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Blog: Sheffield/Leicester

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Up bright and early then a Surprise Bus, stroll, tube, tube, train and a tram and I was at Sheffield University Student Union, where they were having their annual Fuzz Club Barbecue. The stage I was playing on was set up out in the garden, which would have been LOVELY if it had been a nice day but unfortunately it wasn't, not really. The sun kept popping out but would then be overcome by RAIN, forcing the sizable crowd of young people inside. There was loads of beer, several tents, barbecue food, and the aforementioned YOUNG PEOPLE, which made it all like a Festival.

In keeping with this I spent an hour or so WANDERING AROUND looking for someone I knew. Eventually Penny The Organiser found me and we had a quick chat on the merits of Bands In Retirement (much easier to just go to the PUB with when you don't have to do any gigs) before my LUNCH arrived. I then had another wander round and found The Patricians and was alarmed to discover that Bob From Them was NOT wearing an eye patch as part of some Jolly Student WHEEZE, but because he'd had a "minor" brain haemmorrage! I wasn't aware you could get that in a small size, but apparently so, and it just meant he couldn't look at things in stereo for a while. He seemed to be taking it quite well.

Soon after that it was time for THE GIG. Due to the staging and placement of TENTS i had to sit down to play, otherwise no-one would have been able to see me, and it made me feel EVEN OLDER than usual, as if The Youngsters were clustering round Old Uncle Mark to hear a STORY. I started off with a small-ish crowd, and this is what I played:
  • Better Things To Do
  • It Only Works Because You're Here
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • The Fight For History
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • If you'll excuse me saying so, it went REALLY WELL. The start was a little shakey, as we worked out the sound levels, but i DID say "I'll start quiet and get louder", even if that wasn't quite how I meant it. As the set went on more and more people came to look what was going on and, gor blimey, mostly STAYED. It was LOVELY - people seemed to get WELL into it, there was joining in and ENJOYMENT IN GENERAL and by george i felt GOOD by the end of it. It was LOVELY! The only odd thing was that several people said afterwards "But you didn't do an encore - why not?" Nobody asked for one!

    Afterwards they announced the results of the Band Competition - this was a thing where eight bands were being picked from DEMO TAPES to play in a Big Band Competition - which was a bit nerve wracking as The Patricians were IN, and I feared that close association with ME that day might mean they wouldn't get in. However, they did, and joy shone around. I then had a chat to a lovely chap who comes to my gigs in Sheffield quite often but has never, I don't think, told me his name. He bought me a pint of MILD, which i was a bit alarmed by but, astonishingly, QUITE LIKED. I've never had a pint of mild all to myself before, and I was very surprised to enjoy it. If i hadn't felt old already I certainly did then, stood amongst the YOUTH with a MILD, so I kissed a baby, hugged some pals, and hopped onto a TRAM into town, where my friend and I found that most of the pubs we SHUT. We walked past a rather unpleasant sounding All-Dayer at the National Music Centre and popped into that pub opposite the station to find ANOTHER all-dayer going on. At this one someone LOOKED at me and pointed me out to her boyfriend - having just come from signing autographs... OK, autograph, but still... I thought they MUST be saying "Look! it is THE HIBBETT!" although, actually, they were probably saying "Look at that idiot with a guitar strapped to his back, is it Man Who Thinks It's An Open Mic Night?"

    Anyway, then it was time for another TRAIN to Leicester then a gentle stroll across Nelson Mandela Park to The Victory, where my second gig of the day was occuring. This was a May Day DO for the Leicester Social Forum, which is an alliance of LEFTIES in Leicester who have "put aside their differences" to campaign for stuff. I was filled with DREAD at the prospect, but actually they were LOVELY people - proper old fashioned LEFTIES who, yes, may have the odd STRANGE OPINION about Trotsky and so forth, but underneath were proper Socialists Of The Heart, who just want to make things nicer. Mostly anyway, there was one woman who was there to Talk About Palestine who spent the ENTIRE GIG sat right at the front looking fed up in that way that says "Look at me! I am extremely important and fed up! yes! Everyone join in with ME and my MASSIVELY SELF-INDULGENT GLOOM!" At several points in the evening she was moved to DRUM ARRYTHMICALLY on her knees in an effort to draw attention to herself - she was the Older Female Equivalent of Jealous Boyfriend Talking Loudly. You know the one I mean - when GURLS are looking at the BAND and not him he tried to compete by sitting with his back to the stage talking loudly and perpetually. All these people are doomed to defeat by the MIGHTY NOISE OF THE PA but still, they are a bit annoying.

    HOWEVER, that was all yet to come, as for now I indulged in delicious CHAT with the lovely people who were there, including Dr Neil Brown, who'd organised it, Craig and Emily (and some of their PALS, who had already seen me on Saturday in Nottingham but somehow needed MORE, which i thought was rather nice), "Tiger" Tom McClure, Sorted Supremo Dave Dixy, and a whole heap of Leicester Types. The Bobby McGees were on second - first had been an alarmingly young girl with a LOVELY singing voice who'd sung some HARROWING songs about domestic violence which, i must admit, I'd found a bit much and had retreated to the downstairs bar. The Bobby McGees came on and COMPLETELY RULED - they do seem to get better and better all the time, their was banter, there was fun, and the songs seemed HUNKIER and rippling with MUSCLE. It was GOOD.

    Plans & Apologies were supposed to play but, as Dr Brown said, they'd planned to, but had ended up having to apologise. This was just as well, as their 38 man line-up couldn't have fitted on the stage, let alone got into the PA system, so it was left to ME to play last, and here is what I played:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • It Only Works Because You're Here
  • She's A Spaceman
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • The Fight For History
  • Breaks In The Journey
  • Leave My Brother Alone
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • It was THOROUGHLY enjoyable, especially as the aforesaid LEFTIES seemed to get into it and didn't mind my remarks re. "TROTS" in "The Lesson Of The Smiths". My favourite bit of the whole GIG though was just before that song, when I said "This is about the two greatest songwriters to come out of Manchester!" as i tend to do. "Noel and Liam Gallagher!" someone shouted. "They're not even the two greatest songwriters in that FAMILY" i retorted, and would have stopped for a minute to bathe in what i thought was a DEAD CLEVER thing to say, except nobody else seemed to be quite as impressed with the remark as i was.

    ANYWAY it all went really well and much JOY was had by me. Once again a couple of people said "You could have done an encore!" even though, once again, nobody had seemed to want one, and then we moved on to the main body of the evening i.e. GENERAL CHAT and LARFS. We had many of these, it was a DELIGHT.

    It was thus a knackered but happy Hibbett who woke this morning on Dr Brown's sofa in Stoneygate, ready for the long trip home. It has been a May Day Weekend of ROCK!

    posted 2/5/2006 by MJ Hibbett

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    Re: the two missed encore opportunities. Couldn't you just ask the audience if they want one or not, before the last song? Not only would this be a post-ironic deconstruction of the idiom of the modern encore, it would avoid embarrassment and disappointment on both sides. Artful and functional.
    posted 3/5/2006 by Dan

    dude, mild is aces, although i'm less keen on some of these ones that get over 4%, by that point it's a porter, shurely?

    anyway, embrace the mild (even if it involves re-touching the golden rules of beer ;))

    also, you are CORRECT to not do encores, all proper artistes know when to leave the stage, even though most (b&s, msp etcetc) sell out eventually, at least we have GEDGE and his WEDDOES flying the flag for the "no encores, not ever" cause.
    posted 3/5/2006 by CarsmileSteve

    check out that link at theregister about myspace.

    recent terms and conditions changes mean they will have exclusive rights to your material if posted though myspace....!
    posted 3/5/2006 by Coolkama

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