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Oh What A Night
I had a GRATE night last night at the 12 Bar, it was the "Launch Gig" for "Shed Anthems", and it was ACE. Before the gig, whilst waiting to soundcheck, i got THE FEAR in quite a large stylee, but luckily The Beer In My Bottle turned up and took me off for something to eat, which calmed me MIGHTILY. We got back with about 20 minutes to go, just before a mighty RUSH of people appeared, and went and got themselves sat down - for some reason they'd set the downstairs out with seats too, which made it look even more crowded than it already was. Which was GOOD!
I was quite conscious of not doing exactly the same set again as last time I played, so had put a couple of Unusual and/or NEW songs into the UBER SET - here's what I did:
Things'll Be Different
Clubbing In The Week
The Girl Who...
Never Going Back To Aldi's
Hey Hey 16K
The Perfect Love Song
Billy Jones Is Dead
The Fair Play Trophy
The Lesson Of The Smiths
It seemed to go pretty well! People seemed to get into it and, most pleasing of all, "Never Going Back To Aldi's" went down REALLY well! HOORAH! Somebody emailed the other day to ask for the TAB to "The Perfect Love Song", so I thought I'd do it at the gig, and bless, when I'd finished everyone went "aaaah"! COOL! "The Fair Play Trophy" seemed to not go all THAT well, which is a bit of a TREND in The Live Arena, but "Lesson Of The Smiths" was GOOD, and "Easily Impressed" made pretty much everyone join in - SMASHING!
I bounced off stage full of JOY, and someone said "Are you doing an encore then?" I always think it's funny (both ways) when people do this - everyone looked at me, and I thought, surely, if anybody wanted an encore they'd have said so wouldn't they? I said "It doesn't look like it..." and suddenly there was a LOUD ROAR and BY GOLLY suddenly everyone was shouting and I went back on - FANTASTIC! After a quick POLL for possible songs I did "The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)", and i was OFF!
The band after me DASHED to get on, so i DASHED to get off and, imporantly, get some BEER. Aforementioned Food In My Fridge came forth with a HUG and a Handy Wet Wipe (i was VERY sweaty), and then the evening became a night of Wandering Around. It was LOVELY. Five CDs got sold (details of how to buy online coming next week, with The Shed Of Reknown!) and everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves. I gave a free CD to a lady who'd been down the front smiling throughout - always appreciated! - and chatted to Claire Dicko from Kooba/XFM who seemed to like it, also to the various FAAAMILY who'd joyously arrived. Nick the Promoter seemed KEEN to have me back, so he might be doing a leg of the THEORISED Hibbett/Franke Machine/Hector Collector tour in September (more details when... er... I've mentioned it to everyone!), and joy and beauty shone around.
It was one of those gigs where I woke up at 6.30am next day thinking "WAHEY!" This is GOOD!
Live In Hull
Mr Eddy Bewsher of Hull sent me a copy of local magazine "Sandman" today, for LO! There is a review of our gig at the Adelphi in it... and it's rather good! If you don't believe me, see for yourself:
I turned up at tonight's gig tired and stressed and not really in the mood for this, I left however smiling and bobbing my head to the happy melodies in my head. It turns out MJ Hibbett and the Validators are the perfect antidote to the pressures of modern life and I think that's exactly what they're meant to be. Their highly entertaining set included the title track of their album, 'This Is Not A Library', 'The Symbol Of Our Nation' (a pub by the way) and 'You Will Be Hearing From My Solicitor'. As you can tell simply from the titles their songs revolve around the wry ironies of life but viewed from the most positive point of view. It's Brilliant! They're Brilliant! The polar opposite of the comfy middle class kids complaining about how bad everything is, here we have the comfy middle class middle aged Hibbett and crew telling us that actually 'everything's turning out all right and everything'. It's the humour and phrasing that accompanies these marvellous philosophies that gives them their special charm. Comprised of drums, bass, guitars, vocals, harmonies and errr... violin. There's a gentle folk lilt cleverly using the violin for the solo's showing there doesn't have to be excessive finger work going on for something to be effective, or maybe that should be affecting. It's very funny how one small group of people playing in a little venue can have such a profound effect on you but sod you to all the miseries and moaning minnies, I'm in Hibbett's camp, I'm an optimist and I'm going to thrill in all the crazy unique intricacies of this life we call our own. In his own words, 'Given the chance to choose or pick between despairing of life or taking delight in it I'll take the latter, because it makes me happy, and that's what it's all about'!
Hang on, middle class? Middle AGED?!?! I'm 33! YIPE!
Loaded Remark: Answer
My other favourite programme at the moment, seeing as you asked, is Derren Brown's World Of Freaky Scariness. Think about it - if you WERE a superhero with MIGHTY POWERS, how would YOU go about making a living from it, without letting anybody know you were a BRANE FREAK?
To Me, My Hairdressers! Feared and scorned by a world they have sworn to cut the hair of, BBC1 presents, CUTTING IT!
Yes! I watched one of my TWO favourite programmes last night, "Cutting It". Cutting it is BLOODY GRATE, and I'll tell you why - it's the closest thing telly has ever got to real proper Superhero Comics. The thing i LOVE about, for instance, Grant Morrison's X-Men, or The Fantastic Four (pretty much any time), or anything by Alan Moore, is that they're so full of IDEAS. At no point, i think, does Alan Moore ever think "Hang on, am i sure i really want to do this? Should i not perhaps tone it down a bit?" NO. Instead they go FULL TILT into IDEA SPACE (yes) and write down whatever GRATE ideas they come up with. I already banged on about the "Here Comes Tomorrow" ending of X-Men the other month, it's a perfect example of the free flowing RUSH of new idea after new idea, unrestricted and FANTASTIC.
Well, it seems to me that Cutting It is the same sort of thing. Every episode is a DERANGED cavalcade of GRATE new ideas and plot twists, you can practically HEAR the writers in the pub (and don't tell me this series is not at least partly written in the pub) saying "Hang on! What if she pushes him in the canal? And then steals the baby? And then climbs a tower block? BRILLIANT!" as they thrust on from GRATE idea to GRATE idea. I LOVE it!
In fact, swap the word "Hairdresser" for "Mutant" and it IS the X-Men. Look at the salon team - they ALL have different super-powers (some more useful than others - Syd is never going to defeat Doctor Doom by doing his nails... he wears metal gloves, for a start), they wear fantastic costumes, they have complex continuity with each other which DOESN'T interfere with the current story (otherwise why would Eugene still be there at ALL?), and they have super hero NAMES! This last bit is ESPECIALLY true for the Super Villains, like Beauregard Smee the Civil War Looney, or Dulcima Goodrush, the Nanny From Hell.
In fact, i would go so far as to say it passes The Dinosaur Test. This is The Dinosaur Test: "If a Gigantic DINOSAUR suddenly appeared, would the film/television programme/idle daydream suddenly become silly and rubbish? Or will it be EVEN BETTER?" Cutting It, of course, passes with flying colours - you can just see FINN, unable to save ALLIE from the jaws of the TYRANNOSAUR can't you? Even as GAVIN is clinging on to its tale, as EUGENE pledges his love for DARCY with his dying, GORED, breath!
Airplay And Review
Checking through my Bookmarks this morning I discovered that we've had the first REVIEW for Shed Anthems, and a very nice one it is too, at Indigo Flow. There was also some airplay on Thursday on the ever marvellous Raw Talent show on BBC Humberside/Leeds/Sheffield/All Them, who rather fantastically played "Let The Weird Band Win".
This is the BEST bit about putting a record out - most of the work and worry's been DONE, now we just sit around and see what people think about it!
Q and A Session To Follow
We had an AAS Board Meeting last night, during which we discussed many of the issues emerging from our Away Day Discussions, pushed forward our agenda to change, and took the piss out of Rob for getting drunkened at said Away Day and drawing rude pictures. COOLIO!
As an added feature this time we recieved a PRESENTATION from Dr Coca Cola McDonalds, Derby LEGEND and AAS's latest signing. It was ACE, he had proper slides and EVERYTHING and we sat in rapt attention as he outlined his future strategy. Like most AAS things of this ilk, we started off going "Ho hO!" and ended up being Quite Serious about the Themes Raised - perhaps we'll get ALL our bands to do this in future eh?
Afterwards cheques were presented and a signing ceremony took place - photographs were taken too, FACT will follow as soon as i know it!
I set off on Saturday night for ESSEX, to go and play on Phoenix FM, and it was a STRANGE SENSATION to be heading OUT of the house at 8.40pm on a Saturday night - that's the time I always used to set off for town in Leicester on a Saturday night, but it's been quite a while since I've done it!
Anyway, I soon reached Brentwood and was WHISKED off to the studio, which was upstairs in a council community centre. DOWNSTAIRS there was a 14 Year Old Girls PARTY going on, so of course outside there was a 14 Year Old Boys LURKING SESSION going on too, it was all a bit terrifying and we all became DIZZY from the heady whiff of HORMONE and after-shave. CRIPES!
The show itself was LOVELY - I spent the first half hour drinking FREE BEER whilst Eddie and Steve did the show, and then we had a bit of a chat, including some Actually Rather Good Questions sent in by listeners, and in the final hour I did six songs. You can hear it download the LOT in bits on their webpage, and, as you'll hear, it was all rather jolly.
They gave me a lift home afterwards, which was perhaps the most EXCITING thing of all, as Station Owner Paul has GPS in his car, so i spent most of the time watching our DIGITAL PROGRESS on the flatscreen on his dashboard - it was like living IN THE FUTURE!
Anyway, yes, do go and have a look at their webpage, if only to see the INCREDIBLE JAZZ CHORD i am pretending to play in the pictures - GROOVY!
It Sounds Proper!
So there we were, sat in the kitchen, enjoying a chat, a snack, and Steve Lamacq, when suddenly we hear the opening strains of "Things'll Be Different"! COOL! Afterwards Mr Lamacq went on to heavily mention the fact that I was going to be on during Euro 2004, which was groovy, but to be honest i was still REELING a bit from ... well, how GOOD Things'll Be Different sounded on the radio! It was ACE! I don't think I've ever just happened to be listening to the radio and heard one of our records on it, so that made it even better. COR! It was GRATE!
Into The Mainstream
Things continue to be EXCITING: today's news, HOT from Mr Steve Dresden in our promotions offices (*ahem*) is that we're hopefully getting a review in Q Magazine! LAWKS! Thinking about it, nobody's said if it's going to be a GOOD review or not, but still eh?
In other news, I am trying out a startling new methodology for Gig Promotion: DOING SOME. At the Hull gig i was AMAZED at how many people turned up, and eventually realised that this was due to all the work that Mr Eddy Bewsher, Promoter, had put into ... well, Promoting. In olden time when I was very young I used to do LOADS of promotional activity for every gig I did, with posters and flyers and general BADGERING, but in the last few years, much to my own dismay, I have FLAGGED a bit, and not bothered so much. Let this be at an end, gentle reader, and HARKEN to my words!
I'm playing at the 12 Bar in Denmark Street, London, next Thursday (27th May) at 9pm. If you're nearby and able to attend, it would be lovely to see you there.
TREMBLE, WORLD! QUAKE at the POWER of my MIGHTY PROMOTIONS!
I had quite a few Points To Make, as you will see... and though I may concede his point about the word "GRATE", i DISPUTE entirely what he says about "interweb" - all I'm saying is, go gooogle it baby, that's all!
Anyway, I think it came out OK, and for some reason it's illustrated with many many pictures of Ann from Sienna, taken from the VERY NEARLY SOLD OUT "Only Everything/Clubbing In The Week" single! Warholalicious!
There's been a big exciting THING going on these last few weeks, and now it can been revealed - I've got PUBLISHING! WHOO!
No, look impressed, this is Quite An Exciting Thing! For the next five years most of my songs will be OWNED by Wipe Out Music, who will be doing their DARNEDEST to get them onto films and compilations and things, and also COLLECTING the bits and bats of CA$H that the PRS are supposed to collect!
It's not been any easy thing to come to terms with, I must admit - I don't want to sound like a pillock here, but over the YEARS and YEARS of nobody else giving a toss about my brand of ROCK the songs have been pretty much the only thing I had to show for it, and the idea of somebody else "owning" them took some getting used to, but it was made easier by the fact that John, who runs Wipe Out, is well know to us - he used to work at Overground, our former radio pluggers, who were ACE people and VALID in the old-punk stylee.
So yeah, I think this is going to be GOOD. It might mean no change at all, or it might mean "Payday Is The Best Day" gets used in the next Star Wars film! SURELY it must be the latter, right?
Leafy Seven Sisters
On the way to work this morning i LUGGED 100 CDs over to Seven Sisters, which is where the distributors for "Shed Anthems" are based. Our old (shiftless, lazy, lying) distributors were based on a horrible industrial estate way out West, but this lot are at the end of a quiet leafy suburb, it was LOVELY. It was actually like wandering along PIGEON STREET or something, as all the way back to the tube station i had to keep avoiding people hugging in the street or waving to each other from passing cars. It was delightful!
Today's exciting news is Actually Quite Exciting! I've just confirmed that, during the Euro 2004, I'm going to be appearing every Sunday on Steve Lamacq's BBC 6 Music Show! Whoo! The idea is that I'm going to be playing "The Fair Play Trophy", with lyrics CUNNINGLY ADAPTED as we go along to reflect events as they occur. Obviously i'm a bit FRIT, as i know only very little of Proper Football FACTS, but I have a few people to help me along, so we should be OK.
Crumbs though eh? A regular gig on the BBC! I'll be on between 2pm and 5pm on 6 Music on June 13th, 20th, 27th and July 4th. Let's ROCK!
I've just confirmed a SESSION/interview thing with Phoenix FM this weekend. It should be GOOD, and also dead handy for me to get to, living on the very borders of Essex as I do... it's based in Brentwood, see, and if you're in the general Brentwood and Billericay area you can tune in on 87.7FM. I'm going to be on between about 10pm and midnight on Brentwood's Only Alternative with Steve Mead and Eddie Curry, and if you're dead keen you can always go to the station's website and listen online!
I've just been having a look to see if "Shed Anthems" has made it out to any shop listings yet, and was AMUSED to find that, yes, you can pre-order it from MVC or from Woollies. For about 10 quid!
Obviously it should be a LOT cheaper than that, and certainly WILL be if you buy it direct from ME (i.e. about 5 quid i should think). HOWEVER, I do like the fact that Woollies are selling it as a DANCE COMPILATION "Mixed by MJ Hibbett & The Validators". When The Water In My Stream suggested the title the idea was it sounded LIKE one of those dance compilations, obviously she was too CLEVER in her naming! YOINKS!
Does this mean I'll have to start Dropping The Bomb?
Why No Bar Mitzvah's?
I headed back into London's Fashionable West End on Saturday evening to fulfil a Private Booking. Oh yes! For LO! it was the 30th Birthday/5th Wedding Anniversary of Mr Carsmile Steve, and I was there to do my Sellout All The Hits Set, by special request. It was all quite jolly really - the set went down pretty well, although I became Very Conscious that i was playing to several people who frequent music discussion forums, and felt LYRICALLY ANALYSED (although probably people were just thinking "Mmm, beer!"), which was, actually, quite nice, and things went down Pretty Well all round. As usual, "The Lesson Of The Smiths" and "Boom Shake The Room" went down best, which pleased me. ALSO pleasing was, just before I started, someone I'd been chatting to saying "Hang on - are you MJ HIBBETT?!?!?" It was GRATE!
STRANGENESS at the end was suddenly finding myself WREATHED in GIG SWEAT and NOT in a venue, but at a party. It felt odd, but sort of NICE. Oh yes!
By the way, there's EXTREMELY groovy news of something occuring next month, but it's not confirmed yet... I'll let you know, gentle reader, as soon as it is!
Exciting Rock News
When I got back from the b3ta show there was a message on my phone, from Mr Henry Lopez, producer for Mr Steve Lamacq. Apparently they really liked the new EP, and wondered if I'd like to go in every Sunday during Euro 2004 and play "The Fair Play Trophy", possibly amending the lyrics each week to reflect events.
ZOINKS! I'm going to ring him back in a bit. I'm going to say "YES PLEASE!"
I've just got back from the Post Office with a feeling of lightness and RELIEF about me, because I've finally got the first main BULK of the "Shed Anthems" promo copies sent off. OK, there's some odds and ends still to do, but the 80+ copies we originally sorted out to send are now SENT!
I know this isn't particularly interesting, but it has made me GLEEFUL, so please excuse - Exciting Rock News to follow!
I headed off to London's Famous Denmark Street on Friday to meet Rob from b3ta, and from there we went and did ourselves the b3ta RADIO show! It was ACE! We had a bit of a chat and that, and I ended up playing FIVE songs - "Hey Hey 16K" (obviously), "The Lesson Of The Smiths" (i did a bit as a soundcheck, and they were INTRIGUED...), "The Fair Play Trophy", "Payday" and "Easily Impressed". It was MUCH fun. I worried a bit about forgetting the words for "Hey Hey 16K", but then realised Rob had the t-shirt on, so I could read them off his CHEST. No such handiness for "The Lesson Of The Smiths", which wouldn't have mattered except i had to RE-WRITE it as i went along, trying to think of replacements for the SWEARING in it.
I felt a bit bad already about saying "and this is from our new single", like an ROCK WHORE, but halfway through I realised that my hosts weren't really footie types, LO! even less than I am. Still, we made up for it in the end, when we did a ROUSING version of "Easily Impressed" which, top radio professional that i am, finished 10 seconds before the end of the show. Oh yes!
It was GRATE fun anyway, even though my BODY seemed to think it was a gig, and made me SWEAT like nobody's business throughout. BAH!
On Your Radio
I'm on the RADIO this afternoon - on the lovely B3TA Radio show on Resonance 104.4 FM. I'm on live at 4 o'clock (er... that's 15:00 GMT, Visitors From Abroad!), and if you'd like you can listen in via their website. Or, indeed, if you live in That London you can listen to it in good old fashioned analogue radio on 104.4FM. Cor!
I'm quite excited about it, but DOUBTLESS the same thing will happen as always - I'll be sat there tossing out bon mots and delightful anecdots, and some FIEND somewhere will overdub EVERYTHING i say with some gormless yokel going "OOH AAAAR, MOI LUVVERR!! OI GOT A BRAND NEW COMBINE HARVESTER!" Why am i PLAGUED so?!?
Noises After Lights Out
Here in Castle Validator we are all getting ourselves a bit excited, we are not behaving as the cool calm collected grown-ups you might reasonably expect us to be, instead we are like a bunch of GIGGLING SCHOOLGIRLS who have woken up to find their DORM has a new PONY. But, obviously, with beer guts.
For instance, we're talking now about applying to CMJ, that there big music festival in New York. As a long-term Marvel FIEND I am have always wanted to go to Manhattan (to look at the Baxter Building and visit Avengers Mansion etc etc) but have been SAVING it for a special occasion, and I reckon going there to ROCK might be such a thing. Rather than contemplating this in a stern, factual fashion I have instead been nipping into the loo at work, standing in front of the mirror, and going "New York New York! It's a wunnerful town!" and doing the dance.
Whatever you're thinking, it looks dafter than you imagine. Gene Kelly, I seem to recall, wasn't GURNING like a wazzock when he did it.
Anyway, it's all very exciting and GRATE. We've also had our first SESSION request, so I'll hopefully be off to Phoenix FM soon in ESSEX, we've had another gig offered, and this morning I posted off about three quarters of all the promo CDs for "Shed Anthems", so with any luck more FUN and EXCITING things will be happening soon.
Must get on tho, that Pony's not going to braid it's own hair, and Tim won't let go off the grooming brush. TALLY HO!
The Jiffy Mountain
Last night i drove my BRANE into the depths of UG! last experienced many many years ago when I spent three weeks shovelling pot pourri. Honestly, you don't want to know, suffice to say it shut down my MIND entirely, and I got a small taste of that yesterday evening, as I set to work on the Promotional Campaign for "Shed Anthems".
I mean, obviously AAS is no flighty foolish organisation, I'd got everything READY well in advance (er... well, by yesterday afternoon anyway), all I had to do was put things together. THUS I went through all the promo copies of the CD with a SCALPEL, taking off the plastic wrapping and sticking ON the contacts/track times sticker that goes on the back. To start with this was quite jolly - the sticker also contains the list of BAD SWEAR WORDS for DJs, and in this case they are "silly sod" and "shat", which I found quite funny at the beginning, but an HOUR later it was wearing thin a bit. Then I did the first BLOCK of packing - with about a third of the CDs we're also sending out promo copies of the American Franke Machine album (it's AWFULLY good, by the way), so I was methodically taking a Shed Anthems press release, a Frankie Machine press release, a flyer for upcoming releases, and an individual letter, folding them up, checking I'd got the right envelope, then trying to STUFF the whole lot AND two CDs into a small envelope.
Bloody heck, I tell you THIS, by the end of it I was KERNACKERED! Tonight I've got the OTHER two thirds to do (tho they'll only have "Shed Anthems" in, so it should be easier) AND then apply all the STAMPS! OOF!
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I bet Westlife don't sit around doing this sort of thing every time they UNLEASH more WOE into the world, and even with Bryan gone there's FOUR of them, they could sort it out in NO time! CUH!
For some reason I've been getting quite a bit of mail from the Nordic States just recently... well, Finland and Norway anyway. I don't know why this should be (though I do weep gentle tears at the way the Swedes appear to ignore me - I've been to Ikea twice, for pity's sake!), but i LIKE it. So, any Norwegian visitors might like to know that the Hey Hey 16K video is going to be on TELLY on Sunday, on a programme called "Nerd" (hmm, i wonder what THAT means in Norwegian eh?) on NRK.
Isn't it a wonderful world where such things can happen, eh?
Shed Anthems Is Here!!
I've just two minutes ago taken delivery of 500 copies of the new EP, Shed Anthems. It looks GRATE, it sounds ACE, and the multimedia WORKS!!
For those of you who've popped in recently (and there are MANY of you), this is our NEW EP, which is coming out next month. It's got six main tracks, including our Euro 2004 Anthem "The Fair Play Trophy (again)", as well as about lyrics, annotations, and about 20 additional tracks on the CD-Rom extras. It's out on June 7th, but should be available to buy here a week or so before - if you'd like to be added to the mailing list for details about it, please get in touch.
Right, I'm off to carry boxes upstairs, giggling FOOLISHLY. ZANG!
Will the madness never end? True to what appears to be my New Description as a "bespectacled comic book geek" (ak! the truth!) every Monday morning I read Lying In The Gutters, the gossip column of comics. And there, at the end of the column, is a link to the Hey Hey 16K video! WOW!
Who'd've ever have guessed that there was some kind of crossover between the people who used to have home computers in the 80's, and people who read comics eh?
This only spurs me on to FINALLY write that song about Marvel UK that I've been meaning to write for years - so far I have worked out that my two favourite things about comics actually RHYME (that'll be The Fantastic Four and Alan Moore then), but I somehow doubt that'll be enough...
Ultimate Basil Brush
I set off to Winchester yesterday afternoon, to play at a benefit all dayer. The idea was to raise money for the local hunt saboteurs to buy a new landrover engine. Now, I think this is a FINE and LAUDABLE cause - indeed, Hunt Sabs are, to me, the perfect political pressure group. They're ENTIRELY single issue (as far as i know, you don't get hunt sabs running down the river bank snipping the fishing lines), they actually put themselves in danger for something they BELIEVE in, they get positive results, and hopefully one day they will Actually WIN and be able to pack it in. They are BLOODY GRATE.
However, I do think someone needs to give them some help with their posters. On the door to the venue was a big full colour picture of a horribly mutilated fox - I mean, yes, I understand that it's there to make a point, but it didn't make you want to go into the room or anything. It's the same with the anti-vivisectionists I guess - I wonder if they stand around in town on a Saturday going "I don't understand it - people keep crossing the road and hurrying past with their eyes closed - I thought these terrifying photographs of appalling ill treatment would entice people over!"
ANYWAY, the gig itself was very nice - Winston Echo was dead good before me, then my set sort of RAMBLED a bit. Now that I'm used to my 5 hour sets I fear i may have CHATTED a little too much, and ended up having to cut quite a few songs out. Still, I did "Mental Judo" for the first time, and it seemed to go OK. Also, and most excitingly of ALL, there was someone there wearing a "Hey Hey 16K" t-shirt! ZANG! This was Very Exciting INDEED!
Big On The Interweb
Last night we were at number 5 on the Blogdex. I'm not entirely sure what it means, but i THINK it means that word is spreading FAST about the video. It's amazing - over 5,000 people have been to this site over the past couple of days, and, berzerk as it may appear, over 100,000 seem to have downloaded the video! YIPE! Even more excitingly, I spent this morning writing letters and packing up envelopes, and much of last night Answering Fan Mail!!! Crikey! Who'd ever have thought it eh? But that's what I was doing, and it was FANTASTIC. Life, it is BLOODY GRATE!
I Can See All Obstacles (nearly)
It was a FANTASTIC night in Hull on Friday. It started off well by me going into WHSmiths at the station when i arrived, and finding a MASSIVE article and HUGE photo of us in the Hull Daily Mail. HOORAH!
After some injury worries we all made it, in some state or other, and after the traditional Hull Meal of CHIPS, we got ourselves set up. People gradually wandered in, I had a couple of conversations saying "No, I can't quite believe it either!" about Recent Events, and we got offered a headline gig at a festival next May. This, of course, gave me and Tim the opportunity to enter REMINISCENCE MODE, and wax lyrical about the OTHER two times we headlined a festival... aah! To hear this story in full, simply ply me with BEER and set me going, it is a joyous ride.
Anyway, more and more people came in, and i got more and more FRIT. I'd had beautiful visions of me doing a whole set of brand new material, but suddenly that seemed like a BAD idea, and I had to go away and have a Quiet Ten Minutes to myself, playing through to make sure I knew them. I went on full of FEAR and, I must admit, was a bit shakey to start with. I did "The Lesson Of The Smiths" (which went down really well, which i was glad of as I feel some Validators are still a little wary of it), "Breaks In The Journey", "Dino At The Sands" and "Never Going Back To Aldi's". The latter two were done for the first time ANYWHERE, and although "Dino" seemed to leave people going "Eh? What's that all about?", "Aldi's" seemed to be enjoyed. I then did a load of more reassuring (to me) stuff, even though it was a bit weird NOT being able to do "Payday" or something, and finished with "Boom Shake The Room". This went down REALLY well, it was ACE, and it was especially so knowing that I was going to be coming back on stage in 15 minutes. Usually I end the set with that one, which usually persuades people to like me after all, and then I'm OFF. This time i paved the way for part TWO!
"Hilariously" Tim had written "One Last Party" on the setlist, but by now i was in Post-Gig mode so was LEAPING around like a loon going "HA! All right then - you play it, I'll SING it! YEAH! COME ON!" He then pointed out that, look! There's 150 people here, and they've ALL come to see US! This was a bit of a shocker, and calmed me RIGHT down again.
Suddenly it was time for part two, and it felt GOOD. We RATTLED through a fairly ROCKING set I must say, even doing a couple of songs, like "Good Cooking" and "Where Is My Torch" that we hadn't done for age - the second one there especially sounding nice. We tried "Easily Impressed" WITHOUT Emma doing the "Oi Hibbett" bit, and by GOLLY it worked, the very FOUNDATIONS of all the houses down De Gray Street must have been SHUDDERED by that mighty ROAR!
We came back on for an ENCORE, and things went a little awry... we LAUNCHED into "Fat Was A Feminist Issue" and I thought two things. Firstly, Emma doesn't sing on this one and, secondly, what on earth are the words? THUS I launched into "I Can See Clearly Now", which, actually, we've not really played before. It was OK tho - "adorable", somebody even said - but the band were a little FAZED by the whole thing. Still, we sorted ourselves out afterwards, and I had a LOVELY time chatting to people and signing autographs. YES! That is really what happened, it was FAB!
We also had a mini-band meeting, where we came up with a GRATE NEW PLAN: to have a practice. Are we GENII, or what eh?
I stayed the night at Eddy The Promoter's house - he is a KING amongst men, I've said it before but I'll say it again, if ONLY he promoted all our gigs - and headed home via Peterborough, where I stopped off to get some more STOCK from my parents' house. It had been a LOVELY trip.
We've now officially SOLD OUT of copies of the "A Church Hall Of Sound (revisited)" single! This is very exciting, as that's never happened with one of my AAS Singles before, but it does mean that the gift pack package has been slightly reduced. There's a slight reduction in the price too to compensate, but hurry! Stocks on the other two vinyl singles are running low also!
It Looks Like We Made It
Have a look at the totaliser.
We did it! ZZZZZZZZZZZZAAAANNNGGG!!!! Thanks VERY much for the 100 people who bought "This Is Not A Library", ESPECIALLY to Mr Chris Burdett of Norwich, who bought the 100th copy. I never really thought we'd manage it, so thank you all SO much, this is FANTASTIC!
Those Web Forums In Full
One of the nicest things about all this web excitement is seeing people talking about Hey Hey 16K on forums. They always seem to follow the same, Actually Quite Moving pattern:
A Chap: Hey! Check out http://www2.b3ta.com/heyhey16k/!!. It brought a tear to my eye!
Young Person: WTF?!? That suks ass Older Dude: Pah! You are too young to remember, obviously. It made me cry! Lots Of Other People Cor - remember Death Race 2000 eh? etc etc
And so on and so on - all over the world, we are confusing people under 26, making people over 26 BLUB, and causing an outbreak of the sort of mass nostalgia only usually seen in the PUB. It really is a beautiful thing to be happening, and i thank the Lord and, more pertinently, Mr Rob Manuel of B3TA that this is all happening.
In Jiffy Bag Heaven
You find me today surrounded by Jiffy Bags, as orders have been FLOODING in and I've had to heavily invest in a LOT of Jiffy Bags of various sizes. It also means I've RUN OUT of copies of "Church Hall Of Sound", and very nearly of the AAS Compilation album. I'm hopefully going to get some new stock tomorrow (some from fellow AAS Board Members, most from My Mum's Garage), so for anyone who's ordered the Back Catalogue Bonanza, much apologies that they won't be being dispatched today, but I will try and get them out first thing Monday morning!
Handily I took the day off today. I was expecting to be loafing around in bed, before toddling off to Hull this afternoon, instead I am involved in International Postal Rates. COOL!
Crikey! It's appears that about a thousand of you have been to see the site today. LAWKS! This seems to have made blogger break down and cry and refuse to have anything with my web presence providers (good golly but this is fascinating isn't it?), so I'm trying a manual update... of course, a thousand visits is NOTHING compared to the amount of people who've downloaded the video. I'm told by Mr Rob Manuel of B3TA that 35 THOUSAND of you have looked at it!
Strangely, i DID go out at lunchtime in my t-shirt, and i DIDN'T get mobbed. I was as surprised as anyone. Anyway, we're off to HULL tomorrow, so if you're up that way do pop along, it should be FUN!
Well blow me, it's all go here! It seems the 16K video is whipping round the world causing grown men to WEEP tears of nostalgic joy - it got onto fark.com last night, and many of our cousins across the water have been sharing the love. Astoundingly, two THOUSAND people clicked the "learn more about the songwriter" link underneath the video, and came here to... er... learn more about the songwriter. COR!
It's also had an effect on the totaliser, which edges ever closer to the magic 100 sales mark. For new readers (and goodness ME but there's a lot of you), the totaliser is logging sales for our most recent album, "This Is Not A Library". If you want to make it go PING (and also make me go "ZANG!") then that's the one to buy, but if you'd like a CD copy of Hey Hey 16K (plus a load of other Quite Good songs), then it's "Say It With Words", our debut album, that you're after.
Or, you know, you could get the whole back catalogue for 24 quid and have it ALL. Or you could just listen to the song, I don't mind, the fact that you're here at all is a very beautiful thing.
Right, I've brought my Hey Hey 16K t-shirt in with me today, I'm planning to wander round town at lunchtime and see if I get MOBBED!
Woo, also Yay
Hello b3tans! Excitingly, Best Website On The Interweb B3TA has the brand new VIDEO for "Hey Hey 16K" on its front page, and so we have had a few New Visitors over night. Hello everyone! Welcome!
To celebrate, I stayed up WELL past my bedtime last night to redesign the original Hey Hey 16K single. It features the lead track (with additional not-in-the-video VERSE!) plus two exclusive b-sides, just like it always did, and now there's nice easy links to the video, the t-shirts, the LOT really. Just click on the exciting and new Hey Hey 16K link to the left of your screen to get THE LOT.
See It Rise!
Today we hit the magical NINETY mark on the totaliser - well done, purchasers of the world! Will we manage to make our target BEFORE "Shed Anthems" comes out? Only time and two gigs will tell!
(but if you've considered buying the album and haven't yet, why not risk it now eh? GO ON!)
Yesterday BBC Parliament showed the 1979 Election, in its entirety. I watched a few hours of it, and it was completely bloody FANTASTIC.
Not for the result, obviously, but for the amazing insight into a world which has now completely disappeared. They showed the election coverage that they'd showed 25 years ago, and the most amazing thing about it was how "modern" it looked. Whenever we see film of the 1970's now we usually see film footage, and when this appeared during the broadcast it looked fuzzy and faded, just as we expect the 1970s to look. However, when they showed the (I guess, previously unrepeated) VIDEO footage it was INCREDIBLE. For instance, we saw Thatcher emerging from her house into a crowd of cheering people (and OH! if only they'd known what they were cheering!) and it looked as if it could have been broadcast live today - it looked EXACTLY like video footage does now, it was amazing - suddenly you saw how very similar the world looked then, indeed people were dressed pretty much the same as they would be now. Again, we get used to the dramatisation of the past, with everybody walking around very much In Costume, but seeing ordinary film of ordinary people without the distancing effort of gloopy old film footage drastically cut down the distance between us and them. It's a good job they had the little "1979" in the top right of the screen, otherwise someone tuning in might have thought THE NIGHTMARE was BEGINNING AGAIN!
It was fantastic watching all the predictions and expectations being reeled out. Tony Benn, self-important and posh as ever, was seen saying "Oh yes, I expect we'll be back in power soon enough to look after the common people" (NB: PARAPHRASING). Numerous Old Tory Duffers appeared on screen, not knowing how soon their DOOM would come. Every so often a face of IMPENDING EVIL would appear - notably Keith Joseph, who LOOMED out of a sea of hideously toothed big haired nobodies like Darth Vader sweeping through a field of stormtroopers. Industry Leaders hoped for a more conciliatory attitude towards the unions, and that there wouldn't be any "unneccessary laws" being brought in, and, hilariously, commentators looked forward to a more positive attitude towards Europe.
And through it all, the mighty EVIL of Thatcher stalked ever closer toward Downing Street. You could practically see an old way of life crumbling, as the death knell sounded for Common Decency...
And also there was lots of HILARITY about what on earth could be done about Docklands, whether the Jubilee line could be finished off soon, the Exotic Nature of Jim Callaghan's last meal in Downing Street (a take-away!), and astounding casual misogyny as the implications of a woman prime minister were countenanced. An American "lady pundit" saw great things ahead for women, and a very nervous Shirley Williams, stood by a duck pond, accepted Robin Day's compliments and doubted very strongly that Labour would change its position on anything, and certainly not move any further left...
It was an incredible thing to sit and watch, I only wish I'd sat down earlier and seen the whole thing. I wonder whether people in 2022 will look back on May 1st 1997 in the same sort of way?
Another New Song?
I appear to have hit a particularly rich SONG SEAM at the moment, as there's yet another new song over in the Song Blog now. It's called "Never Going Back To Aldi's" and, actually, I think it's rather good. In real life it is a Fast One with Chorus and all that, I am PLEASED. I've not done the annotations for it yet, nor have I for "Dino At The Sands" but I will soon, honest. I'm trying to get these and a couple of others LARNED UP this weekend, as it happens, as I've got my support to The Validators in Hull on Friday and then the all-dayer in Winchester on Sunday coming up, and I'm going to try and play them then. After a bit of a run of new songs not turning out quite as good as I'd perhaps hoped, I am now ready to start being Cautiously Optimistic about the NEXT album!
It was off to Goth Central for me last night, as I headed over to Camden to see The Fighting Cocks. Waiting for my Guiness to finish in the pub down the road beforehand, I was filled with the knowledge that if I wasn't actually older than everybody else there (and actually, I probably wasn't), I was at least the person most accepting of his own Age, also Wisdom, as the whole place was packed with people with greasy soho haircuts, stupid hats, clothes that looked like the cost 10% of what they probably did, and those rotten 2 week beards that these sort of "media types" appear to think is a good idea at the moment. As I was think "Cuh! What a rabble of riff raff" I noticed that the woman behind the bar had drawn a PENTANGLE in my Guiness, rather than a clover leaf. She looked at me noticing this, and suddenly became a bit embarrassed, as if a dissolute uncle had noticed her headbanging to Westlife.
Anyway, some of the "media type" NESS of the building must have worn off on us, as we came up with a GRATE new idea for the long in-development film DINOSAUR PLANET. "30,000,000 years ago, the dinosaurs disappeared. Now, they're BACK. GRAAAAGHHHH!!!!"
I'd pay money to see THAT!
Anyway, we went to see The Fighting Cocks, and it was a Working Model of WHY doing gigs is so very GRATE. Charlie Of The Fighting Cocks was distraught and distressed beforehand, as everything was going WRONG - there'd been no proper soundcheck, the P.A. was BROKEN, and things were running late. The usual sort of thing. He got more and more distressed, as it took about 15 minutes to find the right combination of sockets and leads for his guitar to start, and when the set began things flickered on and off and - my goodness! - there was some Language expressed between him and Matt the Soundman. Things got VERY INTENSE INDEED as the gig went on, and i must say it was all rather exciting and ACE. As things progressed this air of TENSENESS slowly mutated into a lot of fun, as things started going right, the girls got into it, and God bless him, Charlie started dancing. On the last song he was leading a polka through the audience and most of the pub was dancing along with him. Even I was JIGGING and a-bopping at the back. It was BRILLIANT.