs with at least ONE Validator involved, and they break down as follows:

Number of Core Validators Involved In Performance
Number of ValidatorsGigs

The interesting thing here, to me at least (and surely to all Scholars Of ROCK) is that 59% of gigs that feature a Validator also feature ALL Validators. That's pretty good, I think! However, there have been a LOT of gigs where one or more was absent, so let's have a look at how that all worked.

Gigs As A Four-Piece

Top of the Pops here is Tim, who was in ALL Me + Validators four-piece line-ups. Well done Tim! Tom is not far off, and then a little further down we have Frankie followed by Emma (who joined the band later than the rest of us). NOTES were recieved on ALL occasions when a Validator was unable to attend and, without wanting to go into TOO much gory detail about what some of these notes were to do with, it should be noted that as a group we have brought several NEW HUMANS into the world over the course of our Validations!

Things get EVEN MORE interesing when we delve into THREESOMES. These differ markedly from the four-piece versions - in most cases where we operated as a four-piece it was MEANT to be all of us but someone couldn't make it, but when it was just THREE of us it was often PLANNED as such. Also, these groupings tended to RECUR and so have SPECIAL NAMES, as shown below.

Threesomes (with names)
Me/Tim/Tom9Cleator Moor Validators
Me/Tim/Frankie3Berlin Validators
Me/Tim/Emma3Performing Pattisons

The Cleator Moor Validators were so named because that line-up first played at the EPIC gig at the Brook Inn in Cleator Moor. OH WHAT A NIGHT that was - we did TWO sets and drank LONG into the night, and were so hungover that, the next morning, Tim Couldn't Finish His Breakfast. This event in ITSELF has passed into Validator Legend and is mentioned pretty much EVERY time we gather together.

The Berlin Validators have only ever played in Germany, performing on the three dates of our first TOUR there with Mr Martin Petersdorf. The Performing Pattisons meanwhile was an ANNUAL affair from 2006 to 2008, and for some reason each gig went on REALLY late. I imagine this is due to promoters seeing Emma and Tim and thinking "This is clearly a ROCK POWER COUPLE, I will put them on LATE!" Finally, the Pop-A-Go-Go line-up was, as far as I remember, not planned like the others but was mostly a result of Frankie and Tom being there and us doing a song together. For some reason I cannot remember it clearly, I Cannot Think Why.

Finally for this batch, let's have a look at the times I played in a DUO with one other Validator.


Tom is very much ahead of the pack here, mostly due to a RUN of duo performances we did in the 2000s. We got quite an ACT going during this time, and I THINK that might be where we first started doing The Tiger's Roar. The gigs with Frankie are a right old mishmash, including some ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS and various occasions when we were on TOUR together as seperate acts and ending up doing a couple of songs together.

Emma's duo gigs are the CLASSIEST, comprising one WEDDING (hers) and one performance with an ORCHESTRA (i.e. A Little Orchestra) at Indietracks. Finally Tim's duo gigs have all been examples of us both saying "SOD IT, let's do it anyway!" when gigs have been suggested that nobody else was able to do. Oddly, both Tim and I thought this had only happened ONCE but actually occurred THRICE!

So, with all of this information to hand, I think we can safely say that a gig with all four Core Validators is DEFINITELY a Validators gig, as is one with at least THREE. I would also suggest that the fact that ASSIGNED NAMES exist indicates that gigs with me and TWO Validators ALSO count as Validators gigs, but then when we get down to there just being two of us all together I think the safest course is to say that that's something else. As I say, some of the duo gigs (i.e. the me and Tim gigs) were SUPPOSED to be Validators gigs in the beginning, but the others definitely weren't.

Oh, and in case you're wondering - there were never any cases when there was any kind of Validators gig with LESS than two Core Validators in attendance but OTHER early Validators onstage instead. PHEW!

Now we've got THAT sorted out we can gather ourselves for tomorrow's onslaught of FACTS, when we'll be seeing how all of this changed over TIME! There will be GRAPHS!

posted 31/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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I Think I Did OK
We now interrupt the flow of DATA to bring you the video for my latest POP SINGLE, out TODAY - I Think I Did OK.

I thought it'd be a good idea to put out a SINGLE this week to promote/celebrate the coming of GIG ONE THOUSAND, but my original plan was to UNLEASH the rather spiffing Frankie Machine remix of It's Hard To Be Hopeful. However, after about 3 seconds of Actually Thinking About It I realised that that might not be QUITE the right message for the occasion, and that a title like "I Think I Did OK" was a LOT more appropriate, so here we are!

It's an official single on Spotify, Amazon etc etc, which means it has its own cover, THUS:

As you can see, there is very much a THEME to these! When you release a New Thing on Spotify you can PITCH it to their CURATORS, in the hope that they will stick it on one of their playlists so that BILLIONS of people hear it (which would make you something like 15p etc etc), and that was my PLAN here, but it turns out that you can only pitch ACTUALLY new things, and as there's no difference between this and the version on The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett I'm not allowed to try it here. It doesn't really matter, as the aforesaid CURATORS have not exactly LEAPT on my OUVRE as yet, but I'm hoping to be able to have another go when the Frankie single comes out!

In the meantime, I hope the above video brings DELIGHT and, as ever, any shares, retweets, playlistings or casual mentions to impress strangers are always very much appreciated.

Tomorrow: back to the STATS!

posted 30/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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When The ROCK Occurred
So far we've looked at people I've ROCKED with and where the aforesaid ROCKING occurred, so today we're going to have a look at WHEN all of that ROCK went on. The sensible place to start woukd seem to be the annual turnover of GIGS, and you can see a constantly updated listing for that over on Gigs We've Done page. So, rather than repeat that as a table I have gone and done a GRAPH!

Gigs By Year

What this shows is that everything was fairly stable and vaguely sensible throughout the 1990s and then in 2004 I got A Little Bit Excited and started to gig more and more often. As I've said before, my recollections of The Britpop Era may be - IF YOU WILL - somewhat "Blurred" (thanks) so there will have been other gigs I can't remember, but around 20 a year sounds about right. I then moved to That London in 2003 and it looks like, once I'd settled in a bit, I started to take advantage of the many many opportunities to ROCK that arose.

An important factor in this was that gig promoters were fully embracing THE INTERWEB around this time, so whereas before then it had been really difficult to get gigs outside of Pubs You Actually Drank In (there was an awful lot of Sending Tapes, Ringing Up A Couple Of Weeks Later and then Ringing Up Again To See If They'd Listened To The Tape Yet), the early 21st Century was a golden period of promoters ACTUALLY ANSWERING EMAILS! I got LOADS of gigs this way, notably in other cities, and then of course once I started to GET gigs other promoters started to email ME to ask if I'd play for them too. This was often people who had only seen my name on the bill - if they'd seen me actually do the gigs in question they might have thought twice!

The graph reaches its first PEAK in 2008, when The Validators and I were in our POMP, and then went even HIGHER in 2011 when that merged into me and Steve doing Dinosaur Planet and then Moon Horse. It was a VERY busy time for me! Part of the reason for me DOING so many gigs was that I was convinced that if I stopped saying "YES" to promoters offering me gigs then they would stop doing it. As you can see from the right hand side of the graph, it turns out that I was pretty much CORRECT - I started my PhD in 2016 so a) stopped ASKING for gigs so much and b) actually said "No thank you" a couple of times, so I could find some time to do some STUDYING. This was very helpful personally, but it meant that I failed to ENGAGE with the next wave of promoters and so didn't get half the amount of gig offers that I used to. The moral of this story is that Promoters do NOT work like crop rotation - you can't leave the fields of ROCK to go FALLOW, they have to be regularly SOWN and REAPED!

I'll look at all of this a bit more when we delve into VALIDATOR PERMUTATIONS next week, but for now let's turn our attention to the TIME of year that gigs happened. Here's a look at gig activity by MONTH.

GIgs Per Month


These results were a surprise for me, as I'd always thought that the busiest time of year for gigs was "Back To School" time, from September through to October, and that Summer was the quietest, but clearly I am QUITE WRONG. Thinking about it, there is obviosuly some DATA SKEWING being caused by the fact that The Edinburgh Fringe happens in August, so that's when Steve and I did A WHOLE LOT of gigs, and July is high because that's when we'd be doing PREVIEWS. October is the next busiest time, which conforms to my expectations, but September is the lowest! I did less gigs in September than I did in JANUARY, which is surely when hardly ANY gigs happen due to post-Christmas Payday Waiting? Also, I would have thought December would have been busier - there always used to be LOADS of Christmas gigs, I seem to have spent half of my ROCKING LIFE re-learning "The Advent Calendar Of FACT" every year!

The next table shows the day of the week that each gig happened:

Day Of The Week For ROCK

Day Of Week

As I keep saying, this data is INCOMPLETE due to Me Not Remembering The 90s Very Well - for instance, you'll occasionally see gigs in the system that happen on Saturday 0, which is when I knew the MONTH but not the day that it happened (my system defaults to Saturday in those cases, and who can blame it). These dates are not included in any of the analyses, which in some ways is a shame as it would have BUMPED UP my Saturday showings. The fact that Saturday - DAY OF ROCK if ever there was one - is my LOWEST scoring day feels like a SLIGHT upon my good name!

Having said that, MIDWEEK is obviously where all the cool kids play, and this has been further inforced in my data because Totally Acoustic usually happened on a Thursday, especially when it moved to The King & Queen. Years ago I posited that we could use Day Of The Week as an estimate of POPULARITY i.e. if we take Sunday as the least popular day to ROCK and Saturday as the MOST, we should be able to plot a graph showing average day of the week by year and see if I got more prestigious gigs over time. Let's see if that makes sense, with another GRAPH!

Average Day Of The Week For ROCK By Year

Hmmm... I'm not sure if that really proves anything either way. I guess there's a very gentle upwards trend, but the years at either end are the ones where not many gigs happened, so there's probably not enough data to make any proper deductions. If we look at the MIDDLE though, between 2004 and 2016 when we have already established that I did a LOT of ROCK - we can see that the day of the week is a CURVE that goes down gently then cones back up again in a SPOOKY MIRROR IMAGE (sort of) of our first graph showing number of gigs. I think, THEREFORE, that this shows that the more gigs I DID, the more midweek/Lower Esteem shows I played too - if you're going out doing more than 52 gigs a year, as I did from 2007 to 2011, then ACTUAL MATHS dictates that you can't do them all on a Saturday!

There is MUCH MORE we could say about all of this but I fear it would FRAZZLE my BRANE to engage in such calculations, so we'll leave it there for today and, indeed, this WEEK. I've got a new single coming out on Monday so will pause to PLUG that a bit, but if such commercial activity is not your bag please come back on Tuesday when we'll be diving into the EXTREMELY FASCINATING world of Validator Permutations!

posted 27/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Places I Have ROCKED
After yesterday's excursion into People I Have Rocked With today we're going to skim the surface of the ocean of data concerning Places I Have Rocked IN. The simplest way to start is just to look at the places I rocked the most times, and here they are:

Top 20 places I have ROCKED
1The King & Queen, London56
2The Charlotte, Leicester35
3The Lamb, London33
4The Dram House Upstairs, Edinburgh25
5The Magazine Hotel, Leicester24
6Buffs Club (R.A.O.B.), Edinburgh20
7=Firebug, Leicester17
7=The Criterion, Leicester17
9University of Sheffield Students' Union, Sheffield16
10=The Green Dragon, London15
10=Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh15
12=Ray's Mum's Back Garden, Stourbridge14
12=Fox & Firkin, London14
12=Medina, Edinburgh14
15=Bull & Gate, London13
15=The Windmill, London13
17=Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London12
17=Camden Comedy Club, London12
19Physio & Firkin, Leicester11
19=The Midland Railway - Butterley, Derby11, The Interweb11

I was really really really tempted to make this a Top 30 as there were so many brilliant venues that are missing out - places like Victoria Inn, Derby, Pump & Tap, Leicester, The Lexington, London and The Durham Ox, Leicester. However, once I did that there were even more after that that would have made it a Top 40, and so on and so on. Over the course of 1000 gigs there has been a whole lot of GOOD TIMES in some amazing places - 370 of them, to be precise!

The top of this list isn't really a surprise, as The King & Queen has become my home from ROCKING home over the past decade. It's a lovely pub where a) the people are nice b) it's easy to book a gig and b) you can get served at the bar really easily, which are the main three ASSESSMENT METRICS for anywhere in the world of venues. Most of the gigs there have been Totally Acoustics, but I've also done several one-offs for Album Launches, Show Previews or General Touring (it's GRATE being able to say to Tour Buddies "Oh yeah, I can definitely book us somewhere in Central London, leave it with me" even if I do then feel a bit bad when that's usually the ONLY place I manage to book, leaving them to do most of the others - sorry Gav, Pete and Matt!). I've even played there at other people's gigs like Scaledown. I love it, HENCE that's why it's the location for Gig 1000!

I was however VERY surprised to see that the second place venue is The Charlotte in Leicester. It's a LONG time since I last played there, not least because it's not a venue anymore, and I hadn't played there regularly for a decade or two before that, but on the other hand I HAD played there IREEGULARLY every couple of years, and in my early days of ROCKING in Leicester it was THE big place to play. Likewise, I haven't played The Magazine since 1996, largely because it was DEMOLISHED not long after that, but when it WAS going I played there a lot. It was in many ways similar to The King & Queen, a really great pub that was also easy to get a gig at, and was the place where MANY old stories occurred. Did I ever tell you about the time I told Tim that Simon From Voon had been sent to prison? Or when we padlocked our "van" (a shopping trolley) to the fire escape? Or when we plotted The History Of Life? Or the Voon VS Prolapse STICKER FEUD? That was all there!

Elsewhere in the list we have The Lamb, precursor to The King & Queen for Totally Acoustic gigs, where the people were nice and it was easy enough to book a gig but not so easy for them to actually remember the booking, and also where it was VERY DIFFICULT INDEED to get served, hence the switch. The Dram House comes out on top of Edinburgh venues as we played there in two different years (when it had two different years, and is called something else now too).

It's interesting (to me at least) that almost all of the venues are in either London, Leicester or Edinburgh, with the only exceptions being places I played regular EVENTS at (Fuzztival for Sheffield Uni, Hibbettfest in Ray's Mum's Back Garden, Indietracks at Butterley and the Lockdown Totally Acoustics on The Interweb). I did play all OVER the place, but it's almost as if other plaes weren't so keen on having me back. Let's DELVE into this a bit more with the next table, showing CITIES.

Cities I Have ROCKED
Other UK48
Other non-UK14

Again, it's pretty clear that London, Leicester and Edinburgh are the main places that have felt my ROCK, making up 62.4% of all gigs played! However, there are very strong showings for Sheffield and Derby (places I like VERY much) as well as Brighton and Nottingham. Seeing these latter two cities in the list surprised me, as they're both places that I've always though have RESISTED my ALLURE, especially in Brighton where I have spent many long train journeys home regretting that a place so handy to get to, with so much vegetarian stuff, also PUBS and SEASIDE, was seemingly immune to my CHARMS. Maybe that's why I kept going back, to try again?

A quick note on the GEOGRAPHICAL GROUPING: in order to get the above FACTS I went through all the places named and everywhere that I'd played 5 times was labelled an UBERCITY i.e. a category for the above analysis. I then went through grouping other places in with them, so for instance the 6 gigs in Manchester include one in Salford. This was done to make the analysis a bit more readable, rather than having millions of different places all having one or two gigs each - I also bunched up anywhere outside of the UK into their own category (14 gigs abroad is pretty good I reckon!) and kept the online ones together too. Even then it left a pretty hefty 48 gigs in generalised areas I only visited the once. I have basically followed a policy of "If Someone Asks Me To Do A Gig, I Try And Do It", hence there have been a whole lot of excursions into the unknown over the years, as evidenced in today's final table, which shows number of venues by how many times I've played there:

Number of Gigs played per venue
Gigs playedVenues

Just to explain how this works, the above shows that there was one venue (The King & Queen) that I played more than 50 times, five where I played between 20 and 49 times, 18 for 10-19 gigs and so on.

It also means that there were 232 venues where I played once and never got asked back - 62.7% of venues I played in (232 out of 370) said "No more, thanks very much", but on the other hand 76.8% of actual gigs I did (1000 gigs overall minus 232 single places) happened in places that DID want me back! Overall I think that's pretty good - I've always been under the impression that a large number of my gigs have been put on by people who have never put on a gig before. "This looks like fun," they think, "and what could be more fun than booking MJ Hibbett?" An ADMIRABLE, and also CORRECT assumption, but sadly I fear that my PULLING POWER has rarely been high enough for this sort of thing, so a lot of those first gigs were also LAST gigs, as the now older and wiser would-be promoters have thought "Hmm, I seem to have spent a lot of money just to sit in and watch an MJ Hibbett gig on my own". I mean, now I've typed that it sounds AMAZING, but I guess it's not for everyone!

Looking back at it though, it's pretty wonderful to think there were LOADS of places that I kept going back to, even when it was only for a few times. As I said at the start, there are LOADS of places in the main list that meant an awful lot to me as part of my GIGGING LIFE, and it's lovely to see the EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that there were so many of them. GOOD TIMES!

And speaking of GOOD TIMES, tomorrow I'm going to have a look at when those GOOD TIMES actually were - what time of the year, what day of the week, and so forth. Join me then for INSIGHT!

posted 26/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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People I Have ROCKED With
Now that we've dealt with some of the CAVEATS around my ROCK dataset, asking What Is A Gig? and What Is A Band?, it is time to look at some actual STATS.

I thought we'd start with people because, well, people are what people are interested in. Over the past few months I've been diligently going through every single gig in my database, trying to add in details of who played. Sometimes this has been PEASY (Totally Acoustic gigs especially so, as I have PODCASTS for those), sometimes TRICKY (there has been a LOT of googling for gigs and festivals, with a surprisingly massive lack of success) and sometimes it has been IMPOSSIBLE (especially gigs pre-internet). However, I have done my very best and so can now present you with the first of THREE might data tables!

Top 20 people I have done a gig with, either in the same band or on the same bill
1Steve Hewitt178
2Tim Pattison165
3=Francis Albert Machine151
3=Tom 'The Tiger' McClure151
5Emma Pattison113
6Doctor Kneel99
7Simon from Voon58
8Gavin Osborn36
9Pete Green34
10Chris Lawson33
11Tim Eveleigh26
12Jenny Lockyer20
13Jimmy McGee and/or The Bobby McGees20
15Grace Petrie18
16Chris T-T16
17Jon from Finnegan's Wake16
18Matt Tiller15
19Winston Echo15
20Julie from John Sims14

Have you ever SEEN such a mighty list of ROCK LEGENDS?!? The first point to take out of this is that we must all congratulate Mr Steve Hewitt, as the VERY LUCKY person who has done the MOST gigs with me - 17.8% of ALL of them! This is largely due to our many SHOWS together, but also helped along by the various SPOTS we did elsewhere, usually in an effort to PROMOTE said shows. One of the GRATE things about doing this data entry and analysis has been being reminded of some of the WEIRD stuff we've done over time, including a surprisingly high number of Actual Comedy Shows around 2010. What were we thinking?

After Steve we can see that The Validators take up the next five places, and congratulations are very much due to Tim, who WINS (and I do mean WINS) here, partly due to our previous collaboration in The Council, and partly due to his ongoing determination to DO GIGS. It's delightful to see Frankie and Tom on equal footing, but we shall delve into that, and other matters arising, in our NEXT table.

Top 10 people I have played in the same band with
1Steve Hewitt178
2Tim Pattison162
3Tom 'The Tiger' McClure147
4Francis Albert Machine135
5Emma Pattison113
6Doctor Kneel82
7Simon Voon57
8Chris Lawson20
10=Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey10
10=Jon Finnegan's Wake10

This table shows people I have COLLABORATED with in gigs i.e. usually in the same band or sometimes with them coming on during a set and doing a BIT, or me doing the similar. Here we can see that Steve's numbers are unchanged but that Tim's drop slightly due, I think, to there being a few occasions when Voon supported Prolapse. Interestingly, Frankie drops into fourth place here, as many of our gigs together have been with him doing Frankie Machine gigs, often on TOUR, whereas Tom stays in third - we HAVE done gigs in seperate bands when I've supported Lazarus Clamp, but we've ALSO done several duo gigs over the years. Emma, meanwhile, remains on the exact same number of gigs - she, like Steve, has only ever done gigs with ME in this database, ESCHEWING other people. Thanks chums!

After them we see Neil and Simon from VOON, with Chris (also occasionally from Voon) just behind. If I had managed to keep more accurate records of what I was up to in the nineties then I suspect that these scores in particular would be higher, especially for Neil, with whom I did the vast majority of my early ROCKING in Voon and also The Council. The rest of this top 10 is also completed by OLD-TIMERS, including Mileage from The Masters Of Nothing and Durham Ox Singers (and often backing vocals at family occasions!), Dave from the aforesaid Durham Ox Singers, and Jon from Finnegan's Wake and various early bands when I was first learning to play BASS. Thanks to all!

Finally, let's have a look at the people who have been on the same BILL as me over the years.

Top 10 people I played on the same bill with (but not in the same band)
1Gavin Osborn34
2Pete Green33
3Tim Eveleigh25
4Francis Albert Machine22
5Doctor Kneel21
6Jenny Lockyer20
7Grace Petrie18
8Jimmy McGee/Bobby McGees17
9Chris T-T16
10=Matt Tiller15
10=Winston Echo15

There are a LOT of people in the actual dataset - 411 are named (compared to 46 people who I've been in a band with), with the code "OTHER" used for around 300 different gigs too. It's been lovely looking back at some of the more obscure names in these lists. I always hope there'll be somebody I played with once twenty years ago who is now SUPER FAMOUS so that I can show off about it... but if there is, I haven't spotted them!

The big winner (and IT IS WINNING) for this table is Gavin Osborn, who just pips Pete Green to the top spot by a single gig. Tim Eveleigh comes in next, largely due to the many times I have played at his Freedom Of Expression gigs, where he has ACTIVELY COMPERED. After Frankie and Neil we then get Jenny Lockyer, who as played many of those same Croydon-area events, followed by another touring buddy Grace Petrie. Grace is as close as I get to Someone I Played With Who Later Became Super Famous - I particularly like the description of her as "a young girl singing HARROWINGLY" in the blog about our first gig together!

The bottom half of the top ten is a luxury selection of GOOD EGGS - General Touring Buddy Mr Matt Tiller is here nestled alongside Jimmy from The Bobby McGees, Chris T-T and Winston Echo as people with whom I have ROCKED with in all sorts of places in many different formats over the years. I'm very pleased INDEED to see ALL of these people here, I really have been BLESSED to have played with so many excellent people, and there are many more in the full list. Alas we do not really have time to get into that here, as we have VENUES to look at - next time!

posted 25/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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What Is A Band?
Yesterday we discussed, and largely failed to answer, the knotty question of What Is A Gig? Today I wish to delve further into the philosophical undergrowth and ask "What Is A Band?"

"But that is PEASY," you might say. "A BAND is a group of people who come together to make music, either in a live environment, studio setting or, I suppose in this modern futuristic age, even VIRTUALLY by swopping files or indeed in some BRANE HOLOGRAM scenario involving MOOGS."

I would generally go along with that (not least because it is me what just wrote it), but within the context of The Database Of ROCK it becomes a bit more fiddly. For instance, MJ Hibbett & The Validators is clearly a BAND, but who does it comprise? In the twenty first century it is generally made up of ME, Frankie, Tom, Emma and Tim, but then there are PLENTY of examples of one or more Validators not being able to make it to a gig on a particular day, and us going ahead without being fully QUORATE. There are ALSO multiple examples of me doing gigs as a DUO with other Validators, or indeed being on the same BILL as said Validators while they played in other bands. And let's not even get STARTED on some of the various other bands I've been in with co-Validators, or the early line-ups of The Validators which fluctuated WILDLY.

And that's just bands I've been in MYSELF - what about OTHER bands? I've played several times with The Fighting Cocks, for example, who played in a different line-up on almost every occasion, with Charlie Flowers the only constant. Should I try and enter details for all of those? I'd stand some sort of chance with bands I'm pals with, I guess, but then what of the HUNDREDS of other bands who I don't know and/or have only played with ONCE, many of whom might have hundreds of gigs of their OWN in multiple line-ups?

It all gets VERY COMPLICATED, so what I have done is to try and list the names of the ACTS who played on the bill and also the names of individual human people when a) I have definitely played with them in bands MYSELF or b) if I know that THEY have played with ME in different bands THEMSELVES. For example, in the previous century I played many gigs with the marvellous Mr Chris Lawson. Some of these were in BANDS (such as Chris Lawson And The Unknowns), others were on the same BILL, either with him playing solo or in yet MORE bands, and a string of them were as part of an COMEDY REVUE. If I just put the band names in then there's a whole HEAP of data that would get missed, but if I had to enter the name of every individual person in every single act it would take me approx AN ACTUAL THOUSAND YEARS to type it all in.

Now, I'm sure there would be very clever ways to deal with this, and exciting DATA MODELS that could be developed to cope, and possibly even some kind of WIKI to let people enter this data themselves, but for my purposes I went with a bit of a compromise and put BAND NAMES where possible and also INDIVIDUALS too where I thought it would add information, so you'll see people like Chris and Charlie (and other ROCK LOONS) popping up alongside bands they actually played in.

Also, I've done LOADS of gigs where people play in the SAME band as me AND in another band, so I've coded everybody's involvement as either 1) same band as me 2) other band on the bill 3) BOTH. It's not perfect, but it was at least DO-ABLE!

There's also the tricky subject of NAMES and GDPR. For band names there's no problem, but some people/GOVERNMENTS may have QUALMS about me using people's Actual Names in a dataset. What I've done is use actual names for people who have been advertised as playing gigs under that name, and who therefore had those details out in the public domain as a record of an event, but used PSEUDONYMS for people who have never performed publically under their own name (or at least not in this dataset) but HAVE been part of some of these shows. So, Tim Eveleigh plays gigs and releases music under his own name and so is RECORDED as such, but Simon from Voon has never, as far as I'm aware, publically ROCKED under his own name, so is referred to as "Simon Voon" throughout. I've done this for quite a few people, tending to err on the side of caution, but if anybody finds themselves in the system and would like their details changing, in either direction, please let me know.

Similarly if you have CONCRETE EVIDENCE of an error or omission I'd very much like to hear it, either by the email above or on twitter or just leaving a contact below. I know that there are TONNES of bands I've played with only once where I've just put "OTHER", so if you'd like that updating do let me know - I have never left people off out of DISTASTE or MALICIOUS INTENT, it's usually because of TIME. Another example is FESTIVALS - I've tended to include only bands I played with on the same day and on the same stage, otherwise I'd have spent WEEKS trying to enter Indietracks gigs alone!

Finally, you may notice that the word "THE" is absent from a lot of bands. I took the decision to do this as a RULE in order to avoid confusion and double data entry. I've kept it where it's clearly part of the name or if it's actually "Thee" Something, but otherwise everyone is definite-article free. Again, if anyone has a big objection let me know!

All right then, I think that's more than enough CAVEATS for now. I was going to talk about why this sort of thing is IMPORTANT (e.g. gigs are a huge part of our cultural life but they are NOT recorded in any meaningful way - even trying to track down line-ups for big festivals in the past decade has turned out to be almost impossible) but I think I'll save all that for the end. Which means, the time has almost come for DATA - starting TOMORROW!

posted 24/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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What Is A Gig?
This week I intend to begin the GRAND UNVEILING of the ROCK DATA what I have been updating over the past month or so, as part of the preparations for GIG ONE THOUSAND, coming up on Thursday 2 February.

As you'll see if you follow that there link, I have set up a whole extra SUITE of FUNCTIONALITY on the website whereby each gig in The Database Of ROCK now has its own dedicated PAGE, which has details about who played, what songs were done, and various other bits and bobs. Actually, GIG ONE THOUSAND isn't a hugely brilliant example of this as hasn't happened yet, but if you look at, say, this previous Totally Acoustic show you'll see that there's a WHOLE HEAP of info there which can then be DRILLED DOWN into even further. For instance, if you wished to see ALL the gigs I have played with Mr Matt Tiller you can click on his name to get a full list, or if you clicked on Mental Judo in that setlist you can get lyrics, notes, and details of every time it was played at a gig and every album or whatever it has appeared on.

It is a WHOLE HEAP of data and no mistake, and I'm hoping to UNLEASH it even further in future by making it a properly downloadable dataset. HOWEVER, before I do that I want to air it in public a bit (i.e. like this) to try and identify any errors, and thus I need to discuss some CAVEATS.

The main caveat is around the very idea of "What Is A Gig?" As you'll see from the lists of past gigs there is room for some DEBATE about some of the items included. For instance, sometimes I have included RADIO SESSIONS as gigs, and sometimes I HAVEN'T. The reason FOR doing this is that these sessions tended to be live events for an audience, you know, like a gig, and even when they were recorded they were done LIVE and, to be honest, often had an audience similar in size (1 person) to some of my "proper gigs". The reason for NOT doing this is usually because I forgot to put it in the system.

Similarly, when I have done two SETS under different GUISES I have sometimes put that in the system as two seperate gigs, and sometimes as one. Good examples of this are some of the many times I have done gigs with The Pop Art Allstars. Usually this would be at an EVENT whereby I'd do my own set earlier on in the day, and then later on (and in a significantly more lubricated state of being) I would go and sing a song with the "house band", generally a cover version to do with whatever the THEME of the day had been. As well as being EXCELLENT, this was also, I would argue, CLEARLY two seperate gigs.

The MURKINESS of this occurs when I have done a solo set and a Validators set, or a solo set before one of me and Steve's SHOWS. Does that count or not? Sometimes I have said YES and entered it as such, other times I could simply not be bothered with the ADMIN and put it in as ONE.

THUS you might say "Hang on Hibbett, but surely that means it ISN'T 1000 pure unsullied definite gigs?" to which I would say "AHA!" and look slightly enigmatic, before going on to say that there are also LOADS of gigs that I know happened but are definitely NOT in the system because I don't know when they were. There's all sorts of gigs from the previous century, for instance, that clearly happened but are NOT in the system, and then there are various stand-up comedy sets I've done, PLAYS, Panel Appearances, radio shows and ALL SORTS that didn't make it in that could very reasonably have counted.

What I'm saying is, there are all sorts of ways we could define a "gig" and how it should be counted, and all sorts of historical research which could be undertaken to uncover 20-30 other occasions which could easily be called gigs, but to be honest I cannot truly be arsed with doing so (NB if I write this all up as an academic paper I will find a fancier way to say that). THUSLY and THEREFORELY this dataset - this KILOGIG or MILLENIGIG, if you will - DOES contain details of one thousands gigs of some definition or other, and indeed if further investigation was undertaken it's as likely as not that GIG ONE THOUSAND would STILL be the thousandth one in this list, so I'm just going to go with that!

What I'd REALLY like to do is to do a proper PROJECT and actually DEFINE a gig somehow, but that would require TIME and possibly MONEY that I do not currently have. If I did then I would surely first answer the question of "What Is A Band?", which we shall have a vague go at TOMORROW!

posted 23/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Ah-oo, Ah-oo, Ah-oo
Last night Mr S Hewitt and I gathered in the salubrious environs of London's Central London area of London to commence (and complete) our first REHEARSAL for several years.

For LO! As part of GIG 1000 next month we will be performing a MEDLEY of SONGS FROM THE SHOWS, so it seemed like a good idea to get together and actually PRACTICE it. It has, after all, been well over FIVE YEARS since Steve and I last performed together, so it was important to check that we had still GOT IT.

SPOILERS: yes, yes we had. We LAUNCHED into the two SONG SUITES what we're going to do, and it was like nothing much had changed, up to and including the DANCING and Experimental Harmonies. We went through everything TWICE, and were delighted at one point to even be joined by some old friends.

I am informed that some other old pals from the shows might ALSO be making a return on the night itself. If you can't make it to the actual gig, FEAR NOT - although I'm now NOT going to be live streaming it (the levels of FAFF involved in trying to do it had become overwhelming) I very much AM going to VIDEO and TAPE it, so there will be some form of it available for the public record. It is, I think, going to be GRATE!

posted 20/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Data Entry
For the past week or so I've been doing ROCK DATA ENTRY, going through the list of ONE THOUSAND GIGS and, for each one, putting in who actually played at them. Ideally this means all the other bands on the same bill (who actually played, as opposed to who was advertised as playing) and who else was in a band with ME, although quite a high proportion are not particularly ideal especially for early gigs. It is a constant source of astonishment to me how LITTLE is recorded about this sort of thing - I'm prepared to accept that there is not a permanent record of who played in what order at a Charlotte All-Dayer in 1998, but there are LOADS of festivals from the past decade where it's impossible to find out who played AT ALL, let alone when.

THUS I have had a lot of use for "OTHER" for bands on the bill, and code "99" meaning "I have no idea what order we were all in". I've done pretty well with working out who was IN the band with me at various times, though a lot of that has been down to having a BLOG which talks about who was there. This has led to many revelations, such as the fact that I've done WAY more gigs than I thought as a duo with Tom, and there's also a SLEW of gigs with just The Performing Pattisons. There are, in fact, a BEWILDERING array of Validators line-ups, with actual 100% complete Validator presences surprisingly rare.

The blog is, as I say, extremely helpful, but there is a point about 15 years ago when this ceases. Previous to this I would often REVIEW the other acts playing, but eventually realised that GOOGLE existed and so this was not necessarily hugely sensible, TACT-WISE, and instead instigated a policy of EITHER saying nothing if I had nothing nice to say OR making VEILED remarks which could then be explained in person if anybody asked. I should say here to anybody I've ever played with in the past that OF COURSE this doesn't include you! If I DID NOT mention someone in a blog it does NOT mean that I thought they were a bunch of dickheads, usually it means that I had had too much to drink and had to go home early. The exception to this is when the other band WAS a bunch of dickheads, OBVS.

I did the data entry from both ends and moved inwards i.e. I started putting in details of 1988 and 2022, then did 1990 (I didn't do any gigs in 1989!) and 2021 and so on. I did this for two reasons: firstly, I couldn't decide where to begin so did it both ways, and secondly because it allowed me to test out the data entry system more effectively, covering more of the different TYPES of gigs and line-ups I played early on the in process, so that I could adapt my data entry system as I went along. This worked pretty well, though it did lead to some confusing HEAD SPACES where I'd be merrily entering details of loads of gigs with The K-Stars one moment then touring with Mr Matt Tiller the next!

One nice thing was remembering all sorts of places, and especially people, that I used to play with a LOT in specific little bubbles of time. For instance, there's a little run of gigs at Vic Lambrusco's Cabaret Hour in Brixton that I'd not thought of for AGES but were great fun, and similarly there's a period when I went and played a ton of gigs at CB2 in Cambridge. I've been scanning the blogs as I've gone through too, and there are an AWFUL LOT of times when it's been the promoter's first show - hence thinking it'd be a good idea to put me on! ALSO it's been nice to look back on our brief period of POP POMP in the NOUGHTIES, where there's loads of gigs where we HEADLINED and people CAME!

It's all been fun, but obviously there is a Serious Intent i.e. to get some STATS out of it all. I've nearly finished the first pass of data entry now, after which will begin the serious work of DATA CLEANING before we can finally get down to answering some vital questions: who have I played most gigs with? which Validator has turned up most often? where have I ROCKED the most? And: MANY MANY MORE! Stay tuned, STAT FANS!

posted 17/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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I Saw Coia Down The Local
On Saturday night I met with Mr Steve Hewitt to go and see a GIG!

It was at The Lexington, so I popped to Indian Veg for my tea first, and was delighted to find it had not changed at all, with the lovely food and the same potty posters. The price appears to have DOUBLED since I was last there, but there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, also pandemics, invasions, and Tory Governments, so I guess it was to be expected.

Full of GRUB I headed to the pub to meet Steve. Usually he turns up WELL before me, so I was very pleased with myself when I got there EARLY, but then PANICKED when Steve did not turn up at precisely 7pm. Had he been hit by a comet? Wiped from continuity? Caught on a tube? My relief when he DID arrive, four minutes later, was PALPABLE. Clearly the answer is for me to turn up later again next time!

We had a couple of beers and delved into Important Artistic Issues and then headed over to The Lexington, there to see The Just Joans play one of their all to rare gigs in That London. It was lovely being back in The Lexington, home of MANY fab indie-type gigs over the years, and ESPECIALLY lovely to find it full of many fab indie-type PEOPLE. A big chunk of the evening was spent greeting people who I or we had not seen for AGES, verily it was like a tiny bit of Indietracks was back!

The gig itself was GRATE. The usual acoustical line-up of David and Katie was augmented by Frasier on instruments various, and they had a DELIGHTFUL chat dynamic going, with Frasier clearly USED to David's always excellent REMARKS. Their songs are GRATE but one of the best bits of their LIVE EXPERIENCE is the CHAT between songs, which was on TOP FORM. Also, as usual in recent years, there was MOISTNESS around the eyes towards the end. Is the local still the local? IT FELT LIKE IT BABY!

Afterwards we had some more chat and also watched BALLBOY. My current spate of ROCK DATA ENTRY has informed me that I've played on the same bill as Ballboy, or members thereof, on several occasions over the years but have never actually SEEN them before, usually because they have tended to be several places up the bill from me/us, and so I have staggered off in search of food/beer/my bed by that point, which is a shame as they too were dead good, especially the drummer who was clearly having a FINE old time. It was LOVELY to see!

This time I managed NOT to stagger off in search of food OR my bed until AFTER they'd finished, also after saying hello to a whole bunch of other people. During the course of the evening Steve had opined that "Gigs are BRILLIANT" and, on this evidence, I think I must agree with him!

posted 16/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Gig One Thousand
I've mentioned GIG ONE THOUSAND a few times on this here blog but I've just had a look and it seems that I've not actually EXPLAINED it properly yet, so let's do that right now!

On Thursday 2 February 2023 I'm playing a gig at The King & Queen in London which will be the THOUSANDTH gig what I have ever done. It will start about 7.30ish with ME doing a short set of solo songs, then ME (and Steve) doing a MEDLEY of Songs From The Shows, followed by a final set by ME & The Validators doing a set that is a statistically calculated summary of all of our gigs. If I can work out how to do it the whole thing will be LIVE STREAMED, probably via FACEBOOK, and I'll dispense more details of that nearer the time.

That's the general idea - here's the OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE, and after that a couple of CAVEATS!

MJ Hibbett's One Thousandth Gig
MJ Hibbett is playing his one thousandth gig in February, with a new single to celebrate.
The single I Think I Did OK sums up his attitude to this milestone. "I've averaged about 30 gigs a year since I first started playing," he says, "which may not seem much compared to someone like Elton John, but it's pretty good for someone who's had a full-time job for nearly the whole time."
The 999 gigs so far have seen him perform on Radio One, at the Edinburgh Fringe, in various back gardens and pretty much every pub venue you can think of. "The biggest audience was when we did the live session at Maida Vale," says MJ, "while the lowest was a gig in Stockton-On-Tees. Nobody came apart from a security guard who went to the toilet halfway through, leaving me playing to nobody at all!"
The thousandth gig will be live-streamed from the venue he's played at the most, The King & Queen in London (56 shows or 5.6% of all performances). It'll include a set with his band The Validators, some solo songs, and a medley of tunes from his series of Fringe shows with Steve Hewitt.
MJ has kept a database of all his gigs, and he's hoping to encourage others to do something similar by releasing his information in an Open Access format. "The sort of small DIY gigs I do happen every day all around the country, but then seem to disappear from the public record," he says. "It's a massive part of the UK's cultural activity, it should be valued more!"
With that in mind he has no intention of stopping at a thousand gigs. "I may not make it to two thousand," he says, "but I'm having too much fun to stop now!"
All true, and yes, there will also be another SINGLE to go with it. The original plan was to UNLEASH the (AMAZING) Frankie Machine remix of Hard To Be Hopeful to coincide with it all, but then I thought that a song about Not Being As Optimistic As Usual wasn't perhaps the best one for this, whereas a song about Worrying About My Previous Behaviour was VERY APT INDEED. Also, having heard the latest remix that Frankie's done, I think Hard To Be Hopeful deserves to be highlighted on its own!

CAVEAT-wise, I should say that this will very much be the thousandth gig listed in THE DATABASE OF ROCK (which powers this entire website), but it very much depends on how you define a "gig". Some may argue that a RADIO SESSION, for instance, is not a gig - I would say it IS because you're playing live to actual people, but then there are quite a few sessions I've done that I forgot to include. Also, when I've done two different SETS (e.g. a solo set supporting me and Steve doing a show) I've sometimes counted that as TWO gigs and other times as ONE. Meanwhile there are loads of gigs that I THINK happened, especially around the start of the 1990s that definitely DID happen but I have no idea when.

What I'm saying here is that what with one thing and another, all things considered, and with the best will in the world, if ANY gig is likely to be the thousandth one then this is it! I'm currently going through checking the DATA and adding in proper information about who I played WITH, both in the same BAND and on the same BILL, so I can do some STATS on that, and then I'm hopefully going to UNLEASH the LOT as an Open Access database so everyone else can have a look at it. I have been RUNINATING on the fact that it's really really REALLY difficult to find ANY information about these sort of gigs, even only a couple of years after the fact (for most gigs I google, even quite big ones, the top result is usually my own blog about it!), and that that surely can't be right. GIGS are a huge part of our Cultural Life, and yet we seem to be happy for all evidence of them to disappear in the ETHER. My hope and dream is that by doing this with MY gigs it'll encourage other people to start doing the same - I know there's Songkick and places like that, and numerous Facebook groups sharing flyers, but I think we can do better. And we should!

Also: the statistically accurate setlist for The Vlads very much depends on which songs I can actually work out how to play again. There's some songs we played A LOT back when we used to DO a lot of gigs but which haven't had an airing for over a DECADE, so we'll have to see if I can remember how they go. You'd think after a thousand gigs I'd be better at this sort of thing - maybe I just need to do ANOTHER thousand to really get the hang of it!

posted 13/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Battersea and Bearsden
On Saturday myself and The Water In My River went on a LONDON DAY TRIP to go and look at Battersea Power Station, which has recently re-opened as a shopping centre/set of fancy shops. Looking at the options to get there, the aforesaid Hull Of My Boat noted that we could avoid the horrible Central Line/Northern Line route by getting the Jubilee Line to Westminster and then catching a Thames Clipper, and so that was what we did. We were both expecting something like a FERRY from the 1980s, so were ASTONISHED when we got on board to find it was BLOOMING LOVELY. Man alive, the seats were a) PLUSH b) some of the comfiest I have ever experienced, and we felt like OLIGARCHS as we steamed along the river, gazing out at landmarks as we went. There was even a BAR onboard!

After all that Battersea Power Station could have felt like a let down but it very much DID NOT. Outside it was a lot like Tate Modern, which I guess isn't surprising as it also is a former power station on the south bank of the Thames, but inside it was GORGEOUS. The two turbine halls on either side are ENORMOUS, and Turbine Hall A was ESPECIALLY wonderful, like an Art Deco Cathedral (that had been fitted out with some shops). It was incredible to think that something as beautiful and lovingly designed was originally used as a POWER STATION with ruddy great COAL-powered turbines chugging away in them all day, it was FAB!

We had a good old wander around, had some lunch in Clean Kitchen (one feels one ought, don't you know, for THE CAUSE. Also, it was ACE) and then went to have a go on Lift 109. This is a LIFT that goes up one of the chimneys, and I must admit that, beforehand, I was not entirely convinced it was worth doing. After all, I have been in high buildings in London before, so what was to be gained? Still, The Height Of My Building was TREATING us to it, so along we went.

I have to say, to start with I was convinced my wariness had been correct. There was a LOT of us being moved from place to place in groups, like at a very organised wedding, and some things we moved to were a bit daft - there was an "experience" with some "interactive" lights while we waited for a lift that I'm pretty sure was just there to comply with a GRANT they'd been awarded, for instance, and at one point we were invited to look some numbers printed onto concrete. HOWEVER, once we got into the lift itself it was all quite nicely done, with dramatic music and a light show as we headed to the top, and then when we actually got there the whole liftful of people went "WOW!" as one, as we popped out with all of London below us. The lift is GLASS, you see, and pops out of the top of the chimney so you get a complete panoramic view of London By Night. It was STUNNING!

After we'd come back to ground level we hot footed it back to the BOAT and this time a) had a beer b) stayed on all the way to North Greenwich, as it was SO NICE. I would highly recommend it to ANYBODY!

I would also highly recommend watching My Old School on iPlayer too, as we did later that evening. It's a documentary about a man who went back to his old school in his 30s, pretending to be a teenager, and it interviews him and his old classmates. He didn't want to be filmed, however, so Alan Cummings LIP SYNCS all of his words, which is in itself PRETTY AMAZING, but the best bit is the old classmates, who are a HIGHLY entertaining bunch of Actual Normal People from the Bearsden area of Glasgow. As we said afterwards, it would be fun to see ANOTHER documentary where they talk about anything they like!

It was all very cunningly edited too, so you spent half the film hearing about what happened, and then get the rug pulled from under you in various clever ways as NEW FACTS are revealed. I especially liked one part where two women were discussing it, one of whom had clearly worked something out already, and was MASSIVELY enjoying helping the other to work it out too. There were LOADS of parts where you LARFED and also where you went "WHAT THE?!?!" and saying too much would be to spoil it, but honest, it was FLIPPING BRILLIANT! I recommend!

posted 10/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Gigs Discovered
This week I have both GOT and FOUND some gigs!

The one GOT is for something in the summer which I cannot ANNOUNCE yet (I don't think I can anyway - I can exclusively reveal, however, that it is NOT Glastonbury!), while the one FOUND was possibly even MORE exciting. As stated last year, I am approaching my ONE THOUSANDTH gig next month, and so have been gathering some STATS, notably going through THE LOT and trying to work out who played at them, both WITH me in various bands and also on the same bill. This is a bit tricky for the early gigs, but then yesterday I remembered that I'd started an early version of the website around 1997, and had an ARCHIVE of some of the "NEWS" posts from around mid-1998. Could this, I wondered, help my BRANE remember stuff?

As it turns out, it very much COULD. A glance through very quickly revealed a whole GIG I had completely forgotten about! It was a radio session at Imperial College Radio that I did with Frankie - we'd trained it down to London especially to play it, and then gone on to The Bull & Gate to see Sportique, John Sims and Airport Girl do a gig. Reading about it reminded me that this was the time that I forced a tape upon Mr Steve Lamacq, who was sitting in the front bar, but other than that all I recalled was that we'd been to the student bar beforehand and it was both swankier AND more expensive than expected.

This was VERY exciting because it meant that I could add it to the database and make Gig 1000 into the ACTUAL thousandth - until this point it had only been the 999th, so I was planning to go and do an Open Mic Night somewhere this month to get the numbers up, but now I wouldn't have to! Hoorah!

To be honest, the whole thing is quite vague ANYWAY - I am entirely sure there are plenty of other gigs early on that I never made a note of, and there are likely to be others that I DID note but never happen, plus there are wide variations throughout in what does and doesn't count as a gig, but STILL, overall I think it balances out and there definitely ARE now one thousand gigs listed in The Database Of ROCK.

HOWEVER, getting this new gig in proved to be PROBLEMATIC, as there was no specific date given. All I knew was the month it happened and that afterwards we'd been to see the aforementioned bands, but surely that meant that it'd be easy enough to find out, right? Surely there were PLENTY of websites that would record gigs, especially at such a well known venue?

WRONG! The internet did EXIST back in those days, and there were rudimentary websites, but very little of it survives until today, especially it seems for BANDS and especially especially for old gig dates. HOORAH then for The Wayback Machine, that marvellous archive of THE PAST, which stores different versions of pages from the last century! By remembering the web address for the website I managed for my old work in Leicester (, I was able to find my old personal webpage (featuring a SPINNING HEAD GIF which involved going to the photobooth at Leicester Railway Station and swivelling round on the stool) and thence via one of the many versions of the Sorted Records site, on to John Sim's page and - HALLEUJAH! - a GIGOGRAPHY!

With this I am now not only able to fill in LOADS of other bands that I'd forgotten played at our mutual gigs, but ALSO to state that the session was on 25 November 1998. Thank you, Internet Archive, for this AMAZING resource, even if it did rob me of several hours by forcing me to read through all those old sites going "Oh WOW I remember making that in Paintshop" etc etc! It's HISTORY baby!

posted 6/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Like everything I had ever lost had come back
Happy new year, one and all! As we enter the futuristic stardate of 2023 it has been very much ALL GO around here over the past 24 hours or so.

For LO! Wednesday began with the earth-shattering news that Allo Darlin' are coming back!. Allo Darlin' were (ARE!) one of my all-time favourite bands EVER and so I was VERY EXCITED INDEED about this, and also MOVED, in a gruff, manly way. I listened to their albums later on and can confirm they still a) are GRATE and b) always leave me feeling WISTFUL for a version of the past that didn't actually exiat, but feels like it was there - a time of wafting round London going to loads of amazing gigs every week, meeting lots of lovely people, and generally being GROOVY. I mean, that did happen A BIT, but perhaps not quite as much as it feels like it did whilst listening to "Silver Dollars". Unless it really WAS Indietracks every month?

As if that wasn't enough THRILLZ for one day, over in one of my OTHER "communities" there was huge news as Grant McCann was SACKED as manager of Peterborough United! I must confess I was quite pleased about this, as The Football has been pretty DULL of late. I don't mind going to see Posh lose - I am EXTREMELY USED to that - but I do object to it being BORING. But who would replace him? What incredible feat of recruitment had D McAnthony managed to pull off THIS time?

As Sky News, The Grass In My Groun and pretty much anybody else predicted, it was Darren Ferguson! For those who are sadly not informed about the comings and goings of Peterborough United FC, this will be his FOURTH time in charge of Posh, having last left eleven months ago. Grant McCann was only on his second go (third if you count a bit of caretaker managing), but I'm sure he'll be back soon enough. It is supremely DAFT, but hopefully it means things will at least be slightly more INTERESTING!

And after all that there were GIG THRILLZ for ME, but I shall save that for TOMORROW! For now I am off to live it up like it is the early 2010s again - see you on Myspace!

posted 5/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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