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Blog Archive: July 2023

All Goals Achieved
Today I am DELIGHTED to herald the UNLEASHMENT of a brand new compilation album from Artists Against Success - the fantastic All Goals Achieved!

This is a compilation album, put together by my Mighty Colleague Mr FA Machine, celebrating TWENTY FIVE (25) YEARS of Artists Against Success. It is called "All Goals Achieved" because we set out to DEFY THE MAN, and we have very much DONE SO.

Frankie's original idea was to try and get in touch with as many of the old AAS acts as possible and ask them if they'd like to contribute a track. When we discussed it we hoped a few of them would do so, but in the end EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM sent us something. Two of our other initial goals were Not To Be Total Wankers and Not To Rip People Off and we very much hope that the FACT that everyone's still talking to us illustrates that we have also achieved this one!

I know I am biased, but there really are some CRACKING tracks on there, including lots and lots of BRAND NEW material. Lots of it was recorded ESPECIALLY for us, and there are MULTIPLE bands who have done their first recording in YEARS as a result. We are Very Pleased about this!

There's also loads of ME in the tracklist - I would argue that this is only right, as there has been loads of ME in the back catalogue - including stuff from Voon, Jane and John, The Validators, me and Steve and EVEN MORE. "Plenty Of Hibbett" is perhaps the best way to describe it.

Best of all - even better than there being loads of ME - is the FACT that the whole thing is FREE. Yes, that's right - FREE! You can get it on Spotify and all those sorts of places, but if you go to the Artists Against Success Bandcamp page you can get THE LOT for absolutely NOTHING!

"But MJ and Frankie," you might say, "surely that can't be right? Isn't the whole point of The Corrupt Music Business to make as much money as possible, generally by FLEECING THE KIDS? Won't these actions upset - perhaps even be seen as DEFYING - THE MAN?"


posted 28/7/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Hibbettfest Returns!
Now that I've finished turning Comics Studies LITERALLY ON ITS HEAD it's time to give some attention to the Krazy World Of Rock And Roll, TO WHIT getting a bit more organised about HIBBETTFEST 2023.

As you can see on the gigs page I have updated the details slightly - it already said that the EXTRAVAGANZA would be taking place in Kingswinford on Saturday 12 August, but now it ALSO says that the ACTS will be beginning at about 2pm, and that those ACTS will be Jasmine Allen Estate, Alexander Christopher Hale, and then ME featuring a) Mr S Hewitt and b) about 50% of The Validators. NOT shown on the listings is the FACT that after that we'll all get in a big taxi and head into town for BEER, as is tradition.

It's always a GRATE day and if you'd like to come you are very welcome. HOWEVER, it really really IS in Ray's Mum's back garden - over the years many people have assumed this is a KRAZY VENUE NAME, but it is NOT - so I can't really broadcast the address here on this extremely public forum, so if you fancy a trip to Kingswinford email at mjhibbett (AT) hotmail (DOT) com and I'll give you the details. It is basically like a RAVE!

And yes, I am PRETTY SURE that the sophisticated AI overminds what we have these days would be able to crack the COMPLEX CODE that I have used for my email address there, but anything we can do to foil SKYNET for now is worth having a go at!

posted 12/7/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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IGNCC 2023
Last week I spent most of my time either travelling TO/FROM or IN the delightful Cambridgeshire city of CAMBRIDGE. For LO! it was that time of year again for the mightiest BRANES in Comics Studies gather together for the International Graphic Novels And Comics Conference!

Every other year this is was a joint conference with the International Bande Dessinée Society, and as this WAS one of those years it meant that we had a whole WEEK of presentations. On other such occasions when I've been to these I've stayed in a hotel, but this time it seemed a bit daft when it's only in Cambridge so I decided to COMMUTE. This was SENSIBLE when I made my decision, but that was before the overtime bans on the railways were announce, which severely restricted what trains I could get. THUS I ended up getting up at SIX IN THE MORNING (yes, that is a REAL TIME) on several days to SCHLEP all the way there on the SLOW train from Liverpool Street. That particular train was also the one used by 17 MILLION CHILDREN going to school in Bishops Stortford, which is not QUITE the ideal travelling companion for someone who has got up as early as what I had - especially on FRIDAY when I had been to the pub the night before!

My travel mood was not enhanced on the first morning when I tried to work out where to go, found a MAP in the programme and got a TAXI all the way across to the other side of Cambridge... only to (eventually) discover that it was just the venue for a RECEPTION later on, and that the ACTUAL conference was happening all the way back near where I'd started from, requiring ANOTHER taxi.

Still, once I was actually THERE I had a bloody GRATE time. The fact that've been so many times meant that there were LOADS of friendly faces and I must say ALSO rather lot of BRILLIANT talks. I think my favourite one was a keynote by Milo Ira and Cameron Carley called "Two-Spirit illustration: Sequential art for connection and resilience". Partly this was because of the subject matter, which was about "two-spirit" as a way to LOOK at types of identity, sitting alongside indigeneous approaches to AUTISM (which felt HIGHLY relevant to my interests), but also because they were BRILLIANT at presenting. They were so CONFIDENT but also LOVABLE, and they did a whole thing about the need to call people IN rather than calling them OUT. It's the sort of thing that SOUNDS like The Daily Mail are going to complain about it, but in a room full of Worried Academics it was PROFOUNDLY MOVING. They did a bit before the questions where they said "Don't worry if you get some terminology wrong" and you could feel the GRATITUDE of the whole room. I must admit I got a bit teary in some bits, and there was a big queue afterwards of people wanting to tell them how ace they were.

On Tuesday I CHAIRED a panel on "Comics, caring and parent wellbeing" which felt WEIRDLY like a step back in time, as part of it was done by a PATIENT group collaborating with a HEALTH ACADEMIC, which reminded me of many conferences what I'd been to in my previous life in Health Expectancy. TERRIFYINGLY there weren't many questions at the end, so I had to do most of them as CHAIR - I think it worked out OK, but I didn't half have to concentrate!

My favourite day though was THURSDAY because that was the day I did MY talk, entitled "Why Aren't We Talking About The Beano?" It was all about the FACT that Comics Studies almost NEVER talks about the Beano (e.g. only 0.5% of ALL presentations at IGNCC over the past 10 years have even MENTIONED it, and that's including mine that day!) and looking at reasons why that might be. Partly, I argued, it's because we feel we have to spend more time looking at "Posh Comics" i.e. nice, safe, SERIOUS comics that won't frighten Vice Chancellors or cause THE MEDIA to say "They're spending money reading The Beano!" I wasn't saying we should NEVER look at "Posh Comics" though, and didn't want to single out a particular TEXT for criticism, so made my OWN Posh Comic to show what I meant. Here it is!

Beforehand I had had VISIONS of my INCENDIARY REMARKS inciting a complete upheaval of the field and me being carried out on shoulders as we set off to tear down THE ESTABLISHMENT. It didn't QUITE go like that, but everyone did LARF at my jokes, and I was VERY RELIEVED INDEED that people seemed to agree with me, ESPECIALLY some of the Pioneers Of Comics Studies who were in attendance. PHEW!

The only real downside to all this was at the end of the day when I had SEVERAL pints of BEER to celebrate and ended up sat in a (very nice) pub telling various COLLEAGUES that "I AM AN INTERNATIONAL ROCK STAR". I mean, it's true, OBVS, but I think it might have been better if I hadn't said it QUITE so many times.

Other than that it was a LOVELY week with much THORT and IDEAS and even PLANS for exciting future projects. I'm VERY much looking forward to next year already, but this time I think I'll a) stay in a hotel again and b) try NOT to have quite so much beer on an empty stomach!

posted 9/7/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Pop At The Lock
There blog has fallen quiet again recently, not due to lack of ACTION, but due to a lack of RELEVANT ACTION. I could quite happily spend MANY days discussing HR Policy in Universities or the relative merits of peer review when applying for research funding, but I fear these may not be of universal interest.

Or maybe they would - I spent Saturday at a HIGHLY relevant Indie Extravaganza where similar such topics were widely discussed, so who knows? The event was "Pop At The Lock", the WONDERFUL popfest in Middlewich Cheshire what me and The Validators performed at last year. This time I was playing solo on the Acoustic Stage (which WAS a stage this year) so The Validators were sadly not around, but a whole heap of other people very much were. FOR LO! as various amongst us agreed, this was as close to INDIETRACKS as we can currently get and it was THRONGING with lovely pals. Also, as hinted at earlier, it turns out that many of them have PROGRESSED in their CAREERS and become DEAD GROWN-UP, often surpassing EVEN my own exploits in that direction, so there were multiple chats around topics such as REF, Open Access Policy, GP retention, public health policy and so on. It was actually PRETTY BLOODY GRATE, and also rather wonderful to see how everybody was doing.

And there were BANDS too, most of whom I had seen MANY times and ENJOYED enormously. I had NOT seen The Proctors before, and they were pretty excellent, and I also thoroughly enjoyed EVERYONE. If forced to choose I's say my favourite on the main stage was The Popguns, and ALL my fellow acoustic-stage performers were ACE. I think my favourite bit there though was the LUSTY singalong to "Dreaming" by Allo Darlin as part of Marky and Toniie's Indiepop Singalong. My throat was still hurting next day!

Actually, quite a LOT of me was still hurting the next day, which is surprising because I definitely got my 5 a day from the vegan curry stand and also took in PLENTY of fluids. Perhaps even... too many fluids?

Anyway, it was a LOVELY day out in the company of LOVELY people, and I would like to heartily thank the organisers for inviting me along again. Hopefully see you there next year!

posted 2/7/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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