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An Even More Mightily Momentous Moment
Back to Caaamden today (where there were SO MANY Loonies sitting around on the steps that you could not get out of the tube station!), and off to lovely Key Production, where I handed in the FINISHED Mastered Album and FINISHED (this morning) Artwork. That's it - done! Two years and 10 months after we started, there's suddenly nothing left to do but wait a fortnight until it's actually made.
I mean, when I say "nothing left to do" I mean there's LOADS left to do. It's a weekend of writing press releases, writing letters, finishing off mailing lists and checking for swearing AHOY for me, as i PREPARE for the media "onslaught", but the actual thing itself, which hopefully you, dear readers, will in six and a bit weeks time (i.e. on July 21st, Release Day Fans!) be holding in your loving hands, is FINISHED. No more nudging the text along a bit, no more rotating images by 0.2 degress clockwise, no more redoing the violins or putting just a bit more reverb on. It's all in the hands of the manufacturers now!
A Mighty Moment
Apologies for the SLOTH in updates over the past few weeks - as things have Actually Been Happening I've been busy doing THEM instead! You may have noticed that there is now LESS here about How Annoying It Is When People Stand In Doorways and MORE about the crazy world of ROCK. Let us CONTINUE this trend, for LO! Mighty Events have taken place!
I was in Leicester on Tuesday night for an AAS Board Meeting which, as ever, was mightily productive. During my report to the Board about my activities Mr Fleay presented me with the finally finally finished and done MASTER of the album, which we then listened to right the way through. It sounds GOOD.
Yesterday I went to Camden (The Capital City of LOONIES and TOSSERS!) to see our non-loonie, non-tossers, actually Very Nice Indeed manufacturers, to talk about the PACKAGING. I went in with GRAND IDEAS about doing the album as a digipack, but discovered that even a bog standard super-normal digipack would cost TWICE as much as a normal run, and anything flashy would see it DOUBLING again! Urk! I then thought "Well, what if we just do it as a normal CD?" and was mildly surprised to find myself being quite happy with that idea. Thus, last night I set to gently rejigging the Design Concept, and it's looking GOOD.
Also last night I say myself down and integrated the Mastered Album with the Futuristic Multimedia. Around 11.30pm I placed the finished CD into a tiny CD player to check... and it WORKED! I packed up, and as I was taking the CD into the other room I suddenly realised what had just happened. After nearly three years of work, it was FINISHED. Yes, there's packaging and publicising and all that to do, but the actual album itself, the CONTENT, that was now DONE.
I still can't quite believe it - what am I supposed to worry about NOW?
We went to see some bands last night - not sure who they were, we were in CAMDEN and just popped in on the off-chance. The first one we saw were fairly standard Heavy Metal (lots of head-banging, lots of GROWLING by Perturbed Teens) and the third were all baseball bats and feedback unpleasantness, but the second was the very EPITOME of Local Band. They'd bought a coachload down with them, they were very obviously well rehearsed, MATES danced down the front, the songs were all called "Losing You" or "Out Of Control" (straight from the My First Song Title catalogue), and halfway through the plump lead singer yelped "MOTHER FCUKER!" and we all laughed and said "Oh, bless!"
It was a jolly evening and all quite sweet, but what struck me most was how COMPETENT they all were, and indeed how COMPETENT ALL Local Bands I have seen for YEARS have been. It used to be that you'd get the Popular Local Bands turn up, with their coachloads, mates down the front and Girlfriend With A Camera, and you'd EXPECT them to be well rehearsed and dull, but there'd usually be at least one much less popular, much less rehearsed, and much more EMBITTERED little combo on before them who had BIG IDEAS and KRAZY SCHEMES but who'd get ignored because they were so hopelessly ramshackle.
Can you guess, gentle reader, what sort of band I always used to be in? All right, who laughed? "USED" is the correct word, sod off! Lots of those sort of bands would be rubbish, but every now and then you'd see one who took their lack of technical ability and made it an ADVANTAGE, unhindered by what you "should" do they'd give you something new and EXCITING and FUN.
I haven't seen a band like that for YEARS. I've seen cack-handed ramshackle "twee" bands, usually at Fortuna Pop! nights, but they always give off a distinct air of PRETENDING to be much less EPT than they actually are - if you've been in the same band for five years and STILL can't play any of the songs then you CEASE to be endearing. What I miss are the bands on their first gig out of town who haven't got a CLUE how to do it like everybody else, and do their own thing by accident. Where are they, eh? Whither incompetence?
This new Officially Sanctioned Buskers On The Tube thing is BLOODY GRATE! Some of them are a bit crappy - yesterday i saw someone very quietly playing accordian along with a highly intricate loudly amplified backing track, and that's not right is it? - but last night I saw one chap who just made me HAPPY. On the way back from EUSTON (where I had been to pick up the Strings On My Guitar, who was KNACKERED after going to Manchester, for the DAY) we changed at Bank and SCHLEPPED over to the Central Line. It's RUBBISH there, but the whole station was filled with the sound of a man singing in very typical EARNEST Busker Singing style, but he was singing "Catch The Wind" by Donovan, and it was absolutely beautiful. It's a lovely, emotional song that made me feel happy to be alive and appreciate all the life I've had and am still having. It also reminded me of sitting in our student house in Leicester with Dr Brown listening to his Donovan records, and then doing our Excitingly Easy version of "First There Is A Mountain", especialy BELLOWING the "Oh Anita" bit. We loved playing that song, though we only really new one verse so never did it live, although we didn't really even know one verse of "Child of the Moon", and we did that LOADS with Neil going "Child of the Moon! With your nur-nur nur, nur-nur nur, NUR!"
By the time we actually got to him I was FULL of joy and good will and gave him a quid - CHEAP!
Gently Teasing Out Information
Steadily we progress ... I should have a fully mastered copy of the album in my hands some time tomorrow, and i've just finished a slight re-jig of the Futuristic Multimedia for Netscape compatibility, so this weekend should see it all brought together at last. ALSO I think I've pretty much sorted out the cover too... you want see?
I know, it's not very exciting right now, but in 3D it'll be ACE, honest!
Our building at work is old, thin and tall, so we have a little lift that goes all the way to the loft. It's rather old fashioned and has a FAR OUT psychadelic ceiling cut-out for the lights, which makes you feel like you're in THE TOMORROW PEOPLE. I was in this lift the other day and noticed that it's manufactured by a company called Schindler.
We move forward with the PUBLICITY campaign, and now have 100 emails on the Big List Of Emails, about half of which are lovely webpages, lovely radio, or parasitic scum paper-based hacks, whilst the other half are the Beautiful People who've been in contact with me over the years to LIKE things. I've had a slight BOOST to their numbers over the weekend, as a few people from comp.sys.sinclair nipped over to enjoy the album sampler, bless. Hello, if you are one of them, and welcome!
Just in case anyone tried to download any songs yesterday, and couldn't, it seems like my BANDWIDTH got exceeded. As this might be a problem when, like, THOUSANDS of The Kids start dropping in, I've UPGRADED my web account so hopefully it won't happen again. If you do experience any problems though, please email me to let me know - thanks!
It was all GO in the world of The Validators last night. Not for ME - I went home, watched Buffy, had my tea, then watched The Sopranos on video (and rather unnervingly found myself watching Ralph get chopped to bits and thinking "Yeah, it's about time he got WHACKED" - YOINKS!) - but for Messrs McClure, Reverb and Fleay it was a night of DYNAMIC ACTION.
Is it me, or does McClure, Reverb and Fleay sound like a team of Supernatural Solicitors? Anyway, way way up North in the wilds of Derby Mr Fleay was in the studio listening with TREPIDATION to the DAT of "One Last Party" - he'd already mastered the entire album except for this final song, which was found to have a horrible crackling noise on all CD copies. BEAUTIFULLY the DAT was unaffected, so it's Full Steam Ahead for ACTUALLY FINISHING IT!
Meanwhile, in the dark hills of LEICESTER, Messrs McClure and Reverb were in the studio putting the final touches to "Walkman In My Head", the track for Moo Twinkie's compilation album. Later in the evening Tom rang me to PLAY the whole thing down the phone to me, whilst LAUGHING MANICALLY. I remember Tom BEFORE he was a bog-eyed baton wielding frizzy haired ORCHESTRAL MANIAC, and the transformation both pleased and afeared me - the song itself sounds ACE though, even down the phone lines, and I can't WAIT to get that final version in my HANDS.
And thus we continue to MOVE FORWARD - the Album Sampler is now WORKING! This has THREE complete album tracks for you to download as a ... er... SAMPLER for "This Is Not A Library" (including lyrics) PLUS the song "Programming Is A Poetry For Our Times" as an EXCLUSIVE track. I'd be very grateful, dear listener, if you could try it out and, if you LIKE it, tell somebody!
posted by MJ Hibbett, 15.5.03 (click here for permanent link)
The new improved MJ Hibbett Online Emporium is now open for business! It's been set up to enable us to get RECORDS sold to The Kids when the new album comes out, but it's also your one stop shop for ALL MJ Hibbett (and The Validators) merchandise. HOORAH for The INTERWEB!
I've Got A Little List
I'm RIFLING through my old emails at the moment, as a starting point for building up a mailing list. In the run-up to the album's release there's going to be SEVERAL different mailouts (orchestrated by Shadowy Fourth AAS Member Steve Dresden) to radio, venue, webpage and press people, and also the nice persons various who've been in touch over the years to buy or just LIKE my records. I must say I'm really enjoying doing it, not just because it gives me a chance to reread FAN MAIL (hem hem), but also because I'm checking up on the radio people to see which stations they're at now - some of these contacts go back to when "Say It With Words" came out, so a lot of them have gone on to bigger and better things, which is LOVELY to discover. Some people have disappeared, however, and one person in particular recently died, and so the whole experience has been Quite Moving. Three years felt a LONG time while we were recording the album, but it seems like FOREVER from this viewpoint.
Anyway, so that's what's going on at the moment - if you've been in touch about ROCK in the recent past you may well be recieving an email soon, and if you'd LIKE to recieve one but don't think you will please let Steve know and we'll make sure you're on the list.
The other interesting thing I've noticed so far is that there's loads of radio people who've been in touch, LOADS of webpage bods, 300,000,000 people saying "I liked Hey Hey 16K!" and exactly ONE person from the Traditional Print Media. In fact, thinking about it, The Traditional Print Media has had more national coverage from ME than i have from THEM!
I wonder if that'll change during the Promotional Campaign, eh readers?
I'm STILL worn out from the Winchester Excitement... I bet The STONES don't get this, but then they don't have to get up really really early to get into work the next day do they? Cuh! Bloody Rolling Stones, who do they think they're kidding?
Another GIG has arrived, on July 4th at The Verge, playing with the utterly marvelous Lovely Brothers. This will hopefully be a sort of launch gig for both bands' new releases, it should almost definitely (oh my!) be a gig where THE NEW ALBUM will be available... oh please, let it be so!
Meanwhile, I'm off for more ROCK ACTION at the Bull & Gate tomorrow night, to see the Fortuna Pop! Extravaganza. Gigs are GRATE.
You find me in a TERRIFIC mood today, as last night I went to ROCK Winchester, and by golly Winchester ROCKED me right back! I played at the Albion, and it was BLOODY FANTASTIC. There were people there! They LIKED it! Quite a lot! I SOLD OUT of CDs! I got a PROPER Encore, not people pretending! And FREE BEER!
It was bloody fantastic, I had a MARVELOUS time, thanks Ray for sorting it out! ALSO the Pub Proprietors asked me to go back soon, and i WILL. ALSO i had to chat to Owen Tromans, who is a lovely chap, and he lent me his PICKUP. I have had many Bad Experiences with pickups in the past, but the one he had was FANTASTIC and will, I am sure, change my life forever, for i WANT one! GIMME! He also TAPED the evening, so i may try and get a copy, just so i can PROVE that it was as ACE as i remember it being.
Afterwards we had some Extended Drinking, then went back to Ray's where many Young People were gathered... so needless to say, i am KNACKERED today. But happy, oh yes, very happy.
Mother Nature's Son
Hello all, and a special hello to everyone who's come by here via Kooba Radio, the rather smashing internet radio station who played "Easily Impressed" on their most recent show. Go and have a listen!
Anyway, I hope everybody had a delightful weekend, I certainly did. I saw X-Men 2 (OK), then went to see Twinkie (GRATE!), some other band being "ironic" (SHITE) and The Querelle (GRATE!) Upstairs at the Garage. It was fun! Then much of the rest of the weekend was spent on the ongoing ROCK PROJECT that is the new album, or at least the Multimedia Aspect. It all appears to work properly now, and there's even a FACT MAP of Leicester in case anybody's interested in all the places mentioned in the songs. I also sat out in the sunshine PROOF READING the masses of TEXT, which needs entering this week. July release still seems to be GO!
In addition to this, the Leaves On My Tree and I went for a Grown-Up Walk in Wansted Flats And Beyond, and it was SPRING TASTIC. There were ducks making nests! A CARPET of Bluebells in the woods! DUCKLINGS being fed by their parents! PUPPIES!
It was like being in Mariah Carey's dressing room, but quieter. LOVELY.
Typical! Blogger starts working again 3 seconds before I have to dash out... so yes, much to tell! Had a GRATE night in Memphis with Mr Reverb on Wednesday, recorded FOUR songs, admired his new speakers (from Bill Drummond!) and DISCUSSED many issues of the day. Songs recorded were "Walkman In My Head" (basic track, for compilation), "The Lesson Of The Smiths" (for band demo purposes), "I've Got What You Need" (for the sake of it) and NEW SONG "Hibbett's Golden Rules Of Beer", which got FINISHED as I was recording it. Hoorah! All sounds groovy anyway, and "Hibbett's Golden Rules of Beer" is available to view in the lyrics and annotations section - enjoy!
Anyway, must dash, off to see TWINKIE in a bit. Happy Holiday!