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Blog Archive: October 2015

New From Frankie Machine
Anyone who's been listening to the Totally Acoustic podcasts will be very familiar with the SOLO work of The Validators' own Mr FA Machine. Over the years he's come and played MANY times and been pretty much GRATE on every occasion. I've ESPECIALLY enjoyed the last few times because he's been playing some BRILLIANT new material - well, I say "new", in-depth research (looking on the webpage) shows that he first STARTED playing this new stuff almost five years ago, when the gigs were still happening at The Lamb!

My favourite of these songs is "How Great Thou Art", a song which I have PESTERED him to release for AGES and which i have even considered NICKING if he refused to do so. The problem appears to have been getting it all recorded, but I am DELIGHTED to say that, half a decade later, he has finally FINISHED and has a whole new album available, right HERE:



It's called "Frankie Machine Has Been Shipwrecked On A Desert Island" and I heartily recommend it to you because it is GRATE. I've been listening to it all week and various songs have been taking it in turns to get LODGED in my BRANE all day. I'm told there's going to be a VIDEO for "How Great Thou Art" at some point soon - I've seen parts of it and it is a) dead good b) RIGHT CLEVER!

So yes, please do have a listen and a purchase if you can - it was five years well spent!

posted 30/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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Seaside Special
Sunday night found me TERRIFIED, standing near the gates of the Thameslink platforms at St Pancras, thinking "Where's Steve?!?" We'd arranged to meet at 16:30 ready to head SOUTH for our gig in Brighton, but it was already 16:31 and he wasn't there! He's ALWAYS there before me, had he been RUN OVER or KIDNAPPED or... oh no, it's all right, here he is. PHEW!

We were booked that evening to perform Hey Hey 16K at The Caroline Of Brunswick in the aforesaid Brighton and Steve had worked out that it would be quicker for us to get the train from St Pancras rather than go all the way to Victoria like what we usually would. This turned out to be a good idea - the highlight of the journey was us pulling into Blackfriars Station to witness the sun setting over the London skyline, the lowlight was the fact that it took AGES, stopping EVERYWHERE!

We arrived in Brighton, stomped to the pub, got a pint, and I was JUST saying to Steve that I didn't have a phone number for Mr David Leach when LO! Mr David Leach strolled into the pub. David's on TOUR at the moment and was joining us as our SUPPORT for this particular evening, which would turn out to be DELIGHTFUL as he is excellent pub company and, OBVS, a WHIZZ with the ukelele.

Showtime approached and a MOST pleasant spread of people, including The T-Ts and various Lovely Brothers arrived. We guided them up into the top room of the pub which was really very nice indeed - the only complaint was that approx 3 times as many seats had been set out as we needed, but luckily there was a CURTAIN which could be used to discreetly conceal half of them! We also spent a very enjoyable ten minutes taking it in turns not to understand how the PA system worked - none of us were using it for the actual GIG, but we thought we might be able to play some Light Music through it for purposes of ATMOS.

We didn't manage to get it working but it didn't matter as everyone was chatting away. David took to the stage and, as usual, charmed the very SOCKS off of everyone and then, after a short break, Steve and I lumbered on and tried to do the same. It all seemed to go down all right - there was certainly a LOT of giggling, and not just from us! The only downside was that my singing was not at its ANGELIC BEST. Having spent two weeks working in hospital environments I now have the tradiitonal Just Started Working In A Hospital COLD, and my voice was RIGHT craggy.

It would have been nice to have been able to sit around and CHAT, but alas we only had time for a swift half before it was time to hug our goodbyes and STOMP uphill once more to the station. It felt MUCH further going UP than it had coming DOWN, but we made it in good time for The Last Sensible Train Back To London.

Next stop for the show is in a couple of weeks at the Go Faster Festival (tickets very much available), when we're going to RECORD it for possible RELEASE - let's hope my cold's better by then!

posted 26/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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More Conunundrum
Today Mr John Dredge and I release our latest 'Dredge/Hibbett Conunundrum' video, and it is HERE:



It's part 3 of our "The History of The World in 2,786,402 Items" series, this time looking at The Gas Fire (although not too closely, as you'll hear in the video). John and I spent AGES filming these videos - the reason this one is in three locations is mostly because we had to have at least three seperate goes to get it right! We struggled with microphones, lighting, locations and ALL sorts but I think, by the end, it looks all right.

I realise that I've not been banging on about these videos lately, which is a shame as a) they're Quite Good and b) I banged on more than enough about MAKING them, you'd think I might mentioned what they look like once they're DONE. For instance, I did a whole blog entry about filming "You Need Knees" but never actually mentioned that it's now online, HERE:



We've been putting brand new videos up every week for a couple of months now, so there is a TONNE of Dredge/Hibbett stuff you can enjoy (or not) over on our facebook page (LIKE us! Go on!) or our YouTube channel. I reckon they're pretty good - all right the sound quality is not AMAZING and perhaps LIGHTING might have been an idea, but HEY! that's not what we're trying to do here, we are after LARFS! I believe at least some CHUCKLES are provided anyway, so I'd really like to get these seen by a few more people - if anybody out there is a COMMISIONER for TELLY, do get in touch! Failing that I'm thinking of stringing them all together into one big video at the end of the series, like a TV SKETCH SHOW or something, and then watching it on MY telly!

We've still got a few more films to come before then though - next week it's the final (so far) part of The History of The World in 2,786,402 Items and then hopefully after that we'll have our THEME SONG to show/sing you... if we manage to get it filmed in time!

posted 23/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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What Is Indie Anyway?
Ever since the first cavemen put the first cheap knock-off catalogue guitars around their necks and said "Me am write song about cavewoman me like. Hope it make her notice me" there have been INDIE bands, and thus for almost exactly as long there has been the eternal question: "Yes, but What IS Indie Anyway?"

When I first got onto the Internet, approx 300,000,000 years ago in the 1990s, this question was asked a LOT. It may have just SEEMED like it was a Hot Topic because I'd joined MAILING LISTS like uk-indie where this was most of what anybody talked about, but it also came up a lot around them because Indie was becoming CONFUSED. Until about 1993 we all knew that indie was mostly jingly jangly guitars played by youths with big fringes who were TRYING to sound like a combination of soul music and PUNK but, by failing to do either properly, had created their own sound.

That is TOTALLY and DEFINITIVELY what it was, all right? It's my blog so LEAVE IT.

So yes, it was THAT, and nobody else outside our little groups knew about it because it was only played in pubs like The Princess Charlotte and released on records that you could only buy in Rock-A-Boom in Leicester. HOWEVER, around 1993 this began to change when bands that sounded like indie bands who had PRACTICED suddenly started to get on mainstream radio and telly and play in HUGE venues and LO! it was BRITPOP!

I know a lot of my chums then, and several of them now, had a huge problem with Britpop. "Ooh," they would say, "It's not indie is it?" and of course the answer to this is a) "not really" and b) "but who cares? Let's get drunk and jump around to Parklife!" For LO! the thing about Britpop was that it was a HECKLOAD of fun if you happened to be in your 20s, especially if you'd spent most of your Young Adulthood going to discos where they played ONLY GRUNGE. Christ! Nirvana were obviously really good and there were some decent songs I GUESS but Grunge was BLOODY AWFUL for going Disco Dancing too. When the highlight of the night is them STOPPING playing TAD (Tad! BLOODY TAD!) in order to play "Pretend That We're Dead" for the 100th time then you KNOW it is time for something a bit more FUN to come along.

THUS when I first saw Suede on telly i thought "HOORAH! More of this sort of thing please!" and REJOICED in stuff like "Common People" being played EVERYWHERE or bands that I could go and see doing GIGS then also being talked about on telly. It was ACE but it clearly WAS NOT Indie. Indie was music that was STILL being played in pubs like The Charlotte by the sort of bands that Mr T Pattison was supporting with Prolapse. It was bands like the wonderful Po! or Gorky's or the AMAZING Riot Grrl bands like Mambo Taxi or Voodoo Queens or Cornershop or indeed Huggy Bear, all of whom played in Leicester and were GRATE.

Britpop and Indie were two different things, very very occasionally crossing over with some similarities in sound but CLEARLY not the same. Which is why (he said finally getting to the point) it was a bit annoying to see them CONFLATED so wilfully in part 3 of the BBC's "The Story Of Indie" at the weekend. I'd enjoyed the first two episodes as they were about LOONIES and MAVERICKS creating their own bands and labels and distribution, whereas this one seemed to decide that in the 90s that all stopped and everything was handed over to the major labels. The bands featured were ALL the corporate big names of Britpop, with hardly anything mentioned about the massive boom in actual independent acts around the time who had discovered this thing called "the internet" as a way to reach new people.

Strangest of all was the fact that Stuart Murdoch From Belle & Sebastian had been a regular talking head on ALL of the episodes, but his band was not mentioned AT ALL! AT ALL! Belle & Sebastian were THE band of indie in the 90s, they were one of the first bands to have their fanbase create itself online, through fan pages and tape swapping on those email lists I mentioned at the start. They even managed to have a VOTE RIGGING "scandal" when their fans mass voted in the Brits to make them Best British Newcomer!

At the time this INFURIATED the traditional music press, as it had had nothing to do with them and wasn't even happening in LONDON. How dare THE KIDS (all right, The Young Adults) decide for THEMSELVES who they were going to like? And how dare this band NOT rush straight down to London to buy drinks for music journalists and BEG to have their photographs taken? Didn't they know that the journalists had already decided that ROMO was going to be the face of the future?

As you MAY be able to tell it was something that annoyed me at the time and is still fully fit to annoy me all over again now! Even stranger though is the fact that one of the main cheerleaders for Belle & Sebastian at the time, and the place where I first heard them, was the Mark Radcliffe Show featuring the same Mark Radcliffe who'd presented The Story Of Indie. MADNESS!

Of course, there was a much bigger problem with the programme that any of my twenty-years-on annoyance with the NME's refusal to cover gigs outside the M25: the fact that it almost totally ignored the involvement of WOMEN in indie at the time. This is all covered rather brilliantly in a blog by Emma Jackson (aka Emmy Kate From Kenickie) which is well worth a read and also a profound session of AGREEING WITH. Go and have a read of it!

Are you back? Good wasn't it? As ever, when I watch or read something about something I know a bit about and am INFURIATED by the inaccuracies, it does make me wonder how much OTHER history is half-baked mix of personal agendas and rubbish research. Could it be... ALL of it?

posted 22/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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We're Gonna Be Film Stars!
In a couple of weeks' time Steve and I are going to be performing Hey Hey 16K at the Go Faster Festival at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London's fashionable Bloomsbury area of London. I mentioned this in last month's newsletter but I don't think I've shown off about it AT ALL on the blog yet, so let's put that right shall we?

The Go Faster Festival is a FANTASTIC thing which I'm very very VERY excited to be a part of - two full days of SHOWS at The Bloomsbury (in their Studio room) which Mr C Evans of Go Faster Stripe is going to FILM for release as a series of DVDs and/or downloads! Yes, that's right, those of you who haven't been LUCKY enough to see Hey Hey 16K LIVE will now have the chance to see a Properly Filmed version on DVD! Or, to be honest, probably for us just a download, but still!

Quite apart from all the swanking about and saying "oh yes yes, our show is being filmed don't you know' that this affords me, I am MOST pleased about it because I flipping LOVE Hey Hey 16K. As I've said before it is by FAR the most FUN show to perform that we've done, and getting back into it again post-Edinburgh has reminded me how much I like it. It's got THINGS in it, like JOKES and also POINTS!

Tickets available for each of the two days of the festival, allowing you to see everything on that day - we're on on the SUNDAY along with Bec Hill, Simon Munnery, our old chum Gavin Osborn and one more MYSTERY GUEST. A ticket for each day will usually cost you thirty quid you can get a whole TENNER off if you a) book before this Monday and b) use the code NEWSLETTER. Bargain! Here's the link: http://www.thebloomsbury.com/event/run/15045

On top of all THAT fun, Chris tells me that he'll also be giving away a FREE DVD to everyone who watches all the shows each day. This is EXACTLY the sort of policy I can get behind! It's going to be a GRATE day, and I do hope some CHUMS manage to come along - it'll be nice to see some friendly faces!

posted 21/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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A Walk In The Park
Sunday found The Apartments In My Block and I out for a Guided Walking Tour. I'm not sure if I've mentioned - I don't like to go on about it - but I live in the Actual Olympic Village, and it seems that our landlords had organised a bunch of tours, led by Mr Nick Edwards, to give new residents a bit more information about where they were living. In our case it was more of an excuse for a NOSEY, which worked out VERY well indeed!

We kicked off withy a trip to the top of Vesta House, the big triangular building what was on Grand Designs a while ago, where there is a roof garden. We've been up there before but this time it was as part of an Officially Sanctioned Tour, not just sneaking in for a GAWP. You can see pretty much ALL of The London, it was ACE!

We then wandered around East Village discovering FACTS, round the Olympic Park, and eventually to The Arcelor-Mittal Orbit, or The Red Squiggle as it is known in all sensible households. We were filled with INFORMATION about the history of the area by this point, so it was quite nice just to go up to the top and have another good old GAWP as things like The Olympic Stadium and also all the MANY places where they're going to build more houses and stuff. It was all quite exciting really, certainly more exciting than the ABSEILING that was going on - we watched somebody go past our window, he looked TERRIFIED! Instead we chose to walk down around the outside of the Squiggle and it was FAB. Apparently next year they're going to put a SLIDE in so you can ZOOM down - I imagine this will be a lot more fun than abseiling!

posted 20/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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Back On The Road, Back In Northampton
Saturday afternoon found me meeting Mr S Hewitt in our usual pre-Euston=train meeting place, The Euston Tap. I discovered Steve sitting near a DRIP - no, not a particularly weedy hipster, but an ACTUAL drip, coming from the vicinity of the upstairs toilets! Luckily there was only time for me to have a half before we left, as I didn't want to be there if anything else came through the ceiling!

Instead we did LINEZ (i.e. the two of us mumbling our way through the show together at high speed to make sure we remembered it) on the train to Northampton, for LO! we off to that fine city to perform Hey Hey 16K at the NN Cafe, the first of our post-Fringe TOURING dates. In accordance with being back on the road again we had booked Our Usual Rooms at the Ibis, arriving there in time not only to see Pointless Celebrities but also to catch the start of STRICTLY. I realise this may go against my HARD ROCKING image but CRUMBS, I do love Strictly. It's like a warm wave of Everything's All Right on a Saturday night!

ANYWAY, we regrouped and headed to the cafe where we were greeted by Ms T Payne and Mr J Brown (PROPRIETORS) and met Mr C East aka Winston Echo who would be playing later in the evening, accompanied by Mr R Nesbitt on percussion. After saying helloes we went for some TEA, eschewing a Turkish Restaurant (looked a bit scary) and Pizza Express (full) to go to a tiny little Italian Place i know that we international rock and roll jetsetters like to frequent, it is called ASK. It was very nice!

We returned to the cafe where we met MORE pals and soon it was SHOWTIME. A couple of times when I've played the NN Cafe it's been with Robin Ince, and so when I was asked to introduce the evening The Spirit Of Ince was in me i.e. i waffled on about whatever was in my BRANE for five minutes before saying "But don't get me going about Strictly - here's Winston Echo!"

I haven't seen an Actual Winston Echo Gig for AGES, possibly because there hasn't BEEN one for ages, but I was reminded at once how GRATE he is. He started off with "Winchester Cathedral Choir" and I thought "But this is the BIG HIT, where can he go from here?!?" I need not have worried - it was 20 minutes of EXCELLENT, pithy, funny and all round BRILLIANT songs. It was a shame he had to finish so that we could get on really!

But, after a swift break, that is exactly what happened and, actually, it was FAB. The show fell back into place and I remembered how much FUN it is to perform. I've probably said this here before, but the DELIGHT of Hey Hey 16K is that it's so EASY to a) do b) follow, which means that there's breathing space for REMARKS and ENJOYING it, as opposed to previous shows where you had to keep going at full speed throughout in ordernto get all the PLOT in. We really enjoyed it, and it looked like the audience did too. PHEW!

Afterwards we had a beer and then headed over to Phipps Brewery with Mr M and Mrs S Tudno-Jones and it was GRATE! "This is a real old fashioned Midland Ale" said Mel to which I replied "GIMME". Ooh it was a lovely pint!

The evening closed with my traditional purchase of a Dirty Pizza, this time from a handily placed Pizza Shop over the road from our hotel. Thus te next day began with the traditional on-tour breakfast of The Remain Of Dirty Pizza which, as ever, tasted a) delicious b) GUILTY.

We had to get a Rail Replacement Bus back as far as Milton Keynes which featured the MOST Officious Prick EVER taking tickets. Usually when you get on one of these buses staff steer clear, presumably out of GUILT, but this guy was checking everybody's ticket as they got on, making it take FOREVER to get going. Not only that but he also checked PASSES and THEN insisted on being shown OTHER IDENTIFICATION if people had a slightly different haircut in the photograph!

Still, in a funny way this made it all feel MORE like we were Back On The Road, as I used to end up on rail replacement buses all the time in my HEYDAY of national travel, and it felt sort of NICE to be doing it again, especially as I know it's a week until the next time, which'll be in BRIGHTON at The Caroline Of Brunswick on Sunday (PLENTY of tickets remain!). Why not pop along if you're in the area? It'll be FUN!

posted 19/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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Falling In Love With A Hospital
As I near the end of my first week in a NEW JOB I find that it's all turning out surprisingly FINE. I'm gradually getting my Getting Up Time and Commute into some sort of manageable order, everybody seems very nice in the two (2) offices I'm based in, and though I'm still PANICKING every ten minutes that I'm going to turn a corner and discover a massive pile of STUFF that I don't understand at ALL I'm gnerally calming down and thinking that I might be able to DO this.

And alongside all of this something rather wonderful has also happened: I have fallen in love with a HOSPITAL.

For about half my time every week I'm going to be based at Charing Cross Hospital which, confusingly, isn't in Charing Cross (the other half of the time I'll be at Hammersmith Hospital, which isn't in Hammersmith, so maybe it's a thing) but in distant Barons Court. I went for a wander around the hospital on Thursday lunchtime and discovered that it is a thing of IMMENSE beauty - if it was any MORE 1970s then it would have to feature in a LADYBIRD BOOK about Modern Things. There are large comfortable seating areas, vaguely deco/modernist stair rails, MURALS everywhere, lettering that hasn't changed since the place was built, and an ACTUAL HENRY MOORE out the front! It's incredible!

Its's a long long time since I last worked in a hospital and so they have changed a bit, even in one so marvellously preserved as this one. It still SMELLS like a hospital and it's still impossible to find your way around, but it has got quite a bit more COMMERCIALISED i.e. there is more than one shop and, though I do love a good Friends' Shop (and this one has a PARTICULARLY fabulous example) it is nice to know there are OTHER shops selling things apart from boiled sweets and third-hand paperbacks. You can get coffee you can actually DRINK! Imagine!

Barons Court itself is also quite nice, and features a BRILLIANT cemetery which is the route that everybody uses to get there and back from the tube station. I did think it was a bit ODD when I first went that NOBODY seemed to be heading for the hospital, it turns out that the cemetery is more CROWDED than Père Lachaise on Jim Morrisson's birthday!

So yes, it is all rather lovely - the only shame, really, is that the other half the time I have to go to White City, which is quite a lot LESS lovely!

posted 15/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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Job 3
On Monday I found myself back in distant Hammersmith to start WORK at my new PROPER JOB. Happily for my predictive powers of songwriting it turned out to be ALL RIGHT.

I'd been right worried about it, wandering around the week beforehand in a FUNK, sad for the ending of the glorious year and a half OFF that I've just had and AFEARED of what was to come. I have only had TWO proper jobs before this one (over a decade each at Leicester University and Birkbeck College) and it is a HUGE expanse of time since I last had a First Day At Work, so my misgivings were perhaps understandable. However, it turns out that things have changed a bit since that distant day in the early part of the century when I rolled up at Bedford Square to begin work in That London. For one thing, I am Considerably Further On In My Career and so - it turns out - do actually know what I'm on about a bit more. For another, I appear to also have GROWN as a human being somewhat! I know! Imagine! Where once I would VISIBLY QUAIL at the idea of meeting new people I positively EMBRACE the idea, and where I used to find the first excuse to run away and HIDE on my own for as long as possible now it seems that I'm the sort of person who engages in chit chat and even goes off to LUNCHTIME TALKS. It's KRAZY!

There were MANY meetings and also the usual IT Business i.e. my PC hadn't arrived and, as an added bonus, someone had spelled my name wrong in my log-in, but again it turned out that I am no longer a TERRIFIED BABY about such things and instead just got ON with it. ENCROYABLE!

Best of all though, it turns out that you CAN get a seat on the Central Line first thing in the morning if you just wait a minute for the PACKED one to go buy, and thus I spent a DELIGHTFUL hour, there and back, READING. Reading! I haven't done THAT on a commute since i lived in Leytonstone, AND I listened to The Beatles all the way too!

I tell you what, if it wasn't for the fact I have to get up at A Quarter To Ridiculous I would demand that they pay me to ... what? They DO pay me? Sing HOORAH everybody, it IS all right when it's a proper job!

posted 13/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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An Actual Gig
On Saturday night I found myself doing something I hadn't since APRIL (not June as mentioned previously) - an actual real-live not anything else solo GIG!

It was occurring as part of the Damnably Ninth Birthday Party/International John Peel Day at The Brixton Windmill, a place I have played approx 1,000,000 times but not for AGES. It was an all-dayer and, as is traditional NAY LAW for all-dayers, when I arrived I found it was running nearly an hour late! This did mean I was there in time for Smallgang tho, who I hadn't seen in ... all right, let's just take it as read that I haven't done ANY of the things I did on Saturday for A Long Time, shall we? They were GRATE!

I wandered into The Acoustic Stage Area i.e. "The old shack" round the back that used to be for smokers but now appears not to be, where I met Ms E Callaghan, late of The Bobby McGees. I haven't seen her in - oh right, you get the idea - and it was lovely to do so as we watched Russell from The Wolf Choir perform a DELIGHTFUL version of "Rip It Up".

The idea of the day was a band would play on the main pub stage and then as soon as they'd finished the acoustic act would crank up in The Shack, but that fell apart a little as people tried to catch up with the timings - and, somehow, failed to do so! So it was that at approx 9:20pm I took to the "stage" and done THIS:
  • We Did It Anyway
  • That Guy
  • In The North Stand
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • There were 7-8 people in the room with me, but it all seemed to pass off quite pleasantly. I'd thought "I'm going to do ALL new songs!" but then all the other acts said things like "We have to do a John Peel themed song and this is my choice" so I had to find a way to WRANGLE a song I already KNEW into the set as the John Peel one. Luckily we had watched "Music For Misfits: The Story Of Indie" the night before featuring Ms Amelia Fletcher, the QUINTESSENTIAL Boss Who Was In An Indie Band Once (or about ten times in her case, but you get the idea) so I think I got away with it!

    After that there was a BEER and I stayed in LE SHACK to watch Beattie aka Captain Lovelace, who was ACE. The highpoints were 1) her managing splendidly when the landlady of the pub entered through the fire door and had a chat with the whole audience and 2) a version of "Greetings To The New Brunette" unlike any other i.e. in a French accent but (like all others) with various middle-aged men singing unasked-for backing vocals.

    After all that it was time for me to wend my weary way home, an approx 80 minute TREK across That London. I'd had a lovely time, but it wasn't half nice to finally get home!

    posted 12/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Golden Guys
    On Saturday I'm playing a GIG - not a Totally Acoustic, not a performance of Hey Hey 16K, not even a wedding but an actual GIG! It's the first I've done of this sort since JUNE, so I am a little nervous!

    The event itself is Damnably's 9th Birthday Party/John Peel Day at The Brixton Windmill with a TONNE of other acts including smallgang, echolocation, Former Utopia, More Bad Times and LOADS more - tickets available HERE: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/331757. I think I'm on at about 8:30pm.

    It's all in aid of Refugee Action and to raise FURTHER ca$h for them Mr George Gargan, Damnably IMPRESSARIO, has put together a compilation album featuring tracks from some of the ARTISTES performing. George asked me about it AGES ago but I'd completely forgotten what had happened, so imagine my DELIGHT when I realised that mine and Steve's version of "Thank You For Being A Friend" was on it, HERE:



    As with SO many of the cover versions I've recorded this was done because John The Publisher had passed on a BRIEF from some advertising company, saying they wanted a version for something or other. These briefs ALWAYS say they want something "quirky" or "lo-fi" which is VERY MUCH what I supply, only to find what they MEANT was "wimpy and sung by a child with a beard and/or wooly hat". Still, Steve and I had a MARVELLOUS afternoon recording it, as I think you can tell from the recording!

    I don't think I'll be doing that song on the day, but then I don't know WHAT songs I'll be doing on the day. Why not come along, and we'll find out together?

    posted 8/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Poetry Party
    As I stepped out of Dalston Junction station yesterday and into Dalston Actual I found myself thinking "Surely ONE Camden is enough for any city?" For LO! Dalston is basically BLOODY CAMDEN but without quite so many tourists going "Ooh! Is that Graham Coxon?" I don't really like it.

    I was there to meet Mr S Hewitt for a THINGS, so stomped down the road to our meeting point, The Fox. As ever with pubs suggested by Steve it turned out to be realy ice - it's almost as if he has been in ALL the pubs and knows which ones are all right! We were meeting there to attend the Poetry Party at the nearby Proud Archivist, an event being run by Mr John Osborne and Ms Molly Naylor featuring Mr Gavin Osborn and Mr Rob Auton. I mean, with a line-up like that it would have been RUDE not to go, wouldn't it?

    Steve and I had a nice pint in the nice pub then wandered down the road and along a canal path to The Proud Archivist, which was an INHERENTLY HILARIOUS place. It felt like we'd wandered into a FILM being made in The Future, a period drama set in the year 2013. Everything looked as if someone had researched "hipsters" and tried to make it authentic, so there were cocktails, hernia-inducingly expensive burgers, craft beers, beards, a football table, ironic irony and, best of all, a unisex toilet. We wandered around GIGGLING at it all!

    After enjoying some of the above LARFS we wandered into a back room where we found the GIG happening, and OH MY what a gig it was! The first half was Messrs Osborne and Auton, the second half Molly and Gav and it was all GRATE. For some reason I have an idea that poetry and/or performance events might be a bit dull and worthy but all the ones I've been to have been ACE, and this was no exception. All the acts were unafraid to be funny or touching or thought provoking or all three at once, it was LOVELY. There was a time when I looked longingly at Proper Rock Bands and wanted to BE in that world, nowadays it's SPOKEN WORD that makes me think "I want a piece of THAT!"

    AND we could sit down AND there were iced party rings. I mean, COME ON, who wouldn't want to be part of that world?

    posted 7/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    Totally Acoustic Begins Again
    On Thursday night last week The Shows On My Schedule and I found ourselves once more in the comforting environs of The King & Queen in London's fashionable LONDON area of London for the first in the new series of Totally Acoustic. Amazingly it's been four month since the last show but as soon as we trooped upstairs, alongside Mr S Hewitt, it felt like we'd never been away.

    The three of us set the chairs out then went downstairs to await our first two ACTS, Mr Ben Cosh and Mr David Callahan, who arrived in good time, ready for ACTION. Our third act, Mr Steve Lamacq, would arrive a little later as he had WORK round the corner at The BBC.

    The room filled very nicely, including a RECORD BREAKING number of Totally Acoustic alumni including Mr Tim Eveleigh, Ms Jenny Lockyer and, down for the evening from Derby, Mr FA Machine! We began, as ever, with The Theme Tune and then I did a couple of songs - I was originally intending not to play at ALL for this series, as we have plenty of guest acts, but then I thought a) this would mean less SHOWING OFF for me but also b) it's a bit unfair to force someone ELSE to kick off the evening. Not that I need have worried as Ben Cosh came straight on and won over the whole room by being GRATE, either on his own or with his wife Amy singing lullabies. It was brilliant!

    As indeed was David Callahan i.e. him out of The Wolfhounds who kicked off with an acapella song and then some ace songs featuring a TONNE of twiddly bits - in this case CATCHY twiddly bits that I found myself singing all the way home!

    Finally Steve Lamacq got up and told some STORIES - he said he'd been nervous about it beforehand, but this did not seem apparent once he got up and got going. It was ACE - apparently this is going to form the basis of a one-man show somewhere along the line and I personally CANNAE WAIT.

    And then that was it. All that was left to do was have another BEER and a YACK and then head out into the night, very happy with how the new series had begun. You don't have to take my word for all this though, for LO! the PODCAST of it all is available to download right NOW over on the Totally Acoustic site!


    posted 5/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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    Back To Work
    About 18 months ago my old job finished and, FLUSHED with a small pay-off. I decided to have some time OFF. After approx 23 years of working I thought it might be quite good fun and - NEWSFLASH - I was not incorrect! I got to spend all day doing LOADS of exciting and fun things without having to get on a TOOB into town to sit at a desk while pesky people asked me to do OTHER things.

    It has been a DELIGHT, with the only slight downside being the lack of MONEY. The vague idea was that I'd make CA$H from The Writing and though this has happened a little bit it hasn't happened sufficiently to support me. To be honest, it hasn't happened sufficiently to even support a very small insect on a diet (last week's prize money basically QUADRUPLED how much I've earnt in my time off!) and so I thought it was probably time to go back to PAID work.

    So it was that I sat down to look at jobs.ac.uk, the Universities' job vacancy site - after all this time I am pretty much RUINED for working in The Private Sector, and also I really really wanted to get back on the University PENSION scheme. When I say "really really" I mean "really REALLY really" - I am actually quite EXCITED about it!

    I found a job which appeared to be similar to my last job but a) on a project that was still GOING b) with lots of different things going on and c) in a small team, so I applied and got an INTERVIEW! The first part of it seemed to go very well - it was FUN actually, as it turns out that going on about The Projects What I Did is something I enjoy - but then I had to sit a TEST. A WRITTEN test, with pen and paper! The first two questions on it filled me with DREAD as they were TECHNICAL e.g. one asked the difference between a clustered and non-clustered index. Luckily in the interview I had mentioned the fact that I am WAY behind with current thinking and/or terminilogy so was able to say so and have a (incorrect, as i later discovered) guess. The rest of the test involved DATA DIAGRAMS tho, which is something i have been known to do on my own time for FUN!

    To cut an ALREADY almost too fascinating story short, the next day they offered me the job and I said YES PLEASE! So it is that as of October 12th I shall be an employee of Imperial College, travelling out to WHITE CITY every day. It'll mean more commuting time but hopefully that'll in turn mean that I can get back to BOOKS and listening to MUSIC again. It'll also mean a bit less time for The Writing, so I'm planning to spend the next week finishing off a TONNE of things!

    It's all quite exciting - this is, basically, only the third proper job I've ever had!

    posted 2/10/2015 by MJ Hibbett
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