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Happy End Of The Year!
Morning all - sorry about the lack of updates, if you've been looking. I've been busily recording DEMO versions of a big pile of new songs - it's been AGES since I've done this sort of thing, and I'm particularly enjoying getting to play BASS again. BASS, it is ACE!
There's a few NUGGETS of ROCK NEWS been happening over the lovely festive period - for some reason people have been asking me QUESTIONS. There's the Playlouder questionnaire which, hopefully, will be online soon (15 other more important people's have gone up so far...), for instance, and I'm also slowly working through a set of questions sent by Ray, Grand Promoter Of Winchester, for his new fanzine. Even MORE fun (for me anyway), the other day Mr Joni Firebrand rang me for a "quick chat" to do a "brief" interview for the Sorted Records website. Me being me I WAFFLED ON for well over an hour, and it was ACE, especially when Joni kept asking about all the bands I was in in the mid-90's. My goodness, I had PLUM FORGOT that I had been so ridiculously busy - I was in The Council, playing bass in The K-Stars and in the Gay Irish Folk Band, recording my own tapes of my own stuff, trying to run the first Artists Against Success Club Nights, doing Cha Cha 2000, AND gearing up for the History Of The World Uber-Musical. No wonder I (hem hem) "didn't have time" to have a girlfriend. EVER.
And let's not forget, Digital People Of The 21st Century, tomorrow at about 3pm is the BIG MOMENT for ROCK when me and a select band of Nervous Pals are on Steve Lamacq's show. It's on Radio 6, and the show itself begins at 1pm, but we've been told our bit's on in the middle somewhere. It sounded ACE on the night we did it, hopefully it still will. There's some pictures of it in the revamped gallery, by the way, along with LOADS of other new pictures.
So that's the NEWS at the end of this year. It's been a BLOODY FANTASTIC year of ROCK for us, the best EVER I reckon, so thanks very VERY much to everyone who's been part of it and helped us, ESPECIALLY all the promoters and the radio, interweb and fanzine TYPES who've gone out of their way to be nice to us. It's REALLY been appreciated, after all this time, to feel like there's all you lovely people on our side.
Thanks very much everyone, and see you again IN THE FUTURE!
In The Gallery
I've been beavering away these past few evenings to sort out The Gallery, as it hadn't been updated for nearly a year! It's now DONE, so nip over now and you'll find pictures of BABIES, pictures of GIGS, pictures of The BBC and... er... a little bit more. Merry Christmas readers!
I headed off to London Bridge last night, where I met the Kooba Radio kids in the PUB, ready to do their live broadcast. We eventually went to the Redwire Design Studios nearby, and it was like something off the TELLY. You know when you see super-modern interweb type start-up companies, in repeats of programs that were slightly out of date but seemed modern a couple of years ago? That was what THIS place was like - there was an open plan kitchen! A sofa! Video and DVD and STUFF! Also the bathroom WAS a bathroom, i.e. it had a BATH and TOWELS and things in it! It was MOST plush, i was impressed.
We LURKED about for a bit while things got sorted, and things seemed to go quite well for a while - we were a bit drunkened by now, so there was much ZOO style radio hitting the (digital) air waves, I expected MR ANGRY to telephone us any minute. I did my Kooba Jingle, there was MORE laffs and japery, and after about an hour came to the microphone to do my Christmas ATAK on "Winter Wonderland."
Throughout this rendition I noticed John and Alex giving each other LOOKS of MOUNTING PANIC - OK, it wasn't my BEST rendition, but surely it wasn't THAT bad? Imagine my distress then, dear reader, when as soon as they'd finished PANIC buttons were pressed, and the EMERGENCY TAPE for when things go HORRIBLY WRONG was played - i had BROKE it!
Ten minutes later we were OFF air and the first live broadcast was OVER! Now, they SAID it wasn't anything to do with my yuletide bellowing, but it's a bit suspicious isn't it? It was a LOVELY night out anyway, they am GROOVY people and there was BOOZE swishing around, also a couple of chocolate biscuits, so it was a Happy Hibbett who stalked off into the night towards the Northern Line and home.
Not What He Was After
Now, I know that "Humorous Referrals" are a MASSIVE cliche for anyone doing blogs and what have you, but sod it - someone came to my site looking for the search phrase "wet and nude". I believe he (or indeed she) may have been looking for something SAUCY - one can only imagine their disappointment (and probably sudden LOSS of desire to see anything rude for a while) when they found THIS. It's my description of the INCIDENT in January when I was turfed out of the ULU swimming pool and had to walk round the building wearing only swimming trunks and tin-foil.
Me in trunks and tin-foil is SEVENTEENTH on MSN's list of top Wet And Nude sites! Should I start charging people to read this HOT stuff yet, do you think?
Live On Kooba (UPDATED!)
Long standing CHUMS
Kooba Radio are GOING LIVE tonight at 9pm - they're always WELL worth listening to as they have located the legendary SEAM of GRATE DEMOES that eludes so many of us, and thus give you an hour of ACE music you'd otherwise never hear... and, apparently tonight, ME! My home connection is made of string and polystyrene cups, so hopefully they'll be making it available for download, but if you can, do have a listen. It's bound to be ACE!
BREAKING NEWS: I'm now going to be LIVE on the show! Hooray! So really really DO listen, go on, it'll be DOUBLE ACE!
Sales Targets Achieved
As part of the overall JOLLITY of the evening I sold TWO copies of the album - HOORAY! You will thus note from the totaliser to the right of your screen that my long-held DREAM - getting two-thirds of the way to 100 Sales by Christmas - has thus been REALISED, with a proud total of 67 copies BOUGHT. This makes me very happy indeed, so thanks LOTS to Andrew, Ben, Chris, Christopher, Craig, Cris, Dave, David, Duncan, Ed, Eddy, Emily, Filipo, Gez, Greg, Jason, Kas, Kevin, Kim, Lee, Mark, Michael, Neil, Owen, Paul, Peter, Rob, Robert, Scott, Stephen, Steve and Will, the many people at gigs who bought copies whose names I never found out, and the small but delightfully old fashioned group who bought copies in the shops. Thanks!
I was off to distant Brixton yet again last night (or rather, distant Clapham North) to play at the last band standing Christmas Gig. It was lovely. Saw a couple of bands, and particularly enjoyed Ormonroyd's EXTRA SLOW version of "Stop The Cavalry", it felt WELL Christmassy. My bit went OK - "Girlfriend Alarmed" went all right, "Billy Jones Is Dead" felt really good (as it always seems to lately), and all in all it was FUN, especially debating whether the fact that I had done my Christmas Shopping or not was of interest to anyone. I think it was.
I got DRAWN into an internal debate re. Talking At Gigs, as one woman spent the entire gig right down the front with her back to me SHOUTING to her two friends who seemed to be watching... now, I'm not one of these Folk Idiots who think you should be SILENT at a gig - after all, if you've paid to get in you've got a right to do what the heck you like, but it always seems a bit MENTAL when people go RIGHT to the front to pointedly ignore whoever's on stage. If nothing else, it makes it REALLY hard to hear what people are saying when the person you're ignoring has a MASSIVE P.A. to out-shout you with.
ANYWAY, there was much love and pleasantness afterwards, although during his set Mr T-T said "Not all London Bands are shit!" That may well be true, in a strictly factual sense, but then Eminem isn't really Gay either, now is he?
The Decorations Are Up
Aaah, CHRISTMAS! I've done all my family's Christmas Shopping, the decorations are up, and everyone at work is dashing round like MAD so that they don't have to come in next week. It's so festive my dears, I think I am about to break out into a RASH of TINSEL!
I've been practicing for Sunday's gig, with "Girlfriend Alarmed" due to make its live debut. Apparently I may also be getting my Free Bit of some MERCHANDISE too - more news, as it happens!
A Christmas Gift For All
INSPIRED by the fact that a) the sister of Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey really liked the downloadable VOON track on the aforementioned Sorted Records webpage and b) it being Christmas, I give to you, for a limited yuletide period only, the Voon Christmas Record: Santa Is Coming.
The song originally came about in around 1990-91, when Dr Brown and I had an in-pub conversation about why Indie Bands never recorded Christmas songs (back in those days anyway, now every bugger's at it). We had a JAM (we were trying to make it sound like Jimi Hendrix, for some reason), and later worked up a very exciting version using synthesised sleighbells and a clarinet... largely because that was the month we had a clarinet player and someone with a synth in the band. After THAT we recorded it for the "Legendary" (i.e. constantly gone on about by ME) Voon Double Album "Modern & Vivid".
I apologise for the rather reckless use of the Mark E Smith "UGH!" throughout the song, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
The THORTS of ME
I got an email from PlayLouder yesterday, asking a range of rather SEARCHING questions. After a while I realised that, actually, it was some sort of Questionnaire Thing that they're sending out to loads of people, so I guess that at some point soon it'll be on their site. Hopefully my bits will come across as Quite Good (I managed to get the word "Coprophiliac" in) rather than Annoying (see above).
My Vote For Christmas Number One
Yes, I know you don't actually VOTE for it, but still, if you DID, i would be putting my cross next to The Darkness this year. Until very recently i LOATHED The Darkness - that sort of awful cod-operatic heavy metal was shit when Queen did it, and it's still shit now (the fact that The Bloody Queen Musical is round the corner from my work, and that every morning I am greeted by a 20 foot tall Freddy Mercury and a loud and awful Bloody Queen song as I emerge from the TOOB has only served to further CEMENT this opinion). HOWEVER, since getting our wonderful digibox i have seen The LIGHT ... or, rather, the VIDEO! AAAH! Now i see! It's FUNNY!
You'd've thought I could have guessed this earlier really, but there we go... so yes, HOORAH for the Darkness Christmas Song, especially that bit where he's sitting in Krazy Trousers looking confused, then answers the door to the choir. BRILLIANT. And if it's not that one, then can it be that lovely Donnie Darko one please? As long as it's not the Pop Idols, even the Inexplicably Popular With The Young People smugness of Avid Merrion would be all right. Just about.
Hooray! After moping around for ages whinging about having no gigs booked, I was offered TWO dead good gigs over the weekend. In February I'm playing with Ballboy in Winchester, and this Sunday (21st) I'm playing at The Windmill in Brixton, as part of the Last Band Standing Christmas Party. I'm supporting someone called "Chris T-T"... he's going to start getting worried about this, isn't he?
I am MOST pleased to be able to do a Christmas gig again. The old Big Blue Songbook was taken out last night, and those Christmas CLASSICS are being LARNED UP. Be forewarned, gentle friends, the JOLLITY will know no bounds!
Lola Beth Pattison
Our audience grows again - fantastically, Emma and Tim brought another life into the world at about 12.30am today, and are now at home with Lola Beth. Aaah! Expect a photograph next week, and much COOING to follow too. Well done Tim and ESPECIALLY Emma, good work, good luck, and much LOVE too!
The Fair Play Trophy 2004
Hooray! We had a FANTASTIC evening at BBC6 last night - settle down, dear reader, and I shall tell ALL.
So, we met up in a pub called The Ship which i had PLUCKED from the inter-ether, and which luckily turned out to be Quite Nice. I was in a bit of a PANIC when I arrived, but as everybody turned up I switched over to BOSSING them around, which took my mind off it nicely. By 7.00pm we had assembled Mr T McClure (Validator representative, all the way from Leicester), my brothers James, Thomas, and Paul, and pals Pauly, Cathy and HER brother Paul. I have said it before, but it is true - these days my career in ROCK is less like a 24 hour bacchanalia, and more like a very polite rolling stag do, never progressing beyond midnight. It's LOVELY.
Following the timetable we set off for Broadcasting House, SINGING as we went. I'd prepared song sheets for everyone, and the group very noticeably split into two groups - the Slightly Embarrassed and the Totally Unembarrassed, BELLOWING as we went. At the BBC we met up with Charlie and Matt, the last of our party, and went up to the 5th Floor. With time to spare I got our my guitar and we had a couple of run throughs of "The Fair Play Trophy" (again with me in Full On Band Leader/Bossy Socks mode, saying "Now, we need to PAUSE before 'wi-i-i-in' - follow ME") and the "b-side", which we'd also been asked to do. The "b-side" of the internet single version of the song was "Boom Shake The Room" and as I'd brought more people with me than I often get in an audience, it seemed like a good idea to do it here to. My dears, it certainly WAS.
About half way through, Journalist and Broadcaster Miranda Sawyer popped into the room. Again, a clear divide was noted in the room: Indie Gentlemen Of A Certain Age, and Everybody Else. Knees knocking and googly-eyed after she'd left, one of the former group said "Ooh! Aah! What was the name of the other one?" "Caitlin Moran!" we replied.
Henry The Producer came in to tell us it'd be an hour before they were ready for us, so it was HO! for the BBC Canteen, where we found that Terry Wogan had NOT been lying to us all those years, and the food DID look a bit horrid. We were a VERY disparate group sat round the table talking about Buffy, Space Travel, Song Theory and Sexuality, and if nothing else it FIRMLY decided me that I very much WILL be having a big party for ALL my friends next year. My friends are LOVELY.
An hour or so later we were back in the reception room, and were collected by Henry and Phil The Sound Guy. By now my little posse was positively BLASE about the whole thing, saying "Are we going in yet or what eh?" and so on. This changed DELIGHTFULLY when we got into the studio, as people realised This Was Actually Happening. My brother James, especially, got a bit over-excited and started taking pictures of everything. Things got even MORE exciting when the great man himself, Mr Lamacq, came in and started working the desk - oh BLESS, I was stood facing everybody else, and could SEE everyone going "Ooh! It's him!"
As before, Steve gave me about 1 minutes warning of what questions he was going to ask me, and we were OFF! It was ACE! The idea was that this was a futuro-scopic review of 2004 As If It Had Already Happened, and my BIT was that "The Fair Play Trophy (once again)" had become a worldwide mega hit. Having DAYDREAMED about this for YEARS I was more than happy to talk about it, and we had a VERY jolly chat, before LAUNCHING into song. It was ACE - the BBC chaps had only heard us soundchecking a chorus, so we a bit STUNNED by the full on ROCK POWER of the song itself. It was GRATE!
Everybody else was getting a bit GIGGLY by now, bless, especially when Steve said "There's quite a crowd here..!" expecting a ROAR of crowd-NESS, but instead got a gentle wave of TITTERING. It was lovely. Anyway, we then moved on to Part Two, when he asked me about the b-side - now, I don't want to SPOIL it for the broadcast, as I thought it was Quite Amusing, especially the bit about Uncle Phil being the Finance Secretary, so let's move on to doing "Boom Shake The Room" Itself, shall we? It was an LARF and a HALF, and sounded GRATE, ESPECIALLY the "tell the girls what you want to do" bit. I, as usual, went a bit AWRY in places, and song sheets were SEARCHED for where on earth we'd got to, ESPECIALLY when i got carried away with myself towards the end and did the "many people try to stop my show" line which I usually miss out. This made me go WRONG for where i was supposed to be, and i felt myself CAREERING towards disaster, saying "I heard the crowd go..." a line early, stopping, and GLARING at my choir. There was a moment of silence before someone went "...boom?" someone else went "shake?" and another brave soul said "the room?" "YES!" says I, and its into the choruses and the BIG HARMONY FINISH!
You can hear it yourself on New Years Day anyway, hopefully it will be as TOP NOTCH as I recall. There was much handshaking and JOY in the room, then we left for THE PUB! This was GRATE, altho ODD in that at one point I found myself witnessing a heated THREE WAY DEBATE about which of my songs was MOST GRATE. This doesn't happen very often, and luckily we moved on to SPACE SHIPS before I could get freaked out and confused.
All in all it was a BEAUTIFUL evening, so thank you VERY MUCH INDEED to all my lovely friends who came along, it was BRILLIANT. And, when I got home, I found that The Pea In My Pod was feeling much much better, and LO! I was very happy indeed.
You find me today a bit SPACED OUT through lack of KIP. The Beans On My Toast has been REALLY REALLY poorly for the past three days and has been up all night with FEVER and all sorts of unpleasantness. It's been absolutely horrible, to be quite honest with you dear reader, but the HEAT seems to have finally calmed down a bit this morning, and she's on some soluble Aspirin, which should help with a) the agonising head pain and b) the dehydration. Man ALIVE you should have seen the SWEAT and HEAT pouring off of her, it was awful. If anybody has some spare LOVE VIBES, please direct a few over to E11 where she is hopefully resting now, under the care of The Lovely Landlady, who has stayed at home today so that I can come into work, and also to visit the BBC later on tonight.
It should be FUN - I've got a Choral Group of about 10 people lined up, and have cunningly managed to SIDESTEP the problem of not knowing the "Jules Rimet" equivalent name of the tournament's cup, so all is GO.
The only drawback is my 1,000 yard stare at the moment - if, when it's broadcast, you hear me go suddenly silent and fall off my chair, you'll know what's happened...
Kooba Radio (again)
Hey kids! Fancy hearing an Acoustical Version of "Easily Impressed", with an extendedly haphazard "Oi! Hibbett!" section and lots of clapping at the end? Then HIE yourself over to the Kooba Radio Events Page where you can find JUST such an item ready for download. GO!
BBC 6 (again)
Today's big news is that I'm going to be on the BBC RADIO again - hooray! BBC 6 are doing a 4 hour Steve Lamacq show on New Year's Day, which is going to be an "almanac" sort of thing (surely the phrase "Steve Alm-Lamacq" or similar has to be involved somewhere?), "looking back" on the events of 2004 - yes, 2004 - with various people doing music based on the events to come. The nice producer rang me the other day to ask if I'd be in it, and whether I could do something to do with Euro 2004. "I don't know", he says, "maybe something sort of like one of those awful novelty songs people do?" "I've got one of those!" says I. For LO! I have.
THUS this Thursday night I'm going to the BBC to record a slightly reworked version of The Fair Play Trophy, hopefully with a mini-crowd of people to join in on the choruses. HOPEFULLY it will be Quite Good, but only the FATES will tell!
We all know that the actual cup of the World Cup is called the Jules Rimet Trophy... or, at least it was. Maybe the Brazilians took the original, and now it's called something else? Anyway, that is a FACT we all know. What we DON'T necessarily all know is the name of the cup for the European Championship. For reasons that I will REVEAL in the next couple of days, I could really do with knowing, so if anyone DOES know the name of the trophy we'll be competing for in Portugal next year, could you let me know please?
Belle & Sebastian
You find me a bit DAZED today, smiling daftly and humming Hits Old And New By Belle & Sebastian for LO! last night I went to the Astoria to see them. It was BLOODY GRATE.
As anyone who has ever mentioned B&S within a five mile radius of me will know, I have seen them LOADS of times, yeah, before they were even properly famous. Union Chapel?!? Seeing Belle & Sebastian was OLD HAT for me by then, oh yeah - I went to see them in GLASGOW and... what? I've already told you this story?
OK then, suffice to say, I went a bit B&S BONKERS and travelled around seeing them as much as I could. However, around the time of "Fold Your Hands Child" I stopped bothering so much, and I don't think I've actually seen them live since Bowlie (NB this is a cue for MORE Tales Of ROCK, so let's move on quickly), so I was Quite Excited to be seeing them again, ESPECIALLY now they have come back to being dead good again with the new album.
There was more excitement in the pub over the road beforehand - there was a sign in the function room saying "Chelsea Players", and i CRANED to see if I could recognise anyone famous (tho as I have no idea who plays for Chelsea this probably wouldn't have done me much good), until it was pointed out that this was a Theatrical Pub, and that it was probably The Chelsea Players theatre group. Oh well.
We got into the Astoria just in time to miss Franz Ferdinand, so had some BEER instead. B&S came on and did an instrumental that I wasn't sure I recognised (it may have been off Storytelling, in which case it was the only track played from that album), and then launched into nearly a two HOUR hop through their GRATE back catalogue. Ooh, they did "Losing It" and "The Loneliness Of The Middle Distance Runner" and "Stars Of Track And Field" and OH MY "Judy & The Dream Of Horses" (at which point I felt like hugging THE ENTIRE ROOM), and loads more, but also did a TON of stuff from the new album. This was a REALLY GOOD THING, as it all sounded FANTASTIC, especially "I'm A Cuckoo" and "Stay Loose". It were GRATE. The group of people in front of us seemed to have come JUST for the new stuff - when everybody else SQUEAKED with GLEE at "Sleep The Clock Around" they looked sort of disappointed, but then leaped about like LOONS when they did "Dear Catastrophe Waitress". This has GOT to be a good thing - normally bands like this are having to rely on the indulgence of old fans by this point, but B&S seem to be SCOOPING UP a whole new bunch. I must say, it did feel STRANGE for me to be at a big gig like this, KNOWING all the obscure b-sides and GETTING all the references. I don't think there's ever been a band I liked before they were famous who ever a) got particularly famous at ALL and b) just kept getting bigger. Did I mention I saw them before they got all famous? Did I?
They did "Piazza New York Catcher" with just Stuart and New Bass Bloke on gtr. Afterwards the rest of the band came back on and he said "Did you all go for a pee?" Half the audience then looked a bit guilty and pretended not to have heard.
One of our party went down the front, and somehow ended up SINGING the Monica Thingy bits in "Lazy Line Painter Jane" too, it was BIZZARE. Also KER-RAZY was the Panto Interlude, when Stevie and Stuart spoke of Brotherly Love, and then LAUNCHED into an amazing full band ASSAULT on The Theme From Minder. It sounded ACE, and was indeed FANTASTIC.
Whatever's happened in the past couple of years has obviously been A GOOD THING. GONE are the days of them being utterly appalling, barely audible (right at the start, Stuart said "We thought we'd play somewhere in London where you could actually hear at the back, for a change" - when I saw them in Nottingham you were hard pushed to hear at the FRONT!) and INCREDIBLY frustrating. Like the new album, they seem to have FINALLY got some confidence in how they play and what they play, and it is UTTERLY BRILLIANT.
Back Catalogue Bonanza
At long last, Sorted Records have a fully functioning website, at www.Sorted-records.org.uk. Sorted have put out LOADS of my stuff, in various guises, in the past, and are frankly GRATE, and the absolute BEST thing about the new site is that you can listen to samples of loads and loads of the tracks on releases going back NINE YEARS. I had a DELIGHTFUL afternoon the other day doing exactly this, especially to stuff involving ME (obviously), like The K-Stars, The Council, Voon, and ESPECIALLY The Durham Ox Singers. If you've never heard our acapella version of "Revolution #9" I suggest you go DIRECTLY to the site, go to singles, and then have a good listen. It will BLOW your MIND!
Tasty Top Tens
COR! I was just looking at Tasty Fanzines's site (http://members.lycos.co.uk/tastyfanzine/ and saw they had some Top Ten Albums Lists for this year. It's the first time I've seen any for 2003, so full of EXCITEMENT I looked upon them, and what do we find? US! TWICE!
Yay! This made me feel a) chuffed and b) CHRISTMASSY, so if anyone reading this wants to spread a bit of joy, please feel free to vote for the album anywhere you can, even if people tell you to stop it. HOORAH!
"MJ Hibbett feat Gary Smith"
Lucky listeners in Bristol will know this already, but my SESSION with Gary Smith went out on his show Bristol Uncovered on Sunday, on Star 107.3 FM. HOORAH! This was the show we recorded in my hotel room, as Will Young had COMMANDEERED the studio we were supposed to be using. It was a very JOLLY hour spent singing and doing an interview we consisted of me DRONING ON for HOURS, almost as if I had thought of MANY MANY answers to questions and was trying to fit them all in at the same time. Due to the Will Young ACTION I did my DELIGHTFUL version of "Evergreen" (which I'll put up on the site, for ChRISTMAS, if I can get hold of a copy) and, amongst other things, "Easily Impressed" with Gary doing the audience participation bit, hence its listing as "MJ Hibbett feat. Gary Smith" on the tracklistings. Bless.
In other news, have turned down a GIG today, supporting Hammill On Trial in Nottingham this Saturday ... shame really, would have been GRATE, but Dr Neil Brown is a-visiting this weekend, and I am going to a) get him drunk and b) persuade him that he should let me produce "Dog On The Horizon" for him. AHA!