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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

MonthGigs
January50
February78
March83
April65
May87
June69
July112
August164
September47
October103
November76
December66


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
Gigs
Monday132
Tuesday138
Wednesday164
Thursday172
Friday131
Saturday113
Sunday141


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
RankVenueGigs
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
19=www.totallyacoustic.com, 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
RankCity/AreaGigs
1London340
2Leicester184
3Edinburgh100
4Sheffield50
5Derby34
6Brighton26
7Nottingham24
8Cambridge21
9Birmingham19
10Leeds16
11=Peterborough14
11=Stourbridge14
13=Bristol10
13=Northampton10
15=Glasgow9
15=Middlesborough9
17Essex8
18Hull7
19=Cheshire6
19=Manchester6
21=Cardiff5
21=Oxford5
Other UK48
Other non-UK14
Online16


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
50+1
20-495
10-1918
5-916
411
318
269
1232


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
RankPerson/BandGigs
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
14Mileage18
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
RankPerson/BandGigs
1Steve Hewitt178
2Tim Pattison162
3Tom 'The Tiger' McClure147
4Francis Albert Machine135
5Emma Pattison113
6Doctor Kneel82
7Simon Voon57
8Chris Lawson20
9Mileage18
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)
RankPerson/BandGigs
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 at...er... 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 (www.prw.le.ac.uk), 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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Coding For Christmas
As Christmas and its associated days off work looms ever closer, all our thoughts are surely turning to FUN CHRISTMAS PROJECTS i.e. something we've been thinking of doing for AGES but have never quite got round to, which now COULD be done in those lovely days that some of us get off between Christmas and New Year.

My thoughts this year have turned to GIGS, or to be more precise ONE THOUSAND gigs. For LO! as previously (repeatedly) mentioned I shall be doing my ONE THOUSANDTH gig early next year (and hopefully my 999th at some point too!), and ever since I mentioned it people have been saying things like "how deeply fascinating," (or words to that effect, if only in subtext) "I wonder what songs you have played most often, also at which venues and with whom?" These are VERY INTERESTING questions, only some of which I can currently answer. For example, I have kept a METICULOUS record of what songs I've played at nearly every gig for the last two decades, and RESEARCH has uncovered quite a few previous setlists, so I can have a good old go at doing STATS about songs played, and I have a record of ALL venues so can generate MATH about that too.

The only thing I can't do is work out WHO I had been playing these gigs with. I do usually know if a gig was SOLO, with a BAND, or with STEVE, but it's not listed in any coherent way in The Database Of Rock and other stuff like Other Bands On The Bill is extremely haphazard. It being CHRISTMAS I decided not to worry too much about that and just get on with the JOLLITY of DATA ENTRY, so spent a delightful couple of hours setting up a DATABASE SYSTEM I could use to record who else was playing ALONGSIDE me (i.e. in the same band) as well as an option to record some PALS who'd played on the same night so that I could answer OTHER questions such as "Exactly how many times have I done gigs with the likes of Pete, Gav, Matt ET AL?"

However, once I'd entered data for a few years-worth of gigs I started to get Quite Excited about the possibilities of this sort of data. When I did my PhD (yes, I've got a PhD, I just don't like to go on about it) I made the data I'd gathered available Open Access so that other people could use it, and ASTONISHINGLY it has been downloaded over 160 times so far. Why not do something similar with THIS dataset, I thought?

Once I'd thought that my BRANE carried on THINKING. "Well, if you're going to do that," it reasoned, "why not write an ACADEMIC PAPER about the data? After all, a dataset like this could be an HISTORICAL DOCUMENT." "What, of ME and how GRATE I am?" I asked. "No, DOLT!" (my BRANE maybe spent a bit too long on Doctor Doom). "Not of you, but of the whole MILLIEU what you is and/or was part of."

That was an interesting IDEA- welll done BRANE! Recently I went to see Mark Lewisohn do one of his BEATLES talks, and it had taken him YEARS to piece together data about where they played and who they played WITH. He can thus say how MANY gigs they did, but how can we tell if that was NORMAL or not? We don't really know what other, NOT BEATLES, bands were doing, so can't really say for sure if they were super-busy. Similarly, you couldn't tell how The Beatles' progression towards the headline spot compared to other bands, or indeed WHAT other bands existed at the time.

Nowadays we have a lot more of this sort of information available ONLINE, but actually once you start to look back this too gets very HAZY very very quickly. For example, a while ago I was trying to remember WHEN I'd been to a gig that I remembered from back in the 1990s, and thought I'd be able to find out from The Internet, but there was nothing at all there about it. There are whole BANDS who do not exist AT ALL on the internet, just because they weren't famous enough to get into any mainstream media, and existed before Band Webpages became a thing and/or were even archived properly.

With all THAT in mind I realised that maybe something like this COULD be a useful resource, and so went BACK to my database and tidied things up a bit, adding stuff like order of appearance and a LOT more named bands. It's now taking quite a bit longer to research each gig and with ONE THOUSAND of them to get through, some going back to THE NINETEEN FLIPPING EIGHTIES, it might take me a while to do them all, but I'm hoping that once it's finished it will perform two functions. Firstly, it will be a resource for future generations who want to investigate INTERNATIONAL ROCK STARS (especially those too ruddy PUNK ROCK for the popular music media hem hem), and secondly it will be GRATE fun for ME to be able to tell WHO I have done most gigs with! Stand by for MULTIPLE UPDATES!

posted 22/12/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Apocalypse Prepared, Video Unleashed
Over the weekend I DROPPED a brand new VIDEO, this time for Apocalypse Prepared. You can witness it for yourself HERE:




As with some previous efforts, I DEBUTED it over on the b3ta board first as a) there are lots of exciting people there who might be interested in it b) it's as close as I can get to doing a PREVIEW for a video (like you're apparently supposed to these days) without having to actually ask permission!

As you can see from the above, the video features a series of DRAWINGS what I have drawn. It may surprise you to learn that I have had no (NO) artistical training, not even a bit! It took me FLIPPING AGES to do it all too, averaging about one picture a day for WEEKS, but then actually filming it was pretty easy.

I thought I'd put it out NOW because there are a couple of Vaguely Christmassy bits in it - not as many as there are SCENES OF MILD PERIL, but some, as you'll see! Also, it feels like quite a nice place to PAUSE the VIDEO ONSLAUGHT for now. I've done EIGHT videos of songs from The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett so far, which means there are SIX left, and they should start coming mid-January. In the meantime, I really hope you like this one (it really did take BLOOMING AGES to make!) and as ever if you do please like, retweet, or generally approve of it in whatever way you see fit!

posted 12/12/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Comics, Books, And Literary Science Fiction
when I finished my PhD earlier this year I suddenly had a bit more time available for doing FUN things, which caused me to sit myself down and ask "Yes, but what does that MEAN eh? What is it I actually WANT to do, just for fun?" The answer came back with surprising swiftness, and it was "Watch telly, read comics and read books please."

THUS I have dedicated some SPECIAL TIME to doing these things, and I must say that they are indeed a LOT of fun. I've especially enjoyed reading some comics again, and have been popping into Gosh every few weeks to buy Trade Paperbacks of various things I've been meaning to catch up on (e.g. I'm on about three quarters of the way through "Descender"/"Ascender" at the moment and it is jolly good) and also buying ACTUAL NEW ISSUES of "Miracleman" as they come out. It's ACE!

There have been similar THRILLS in the world of BOOKS, not least a couple of weeks ago when I finally finished off all of the books on my KINDLE. As I'm sure most people who have one of these devices will know, it is VERY tempting to buy loads of books you like the look of and then never get around to actually reading them, so with my new free time I decided to read THE LOT before buying ANYTHING new. This didn't quite work out as planned - it turns out that buying PHYSICAL books doesn't count, according to my BRANE - but I did get through them all eventually, and was delighted to discover that most (though not all) of the books I liked the look of were dead good!

Having done that the next logical step was, of course, to BUY LOADS MORE, and so that is exactly what I did. For the past few years I've always tried to read some of the books on the Arthur C Clarke Award shortlist, as it is a GRATE list of science fiction books which I wouldn't necessarily have known about otherwise. There have been some RIGHT crackers on this list in the past, and so far this year is much the same. For instance, last week I read Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, which was FAB. It is very much a Literary Science Fiction book i.e. one written by a Posh People's Author (who doesn't usually DO this sort of thing) which is pretty much the same as their other books except they have a ROBOT or something in them. USUALLY this is a bit annoying and tedious, notably with Ian McEwan's "Machine Like Me" which was ALL RIGHT but was clearly someobdoy who had never really read any science fiction going "AHA! But what if we used science fiction as... A METAPHOR! Nobody has every thought of this before!" ANYWAY, THIS book was not at ALL like that. Well, all right, it did have a robot in it, and it was a lot like Kazuo Ishiguro's other books, but luckily Kazuo Ishiguro's other books are GRATE. It's all told from the point of view of the aforesaid ROBOT, and part of the fun is working out what they're on about as they describe a near-future world in their own terms, but it's also VERY emotional and beautifully told. He has FORM for this, OBVS, with Never Let Me Go, which was ALSO proper sci-fi and ALSO bloody brilliant.

After that HIGH I moved on with some trepidation to Wergen: The Alien Love War. I say trepidation because a) the title is not hugely inviting and b) the cover is... well, have a look for yourself and you'll see. HOWEVER, the summary sounded interesting and GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME the book itself is so far INCREDIBLE. It's beautifully written, rivettingly plotted, and most of all it features A WHOLE NEW IDEA (to me at least). The key THORT of it is this: human beings are colonising the galaxy alongside a bunch of aliens called The Wergen, who are a) genetically, unavoidably, TOTALLY IN LOVE with ALL human beings and b) a bit annoying. It's an amazing idea which Mercurio D. Rivera (who what wrote it) goes ALL IN on, which leads to a huge range of STORIES and IDEAS.

There's also a whole WORLD of other stuff that comes out of it, notably with the way The Wergen MATE, and all in all it's RUDDY AMAZING. I haven't enjoyed a book this much for AGES, and I have enjoyed a LOT of books, a LOT. As I say, I'm only halfway through but hopefully it will continue in this way. I guess it proves that, insofar as the contents go, you should not judge a book by it's cover.

Hmmm. Has anybody ever said that before? Maybe I should write a Literary Science Fiction Novel about it!

posted 8/12/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Video Schedule Update
When I sent out the latest newsletter on Wednesday it included a brief bit about VIDOES, which I thought I would EXTRAPOLATE on here. Nobody else is going to, after all, so it might as well be me!

Keen observers of my activities will have noted that there have been quite a lot of VIDOES produced for the album (The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett - why not give the gift of a USB stick full of ME this Christmas?), with SEVEN (7) unleashed so far and the promise/threat of more to come. The most recently allowed out into the wild was What I Always Think While Watching Poetry, the SHORTEST of all the videos and, funnily enough, the shortest song too. You can see it BELOW:



It was also the quickest video to MAKE too, unlike the next one Apocalypse Prepared, which is tentatively timetabled to head your way mid-December. That took FLIPPING MONTHS to do, as it is HAND DRAWN by ME using an exercise book and one of those pens with four different colours of ink in it. It was quite MEDITATIVE, drawing a picture every day or so, but it didn't half take a lot of time. Hopefully it will be WORTH it when you see it!

That will leave SIX (6) more to put out, of which THREE (3) are so far in the bank. I'm going to have a bit of a break from the video schedule after the next one, as this much THRILLPOWER can be difficult to cope with for everybody, and then start again mid-January, which gives me a nice slice of time to try and get them all done. After that I am very much considering re-editing THE LOT to tidy everything up (e.g. by seeing if I can DE-SHAKE Someone Else's Turn a bit, after MANY REMARKS) before joining them together into A CONCEPT FILM!

The DRIVING THORT of this is two-fold. Firstly, I just like the idea of turning an album into a FULL-LENGTH VISUAL EXPERIENCE, and secondly I see this as a way to INFLICT it all on a whole new bunch of people. I know from my experience of trying to do SCREENWRITING a few years ago that there are LOADS of film festivals you can enter such things into, and after spending most of the past YEAR working on this thing, I really want to make sure it is SHARED with as many people as possible. Also, I like the thought of SWANKING ROUND going "Yes yes, it us UN FILM what I have made, a concept movie IF YOU WILL where the concept is MOI."

All that is to come but for now, as they always say on TELLY, please LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE the channel. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but if it's good enough for DOCTOR WHO then it's good enough for me!

posted 2/12/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Actual Modern Nusic Of NOW
I sent out this month's newsletter earlier today, in which I mentioned that voiting for The Dandelion Radio Festive 50 was closing at midnight tonight - purely as a SERVICE you understand. I was not suggesting WHAT anybody should vote for of course, that is the furthest thing from my mind, but I know from personal experience that IMPORTANT MUSICAL ITEMS have been released this year and people might wish to vote for them. It's basically democracy I'm thinking of, that's all.

Anyway, having had my attempt at VOTER INFLUENCING I realised that, actually, for the first time in AGES, I could probably vote MYSELF. The Festive 50 is for tracks that have been released this year, but for the past few years I've not been sufficiently up to date to think of anything. However, here in the futuristic space era of 2022 I very much AM.

For LO! a few months ago I asked for some suggestions of NEW MUSIC on Social Media, and got a HUGE list of stuff to try out, much of which I have been working my way through ever since. I asked for recommendations of stuff that people THEMSELVES liked, rather than what they thought *I* might like, so there was quite a lot of stuff where I thought "Why on earth are you suggesting THIS?!?", but then that is always the way and is indeed All Part Of The Fun. However, there was also a TONNE of stuff that I liked, and some that I liked AN AWFUL LOT!

My absolute favourite of ALL the suggested acts was The Beths, who I FLIPPING LOVE. You might say that this is unusual - it's not like I have history of really really really liking female fronted bands from the southern hemisphere who have immense tunes and brilliant lyrics - but I have listened to them A LOT this year, and was VERY excited when their new album came out. It's SURELY DECADES since a modern current band that I a) LIKE b) do not know personally has released a brand new record, so it was QUITE the thrill, and I was even MORE excited when they announced a UK tour next year and LEAPT in to get some tickets - HOORAH!

I also thoroughly enjoyed Lonely Tourist, who, if they were any further up by my street would be driving up my metaphorical drive and into my GARAGE. My only complaint with these is that nobody had seen fit to tell me about them before (as far as I remember anyway), nor had any promoters thought "Hang on, this is VERY SIMILAR to Hibbett, why not get him to support them?" Come on, THE UNIVERSE, it is surely a DREAM BILL!

I voted for tracks by both of the above ("Expert In A Dying Field" and "Four Phone Calls" respectively) and also "WTD??" by Sad13 which is GRATE and has been stuck in my head for MONTHS. That is a FAB album by them, by the way, which also conforms to a TREND what I have noticed with the current new bands i.e. that the long held RULE of starting an album with a BANGER appears to have been relaxed. I suppose it doesn't matter so much in the age of STREAMING, but I was surprised by how many albums seem to start with A Bit Of A Slow One.

I also HUGELY enjoyed Holiday Ghosts and Dream Wife, despite BOTH being the sort of band I wouldn't have listened to previously (i.e. Band That Sound American But Aren't and Band Formed On A Course In Brighton). Bas Jan were dead good too, and after much Being Mentioned I also really liked Pip Blom. Also, OBVIOUSLY, like approx 98% of everybody on the planet I bought the Wet Leg album and listened to it for about three weeks straight as it was ACE.

There were various other albums I bought and Quite Liked, and several that I keep meaning to get to, and also MANY by PALS, but all in all 2022 so far (NB there is still a month to go so this is NOT a Best Of 2022 list - people who put out Best Of The Year lists in December should be ARRESTED) has been a pretty excellent year for music for me. If it carries on like this into 2023 I might even go to a few more gigs!

posted 30/11/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Nation Of Language
On Thursday night I went to an ACTUAL GIG performed by PEOPLE I DON'T KNOW! I had forgotten such things existed, but was reminded of the fact by Mr M Sutton, who got us the tickets for the gig, and I must say (SPOILERS) I am pleased he did, because it was GRATE.

The gig was by Nation Of Language who I must admit I had never heard of until a couple of months ago when Mark asked if I fancied going. Since then I have done much REVISION of their recent album A Way Forward, which is dead good. It's a bit Pet Shop Boys and a bit Frazier Chorus, to my ears anyway, though other people may have more up to date reference points!

The gig was at Electric Brixton which turned out to be the old Brixton Fridge. I'd never been there before, but was familiar with the TYPE. It reminded me of places like The Scala or the Astoria, with an upstairs bar area that was MUCH less busy than the downstairs ones, and also numerous CORRIDORS and STAIRWAYS that we could use to move between aforesaid bar area and the bit that is QUITE near the front but not TOO near. Such GIG SKILLZ take years to perfect, so it was nice to know they had not deserted us!

Listening to the album I had thought it was going to be a Young Hip Audience of Electro Synth TYPES, but it turned out to be, basically, a 6Music Audience, full of 6MUSIC DADS. 6Music Dads are DELIGHTFUL as they know how it all works, behave responsibly, and generally are not Gig Wankers. For some reason we felt very much at home amongst them!

After the support band had finished (who were WEIRDLY flat, as if they were trying not to be too exciting, apart from the bass player who was clearly Doing Her Best) we were joined by the other half of the audience, reducing the aveerage ago by a couple of decades. The gear was set up, the lights went down, and I remembered just how EXCITING this bit is at Big Gigs. Then the band came on and ... COR! They were DISTINCTLY not how they sounded on record! Where that was calm, mellow and bleeping, this was FLIPPING ROCKING!

The line-up was a singer, a bass player, and a synth wizard, but between them they made a HUGE noise, with everyone ROCKING OUT pretty much throughout, apart from an interval where the bass player got everyone to say happy birthday to his NAN (and if anything is guaranteed to win over 6Music Dads, that is it). The singer was dancing around ALL OVER THE PLACE and the whole show felt ENORMOUS. It was GRATE!

Really my only complaint was that the album had misled me to believe that the actual gig would not be as BANGERTASTIC as it turned out to be. Come on, Producers Of Records, make bands who are exciting LIVE sound similarly exciting on tape! Other than that: COR! I can see now why the much mnetioned 6Music Dads continue to make the effort to go out. Gigs are BRILLIANT!

posted 25/11/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Black Panther and Black Adam
I have recently been to the pictures TWICE to see two different superhero films with similar-ish names - "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" and "Black Adam: Murder Is Hilarious." They were NOT similar in many other ways!

I went to see Black Panther with my traditional MCU Pal Mr S Carter, who had booked us in to see it at the BFI. As per he had selected PRIME CINEASTE SEATS in the middle right at the back, and by the time we got there I was out of breath for LO! it is a MASSIVE cinema with a RUDDY ENORMOUS screen. Crumbs but it was big, and that meant that the FILM itself felt pretty enornous too.

This was also helped by the fact that the actual film IS rather huge, with a LOT going on. Dull idiots always say dull, idiotic things like "Ooh, superhero films, they're all the same aren't they?" but this was VERY different to something like "Guardians Of The Galaxy" or "Thor: Ragnorak", as it was QUITE SERIOUS throughout (though there were still some GAGS) and had a lot to say about GRIEF and all that. It was also pretty EPIC in its story, and in places it felt like Game Of Thrones or something, with Important Families and Huge Nations going into battle.

The whole thing was Very Exciting throughout, but there were two key points I took away from it. Firatly, it was amazing to watch a colossal blockbuster of action and excitement where nearly ALL of the main characters were WOMEN, and also Women Of Colour, but that not be The Be All And End All of it. I guess if they HAD spent the whole film going "Look! Look who the main characters are everybody! Let's just do that and not bother with a plot" then it would probably get a LOT more Oscars than the traditional single Oscar for something technical that superhero films usually get, but it would have been a lot less GRATE.

The second key point is that flipping NAMOR THE SUBMARINER was not only IN it, but he was presented VISUALLY very much like he is in the comics - including FLAPPY LITTLE ANKLE WINGS and also TINY GREEN SWIMMING TRUNKS - and yet was STILL VERY COOL! I am entirely happy with all the changes to Atlantis and all that, but I was AMAZED throughout that they made him so brilliant. Well done, MARVEL!

So yes, I enjoyed it a LOT, which is much more than can be said for "Black Adam", although I must admit that the cinema I saw it at may have contrinuted to my lack of THRILLZ. I saw it in the VUE in Stratford Westfield early on a Saturday evening and my fellow moviegoers were A BIT MUCH. Crikey, it felt like pretty much EVERYBODY got up at some point and left for a bit, almost always having A GOOD OLD CHAT about it before and afterwards, including the ENTIRE ROW of teenage boys who changed seats eighteen times and then LEFT FOREVER halfway through. It was like being at a GIG!

The film itself was mostly sort of ALL RIGHT, but some of the choices were a bit DERANGED. Why oh why oh why does anybody think having a PLUCKY SKATEBOARDING TEEN as the main character is a good idea? It was dreary and annoying when THE CHILDREN'S FILM FOUNDATION did it, and it hasn't got any more wonderful since then, even with the 21st Century innovation of having their BRAVE YET BEAUTIFUL SINGLE MUM as the main romantic lead. And the less said about FUN FAT UNCLE the better.

It MIGHT be argued that the Plucky Teen is there to appeal to Actual Children, but in that case it's even more MAD that the main moral lesson of the movie is "MURDER IS HILARIOUS!" All the way through people get murdered in more and more ridiculous, yet explicit, ways, and all the way through this is played as BRILLIANT, even when other characters say it isn't, it's immediately followed up by a Plucky Local saying "No, it is FAB!" I don't mind this sort of thing when it's done WELL, like in Deadpool or something, but here it felt QUEASY when mixed up with TEEN FUN.

It wasn't all terrible - The Justice Society were done really well, in a fashion quite similar to how NAMOR was done in Black Panther, and I especially liked COUSIN PIERCE* (* he is my second cousin twice removed by marriage - FACT) as Doctor Fate. All of that stuff was good fun, but the rest of it was mostly DULL, except where it was ANNOYING. I have done really well over the past few years in avoding the inevitable disappointment of DC movies by simply NOT going to see them but I'd read a couple of reviews recently that said this one would be different. It wasn't as hideously awful as "Batman VS Superman: Three Hours Of Tedium", but that's not saying an awful lot!

In summary: Black Panther good, Black Adam tedious, plucky teens awful, tiny green swimming trunks GRATE!

posted 22/11/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Into The Escape Capsules
The HOT TOPIC over on twitter for the past week or so has been TWITTER ITSELF, as everybody discusses what's going to happen now that The World's Worst Boss has taken it over and is seeking to inspire his staff by telling them that a) free speech is the most important thing ever b) they all have to dedicate their entire lives to his glory c) anyone who disagrees gets sacked. Who could have predicted that THAT would backfire?

With all that going on many WISE HEADS have been looking at places to go to should Twitter collapse under the weight of Everybody Who Knows How It Works Being Sacekd. The lead place to do this seems to be Mastodon, and so I have joined the mad rush of people going over there to set up accounts. I'd originally set up an account four years ago, on the advice of my in-house Comms expert, inspired by Mr J Kell taking it, but now I've gone back and have been gradually ADDING stuff to it and even POSTING. If you'd like to follow me there you can find me at https://mastodon.social/@mjhibbett.

Mastodon was not my first choice, however. Initially I had the DELIGHTFUL idea of just going back to MYSPACE, and did my very best to log back into my original account there. For some reason I wasn't able to get in - I tried "Forgot Password" but, three days later, nothing has come through. It COULD be that I used an old work email to set it up, but I don't think so. I filled in a FORM to ask for help but I guess I might not be the only one trying to get back in, so Justin Timberlake (he's the owner now I think?) has probably got his hands full.

So it looks like Mastodon is the place, and with that in mind I have added a LINK to it on these very webpages, which felt weirdly SERIOUS. In many many ways it will be a shame if twitter is run into the ground by the supreme arrogance of someone born into enormous wealth (it's not like THOSE GUYS have form for this sort of thing is it?) as it's been a GRATE place for learning about stuff and indeed SHOWING OFF over the years. If it does go though it might be a nice way for us all to REBUILD what we actually liked about it in the first place. If nothing else, getting rid of all the INCREDIBLY ANNOYING adverts that clog twitter up these days would be a BOON to all our lives - and it would leave lots more room for the rest of us to do our own, ENTIRELY CHARMING advertising instead.

Talking of which, I should probably go and do a POST on Mastodon to say I've done this blog shouldn't I? Hopefully it will make a nice change from everybody just talking about twitter!

posted 21/11/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Bad Back UNLEASHED
Today I am DELIGHTED to be releasing a thrilling new single, Bad Back (Osteopaths Of Glory Mix). It's a BANGING remix done by our very own Frankie Machine, and it's available on Spotify and all of your usual streaming services, including BANDCAMP right here:



As is my WONT of late I have also done a VIDEO to go with it, which is visible below:



Rather wonderfully Mr Steve Lamacq played the original album version on his 6music show on Friday, although I missed it because - TRUTH - I'd got the yoga mat out and was doing my back exercises!

As ever any tweets, instagram mentions, reviews or just shouting about it in the street would be VERY much appreciated, as I think this is pretty darn GRATE and would benefit from being heard about.

posted 14/11/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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A Proper Book
This morning I got an email containing the EXCITING news that the book Comics And Agency has been published. Obviously this is MOSTLY exciting because of the amazing array of BRANES involved in it, all with the aim to "intensify the interdisciplinary dialogue on comics and related popular multimodal forms (including manga, graphic novels, and cartoons) by focusing on the concept of medial, mediated, and mediating agency", but I must admit a lot of my own excitement is because I AM IN IT!

It will come as little surprise to anybody to find out that I am banging on about Doctor Doom as usual, in a chapter called "The Agents of Doom: An Empirical Approach to Transmedia Actors". It's an adaptation of a paper I presented at COMFOR a while ago, sharing some of the ideas behind my PhD and focusing on Market Authors and Textual Authors. I could tell you more about this here but there is NO POINT because the book is GOLD OPEN ACCESS so you can read it yourself!

I really am FLIPPING THRILLED about this - I've done loads of conference presentations, talks, and a few articles, but this is the first actual proper BOOK I've been involved in, and it is a CRACKER. Apparently I'll be getting a physical copy for myself too at some point - I CANNOT WAIT!

posted 12/11/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Fire Drill Proposal
Today I have the great pleasure of unleashing the video for my song Fire Drill, the latest in the series of videos of songs from The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett. Here it is:



As discussed elsewhere (notably my track by track analysis of the whole album for JOYZINE) this song puts forward the proposal that public safety would be better served if we had FEWER fire drills. In every job I have ever had, and indeed also when I was at school, the reaction to the fire alarm going off was a collective GROAN, followed by sluggish trudging towards the doors, often stopping to get stuff on the way because experience had told us this was CLEARLY NOT A FIRE.

My suggestion is that Fire Marshals should TELL us when there's going to be a drill. "Oh but then you would not behave as you would in a real fire," is always the answer to this from Fire Marshals. WE ARE ALREADY NOT DOING THAT is my furtehr response, ESPECIALLY on occasions when we've all seen you lurking around the entrance lobby GIGGLING to yourself. The purpose of a drill is to have a PRACTICE, so if you TELL us that is what it is then we can all be ready for it (so it doesn't bugger up long planned events, or lose HOURS of time during the day as everybody has to queue up to get back into the building) and will then WILLINGLY go along with procedures and do it PROPERLY, rather than with loathing and bitterness in our hearts. And THEN, when we hear a fire alarm when we HAVEN'T been told there's a drill, we will assume that it IS an actual fire and do it PROPERLY, rather than going to rinse our cup out, shutting down the computer, putting on our coat and so forth.

To be honest it is also borne out of being ENTIRELY FED UP of having to do them, but then again this is an echo of the PALPABLE GLEE of many Fire Marshals I have known over the years who love the POWER TRIP of forcing everyone out into the cold unneccessarily. For the good of everyone, I say it is time to put these tawdry considerations aside and reform the system once and for all!

posted 9/11/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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End Of Tour Finale
On Saturday I headed NORTH, to distant MIDDLEWICH. I must admit I was rather dreading the journey as a) there was meant to be a STRIKE and b) it was on Avanti West Coast, so I was expecting cancellations, delays, and all sorts of TUMULT. In the end the strike was called off and the journey was Rather Pleasant, largely due to most other people deciding not to risk it - PHEW!

I was met at Crewe station by Mr G Williams, who was putting on my GIG that night at The Kings Lock. It was very nice of Gareth to put me on, it was even NICER of him to pick me up from the station, but it was utterly above and beyond for him to come and fetch me from the ACTUAL PLATFORM. This must be what it feels like to be MARIAH CAREY!

Gareth dropped me off at the hotel I was staying in and then we reconvened back at The Kings Lock a couple of hours later. Earlier in the afternoon a ROARING FIRE had been set, which was very cosy but also POTENTIALLY DEADLY as it was RIGHT in the corner of the pub where the PA was being set up. "I'll fix it!" said a man called Adie, and he spring into action, using some TONGS to pick up the BURNING LOGS, drop them in a tin bucket, and then carry them outside.

At which point the fire alarm went off. And kept going off! The landlord managed to get it switched off after a while, and the FIRE ENGINE did not need to come, but it was all very exciting and there was MUCH JIBING throughout the rest of the evening. It was an exciting start to the night!

We got set up, I went and got some chips, and then around 8pm Gareth went on in his GUISE as Jasmine Allen Estate to do the first SET. I've SEEN Gareth play before, last time I was at The Kings Lock for Pop At The Lock, but this was the first time I'd actually HEARD him, and he was GRATE. I've READ about some of the songs he's doing in his sets so it was fantastic to finally hear them, especially "Dead Cat" as I'd thought it was JUST a song about an actual dead cat, but it is SO MUCH MORE than that. It's nice when people you like turn out to be dead good, and that was very much the case here!

After that it was my turn and I done THIS:

  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • Good Cooking
  • It's Hard To Be Hopeful
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • Bad Back
  • I Think I Did OK
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • I tell you what, this whole "Only having one alcoholic drink before you start" thing is AMAZING - it's so much easier to remember the words and NOT PANIC when you are NOT DRUNK. Who knew? HASHTAG Continuuing Professional Development. It seemed to go pretty well, and I had a LOVELY time doing it, especially when people liked the new ones. HOORAH!

    After that we embarked on A LOT OF BEER, which was followed by a stroll back to my hotel and then SEVERAL LARGE WHISKIES, also INTELLECTUAL DISCUSSION, which was a LOT of fun. The next morning definitely was LESS SO, but it was a lovely end to what has been a rather enjoyable mini-tour. Thanks very much everyone who's come to see me, and especially to everyone who's put me on - let's do it all again soon-ish!

    posted 7/11/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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    Bad Back Single Cover Reveal
    As readers of the newsletter will already be aware, later this month I shall be UNLEASHING Bad Back as a single in a brand new MIX created by our very own Frankie Machine - the Osteopaths Of Glory Mix!

    SIDEBAR: One of Frankie's main responsibilities in The Validators is Thinking Of Names For Things - I think the title of this remix demonstrates why.

    The single will be out on all of The Streaming Services on Monday 14 November, and as it's a New Thing I'll be putting it up on Bandcamp too. It is something of a BANGER and I am pretty confident that it will go down well with the core demographic i.e. the intersection of the Venn diagram showing people who like DANCING and people who have bad backs.

    It also has a new COVER, which modern marketing plans insist I must REVEAL. So here it is, REVEALED!



    As you can hopefully see, I am folowing a THEME for these covers, and that theme is PICTURES OF ME. Again, I am resolutely sure that this can only be a positive!

    posted 3/11/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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