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The Uber Set
Just in case anyone's arsed, here's what I played last night:
Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)
If You're Too Turned On
Hey Hey 16K
Breaks In The Journey
The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team Group B
Clubbing In The Week
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Billy Jones Is Dead
Payday Is The Best Day
Boom Shake The Room
I'm playing something pretty similar to this most times I play now. After many years of work I have developed a type of setlist that is almost TOO full of Song That Seem To Go Well At Gigs. It is... the UBER SET!
I played at the 12 Bar Club last night. It was BLOODY GRATE!
I'd never been in the venue before, and was surprised at quite how TINY the Actual Venue bit is, also at how MAD the two tier seating is - the room is really small, but has been divided VERTICALLY in two, apart from the stage, so when you're playing you are looking directly at the FEET of the people on the first floor. WEIRD.
Anyway, I did a quick sound check, popped out to get some GRUB, and then spent a very lovely hour hanging around whilst a surprisingly HEALTHY number of people turned up, not least of whom was Mr Dave Green, with a big bag full of Hey Hey 16K T-shirts. HOLA! Although I was only on second it was all running late, so I dashed on as soon as the first chap had finished, and we were GO!
I must confess, I was a bit SHAKY to start with. The people upstairs seemed a bit ROWDY, and it was fairly obvious that all the people who wanted to see ME were downstairs, and the layout of the room was FREAKING me a bit and so, as usual, I got the words to "Things'll Be Different" a bit wrong in a couple of places. I remembered the wise words of Mr Charlie Flowers on a PREVIOUS occasion when this had happened: "Calm down, it's all right", and took this advice to HEART.
It seemed to work. As we moved on into the set things improved MASSIVELY. Suddenly there was BANTER and a steady stream of OTHER people coming into the room to see what was going on. FANTASTIC! OK, it IS a really small room, but it was PACKED, and everyone seemed to be really getting into it. Looking down I could hear people GETTING it (my lovely brother, who was in attendance, said that the sound was PARTICULARLY CRISP) and laughing, whilst people upstairs provided some HECKLING which I was, by now, feeling ready to GO with. I particularly enjoyed it when somebody shouted "Jet Set Willy!" during Hey Hey 16K and I stopped the song and said "I already said Jet Set Willy - pay attention!" Also taking my jumper off and comparing myself to James Brown was particularly jolly. There was some "business" (NB ROCK TALK) with who to go to for tapes or CDs, and "Breaks In The Journey" seemed to go down well on its debut. It all did really, it was ACE!
When it was over (and I had politely DECLINED an encore, oh yes, cos of the running over time thing) I STRUGGLED (no, really) through people saying they'd enjoyed it, on the way getting REBOOKED by Nick The Promoter (who really seemed to like it) and selling TWO CDs - you'll note from the totaliser that we've thus hit SEVENTY. ZANG! T-Shirt sales were ROARING (about five sold, I reckon, Well Done Dave, and well done also my dear brother who was PROMOTING like billy-o), everyone seemed to be DEAD happy, and beauty shone around.
Not only did we have these sales, but I ALSO had enough people in attendance to get PAID (this may actually be the first time I've EVER managed to get paid under the Ancient and Justified "You Need 10 People In Before You Get Any Money" rule), AND walked away with the remaining t-shirts, for SALES at gigs and, in a week or two, on this website. WHOO!
I'm still dancing around with happiness this morning (to the tune of "Summer Holiday", for some reason), it was a SMASHING gig, and I had an ACE time! ZANG!
This morning I FINALLY got round to sending out the last batch of tapes to my "Competition Winners" i.e. the people who voted in the "Select-A-B-Side" process for whom I have an address. If you voted and DON'T get one in the next couple of weeks, or voted and didn't send Steve your address, do please let Steve know.
I managed to dig out TAPES for everybody too, so everyone got a tape AND a copy of the AAS Compilation. For those new to all this, the idea was that people downloaded four songs which I'd recorded at home YEARS ago before The Validators had formed, and voted which one they'd like us to re-record for our next EP. Everyone who voted was promised EITHER a copy of the AAS compilation CD OR an old tape from my days of tape-only releases (confusingly tho, I found no spare copies of the actual tapes which the four songs came from...), and through RUMMAGING, as said, I actually managed to find enough to send everybody both items.
The tapes sent included:
"How Voon Is Now": The only tape made during the "Chris Era" of Voon, when he replaced Neil. This also marked my first meeting with Kev Reverb, whose studio it was recorded in. Even then he was a lovely man, and gave me a lift home one night. "The Legend Of Voon": A compilation of unreleased Voon songs and live tracks. If you read The Curse Of Voon you'll notice that each section is headed with some song titles. This is where they came from, as the book was originally going to be sleevenotes for this tape, but it grew into a booklet as I remembered more and more Amusing Anecdotes. "Your Haircut": The first tape by The Council, the band Neil and I formed 24 hours after the end of the "Chris Era" of Voon - we thought the other members of Voon wouldn't notice, but I guess they must have... anyway, this tape is a bit rubbish really. All the songs are us being REALLY ANNOYED about things, and trying to solve them by SHOUTING. GRR!! The fact that some nice people were being inflicted with this item was what prompted me to include the CD's too, to make up for it. "Parks & Gardens Department": The second tape by The Council, this time recorded in a proper studio, with Mr Tim Pattison (even BEFORE he was Tim The Celebrity Drummer). It's still a bit rubbish and ANNOYED, but at least the Band Sound is MUCH more exciting, and the final song "Mind The Death [Gigant Suspensions]" is a very welcome return to JOLLITY and Imaginative Ideas, largely because we made it up in the studio, and made Tim do some backing vocals. PHEW.
Anyway, if you're getting one, that's what you're getting - thanks!
Greetings To Our Colonial Cousins
For some reason I've had loads of people from the Antipodies visiting the site for the past two days... it may just be a coincidence OR we may be MASSIVE in Australia... it wouldn't be the first time.
Well, it would, but only if you prefer the deadly dull world of REALITY and TRUTH to the much more VIVID and EXCITING world of Things I Have Said In The Pub. Many many years ago, when I was in VOON, we did loads of stickers saying "I Like Voon" (actually these turned out to be the most popular thing we EVER did, as across Leicestershire these stickers peer out from old filing cabinets, folders, and ashtrays, reminding people of their beery youth being accosted by strangers with stickers in pubs that no longer exist), some of which we sent to Melody Maker. They really liked these stickers, and a few weeks later their gossip column was subheaded "The Column That Likes Voon", providing Steve Lamacq with the first of MANY near misses with me, as Dr N Brown rang him up to see what was going on. Anyway, also on the page was a list of "Songs We Like", one of which was "How Voon Is Now" by Voon, which obviously they'd made up. All our PALS were astonished and amazed by this, and asked how it'd happen.
So, equally obviously, we told them it was our new single. On import from an Australian label. Who'd paid for us to record it. In Australia. One weekend.
EVERYBODY believed us. When we went on to remark that my cousins in Australia had liked our music so much that they'd formed a tribute band, who'd been seen by this label's A&R types, who'd been massively impressed and so booked us on our weekend trip to Australia, it all became even more plausible - I sometimes wonder what the point is in actually DOING all these gigs and recordings, when people seem to be equally happy just to THINK you've done them. It's a lot cheaper too.
Niceness / Arsiness / Worst. Film. Ever
I did many things over the weekend, for example I went over to the Notting Hill Arts Club to see Owen Tromans. He's a top chap, and his set was dead good, as indeed is his album which i bought whilst there. The only non-nice part of the afternoon was that it was in Notting Hill, home to the ARSIEST population of people I ever did meet. BLIMEY! The only nice person I met was the chap in the classical music shop who showed me where the Arts Club was (there was no sign, just an open door), and HE was American so didn't count. Perhaps he was there for fall in love with a film star or something? Golly gosh though, everyone else was GLARING at everybody else, also barging about and generally being RUDE whilst wearing REALLY stupid haircuts. I can only conclude that this is where all the arsey sods who WORK in nearby soho go home to.
And on Sunday, due to a printing error in the Guardian (yes, i know), we ACCIDENTALLY saw "The Sex Lives Of The Potato Men", as it was the only thing on rather than the film we'd gone for, which wasn't. The mind BOGGLES at how something so utterly utterly RUBBISH could ever get made, and indeed BE so very very utterly pathetic, unfunny, and CAK when it's got so many dead good and HILARIOUS people in it. It was shit, and not in an "Ho ho! So bad it's good!" sort of way, more in the way that realising you've got dog muck on your shoes is, after having walked around your own house for half an hour.
Otherwise it was a weekend of JOY and ACTION, as EVINCED by the song what i finished writing and the DIVERSE other things I did too. Yeah! And today I find an invitation to do a gig in Leeds in a few weeks, with Tasty Fanzine. YEAH!
Hello NTK Types!
In between two trips to the pub, I just popped into work to check my email and stuff, and LO! It appears that more people have visited my website in the past HOUR than have done for the past fortnight, due to the delightfully fragrant people at Need To Know. Rather brilliantly they make me sound MUCH more Proper and ROCK than I actually am - especially about my forthcoming International Tours, also Critical Acclaim, which is EXACTLY what I need to think about before going off to see FAAAMILY down the pub. Showing Off, very much, AHOY!
And it's true about the Hey Hey 16K t-shirts too - they are SMASHING!
(oh yeah, and if you ARE a first-time visitor, and ARE sufficiently tantalised, you can always buy stuff at the online shop. Don't feel you have to though, it's lovely enough that you came by in the first place. Thanks, and have a nice weekend - I'm off to the pub!)
I don't know if I'd mentioned it before, but earlier on in the year i put in a TENDER to PRODUCE the forthcoming concept EP from Dr Neil Brown. As I kept saying to him, he needs someone to encourage his genius and (mostly) tell him to turn the vocals up (and if that's not Producing I don't know what is), and as I'd done exactly that for YEARS in Voon then he should let me do it. OK, I might be forced to SWANK ABOUT and tell people I'm working as a PRODUCER, but that is a cross I am prepared to carry.
My proposal that he should come over to mine and record it, but brilliantly he got a bit excited the other night and wired up his BOAT as a recording studio, and did THE LOT there and then. THUS I am now working as EXECUTIVE producer i.e. he's sending him rough mixes, and I'm encouraging his genius and (mostly) telling him to turn the vocals up. Also I get to email things like "I think this needs backwards feedback, more bass drum, and an ANGELIC CHOIR". Executive Producing is GRATE!
My days of looking LEARNED on the toob are over, as today i finally finished reading "Don Quixote". It was BLOODY BRILLIANT. I asked for it for Christmas, because I'd read a lot of reviews of a new translation of it, but mostly because I hadn't read it before, but LOADS of references to it had been cropping up lately in other things I'd read. I thought that it'd be a good idea to read the original proper thing, rather than ALLUSIONS to it, and by golly i was right! It was LOVELY, also dead funny and ACE - apparently the translation I got, by John Rutherford in Penguin Classics, is different from the older ones in that it's FUNNY, which it certainly was, as well as being in Modern Vernacular, so was fun all round. The weird thing about it was what GITS everyone was to poor old Don Quixote, half the second part is about two rotten sods who mess Don Quixote and Sancho Panza about, I guess lots of things have changed since those days... Mind you, there's tons of ACE METATEXTUAL type stuff about how the book got translated in the first place, and the different versions of the story that have been going around, and its all RATHER groovy.
Classics are GRATE - you get hundreds of years worth of people to pick them out for you, AND they're cheap!
The Start Of A New Era
I went up to Leicester last night for an EPIC 3.5 hour band practice, and LO! it was GOOD.
We spent most of the night LEARNING NEW THINGS, something which we haven't done for, well, for nearly TWO YEARS! It thus felt a bit strange and TENTATIVE - usually our practices are more get-togethers, with RIBALDRY and LOOSE TALK abounding, but last night's was more about ROCK and THORT, not least when we worked out a completely NEW song called, at the moment "[summer hit]", which we MADE UP! This was, I'm not afraid to admit, something which SHOOK me, as I've not done that sort of thing for very very many years, since VOON, in fact, but after a while we got into it and came up with something that I think may be Quite Good. It was heartening to find, however, even after all these years, that the RULE OF MAKING UP SONGS still applies thusly: The First Thing You Try Will Sound Incredibly GOTH.
We also rollicked through a heftily PUMPED UP version of "The Fair Play Trophy", WINGED our way through "The Primal Rhythms Of The Bolivian Nose Flautist" with Tom on vocals (including lengthy debate about whether a nose flute can HAVE rhythm [it doesn't matter, the rhythm is that of the flautIST], and what a FLOUTist might do instead), ROCKED into "City Centres" and even managed to do some WORK on the VERY new song "Breaks In The Journey".
It was all, in fact, RATHER productive. There was much discussion about what the EP should contain, and eventually we agreed that it would PROBABLY be a full-band affair throughout, combining new songs with PROPER versions of songs that we always play live but haven't really released properly anywhere. THUS, a PUTATIVE tracklisting would look like THIS:
1. Things'll Be Different
2. The Fair Play Trophy (again)
3. Billy Jones Is Dead
4. The Primal Rhythms Of The Bolivian Nose Flautist
5. City Centres
6. Bands From London (are shit)
7. [summer hit]
That looks quite good really doesn't it? It all depends how we get on on March 4th really, when we gather to start the recordings. Who knows, we may even get to include Rob and Tim's "exciting" version of The Theme From Brookside...
ZANG! As seen HERE, and mentioned the other week, Alan Raw did INDEED play us on his BBC show last week. Silently I am hoping to get us a session or something when we go to Hull in May, but only time will tell. In the meantime, do have a listen in if you can, that playlist looks GRATE.
After WEEKS of toil and hard work (i.e. not by me though, by The Hector Collectors), the Scottish Tour* is now SORTED! Hoorah! I'm playing with the aformentioned Hector Collectors in Motherwell, Glasgow and Edinburgh on March 4th, 5th and 6th. I've got my tickets booked, the gigs are THERE, it appears to be happening - More details over on the GIGS page!
*I'd called it a Scottish Tourette, for honesty, but that would make it sound like a foul-mouthed Glaswegian.
We Have A Winner!
The votes are in and the results of the Select-A-B-Side extravaganza are as follows:
1. The Primal Rhythms Of The Bolivian Nose Flautist (33%)
2. I'll Never Drink Again (25%)
3. I've Pulled (21%)
4. Down The Narborough Road (13%)
Which means that The Primal Rhythms Of The Bolivian Nose Flautist is the WINNER - PHEW. There was a rush of votes towards the end for "I've Pulled", which AFEARED me, but it seems that JUSTICE won out in the end. Thanks to everyone for voting, I'm off to try and LEARN it now!
24 Hours To B-Side
The voting currently running EXTREMELY close, you only have 24 (ish) hours to get your vote in and help decide which of our four contenders will be the b-side to our summer EP. Your vote really could change the decision on this one, dear reader, so HIE on over to http://www.mjhibbett.net/vote/, if you would, and get listening!
I Got Gigs, They're Multiplying
WHew! Back from holiday just five minutes, and I've ALREADY got two gigs, one in That London on February 26th and one in Derby on March 14th, only a few hours before my gig in Nottingham on March 14th. PHEW! That's SEVERAL gigs!
Hit The North!
Avid radio listeners in The North, birthing place for at least 60% of the Validators, may like to tune into the Alan Raw's Raw Talent show tonight (and every Thursday night, in fact) between 7pm and 10pm on BBC Radio Humberside, Sheffield, York, Lincoln, Leeds and more - for LO! copies of "This Is Not A Library" and "Milk & Baubles" have been passed to him, and apparently he is quite keen on them. Hey, you could even ring the show and make a request, if you liked.
This beautiful passing of ROCK has been done by Mr Eddy Bewsher, the very same chap who puts us on at The Adelphi and generally is KING of Good Ideas That Actually Work. Mr Bewsher, we SALUTE you!
Suddenly, a Scottish Tour appears! God bless them all, The Hector Collectors have organised a mini-tour of Scotland, and I'm going to be playing with them! We talked about doing this ages ago, and it seems that Adam from the band has been DILIGENTLY beavering away at it ever since. HOORAH!
There's a few further details over on the GIGS page, with more to come as I know them, but basically I'm going to be playing in Motherwell, Glasgow and Edinburgh on March 5,6,and 7th this year. It'll be my first gigs outside of The England, which is EXCITING. I WAS going to go on the aeroplane, but it turns out to be slightly cheaper and quicker (well, overall) to go by train, also less DANGEROUS for my guitar, so I guess I shall have to DRAG a massive pile of books with me, and I'm going to miss my WOMAN being away for so long, but apart from that - WAHEY! I'm off to SCOTLAND!
Should I do my cover of "Mull Of Kintyre", do you think? Or would that be a bad idea?
We've had nearly 50 visitors to the Select-A-B-Side site now, although we've only had five votes in so far - I guess people must be MULLING it all over carefully? Anyway, thanks for listening, if you've come there from here, and if you haven't gone and listened, please do so at a time convenient to yourself.
And once again, I'm sorry about "I've Pulled". It wasn't my idea.
As you'll see, there's four songs to listen to, all of which were recorded about ten years ago in the attic of my old flat. In those days I was MASSIVELY prolific, and made a new hour long cassette of songs roughly once every six months, which I'd hand out to friends and people I knew in various bands around Leicester. A "select" group of these people were asked to choose their favourites from these songs, and an even more "select" group actually did!
Once you've had a listen to the songs available, I'd be extremely grateful if you could either contact me or AAS Electoral Registar Steve Dresden (at email@example.com) and let us know which song you liked the best. Once all the votes are in (by 4pm on Friday 13th February) the most popular song will be taken to Leicester on February 15th to be LEARNED UP by the Validators and later recorded for the new "Things'll Be Different"/"The Fair Play Trophy") EP to be released in July.
Oh yeah, and 20 people, picked at random from the ELECTORATE, will recieve a FREE tape of CD, so don't forget to include your address will you?
Do please take the time to have a listen, and let DEMOCRACY DECIDE!
Corks! A weekend of super deluxe ROCK ACTION has recently finished occuring, as i got Quite A Lot Done... spent a very jolly couple of hours on Saturday recording a 60 second version of The Same Page Of The Map for a Where You Are Is Where It's At compilation of 60 second songs. OK, they didn't ASK me to do it or anything, but there is a PLEA by Mr J Jervis on their webpage for some more songs, so I thought I might as well. It's the first time I've used my new Home Studio Setup to record something [that might be] for proper release, and I must say it came out sounding RATHER good. I have now listened to it about 30 times - this is the GRATE benefit of very short songs, you can listen to them LOADS without taking up too much valuable time, time which can be otherwise better spent thinking "How will I spend the CA$H that will inevitably accrue when this song is released as a single across the globe?"
I also did a LOT of archiving, this time preserving for posterity a REHEARSAL by The Council from 1994. Goodness knows how THE LORD will view this expenditure of time when I have to give my Final Account - I listened to the whole thing through for over an hour, NOTING sections, and then listened to it AGAIN whilst converting it into bite-size chunks for .mp3. Did I really need to spend quite so long encoding SEVEN different versions of a song that I don't even remember, and which nobody but me and Neil will ever really want to hear again?
Well, I saw it through anyway, it is the job of the archivist to archive, not to judge, after all, and perhaps in a thousand years massively brained humanoid EGGS on hover-discs will discover it and PINE for a non-existent version of said song. If this happens, it will all have been worthwhile.
Oh yeah, and I also sorted out the Select-A-B-Side page, but you probably knew that already...