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New Thrill!
The Song Blog!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 28.2.03
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A Promise Fulfilled
As THREATENED the other day, i DID go out and buy Suede's first album, and it does indeed BLOODY ROCK. I was STRUCK by listening to it this morning how UTTERLY GRATE Bernard Butler's bits are - I'm not really the sort of person who AIR GUITARS a lot (or really cares much about lead guitar anyway) buy BY GEORGE i was ROCKING around the bedroom doing them solos this morning! Oh! The Faces Pulled!

The trip to buy it was riddled with rumness - i couldn't find it in Virgin, so looked around a bit, and saw a CD called "The Best One Hit Wonders EVER!" I was GLADDENED to find "Your Woman" by Number One Hitmakers White Town (feat. founder Validator Mr R.Fleay... on the b-side, but still). I was AFEARED 30 seconds later to bump into Rob's best mate GARY!! Down for the day from DERBY!

If that wasn't spooky enough, when the two of us got to HMV down the road, we came upon an entire CD display rack EMPTY ... except for one CD. Where there should have been 200 records there was... the first Suede Album! On it's OWN!

RATHER SPOOKY!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 27.2.03
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News From The Creative Coal Face
Composition of THE EPIC continues apace, although for some reason my BRANE has decided to really annoy me by starting off the IDEAS at about 8.35am, knowing FULL WELL that in seven minutes time i will have to TEAR out of the house and RUN to get my train. It also knows that for AT LEAST the next hour I won't even be able to HUM anything, and certainly won't be able to write any GRATE IDEAS down, and thus get all worried that I'll forget something. Git!

But it's coming along quite nicely, and the feeling of having IDEAS bubbling away just behind the SCREEN of my Conscious Mind is ACE. There's nothing quite as satisfying as, as happened just now whilst walking to lunch, suddenly seeing a MUCH better way of phrasing a line, and then spending the next ten minutes humming it internally, even though you should really be paying attention to what people are saying to you.

So! Here's a SNEAKY PEAK at two little bits...


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Peak 1: Section 2, Verse 1, part 2
Hearing "Back For Good" the first time
I thought "From now on in life I'll
Like the things I like with an open heart"
The Krazy World Of Rock's an easy place to start -
From hereonin I'll base my judgements
Not on baggage but on Art

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Peak 2: A Phrase Which Will Appear Towards The End, When It Starts Going On About GOD, And Which Made Me TITTER On The Way To Work
Steps back in Amazement, Supersonic!

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SUEDE - "Metal Mickey" (part 1)
I've just watched Top Of The Pops 2 (well, this particular bit of it anyway), which i taped purely because i'd seen that Suede were going to be on it, and i hoped it'd be this. It was FANTASTIC.

Many years ago, back in the Very Early 90's, when VOON CLASSIC were in full swing, i shared a house with Dr Neil Brown and Simon From Voon. We were happy, though we were POOR, for we had ROCK in the house, and would sit together almost every night, smoking Comedy Marlboroughs and playing music.

We'd decided to rent this particular house because it was upside down, with most of the bedrooms downstairs and the kitchen and living room upstairs, although it wasn't really much of a living room - it had two (broken) chairs, a massive painting that our friend Chris had done, hanging on the wall, and a crappy old telly that the previous owners had considered broken and so left behind. It was, technically, a colour telly - most of the picture was green, except for three yellow stripes that spanned the screen.

And it was this telly that me and Simon sat before GOGGLE EYED one night and got our first taste of What Was To Come, when Suede made their debut on Top Of The Pops, doing "Metal Mickey", thus heralding those first GRATE few years of Britpop (No compilation album could ever do justice to that summer of wearing suede jackets and going to Indie Discos to hear songs we ACTUALLY KNEW THE WORDS TO!).

We Could Not Belive What We Were Watching, as Brett Anderson FLOUNCED and PRANCED, as Bernard Butler and indeed The Other Two did EXACTLY THE SAME, making REAL PROPER ROCK MUSIC a million miles away from the shit poodle rock we'd grown up with, or the terminally dour GRUNGE we'd just lived through, and a billion biliion light years better than the bloody BLOODY BLOODY AWFUL bollocks that passed for Indie in those days - remember Mega City Four? I wish i didn't.


posted by MJ Hibbett, 25.2.03
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SUEDE - "Metal Mickey" (part 2)
Me and him sat for three minutes in stunned amazement watching this FANTASTIC THING, and knew that our lives would be BETTER forever afterwards. Simon got the single the next day and we listened to it for WEEKS. When "Select" brought out a new issue i'd rush out and get it just for the Alternate Takes of SUEDE songs on the free cassettes that came with it, and when the album finally came out we both had it STRAIGHT onto Walkmans - whenever i think of my first job working at Leicester General Hospital i think of me STALKING out of the building on a Friday Evening, pressing Play so that that first FANTASTIC chord of "Chase The Dragon" hit at the EXACT INSTANT i walked through the back door and into the weekend.

It also lead to the three of us wearing some SPECTACULARLY inappopriate , tight, sweaty, eye-straining polyester BLOUSES during gigs for the next year, but we needn't dwell on that. Suffice to say, when i sat down to watch it tonight i was a little worried that it wouldn't match up to my expectations.

It did. It was BRILLIANT. Every time i have been DRUNK in That London since living here i have wanted to go to Virgin on Tottenham Court Road and buy their first album on CD - Mark my words, listening world - tomorrow lunchtime, i'm going to do it. SOBER!

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A Song RECLAIMED
REHEARSALS continued over the weekend, as i sat in the bedroom BELLOWING in 40 minute batches. I am GAGGING, UTTERLY, for ROCK ACTION now - my SET is now nudging a possible 50 minutes of non-stop HITS, with several Less Probables WHITTLED out, and a couple of new ideas inserted. One of these would be to do "Fat Was A Feminist Issue" almost ENTIRELY unaccompanied (hmm... or is that a bit too Singers' Night?), the other is to bring back the song "The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team Group B".

To be honest, the first set of reasons for doing this was that i realised i a) DIDN'T have any songs from the "A Church Hall Of Sound (revisited)" single in my current set; b) DO have several hundred copies of the "A Church Hall Of Sound (revisited)" under my bed that I'd like to encourage people to buy and c) have already got "Good Cooking" in the set, so "Another Man's Laundry" would be A Bit Much.

However, the second set of reasons were much more honourable, as playing it last night i remembered how much the song meant to me, and how GRATE the (true) events described had been. It also reminded me of how well it seemed to go down with audiences, especially when I played at the Need To Know Christmas DO 2001. It appeared to touch the BRUISED HEARTS of several Computer Types, to know that sometimes, actually, Our Lot DID win, and not just at the things only we'd give a toss about anyway.

So yeah, it's coming back!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 24.2.03
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Revision Timetable
While I make plans to make plans to schedule the next time i can think about making a booking to go and start the last bit of mixing of the album (possibly), i have found a little time for some diversionary thinking... The Album has been called "This Is Not A Library" for at least two years now, before any of the SEVERAL songs which include the phrase were even written, and for about 18 months it's been destined, in my head, to have one of those gatefold type book-esque sleeves. I spent many happy afternoons in my old job TOYING with this notion, and got quite ADVANCED with some designs. One part, in particular, is going to STAY, a library ticket on the inside marked with the date of every single recording session. I don't know that it'll mean much to the (imaginary) CONSUMERS of the product, but it fills me with equal measures of GLEE and ALARM, and i like it.

Anyway, today I have had yet another New GRATE Idea re. the above - rather than make it like a paperback, why not do it like a used hardback? I REALLY like those chipboard covers (largely because the UK version of Prolapse's backsaturday came in one, and it was LOVELY), so am NOW thinking of having a largely-brown (or maybe dark blues?) cover, with just the title and authors "embossed" on the cover and spine , and then inside, on a separely made sticky piece of paper, have the aforementioned library ticket, with the dates and small-type instructions to "see CD-ROM" for details... or maybe a tracklisting... or something.

I don't know, it's a nice idea - maybe it could be NUMBERED too? - and will doubtless get even nicer in my MIND with a good week or two's THORT. But that's what's in my BRANE re. ROCK at present.

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In Other News
  • New look webpage took a LEAP forward as part of the below-mentioned 2 Spare Hours.
  • We're going on holiday soon. It's been a beautiful day today in Central London, quite startlingly so, but how much MORE beautiful a day would it have been if i had spent it a) with the love of my life b) on a beach c) grinning? Answer: a LOT.
  • Spoke to Mr McClure re. String Arrangement for the song "Walkman In My Head" the other night - he played me a midi version down the phone, and even through these great SWATHES of technology you could still hear Robin Hood DUELLING with Guy of Gisbourne in the background.
  • Am currently scheduling the next AAS Board Meeting. When this is done i shall move forward to schedule the next mixing session, and when THAT's been completed we will move onto the FINAL stage of Album Creation.
  • But don't hold your breath.

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 21.2.03
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    Living In The Modern World
    Amazingly for a man of my stature and wisdom, i woke up early this morning, and had to arse around the house for two hours until it was time to begin the GRATE PAUL McCARTNEY TICKET CHASE! At exactly nine o'clock i LEAPT upon the phone and startled dialling the numbers given. Two were completely unavailable, so i HONED IN on the one that was only engaged. I tried Re-Dial, but it seemed my FINGERS were faster, and so i MENTALLY PREPARED myself for an hour or two dialling and dialling and dialling until i LUCKED OUT and got through. It would be long, it would be hard, but it would be worth it.

    Then i thought "Or i could do it online." Popped upstairs, tip tap tap on the keyboard, and in five minutes i had a confirmation email on the way. On the one hand, OH MY WORD! I'm going to see PAUL McCARTNEY! On the other hand, i felt slightly CHEATED by it being so easy.

    But not that much, I've still got the tickets! WAHEY!

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    Shame They Didn't Do Neil Jung though...
    Me and the Warmth In My Winter went to see Teenage Fanclub last night, it was BRILLIANT! The edges of the set were a very little bit less good, but the MIDDLE hour or so was a HEFTY SLAB of "Grand Prix" and "Howdy" and was AMAZING - the room was full of people all smiling and feeling LOVELY, BASKING in the warm glow of The Fannies. Aaah... even better, the entire audience was AT LEAST as old as me, with some members carrying WALKING CANES just to make me feel YOUNG and FRESH. Better YET, we even got told off by a miserable sod who was sitting down (yes, SITTING DOWN) behind us and thus couldn't see, so we got to spend much of the night feeling REBELLIOUS and YOUTHFUL. It was an EXCELLENT gig, i LIKED it, and now i want some MORE!


    posted by MJ Hibbett, 20.2.03
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    Who Is This "Luke Smith"?
    Hmmm... I've just been reading about some chap called Luke Smith - the very marvellous Lovely Brothers are playing here in That London on Saturday night (at the Enterprise in Camden, in fact), and they'd asked me if i'd like to go along and KICK START the evening. HOWEVER, i already has PLANS, so they've got this Luke Smith chappy in, who somebody described to them as "The MJ Hibbett of Canterbury". NATURALLY i looked him up, and from what scant information i can GLEAN he seems to be compared to a) OTWAY and b) Ian Dury - i think the fact that he plays PIANO must have DEFLAYED the Inevitable Billy Bragg Comparison, but i might be wrong there. Anyway, am obviously FASCINATED and am going to try and track down more information. Perhaps he, me, and Chris T-T (oh! does the rhyming never cease?) should play a gig together and CONFUSE people as to who is the whom of where? Eh?

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    Prog Rock on The Horizon
    I'm having an IDEA at the moment... i think it's a Good Idea, but then I always do. Anyway, the idea is to write a REALLY long song i.e. at least 20 minutes worth. This was "inspired" by seeing Bloody Focus on the telly the other night doing some Bloody Prog Rock - every time i ever come into contact (accidentally) with Bloody Prog Rock i do at least give it the benefit of the doubt, and think "Yes, perhaps the conventional song structure IS too limiting, perhaps you COULD usefully expand upon an idea for longer than three minutes - let's see how these chaps deal with it!" and all you ever get is some rotten hippies doing EXACTLY a three minute song, but with ten minutes of guitar/drum/other instrument solos (which are NEVER EVER a Good Idea UNLESS they are VERY SHORT, also ROCK) and at least half an hour of Twatting About SHOEHORNED into the gaps between verses.

    I find this especially offensive when, as with Bloody Focus, it is the kind of Twatting About that is highly amusing AT THE TIME when you are practicing, but CEASES being amusing immediately afterwards, and certainly should NOT be taken out into the open air - in this case, BAD YODELLING. I mean, goodness me, if we, The Validators, did this all of our songs would last an HOUR, start with Tim telling a ROCK anecdote, feature several RIFFS from Fall Songs in the middle and CLIMAX with "good natured ribbing" about the chord structure for the final 20 minutes .

    I should point out that BY Prog Rock i include "post" Rock, as it is EXACTLY the same but with more dreary awful solos, no chorus, and, usually but not as a rule, a bit less yodelling. Anyway, I've often THOUGHT maybe i could have a go at writing a song that's 20 minutes long - and a PROPER song mind you, with verses, and choruses, and all sorts of bits and bobs in it, NOT just the same riff played forever - but so far i've only managed to break the 5 minute barrier, just, with "Born With The Century".

    The NICE thing about this would be the chance to really FLEX my MIGHTY BRANE - on many occasions i finish a song, feel all PLEASED about it, then realise later i have MISSED something e.g. the other week i finished "Walkman In My Head", ponced around feeling pleased with myself, and then had it pointed out to me by my Best Beloved that i had completely OMITTED the whole idea of songs getting onto repeat play in your MIND. CURSES!

    Sometimes, on stuff like "Hey Hey 16K" and "Everything's Turning Out All Right" i've had Other THORTS and managed to LEVER them into the main song, but I've never really gone WAY OFF on a tangent in the way i am SCHEMING to do...

    This is starting to sound a bit wanky now isn't it? Righto then, FAIR DO's - but be WARNED! The EPIC is brewing! So far it consists, as these things do,of Existing Bits (including "If You're That Fcuking Bothered, Don't Eat It" and "Delete Your History") and a ROUGH WORKING of ideas in between. If it ever does get any further than that, thrillseekers, I'll let you know!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 18.2.03
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    MACCA ATAK!
    Paul McCartney has just announced that he will be playing some European dates in April, including several performances in the UK, his first here for ten years.

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZANG!!!!!!!! OH! MY! WORD! Fetch me a tissue quickly someone - EXCITEMENT levels are HIGH! Paul McCartney! HOOOORAH!

    The more i think about this, the more UNCONTROLLABLY EXCITED i become! WAHEY!

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    New Ways Of Working
    I've been Working From Home today, and it's been SMASHING. I got up with GRIM FOREBODINGS, for LO! today is The Start Of The Congestion Charges, and the same ghastly old fascists who told us that the Minimum Wage would spell our DOOM (funny how they've all gone quiet about that isn't it?) have been spreading said GRIM FOREBODING about for weeks, and it's sort of catching after a while. I need not have worried about it tho, as the OLD DOOM was more than enough... i discovered the Bad News from the nicest possible receptacle, who told me this morning as i awoke that The Little Train was BROKE.

    The Little Train is the train i get into work when the Central Line (which is now fading into NOSTALGIA) is busted. When THAT isn't working, it's a lengthy wait for a get-on-able bus, then SOME MAGIC ROUTE i've not worked out yet into the centre of London, so i decided to Work At Home instead, and as said it was LOVELY. I've actually, to my own amazement, done a TON of work, put two loads of laundry through, talked to the cats, AND cooked a sumptuous tea. And i feel GOOD.

    The only problem is the URGE to BAKE is rising in me, and if it carries on i may go down the road and CORALL some of the other housewives into a COFFEE MORNING.

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    The Lesson Of The Smiths
    "Just because a bunch of wankers think something is a good idea doesn't mean it isn't a good idea."

    This applies to EVERYTHING.

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 16.2.03
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    The March, part two: Aaah!
    ANYWAY, that lasted a good half hour as my brain RAGED INWARDLY, but then i started to see BENEATH the banners and saw all the children, the NORMAL people, the "protest virgins" and that, as well as the CND people, the GOOD human beings who, actually, would probably much rather be at home having their lunch than here. It was, actually, BEAUTIFUL, especially seeing all the organisations for PEACE finally managing to connect with the ordinary people who never really felt the need to be there, finally getting together and finding that they had far more in common with each other than with those, actually very small, cliques of self-professed revolutionaires who sought to speak for them.

    And after that it was LOVELY, and i saw all the home-made signs, the self-made t-shirts, and the new songs people were making up. By the time we got to Hyde Park i was feeling positively ZEN LIKE, as Actually Millions Of People swarmed around happily. We didn't stay long, hey, it was cold! We went home, did MORE shopping, and then settled down with a Hearty Stew to watch it on telly, and MAN wasn't it fantastic? It was a little bit - and ONLY a little bit, but still - like watching the Berlin Wall come down, in that it was real people doing something they believed in. And In Discussion, i came round to thinking that, actually, i should listen to The Lesson Of The Smiths (see above) here too, and remember that just because a couple of hundred maladjusted misanthropes seek to take over any protest going, doesn't mean i should lump in EVERYONE who cares with them. The CND, for example, whose members have trudged the street week in and week out for causes like this, or the Green Party, or the countless other organisations whose badges festooned the rainbow of anoraks that stormed past us yesterday afternoon, all these people defy cynicism and Can't Be ArsedNess, to make days like this, when they happen like this, actually WORK.

    It was GRATE. AND! just to top of the day with some Slightly Less Worthiness, as we left we passed Meg Matthews and her mate coming in, and i "dutifully" ran back with Charlotte so we could CASUALLY turn round and LOOK at her a bit more. I was thus able to BOTH act HAUGHTY about such wanton celebrity gawping AND indulge in massive wanton celebrity gawping. HOLA! She was very small indeed, as all People On The Telly have to be in order that they fit in.

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    The March, part one: GRR!
    We marched yesterday, it was GOOD. Like the modern consumers of politic we are, we went SHOPPING first, and then hopped onto the march itself somewhere after Regents Street (and a LOT of people were hopping on and off similarly, which is the First Thing that leads me to believe it was nearer 2 million than three quarters). It was a bit weird being back in the Marching Arena after over ten years, and almost immediately i found myself getting REALLY WOUND UP by all the parasites who always try and take over such things - obviously the SWP were there, but they did seem to be sticking to the point, unlike the anti-Israeli's, the revolutionary communits, and worst of all, the bloody Trostkyists, whose banners a) had NOTHING to do with the march ("Free Abortion for all", for instance) and b) looked suspiciously worn down, ALMOST as if they got them out for every single march going, irrespective of what it was for. Every time i see an "Bring Back Doctor Who" petition or something, i can't help but wonder if it's a COVER for a bunch of Everybody-Hating TROTS... i know this is a bit paranoid, but my entire experience of "grassroots" politics when i was a student was BLIGHTED by fcuking SWP and other minutely differentiated groups of odious far-left shits trying to take over everything to further their own manfestos which, frankly, are VILE in the extreme. Trotsky really wasn't a Very Nice Man - The State is more important than the individual, ALL humans are expandable and so forth. The worst of it, to me, is that the New Marxists HATE the working classes for not bringing about the revolution they hoped to lead.


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    ROCK ACTION!
    FINALLY! After what feels like 3,000,000 years, i have a GIG again! HOORAH!

    It's here in That London on Wednesday March 5th at the Betsy Trotwood in Farringdon. Validator Lovers be warned, it will just be ME all on my own, but i promise to try and play a New Song (or at least new to ME), and i'm on at 8.30pm, so if nothing else it will give time for BEER afterwards. HOORAY tho, i am IMMEASURABLY chuffed at the prospect of a gig again. The other bands are William Hut and Triplelicious 23, if that's any help.

    All i need to do know is work out how all them songs went...

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 13.2.03
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    BOOKS!
    This morning i finished reading "The Invention Of Dr Cake" by Andrew Motion, and was Rather Disappointed by it. I read about it in the paper over the weekend, so when i finished my last book (that Toby Young one, it was OK) i thought "AHA! I know EXACTLY what to get!" because the review had made it sound really interesting. However, as it turned out, the review was much more interesting, and actually almost as LONG as the book itself. You know how sometimes you read a book and then gradually drift off until you've forgotten where you were and what you were reading? This happened ALL THE TIME with this one -nothing really grabbed you throughout. It was nicely written, but just not very exciting.

    THUS! In order to save other people the bother, here is my PRECIS of the book, written in VERSE form because the so-called Poet Laureate was too lazy to do so himself:

      I had a friend who died
      I only met him twice
      He changed his name from Keats to Cake
      This might have been a slight mistake

    I thank you!

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    Hunt Emerson Is Drawing Little Plum
    I bought The Beano yesterday for the first time in YEARS - i bought it because i'd read on the interweb that Hunt Emerson was drawing Little Plum, and thought "EH? What? But... eh?" because... well,everyone knows about Little Plum, obviously, but Hunt Emerson is, or was back in the 80's when i bought every comic going, THE big UNDERGROUND, DANGEROUS, COMIX (what a rubbish word that is) chap who was doing rum, rude, and WEIRD stuff,especially attacking Thatcher and things. I was trying to think of a METAPHOR for this, and got sort of close-ish with it being like Lou Reed replacing that bloke who left S Club 7, and being REALLY GOOD at it, especially the dancing.

    It was DEAD GOOD i must say - i actually LAUGHED OUT LOUD whilst reading The Beano for the first time in my LIFE - i got The Beano every week from age of six until about ten, and i never ever laughed out loud at it in all that time, and on the rare occasions since that i've got it (the last time being 18 months ago when i was off to Japan and was feeling pre-homesick) it's been AWFUL, just crappy stories that might as well have been drawn by machines. But this new version was ACE, and, AMAZINGLY, it wasn't just Hunt Emerson doing Little Plum that made me laugh.

    It was still a bit of a shocker though - usually in these cases you'd think "What next eh?" but i've yet to think of a "What next" in this area that would feel weirder. Or, really, more COOL.

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    The Things I've Seen
    Yesterday, as i walked into work, i saw a HELICOPTER. Not a boring ordinary Police Helicopter, pretending to chase someone but actually just out for a lark, oh no - this was a REAL helicopter, and it was trying to LAND! In the middle of LONDON!

    It was very exciting anyway, until everybody, individually, as they walked down the street, thought "Ooh, hang on - what if it's a TERRORIST?" I mean, i'm not sure exactly what a terrorist would hope to achieve from twatting about in the morning air, but then who knows what goes on in the minds of these fiends eh? It was just a demonstration of the Mood Of The Times, i guess, that everything we see at the minute that we don't quite understand is LOADED with CONNOTATIONS.

    That said, i continue to REMARK upon the difference between The London On Telly and The London I Now Live In. For instance, in the pub last night with my Dad, i kept seeing news footage over his shoulder on the big screen (and by the way, what on earth is the point of that? Does anybody specifically GO to the pub for the Big Screen Silent News? Are there enough short-sighted lip reading alcoholics to make this a money spinner?) of TANKS and SOLDIERS, and headlines saying "London Under Siege!" but it doesn't feel like that at all. It feels a bit DOOM LADEN but that's only because i know that it's going to take me HOURS to get home - 2 hours last night!! OK, i was tiddly, but still.

    Meanwhile, re. Perceptions Of That London, i read an interview with Norman Tebbit where, HILARIOUSLY, the vile old Nazi thought he was being "clever" by saying he played "spot the Brit" when he was on the underground. Twat. What annoys me about these evil old bastards is not so much the utter inner NASTINESS of them, but the fact that they can get away with being SO stupid without being challenged. If i was interviewing the ghastly old shite I might have gently pointed out that MAYBE the reason it seemed to him there were a lot of heinous non-Brits around on the underground was because he MAYBE spent most of his time going to Westminster and the like, where the economy his ilk did so much to destroy gets a bit of help from the millions of TOURISTS who go there every year. And Tourists are usually from ABROAD, for goodness sakes.

    It right annoyed me, it did. Grr!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 12.2.03
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    Valentine's MADNESS
    What the HECK is going on with today's bands? Where has all the ROMANCE gone from their souls? EH?

    I ask because of a spate of complete INSANITY which i have recently brushed against, uncomfortably, like a young girl and a stinky tramp waiting for a bus. Ooh, it gives me the CREEPS just thinking about it. Anyway, this insanity is as follows: GIGS ON VALENTINE'S DAY.

    Doesn't sound too weird yet does it? No, even when you consider that some people (i.e. me) are GAGGING for some gig action, the fact that a band might play on Valentine's day doesn't really add up to much - the band in question were The Quickies, who feature Matthew From The K-Stars who i haven't seen in YEARS. All is well, except it turns out they're only playing tonight (when i'm off to see my DAD) and on Friday... VALENTINE'S DAY.

    A minor inconvenience, i thought, until Charlie from the MARVELOUS Fighting Cocks emailed me to inform of some gig action of his own. "HOORAH!" thought I, "I look forward to this immensely - when is it?" "Gor BLIMEY", says he, "it's only bleedin' Friday, innit?" VALENTINE'S DAY!

    Then my friend Chris emailed me - his band, Joe Public, have a GIG too! "Smashing! I might come back up to Leicester to see you - when might that be then?" VALENTINE'S DAY!

    And do bear in mind, that the above is the COMPLETE LIST of ALL Pub-Style Gigs i have thought about going too. ALL on the same cocking day! WHAT! IS! THE! MATTER with these people? It's VALENTINE'S day! Certainly many people, yes, even in bands, won't be able to be with a Loved One on that day, some people (hard as it may be to comprehend, but yes, even in bands) may not even HAVE a handy loved one, but personally on the many many occasions when one of those people has been ME, i've found going out and getting horribly drunk is MORE than enough, and gigs just get in the way. And besides that, who on EARTH do they think is going to turn up?

    Or is that what's going on? Cynical Landlords, unable to book any bands with People In Love in them, instead FILL UP with Desperate Loners on The Saddest NIght Of The Year, KNOWING full well that all the beer in the world won't be enough to wash away the doom on that particular night. That's quite clever really... but why oh WHY are they using all the bands that I want to see, on the night I've got something much BETTER to do? BASTARDS.

    And just now i received an email from Dave Dixey, Sorted Supremo, advising me that one of his bands are playing down here soon. "Marvellous!" i think, "Just what I need - when's that then?"

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!!!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 11.2.03
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    ART
    I went to see some ART last night. Yes, that's right, i DO live in London now, how could you tell?

    It was all jolly good fun though - my dear little brother is at St.Martin's, and this was a SHOW put on by him and some of his Little Friends. They'd got a "loan" of a house in Angel (from one of them's parents... Thomas, my petit frere [fr.] is like Tiny Tim Cratchit in comparison to some of his classmates, LAWKS there is some wealth about, also Things Being Bought... anyway) which was in a RIGHT bloody state. My old landlords threatened to extract MORE money than my deposit off me for the state my old flat was in (so far it has taken only ONE Snotty Middle Class Letter to dissuade them), GOODNESS knows what they'd've thought if they'd've seen this place... but yes, they'd used a room each in this place to do an Installed Piece.

    Some of it was dead good - Thomas's Wallpaper Explosion Thing was ACE, as were some Eerie Paintings in the basement and a SMASHING sort of big scratched sheet of glass with a light roaming across it that showed up a big crowd of people - but best bit was hanging around beforehand, and then talking about it once we all got home (for LO! it was a Household Excursion. Except for the cats, obviously. They are very traditionalist in their art appreciation. Felistines!*). Oh, and also Charlotte telling my MUM that i'm really good at cooking, GOD BLESS HER but she is a Good Woman and no mistake! My poor mother was ASTOUNDED!

    *Philistine, Feline - do you see what i did? Well, it made me happy anyway. ARF! ARF! to the LOT of yer!

    posted by MJ Hibbett,
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    MAN TALK
    I went to THE PUB on Friday night - not, in itself, an unusual occurence, but slightly different for me from recent times as i sat with a large group (as opposed to, recently, one or two people) of blokes (work it out yourself) for no other purpose than to drink and talk complete bollocks for several hours. It was FANTASTIC, i honestly did not realise how very much I'd missed this sort of thing.

    Let's be clear - it was a very PURE pleasure, untinged with any regret or FREAK OUT. At no point during my sojourn in the East Midlands did i have ANY regrets about the move, not even for an PICOSECOND, and i would certainly NOT swap my idyllic house sharing arrangements of NOW for the increasingly grotty/depressing/horrid nature of My Old Flat. This, surely, is the NICEST kind of visiting, where you get to WHOOP it up big stylee somewhere you used to live, AND look forward to coming home to The Arms Of The One You Love.

    Yes, i was a happy Hibbett, but even PLEASURE did not prevent me Noticing Things. We were joined for the evening by a friend of Mr Whitaker, a GURL who, tho fully able to drink PINTS and that, could still not contain her HORROR when presented with full, uncensored, man on man pub action e.g. in a perfectly sensible discussion of The Band U2, somebody said "They are complete shite, and have ALWAYS been complete shite. Also, all that Greenpeace stuff - BOLLOCKS." Anyone EXPERIENCED in Pub Talk KNOWS full well that this is only the basis for an in-depth conversation (probably involving a stirring rendition of Bono's Bit In Feed The World) and not NECESSARILY a cogent final statement, but it did STRIKE me that this sort of unfettered talking crap is something you just don't get in mixed company. I mean, I've read many studies (all right, one) which stated that What People Talk About In Pubs alters DRAMATICALLY when the gender make-up changes, but it took us FORGETTING there was a GURL there to demonstrate quite how drastic it can be.

    Then my good friend Chris and i FORGOT anyone else was there, briefly, and launched into a SPIRITED discussion of the recently broken Even Numbered Star Trek Films LAW... er.. that is, he did. Yes. Anyway, it was a BRILLIANT night out and only a small part of a jolly lovely weekend, thanks very much. And now I'm off to see some ART. Me, sophisticated? MAIS OUI.

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 10.2.03
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    You Can't Go Back (OH YES YOU CAN!)
    I'm back in Leicester today - I came back last night, and am staying round at Tom's House until tomorrow. The main reason for doing this was to come back to My Old Work, and sort some problems out, finish off some things unfinished by Other People, do some training and generally say "Everything is Fine" a bit. So, i'm sat here at my old desk on my old computer in my old city and it's... it's fine really!

    The whole experience is weirdly UNWEIRD. I did get a bit of a PANG when i got off the train last night, but other than that nothing seems odd at all - i went to get a coffee this morning and passed someone in the corridor. I said "Morning!" and carried on, then noticed they were Double Taking and thought "Oh yeah, i don't work here any more do i?" Is STRANGE in it's lack of strangeness!! It's lovely to be back and seeing people, but not for a PICOSECOND have i had any regrets about leaving - i love Leicester, i loved my old job, and tonight I'm off to the PUB to see some people i love, but the whole NEW LIFE, with the WOMAN i love wins, no contest!

    COOL, really, isn't it? Actually, thinking of it as i type it, bloody YES! It's brilliant! HOORAH!

    To COMPOUND the general GRATE-NESS, i came up here last night so's i could go in the studio, and that's what i did. Me, Mr Reverb and the aforementioned Mr McClure sat and mixed "Everything's Turning Out All Right", and i tell you there's Never A Dull Moment in that song - it sounds FANTASTIC, and i look forward IMMENSELY to listening to it again and again and again tonight. We even did a "pad" (studio talk!) on a keyboard, only slightly hindered by me discovering 80'S ROCK KEYBOARD sound and SUDDENLY being transported into that bit in Every 80's Teen Movie EVER where the boffin in the shopping mall ROCKS OUT with the funky sounds. It was ACE! And, for a flourish, we remixed "Good Cooking" too, just because we could.

    Hoorah for everything!


    posted by MJ Hibbett, 7.2.03
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    It's the things you can't hear that you should be recording
    Earlier today i delivered my traditional Hibbett Studio Theory Lecture to a Young Musician of my acquaintance, whether he wanted to Electronically Read It or not, and i thought i might as well INFLICT it here as well.

    LOADS of people i know in bands spend AGES and AGES recording stuff, and NOT for any good reason. It's taken us over two years to record this album because we've only managed to squeeze in four or five hours of studio time a month, so really (no, really) we're going DEAD QUICK. Other people i know are AT IT every other day for HOURS, but seem to go no faster, as they become preoccupied with "perfection".

    This, of course, is bollocks. SO MANY TIMES i have seen bands i REALLY like go into an studio environment and DESTROY UTTERLY the very thing that was good about them. Let's imagine, just for a bit of fun, a band called Bus-Stop Boy. They have a live show that's RAMSHACKLE but deeply CHARMING, where the band members seem to be enjoying themselves, where the gig is a JOY to be involved in, and where the songs, though LightWeight, carry a JOIE DE VIVRE combined with a PUNK SPIRIT that means the TUNES and the FEELINGS stay around in your head and your heart. What, gentle reader, do you think would be best? To throw them into the studio, get them to record as live as possible, tidy up where necessary, and then get the record done and out so they can gig it while they still enjoy it? OR spend SEVERAL years doing the same 12 songs again and again and again in a vain attempt to make them sound like Another Record Somebody Liked Once, DRAINING all the life out of the songs, making the band members UTTERLY BORED with the whole thing, and simultaneously making the, still regular, LIVE AFFAIRS into an interminable trudge through songs we've ALL heard too many times?

    And which, gentle reader, do you think is the most popular course of action? For GOODNESS SAKES, Bands of The World, just LET GO! It's all well and good having a DREAM, a SOUND that you're chasing, an IDEAL, but you've got to RELEASE the ROCK and let it follow it's own path - you know those things that happen when you're recording that are "mistakes" but suddenly make everything sound ACE and GROOVY? Those are GOOD THINGS! KEEP! THEM! And if that song you've spent the past six month remixing and remixing STILL doesn't sound any good, how about this? WRITE ANOTHER ONE INSTEAD! It's quicker!

    Ask anybody what they'd rather HEAR, and it's simple - a throbbing recording full of LIFE, where you can HEAR the fun that's being had (and frankly any music that's GOOD is FUN to play - the saddest songs in the world feel FANTASTIC when they're good and you're playing them right), which speeds up as it goes along, or has a less than perfect SNARE SOUND, or even has the words slightly wrong, is IMMEASURABLY BETTER than something which, technically, would pass any Health & Safety Test, but is emotionally DEAD.

    And no, this isn't just a PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE against OPINION when the album finally gets released. It's SUPPOSED to sound this way, DAMMIT!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 6.2.03
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    LET! US! ROCK!
    You find me in a GLEEFUL mood, for LO! i got a gig!

    Yesterday i sent out 3 CDs (Milk & Baubles EPs - i have plenty spare) and letters to three London Promoters, as i thought maybe Actually Asking For A Gig might be a better way of going about things than just sort of moping about saying "boo, i have no gigs!" Imagine, then, my surprise when i got RUNG UP this morning by someone saying yes, they quite liked it, and yes, i could have a gig! I mean, i'll probably be on first and everything, but it feels BRILLIANT to know that it's perfectly possible for someone to listen to my stuff and like it enough to let me play at one of their gigs WITHOUT me having bought them beer, or put one of their bands on, or indeed being IN a band with them.

    I always say to other people in bands that, rather than playing to the same bloody people again and again in the same venues (usually here in That London) it's a LOT better to take a risk and go out and do a REAL gig, playing with other people you've never heard of to people who've never heard of YOU. Yes, you might have a rotten night, or there might be people there who don't know how cool you're supposed to be and mistake it for being rubbish, or maybe even haven't listened to exactly the same records as you, but usually you will find somebody new who thinks you are Quite Good, and almost always you will have an ADVENTURE of some sort!

    And best of all, you usually end up going on near the start, and thus can get BOOZED UP with your DAFT MATES for the rest of the night! HOORAH! Watch this space for CONFIRMATION when things are CONFIRMED!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 5.2.03
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    All Things Must Pass Away
    I'm busily updating my webpage at the moment - not that you could tell, dear reader, I'm CUNNINGLY revamping it at home in stolen moments, so that i can upload THE LOT when it's all done - and apart from the general GLEE i always get from piddling about with my own computer stuff (e.g. spending hours doing something in a Clever Way rather than quickly and easily), I'm also being amazed about quite how much i've DONE in The Crazy World Of Rock.

    I mean, obviously we're not talking Paul McCartney levels of STUFF DONE, we're not even talking CUD, but for Me Myself (also I) it does seem like quite a lot of gigs played, records released, and songs written. The weirdest feeling at the moment is coming across things I'd almost forgotten about, like the LollopaLeicester all-dayer, or the "Taste Of Tea" compilation that Voon appeared on. At the time these were such massive, all-important things, yet now they're just curiousities easily forgotten. This is especially odd when it comes to the records I've done in various guises, each one of which i was POSITIVE was going to propel me into the very front of the national, even international, consciousness. The other day I went to look up what the second b-side to the "Born With The Century" single was, and then to find out what the words were, yet at the time it was the subject of LENGTHY disagreements and the eventual choice TROUBLED me for months.

    It's not just ROCK stuff though is it? Geography 'O' Levels, for instance - I remember at the time we were constantly impressed by how VITALLY important it was to get a good grade, yet I can hardly recall anything about the whole two years I did it (er... Glacial and Terminal Moraine, The Zeider Zee, and a photograph of cows grazing on someone's roof). I'm pretty sure I know how many 'O' levels I've got, but push me to list them all and i'll be in TROUBLE. Oh! Little Mark Aged 16! What would you think of me, if you knew how little i care for one of your Greatest Efforts Of Work? Oh! Old Mark Aged 85! What will you think of my might efforts now?

    Getting Philosophic On Yr ASS, the other side of this is, if you can get into it, it really does help get you through Troubled Times. Whenever something shit's been happening, to me or someone I love, I do always think about how I'll remember it in a year's time, how I'll look back and know it did eventually end. It doesn't make the crap any less crappy to deal with, but it does at least stop me getting swamped by things. I'd say I'd write a song about it, but George Harrison pretty much beat me to it, several times.

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 4.2.03
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    Poor Old Michael Jackson
    We've just been sat, probably like The Rest Of The Nation, watching the Michael Jackson interview. And, hopefully, like the rest of the nation, we've been saying "That poor, poor sod."

    The first third of it was quite a surprise - when he was talking about inspiration coming out of the air, or climbing a tree to think, i thought "Yeah! Hey, why not eh? Why shouldn't he climb a tree?" But then when he went shopping, it started to become clear that he was a very sad, lonely and overwhelming BORED man who really wasn't well in the head at all. Unfortunately so many people were making so much money out of his misery it seemed that no-one's ever tried to help, and have just helped him to get whatever mad thing he wants.

    At least with Elvis it was beer and drugs and strippers, mind you he also pretty extraordinary taste in Interior Decor didn't he? But yes, poor old Michael Jackson.

    I wonder though if i was the only person thinking "Pity you didn't ask about the 'Say Say Say' recording sessions Martin!" Surely not?

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 3.2.03
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    Match-Fit
    I've spent the past hour or so PRACTICING. I'm KNACKERED! The reason for this is that i'm hoping to get out and about and ROCKING in a live format stylee pretty soon, and i really DON'T want to be faced with the PANIC i faced a few times last year when i kept finding myself thinking one of the following:

  • I don't know the next line!
  • What on earth are the chords?
  • How does this START?

    ... sometimes even all three at the same time - i mean, it's very NICE when someone shouts out for a song, but less so when you have to go "Er... i can't really remember that one" and they look SAD and you just feel like a TIT. SO, my new plan is to LARN UP about 90 minutes worth of ROCK, so that, rather than having to choose the 10 songs i can remember, i can VARY my set and - hey! - REACT to the MOOD of the KIDS.

    The worst EVER example of my Match UNREADINESS was when i did my Work Christmas DO. All had gone pretty well, doing a set i had actually practiced quite a lot, but then i got a bit COCKY and tried to do "Boom Shake The Room", somehow managing to get through the whole thing whilst never hitting a chorus, and thus rather spoiling the effect. Similarly i've been known to BLAST into the first verse of Fcuking Hippy, LOADED with RIGHTEOUS anger and then... er... sort of peeter out by the third verse.

    But NO MORE! After a week or two of WARMING UP i have commenced my NEW REGIME: There will be FOUR BLOCKS of ROCK: "New Stuff", "Say It With Words", "Singles etc." and "COVERS". Today i have covered TWO of these blocks, tomorrow i will REPEAT one and embark upon another, and thus CYCLE through. If all goes to plan my beauties, in a couple of months THE ROCK will be BACK! Yeah!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 2.2.03
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    PICTURES!
    I am thrown into confusion by the plural of "photo" (also "demo" for similar reasons)... anyway, i went to an EXHIBITION yesterday, Yes, i know, i AM bloody sophisticated. It was photographs of Frank Sinatra at the Proud Gallery, and it was BRILLIANT. I got there at 5.30 and SURPRISED them by wanting to come in, and had to bang on the door a lot to gain entrance . Surprisingly, i had the place to myself, and wandered around with a BIG grin on my face. Really, they were EXCELLENT, i VERY nearly bought the twenty quid book that it was publicising, and probably will later. The two pictures that stuck in my mind were one of Frank in the recording studio (leaning over two saxophonists, obviously saying "Hey hep cats, cool it down a spat and we'll fritz this crazy joint") and another of him looking backwards LEERING at A Show Girl in a way (and in a hat) that would look SEEDY on anyone else of his age, but on him looked INSANELY cool. My dears, i VERY nearly persuaded myself to buy a print, but at about 170 each i thought perhaps this might not be the best idea i have ever had.

    Twenty quid for the book though, that's a BARGAIN...

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 1.2.03
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    BOOKS!
    As (possibly over-) mentioned, the main GRATE thing about COMMUTING into work (HOLA! i am COMMUTER! Quick, Damon Bloody Albarn, write a SCATHING attack on me, then spend the next five years trying to obliterate the memory in the minds of the public by being as big a tosser as possible, YEAH!) is that i get to read REALLY A LOT. HOORAH! So, as a Handy Guide to ... er... other people who want to read loads of books, have precisely the same TASTE as me, and don't have a clue what to get ("He's talking about ME!" you cry!), here is the Recent Reading Review:

    A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, obviously. This was ACE, an Rollicking Read though not as funny as the other ones i've read. And i thought that even before i read it on the back cover. At the end of reading it i got VERY angry about the French Revolution.
    Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde, sequel to "The Eyre Affair". Dead good, actually LOTS like a comic, with the IDEAS and that, but also a bit of a CON in that it ends on a cliff hanger. Do i LOOK like the sort of person who reads Fantasy Trilogies eh? (NB: NO! i do NOT! Sod off!)
    Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K Jerome. BLOODY GRATE! Like "Three Men In A Boat", but with more stuff about The German People, also Bicycles. This book was FANTASTIC, it's hard to believe it was written 100 years ago. Also cool because it turns out he lived in Bloomsbury, so i got the chance to PONCE AROUND Imagining JKJ being there. A bit.
    Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About by Mil Millington - ACE. Like the column but, obviously, much longer. The plot bits were a bit dodgy, and it ended a bit crappily, but doesn't really matter as all the funny bits had nothing to do with the (as said, a bit rubbish) plot, and there were a LOT of them.

    I think that's the lot - if there was something else i was reading i must have FORGOT so can't have been much cop. NEXT is that "How to Alienate People" book by Toby Young, which so far has mentioned Julie Burchill a lot, which is a Good Thing i reckon.

    posted by MJ Hibbett,
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