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Blog: RENAISSANCE Man

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Sunday was an IMMENSELY busy day, as I FLITTED across Fashionable London doing not one but TWO mighty acts of ROCK.

The first was in leafy Islington, where it appeared that EVERYBODY was in a) a couple b) possession of a pram c) GAP clothing. It was a LOVELY sunny day which seemed to have forced all the Young Parent Professionals out of the house, as they were EVERYWHERE.

Well, nearly everywhere - there were none in The Salmon & Compass when I arrived, that being the venue for The Hangover Lounge, the afternoon of PLATTER SPINNING and DISC JOCKEYING that i was due to "drop the bomb" at. In fact the ONLY people there were Mr Steve Blower and his lady friend Kaz, and the three of us sat to having a chat whilst we awaited the organisers. These appeared in the shape of Mr Ben Clancy, who got us some BEERS then got Steve set up on the DECKS. Steve had brought a laptop, various wires, his own personal mixer and a DJ HAT. I felt rather unprepared, as I'd brough about 12 CDs with me - OK, some of them were SPECIAL ones with various tracks on, but still, it would prove to not really be enough.

After about an hour it was my go, so Ben went and showed me how to work THE DECKS. To be honest this was the thing I was most worried about - for years I have been poncing around going "But DJing is PEASY! Any idiot can do it! PAH!" but I was AFEARED that, once faced with the reality of it, it might be HIDEOUSLY COMPLEX and DIFFICULT.

I needn't have worried. It's a piece of PISS. You put one CD in the CD player, turn it's fader up, and press play. Then you put another one in the other CD player and, when the first one has ended (OR, if you are a MIXMASTER EXTRAORDINAIRE, BEFORE it has ended!!) you faded THAT one in over the top, and REPEAT PROCESS. With this knowledge I did THIS as my first "set":
Rock Show - Paul McCartney & Wings
Patio Song - Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Tapestry - Carole King
Judy And The Dream Of Horses - Belle & Sebastian
Cracklin' Rosie - Neil Diamond
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder
Nice And Easy Does It - Frank Sinatra
The Return Of The Los Palmos Seven - Madness
Little Sister - Elvis Presley
My Little Kookanhaken - Jonathan Richman
Hanging Around - The Lemonheads
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel - Half Man Half Biscuit
You Don't Need A Licence For That - George Formby
Treehouse - I'm From Barcelona
Waiting For The Great Leap Forward - Billy Bragg
Hibbett's Superstore - MJ Hibbett
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - The Smiths
Barney And Me - The Boo Radleys

You may have guessed that this was NOT a Disco Dancing Discotheque, and you would be correct, it was more of a Sit Around Reading And Eating Afternoon. INDEED I spent most of the above "set" eating CHIPS, which had arrived for my lunch just as I'd started. It was BRILLIANT FUN - basically it was like being in a pub with a really good jukebox that is a) FREE and b) plays the songs in the order you want them in. GRATE!

Unfortunately I soon realised that I hadn't really brought enough CDs with me so that, an hour or so later when I went back on, I had to play some songs by Remarkably Similar Artistes:
Poison Ivy - The Coasters
Ain't That Loving You - Elvis Presley
Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie - Belle & Sebastian
(Hey Lloyd) I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken - Camera Obscura
For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
Songs About You - The Language Of Flowers
Don't Come The Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim - Kirsty MacColl
La-Ti-Da - The Icicles
Magneto And Titanium Man - Paul McCartney & Wings
Golf Girl - Caravan
My Girl - Madness

This was my favourite batch of TUNES, as I did a bit of a DANCE during them and TWO people came up to ask "What's that?" when I played "Songs About You". It was like being the Disc Jockey in a two part crime drama special on ITV1! There were a good few more people by this point, including Dr Neil Brown who came as if CALLED by the magic power of playing Caravan. Also in attendance were The Hewitts and KREW and, briefly, Steve from Sheffield who'd wondered off on a pub crawl... just as I started to play George Formby. Coincidence?

Social FACT I have learnt during all this, by the way: when people make a large figure "T" with their hands in this kind of environment, it means "what a good song!" or "TUNE", and is NOT being used as a signal for a timeout. I saw people do this a couple of times and thought "Eh? Are they indicating that the music should have a five minute break so everyone could discuss tactics?" Maybe when I was on THE WHEELS OF STEEL that IS what they meant...

Anyway, for the last batch Dr Brown and I did some TAGTEAMING, as he had his USB MP3 player with him and I'd run out of songs, and we played THIS:
Do The Indie Kid - MJ Hibbett & The Validators
Love Somebody, Yes I Do - The Fighting Cocks
Jet - Wings
If It Don't Work Out - The Zombies
It's About Time - The Lemonheads
Foggy Notion - The Velvet Underground
House Of Fun - Madness
Song Sung Blue - Neil Diamond
So Many Tears - The Keys
Lazarus - The Boo Radleys
Nice Work If You Can Get It - Frank Sinatra

Playing one of my OWN songs first drew some COMPLAINTS as apparently it is against the RULES of Disc Jockeying, to which I say HA! I will not be governed by these Establishment rules, i am a MAVERICK! Also, I found a copy of It Only Works Because You're Here in my bag and POUNCED on it as a source of Other Songs. This was VERY handy as we got a bit "confused" with using the laptop, and only got THREE songs out of it in the end. I wonder, dear reader, if you can guess which?

Job done we packed up and headed over to Fashionable Shoreditch, where I was due to do a gig for John Peel Day. Neil had to dash off, but I was joined by Steve, coming off the end of his pub crawl. We watched a coupld of bands who were very much the sort of Slint/Americana/Angular band that young George, who organised the whole thing, rather likes. I must admit it passes me by a bit, I always think "Yes, you have clearly practiced A LOT to be able to do this", but that's about it. Some bands seem to do songs that are all CHORUS, most bands do all VERSE, but this sort of thing appears to me to be all BRIDGES.

And on that PHILOSOPHICAL SHOCKER I went on to do the following:
  • ThePeterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
  • TheGay Train
  • MyBoss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • ItOnly Works Because You're Here
  • BillyJones Is Dead
  • We'reOld And We're Tired (and we want to go home)
  • TheLesson Of The Smiths

  • I found the whole experience a bit TERRIFYING, not least because I'd been in the pub all day. Also I felt rather out of place, doing my songs in the middle of the ANGULAR RHYTMNS and NOISE TERROR. I started badly by stopping ThePeterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B) halfway through in order to change the levels, but I think i passed it off fairly lightly, and had more and more fun as I went through it all. As usual i focussed on the people LEAVING, but afterwards several people seemed to have enjoyed it. I was still a bit scared though!

    Soon it was time to leave, pausing on the way to say hello to John Peel's daughter!! She'd arrived and been introduced to George, so I said "Hello" as I passed. Actually, like a WEIRD OLD LOONIE I said "Like many people my age I listened to you grow up", realised how DERANGED that sounded, and FLED!

    posted 13/10/2008 by MJ Hibbett

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    Comments:

    Oh, I'm very sorry to have missed your DJtastic Hangover Lounge set. I've been the last few weeks, but this one totally slipped my mind.

    I also should say that I WON that e-Bay auction of A Million Ukeleles that you posted about a while ago, so I am very pleased to welcome it to mine HOUSE.
    posted 13/10/2008 by Ewan

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