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Blog Archive: August 2023

Joyzine Addendum
After all the excitement of doing an actual GIG for the 20th Anniversary of JOYZINE, I forgot to mention that they have also unleashed a compilation album called 20 Years Of Joy: Volume 1 to mark the occasion, available on Bandcamp.

As you may have GLEANED from the title, this is the first of SEVERAL such compilations which I believe will be released over the course of the year (four altogether I think). The one what I'm on features a HOST of excellent acts like Scaramanga Six, Burning Hell, Piney Gir, and Deux Furieuses (as watched on Sunday) alongside the traditional Many Many More.

My track is a cover version of What A Wonderful World (AKA That Louis Armstrong Song, You Know, It's In James Bond). The remit for the compilation was that all the songs should be something to do with JOY and, after a while trying to think up a new song I eventually realised that this was my opportunity to COVER one what I've been piddling about with for literally DECADES. I have a big folder full of SONGS copied from Songbooks over the years, a large number of which were written down in the last century whilst visitng my dad in Cornwall - he has LOADS of these songbooks, so I would sit in his spare room trying out all these other songs, and one of my all-time favourites was the aforementiond "What A Wonderful World". It took me quite a lot of figuring out and transposing to get it into a format that I could actually PLAY, after which I have spent many many years strumming it in the privacy of my own home in a fairly gentle, cautiously sung version.

I've never played it LIVE because I don't have the confidence in either my singing OR guitar playing to do it, but thought that I would probably be able to get it pretty much right if I too several goes at recording it. Friends, I have to report that I was INCORRECT and even with modern Jiggery Pokery I was unable to get it taped in anything LIKE a publically acceptable way.

CHASTISED I decided to have a go at using the MAGIC OF MIDI to do something else, and over the course of a couple of days it MUTATED from a gentle strum through a beautiful classic to something that sounded as if SKYNET was taking a break after OBLITERATING HUMANITY and was all of a sudden wondering if that had been entirely the right thing to do. This was, of course, also taking place in a universe where SKYNET has a noticeable East Midlands accent, and I guess that would mean that the TERMINATORS would have been similar recast. "Oi'll Be Back ME DUCK" possibly?

Anyway, I think it turned out all right and even if it didn't there is a whole HEAP of other GRATE stuff on the album, so why not give it a listen and then also PURCHASE it? GO ON!

posted 23/8/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Music Recommendations Requested
Last year I put out a REQUEST on The Socials asking for recommendations of new music to listen to. I did this because I fancied refreshing my WALKMAN but could not be bothered to go out and look for anything myself, but it turned out to be a GRATE idea as my PALS came up with a TONNE of really good music for me to have a listen to.

They came up with NINETY TWO different acts to listen to, in fact, which I then spent several happy months trawling through, and I found some BRILLIANT stuff in there. My absolute favourites were THE BETHS - I have now bought ALL their albums and even been to SEE them, and am now wishing they would hurry up and get back from World Tour so they can record some MORE. I also flipping LOVED Lonely Tourist, Pip Blom and Lande Hekt, and have respectively tried to book a gig with, bought more albums by, and been to SEE (supporting The Beths) each of them SINCE. I also liked Bas Jan, Dream Wife, Holiday Ghosts and Sad13 too - it was a BOUNTIFUL crop.

Of the other EIGHTY-ISH acts I enjoyed lots of them, thought "Oh yes, I can see why you like that" for some, but actively DISLIKED only a few. I will not, of course, NAME NAMES for any of these because I am dead polite, but I think it can be summed up with me not liking a) anything that sounds like folk music or b) Men Angrily Shouting Over A Drum Machine. There was quite a LOT of the latter - if I wanted to listen to that I could make my own at home!

It was a GRATE SUCCESS all round, and I find myself in the same situation again i.e. I'd like to listen to some new stuff I like but cannot be bothered to go and look for it myself. SO, with that in mind - what's a) NEW b) GOOD that c) I would probably like?

Looking at the LAST batch I think it's pretty clear the general sort of stuff I like i.e. largely the JINGLE, also the JANGLE, some GOOD WORDS, PROPER CHORUSES, and NOT BEING FOLK MUSIC. If anybody can think of anything that EITHER fulfils the above criteria OR is something DIFFERENT but is STILL NOT FOLK MUSIC and does not feature Men Shouting Angrily Over A Drum Machine then I would very much like to hear about it please, either in the comments below or over on The Socials. FACT me up kids!

posted 22/8/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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Joyzine At 20
On Saturday I headed off to distant NEW CROSS, where I was due to play at the 20th birthday celebrations for Joyzine. Joyzine has been a constant source of, well, JOY, in my ROCKING LIFE for all of those two decades, through gigs, reviews, mentions, the radio show, and ALL SORTS, so I was utterly delighted to have been asked to go and play.

I arrived to find Paul From Joyzine looking surprisingly NOT TERRIFIED for a man who was organising not one but TWO consecutive all-dayers. He took me through to look at The Garden Stage where I'd be playing, which turned out to be very much an actual GARDEN, and then I was garlanded with a wrist band which entitled me to a 50% discount on EVERYTHING. I fully support this sort of action on the part of venues, and every time I bought a beer it felt like it WAS about twenty years ago, price-wise!

While venturing to the bar I bumped into the wonderful Mr Dave Green and we fell into discussion about topics various, as is our wont, in the garden. After a while I had to tear myself away to do a quick soundcheck, and I was VERY pleased to be able to debut A Song For The Soundcheck, which I had finished writing the day before EXPRESSLY for this purpose. It was GRATE!

We then waited a few minutes for people to come out to the back, and then after an intro from Paul I launched into my set, THUS:

  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Bad Back
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • We Did It Anyway

  • As you can see, it was very much a HITS SET, which was a WISE choice because as far as I could gather approx 90% of the audience had never ever seen me before. It's been a while (nearly a year in fact) since I've done a NORMAL gig of this sort so I had to remember how it's supposed to work, and I think it went all right. The nice thing about playing for people who are hearing the songs for the first time is that they (hopefully) LARF in specific places, and I always think "Oh yeah, that IS quite a good bit". I BABBLED ON a bit due to nervousnessness but otherwise it was a LOT of fun. Gigs are GRATE!

    After that Dave and I wandered into the main room and watched Deux Furieuses, who were BRILLIANT. It was JUST guitar and drums but CRIKEY, what guitars and drums they were! It was VERY LOUD and VERY EXCITING and we both felt that they were AMAZING!

    After that it was time for me to head off, so I said farewell to Dave and anybody else I could find and then headed off back to East London. That was a LOT of fun to do, does anybody ELSE have an anniversary coming up I can do??

    posted 21/8/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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    Doom Described
    I had some DELIGHTFUL comics news this week - my article Image Quotation of Past Events to Enforce Storyworld Continuity in John Byrne’s Fantastic Four has been published in the current issue of 'Closure'. 'Closure' is a German open access academic journal about comics, and this particular issue features papers based on the 2021 Comfor conference that I attended.

    I'm really happy that my paper's out there as it is about something that I think it is DEAD INTERESTING. It looks at three issues of John Byrne's run on "The Fantastic Four" during the 1980s when he tried very hard to make himself the one true successor to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. One of the ways he did this was by using "Image quotation" (basically copying previous panels as part of flashbacks) to enforce the idea that he was the only person who could decide what was or wasn't "true" for that set of characters. I found it REALLY FASCINATING, and hopefully some of that comes across in the article.

    I'm also happy because of the COMPANY I'm keeping - the ComFor lot are a RIGHT bunch of SUPERBRANES, so I'm delighted to have SNUCK IN amongst them. Now I'm off to have a proper READ of what they all said!

    posted 15/8/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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    Hibbettfest Datafest
    To mark the successful completion of HIBBETTFEST I thought I'd use the information that resides within The Database Of ROCK to generate some FACTS about the history of the festival that many people have hailed as "The best festival to ever recur in Ray's Mum's Back Garden".

    So, the first thing to say is that there have been 14 Hibbettfests overall since 2004. Fallow years occurred in 2006, 2015 and 2019 for reasons that I can't remember, and from 2020 to 2022 for Global Crisis Reasons.

    Hibbettfests are defined here as events occurring in Ray's Mum's Back Garden. There was an earlier proto-Hibbettfest which took place in Winchester on 10 August 2003 in Ray's Back Garden, but although this was arranged by Ray's Mum (as a surprise birthday celebration for Ray) it was not until it reached its official venue the following year that Hibbettfests as we know them today properly began.

    The median date for gigs to happen was 28 July, while the mean date is 25 July. As the graph below shows, Hibbettfest has occurred at different times over the years, although most often in August.

    Over the fourteen Hibbettfests I have performed 73 different songs. The table below shows all of those performed 3 or more times.

    1The Lesson Of The Smiths10
    2Easily Impressed8
    3=Boom Shake The Room7
    3=It Only Works Because You're here7
    5=Theme From Dinosaur Planet5
    5=We Did It Anyway5
    7(You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock4
    8=Dinosaurs Talk Like Pirates3
    8=My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once3
    8=Payday Is The Best Day3
    8=The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)3
    8=20 Things To Do Before You're 303

    Comparing this to the overall list from the first one thousand gigs we can see that the major surprises are the high placing for (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock and the non-appearance of Hey Hey 16K . I'm pretty sure that's because I have long realised that its appeal is severely limited amongst audiences that are 50% small babies and dogs. Maybe that's why Dinosaurs Talk Like Pirates appears so often - thinking about it, I reckon that's a HIT in the canine and/or infant communities!

    Moving on, Hibbettfest is, of course, not just about me. I mean, it's NAMED after me and everything but there have been various other people who've played. This all began in 2008, with the arrival Pete Green as the first guest artiste, and since then several more people have shared the stage/patio. Key amongs them was Ray himself who has compered almost all of them, as well as providing the buffet. No statistics are available for how much I have eaten from said buffet, but a rough approximation would be A LOT.

    Apart from Ray, the people who have joined me on the patio the most times are Mr Steve Hewitt and Tom 'The Tiger' McClure, at four times each, including 2023. Mr Tim Pattison has played three times, Frankie Machine and Alexander Christopher Hale twice, and there have been one-time only appearances from Chris T-T, Daniel and Norbert Dentrassangle, Emma Pattison, Gavin Osborn. Jasmine Allen Estate, Matt Tiller, Shelley from Finance, Dunc Vernon and the aforementioned Pete Green.

    If we compare these names to the list of People I Have ROCKED With during the first one thousand gigs, we can see that Steve tops both, but that Tom has clambered boldly over Tim and Frankie to get to joint first position. After that we can see that the list of people who've shared a patio with me is not all that different to those who've done the same on a more conventional "stage".

    To summarise then, the actual content of Hibbettfest gigs did not vary all that much from gigs overall - it had a fairly standard setlists of BANGERS, with the usual glittering array of ROCK STARS joining me on stage. The difference, then, was in the venue itself. Sadly I have never recorded DELIGHTFULNESS of promoters or EXCELLENCE of Estate Managers, but if I had then the various Kirkhams would have been charttoppers. Similarly I have never recorded excellence of RIDER because a) I don't usually get one and b) none would ever have compared to that received at Hibbettfest. Truly, it has been a wonderful thing, and I salute it in the best possible way - through FACTS!
    posted 14/8/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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    Hibbettfest Completed!
    On Saturday I headed to distant DUDLEY to attend the final iterarion of HIBBETTFEST, that grand tradition what has occurred on the patio of Ray's Mum's Back Garden these many years.

    I was joined by Mr S Hewitt at Marylebone station, who kept me up to date with The Football by listening to it on his phone and occasionally going "OOH!" and "YES!" It was like a live action TELETEXT. We then met with Mr FA Machine at Birmingham Moor Street and together we travelled to Cradley Heath, where Ray's Day picked us up for the final leg to the festival site.

    We arrived to find a whole HEAP of lovely people, not least Ray, his Mum, tonnes of old pals, and performers in the shape of Mr T 'The Tiger' McClure, Mr G Williams aka Jasmine Allen Estate and Mrs SJ Newman aka Shelley From Finance. Shelley had originally been coming as part of Alex And The Christopher Hale Band but Alex was POORLY and so she STEPPED UP!

    There had been some worries beforehand about the weather but, apart from a few spots of rain mid-afternoon it was lovely, and we had a DELIGHTFUL time standing around yacking surrounded by a new batch of BABIES and slightly less new batch of DOGS.

    After an hour or so of this it was time to get going, with Gareth doing some (I think) NEW MATERIAL, as well as some HITS. Ray then opened the BUFFET, which was both MASSIVE and BRILLIANT, and once we were all suitably STUFFED it was then time for Shelley to ROCK the patio, which she very much DID. At this point the CAKES were brought out and we ate MORE food. It was GRATE!

    Also, at some point during all this (there was so much FOOD going on it was hard to concentrate) there were GIFTS. Myself and Ray were presented with CUSHIONS by the Kirkham Estate, which was lovely, and EVERYONE got given a Hibbettfest Tote Bag which Ray had made himself. It was, as ever, LIKE a normal festival, but MUCH BETTER!

    After all that excitement Steve and I got up and did a MEDLEY of songs from Dinosaur Planet. It was the same arrangement that we did at GIG ONE THOUSAND and, as then, I did wonder what on earth someone would make of it all who'd never seen the show. It was a LOT of fun though, especially watching Steve trying to change SONG SHEETS with dinosaur puppets on both hands!

    I was then joined by Franke and Tom, and we took our turn to ROCK through a bunch of hits, THUS:
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • Easily Impressed
  • We Did It Anyway
  • Steve joined us for the last one, and then after all THAT we did an encore of Boom Shake The Room joined by Gareth, Shelley, and extra special guest Mr Dunc Vernon, which was a WHOLE HEAP of good times!

    It was, in short, BLOODY BRILLIANT and a wonderful send off for this most wonderful series of gigs. The party broke up not long after that, with a hearty slice of us heading off via MAGIC BUS or TIGERMOBILE to The Wellington for BEER, as is tradition. The last train home was PAINFULLY early so me, Steve and Rob had to leave quite quickly, but apart from that it had been an all round GRATE day. Thanks everybody for coming, it was ACE!

    posted 13/8/2023 by MJ Hibbett
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