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The people who manufacture our CDs these days have VERY good Customer Service Training. It's LOVELY ringing them up, they're always very helpful, understanding, and apologetic if things go wrong. Indeed, you hardly mind when things don't happen as planned, because they're so NICE about it. Or maybe they just have lots of practice, as, once again, "Warriors Of Nanpantan" didn't arrive today. I'd stayed home to collect them just in case, but still, they were SO nice, and I'd got SO much done, I didn't really mind - as predicted, the CDs DID manage to crawl their way across the avalanche, snowdrift, fallen tree and ST BERNARDS strewn landscape of Eastern Europe, but have stalled at Wembley as the van's not working properly!
Still, I have all the envelopes labelled, stamps on almost all of them, letters and notes written, press releases inserted where necessary - all i need now is the PRODUCT! If you're a brave soul who's pre-ordered one from the shop already, my sincerest apologies - as soon as I get them I'll send them out, and I'll email everyone to let them know they're on the way.
Stay tuned for further exciting DELIVERY STATUS UPDATES!
Best Gig EVER?
We played at The Bull & Gate in That London last night - i and we have played there many
MANY times, some gigs have been GRATE, some have been AWFUL, and most have been MEMORABLE,
but last night's was perhaps the MOST GRATE... EVER! ANYWHERE!
The evening started, for me, about 3 o'clock, when i got THE FEAR. I've probably mentioned
this here before - it's not like NERVES really, and it's not due to me worrying about
things, it's just something that HAPPENS. Even when I've not been thinking about a gig, or
i KNOW it's going to be fine or not matter either way, it can just ARRIVE, and fill me with
DREAD, also DOOM and FOREBODING. I seem to go through phases with THE FEAR too - i've gone
MONTHS without getting it at all, and other times when it is CRIPPLING, and this time was
one of those times when i just want to go and HIDE somewhere, when the thing I'd like MOST
is for someone to just CANCEL the gig. Nice People always say things like "You'll be fine!
You've done this loads of times! The band will be there, it'll all be OK!" but there isn't
really much you can do when THE FEAR strikes, except what I did - have a bath, have
something to eat, then get on the train and head for the GIG.
I arrived, it seemed to me, in a PARALLEL UNIVERSE, for LO! Mr Frankie Machine was ALREADY
THERE! Francis Albert is LEGENDARY in the band for being last to arrive - indeed, when we
played in Derby he discovered that I'd been delayed on the train, so went home again SO he
could be the last to arrive! OK, actually he went off to get some DAT tapes together and
finish mastering 'Warriors Of Nanpantan' so I'd have it in time to send to the
manufacturers, but HEY! Let us not let THAT stand in the way of the story eh?
Charlie from The Fighting Cocks also arrived, and me, Him, Asha Also From The Fighting
Cocks, Frankie Machine, and Joanne, his much better half, sat for a CHAT. Charlie
celebrates International Talk Like A Pirate Day every year like an EVANGELIST, and he was
wondering whether we should try a Talk Like A Jane Austen Character Day? Now, i personally
think this is a GRATE idea... sorry, it is a thought i have often considered, but rarely
carried out. If i might make one suggestion, it would only be that before one attempts the
act of speaking in this manner, one might be advised to sit to read one of the above
Charlie seemed to think there was a lot of SWORD FIGHTING in Jane Austen books. I now plan
to FORCE him to read one, but i FEAR he may be a bit disappointed.
Anyway, by now Tim and Emma had arrived, and THE FEAR had gone. With sat and watched the
other band soundchecking (with a version of Seven Seas of Rye - Tim's drumkit was being
used to commit acts of QUEEN!!), and worried about where Tom was. With good reason, as it
turned out, as he'd had to STOP and TAKE A BREAK due to nearly falling asleep on the way!
EEK! I found it odd that, when he arrived, he rang from the other side of the fire doors -
why had he not come in the normal way? I couldn't get them open, and rather than go and
find someone to open them, I said "just go back and come in the front." It's a LONG walk
back round the front, and it was a minute before i realised he'd brought his ENORMOUS BACK
BREAKING amp of HUGENESS with him - and I'd made him LUG it an EXTRA MILE!
Oh, i am a bad person, really i am. I rushed to HELP, and then it was SOUNDCHECK TIME. We
were astounded - it sounded REALLY GOOD! All the instruments were balanced correctly, and
you could hear the WORDS - this hardly EVER happens! We all fell over ourselves to THANK
the nice lady doing the sound, and indeed continued to be pathetically grateful all night.
I know it always sound like TOOL BLAMING when bands complain about the gig being a bit
rubbish because of the soundman not being bothered, but GOODNESS ME when someone does it
right it doesn't HALF make a difference!
By now people were starting to ARRIVE, and it was THRILLING! As is my WONT i wondered back
and forth between the back and front bars, checking to see if anyone had turned up -
normally when i do this there's never anyone there, but THIS time everytime I looked there
was someone NEW! It was LOVELY! The EXTREMELY NICE thing about the LONG LONG TIME it's
taken us to actually GET an audience is that it's meant I've had enough time to get to KNOW
most people who come to gigs, so it was BEAUTIFUL finding more and more lovely people i
knew arriving as time went by. Some people had even come WRONG - for instance, John Kell of
Cambridge University Radio now lives in LONDON, not Cambridge OR The North. It was nice to
see him, and several OTHER people who have moved down here recently, but it was a bit
Even more lovely, and fitting the general Wedding Reception VIBE of our gigs, The Petals On
My Daffodil had arrived, as had my BROTHER and his lovely girlfriend, AND my soon to be
sister-in-law. The aforementioned BROTHER pointed out that this was one of the few gigs
where audience members are welcomed personally at the door, and the Soil In My Plant Pot
added that it was probably the ONLY one where people were then introduced to THE FAMILY.
And then ... STAGE TIME! We did the gig! It was BLOODY GRATE! The sound STILL sounded
really GRATE, and the room was PACKED - apparently the friends of the OTHER bands also came
in, and so i attempted to prove my own theory of Stage Dancing i.e. if people on stage JIG
ABOUT, people in the audience do too. A subdomain of the theory is that this only works to
a certain level i.e. if i start DISCO DANCING then people STOP and just LOOK, but if you
JIG ABOUT, then other people do. My theory is CORRECT, with the added note " and they do it
even more when Emma dances." Oh yes.
I may be over-using the word "lovely" here, but it was all just LOVELY. Everyone APPLAUDED
the Introducing The Band bits, i got some LAFFS, there was DANCING, people in the audience
seemed to know the words and, for a change, so did I! BEST OF ALL was when we did "Easily Impressed" and i DID NOT do the whole "now, when I nod my head, say 'Oi Hibbett'" BIT - and it worked!!! FANTASTIC! What with the FUN we were having on stage, the actual HUGE CROWD who were bopping and singing and having FUN also, and the SOUND being so SPLENDID (i saw people react to the words - they could HEAR them!!!), and indeed us ALL playing and singing WELL, it was a heavy contender for BEST! GIG! EVER! Here's what we played:
The Gay Train
Hey Hey 16K
Never Going Back To Aldi's
The Fight For History
Billy Jones Is Dead
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
Things'll Be Different
Symbol Of OUr Nation
Other THORTS: Everyone seems to really liked "The Gay Train", "Quality Of Life Enhancement Device" gets more and more COOL every time we play it, Emma's new Harmony Vocals in "Billy Jones Is Dead" are GRATE (i could HEAR them!) as is Tom's bit at the start of "The Fight For History" (i could HEAR it!), and my whole band are just GRATE. We did a NEW BIT in "Things'll Be Different" when i got Tom and Rob to sing one of the "This Is Not A Library" bits. It was REALLY COOL. Unfortunately, shortly afterwards in the last verse of "Symbol Of Our Nation" my BRANE go a bit overloaded thinking "Whoo! This is Good!" and "That bit was a good idea!" and "look at all these people!" and "I wonder how quickly i can get some more BEER?" so that i forgot THE WORDS. FOr me, forgetting the words ONCE is pretty DARN good, even tho i utterly failed to cover it up. Oh well, hopefully it was CHARMING.
We came off stage unable to do the ENCORE that - oh yes! - people really seemed to want, due to TIME CONSTRAINTS, and stood together in the back room shaking a bit with AMAZEMENT at how GOOD it was. "The new sounds are really CLICKING!" said Rob. "I think they're BETTER than the old ones!" said Tim, and i felt PROUD. I went out to wave CDs around, and sold a few, although i realised that the only DOWN SIDE of having an audience full of people who know all the words is that this is because they OWN the CDs and don't need to buy any new ones. AHA!
Ivan The Lighting Guy, before the gig, had told us he could do us a VIDEO of the night, for 85 QUID - we, of course, SCOFFED at the very idea, but were RABID for it by the time we'd finished. Rather brilliantly, we got PAID for the gig - this hardly ever happens, and it's the first time EVER I've got paid for playing the Bull and Gate. The rule is that you need 17 fully paying punters (NOT guestlist or industry guestlist, of which we had a few) before you even START getting paid, so in the past Andy or Mike The Promoters (i think it's Andy who's left now, but anyway) have said "Er... sorry. Here's a fiver towards your train fare though", which is always LOVELY of them. MIke or Andy (see above) LARFED when i told him this, but it be TRUE! Anyway, my brother James was VERY keen on getting a video too - the only DOWNSIDE of the whole night was that my DAD wasn't there. As mentioned before, we'd arranged it especially because it was his birthday, and he'd planned to come down for the evening from Peterborough (where they're visiting my NAN) on the train. HOWEVER, all trains from Peterborough were CANCELLED due to "Engineering Works", so he couldn't make it. This afternoon i spoke to him and felt a bit guilty telling him how GRATE it was, but as Jim says, at least we can give him the VIDEO now. Er... just to rub it in.
So yes, we scrabbled together the CA$H, and then Ivan tried to sell us the video by making us watch some of it. Why he did this i don't know - we'd been watching it on the TV screens in the PUB, and I was waving NOTES at him, but I guess he felt he had to go through the routine. I got the VHS, Tim got the MINIDISC, and all was JOY.
After that it was lovely CHATTING and arsing around. I spoke to Regular Gig Goer Stephen Walker, who was wearing an IMPERIAL WALKER t-shirt. We LARFED at the link with his name, and then he pointed out that he works for Imperial College, and had always wanted to be on University Challenge, just so the announcer could say "Imperial - WALKER." It was very funny. I also talked to TEAM KOOBA, and told the OLD STORY about The One Time I Had An E, And Danced About A Bit, illustrated with IRISH COUNTRY DANCER. This was all very jolly, HOWEVER it was simultaneously told to Nic and Emma, whose wedding we're meant to be playing at... and whose MUM/MOTHER-IN-LAW was ALSO with them. I am assured that this probably DOESN'T mean i am now considered in their family to be an RAVING DRUG FIEND, but you know - i do look pretty DANGEROUS and EDGY, right?
It was all UTTERLY LOVELY, and there was much HUGGING and congratulations, before we headed off into the night. I went to bed still BUZZING with ZANG! about the whole evening. I woke up this morning STILL going "KERPOW! WHOO HOO! OH YEAH! ROCK AND ROLL!" even though I set off for WORK at noon - yes, I am sat at WORK now, gradually typing this whilst I wait for some DATASETS to GENERATE. This is NOT the sort of thing, i would bet, that BONO ever has to do the day after a gig.
I Blame Nibiru
News just in from the manufacturers - due to Adverse Weather Conditions we'll not now be getting the delivery of Warriors Of Nanpantan until MONDAY. Hopefully they'll arrive Monday morning, so's i can a) POST them and b) get in to WORK OK, but I shall keep everyone informed. I'll try and update the SHOP tonight, in case anyone'd like to pre-order a copy - officially it's out on February 7th, as I'm AWAY for half of next week and might not have time to send them out before then, but if i get a chance to then... er... i will.
"Adverse Weather", by the way, is no small matter in this situation - the CDs, as far as I know, are manufacturer in The CZECH REPUBLIC, so they have a LONG way to come. I imagine they are hauled over SNOWY MOUNTAIN RANGES, and so I guess there's been a landslide or something. Maybe an elderly gentleman is lost in the snow, and the delivery has paused to allow a plucky orphan girl and her faithful HOUND to cross the road in search of him?
Anyway, the later than expected delivery means that we WON'T have any CDs available at the gig on Saturday, which is a bit of a shame, but HEY! there's another London gig in four weeks time which'll be the "official" launch. To be honest I'd've just liked to be able to give CDs to the BAND, also to my DAD who's coming along - as I may have mentioned, it's his birthday tomorrow, so it was all organised, pretty much, so's he could come see the band!
Stay tuned for further developments on the DELIVERY schedule, and watch out for those URCHINS in the snow, won't you? One day you may fall down an abandoned WELL, and need help from them and their various domestic pets!
It may seem quiet and lacking in occurences from the silence of this webpage, but let me tell you dear reader, this is NOT how things are. Behind the scenes it is a THRASHING MAELSTROM of activity, as I make preparations for the launch of WARRIORS OF NANPANTAN. DISCOGRAPHIES and SHOPS for this site AND for the AAS site are being updated, EMAILS are being sent out to the mailing list and to Media Types, HOTELS are being booked for TOURS, and on top of all that i am REALLY BUSY at work ALSO. It is madness gone MAD i tell you, but hopefully it will all be towards a good end - the CDs should be arriving on Friday, and by the time I head off NORTH on Wednesday for our GIGS and SESSION on BBC Radio (on Raw Talent next Thursday night at 9pm on all BBC local stations in Yorkshire and ENVIRONS, by the way) all should be well in hand. I look forward to it immensely, but for now i must say ADIEU, and head back to the MINES OF ROCK, where i toil!
A Lovely Weekend
I heard on the radio this morning that TODAY is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year - it's a LONG time since Christmas, everybody's BROKE, it's AGES until the next holiday, and it's COLD - but personally i am fully charged with GLEE, as i had an UTTERLY ACE WEEKEND.
Much of this was due to general pottering around with the Tick On My List, as much SUPER DYNAMIC ACTION was undertaken. YES! I now have all my bank statements for the past three years in ORDER in a FOLDER - how much more ROCK AND ROLL can it get eh? It's funny really, it's not like having all my worldly affairs spread willy nilly across six seperate desk drawers and intermingled with GENERAL STUFF was acting in any way to the detriment of my Quality Of Life, but it does feel GOOD to know that it's now all SORTED and put in DOCUMENT WALLETS, with several carrier bags of CRAP sitting outside in the dustbin. OK, i know this is hardly HAMMER OF THE GODS material, but it made me feel HAPPY.
You want ROCK ACTION? OK then - on Saturday night we went out to DINNER. Oh yes, we are GROWN-UP, also SOPHISTICATED, and went and met Dr Neil Brown, formerly of VOON and THE COUNCIL in a PUB, and then went for a meal at MILDREDS, which is a PROPER Veggie Restaurant in That London which is ACE and SMASHING, and coincidentally had an ACE and SMASHING time. Many questions of the day were answered, next time i must remember to take a pen and write it down.
We escorted Dr Brown to his TUBE, and then wandered off to the 12 Bar. Messrs Cohen and Krugman of Rolling Stone's Well Hung At Dawn column (i.e. the chaps who called "This Is Not A Library" Record Of The Year 2003 - no, honestly, they DID - and who alsom mention us this month, funnily enough) were in town, and we set off to TRACK THEM DOWN. We'd not actually arranged anything properly, tho they'd said they'd be going to see The Bitter Springs who, handily, were playing at aforementioned 12 Bar. But how would we recognise them? "I'm sure we'll find them, i KNOWS it" said the Toast Under My Grill, and in my Well Fed HAZE i thought so too.
We arrived on Denmark Street to find the 12 Bar FULL, with a DOORMAN (!) turning people away. We stood next to a bunch of people, who said "We're on the guestlist" in AMERICAN. "I wonder if that's them?" said The Tea In My Teabag, so I said "Excuse me, are you Americans?" "Yes we are", they said, "And you're MJ Hibbett!"
For LO! It actually WAS them! At the time this seemed quite natural and to be expected, but afterwards i thought WOW! Is that not a fantastical and amazing coincidence? Also BEAUTIFUL? The doorman was obviously impressed anyway and let us all in, where we had a LOVELY chat with them both. Honestly, they were just SMASHING CHAPS, it was really nice! Also, like man with no regard for the sanctity of his mailbox, Michael said "You know, you CAN send me demoes if you like", so PITY his poor postman, and they both seemed KEEN on me or us going over to NEW YOIK sometime to play a gig - "we can sort it at a day's notice!" Again, they may come to RUE the day they said this, as my BRANE on the way home was ALIVE with possibilities.
They then had to FITE their way into the tiny venue bit, and we had to wander home, so there were HUGS and we left, AGLOW with happiness and OOH Wasn't That A COincidence NESS?
On Sunday I basically talked about the day before A LOT, did even MORE superdynamism in preperation for "Warriors Of Nanpantan" coming out, and started work on a THEME TUNE for the Johnny Yeah Show on Kooba Radio. It was a FANTASTIC weekend, and if today is the WORST day of the year, then order me up some DOWNERS!
Just a couple of UPDATES to ALERT you too - pictures of the Ipswich Gig now up ion the GALLERY, and a couple more GIGS in the GIGS section. I'm playing with The Fighting Cocks again (HOORAH!) at The Lark In The Park in That London on February 23rd, and then with Various Others at the Tapton Music Festival in Lovely Sheffield on March 5th. For the latter, I am hoping to travel by TRAM!
More Star Wars and NEWS
I watched "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return Of The Jedi" the other day whilst poorly (much better now, by the way, thanks for asking, and how are you?) as mentioned, and a couple of things struck me. First, GOODNESS ME but the "new" effects that idiot George Lucas Pritt-Sticked onto it have dated RAPIDLY and BADLY, some of it is ATROCIOUS. Secondly, yes, Return Of The Jedi is STILL the best one - anyone who starts saying "but but but 'Empire' is so DARK" shall be taken from this place to a toy shop whereupon it shall be pointed out that it is NOT DARK, it is STAR WARS for goodness sake! PAH! I discard them! THIRDLY, loath as i am to admit it, now that we've had the prequels, it really DOES make Darth Vader much more TRAGIC (yes yes it is STAR WARS not tragedy, i know, but still) and it's quite emotional seeing Hayden Christiansen right at the very end - see, there's a change that WORKS, possibly because it uses a HUMAN and not PHOTOSHOP. Fourthly, when Darth Vader chucks the emperor off the bridge (sorry to anyone who's not seen it... er...) you get sudden flashes of his SKELETON flashing through, like an X-Ray. I don't know if this is new or not, but it IS really cool, and if you freeze the DVD when this happens you can see that the skeleton is REALLY DETAILED and has ROBOT BITS in it! I was dead impressed!
So that is what i think of that. Meanwhile progress PROGRESSES with "Warriors Of Nanpantan", with proofs CHECKED and all moving forward. As i say, hopefully I'll have some on sale at the next load of gigs, and I'm planning to have it on sale from the SHOP from February 7th. It'd be earlier, but I'll be in Hull and Leeds for most of the week beforehand, so that seems safer. I'll set up a system to take ORDERS before then, and there'll be an email out to people on the mailing list about it next week too - if you're NOT on the mailing list, by the way, and you'd LIKE to be, do LET ME KNOW, and if you can tell me your postcode when you do that would be EXTREMELY handy for letting you know about gigs and stuff ALSO.
Healing Power Of Rock: Tested
Yesterday I said i was feeling GROGGY and today it has FLOWERED into full-on BLEH! I had a RESTLESS night of waking every hour or so with sweats, shakes, shivers and aches, interspersed with an ANNOYING series of dreams about ADMINISTRATING a benefit concert to shift a pile of junk. At 3am i was staggering to the loo, shaking violently, trying NOT to think about the fictional petty cash for this fictional event.
THUS i have spent the day at home, and very nice it has been too - I've watched EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (GRATE!) and half RETURN OF THE JEDI, and actually am STILL to be shaken from my resolve that the LATTER is the superior film of the trilogy. HOWL all you like, but i think it is true. I have also done a FLYER for the Bull & Gate gig next Saturday (29th). I know a few people are going to try and come along, so if you print this out and bring it with you, you should get in a bit cheaper.
Meanwhile, i went to see The Fighting Cocks last night - i REALLY felt bloody awful, but hoped for The Healing Power Of Rock to pull me through, and indeed it is. They played at PUSH on Dean Street in That London, which is a rum old place - the same size as The Betsy Trotwood (i.e. TINY, the size of a living room), but it has a WALL dividing the room in half, so you are either in the BAR area or The Band Themselves On "Stage". This also means things can be VERY LOUD, and BY GEORGE they were last night. The Cocks were GRATE i must say, especially when they got audience participation Finger Wagging going, and there was a LOVELY VIBE going round too. Previously they have given off a slight air of menace and/or danger, as if the whole thing could collapse into VIOLENCE and unpleasantness at any opportunity, but the latest line-up is very different from previous ones i.e. everyone is LOVELY and gets on with each other, which allows the FUN and JOY of the songs to BOUNCE through. Finally, it is not just ME who wishes to rush over and give Charlie a big HUG every time he yells "ALL RIGHT YOU [flipping] [clots]! WHO WANTS SOME?" Bless!
First of all, excuse me if i look BLEARILY at you half way through this and completely forget what i am saying, i am a) KNACKERED and b) POORLY. Yes! Poor me! At approximately 3pm this afternoon a TERRIBLE COLD descended, in the form of ACHES, and now all it's other little pals are turning up. BAH! Still, at least I've got plenty of DVDs at home...
Anyway, progress progresses on the Album Front - they're at the manufacturers now, i know this because they rang to tell me, and they MIGHT be ready by the gig at the Bull & Gate on the 29th. They also might NOT - EXCITING isn't it?
Meanwhile i have been reading Bob Dylan's CHRONICLES, and let me tell you this, it is BLOODY GRATE! I had to keep checking to see if it was in POEM form or something, as it LILTS and ROLLS and ROCKS along rather brilliantly. I have experimented and discovered that you can also take ANY paragraph and growl it and HEY PRESTO Instant Bob Dylan song! With all due respect, i bet none of Robbie Williams' autobiographies can do that.
Last night I read the section about recording "Oh Mercy", an album i got on Vinyl when it came out, and thus have not heard for about 15 years, so this morning i popped into the Record Shop and BOUGHT it. And guess what? It's ACE! Having struggled a bit with "Time Out Of Mind" (NB listened to it twice, nodded approvingly, then couldn't bring myself to play it again) i was AFEARED, but it's a GRATE record PACKED with SONG and WORD and TUNE. Hoorah!
I also bought "What Will The Neighbours Say" by Girls Aloud (currently on first listen - OK, but so far they're no McFly) and "Blue" by Joni Mitchell, as EVERYBODY in Word Magazine was going on about it. Will it be ACE? Or will it be annoying? It is a VOYAGE of discovery!
BLEH! Off to see The Fighting Cocks tonight, so hopefully THE HEALING POWER OF ROCK will work its MAGIC, but if not, bring me my BED!
Once more unto the ROCK i headed out on Saturday, this time MARVELLING at the ease of travel as I went to Nearby Stratford, then ZOOM out to Ipswich in just over an HOUR. I GOGGLED at how quick and easy it was - my view of Where Places Are is STILL fixed in a Midlands Mind Set (the reason I play so many gigs in Sheffield/Derby/Leeds are because they're all dead easy to get to from Leicester), and I suddenly realised there was a whole STRING of places i could get to DEAD EASY from where I live now - Ipswich! Norwich! Colchester! If anybody reading this LIVES in either of the last two and knows where i can get a gig, FACT me and I'll try and sort it out - it's EASY to get there!
Impressed by the OPPORTUNITIES possible I reached Ipswich, met Jeff The Promoter, and headed off to The Steamboat Tavern, which is a NICE pub near the DOCKS, with an L-Shaped Room and a thriving community of YOunger Drinkers who spent the whole night outside in the PATIO area being sullen, occasionally sullenly stomping past the stage on the way to the bar and, at closing time, mounting a sullen march by EN MASSE. It was very sweet.
Tom was already there, so we soundchecked, had a chat, and were just settling down to the PUB MEAL we had been rather brilliantly supplied with when a voice said "Hello!" and LO! It was EDDY! That's EDDY from HULL - Eddy who puts us on at The Adelphi, all round good guy and BLOODY HECK what on EARTH was he doing in Ipswich? It turns out that he and his PALS had been last year on this week to see his mate in Ipswich, and when they saw we were playing thought they might as well come down this year too. We were GOBSMACKED.
Having finished TEA i was preparing myself for THE ROCK when a voice said "Hello!" and LO! it was PAUL! That's Paul formerly from Leicester, drinker in The Durham Ox, LOVELY chap who came to tons of me and Neil's gigs (and once FANTASTICALLY bought a note from his MUM to excuse him missing the previous gig), said one of the funniest things i have ever HEARD (details available in pubs), and had a GRATE wedding in NEWMARKET, where he now lives. Once again we were STUNNED, and also a little AFEARED as to who might appear next... nobody of such magnitude DID, but still the fear linegered.
Anyway, it was GIG TIME - I'd had an idea in the morning that maybe i could do TWO sets, one the traditional UBER SET, but also an UNDER SET off less often played or NEW songs. Ever since Mr John Kell criticised one of my gigs for NOT playing enough "obscure" stuff (NB as opposed to all the unobscure stuff i usually play...) i have WORRIED that people seeing me more than once might TIRE of the UBER SET's tender embrace, and thought this might be an ideal opportunity, especially as it turns out Mike Summers & The Doons (the other band) were only doing half an hour too. THUS i introduced the UNDER SET, which went like this:
Where Do All The Women Go To?
The Perfect Love Song
Leave My Brother Alone
I Come From The Fens
Dino At The Sands
Breaks In The Journey
I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Has Gone
I must say I rather enjoyed doing it - it was NERVE WRACKING, especially during "Born Yesterday" which I'd only ever played ONCE before, and NEVER in the current version, but it felt NICE. Actually EXPLAINING "Dino At The Sands" seems to help too, although perhaps "I Can See Clearly Now" wasn't the best ending. Dave The Gardener said, quite forcefully, "i HATE that song! NEVER do it again!" but then he comes from HULL where the rain GOING will always be followed by it coming BACK again, usually with some of its mates.
Mike Summers & The Doons played next, and they were DEAD good, sounded really NICE - they had an ACCORDIAN with THREE microphones, a BAZUKI, and a HEADLESS BASS. Yes - normally this would be a recipe for WORLD MUSIC, but they were all TUNEY and full of LOVELINESS, it was a DELIGHT.
Then i went on again and did the UBER SET, as follows:
The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
Never Going Back To Aldi's
The Fight For History
Clubbing In The Week
Rock And Roll Mayham
Payday Is The Best Day
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Things'll Be Different
Billy Jones Is Dead
Hey Hey 16K
Boom Shake The Room
This was a gig of EVENTS! Tom came on halfway through, and the double act seemed to WORK - definitely on "The Lesson Of The Smiths" where he played some KEEN stuff, and I think we'll get him his own microphone next time for BANTER purposes. We still need to BUILD his PART i think - next time I'll get him doing the Call And Response on "Things'll Be Different", and he reckons he'll do some SINGING also. GOOD-O!
I did a lot of talking between songs, and all was jolly, and I looked forward to a good Audience Participation BIT in "Easily Impressed". "OI HIBBETT!" was good, and then "YOU DON'T REALLY MEAN THAT" was a bit raggedy, and turned into PANTO when people started shouting "OH YES YOU DO!" etc etc, which was GRATE, as was the bar staff dashing round the corner of the L-Shaped Bar to join in. When the song finished the landlady shouted "LAST ORDERS!" and the whole room shouted "YOU DON'T REALLY MEAN THAT!" - it was BRILLIANT! I think i overdid the intro to "Boom Shake The Room" saying "If you don't know the words, don't join in - that's madness!" as when it got to the "How do i know, because the crowd went..." i stopped, and there was SILENCE! Eventually aforementioned Dave The Gardener said "Er... ho?" and we carried on, it was RATHER funny i must say, and JOLLITY abounded. We did an I Don't Take Much Persuasion ENCORE of "Too Turned On", and that was it - a GRATE GIG!
We went back to Jeff The Promoter's house, where he PLIED us with BEER late into the night, and in the morning it was a TIRED but HAPPY Hibbett & McClure who feasted on SCRAMBLED EGGS before heading off homewards, each hopeful that one day soon they would return to IPSWICH. It was ACE!
You find me tired, battered, but ultimately VICTORIOUS, for LO! i have just got back from the Post Office, where the master and the artwork for "Warriors Of Nanpantan" was DESPATCHED to the Manufacturers. HOORAH!
MAN ALIVE it has been an ARDUOUS TASK, i don't remember any of our other releases being so difficult at this stage, although i SUSPECT this may be similar to Memories Of Childbirth i.e. once you're holding the new CD delicately in your loving arms a HORMONE is released to make you forget the LENGTHY period of AGONY that preceded it. I've been through THREE CD-writers, FIVE programs, and about TEN hours of Trying Not To Throw Bits Of Machinery At The Wall to get it done, but it DOES all appear to be working now, and when all's said and done, i think it sounds Quite Good.
I listened to it MANY times whilst getting the lyrics and sleeve notes sorted out, and there were LOTS of songs that I haven't heard for YEARS. It was almost like hearing them for the first time, and i was quite pleasantly surprised by how much i LIKED them. You, gentle reader, will have a chance to judge for yourself in a few weeks time - I'm hoping to have them at the London gig on the 29th, and other gigs thereafter, and they'll be in the shop in early February. Previous Purchasers of material from the shop will be able to get it a bit earlier, and a bit cheaper than anybody else too, so if that's YOU, watch out for an email in a couple of weeks time!
RIGHT! Now i am off to THE PUB - happy weekends, one and all!
It's Christmas (slight return)
I've just realised that I never actually mentioned that Broadband Aid, Kooba Radio's own version of Band Aid, is UP and LIVE. Well, it IS, on the Kooba Radio site, and Quite Good it is too. Also up is their latest show, where they play "You Will Be Hearing From My Solicitor" and LOADS of other stuff - Kooba Radio's GRATE, i heartily recommend it to ANYONE who may be on the brink of losing their FAITH in New Music, as you will that Kooba RESTORES it.
Watching the news this morning i was STUNNED. Prince Harry AND Mark Thatcher in trouble? With their upbringing and parentage one would have thought they would be PARAGONS of insight, selflessness, consideration and piety. Who would have GUESSED they would have turned out this way? I am shocked. I mean, a member of the Royal Family flirting with Nazism? NEVER! A son of Margaret Thatcher showing contempt for the law and believing money could get him out of trouble, and being proven right? AM I LIVING IN A PERVERSE MIRROR UNIVERSE?
Old Jokes We Love: Prince Harry's father must be MORTIFIED! And Prince Charles must be pretty upset too.
I set off for St Pancras last night in GOOD time, nervous as i was about getting my pre-booked tickets out of THE MACHINE. All was well, and we stood and watched our train being cleaned and reservation ticketed, happy in the knowledge that it was there and all was well. Then we watched it go off without us. Ten minutes later it came back, having been "checked", we got on, and set off, having JUST nudged ourselves in behind the slow train to Bedford, and off we CRAWLED. It was all LATE anyway, but obviously not enough, as we ground to a halt just past Loughborough - an announcement came on saying "Unfortunately this train will now be terminating at Derby". Hey! Bad luck for most of the other passengers, but for me FINE! Just let me off and all will be WELL! However we then SAT there for twenty minutes, making us a full HOUR late getting into Derby, and making ME a bit RATTLED.
However, I didn't seem to have missed much - no-one had soundchecked, and Rob, ever AWARE that he MUST be the last to arrive at any gig, had quickly gone home, to make sure his record REMAINED. Actually he'd gone off to collect the final bits of "Warriors Of Nanpantan" and BRISKLY put it all together so's i could take it home this morning, but that need not tarry us here. We got set up and soundchecked SANS FLEAY, then i got some CHIPS, and we sat and waited for the CROWDS.
There were a good few YOUNG PEOPLE there for the first band, but WELL WE KNEW that they would probably not stick around to see us, we could tell by their shiny hair and unscarred countenances. When we got on stage there were only about 10 people there, which beats our LAST performance at the VIC by 400%, so WELL DONE US! We got going and by JIMINY it was good fun - the new songs sounded GRATE, the old ones did too, and all was SATISFACTION and RELIEF... except for in some cases where SOMEBODY managed to forget the words, ESPECIALLY for a song where a) he and Emma had to sing together and b) Emma had gone through the words to that one ESPECIALLY before hand to check he'd do them right. BAD whoever it was who did that, BAD!
Here's what we played:
The Fight For History
Hey Hey 16K
Never Going Back To Aldi's
The Gay Train
Breaks In The Journey
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
Things'll Be Different
The Symbol Of Our Nation
The Lesson Of The Smiths
It all FLEW by, so much so that we CUT a couple of songs, then got the most REASONABLE "encore" ever - someone shouted (actually, said loudly) "you've got time - why don't you do another one?" and so we brought "The Lesson Of The Smiths" back. HOORAH!
We then reconvened in the Dressing Room for a general band chat, and all seemed WELL. The Validators, as I may possibly have mentioned before, are a LOVELY band, and it must be nice for them to, every now and again, do a gig like most of my SOLO GIG CAREER has been. Possibly. Everyone then sped off into the night, safe in the knowledge of a job well done and a BATCH of songs GIGGED, and I returned to Chez Fleay for the evening.
Tonight I'm putting together the final version of "Warriors Of Nanpantan", whilst The Ribbon In My Typewriter proofreads the sleeve-notes, then hopefully tomorrow I'll be sending it off to be MADE! WHOO!
It was off to North London for me last night, to play at The Archway Tavern. I was met there by Charlie from The Fighting Cocks, who REMARKED upon what a clean venue it was - "There's a wine bar FIGHTING to get out of here" he said, correctly. We sat for ages watching the other bands soundcheck, one of which was PARTICULARLY Professional, Competent, Rocking And Tight and spent AGES playing ENTIRE songs through then asking for minute TWEAKS on the vocal TREBLE. After all this, when it was my turn, i did the traditional One Minute Soundcheck, as it is the LAW that this must be done.
The soundman came over at 8.30 and asked if i wanted to go on now - it was a bit early, but as there was nobody there I thought I might as well get started, and then if nothing else i could get home a bit earlier. I know - ROCK AND ROLL! I started up, and realised I might as well do a few New To The Live Arena SONGS, and so played (in roughly this order):
Things'll Be Different
The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (Group B)
Rock & Roll Mayhem
Billy Jones Is Dead
Leave My Brother Alone
Clubbing In The Week
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Boom Shake The Room
It was all fairly FINE really - we had the ECHOING HANDCLAP when people noticed I'd finished, but i had a nice enough time - ESPECIALLY when, as sometimes BEAUTIFULLY happens (and as noted in Let The Weird Band Win) the girlfriends of the other bands started LISTENING to my set, and appearing to LIKE it. This ALWAYS winds up Other Bands, and is ALWAYS funny to watch. HO!
Afterwards the next band on, Phugs, all came over and said "Well done" and that, which was quite nice - it is always a WISE Next Band On who does this, as they know it makes you DUTY BOUND to watch at least SOME of their set, which we did, and they were Actually All Right. They HADN'T done a soundcheck earlier - aaah! Just as i was sitting down a young man called MYLES came over and said he'd come ESPECIALLY to see the gig, having seen it on the webpage, but had only just caught the last two songs. I felt a bit BAD about this, especially as it turned out he'd come all the way from Lewisham (NB This is a good long way on the TOOB), so offered him a PRIVATE MINI GIG. This, by the way, is available to anyone making up 50% or more of the audience, look out for it at future gigs!
So yes, we then TOOK HIM INTO THE LAVATORY, where he was SERVICE. i.e. I did "Hey Hey 16K" and "Work's All Right", as those were the two songs he'd come to hear, and then, on request of Charlie, "Bands From London (are shit)". It was, i must say, ACE - after the slight disappointment of a Nothing Much gig, doing THAT made the whole thing worthwhile. HOORAH!
Shortly afterwards we made our ESCAPE into the darkness, where Charlie gave me a LIFT all the way back to my front door - i was home before 10pm! HOOPLA!
I know i WON'T be home by then after tonight's gig (at The Vic in Derby, if anyone's just happened to pop by today and live in the area), but hopefully there'll be a few more people and a LOT more Validators there. Hopefully it'll end up being as LOVELY as last night's did. We shall see...
Bestriding Ipswich Like A Colussus
PHEW! Spent a CHUNK of this weekend working on the ARTWORK for "Warriors Of Nanpantan", it's looking LOVELY i must say. If all goes to plan I'll be getting the fully finished MASTER of the MUSIC off of Mr Fleay tomorrow night, finishing the NOTES bit of the multimedia on Wednesday evening, then putting it all together and sending it off to be MADE on Thursday. If things CONTINUE to go to plan then we SHOULD have it just in time for the London gig... it is EXCITING and NERVE WRACKING!
Meanwhile, HERE is the previously mentioned CLIPPING from last week's Ipswich Evening Star. COOL, isn't it?
RIGHT! Half an hour before i head off to Archway for this GIG and THE FEAR is already with me! GLURGH!
The Spectrum of GIG
I've just noticed that I'm running the full GAMUT of GIG ACTION this week, it is DELIGHTFUL. On Monday I'm playing at The Archway Tavern in That London - it's a (very!) short notice fill-in spot, so I'm playing on my own. The Validators, most notably Tim, are VERY keen on playing a band gig there sometime, as it's EXTREMELY handy to get to and from from The Midlands, so hopefully all will go WELL. Then on Tuesday I'm up in Derby playing The Vic with aforesaid Validators - hopefully this will have a slightly larger audience than the LAST time we played there, when the audience was Moo and Anne-Marie, but I guess we shall SEE. THEN, on Saturday next me and Tom are playing The Steamboat in Ipswich - I'm getting quite excited about this, as several people seem to be coming, and there was a BIG picture of us and article about it in the Ipswich Evening Star this week, which repeatedly calls us MJ Hibbett & The Validator, for LO! that is what we shall be. I LOVE that sort of thing, it is COOL! As with Archway, if this goes well it'll hopefully lead to The Validators heading that way later in the year, it is a GOOD PLAN.
So yeah, that means I am playing a solo gig, and band gig, AND a duo gig all in the space of a week! To me, this appears to be MASSIVELY GROOVY - i wonder if it will actually turn out that way?
How Rough Does A Rough Demo Need To Be?
Just got back from LEICESTER, where last night we gathered to record some DEMO VERSIONS. As i may perhaps have mentioned once or twice or 17,000,000 times just lately, this is the HOT NEW PLAN for The Validators i.e. learning the songs BEFORE we record them - HA! We are PIONEERS of NEW WORKING METHODS, right? So yes, that was our plan and by JIMINY we are following it, with me, Tim and Rob arriving at Memphis Studio last night to move to stage TWO.
I met Tim in Central London (he had been to THE MINISTRY beforehand, and thus was in his SUIT. I like to think we looked like a YOUNG ROCKER and his DAD when seen together, tho i feel he may have complaints about this. HA! Let him get his own webpage!) and we HIED off to St Pancras, and spent a JOLLY time up to Leicester arguing about when and where we had first done gigs together, and reminscing about the LAST time we got the train from London together. This was some EIGHT years ago, when we went down to the launch party for the Prolapase album "Italian Flag". It was a RIGHT ropey old do, with the band refusing to have the record PLAYED, let alone performed, the beer running out with EXTREME RAPIDITY, and pretty much everyone going to the pub next door instead - it even made the PAPERS how ropey it was, and that must be some sort of achievement. HOWEVER this did not prevent us from getting sizeably drunkened, and once we'd boarded the Old 23.22 Last Train To Leicester it seemed like a VERY GOOD IDEA to play CARRIAGE CHICKEN. This involves LEAPING off the train as soon as it gets into a station and then PEGGING IT along the platform for as many carriages as you dare before getting back on. OH the IMPETUOUSITY (sp.) of YOUTH! We had fun anyway, it were an LARF.
So yes, it was a Golden Memory, and soon we were in Leicester to enjoy the traditional pre-ROCK repast of CHIPS. We got to the studio just before Kev, and LO! joy and beauty shone around, as it turned out that YES actually he really HAD recently got married. Aaah! Our joy was slightly curtailed upon entering the CONTROL ROOM to discover it had been HOOVERED! And also had had the WALLS CLEARED!!!
Inside Memphis it is like a FAIRYLAND of bits of instruments, plants, comics, wires, and pictures of Club Singers and Elvis. I've been in your modern studios with SHELVES and SPACE and CLEAN SEATING and i haven't liked them, so was AFEARED with the idea that Memphis would be going that way - what next? ASHTRAYS? - but was reassured that it was just a necessary step before they knocked half of the wall down. The rancid stinking sofa, unfortunately, would have to go, but Kev said he would stand firm if anyone tried to chuck out any of his prized possesions. "If anyone tries to take anything else away, I'll cry," he said. GO KEV!
Rob arrived, said "Aaah - we're back!" and yes, we were. We then REMINISCED about Venues In Leicester That Aren't There Any More, and soon it was time to BEGIN. OOH! It was DEAD GOOD! As ever it took a few minutes to get going, but when we did we RATTLED THROUGH. Before each song we took a few minutes to remind ourselves of the structure, and run through a few bits, then BURST into action, usually getting it sorted in three or four takes - AMAZINGLY, bearing in mind that these are meant to be Rough Demo Versions, this is MUCH more care than we EVER took recording things before. We are MATURING into STUDIO VETERANS. It was GRATE being there with Kev also, who is Very Good at putting up with us messing up/about, and kept it all GOING at HIGH SPEED. It was ACE.
We did "The Gay Train", "Never Going Back To Aldi's", "Quality of Life Enhancement Device", "The Fight For History", "The Lesson Of The Smiths", "Girlfriend Alarmed", "Breaks In The Journey" and three quarters of "Zipcodes" (at which point Rob broke his first ever BASS string, thus a) inaugrating himself properly into THE BROTHERHOOD OF BASS and b) calling down the GODS OF ROCK, who spake "ENOUGH!"), and if you're asking me it sounded FAB. Mindful of what I said the other day about ORGANIC IMPERFECTION there were a good few mistakes left in, but this time it REALLY DIDN'T MATTER as they're just guide versions, to be redone later, as opposed to the previous scenario when we'd have to plonk fifteen violins, three trumpets and a kazoo over the top to DISTRACT ATTENTION from them in the final versions.
Lots of bits were my MOST FAVOURITE BIT: getting all STERN and SERIOUD during "The Fight For History"; thinking "WOW! We appear to be a tight rocking UNIT!" during the Exciting Dramatic "4 pounds 99" BIT in "Never Going Back To Aldi's"... and then distracting myself with that thought and so messing it up; the middle section of "Never Going Back To Aldi's" sounding BRILLIANT; and Tim saying, of "The Gay Train","It sounds awfully empty without Tom", and us all AGREEING that this was a REALLY GOOD THING. Tom himself turned up shortly after to Sit In On The Session, and only the absence of Emma prevented it being a fully quorate Validators New Year LOVE IN.
I had a LOVELY time, as you can probably tell, and we're back again in a fortnight to re-do a couple of vocals, add a little bit of guitar, and put in some violins. Then THE PLAN is to do some GIGS, then learn some MORE songs, then go off in the summer and RECORD them. Album Three AHOY!
George Lucas: CORRECTED
Being the age i am i asked for the STAR WARS TRILOGY on DVD for Christmas, and LO! i got it. HOORAH! I haven't watched the films themselves yet - in a "BBC2 (A New Hope)" STYLEE they were all on ITV in the afternoons, so it seemed a bit daft really - but i did watch the HUGE documentary and FEATURETTES that went with it. It was ACE, although I would question the wisdom of putting bits from the new films in, as it made them look a bit DAFT. Mind you, i was IMPRESSED by the way people kept saying how rubbish the DIALOGUE was in the original films, i wonder if they'll let Ewan McGregor SLAG OFF The Phantom Menace in 20 years time?
ANYWAY, somewhere in all that there was a REALLY interesting bit where Stephen Spielberg and then George Lucas were talking about the advances in technology, and how it allowed you to have EXACTLY what you first imagined appearing on the screen. In the Old Days George Lucas would describe things to one of his illustrators, and they'd make a rough idea of something. This would then be batted around a few people, get changed around by more illustrators, redrafted, modelled by a whole other bunch of people, changed again by the actor, and then changed MORE by the different director and the editor, so the end result was a mish mash of all SORTS of different people's ideas. For example, C3PO looked different to how Lucas and the illustrators first imagined him due to how the costume ended up being built, and spoke and moved differently after Anthony Daniels got into it.
NOW, however, due to Digital Technology, you could make things EXACTLY how you first imagined them. George could get a Computer Guy to build PRECISELY what he wanted without regard for Actual Physics, or getting somebody inside the costume, or the interfering input of modellers, designers, actors or directors. What you imagined is EXACTLY what you could have. They were saying this in an EXCITED way, as if it was the BEST THING EVER.
To me that's precisely why the new films are so bloody awful compared to the others - and the first person to say "Nur, but Attack of The Clones was much better than The Phantom Menace" gets GLARED at, Michael Winner's INSURANCE ADVERTS are better than Attack of The Clones but that does not mean they are GOOD. It's all very precise, and how it was imagined, and also MIND DRAININGLY BORING. Surely if other human beings had been involved in Episode I they would have said "Hmm... perhaps we could have less about TAX LAWS and more fighting with space ships, also maybe some JOKES?" Maybe there would have let Liam Neeson be QUITE INTERESTING, instead of the most dreary po-faced TEACHER ever seen on a screen? I tell you, i was off POORLY a couple of weeks ago, but STILL managed to drag myself out of bed half an hour in to Phantom Menace to switch the video off being i SLIPPED INTO A COMA.
Seeing that interview, apart from firing off the BRANE, as above, also made me think about how it is MUCH THE SAME with ROCK. With Modern Technology you CAN sit in your bedroom with a computer and build all SORTS of soundscapes, direct from your own MIND without ever having to bother another human being or having your ART COMPROMISED by, say, the bass playing wanting to put a FILL in somewhere you hadn't thought of. This is very good for CONTROL and that, but, I usually find, very BAD for things being INTERESTING or having a SOUL.
Now, I'm not about to advocate an Ocean Colour Scene ESQUE leap into ANAL CLENCHING and SIXTIES DUST, you can certainly be QUITE as narrow minded about things using VALVES as you can with a laptop, it's just that the advent of really GOOD digital music equipment makes it much easier to completely avoid collaboration altogether, and do exactly what you wanted to do in the first place. In my LIFE IN ROCK I've known MANY people in bands who've been complete CONTROL FREAKS and forced the members of their groups to retake the same song time and time again until it was EXACTLY as originally proscribed, with no additional input whatsoever.
I always think It's The Things You Can't Hear That You Need To Record when making MUSICAL RECORDS, and by forcing people to play exactly by ROTE you suck all the SOUL of the thing - you end up with music that is in time, precisely played, and REALLY BORING. It's a difficult thing not to do, i know - when I first started with The Validators there was a LOT of tongue biting going on when my mighty RHYTHM SECTION skipped merrily away from the tarmac path and into the verdant fields of MUSICAL INVENTION (often sitting down for a picnic in the beer garden of FALL BASS LINES along the way, but still), ending up MILES from where i wanted to be, but it is ALWAYS a good thing to do. Hey, if you end up somewhere stupid, you can always get the bus back again, right?
Many MANY of our songs have ended up in RUM places due to this - "Falling For Trust" was a slow, dreary guitar MOPE originally, "Fat Was A Feminist Issue" was an identikit Indie Jangle, and "Holdalls" was like George Formby with his head in a vice - and it is LOVELY. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, no matter how much you LOVE the thing you're trying to create, you've got to let somebody else put their input into it too to make it really work.
(NOTE: GIRD yourself for a PUNCHLINE which i have just thought of. You have been warned)
I suppose I'm just trying to REMIND myself of this ready for tomorrow, when we're in Leicester recording Demo Versions of the new songs we've learnt so far, so that I don't get ARSEY or PICKY about what we're doing, and let my RESPECTED CO-WORKERS take the songs where THEY want to take them.
When creating something ALIVE and UNIQUE, you ALWAYS need another person involved to make it HUMAN. If you just duplicate YRSELF, then you get an ATTACK OF THE CLONES.
Happy New Year everybody! I hope everyone had a lovely Holiday Break, i know I certainly did. There was a LOT of family, a lot of presents, a lot of telly, THREE Christmas Dinners (one of which i cooked myself, OH i was so proud!), a LOT of BEER, and a LOVELY lot of hanging around the house with the Robin In My Christmas Scene. It was GOOD.
However, i was anything but IDLE on the ROCK front, as I spent much of the second half of the holidays BEAVERING AWAY on "Warrriors Of Nanpantan", our REST OF compilation which, hopefully, will be out by the end of this month. The cover is now pretty much finished, and looking NICE, but most of the time went into doing the DVD Extras section. Goodness me, I hope somebody looks at it, if and when they buy it, for LO! i have TOILED HARD over it these past few days! There's a VIDEO section, which is Exciting and NEW for us, and a SOUND section (which'll hopefully have the full Fairplay Trophy SESSIONS from the BBC in it, PENDING approval), but the BIGGEST section is the NOTES and LYRICS bit. There's 22 songs there, all of which have now got totally NEW sleevenotes written. Nearly all of them had bits written about them for the webpage, but these were mostly written just after the song itself was finished, usually before it was recorded or released, so needed TOTALLY redoing. I also put in a load of stuff about about where each was released, how it was recorded, and added lots of FASCINATING and NO, THEY ARE INTERESTING REALLY stories about the ideas behind them.
It was a LOT of typing, especially for the COME BACK, I'M GETTING TO THE GOOD BIT SOON stories, and I must admit some of it was a little depressing. Going through all these songs it turns out that around 1997-1999 I was not the CHIRPY CHAPPY i am today, and was in fact a bit MISERABLE. Poor old Younger Me, there's a definite CHUNK of songs on the album that are all "oh i am so lonely, am i doomed to be alone? also there is no heating in my flat and it is COLD" Sitting typing out the stories that brought these songs to BE made me feel a bit SAD, truth be told, but at least the fact that the songs are in (mostly) chronological order meant that I cheered up as I went along, and ended up feeling VERY happy that my life has got to where it is now, and i am all "oh i am not lonely, nor DOOMED to be alone, also there is heating in my house and it is NICE".
There's three more songs to add to the MASTER, notes and proofreading to finish, and a CHECK of the whole thing to do, but if all goes to plan that'll be done by the time we play DERBY next week, and the whole thing HOPEFULLY will be available by the end of the month. I shall keep you INFORMED!