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Blog Archive: April 2014

10 Years Of Hey Hey 16K
I was wandering around the flat yesterday when a stray thought ambled by. "I know that Mr Rob Manuel's Hey Hey 16K video came out about ten years ago, but I wonder exactly when it was?" This is a thought I've had SEVERAL times before, always meaning to look it up, stick it in my diary, and then maybe DO something about it, but have never actually got round to, but this time, for some reason, it seemed a good idea to get on and DO it.

A little bit of digging through the archives later and I'd got it worked out: Rob had unleashed the video onto the world on May 4th 2004, and then all SORTS of EXCITEMENT ensued, with it getting into the Top 5 most looked at web pages in the WORLD (it was, to be fair, a much smaller internet then!) and having two MILLION views in its first fortnight. There was no YouTube back then, so this meant that Viral Videos hadn't really become a THING yet - I believe The Hamster Dance was the first, but we weren't far behind.

There was also no iTunes or, as far as I know, ANY way of selling digital music online, and I've often thought since that if there HAD been then we probably would have got into the CHARTS! I did sell a few extra CD copies of Say It With Words, as well as some t-shirts, so I can't complain!

So anyway, in order to celebrate this auspicious anniversary I've done a RE-RELEASE of the original single, featuring all the original b-sides, the proper album version, AND the demo of "Hey Hey 64K" which I did a few years later, available just for the next few days on a Pay What You Want basis. You can find THE LOT over at www.heyhey16k.com (I bought the domain a while ago for something else, but this seemed like a good excuse to use it!).

As ever with this sort of thing, I'd very much appreciate any mentions people can make of it, whether that be tweets, telling someone in a pub, or two hour retrospectives on Channel 4. Most of all though I hope you enjoy the memory of it all as much as I've been - it was a KRAZY time and led to a HUGE amount of fun!

posted 29/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Sniffy About Sci-Fi
I went to a TALK last week, where Audrey Niffenegger (of Time Traveler's Wife etc etc) was interviewed as part of the Novelists's MA at school (we were invited!). It was dead good, especially when she got off the topic of Just Writing Books and talked about all the other stuff she's done, like art and comics and BALLET and all sorts. I've generally come away from these talks thinking one of three things - "What an interesting person", "What a handy selection of writing tips" or "Why on earth did I bother going to that?" This time it was very much the FIRST, she was full of THORTS and in an ongoingly STRANGE way she kept reminding me of a younger, more female Alan Moore. The comparison occurred about halfway through and KEPT occurring - I wanted to ask about it, but as I'd already put my hand up and said, in a QUAVERING voice, "What is your favourite sci-fi?" I thought that might be pushing it.

It was all jolly good, except for a couple of weird bits where they interviewer got a bit sniffy about sci-fi. The time travel aspect of Time Traveler's Wife was spoken of as if it was some outlandish KRAZY thing to have in a Proper Novel and science fiction itself was referred to as something you only got involved with as an adolescent. When she said "comics are the best form of art" I tbought he was going to IMPLODE with confusion!

I mean, I do realise that people DO tend to read science fiction as teenagers (when they first get to choose their OWN books) and there's been a lot of old nonsense published in comics, but then there as also been in novels, films, television, and definitely theatre. I guess I am a bit OVER SENSITIVE about this sort of thing, but it does strike me as WEIRD when supposedly intelligent people, here in the twenty first century, still think entire genres, or indeed entire formats of ART, can be dismissed without really knowing anything about them. I distinctively remember going to a writing event a while ago where someone described science fiction as "niche", and everybody nodded wisely. It's a pretty bloody big niche!

ANYWAY, apart from that it was dead good, and she answered my "favourite science fiction" question with TWO authors - HG Wells (who is ACE) and also Kelly Link, who I've never heard of, but will be getting STAT, for LO! science fiction is GRATE!

posted 28/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Southend Revisited
Easter Saturday found myself and The Cross On My Hot Cross Bun once more using our new set of transport links to zoom EAST to Southend, for a bit of Bank Holiday Mild Sunshine.

The train before ours got cancelled so the trip down was a bit CRAMPED, also NOISY for LO! we were going to Essex where the people talk LOUD, and are in now way shy about complying to stereotypes. Whenever I go to Essex it always feels like I've stepped into a flash mob of people being CRASSLY RUDE about the county, as EVERYONE looked fake-tanned, footballer haircutted, gold chain be-decked and, basically ESSEX.

We got off the train and headed down the main street into Southend which was, to be polite, not perhaps the nicest, cleanest, friendliest place I have ever been to. In fact it was a bit horrible. However, once we got down to the pier things got gradually NICER. We got on the exciting ELECTRIC TRAIN which trundled us the 1.3 miles down the ENORMOUS pier - it's RIDICULOUSLY big, it goes out into the middle of the SEA! - and arrived in a tranquil space of CALM. We looked into the Royal Pavilion at the Only Fools And Horses exhibition, where BOYCIE (as all posters called him) was signing autographs. We looked at him for a minute, then went further out along the pier where we found a LOVELY spot. It was sheltered, looking out to sea, with gorgeous SUN beaming down on us and loads of little birds (which we later identified as RUDDY TURNSTONES) bobbing about. It was bloody lovely, we stayed there for AGES!

We got back on the train and then strolled along the sea-front, where I spotted Chinnery's, the venue I'd played at back in 2009. I'd forgotten that that had been Southend, to be honest, so when we got there I kept thinking "This DOES look familiar, how odd." We had a quick PADDLE (it was FREEZING) then walked back in the other direction, getting to the Clifftown area of town which was VERY different from the bit we'd first walked through. Looking back at the blog entry from 2009 I found I'd had exactly the same experience then too - I'd walked into town thinking "This is HORRIBLE" then come back through a slightly different area and found it LOVELY. The two parts of town were right next door to each other, and the atmosphere changed within a few yards from one to the other, it was a) strange b) MARKED, especially when we crossed back from the CHARMING area and into the RATHER LESS SO.

Anyway, we had a cup of coffee and then headed home again, SUN KISSED and tired, but happy to have found the NICE BITS. If I go again in another five years time, somebody remind me not to walk down the main street when I get there, I'll enjoy it much more!

posted 24/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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Jazz Time
On Friday The Notes In My Solo and I headed out to DALSTON to a JAZZ CLUB - two aspects of gig going that don't usually go together for us, but this time we had a special mission for LO! we were off to see Chris T-T supporting Darren Hayman at his regular "Occupation" night.

One of the many many exciting/fun things for us about moving to Stratford has been suddenly getting a PLETHORA of new travel options, and one of the most surprisingly useful has been our access to the London Overground line which gets us to our neighbouring neighbourhoods in East London in SUPER FAST time. It used to be a right pain getting to any of the Trendy Areas where gigs happen these days, but now it is PEASY. It took us ten minutes to get to Dalston, and before we knew it we were going "Ugh! What is that rotten smell? Oh, it is Dalston." I guess this is how you can tell it is still authentically "edgy"!

The venue itself, the Vortex Jazz Club, was very nice and also SUPER ORGANISED. When we arrived we were pointed to a TABLE where two seats had been RESERVED for us! This was quite a good idea, as it meant that everyone who had booked early got a seat, and we continued the organisation by getting ourselves a bottle of PLONK. It felt dead posh, but also meant we didn't have to keep getting up to fetch more BOOZE!

The gig itself was GRATE - Chris was on excellent form, and Mr Hayman (who I've seen surprisingly few times for someone who's been going for pretty much exactly the same amount of time, on {a slightly higher tier of} pretty much the same SCENE as me) was ace too. It was a very very EASY way to sit and enjoy a gig, with seats, good sound, an appreciative audience, and excellent acts. More of that sort of thing please!

Also rather wonderful was seeing people I totally did not expect to see, whether because they were from far away (Mrs G Podd) or people i knew from work (Mr N Lloyd). It's strange, but also lovely - now I'mm gently re-immersing myself in the world of ROCK I keep bumping into people I know again, I like it rather a lot!

ALSO also rather wonderful was the fact that the gig finished well before closing time, so we were able to sit around and have a NATTER with Chris, who is always MARVELLOUS company, before strolling back to the station for a swift journey home. It was a GRATE night out, gigs are ACE!

posted 23/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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The Validators Return
I headed off to York last Thursday for some ROCK ACTION. The plan was to meet Mrs C Gibb, go and do a Radio Thing, check-in to my hotel, then return to collect Mr F A Machine from the station before doing a Validators gig. Unfortunately the Radio Thing didn't happen, so instead I ended up sitting yakking in the pub with Claire for about 3 hours, before Frankie turned up and we had MORE BEER. I thus arrived at The Ibis a bit PIDDLY, very much aware of the main problem with afternoon drinking: you are drunk in the afternoon.

We unloaded and headed into town, where we found Mr T and Mrs E Pattison with Mr S Gibb outside the venue. We went in to discover A Very Very Very Grumpy Soundman, who seemed appalled that a soundcheck due to start at 7pm had not yet commenced at 7.01pm. He was also digusted by the fact we didn't know when the amps were arriving... despite the fact that he'd watch them being delivered by one of the other bands, shortly before we arrived. Still, we did a quick soundcheck then went to LOUNGE AROUND in the backstage area, where i GLUGGED a couple of pints of Diet Coke in an attempt to mitigate some of the previously mentioned effects of afternoon drinking.

Mr T "The Tiger" McClure had been delayed due to TRAFFIC, but he turned up a few minutes later and we went off for CHIPPY CHIPS. It was during this adventure that I had my usual thought of "why oh why can't we just get together for an adventure together then NOT have to do a gig at the end of it?" I'm beginning to think that this may actually be a manifestation of my NERVES for throughout the evening I kept thinking "I don't want to DO a gig." There were many many familiar faces there, from far and wide - not least Ms E Pemberton who was celebrating her 50th gig seeing us/me! - and it was all DELIGHTFUL but for some reason I wasn't happy about going on and doing a gig.
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • I Want To Find Out How It Ends
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • We Did It Anyway
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • The Gay Train

  • I had a WHALE of a time, not least because the sound was GRATE - he may have been grumpy, but he knew what he was doing. I knew the sound was good because I could see people LARFING at some of the words, especially during 20 Things To Do Before You're 30 when each line seemed to DELIGHT someone, or in (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock when I saw Mr N Golding's face LIGHT UP at the mention of the 257 bus. It was ACE - and especially so because we did a TONNE of new stuff, all of which went down really well. Usually at this stage in the New Stuff Cycle I finish the gig DREADING ever doing any new songs again, but this time i LOVED it and want to do MORE. HOORAH!

    Gig done we LURKED AROUND for a bit, waiting for Tim and Emma to come back with their car so they could load it up with stuff, notably the NEW CYMBAL CASE Tim had debuted that evening. He'd disposed of the old one in a skip in Manchester, and had taken a picture of the event. It felt rather sad - that cymbals case has been in The Validators as long as there's BEEN The Validators. It felt - CHORTLE - a bit - ROFLCOPTER - "cymbal-ic"! ARF!

    I told that joke on the stage and nobody laughed - maybe the sound WASN'T as good as i thought? It's the only explanation.

    With the Pattisons dispatched and The Tiger similarly heading off to family, the remainder of us went for a couple of PINTS in a nearby pub before myself, Frankie, and Mr A Hale, staggered back to the Ibis Bar where we enjoyed some CHIPS and some JACK DANIELS before eventually retiring at just after 2am. 2am! We were BACK on the ROAD!!

    posted 22/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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    Back To The Old House
    I had a delightful morning in The Olympic Park yesterday, indulging in my new routine of EXPLORING. The high point was discovering a series of gravelly pathways near the Velodrome, which i wandered around. The only other humans I saw were two people in a "golf buggy" who zipped by ... then zipped BACK to tell me off for walking on a Mountain Bike track. "There's no signs saying that's what it is", I pointed out. They appeared ASTONISHED to discover that I'd managed to find my way onto it... by walking there on a path. They told me off, then zoomed away. I _think_ i won that one!

    Anyway, that afternoon I set off to St Pancras and then to LEICESTER, where I had an appointment with ROCK, for LO! The Validators had a practice scheduled ready for our gig in YORK on Thursday. I got to Leicester with plenty of time to spare, so strolled across town and onto Frog Island. This is an area of Leicester that I always remember as being a bit desolate, but CRIKEY it feels now like pretty much the whole PLACE has been knocked down, or more often left HALF demolished. Of the four pubs that used to be there only ONE is still open, and goodness knows how as there's nobody actually LIVING nearby. I went in for a cheeky half before practice and found that it was EXACTLY like EVERY pub in Leicester used to be when I first move there a quarter century ago. On closer investigation it looked like that's because it hadn't been refurbished AT ALL since then!

    One business still open was Stayfree, where we were practicing, and a Jolly Good Practice was had there. Here is PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE of the fact, as taken by Mrs E Pattison:



    The five of us kicked off with a few "old favourites" just to get going, then RIPPED through all of the new songs. They're sounding DEAD GOOD, almost as if we've LEARNT them or something. I got quite excited about them - if we can just get round to working up a few MORE then we'll have enough for that "Classic Half Hour Album" we've been meaning to reocrd ever since we first started. We'll probably end up spending three years recording an hour long PROG EPIC with fifteen orchestras on it, as usual, but it's good to have a dream!

    Afterwards Mr FA Machine headed home and the rest of us nipped into town for a post-practice pint. Tim suggested we go to the newly re-opened Princess Charlotte, which was an excellent idea, also WEIRD. The insides have been re-arranged into a strange combination of how it was when VOON used to play there, and how it was after they KNOCKED THROUGH and ruined it completely. The wall between the back room and the front "bars" had been re-instated, as had the side wall, so it was like the old two front bars had become one, with the flooring tiles clearing showing where the old bar had been. This was easy enough to cope with, but what was DEEPLY ODD was being able to go back into the beer garden and see that the old stage was still there, as was the little ledge that used to go up to the toilets, and clear areas where the loos (STILL STINKING) and the dressing room had been. I stood on the old stage and looked up into the night sky. It was KRAZY!

    Back inside I spoke to the young man behind the bar. "I never came here when it was open before" he said (he probably wasn't even BORN when it had its original layout!), "But I feel like I know it, because so many people have told me about it." At this I felt a bit bad, as I too had been doing Old Man Reminiscences which, in retrospect, were probably not THAT interesting ("yes, there used to be a door there"). I thus returned to our table with a beer, which led to the MOST BIZARRE part of the evening: I had a NICE PINT OF BEER! In The Charlotte!

    Stranger yet, I woke up next morning NOT feeling hideously ill - this has NEVER EVER happened after a drink in The Charlotte before! I guess it just shows that, sometimes, change can be good!

    posted 15/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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    Otway!
    On Friday night myself and The Days In My Weekend continued our daring new plan of Going Out On Fridays by... going out! We'd got tickets to go and see John Otway, so after some nice TEA at Tibits we headed over to The Borderline, bumping into Carl from Foxfest on the way. I hardly ever bump into people I know in town, it was lovely!

    "Doors" had been 7pm so we assumed the first act, Attila The Stockbroker, would be on around 8pm, but when we arrived just before then we saw Mr Murray Torkildsen, long-term guitarist with Otway. "Aha! So you're not on yet then" said The Words Of My Wisdom. "Twenty minutes", said Murray, "Attila's nearly finished!"

    We thus dashed in to catch the very end of Attila The Stockbroker's set - astonishingly this was the first time I'd ever seen him, and he was ACE! The room was PACKED so we stood near the doors, but once he'd finished I moved to get to the other side of the room. This was a BAD IDEA and The Steps On My Stairwell pointed out we were better off where we were. LIFE LESSONS. We went back.

    With us safely situated I went to get BEERS at a bar full of middle-aged men waving tenners. Why do middle-aged men who wave tenners DO that? Do they believe it makes bar staff think "Aha! Those people intend to PAY for their beers, I shall serve them before the people who are not displaying evidence of their liquidity!" It really winds me up, but happily the bar staff were EXCELLENT and did serving in The Correct Order. I turned to go back with my beer to find that one of the middle-aged men who'd been waving a tenner was ALSO one of those people who don't go out much and therefore think that standing in front of a CROWDED BAR is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, and get very angry if anyone tries to get past them. I had to ACTUALLY PUSH him to get out, it was stupid!

    Happily any lingering feelings of GRUMP were instantly dispelled when Otway and The Big Band took to the stage. My word but they were FANTASTIC - it's always a joy to watch them having so much FUN together, even though most of the Actual Jokes have been the same for the past twenty years. My favourite thing about big band gigs is a) all the titting about but b) when they do one of the Quiet Songs they all play it proper properly, and it is GORGEOUS. I think that ALL bands - ALL bands - should be forced by law to go and see Otway gigs whenever they are nearby, so that they can learn HOW to be in a band and how to do gigs. INDEED I bumped into a second person, Dom Formerly Of Kookie Monster, as we'd entered, who was doing EXACTLY that - one of his current band had never seen Otway, so they were rectifying the situation. SENSIBLE.

    It was a lovely lovely gig which we left, as we always do with Otway gigs, GRINNING hugely. OTWAY!

    posted 14/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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    Indietracks: The Return
    Today I'm very very happy, and also hugely relieved, to be able to announce that we're going to be back at Indietracks this year.

    I especially say "relieved" because we were asked several weeks ago and have since been BURSTING to tell everybody about it. In Leicester the other week I spent most of the day trying to think of ways to bring it up in conversation and then "accidentally" mention it, and many MANY times I have thought "I know! I'll say something WRY on Twitter!" and JUST managed to stop myself doing so.

    But last night Team Indietracks announced a new raft of bands (you can see EVERYONE so far confirmed over on their website) and I was finally able to SHOW OFF about it. It means a HUGE amount to be back again - I played, one way or another, every one of the first five years, so when I DIDN'T in 2012 and 2013... well, let's just say I was Very Sad Indeed about it, in a manner which is UNUSUAL for me. I am not un-used to not getting gigs, so tend to be FINE with it, but Indietracks has always been special. Apart from anything else it's the one place where we get to do the kind of gigs I also HOPED I'd end up doing i.e. with an actual crowd who know the words, but it's also a lovely warm atmosphere of friendliness. I love staggering about all day bumping into (literally) people, and I'm very much looking forward to doing that again.

    It was also BLOODY LOVELY to get a whole batch of congratulatory emails, tweets and wotnots from people glad to see us back again - that meant EVERYTHING, so thanks VERY much everyone who was pleased we were returning. We have already spent A MONTH bickering about what the setlist's going to be like, and I imagine that that is an argument that will still be going on after we've done the gig itself - we want to make it worth the wait. We've even got some PRACTICES booked!

    I can't promise we will know the songs, nor can I promise that we won't be falling over drunk, nor that "REMARKS" will not be made from the stage that, in the cold light of day, will appear inappropriate. All I can really promise is that we will be OBVIOUSLY DELIGHTED to be there, and will try and share the feeling around. July cannot ROCK UP soon enough!

    posted 11/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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    Patriotism Day
    Yesterday I got myself out and about, getting myself to TWO seperate cultural events based on sometimes difficult relationships with collective pride.

    Or to put it another way, I went to see "Captain America 2" and then THE FOOTBALL. I was really looking forward to seeing "Captain America 2" as I'd really enjoyed the first one, and read reviews about how the sequel was Doing Something Different. Unfortunately it seems that that Something Different was Being Slightly Dull. I mean, there was lots of action and explosions, and it was INTERESTING that they were trying to talk about Wikileaks etc etc while simultaneously managing to get Armin Zola into a massive blockbuster, but to be honest I found myself looking at my watch at regular intervals, wandering how much longer it'd be going on for. I think it was probably the lack of JOKES that did it for me. Still, it was nice that they did at least THINK about the idea of a massively powerful military (in exactly the way that the Superman film didn't), and it WAS dead exciting to watch the trailers beforehand and realise there are THREE more Marvel films coming this summer. Guardians Of The Galaxy certainly looks like it WILL have some gags!

    Not long after returning from the pictures I headed off to Peterborough to meet the esteemed Mr CM Smith to go to the FOOTBALL. I'd read an interview with Mr D MacAnthony, OWNER of Posh where he'd said he was upset because hardly anybody had turned up for the first home game after the Wembley game. I felt BAD, so rang Chris to see if he fancied going, and he DID. He then rang back to say we could get in for a FIVER if we took our Wembley tickets! Hoorah!

    I arrived at half past six to find Peterborough SHUT. It was WEIRD - i know I live in That London where things are open all the time, and indeed next door to a Shopping Centre, but it was still WEIRD to find everything comprehensively CLOSED - you couldn't even WALK through Queensgate (Peterborough's big shopping centre) at that time of day. Luckily Charters, aka "The Boat Place", was open, so we had a pint of delicious local Oakham Ales JHB before heading over to the game.

    And it was QUITE GOOD. I mean, I generally enjoy going ANYWAY. As I've said before, London Road is pretty much the only place that is still there/accessible from my childhood, and the SMELL of the muddy pitch is strangely reassuring, although they HAVE knocked down one end of the ground in order to rebuild it. The game had LONGEURS when it returned to the kind of running and kicking that I remember from MANY DECADES of Posh, but there were also spots of Actual Football and EXCITEMENT, and most of all a whole lot of TRYING all the time, something which i LIKE a LOT.

    For some reason my main memory of the evening is Gillingham bringing on Adebayo Akinfenwa who was GIGANTIC. Apparently he is "the strongest footballer ever" and he is ENORMOUS. Every time the ball went near him the whole crowd GIGGLED NERVOUSLY, like he was a cross between a CGI GIANT and a Big Boy who had decided to join in with a game being played by THE CUBS. Mr P Myland has since pointed out that Gillingham's LURID PINK away kit also made him look like Mr Greedy!

    We won 2-0 in the end, which was FAIR and hopefully adds to Posh's chances of getting to the play-offs. I walked back to the station through a Peterborough city centre that was not only CLOSED but also SWITCHED OFF. I know it was only a Tuesday night, but it still felt weird to find NOWHERE open and most of the lights off! Still, it was a DELIGHTFUL evening out topping a rather fun day. I hope I get to do this quite a LOT now I am a Gentleman Of Leisure!

    posted 9/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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    Are You MJ Hibbett?
    On Friday night I was heading up to The Lexington to meet The Crowd At My Show, as we were going to see The June Brides. As I neared the venue a man leaned out of his front door and say. "Are you MJ Hibbett?"

    It was STRANGE - if it had occurred IN the gig, full of indie types, I would have been pleasantly surprised, but not ASTONISHED, but to have it occur in the street was a) odd b) ACE. He WAS an indie-type and indeed was himself heading over later for The Primitives, but still: it's the sort of thing that happens to me in the open air only approx 0.5 times a year.

    The gig itself was GRATE - The June Brides were on TOP form, with GRATE sound and some EXCELLENT new material. AND they did "I Own It", which is my FAVOURITE.

    Next day the aforesaid Beer In My Pint Glass were in our local pub, Tap East, enjoying a refreshing BEER after a lovely afternoon wandering around the latest newly opened bits of The Olympic Park, also SHOPPING. A young man came over and said "Are you MJ Hibbett?" He'd seen us a few times in LEEDS - as he said it I remembered speaking to him, us both a little piddly. I said "Aha! We met at that pub that was full of under-age drinkers." "Carpe Diem!" he said, correctly.

    Being recognised outside of indie venues TWICE in the same YEAR is way above my average, but twice in the same weekend? KRAZY! I spent all day on Sunday indoors, doing Computer Stuff and Chores, including a stint on Facebook, where I involved myself in a discussion about whether the zebra crossing on the Abbey Road Crossing Cam is the same one as on the album cover. "It is", I said. A short time later somebody else replied to ask, "Hang on - are you MJ Hibbett?"

    THREE times in ONE weekend?!? That's more than the entire rest of the decade so far! I've no idea what caused this to happen, but obviously i LIKE IT!

    posted 7/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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    All Quiet
    You may have noticed - nay, been LOST because of - a lack of regular updates here of late. This is largely because not a HUGE amount is going on at present, except for a HUGE change to my Working Life. For LO! There has been one!

    As regular readers/anyone who has bumped into me lately will know, my contract was supposed to be finishing around now, but what with one thing and another I've got a bit longer to stay here and DO stuff. I thought I'd be finishing either around Easter or early May, with some time off to take before then, but I recently agreed with The Boss to finish earlier, but then come back in every so often between now and July. This was a bit of a relief as it means I get to FINISH the Project I'm working on, rather than NOT doing so, but it did mean that I suddenly found myself NOT working for a couple of days this week i.e. not "working from home" but "not working" AT home!

    It was a bit weird. I felt GUILTY watching TELLY, and had to remind myself i was free to do what the heck i LIKED, but still largely sat around the house, in case i needed to DO anything. Next week I'm in for one day, in theory, so I'm going to try and get OUT of this mindset on the other days by - maybe - going for a STROLL at some point and, if I'm feeling brave enough, going to the PICTURES! KRAZY! I've also got a TONNE of Writing Projects (hem hem) to get on with, not least finishing off my final submission for SKOOL, so I guess there'll have to be SOME sitting at home going on, but still: STRANGE TIMES AHEAD!

    posted 4/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Football Weekend
    I had an EXTENSIVE weekend this weekend just gone, one from which I am only just starting to recover.

    It all began on Saturday afternoon when I met with my old pals Mr R Hare and Mr M Guest for a PUB STROLL. Every year we discuss getting us (and if possible Mr P Myland) together for a JOLLY, but had so far only managed it once when we went to the Peaks a few years ago. This year Robin suggested that we get together to go and see Peterborough United play in the final of the PRESTIGIOUS Johnstone's Paint Trophy, and though Mileage couldn't make it (his excuse: he was taking his son to the game. Pah!) the rest of us DID gather in A Very Cheap Euston Hotel on Saturday, ready to ROCK.

    The hotel looked like it had been built in the 1930s and been left pretty much untouched since - which isn't to say it was PERIOD or VINTAGE, it was just a bit old and knackered. We had a single room each (with just room for a single bed and sink) with shared toilets, but it was at least CLEAN, and also CHEAP!

    We set off for a pub stroll, stopping first at The Lamb and then popping into The Charles Dickens Museum for a LOOK. It was Quite Good (I should be saving this GOLDUST for Tripadvisor really shouldn't i?). Things soon went AWRY however when we found THREE pubs, all in a row, were SHUT. It would be FOUR, if you counted the pub we accidentally wandered into the back of which was clearly set up for a nearby wedding party!

    Still, we eventually found our bearings, had an EXTREMELY spicy curry, and retired to our tiny bedrooms fairly confident that we would sleep WELL. We DID, until approx 8am when the cleaners came and knocked on the doors! It felt like we were in a GENTEEL PRISON or something, so much so that I was ASTOUNDED when I saw a young couple walking down a corridor - surely that's not allowed?

    We had Perfectly Pleasant HOTEL BREAKFASTS, then went to St Pancras so a) Guesty could have a go on the piano b) we could have a Reasonable Cup Of Coffee, then STRODE next door to see the AMAZING Treasures Of The British Library exhibition. It was, and always is, GRATE!

    After a while I was called away to meet my PARENTS - my Esteemed Step-Father had got tickets for him, me and my little brother, so I said my farewells to the other two (as it was unlikely we'd find each other at Wembley, it is BIG!) and I went to collect them. We sent my Mum off to The Olympic Village, where The Score Of My Game took her on a tour of the environs, then it was HO! For WEMBLEY!

    I was surprised to find that getting to Wembley was PEASY - it's almost as if the transport system has done this before! We had some fancy seats up near the Royal Box, so could look over and try and spot Sir Alex Ferguson, but mostly we watched the GAME! As I'm sure everyone is aware from the extensive media coverage of this PRESTIGIOUS game, it was the final of The Johnstone's Paint Trophy between Peterborough United and Chesterfield. I was a bit confused to start with, as Chesterfield were playing in pretty much EXACTLY (from a distance) kit as Posh. I spent a good five minutes thinking "Britt Assombalonga has lost a LOT of weight. And height. And changed colour" before my baby brother corrected me, just in time for Posh to SCORE. Phew!

    It wasn't the best game i've ever seen, and it certainly wasn't the THRILL RIDE that we had in 1992 when King Ken Charlery won for us, but it was PRETTY DARN GOOD. We were winning at half time, then let a goal in (before I came back!), then went down to ten men, and then scored a penalty, and then there was quite a lot of jumping up and down and shouting and a lot of Peterborough Faces looking even more confused that they usually do. We'd actually WON something! Not a play-off, but an actual TROPHY!!

    It was all VERY EXCITING, especially when they came up for the trophy and Darragh MacAnthony (owner) and Darren Ferguson (Manager) had a BIG HUG. We staggered out and staggered back to the tube (which again was dead easy to do) for a family do back at St Pancras. By this point I was EXHAUSTED (for some reason I was feeling "tired", even tho I had had the aforementioned good night's sleep hem hem) and also DAZED. I couldn't quite believe it and, to be honest, it only really struck home when I watched the local paper's video about the day. It happened!

    Hopefully we'll be able to go BACK later in the year for the play-offs - if it happens I'll try not to go on an all day drinking tour the day before this time!

    posted 1/4/2014 by MJ Hibbett
    (click here for permanent link)

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