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Blog Archive: July 2005

Live At The 12 Bar / Newsletter
First of all - I've just sent out this month's Newsletter, and got back the usual flurry of Out Of Office Auto Replies. Aaah! These are lovely - I hope all those of you currently on holiday are having a nice time!

Meanwhile I am RECOVERING from a GRATE night out last night at the 12 Bar. It was all very civilised to begin with as I'm now USED to playing there and so have a very pleasant ROUTINE of going for soundcheck then NIPPING back to work to eat my TEA. I got back to the venue for about 8.30, spoke to Messrs Kell and Walker who'd arrived a bit early, fetched The Horn On My Hooter from the toob station, and then had a chat with Nick The Promoter and then Steve and Ned, the latter having come from THE AMERICAS! I've known Ned on the interweb for years, so it was lovely to see him in HUMAN FORM at last, and it reminded me of how VERY much I like Americans In The UK - there seems to be a very strict policy at border control, that they only let the NICE Americans leave the country, and only THEN on the strict condition that they come and talk to me at gigs.

Time SPED by, and suddenly i was onstage, playing THIS:

The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Hey William
Dino At The Sands
Red & White Sockets
Hey Hey 16K
Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)
Clubbing In The Week
Easily Impressed
Boom Shake The Room

Yes, i was FINALLY brave enough to do "Hey William" AND "Dino At The Sands". They both felt GOOD, and benefited HUGELY from a proper explanation beforehand. I felt a bit nervous to start with, especially during the new songs, but REALLY got into it, and cast about a LITRE of ROCK SWEAT around both floors of the venue. Mr Carsmile Steve (of the interweb) was on ESPECIALLY good form, doing audience participation in "Clubbing In The Week" and fulfilling the role of STOOGE on the "Ooh ooh ooh ooh AAAH" bit in "Boom Shake The Room" (much like Young Ray did last week in Birmingham) and I even EXPERIMENTED by doing parts of the latter slightly differently. Ooh! It was all dead good anyway, and I had a GRATE time.

We then had an absolutely LOVELY time just lurking around and CHATTING with the above and also with Lady On The Radio Claire Dicko, especially when a PERSONALLY AFFRONTED Dr Who Fan joined the fray, having overheard some Comments Made. The 12 Bar is a GRATE place - it always feels COMFY there, like they HAVE Regulars but would be quite happy to let you be one too, if you'd like.

A measure of how much fun I had is that i awoke just after 7am and was TOO EXCITED by thoughts of the night before to go back to sleep. HOOPLA! It was LOVELY!

So that's the end of the FRENETIC ROCKING of July - it's been fun, but EXHAUSTING. Only one gig in August, before our week in Devon, but there's all SORTS of thrilling prospects for gigs in September. All the news, as it happens, right here true believer - EXCELSIOR!

posted 29/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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The UBER Uber-Set
I've set up an Exciting New THING in my Rock Database: SETLISTS!

I decided to do this because I had an IDEA yesterday: a LIVE album! This arose because i was thinking how it's always a bit of a pain when I need to send off a CD to get a SOLO GIG, as I don't actually HAVE anything particularly suitable. If I had a SOLO CD i could use THAT - and then i realised this would be a handy thing to have for gigs ANYWAY, as I tend to feel a bit bad trying to sell people copies of, for instance, "This Is Not A Library" when I only ever do a one or two songs off it. This morning i was showing The Greatest Of My Hits a copy of the Tasty CD i got at the weekend, which features "Hibbett's Golden Rules Of Beer", and she remarked how NICE and SIMPLY it was packaged, in just a wallet, and i REALISED that i could do my LIVE CD like that - it would make life a LOT easier, as lugging 10 of those around would be a LOT less effort than 10 normal CDs! AHA!

So yes, these thoughts have tended towards me setting up the system to work out what IS the Uber Set, and it is GRATE! I've only done it for 2005 because I only really started putting my setlists on the website this year (although there's still about four gigs where I forgot to do it). LINKING this into the rest of the system means i can do all SORTS of things, especially seeing what I've played in particular cities before, so's i don't end up playing the same thing to the same people every time e.g. I NOTE i haven't played Payday on my own in London this year, so might do it tonight. Isn't technology FANTASTIC?

So yes, i have thus utilised all this to work out not only WHICH songs I have played the most, but also in what ORDER i usually play them! So, here is what will probably be the running order for "MJ HIBBETT: THE UBER SET", should i ever actually get round to doing it:

The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
Red & White Sockets
Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)
Fucking Hippy
Hey Hey 16K
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Work's All Right (when it's a proper job)
The Perfect Love Song
Clubbing In The Week
Billy Jones Is Dead
Easily Impressed
Boom Shake The Room


No real surprises there - it's a bit biased towards songs from "Warriors Of Nanpantan", obviously, but looks pretty good doesn't it? To the STUDIO! EVENTUALLY!

posted 28/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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ARGH! Scary Fear!
I went to see "War Of The Worlds" last night. Much comment has been made about it's 12A rating, as some have suggested it's a bit too scary for children. I personally would suggest it should have a 40+ rating, as it was FAR FAR TOO FRIGHTENING for 35 year olds! ARGH! SCARY FEAR! That was the most TERRIFYING film i've seen at the pictures - YIPES!

I suppose it might JUST have SOMETHING to do with The Current Political Climate, as it was RIDDLED with "Oh LORDY!" moments, like the bit with the crashed plane, or when the buildings get destroyed, or ESPECIALLY The Bit With The Train. EEK! URK! I got some funny looks on the TOOB on the way home, largely because i looked VERY NERVOUS - this wasn't because my rucksack contained anything dodgy (apart from my whiffy PE Kit, but that's not unusual), it was because the TOOB NOISES were exactly the same as the TRIPODS clanking around, and i was a bit afeared LEST one of THEM came haring down the tunnel. Where's David Essex when you need him eh? Jeff Wayne's version was never like this!

I mean, it's dead good - whilst watching it I thought "Yes, this is Important Film Making, this is What It Would Be Like if... well, if Martians attacked. Er... why is that important then?" and ON BALANCE i must say it was all A Bit Much. Especially as the moral of the story appears to be "Don't worry about being a bit of a selfish sod all your life - if events beyond your ken unfold your daughter will respect you due to The Common Cold." Is this REALLY what we need to teach our young people?

posted 28/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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SPORK!
For lunch i will often have a FRUIT SELECTION - it's LIKE having a mars bar, insomuch as it's all DECADENT and COSTLY, but dissimilar INSOMUCH as it's... er... fruit, instead of chocolate. The past couple of times I've bought one it's had a rather DELIGHTFUL addition to the packaging: a SPORK!

What a FANTASTIC word that is - SPORK! Just THINKING it fills one with happiness. SPORK! It is, as i am sure you have guessed, the Actual Name for those little plastic spoons that also work as forks. A SPORK!

OH! how much more thrilling would Imaginary Dinner Parties BE if you could lean over and say "Do you need a SPORK, your worship?" or "Would you pass me a fresh SPORK, my good man? I fear i have SPORKED too energetically!" It wouldn't be anything LIKE as much fun if it was called a FOON... or would it. "I thay! Ith that my FOON you're uthing, arch-ducheth?" Actually, that's not bad either.

FIFE AND KNORK!

In other news, I'm on stage at 10pm on Thursday at the 12 Bar in That London. I will try and have got all of this out of my system by then.

posted 26/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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I've Never Seen A Ukelele Quite As Big As That Before
On Sunday i CHARGED (defiantly) across town to pick up my guitar from work and then WALKED (in the sunshine) up to Camden, to play my gig at The Victoria, near Mornington Crescent. It was a lovely early evening for it, and I was amazed at how close to "town" Camden is, and also how you could actually SMELL Camden approaching - it's that gentle aroma of sweat, beer and KEBABS, i think. "Suddenly Camden, Is starting to Happen" i sang to myself.

The Victoria's a lovely pub, and a GRATE place to do the Fortuna Pop! Acousticola that i was heading for. The idea was that there were three Australian singers over, and Sean Fortuna Pop! had organised this lengthy afternoon and evening SESSION for them to play at. I arrived as Long Johnny Silver was playing, who was very nice, and then thoroughly enjoyed Matthew (i think that was his name) from The Ghosts, who was dead good. He played a TENOR UKELELE, which in the ukelele scheme of things is MASSIVE. "I've never seen a ukelele quite as big as that before" i sang, again, to myself. I continued to sing this song later that evening, at which point it GREW some ponderously punning RUDE VERSES which, thankfully, have disappeared from my BRANE.

To my surprise and JOY there were a few people there i KNEW who had come to see ME, which is always nice, and once again i was SURPRISED to find Sam Tasty, who lives in NOTTINGHAM for heaven's sake, was there. What the?!? I wonder if this will become a PATTERN? He was there mostly to see The Would Be Goods, who were on next, and had some EXTREMELY GENTEEL audience reaction. When, say, Macca strums the first few chords of "Yesterday" people go "WHOA! YEAH! HEY HEY!" and "WHOOP!" When the Would Be Goods started one of their songs someone quite quietly but distinctly went "Ooh!" It was lovely.

Then it was ME, and i had been STRUGGLING with what i was going to play - this WAS the Slightly Reverent AIR i had been expecting in Birmingham, so prepared a list accordingly, then WORRIED because there WERE some people NEW to me there (including a chap that Mr J Norledge had brought with him), and i didn't want their first experience of ME to be me fumbling about cocking it all up singing loads of quiet songs.

Also in my mind was THE PA system - last time i'd played there i had CAST IT ASIDE and done most of the gig completely UNPLUGGED. This had been DEAD GOOD - it had WORKED, and people seemed to remember me because of it, BUT this system is not ideally suited to the VERY QUIET songs i had planned. My BRANE, it RAGED! I went to set up, and spoke to the very nice chap in charge of the sound, who had a CUNNING IDEA - my guitar was plugged into an amp, so was VERY SLIGHTLY louder than it would otherwise have been, and the microphone was placed about TWO FOOT away, pointing in my general direction. This seemed a bit WEIRD to me, and felt odd to start with, but had the effect of VERY SLIGHTLY amplifying my voice, without distorting horribly, AND i could lean forward to get EMPHASIS if i wanted. HOLA! It worked GRATE, and here is what i actually played:
  • The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • Hey William
  • Red And White Sockets
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • A MIXTURE then of UBER SET, new material, an OBSCURE(isH) song (which i decided to do as I'd brought loads of copies of "Warriors" with me) and at last the LIVE DEBUT of "Hey William". This latter seemed to go OK - i messed it up a bit, and it NEEDS WORK, but i DID get a bit TINGLY towards the end. A couple of people had ASKED me to do "Boom Shake The Room" too, HENCE that was still there... and went DEAD well, i must say. INDEED the whole set went (i hesitate to say it) REALLY WELL! HOORAH! People seemed to GET INTO IT, there was a whole BUNCH of people who seemed to know the stuff, and a GRATE deal of fun was had by ME! ZANG! Apparently Pete Hahndorf (of TWEENET!) was there and was CONFUSED by my VERNACULAR, but everyone else seemed to DIG it. Did i mention that i REALLY enjoyed it, also? I REALLY DID!

    Afterwards I spoke to a young lady called Jude, who runs a DO called The Light Programme in Stoke Newington, which i will hopefully be playing at in a couple of months time. HOORAH! I spoke, in fact, to MANY delightful people and had a LOVELY time swanning around, but was most moved when I spoke to a chap called JAMES, just as I was leaving. I'd noted him AIR DRUMMING along to "Easily Impressed", and thanked him. It turned out he had that song and "Leave My Brother Alone" from an old GoJohnnyGoGoGo compilation, and said that the latter had recently helped him, as he'd been through an Emotionally Unpleasant Situation recently, and it had remined him of his sister, and how she had helped him through it, especially as his name was the same as my own brother, as mentioned iN SONG. I may have the details a bit mixed up, but it WAS very moving and lovely. Aaah!

    I thus strode out into the night and for the tube station full of JOY and EMOTIONALITY, thinking what a GRATE gig that had been, singing "I've Never Seen A Ukelele Quite As Big As That Before" to myself. ACE!

    posted 25/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Just Like A Hard Day's Night
    I was off to BIRMINGHAM last night, but first i had to ESCAPE FROM LONDON!

    I'd booked a ticket online AGES ago, going from Marylebone to Snow Hill, but someone pointed out that this was the line that'd been buggered up by Tesco's AVALANCHE of MUD onto the train lines at Gerrard's Cross a while ago. I thus spent a VERY frustrating afternoon trying to ring ANYBODY who had a clue what was going on - all i got was answering machines, uninformative webpages, and a very confused guy in India who didn't understand why I had a ticket for a train that no longer existed (they'd rearranged the timetable, see, and i wanted to know if my ticket was transferable). I spoke to a LOVELY man at Central Trains about it, who couldn't help much, but WAS the second ever LOVELY person i've dealt with in all my long and grim history with this company, the first being the GRATE Ticket Inspector who's worked on the Birmingham to Norwich line YEA e'en since i first moved to Leicester.

    I eventually decided to WALK to Euston and ask if i could get on a VIRGIN train instead - i left early, and ended up taking a HUGE diversion to get round the police BLOCKADES which had sprung up. Is it me, or is it all very EIGHTIES round here at the moment? How long will it be before Headteachers once again get fed up to the eye teeth of having a BOMB SCARE every Friday afternoon and/or during exams? Anyway, i took a bizarro short cut through UCL, which was EERILY peaceful, tho not as SCARY as it was on Gower Street, where all was STILL but for the buzzing of police intercoms... anyway, i got into Euston and the FIRST ever LOVELY man i've EVER met who had ANYTHING to do with Virgin Trains put me on their next super fast train out of this crazy city! HOORAH!

    We got as far as Tamworth before the train BROKE ... AAH! Virgin! With your unreliable trains and unhelpful staff! They told a PACKED eight carriage train full of people to walk across a tiny footbridge and onto a two carriage local train, whilst the staff stood around LOOKING. Someone asked one of them if they were walking the right way. "I don't know! I've never been here before!" Thanks, Virgin Customer Service training - STILL WORKING!

    Anyway, all worked out WELL as i got to Brum, found the hotel (yeah! i stay in hotels! ROCK!), had a cup of tea and free biscuit, and then STRODE off to find Snow Hill Station, ready for the morning. I then got a TAXI to Moseley, and found that it has changed ALARMINGLY, getting all POSHIFIED. It's even got a SAINSBURY'S LOCAL!! I thought "Ho ho! With all this gentrification, they've probably change the name of The Fighting Cocks to The Petulant Parrot!" How wrong i was - it's now called THE GOOSE. GUMF!

    Mr Ben Calvert arrived, we had a chat (during which it turned out he's supporting Chris T-T on tour later this year, so i RHAPSODISED his last album, whilst secretly plotting to try and get ME some of them dates too...), and then went up to the delighfully upholstered (NB Quite Posh) upstairs bit of The Bull's Head, and waited for the sound guy to turn up. Once again, I appreciated the DE-NERVEY-IFYING qualities of SODUKU, as it took my mind quite OFF the rising panic i felt. I'd learnt up "Hey William" and "Dino At The Sands" especially, thinking that as this was a SINGER SONGWRITER night it would all be a bit REVERENT, so i could get AWAY with some quieter songs, but things seemed to be quite NOISY. Ben told me that we'd all be doing two 15 minute sets, so i decided to do ALL NEW in the first half, then bring out the UBER SET for the second.

    People arrived, and i had a few SHOCKS - The Bearos's arrived, as did Young Ray, and then Mr Mark Guest, who i have known since i was ELEVEN. He's been to Brum gigs before, as he lives in Moseley, but i wasn't expecting him this time, so this was a LOVELY SURPRISE. I was then FLABBERGASTED when Michael Lazarus Clamp turned up too - he LIVES in Brum now, tho i did not realise this. It was GRATE!

    The gig started, and although everyone was doing quite Quiet and Thoughtful songs, the audience weren't being very reverent at all, and just CHATTING (as, of course, is their RIGHT). I STRUGGLED inwardly, wandering whether i should stick to my plan, or TO HECK WITH IT and GO UBER. Can you guess, dear reader, which way I swung?

  • Fucking Hippy
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • OK, i took the easy option - or, perhaps, the GOODLY option. For LO! The people i KNEW who were there hadn't actually seen me play solo for a good long time, and MOST of the people there hadn't seen me at ALL, so was it not BEST to give them THE GOOD SHIT? It seemed to go down pretty well anyway, some Young Ladies near the front seemed to really enjoy it (i was told later that one had SLAPPED the arm rest with DELIGHT: a GOOD sign!), people were certainly paying ATTENTION, and SMILES were all round. Whilst i waited for my second attempt i got bought TWO drinks, one by Ben and one by, I believe, Mr Steve Avis, who'd come on PURPOSE. HOORAH! This is ROCK! After an hour, which actually passed rather quicker, i did my SECOND set. Care to take a guess as to how i played THIS one? Look away now!

  • Clubbing In The Week
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • Did you guess correctly? Again, this seemed to go down pretty well, and i THOROUGHLY enjoyed it I must say. Soon all was over and I was taxied back to my hotel. There i had an RESTLESS night, troubled by ILL DREAMS, one of which seemed to feature me, Mr Frankie Machine, and Simon From Voon playing a GIG in a sort of warehouse, where everything went horribly wrong all the time. I tried to play "Boom Shake The Room" and it went DEAD WELL, then someone deliberately detuned my guitar and by the time it was fixed everyone was gone and, also, i was wearing some large off-white boxer shorts and nothing else. I found the obviousness of this part of the dream rather annoying, and woke up a) depressed about the bad gig b) annoyed at the lack of originality of my subconsciousness and c) slightly confused.

    Showered, breakfasted, and checked out i headed to Snow Hill. It's a LOVELY station, SO much nicer than New Street (although, of course, almost everywhere IS), and like a small sensible station ABROAD. I liked the fact that it didn't make a big deal out of itself, it didn't try to sell you anything apart from TRAINS, and seemed to get on with its job in a neat and tidy way. LOVELY. I had a LENGTHY journey back to London, and ALIGHTED at Marylebone which was much the same - I felt like I'd been travelling in the sixties. It was, in fact, just like A Hard Day's Night.

    posted 22/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    More Gigs!
    Today I got an exciting email from Penny, Events Supremo at Sheffield University, asking me to go and play the Fuzztival again. HOORAH! I, of course, said "YES PLEASE!" immediately, as it's a GRATE gig to play, and also it means i can get the TRAM to the gig. HOOPLA! It's on October 29th this year - diarise NOW - and as I'm meant to be playing in Liverpool a couple of nights before I might see about doing a NORTHERN TOUR.

    Whilst I'm at it, I've also playing a SLY gig this Sunday, at The Victoria near Mornington Cresent. It's a Fortuna Pop! afternoon and evening gig, with me, The Would Be Goods, and Long Johnny Silver supporting some Australians (er... whose names I've forgotten...) who are over for a TOUR. I'm on about 7pm, I think, and I'm sort of hoping to INVEIGLE people who are there to come along to the gig at the 12 Bar next Thursday.

    I've just checked the GIGS page, and also my ROCK DATABASE, and it turns out that this is the busiest month of ROCK I've ever had (barring TOURS). Cool huh?

    posted 20/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Gay Gay 16K
    Today's RATHER exciting news comes from the FONT of THRILL that is Ginger Fuhrer Rob Manuel de B3ta. He emailed me the other day to let me know that the organisers of this weekend's Big Gay Out festival had been in touch to ask if it'd be OK for them to play the video for Hey Hey 16K on their big screens. He, of course, got all excited and said "YES!" then thought he ought to ask me. I, of course, got all excited and said "YES!"

    This is because it is a VERY EXCITING THING - whoo! HUGE VIDEO SCREENS showing Hey Hey 16K! To huge CROWDS! KERZANG! I also like to hope that this will be our little contribution to the dismantling of MYTHS and STEREOTYPES i.e. and specifically the one that says being Gay makes you all hip, trendy and funkadelic. I know the new series of "Doctor Who" has probably DONE FOR that one, but still, i think more can be done to show that people of ANY Sexual Orientation can get a bit DEWY EYED about incredibly geeky things. OH YEAH! TO THE BARRICADES!

    ALSO i hope it goes down REALLY well and the organisers are forced to BOOK us for next year - playing "The Gay Train" AT the festival it is set at, that would be MEGA! Also, WICKED!

    posted 19/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Weekend Of ROCK
    My exhausting weekend of ROCKING HARD began on Friday afternoon when The Cork In My Champers and I got the train to Peterborough, and were thence WHISKED to my Parents' House for TEA. They live in the village of Maxey, which is literally five minutes from Tallington, where Blyth Power have their annual "Ashes" DO at The Whistlestop. This is the pub next to the railway crossing where, many MANY times as a child, me and my brother would sit with our Nan and Grandad in their car, trying to guess which direction the next train would come from - HEY! anyone who's been to Peterborough will KNOW this is what we think of as X-TREME ENTERTAINMENT!

    When we arrived we met Eddy The Manager, who'd got me the gig in the first place, and spent a lot of time saying "Aaah! She's lovely!" at his dog Tinker, who is surely the PLATOAN IDEAL of Crusty Dog: Eddy first met her at a Poll Tax demo, when she was attached to a piece of string. She is GRATE. We also met loads of other people, from all SORTS of different areas of my ROCKING LIFE, it was all a bit mad, especially when I bumped into someone I'd last seen nearly 15 years ago in Leicester! Less odd was seeing my PALS Mileage, Katherine and Robin, as I knew they were coming. I'd asked them too.

    Anyway, I got sorted and DASHED onstage, and this is what I played:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • Better Things To Do
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room
  • I was very conscious of the fact that things were running ten minutes late, and that everyone had to RUN onstage after the previous person had finished to try and keep to schedule, so dropped a couple of songs, but it all seemed to go pretty well. I always like it when people REALLY get into "Peterborough All-Saints" and a group of Bearded Gentlemen certainly did, and was also CHUFFED that a bunch of people liked hearing Ken Charlery (NB noted Peterborough Utd HERO of yore) mentioned in "Boom Shake The Room". "Better Things To Do" didn't seem to work, I guess it needs WORK before it can sit comfortably within The Uber Set, but I'm very conscious at the moment of the need to SHAKE IT UP a bit, as now i occasionally get people come back for MORE gigs I'd hate for them to get bored of hearing the same old stuff.

    Also weird, it must be said, was playing songs like "Billy Jones Is Dead" and "Lesson Of The Smiths" in front of people like Mileage and Robin with whom i went to school, and so were THERE at the time! Anyway, the set seemed to go pretty well and my Mum was impressed by the fact that people had stopped to listen, so we then DRANK BEER. HOORAH! This was lovely, as indeed was the whole event - much like GOTHS, your Crusty Types are almost universally LOVELY and HOSPITABLE people who, for some reason, get categorised as the opposite by people who've never met them, and we felt very much at home. It DID start to get a bit cold towards the end, so we nipped off a bit early for a swift one in my parents' nearly-local, where our WHOOPING and LARFING was only drowned out in the end by the Pub Singer and Raffle.

    Next morning i was awoken at 6am by THE HOUSEMARTINS. No - ahahaa! - there wasn't - GUFFAW! - a reunion concert going on next door (CHORTLE!), but there WERE four housemartin's nests in the EAVES of the house, all of which were full with VERY HUNGRY CHICKS, who chirruped and THROSTLED pretty much non-stop. NATURE! BE STILL! THUS i was up and ready and very much on-schedule for us ZOOMING back to London and then, after a Delicious Farewell Pasty each (MAN! Do you remember the days BEFORE there was a Delicious Pasty [farewell or otherwise] stall at every London railway station? Those days were DARK!) i strode down the road to the Thameslink station, and there caught the train to BRIGHTON.

    All went well, although I'd forgotten quite how LONG a walk it was to the venue, which was actually in HOVE. How relieved i was when - GUMPH! - it finally "HOVE" into view. NURSE! THE STITCHES!

    Sorry... i was playing at the afternoon section of the UK Anti-Folk all-dayer, at the Sanctuary Cafe. It's a nice place, although it was a bit of a shame to be sat in a CELLAR on such a nice day, and also they ARE a bit INSANE with their pricing. Three pound fifty for an ordinary bottle of Fuller's Honeydew BEER!!! I BAULKED at this, and the guy said "It's because it's organic!" Yes, it's also organic for half that price at Tesco, and it's also organic for two quid out of the taps in a pub! BAULK with me, why don't you?

    Other than that all was well, and there were MANY GRATE BITS. My favourite was the band Oil Rig Catering who were VERY PROG, but in a GOOD way. They sounded like "Caravan" to me, but then anything vaguely twee, rum, but GOOD tends to sound like "Caravan" to me as my PROG knowledge is, thankfully, rather limited. Also GRATE was a chap who did a LOVELY version of "Crazy Nights" by The Kiss, Mr Bobby McGee, Winston Echo (who didn't get to play until REALLY late, i was getting worried), and the ANNUAL GIG of Dr Neil Brown. My old favourite "Dog On The Horizon" was brought out again, along with a GRATE new one called "Sea Hedge". See him in 2006!

    My set was about halfway through, and i did the UBER-CUBED-SET, as below:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Fucking Hippy
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room
  • Yes, I know I said earlier i was going to try and SHAKE IT UP a bit, but i did only have 15 minutes, and hardly anyone there had seen me before, so I thought it'd be OK. All went well, I think, as indeed did the rest of the day. I really like the anti-folk scene, there's LOADS of good stuff going on, and it's lovely to see people being so supportive of each other. My only CAVEAT is i do worry that, like all SCENES, it might prohibit people from going out and playing to NEW and DIFFERENT audiences - when you've got a guaranteed crowd who LIKE you, i imagine it would be difficult to persuade yourself to play to people who probably WON'T.

    I imagine this to be the case anyway - i have little experience of the former, but MUCH of the latter! Anyway, they is GOOD PEOPLE, and it was with WARMTH in my heart that i STRODE off back to the station, and thence home for CURRY. Aaah! LOVELY!

    On Sunday i DEFIED THE ELEMENTS by getting up late-ish and sitting indoors watching THE INCREDIBLES on DVD instead of sitting in the sunshine. HA! One of the MANY GRATE THINGS about being an ADULT is that you can two this without anybody switching the telly off and making you go and play outside. COOL! Later that day we had some FAMILY round, so i DID go outside and spent much of my evening drinking CHAMPERS and being Comedy Uncle i.e. dangling children by the legs from great heights, and playing with LEGO. For a GRAND FINALE of ADULT FUN, we finished off the curry for TEA (Mmm! Last night's curry! Even better the second time round!) and watched "School Of Rock" on DVD. It's a BRILLIANT film - if you've not seen it, i know it SEEMS like you won't like it, but believe me, you will!

    All in all, an ACTION PACKED and LOVELY weekend. I'm just glad to be back at work, i could do with some REST!

    posted 18/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Her Majesty's Staggerer
    Like, I guess, most people, I stood outside yesterday lunchtime for the Two Minute Silence, and found it all rather moving. All around the Square upon which our office sits were small clumps of people looking a bit self-conscious, and it was weird to think that so MANY of us worked in this one little area, and never really saw each other. Maybe we should do it again one day, just for the HECK of it, and do synchronised waving at each other.

    During the silence we had a couple of people wander by, REALISE what was happening, and then stand still, looking even MORE self-conscious than the rest of us, but we also had the traditional CONFUSED DRUNK MAN who STAGGERED through the whole thing, with NO idea what was happening and a RIGHTEOUS FURY that everyone had decided to just stand around saying nothing. At first this was a bit disconcerting, but then I realised he was actually reinforcing what was going on - we NEED at least one person NOT to be standing quietly, to bring into sharper contrast the fact that the rest of us WERE.

    In discussions later it turns out that MANY of us were supplied with such a person, and it got me to wandering - do these sort of occasions GENERATE this behaviour, perhaps? Does the PSYCHIC WAVE created by such unified actions always cause SOMEBODY to suddenly turn, and go a bit doolally for the duration? It would certainly explain why There's Always Somebody who shouts "Bollocks!" during The Quiet Bits in any ceremony. I always feel the temptation in the back of my mind to do something Inappropriately Daft but always cast it aside, but maybe that's the PSYCHIC WAVE passing by on the way to its VICTIM?

    (just in passing - i've noticed such people are usually EITHER rolling a cigarrette OR look like they'd like to do so. A link, perhaps?)

    Another thought then struck me - what if it's NOT a psychic occurence, but a secret ancient order of staggerers set up for JUST such occasions? This set my mind back to 1977, when we'd come down to London as a FAAAAMILY to see the Queen's Jubilee. The main aspects of the day i remember are:
  • I got lost for, like, 30 seconds, and my Mum STILL goes on about it. Cuh!
  • We had Dennis The Menace And Gnasher CHEWY BARS
  • Our sandwiches were wrapped in silver tin foil
  • I was stood on a bollard, and saw the Queen wave
  • Before all that, a man cam along The Mall on his BIKE, and we all cheered

  • It is this final item that drew my attention - how on EARTH had that bloked managed NOT TO NOTICE that the MALL was THRONGED with people? Or had he just thought London was particularly busy that day, and had determined to take his usual route home, no matter what? OR! Was he in fact the HEAD of the Secret Ancient Order Of Staggerers, and was carrying out the ceremonial duty of STAGGERING ahead of The Queen (NB on a bicycle, as it was a big event), thereby drawing CONTRAST between him and Her Majesty?

    It is an INTRIGUING THOUGHT, is it not? It intrigued me for a LONG time... until this afternoon when I saw the queue for people auditioning for the next series of The Apprentice at a hotel round the corner from my work. Surely if they're QUEUEING like that they're failing the audition already? Surely a top notch Big Business Tosser would have STORMED to the front by now? Or maybe they were all people's SECRETARIES who'd been forced to wait in line whilst their bosses went to the PUB?

    Such is life within my BRANE... anyway, have a lovely weekend all, I'm off to Peterborough now, and then Brighton tomorrow - all the FACTS, on my return!

    posted 15/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Full Story And Pics
    As threatened, the pictures of us playing Nic and Emma's wedding are ONLINE and reading for ENJOYMENT over in The Gallery. GIRD yourself for MAXIMUM THRILLPOWER!

    And talking of same [GEEKAGE APPROACHING] has anyone else READ this week's 2000AD?!? What the..? But... they can't do that? Can they?

    posted 14/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Working Hard
    I am RETURNED from the post office, where nearly all of the newsletter competition PRIZES have been sent out, so if you entered, stand by your letterboxes!

    Meanwhile I've been getting myself TOGETHER for the next few GIGS in Tallington on Friday, Brighton on Saturday, and then Birmingham at the Bohemian Jukebox next Thursday. I'm staying over in an HOTEL that night, it will be DELIGHTFUL. While I'm talking GIGS - Londoners can expect a HASSLING EMAIL soon about my gig at the 12 Bar at the end of the month, and DERBY types must GIRD themselves for disappointment, as the all-dayer in August that i was going to compere is now NOT happening.

    It's all go! Simultaneously, this week's Johnny Yeah show on Kooba Radio not only features BEST! USE! EVER! of "Symbol Of Our Nation" but also starts off with a STIRRING speech re. London just lately which,i must admit, made me shed a manly tear, as it is GRATE. Do go and listen, why don't you?

    You could also try visiting the website of The Bobby McGees, which at some point promises to feature their version of "Bands From London (are shit)" called... er... "Bands From Brighton". It wasn't there last time i looked, but i HAVE heard it, and it is PARTICULARLY ace.

    PHEW! Action PACKED - now for a lie down!

    posted 13/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Fantastic Weekend
    You discover me a bit WORN OUT after an EXCITING and EXERTING weekend in which - my word! - everything EITHER went completely to plan or EVEN BETTER!

    Saturday lunchtime saw myself and The Bomp In My Bomp A Bomp A Bomp setting off EARLY to get the TUBE to Paddington, where we got an EARLIER THAN PLANNED train out to Oxford, where we were attending the RECEPTION for the wedding of Emma & Nic. It was a good thing we got the early train, as there was a DELAY, but we still got to Oxford ahead of time. I packed the aforesaid Ram In My Ram A Lam A Ding Dong into a TAXI for our hotel, while i got another train to nearby RADLEY, where I met TIGER Tom McClure, as planned, and together we drove to The Crazy Bear Hotel, where things would be occurring.

    Continuing the Even Better Than Planned THEME, the rest of The Validators had got there EARLY, and we arrived to find everything set up, ready for our gig later that evening. The Crazy Bear is a LOVELY place, it's a bit like a PUB where somebody's INJECTED Pure undiluted Ground Force DVDs into their EYEBALLS, as everywhere is decked, pebbled, decorated, outside "roomed" or has a patio on it, and it was pretty GROOVY. It was also a lovely day and even SMELT nice, and we WHIPPED through our soundcheck at almost unseemly speed. Things sounded GOOD - we were using a vocal PA with AXES going through AMPS and Drums NAKED, and as ever this sounded GRATE. It never fails to amaze me how EASY it is to get a really nice sound from this sort of line-up, and yet how OFTEN sound-people at venues manage to mess it up by over-miking and turning things up FAR TOO LOUD.

    ANYWAY, we headed back to our Hotel (we were all staying in the Holiday Inn Express nearby) to CHANGE into our Wedding Outfits, and by 7pm were BACK BACK BACK at the Crazy Bear. It was all going REALLY WELL! We got our setlist together, and just after 8pm we hit the stage, to play THIS set:

    Better Things To Do
    Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
    Hey Hey 16K
    Song For Cookie Boy
    Tell Me Something You Do Like
    Payday Is The Best Day
    Never Going Back To Aldi's
    Billy Jones Is Dead
    The Gay Train
    Things'll Be Different
    The Symbol Of Our Nation
    Can't Take My Eyes Off You
    Boom Shake The Room
    Easily Impressed

    Song For Cookie Boy

    The Lesson Of The Smiths

    "Song For Cookie Boy" is in there for a Very Good Reason, which can at LAST be revealed - when Tim and Emma got married Emma, myself, and The Bridesmaids played the song "Dinky Doo" at the reception, and made everyone cry. OUR Emma thus suggested to Emma THE BRIDE that she could do something similar. A couple of weeks later she sent us an MP3 of her singing "Sugar Spun Sister", with words amended so it became "Song For Cookie Boy". We practiced it HARD at our last rehearsal, but obviously i couldn't mention it at the time in case Nic read this webpage and the surprise was SPOILED. I tell you what, it has been HARD this past couple of weeks, resisting the urge to call him "Cookie Boy", but it all came worth it in the end... People started to gather round during "Hey Hey 16K", ready for me to introduce Emma The Bride to the stage. We'd worried about her being nervous, and Our Emma was designated her MINDER, to hold her hand and see her through the song... HOWEVER this became obviously unnecessary from the very beginning, when she got to the stage area and said "All right then? STRAIGHT IN? COME IN! LET'S HAVE IT!"

    It sounded GRATE, and we were a bit AFEARED as to how we might carry on afterwards, but carry on we did and my dears it was FANTASTIC. EVERYONE by now had gathered round, people were joining in, there were GURLS down the front, DANCING, we could see PALS all around singing along, and I rather think we sounded pretty good too. We LOOKED rather GRATE too i must say, as we were all be-suited, except for Emma who had a WELL POSH FROCK on. We were an HANDSOME band and no mistake, although it was a bit alarming to look back and see the rest of The Validators looking like EAST END HEAVIES.

    It all sounded FAB, and we got Emma The Bride back for the first encore. For the second (OH YES!) we were a bit perplexed as to what to play, because we'd DONE all the songs we knew that DIDN'T have swearing in (NB Children Were Present), but we asked the audience if they MINDED some LANGUAGE, and then did the LANGUAGE-HEAVY "Lesson Of The Smiths". It sounded GOOD, we were happy, and everyone else seemed to be too.

    We packed up and settled into some DRINKING. Tim decided we'd have some CIGARS, but the only ones they had were POSH ones which, frankly, would be wasted on us, so he went off to the Village Shop and got some COOKING Cigars (NB like COOKING Lager). We had as much free BEER as we could get, and then moved on to PIMMS, and were soon all hitting the dance floor, BUSTING SOME MOVES. My favourite bits of this were, obviously, dancing with The Bop In My Bop She Bop She Bop (by HECK that woman can throw some SHAPES!) and ALL of us dancing together to, i think, "Baggy Trousers". The ONLY downside that we were just getting into the UBER INDIE section of the dancing evening when our taxi arrived, and we headed back to the Holiday Inn.

    The bar was open so we quickly dumped our stuff and settled into an hour or so of DELIGHTFUL VALIDATORY REPARTEE, only ended by us all feeling a bit TIDDLY and TIRED. Next morning found a repeat of the above, only with rather large HANGOVERS, over breakfast. It was LOVELY us all being able to hang around at our leisure like that, and it made me EVEN MORE excited at the prospect of our week in Cornwall next month.

    We said our farewells, and then The Dip In My Dip Da Dip Da Dip headed into Oxford Town, where we NIPPED round the city on the Open Top Bus tour. As she correctly said, we both LOVE Open Top Bus tours, it was a lovely day, and we might as well, so we DID. Oxford is VERY posh, it seems, and EVERYTHING is to do with The University and happened nearly a thousand years ago. It was a GORGEOUS day, and though i must say i drifted off fairly often in that Still-A-Bit-Drunk way one DOES the morning after a GRATE gig, it was all lovely. We then got straight on a TRAIN to Reading, then got STRAIGHT onto one for London that pulled in along side ours, and found ourselves back home unexpectedly easily. EVERYTHING went better than expected!

    We thought the excitement was all over, so then i had a BATH and a NAP. I am not afraid to admit it, i was KNACKERED! However, i was AWOKEN at 5pm by a man over the road shouting for his kids to come out and LOOK - i got up and looked out of the window and saw five BI-PLANES disappearing into the distance, it was the V45 FLYOVER!

    I DASHED into the back garden and CORRALLED the household, and we had a FANTASTIC view of all the planes flying over, including, BEST OF ALL, the Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster Bomber at the end. It was AMAZING!

    In summary then, this was an UTTERLY BRILLIANT weekend. HOORAH!

    posted 11/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    Walking Back To Normality
    I tell you what - the tube wasn't half EMPTY on the way in this morning. It was all fine, except Liverpool Street station was closed, so we all VERY MUCH glared into our newspapers on the way through, not wanting to look up, just in case. Otherwise all here feels as normal as ever, which i guess is a GOOD THING. Last night we had a bottle of wine, finally turned off the NEWS and watched "Auf Wiedersehn Pet" on DVD, and it felt GOOD. Personally the whole thing reminded me that there IS a lot of THE LOVE in the world - both mine and The Network On My Mobile spent the day sending answering emails, texts and phone calls as everyone checked that everyone else was all right, and we heard from several people we've not heard from for AGES. It was lovely - we DO live in a HUGE network of Actual Human Beings who all like and/or love each other, and it's times like this that we need to remember that fact.

    IN OTHER NEWS and also GETTING BACK TO ROCK, my day at home was used very productively - I've updated The Gallery with some pictures taken by the lovely Jane Torr of our gig at The Bull & Gate. Those strange marks on my knees, they are the SWEATY KNEE STAINS of which i spoke! I've also updated the GIGS page with two MORE gigs, at The 12 Bar Club in London on July 28th, and in Derby at The Vic on August 6th, both of which came through yesterday morning.

    I spent most of the rest of the day, when not watching TV AND/OR DRINKING FOR DEMOCRACY, on the computer recording stuff, which cheered me up no end. "Born Yesterday" is now pretty much finished (feat. VAST CHOIRS OF HARMONY, oh yes!) and I'm now doing a REMIX/FIX of "If You Need Loving". There'll be no time for more WORK on it over the weekend, however, as tomorrow we're off to play at Nic & Emma's wedding in Oxford. Full report on Monday, and REMEMBER: have a lovely weekend everyone!

    posted 8/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    All Fine Here
    I got to the tube station a bit late this morning, to find people flooding out of the station. Nobody seemed to know what was going on, just that the whole tube was down due to power problems, and so I arrived home WELL chuffed at the prospect of a morning off work, only to be STUNNED by the news as it came in, especially the bus at Tavistock Place, which is just around the corner from my work.

    I hope everyone out there's OK and safe, and thanks for everyone who's been in touch so far. Let's hope we all get back to normal quickly!

    posted 7/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    New Things, Name Checks, Live8
    There's some EXCITING new features on the site today - I've had a minor re-organisation of some sections, so you should find that the WRITINGS section is now in a vague sort of chronological order (so that the GIG THORTS now run in order). I've moved the old version of the "Past Gigs" bit in here, now called BIRTH OF A LEGEND as it hasn't been updated in over a year, and finally uploaded the QOLED ARTICLE that I wrote for "Get Together" last month. I've ALSO added the NEW version of the PAST GIGS section to the KEYBOARD below, and it now features a list of ALL our gigs going back to September 1997. It goes back that far because that's when I started NOTING gigs for the webpage, if I ever find my old diaries it'll go back further, but it DOES, i think, look Quite Impressive!

    Meanwhile, we've had a couple of sudden MEDIA ATAKS, with "Family Wedding 2021" being played on the ACE Claire Dicko show on Kooba Radio, and me getting a NAMECHECK in this month's Well Hung At Dawn column at Rolling Stone online. It's comparing a VERY RUDELY NAMED band to ME, which makes it even BETTER!

    And finally, MORE LIVE8: it's very GOOD that David Gilmour is giving his royalties away, but CRIKEY, CALM DOWN everybody! All this BLEATING about bands paying over their "profits" from the event seems, to me, like an easy excuse for people to suddenly get MASSIVELY SELF-RIGHTEOUS and/or have a GO at the event itself. Nobody's forcing anybody to go out and buy more Robbie Williams records, and it's NOT like the money spent is being diverted from charity or anything, and ANYWAY, surely the whole POINT is that it's NOT about Charity in the first place? I wonder, will commerical radio stations will be donating the profits from their ADVERTS broadcast whilst talking about Live 8? Will the newspapers donate THEIRS?

    I think perhaps not, so LEAVE IT AAAAHT (NB cockernee VENACK employed due to over-excitement viz. OLYMPIC ANNOUNCEMENT later today - i LIVE in the East End!). If Keane want to give THEIR money to charity then it's a beautiful lovely thing, but FORCING everybody to do so in a fit of ARSINESS rather takes the shine off the MAGIC, doesn't it?

    posted 6/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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    I Was There!
    You discover me back at work after my extensive BREAK, during which i did many DELIGHTFUL things, including having local CURRY (best London Balti EVER!), watching FILMS (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind- GRATE!; Mr & Mrs Smith - not so much), seeing SIGHTS, and being in the CRUCIBLE OF HISTORY.

    This latter was of course LIVE 8 where The Tomato In My Ketchup and i went on Friday to the Extra TV Screens BIT. It was a bit weird really - it was like being towards the back of a MASSIVE gig, but with no FRONT, as we were all stood watching the gigantic telly screens. In some ways it was quite GOOD, as you could SEE, and there wasn't any big PUSH down the front, but it also felt a bit ALIENATING, as the whole event reinforced the idea that there WAS a GRATE GIG occuring, but it was happening just next door to where we were! This was ESPECIALLY noticeable during REM, who were BLOODY ACE i must say, but whose third song was CUT with Fearne Cotton (is that her name?) interviewing Bloke From Razorlight. Yeah, THANKS the telly, i'm sure we'd all MUCH rather watch this twit wave his silly hat about than actually see ONE OF THE GRATE BANDS OF OUR TIME, ROCKING! Cuh!

    Also - Peter Doherty? Was it me, or was there a loud THUNK after he'd staggered off, the sound of the door being FIRMLY CLOSED BEHIND HIM? Even Elton John looked a bit embarrassed, and surely that takes a LOT!

    I did enjoy Macca tho, obviously, and one cannot argue with the MIGHTINESS of Madonna's back catalogue, but like everyone else the bit that'll stick with me will be the woman who'd been fifteen minutes from death as a child, back as an adult. Seeing the actual real live human beings who are affected - and especially seeing them AS real live human beings, as in this case, rather than victims - RAMS home the point that it IS real live human beings we're talking about, and not just vague financial projections for economic growth. When people say "Ooh, but it's more complicated than that" then it might well be, as far as economists and politicians are concerned, but very much NOT as far as the real live human beings whose children are about to die. I read an article by David Bloody Mellor yesterday where he sneered at the "naivety" of it all and it reminded me that "naivety" is only ever used as an insult by cowards who've never DARED stand up for a single thing in their lives. Hey! Cutting debt may well NOT solve all the problems of Africa, but it can solve SOME of them, and surely that's worth having a try for, isn't it?

    Mr Bob Geldof has certainly done a good thing ALREADY, in that he's made millions of us think about all this, and i bet also made millions of us start to REJECT the easy put-downs from those invested in the status quo. Who knows, maybe this'll be the start of ALL of us deciding that even if we can't do EVERYTHING, doing SOMETHING is still worth having a go at?

    ANYWAY, after Madonna we toddled off home for BEER. That was my other favourite bit.

    Meanwhile, on Monday we headed into THAT LONDON, where we watched The Changing Of The Guards (featuring, bizarrely, an ELTON JOHN MEDLEY from the BAND) and then got on the Open Top Bus for a MASSIVE tour around the city. It was DEAD GOOD, we saw LOADS of really POSH bits of London that i, at least, never see, and learnt many FACTS. Most of these have MUSHED into a collective FACT, that all of London was riven with plague, burnt down, designed by John Nash, built in the 1800s, bombed in the war, and has something to do with Princess Diana, but it is a FACT i feel will serve me well in future. I also had MORE BEER, which is how it should be on any holiday!

    posted 5/7/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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