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Blog Archive: March 2023

A Year Of Unearthly Beauty
It was roughly a YEAR ago that I first unveiled my until then SECRETIVE INTENT to record a SOLO ALBUM, tentatively (and boringly) called "Back To The Office". A few months later I UNLEASHED the definitively (and much better... er... ly) titled The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett, and since then I have been embarking upon a course of releasing a video for every single song therein.

Earlier this week that mighty project was COMPLETE, with the unleashment of 'People Who Stand In The Door', but that was not quite the end. For LO! over recent weeks I have been working on an AMAZING PLAN to forge all of these videos together into a single entity - a VISUAL ALBUM, if you will - containing ALL the songs, in the correct order, like a MOVIE.

And today I can reveal The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett: THE MOVIE to the world - HERE:

As you'll see, it's MOSTLY the original videos, edited to fit together more nicely, but there's also some EXTRA bits, notably a less travel-sickness-inducing version of Someone Else's Turn and a rather SNAZZY title sequence that I must confess I am quite pleased with.

I'm not sure that anyone else is ever going to watch the whole thing all the way through, but I do really like the FACT that it EXISTS, and I especially like the FACT that it is DONE. Doing a whole album AND a VISUAL ALBUM has been quite a lot of work over the course of the year, but now that it's all finished I've got an exciting new question to answer: what shall I do NEXT?!?

posted 30/3/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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People Who Stand In The Door
Today I am DELIGHTED to unleash the latest, and indeed FINAL, video from my album The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett - People Who Stand In The Door. Look, it's just here!

The subject matter is, as you can probably gather, something of a BUGBEAR of mine, especially as I have spent my working career in UNIVERSITIES where there appears to be a compulsory module about standing OR OFTEN SITTING DOWN ON THE FLOOR in front of all possible doorways, with extra credits for looking digsusted with anybody trying to use the door way in its old-fashioned manner rather than seeking to play with convention and disrupt the mainstream by GETTING IN THE BLOODY WAY.

The video was put together based on suggestions from various chums on Twitter and Facebook, who suggested a LENGTHY list of images that could be used. I couldn't get them ALL in, but I think I got most. Thanks VERY much to everybody who helped out there, if they hadn't I'd probably still be trying to put it together now!

The fact that this is the final video means that my grand plan to do a video for the whole album is now completed... or NEARLY. For LO! there is an extra step to this which involves putting it all together into one complete VISUAL ALBUM or indeed MOVIE which will be released into an unsuspecting world on FRIDAY this week. First details about it will be available in the newsletter, so do sign up if you want to be the first HEP CAT on your block to know all about it!

posted 27/3/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Stick To The Agenda
Another week, another video, as we move INEXORABLY towards the end of the month when I shall be unleashing "The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett: THE MOVIE" upon the world!

There'll be more exciting information about that nearer the time, but for today let us focus our fascination on this latest video what I have done, this time for Stick To The Agenda:

Like MANY of the songs from The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett, this is very much based upon my WORKING LIFE and something I have had to SILENTLY RAIL AGAINST for about THIRTY YEARS (i.e. since I was two years old). It is ALWAYS the people who complain about how busy they are in MEETINGS that cause those very same meetings to be ten times as long as they NEED to be by waffling on endlessly throughout them. These specific people are not, however, solely to blame for the issue - if other people (who have the power to do so - so not me!) pulled them up on it and ENFORCED the agenda it wouldn't happen, but everyone is either a) scared b) too polite or c) waiting for THEIR turn for a monologue.

THUS I hope this song will become an instructive part of modern management training, helping people to run more PRODUCTIVE meetings and enabling The Hard Working British Worker to get out of meetings earlier so they can go and play outside... I mean, increase productivity at their workstations. Really, I should be getting a GRANT for this sort of public service!

posted 18/3/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Superhero Scholarship
A few weeks ago I went to a meeting alongside my esteemed colleagues from CoRH!!, UAL's Comics Research Hub. This is a grouping for all those of us who are doing reseaerch in comics, with a core (CoRH!!) bunch of us who do things like running the online conference in 2020 and then various other associated TYPES who are ALLIED. It is basically an official way of saying "The UAL-ish Comics People", but with more exclamation marks.

We had been ASSEMBLED in order to meet with someone from the University's external communications team, who wanted to look at ways to get publicity for what we do. This was pretty flipping exciting because, with the best will in the world, academics tend NOT to be very good at doing this - they ARE quite good at saying "why is nobody interested in my amazing research?" but NOT so adept at actually TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT IT. THUS someone from Comms actively WANTING to help spread the word about our mighty activities was pretty GRATE.

We had a very jolly meeting with lots of IDEAS, including one by ME to try and get some action going for ME around the future of Marvel movies and the possibility of Doctor Doom FINALLY turning up in the new Ant Man. Sadly that did not occur but then a little while later there was an announcement that James Gunn woud be taking over the management of the DC Cinematic Universe. "I have lots of opinions about this," I thought, "which are VERY CORRECT. Surely it is my duty to share them with the wider world?"

THUS I contacted Alex From Comms and we worked up a THORT PIECE about it. Sadly The Mainstream Media were not hugely interested so instead Alex decided to go FREE RANGE and put it up on the University website, under the exciting title Superhero scholar Dr Mark Hibbett predicts the future of the DC Comics Universe following new slate of films.

I was pretty chuffed with this, not least because it says "DR Mark Hibbett" which is always a bit thrilling. Also, I'd forgotten that there's quite a good bit about the utter bollocks that is "superhero fatigue" that I'd enjoyed writing and also enjoyed re-reading! The only downsides to the article are a) when I shared it on The Socials several people pointed out that James Gunn does look a bit like me in a Black (all right, white) Hair And Glasses Brigade sort of way and b) technically I am a SUPERVILLAIN scholar, although I guess Doctor Doom would probably disagree.

Anyway, it was BRILLIANT to have something like this to show off about, and it has prepped the engines for the glorious day when Doctor Doom FINALLY gets into a film and I can make my bid for being on telly. I read earlier today that this now might now be happening until 2027, at which point I will probably look a lot MORE like James Gunn, at least in terms of hair colour!

posted 16/3/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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The Future Of Dance
Today I am absolutely flipping DELIGHTED to unveil the video for Ode On A Blue Bag, featuring as it does an interpretive dance performance by myself and Mr S Hewitt that is surely destined to blow the SOCKS off the interpretive dance establishment. See for yourself HERE:

That sound you hear is the DANCE EMERGENCY klaxons going off at Ballet Rambert, Sadlers Wells AND SO FORTH, alerting them to a mighty disturbance in THE DANCE FORCE.

It may amaze you to discover that our performance was almost entirely improvised - we agreed on the bit with the bag being taken away, but otherwise we just DONE it. While editing it I was particularly delighted by the way we are clearly a) taking it Very Seriously and b) bringing our own backgrounds into play, me with my recent excursions into TAI CHI (i.e. that is pretty much what I was unwittingly doing throughout) and Steve with his ACTUAL THEATRE DEGREE. It just goes to show what we COULD have been doing for all those years at various Fringes if we hadn't been held back by having to play INSTRUMENTS. If/when me (and Steve) ever take to the boards again I think there is a definite argument for hiring an ORCHESTRA so that we can be fully free to express our BODIES!

posted 13/3/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Carrying The Message To The Kids (Oh Yes)
Many years ago, back in the distant depths of the previous century, the name "Artists Against Success" first came into being to describe a series of GIG NIGHTS at The Magazine pub in Leicester. It then rose again to become a CONCEPTUAL record label, used by various people to make it look like we were "signed artistes" (I'd like to say we were SUBVERTING the very idea of such things, but mostly it was in order to make us look COOL), and not long after that transmuted into an ACTUAL record label, beginning with the release of the Clubbing In The Week/Only Everything split single with Sienna in 1998.

The label went from strength to mighty strength over the next eight years or so, with a whole HOST of fantastic releases from a wide variety of GRATE acts, before then going A Bit Quiet in order to concentrate on one particular artiste (hem hem). Those early years of ACTION were bloody brilliant fun, with regular BOARD MEETINGS where myself, Mr Whitaker and Mr FA Machine would get together in the pub once a month to plot future endevours (fully minuted of course), including new ARTISTES, Annual General Meetings (featuring the mandatory singing of The Company Song) and a surprisingly large number of label COMPILATIONS.

We also had a pretty massive WEBSITE, containing all of the above DOCUMENTATION, but in recent years this has been replaced by a SHALL WE SAY more "streamlined" site which has largely been used by ME as a way to keep track of what the next CATALOGUE NUMBER should be.

That has all changed this week, however, as I am delighted to point out that Frankie has put together an AMAZING new BANDCAMP site, containing ALL of those early compilation albums which you can now download FOR FREE (or at a PAY WHAT YOU LIKE price if you prefer). That includes the world's first EVER mp3 download compilation Now That's What I Call Valid, our FANTASTIC Christmas compilaton Kung Fu Santa With A Christmas Punchbag, as well as some ACTUAL ALBUMS by the AAS artists Dr Coca Cola McDonalds and Lazer Guided!

Most excitingly for ME, however, is that it ALSO includes the RE-ISSUE of an artefact that PRE-DATES Artists Against Success - I Preferred The Earlier Stuff (A Uk​-​Indie List Compilation). As the title suggests, this was a compilation TAPE put together by members of the UK-Indie mailing list. It was MASTERMINDED by Frankie back in 1998, bringing together tracks from the various people on the list. You can read about how it came to be in Frankie's EXCELLENT sleevenotes, and of course listen to the tracks too, but the key point of it for ME was that this marked the first time EVER that Frankie had ever heard any of my recorded output. I sent him very early versions of I Come From The Fens and Billy Jones Is Dead and this was the start of OVER A QUARTER CENTURY (so far) of MUSIC MAGICKERY what has continued up to and including this week's release of the It's Hard To Be Hopeful (Bass, Hope & Clarity Mix) single!

I am told that there is MORE to come, including an album that was assigned a catalogue number nearly 20 years ago but never actually came out, but for now I HIGHLY recommend DOWNLOADING some of these albums - you can stream them online OBVS, but the downloads include a METRIC TONNE of additional material which Frankie has lovingly pieced together, including several VIDEOS of The Company Song being sang by a HOARDE of artistes. It is a thing of GRATE beauty, and I commend it to you!

posted 1/3/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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