[an error occurred while processing this directive]
On Saturday i was STILL in The Peterborough Area, as it was two of my parents's 25th Wedding Anniversary, and AGANE we had a FANTASTIC time. The below-mentioned PALS Robin and Mileage turned up again, along with their Lovely Wives. The WATER in my WASHING MACHINE had also arrived, and the three of us Peterbrugians sat around MARVELLING at how we had manage to CON such a trio of GRATE WOMEN into hanging around with us.
The DO itself was lovely, there was GRUB, BOOZE (including a BARREL of JHB, which is LOVELY and also Hangover FREE), and then my Mum made a big speech which made... er... some people, not me, i am too ROCK, OK, me... CRY. And THEN i got up and did some SONGS! This was a bit WEIRD, as it was like one of those DREAMS where the audience is your NAN and your AUNTY, made MANIFEST, but it all seemed to go pretty well. When you are RELATED to the hecklers you can say what you want! The aforementioned Mileage RECREATED his role in the Durham Ox Singers by joining me in a few numbers, which was REALLY appreciated as it was just a tiny bit scary standing there, and he also handed me CHAMPAGNE to SWIG from the bottle between songs. ROCK!
Later on the six of us retired to the LIVING ROOM for a camp-fire (well, Coffee Table, but you get the idea) SINGALONG, which was really really really LOVELY, especially when we did "Rather Spooky", a song Robin wrote when he was about 16 for the Masters of Nothing, and which we used to do in Voon all the time. He seemed well chuffed to hear it, and i think Krista, his wife, was IMPRESSED in her husband's lyricism.
So yes, it was all EXTREMELY lovely, and then, it being a Bank Holiday, we came home and had most of Sunday afternoon and then ALL of Monday to lark around in! Bank Holidays ROCK!
All Roads Lead To Sleaford
I had a BRILLIANT Bank Holiday Weekend. On Friday I headed up to Peterborough, as I always do at this time of year, for the Peterborough Beer Festival. This was my first trip as a Bona Fide CAMRA Member (yes yes, I'm 34, I'm ALLOWED to do that sort of thing) so i was a bit disappointed to find no MASSIVE QUEUE for me to walk past, but once inside all was WELL. I spent most of the night with my two oldest PALS, Robin and Mileage, and as we have done pretty much every year for the past 17, we talked a load of old bollocks from start to finish (especially about why there are so many road signs for SLEAFORD in the Peterborough area, when there's actually bugger all there) whilst drinking BEER. As mentioned in the song "Hibbett's Golden Rules Of Beer", we have a set of RULES which we apply to Beer Festival Drinking, that we ONLY drink beers that have words like "Summer", "Gold", "Harvest", "Sunshine" (etc) in the title. These are GOOD rules and have worked well for us, although I do think the breweries may be catching on to us, as it seemed as if every other beer THERE had one of these words in, some had MORE. I know I had a pint of Summer Harvest at one point, and there were several Golden Sunshines there... but HEY! I'm not complaining, they were DELICIOUS.
I love BEER, BEER is GRATE! I also love hanging around with my pals talking a load of old rubbish, and this is why the Beer Festi is always so BRILLIANT. Two of my brothers turned up too, which made it Even Nicer, with their Lovely Girlfriends. Robin, Mileage and I had come on our own, as we have done for MANY years on Friday Nights, for LO! we are OLD and WISE and have learnt over the years that the only people who want to indulge in a lengthy argument about Who Hit Whom In The Maths Exam That Time (and whose fault it really was), for instance, is US. We LIKE it!
Delays On The Hibbett Line
I was late in to work today, it was a morning when i REALLY would rather have stayed in bed, MAN ALIVE i am REALLY looking forward to going on Holiday, The Time Is RIPE for such an adventure! Me and the HOPS in my BEER are off for a week on The Isle Of Wight the week after next, and i am REALLY REALLY looking forward to it - Black Gang Chine! The Needles! The Bizarro Tube Train! LOLLING about on holiday AND being able to watch Normal telly! LOTS! Oh yes, watch out Fast Cat(ermaran), we have a ticket to RYDE!
Once i arrived at work my ENTHUSIASM for Actual Work was dampened further by NICE EMAILS - details must, i fear, remain SECRET for now, but it looks like i might be going to gig in Sweden AND Finland now, and also POSSIBLY MAYBE the US of A next year. I will of course keep you, dear reader, informed as soon as other details become known. ALSO I've just this minute had a CHAT with Ian From The Hull Daily MAil about our forthcoming JAUNT there, he's apparently doing another nice PIECE about us, like last time, and so i chatted LOTS to him. Ooh, it's like being a Proper Rock Star and EVERYTHING!
Also also I'm here with my GUITAR, as tomorrow is my parents' 25th Wedding Anniversary, and I'm (probably) going to be doing a couple of songs... possibly BATTLING through Hangover, as tonight it is one of the HIGH POINTS of my YEAR - The Peterborough Beer Festival! KERZANG! For 17 years now I have attended this MIGHTY event (a.k.a. The Only Good Thing That Happens In Peterborough), so I have taken the afternoon OFF to get there in good time. Really i should get it off for free, it being pretty much a RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY to people who come from whence I come, i am DEAD excited about it!
Oh yes, and ALSO i got my copies of the Silver Rocket SR50 compilation, with 50 songs from bands who've played their first 50 nights. On a brief listen my song, "I've Got What You Need" does stick out a bit like George Formby at a Post-Rock convention, but HEY! That's a Good Thing, right?
So, as you can see, my MIND is not today upon my profession. Still, SOD IT, Long Weekend, here i come - LET'S ROCK!
As well as the much-mentioned and ACE Johnny Yeah Show, Kooba Radio are now broadcasting the Claire Dickinson show which, as with aforesaid Johnny Yeah Show, plays ONLY "unsigned"* music, and is ALSO bloody GRATE. I've said it many times before, but it BOTH gladdens my heart to know there is SO MUCH brilliant new music being made, AND saddens me to once AGANE be reminded about how inept and clueless the "music" "industry" is that it never ever bothers to listen to any of it.
ANYWAY, Claire's new show is up NOW at the Kooba Radio site, and very GRATE it is too, not least because it features a track from Johnny Domino's EXTRAORDINARILY FAB new album "Solid Ground". Ooh, it's ever so good, i must have a LISTEN when i get home... yes, so this REMINDED me that i hadn't mentioned my JINGLE, which I did the other day. I got a group email asking for people to write a JINGLE for the show, and so over the weekend I had a couple of attempts, with THIS ONE coming out best. Have a listen - I'm really chuffed with it, it's been running ROUND and ROUND in my head all week... actually, I'm considering pinching it back again and using it for a song of my own, but SHH! that's between you and me, OK?
Like approximately 90% of the population (the other 10% those ESCHEW the media, Daily Mail readers, and The Conservative Party) I read the news about "Sir" Mark Thatcher with GLEE and JOY. AHAHA! Also like MUCH of the population, i bet, I had some Rather Uncharitable Thoughts too - it was a GRATE relief to me when my Landlady admitted that her first thought had been "Maybe Thatcher will COLLAPSE when she hears the news and DIES! GRATE!" as that had certainly been mine too... is this WRONG i wonder? In normal circumstances, YES, one would hope that CHARITY extended to all human beings in such a situation. HOWEVER this IS a special case, and I'm sure THE LORD will forgive us our WRATH in this case, for LO! those of us who lived through her reign of corruption, destruction and national mutilation have good reason to Actively Hate her so.
But then I thought "Hang on! One of my favourite songs that I've written for the new album is ABOUT Thatcher dying!" (NB Actually it's about the way that people are re-writing hers and Reagan's dreadful legacy, and how when she DOES die people will talk complete LIES about her, just as they did about Reagan, and indeed to a lesser extent about Enoch Powell, but anyway...) SUDDENLY i found myself hoping she would PULL THROUGH!
Hoping for the health and well being of Thatcher is something of a NOVELTY for me - I shall have to look into a MEANS of getting that song out SHARPISH!
52 MJ Hibbetts (plus 2 for the Jokers)
I got an email the other day from a chap in Sweden. He said he wanted to buy the Back Catalogue Gift Pack (still available in the Online Emporium at a Frugality TASTIC £25.75, bargain fans!), but didn't want to use the PayPal system. He therefore emailed me to see if there was any other way of going about it?
So far, so pleasant and normal. HOWEVER he then went on to say "Or I could get a cheap flight to London and come and pick it up". STILL all would have been well, except he went ON FURTHER to say "I might even bring my friend with me, and we will drink you under the table."
WELL! There's no way I'm having THAT! I therefore emailed him back and said that, actually, if he could persuade his friend to ALSO buy a back catalogue then I would get a flight MYSELF and personally deliver it AND then drink THEM under any nicely designed table they saw fit to sit near AND even do a GIG nearby, if he so wished. AHA! National Pride PLUS an abiding love of DAFT IDEAS equals ROCK!
Goodness bless him, this morning I got an email saying he's found 3 or 4 people to buy the back catalogue! WAHEY! Looks like I'm going to be going to Sweden then! And then i thought, this is SUCH a GRATE idea - if anybody ELSE out there fancies a HOME DELIVERY of the back catalogue, and lives somewhere a) EXCITING/GROOVY/unvisited by ME and b) can get enough people to buy a back catalogue to cover the cost of FLIGHTS, then let me know, and I'll see if i can sort something out!
Especially if you live near Dublin, by the way, that'd be BRILLIANT.
If you have tears, America, prepare to cry them
We just got INFORMATION from CMJ - the Validators have NOT been picked to play there this year! BAH!
CMJ is a music festival thing that happens over a few days ever year in NEW YORK, you see, and we'd applied to go to it this year. You're MEANT to go to make a Big Splash On The Music Scene etc etc but to be honest we were just going because it seemed like it might be an ADVENTURE. To be double honest I was sort of hoping we WOULDN'T get to go, as i DREADED the organisational HASSLE of sorting out, but when I got the message to say we hadn't been picked i was, to be HONESTY CUBED, a bit disappointed.
Undeterred, however, I would still REALLY like to go to America next year, so WEEP NOT, oh thou colonial cousins, THINE TIME will come!
More Dates Added
Yes, due to massive demand we have finally relented and added an extra date to the tour!
OK, that's not ENTIRELY true, rather, due to Someone Asking Me Too, I am now ALSO playing in Birmingham on Saturday September 18th with Pete Green and, funnily enough, that Jeffrey Lewis chappie again... this is beginning to become eerily like last year's Chris T-T A-THON, although that turned out pretty nicely and he didn't SEEM to think I was actively stalking him - i kept getting OFFERED gigs with him, it wasn't like the Half Man Half Biscuit situation where we pretty much WERE stalking them, gig-wise - so with any luck this will become a thing of BEAUTY too. I'd hoped to drag THE BAND along for that one, but it turns out this is an Acoustical Only Affair, but I'm still hopeful of getting Emma and/or Tom on stage with me at some point in the proceedings.
Crikey though, this is now looking like a Real, ACTUAL, BONA FIDE Tour style TOUR isn't it? Five gigs in six days is NOT messing about. In the past i've joked about Being On Tour when we've had two gigs in the space of a week - INDEED, when i lived on my own I used to have a Voon poster on my wall boasting about our "Autumn Tour", when we had six gigs the same month! As I recall we DID have three gigs in a row one weekend - The Princess Charlotte on the Friday, The Carlsboro Music Centre on Saturday (as some DERANGED attempt to show off their instruments, though i somehow doubt VOON playing them persuaded anybody to buy - still, i did get to have a go on a Hofner Bass...) and Peterborough (an out of town gig!!) on the Sunday. We were very excited about it at the time, i seem to recall, although, as detailed in The Curse Of Voon, we did rather EMBROIDER the stories of what happened.
Anyway, yes, what I mean to say is that it's caught me off guard a bit to realise that when I say I'm ON TOUR in September, i actually AM! Much like the booking of Validators Practices 3 months in advance, its things like that that GIVES ONE PAUSE. Stomping up the MOUNTAIN OF ROCK, sometimes you turn around and realise that you've actually come a long long way, and it's good to stop and appreciate the view for a bit.
Even More Kooba
The Kooba Radio show I was on about the other day is now ONLINE, and very ACE it is too. It's two and a half HOURS of music, all of it new, all of it INDEPENDENT (i.e. "unsigned", in the parlance of THE MAN), all of it discovered by, or sent in to Kooba Radio, and pretty much ALL of it BLOODY GRATE. I heartily recommend a LISTEN, especially if you've not listened before as this is sort of a Greatest Hits of the show. I tell you, it gives me HOPE for the world that there's people like the Kooba Kids about to find this stuff, and it fills me with a) JOY for the world and b)LOATHING for the cack-handed incompetence of the "music" "industry" that there's SO VERY MUCH really GRATE music out there being made RIGHT NOW. Hooray! And also BOO! to THE MAN!
Also in the show is me and Johnny Yeah's version of "These Foolish Things", which actually sounds Quite Good! Cor! Who'd've thought it?
Yes, as I said yesterday, SPURRED by my gentle toe-dip back into the waters of ROCK, i sorted out our DIARY for the next few months. As I may have mentioned before, the life of The Validators is NOT quite equivalent to, say, The Libertines. It does take us equal amounts of organisation to get the whole band together at the same time, although this is more to do with availability of babysitters and promises to work overtime, rather than drug addiction or whatever it is these crazy youngsters get up to nowadays. THUS we usually have to book ourselves months in advance, and this time we have BOOKED ourselves up until NOVEMBeR! There was a time in my life when I'd join a band in August, do 5 gigs in September, try to record something in October and then SPLIT UP, and indeed i fondly recall once booking a VOON gig six weeks in advance and MARVELLING at our commitment to the cause that we could countenance such a thing.
ANYWAY, yes, we've got ourselves sorted so that we've got THREE practices for the full rhythm section, roughly fortnightly. In the weeks between we've got TWO practices for the Front Row Team, and then ONE practice for everyone together. Somewhere in the middle of that we're hoping to EITHER go to CMJ in NEW YORK or, if we're lucky, do a support for Half Man Half Biscuit (although SHH! let us not JINX it), then in mid November we've got a couple of GROOVY GIGS that we need to sort out. After that I'll probably try and take us up NORTH again, but it is frankly FAR too early to be thinking about December just yet.
And ALSO, I'm going to try and get myself some solo gigs in NEW places where I've not played before, as ADVANCE SCOUT for Validator ATAKs next year. So far I'm looking at Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Cambridge, but if anybody would like to suggest any more (I've had sort of vague offers in Worcester, Wolverhampton and Northampton too..) and ESPECIALLY if anyone would like to put me on somewhere in October/November time, i would LOVE to hear from you. Thanks!
Happy Birthday Everybody
It was a long, GRATE, day of ROCK for me on Saturday. I was up bright and early at 8am (ON A SATURDAY!!!) to get to Euston in time to catch the train to WOLVERHAMPTON. Virgin Trains, brilliantly, have decided that the best way to make sure their trains get there on time is NOT to, I don't know, spend money on the tracks, train staff, take on more drivers, or anything KER-RAZY like that, but to add in ten minute stops at every station, so that it takes an HOUR longer to get to The Midlands than it should do, but at least you get there roughly when the timetable says. Still, I had the paper AND The Princess Bride with me, and the latter especially was FANTASTIC - like the film, but strangely even MORE good. It was LOVELY!
I was in Wolverhampton to be SURPRISE BIRTHDAY GUEST at a DO for Dan/Ray (he goes by many names), former Winchester Promoter and All Round Good Guy. I'd been to his birthday last year and met his parents, who asked me to come and SPRING a SURPRISE on him this time. He was duly surprised.
It was SO NICE though to be in The Midlands. There is no such thing as "famous Midlands hospitality" because, like all things Midlands (NB not including Nottingham), people there don't show off all the time about things, they just get on and DO them. THUS everyone was REALLY nice and friendly, but without making a BIG DEAL of it. Midlands people are BLOODY GRATE, and they have the BEST accents - ooh, it was ripe with DUDLEY accents, it made me want to join in, but that always seems a bit rude.
Anyway, there was DELICIOUS Vegan grub, also WHISKEY, after which i FORGOT what songs I knew... eventually though I worked some out, and sat in the back garden in the sunshine singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You", "I Can See Clearly Now", "Hey Hey 16k", "Easily Impressed", "Boom Shake The Room" and, but of course, "Happy Birthday". It was LOVELY, and then i had to DASH OFF straight into a car to get the train SOUTH again.
I was heading SOUTH to LEWISHAM, where in the evening I was to play on a Kooba Radio Show especially for Johnny Yeah's birthday. On the way down i discovered a copy of HEAT, which i haven't read all year, and GOGGLED at the new batch of apparently famous people who I had never heard of. OK, Nadia from big brother, I know who she is, but all the others looked like the 4th or 5th best members of boy bands, or people who were evicted in Week 3 of Big Brother (n) ... which they probably were, I guess.
So yes, eventually, after much TRAINAGE I got to BLACKHEATH, our meeting place. Ooh, Blackheath was dead posh and NICE, so much so that i PANICKED and rang ahead to make sure I'd gone the right way, as it seemed like I'd strayed into the countryside. Once in the pub i BROKE my beer-fast (they had IPA on, and I was HARASSED by travel - who but a saint would have done any different?) and had a BRILLIANT evening. This radio show business is all well and good, but the best thing about Kooba Radio, for me, is how GRATE they are at Being In The Pub. I had a WONDERFUL couple of hours in the pub, discussing many Issues Of The Day, and I must confess I was one of the people who kept saying "Yeah, let's just have one more pint, THEN we'll go and do the radio show".
We were supposed to start recording at 7pm... we ACTUALLY started at 10pm, which meant I was once again facing the RUSH for the train station. I recorded a version of "The Fight For History", in case they fancied editting it into the show later on, and after a JOYOUS practice, me and Johnny did a version of "These Foolish Things" with special new lyrics he'd written. It was a LOT of fun, and then, for the second time that day, i was again WHISKED from the room, into a car, and off to catch a train.
I was KNACKERED, but I'd had a LOT of fun. The next day, unaccountably, i felt tired, weary, and Oddly Hungry, but I also realised just HOW MUCH I have missed doing gigs over the past few weeks, and, thinking about it, how much i missed playing with The Validators. Thus, a PLAN was set in motion, to sort this out...
Meanwhile, In The Free Market Someone is selling copies of A Church Hall Of Sound (revisited) for TWENTY FOUR QUID!! If only I hadn't sold ANY of them, I'd have HUNDREDS left and would therefore be RICH!! Possibly.
Of course, the true LAVISH SPENDER could splash out another 75p and get the entire back catalogue from the shop, but maybe that would be the 75p that broke the camel's... er... piggy bank?
The Fighting Cocks' single is Single Of The Week in The Daily Star - COOL!
I saw Neil Tennant at lunchtime, though I was too SCARED to say hello. Still - COOL!
2000AD is BLOODY GRATE at the moment - sat with a cup of tea last night i was AGAG as i turned from a page featuring Margaret Thatcher trying to privatise HELL, to a page where GORILLAS on DINOSAURS fought with ROBOTS. COOL!
I've just had an ONLINE FRENZY and booked my FLIGHT (!!!!) to Glasgow, my HOTEL ROOM in said City, and a train (boo! dull!) ticket down to Hull, for The September Tour - COOL!
I've just heard the good word that the Hey Hey 16K T-Shirts are back in stock over at the NTK Shop. They've been restocked due to an article in this month's PC Extreme Magazine, which features the MOST CHIC t-shirts for the GEEK about town to wear, as modelled by... er... someone who does not appear to conform to GEEK STANDARDS, not at least as i know them. Anyway, the t-shirts are GRATE and also DURABLE, why not buy one, turn up to a gig and FREAK ME OUT?
One day there will be t-shirts for ALL my songs, and the audience will be arranged down the front in Set List Order - oh what a day of Not Having To Worry About The Lyrics THAT will be!
Back On Kooba Radio
This week's Johnny Yeah show on Kooba Radio features "Good Cooking", for those amongst you who haven't got hold of "This Is Not A Library" yet. It features in a JOY SANDWICH between Nathan Pasard, who'll be playing the London date of my September TOUR, and The Lovely Brothers, with whom I also hope to play again soon. It is a thing of JOY!
Also, whilst we're here, has anybody noticed that The Shed Of Reknown is now two thirds full? Anyone who wants to be IMMORTALISED in its hallowed halls, get going and SNAP ONE UP sharp-ish!
Football and Forums
Our rather EXCELLENT fansite, The Household Accounts has some EXCITING new things up today, including downloads of all the Steve Lamacq sessions. For latecomers (and do please try and find a desk and sit down quietly), these are the four different versions of The Fair Play Trophy I wrote and performed during Euro 2004, to reflect events. Relive the highs, lows, and other lows of the tournament! Also relish the AUDIBLE SOUND of Steve Lamacq being AFEARED of Tim's drumkit on the final version!
And then, if it has EXCITED you more than you can stand, you can go and talk about it on the FORUM! How cool is that?
The SEPTEMBER TOUR is now full arranged, sorted, stamped and sent off to Father Christmas - HOORAH! Myself, Frankie Machine and Adam from the Hector Collectors playing Glasgow Tchai Ovna tea rooms on Monday September 20th, Hull Adelphi on Tuesday September 21st (with Cracktown and - blimey! - Jeffrey Lewis), Sheffield Green Rooms on Wednesday September 22nd, and London's 12 Bar Club on Thursday September 23rd (with Nathan Pasard). It's going to be BLOODY GRATE, come along, why don't you?
Excitingly, I may well be FLYING to Glasgow too - WHOO!
Double ROCK Action
After the GIG CANCELLATION TUMULT of last week, I went out on Saturday night to at least SEE some bands, starting out at The Betsy Trotwood for The Smelly Ball. As I have probably mentioned MORE than enough times, I was meant to be playing this on Thursday, but it got moved to Saturday so I couldn't play because we were booked to play Northampton... which got cancelled. GAH! Anyway, I turned up to find Spinmaster Plantpot there - this ALSO was an antifolk DO! Are these people following ME, or am I following THEM? I went downstairs to the BOILING INFERNO of the downstairs room, and saw Local Girl Saves Planet, who were BRILLIANT. I was just amazed - I'd got it into my head that this antifolk stuff was going to be shambolic and a bit rubbish, but AGANE i was surprised by how tuney, inventive, funny and Actually Just Dead GOOD it was. They were GRATE! Everyone FLED for AIR for a bit when they finished, then it was David Cronenburg's wife, who were ALSO really good, but my dears it was FAR too hot for me to stand, and also I had an appointment in ISLINGTON to keep, so i slunk out...
The appointment was with Mr Charles de Fighting-Cocks, at the Punk Rock Karaoke. I arrived at Upstairs At The Garage to find the promoter performing the age old RITE of standing outside looking nervous, hoping that simply by STANDING there it will lure more people in. Goodness knows i have done it myself enough times, and it was nice to know that even Mr Steve Lamacq has to go through this too. Bless. It was BLOODY HOT inside too, and it got HOTTER YET when the BAND started, but this was an ACE night out. They have a bit list of Classic Hits Of Punk which the (GRATE) band play whilst people from the audience get up and sing a song each - really, it is like PUNK, CUBED or something, as Absolutely Literally ANYONE CAN DO IT. What was surprising to me was how GOOD nearly everyone did - the evening started with aforesaid Charlie, and carried on with a procession of people who were almost all BRILLIANT at it. I don't know, maybe Punk Singing really IS dead easy, but it solidified MY position for the night - my mind had already gone completely blank as to the words and tunes to ANY punk songs, and I certainly wasn't going to risk looking like a TWIT amidst all this BRILLIANCE. So instead what i got was possibly the BEST PUNK NIGHT... EVER! combined with the Joy And Hilarity that is KARAOKE. It was FANTASTIC - one of those Good Ideas In The Pub that STAY good when you get them out of it!
And so it was a very happy Hibbett who headed home afterwards... although NOT such a happy Hibbett who woke up the next morning feeling strangely knackered and DRIED OUT. The NO BEER DIET may well be a Healthy Option if you replace BEER with, i don't know, PRUNE JUICE, but when you replace it with WINE it is rather less pleasant the next morning! Still, I lay ABED full of GLEE to suddenly be seeing so much GRATE STUFF, and also full of sudden IDEAS and THORTS for things to come...
It looks like we're getting closer to sorting out The September Tour, with the missing Midlands date now probably happening in SHEFFIELD. Cool, we like Sheffield, it has TRAMS. The general plan is to utilise the TRAIN to get around, so i have been STRAINING my BRAIN to try and work it out - I live in London, Rob lives in Derby, and Adam lives in Motherwell. We're playing in Glasgow, Hull, Hopefully Sheffield, and London, in that order. Reader! Can you use your knowledge of the rail network to get each person to each city with the least train tickets bought?
Ooh, it's a toughy, but i reckon DONCASTER is the answer! Yes, noble DONCASTER, city of... um... horse racing, I think. I reckon by changing at DONCASTER a lot we can pretty much do the whole thing in THREE tickets (me: RETURN London to Glasgow, RETURN Doncaster to Hull, RETURN Doncaster Sheffield, breaking my first return in - you guessed it - DONCASTER!), whilst if Rob DRIVES to Sheffield and starts there, he can do it in FOUR, and Adam can do it in FIVE. I think.
Actually, this is probably why most bands do this sort of thing all at the same time as each other, in a coach, isn't it? I KNEW there had to be some reason!
Events MOVE with the Hibbett/Hectors/Frankie tour in September - we'll now most likely NOT be playing Derby on September 22nd, but WILL be playing somewhere else, although I'm not quite sure where yet. Meanwhile, the HULL gig is turning into a mini-festival as, as well as the three of us and local band Cracktown, we now have JEFFREY LEWIS playing too! Apparently he's free that night, so he's playing with US - cool huh? It's weird because I've never actually HEARD him, as far as i know, but LOADS of people have been going ON about how good he is to me. It should, therefore, be GOOD!
Last night I headed out to the London district of SHOREDITCH, which is reknowned within the M25 as being full of utter utter... well, politeness precludes me from using the usual word applied here. Let us just say it is known for having inhabitants who are even more clueless, fashion-obsessed, and foolishly dressed than normal.
Now, working near Fashionable Soho, i found this hard to believe - surely there can't be MORE people wearing horrible massive glasses like the fourth boy band member in that SpecSavers advert? Surely there can't be even GREATER hordes of underfed nitwits in too short trousers and haircuts that LOOK like they were done by a vengeful ex-partner but actually cost over 100 quid? Surely not?
Surely YES! BLOW ME DOWN GUV'NOR! There they were in their THOUSANDS, spilling out of "bars", lurking around outside "boutiques", loudly saying "Bisexual" whilst waving a "joint" around ostentatiously in the street. I was AGOG! ALSO amazing was how the DESIGNERS of the area had also seen fit to combine one of the most ANNOYING aspects of That London with a compendium of the city's most NASTY and GROTTY elements. Mere inches from the "fashionable" "bars" there were TERRIFYINGLY UNPLEASANT "boozers" filled up with people who, in the hot weather, were sitting clutching pints and grim-facedly GLARING out into the street from a forest of tatoos. The pub-style pubs that WEREN'T like this were "Gentlemen's Clubs" i.e. STRIP JOINTS! I had never seen the LIKE outside of King's Cross and Glasgow, but there were SEVERAL of these, also rather a lot of SAUNA'S. Also the whole place STANK, I mean, Leytonstone where I live, has areas that are a bit whiffy (especially round the side of KEBABISH on the High Street - BLIMEY), but NOTHING like this. There was filth, litter, disrepair, and REAMS of Graffiti. And, whilst I'm at it, allow me to enter the DEBATE on this one - anyone who thinks Graffiti in general is an art-form that should be ENCOURAGED very very obviously does NOT live in an area where there IS any of it. Graffiti at the moment is NOT a joyous outporing of expression happily painted by ARTISANS who spend the rest of their time FIGHTING CRIME ON SKATEBOARDS. It is all TAGGING i.e. clueless BERKS writing their NAMES over everything, and it is RUBBISH. RUBBISH, i tell you!
Anyway, as might be DISCERNED from the above, I got to the venue NOT in the best of moods, and this was not helped by the fact that my devout adherence to the NO BEER DIET this month meant i couldn't have the delicious cold pint of lager that I so desired. Nor was it helped by the bar staff self-consciously "grooving" to The Sounds rather than getting my DRINK, nor by the upstairs bar having loads MORE of the Local Twits in it, or indeed by the first band, who were a pretty rubbish "punk" band, who seemed particularly pleased with themselves for being so crappy.
As the band continued, a realisation slowly dawned upon me - why, these young tykes reminded me of someone! They reminded me of The K-Stars, a band I was in in Leicester for a year or two with Matt (later of The Hotwires and The Quickies), Will (now Supreme Vagabond Craftsman and Invisible Spies LEADER) and Zachary (LEGEND of Leicester!). Zachary refused to tune his guitar and would play with BLOOD streaming down his hands, Will had his own record label and distribution company, and Matt was filled with RIGHTEOUS IRE and a million IDEAS and POLEMICS, and LO! we sounded BLOODY AWFUL! That was the band that TAUGHT me that hey! sometimes you need to listen NOT to what a band is playing, but what they THINK they're playing, and then you TOO enter their world of MAYHEM and GLEE, and have MUCH more fun. OK, I didn't get a sense of that from these lot, but the more they played the more i WARMED to them and stopped being such a gnarly old git. "Aaah!" thought I, "I haven't seen Matt for about seven years, I wonder where he is now?"
Where he was was RIGHT NEXT TO ME!! ARGH! SUDDENLY he leapt from my MIND into my EYES! I was A BIT SURPRISED! But PLEASED! We then had one of those weird "So, what have you been up to in the past seven years?" conversations which always seems to end up with me EITHER going "er... nothing?" or BLURTING out "I was on Steve Lamacq! I did a gig with an encore! I have a girlfriend! Honest!" This time it was very MUCH the latter.
And so quickly back to the GIG, and it was Winston Echo, who i had come to see. I FELT HIS PAIN at the start as, being a solo ARTISTE (and the venue being a bit ramshackle) he hadn't had a soundcheck, so for the first two songs you couldn't hear him over his guitar, which also went out of TUNE... this is the NIGHTMARE for solo gigs, there's no way to cover it up, and it's just you ALONE in front of the BAYING HORDES. However, after that he got the sound level RIGHT, and it was all LOVELY, especially when he engaged a DRUMMER, and got the whole crowd clapping along. Also, of course, The Pirate Song, it was GRATE! I heartily recommend his CD "When Will We Commute Like The Jetsons Did" (from Undereducated Music), a copy of which i GOT last night on 3" CD!
After that it was Wet Dog - I've actually played a couple of gigs with them, but each time I've had to go and catch a train and miss them. I was EXPECTING something a bit like The Retro Spankees, but more shambolic and playful. What i WASN'T expecting was how BLOODY GRATE they were - I was STUNNED! It was sort of like Prolapse, really, HEAVILY rhythmic (i must RESTRAIN myself before i say "Relentlessly Pounding" like a music journo), TUNEFUL and full of IDEAS and BITS that pulled you along through the song - the best thing I can say really is that it all seemed to be FAR too short and left me wanting MUCH more. I was really surprised! It was dead DEAD good!
After that i RETIRED to the downstairs bit for more of a chat with Matt and his friend Abi who ALSO i hadn't seen for YEARS. It was LOVELY, and it was a much MUCH happier Hibbett who stumbled onto a BUS for Liverpool Street afterwards than it was who'd STOMPED up the road not three hours earlier. Such is THE POWER OF ROCK!
The Lords of Rock...
I recieved REALLY ANNOYING news last night - our gig in Northampton on Saturday has been cancelled! BAH! This is REALLY ANNOYING because it was going to be the final HURRAH for the current Validators setlist, also there were several bands I wanted to see, also The Toasting Of My Crumpet was going to come and WITNESS the LIVE VALIDATORS MIGHTINESS i've been going on about for months and also... well, i was just really looking forward to seeing everyone and playing a gig. BAH! I was also meant to be playing the Smelly Ball tomorrow night, but it got moved to Saturday, so I had to pull out due to already being booked for Northampton, thus it was a DOUBLE NO GIG AGONY!
I was quite upset, but not as upset as poor old Chris The Promoter. The venue had booked something ELSE instead and this is the SECOND time this has happened to him, he sounded BELEAGURED, AND he had about EIGHT other bands to tell too! Poor chap - I'm off to see him tonight at Catch 22 (somewhere near Liverpool Street here in That London) in his ALTER EGO as Winston Echo, if need be i shall give him a HUG. Also it does at least mean I can go to the Smelly Ball for a bit ANYWAY, then I'm off to Steve Lamacq's punk rock Karaoke thing too, so it should be GROOVY!
And the Lords of ROCK, they GIVETH and they TAKETH away, and a short time after getting the news I RECIEVETHED an email from Adam Hector Collectors, whose booked us a GIG in GLASGOW for the start of the Hibbett/Hector/Machine TOUR in September. HOORAH! Rather excellently, we're playing at the Tchai-Ovna Tea House. It's a tea house! It sells TEA! FANTASTIC!
Thank you, Lords Of Rock, your munificence delights as ever!
The Updating CONTINUES - the Discography is back up to date again now, with the addition of two new compilations that I'm on, both of which are rather LARGE. The first is "60 Minutes (our hour)" from Where It's At Is Where You Are, and it is a thing of BEAUTY. It's got 60 songs, all of which are one minute long, by 60 different ARTISTES, and it comes in see through packaging that is a JOY to behold. It's lovely - you should be able get copies of it from WIAIWYA Mastermind Mr J Jervis, and I think his contact details are on their webpage.
Also on there, and released this Friday night, is "Silver Rocket SR50", released by Silver Rocket. This has a paltry FIFTY bands on it, all of whom have played at the Silver Rocket club at some point, and it's out to celebrate their 50th EVENT this Friday. You can get a copy of this from their website or, indeed, from the club, which is Upstairs At The Garage in That London this Friday night.
Also, at some point, there should be a compilation coming out from Tasty Fanzine, which features "Hibbett's Golden Rules Of Beer", and one from Moo From Twinkie called "Walkman Don't Talk Man", featuring "Walkman In My Head", although I've no idea when these'll be out - I think the Tasty one's out around October time, possibly, but the Walkman one seems to have been in the PLANNING for a couple of years now!
That's the CURRENT STATUS anyway - next I'm going to tidy up the "new songs" and "lyrics" sections... if you don't hear from me for the next month, I'll have got lost in there somewhere...
Lovely weekend, wasn't it? Perhaps foolishly i spent most of it INSIDE with my GTR and my four-track, trying to record demo versions of some of the new songs, ready to hand over to The Validators on Saturday in Northampton. I've now FINISHED recording them, but it was a long old job - rather than go through all the RIGMAROLE of drum programming, bouncing down and bass playing, i decided to just do ACOUSTICAL versions of all the songs. This is GOOD because it is a bit easier and leaves SPACE for said Validators to do their own stuff, but LESS FUN because I don't get to do aforementioned bass playing, and also it can sound less FORCEFUL.
I think they came out all right, especially "Mental Judo" - now all I have to do is to SUCK them into the computer, "master" them (NB put a bit of echo on), put them onto a CD (along with the b3ta TV tracks, the Instrumental Version of The Perfect Love Song, which i also did, for that film, and the Steve Lamacq shows I taped), and them copy them! Whoo! Fun times ahead, right kids?
In case you're interested, here's the full list of songs - Validators willing, this'll make up most of the next album, alongside some as yet undreamt of songs which we're going to write together, like we did for "Let The Weird Band Win":
The Fight For History
Breaks In The Journey
Sod It, Let's Get Pissed
Looking At My Hands
Never Going Back To Aldi's
Dino At The Sands
Young People Bring Me Your Problems
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Oh yes, I do love a good list! I wonder how many of them will actually survive TRIAL BY VALIDATORS?
More Thoughts of ME
The second half of my interview with Friends Of The Heroes is now online, HERE. I don't half go on a bit, but I think it came out OK - I love doing these sort of things, their RANTING REPOSITORIES for future songs! Also, the webzine itself is WELL worth a read, I love the way they've split the content up into short, digestible, very readable chunks each fortnight, it's GRATE!
Fun With Anti-Popular Culture
On Sunday I strode over to Islington, to the Buffalo Bar, for the Anti-Folk All Dayer. I keep hearing about anti-folk ALL the time, but I've never actually heard any, so was EAGER to learn more, if not a bit TREPIDATIOUS. Would it be, actually, just like FOLK? Or would it be dreary slightly bearded sods poring over laptops, whilst other similar sods sat around pretending to be interested? Or would it be something UNKNOWABLY WORSE?
No! It wasn't! In fact, it was GRATE! I was there for two and a half hours, and I sat through an ACE procession of people getting on stage and singing things about REAL stuff, in a HAPPY way full of INTEREST and JOY in LIFE! It was utterly GRATE! A lovely atmosphere, interesting songs, no ATTITUDE about it being IMPORTANT or anything, and a Television Personalities cover version! FANTASTIC!
In a moment of RUM induced madness (I'm not drinking BEER this month, so am searching around for replacements) I thought "At last! I have found MY PEOPLE!" and while that's probably not true, it did feel like I'd, AT LAST, found the sort of Musical TYPES i have been searching for for YEARS. It was like when Dr Brown and I finally discovered The Pub That Women Go To - this was many many years ago, when there weren't the All Bar Ones and Nice Pubs we have today, that people of all genders can enjoy, and before even THEME PUBS and It's A Screams and so forth existed. Everywhere was an Old Man's Pub, and it seemed to us that it was JUST us and the old men who drank anywhere in Leicester. However, we KNEW that, surely, women must go somewhere for beer? But where?
One evening we went to meet a PAL in a New Pub he'd started drinking in, and as soon as we entered we discovered why - there were GURLS there! Hundreds of them! For the next couple of weeks we went there EVERY CHANCE WE GOT - finally we had discovered our promised land, our holy grail, our Elephant's Graveyard, our Pub Full Of Women! - until eventually we realised that they were very YOUNG women, and were accompanied by the lads they were at sixth form with, and were NEVER going to be impressed by two drunk men in their early twenties wearing old suede jackets that smelt faintly of chips. So, we returned to our usual haunts, our quest re-started. As the years passed we came to see that, actually, there WERE pubs out there not full of Old Men, and that our BLIND DEVOTION to Real Ale meant that we were drinking in the MOST Old Manly Pubs in creation. Also Britpop and All That happened and so Grim Indie Discoes TRANSMOGRIFIED into Slightly Less Grim Indie Discoes where people OTHER than po-faced Indie Snobs and The Man Who Looks Like Robert Smith would occasionally go, and our search was forgotten.
Er... anyway, yes, but that sudden SHOCK of DISCOVERY we felt that night was echoed LAST night, and so i FORCED a CD into the hands of the organiser, foolishly said "This is GRATE - LET! ME! IN!" and fled into the twilight. Go ME!
Fun With Popular Culture
ITEM! On Friday we went for a HOUSE OUTING to see "Spiderman 2". It was BLOODY GRATE. OK, the rest of my household found it a bit loud and aggressive, but I thought it was FANTASTIC. The naming of Doc Ock! The tentacles! Dr Connor having one arm! The fight on the train! The whole wedding bit! When the people carry Spiderman over their heads! The "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" bit! "Go get 'em Tiger!" ALL OF IT! Brilliant! True to the comics AND different and modern and EXCITING and MOVING and ACE! I, in fact, liked it.
ITEM! Then on Saturday we went shopping and the Stamps On My Postcards bought the McFly album, on a WHIM. Funnily enough, it too is ACE! OK, some of the songs start to sound Strangely Familiar after a while (especially the one that sounds like "Give Me Some Money"), but it's still BLOODY ACE. Catchy, funny, exciting and YEAH! It has RECKLESSLY EXCITING GUITAR SOLOES in it too - I saw them doing these on CD:UK, and goodness me, whose idea was it to try and get rid of them? RECKLESS GUITAR SOLOES are one of God's greatest gifts to his creation, and when placed in the hands of GOOD LOOKING TEENAGERS IN BANDS and WITNESS by hoardes of OTHER TEENAGERS they are surely one of the most ACE things ever to come about? So yes, I liked that too.
posted by MJ Hibbett, 1.8.04 (click here for permanent link)