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The Last Working Day Of The Month
It's the last working day of the month today, which means it's NEWSLETTER day - if you're on the mailing list you should have recieved a copy of this in your inbox around lunchtime, and if you DIDN'T, or if you're NOT on the mailing list but would like to be, do please let me know.

Alternatively you can read it now in the Newsletter Archive, along with last month's. It's full of FACT!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 31.3.05
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Oooh, MAGIC!
We went to the ROYAL ALBERT HALL the other night, to see The Finn Brothers. Myself and the Water In My Hot Water Bottle went with a couple of friends who are BIG FANS, and once we managed to find the venue (you'd think a place that BIG would be easy to get to - but NOT SO) it was MOST IMPRESSIVE. I've been inside once before when I'd been to see John Otway, but that time I'd been RATHER incapacitated by DRINK so don't remember much of it. We'd actually turned up LATE, and had EMERGED just as the first half of the set was finishing, to find ourselves about three rows from the front in a MASSIVE ARENA, with everyone watching Nigel From Eastenders presenting Otway with a BOUQUET.

But i digress. THIS time that didn't happen - there was a Singer Songwriter woman on first, who, as often happens in these cases, had a LOVELY voice but after three songs i think we had all heard enough of it, as her songs were a bit dull. The Finn Brothers came on shortly afterwards dressed as a PANTOMIME HORSE, which was really cool, and then did a lovely song off their first album. They seemed a bit PERTURBED, which they would be - if Tim had hung HIMSELF the day before one of MY gigs I am sure i would at least have been put off my beer for a bit, possibly even until after I'd finished playing - and I think it would have been better if I'd known more of the songs, but it all ambled along very pleasantly. At the end they KICKED OUT their bass player so the Crowded House bass player could come on for the encore (which i thought was a bit mean, but nobody else seemed to mind), and he started talking into the AUDITORIUM, and it was NOTED that he was pretty audible, so then Neil (i think) got the PA turned off and started singing a song COMPLETELY acoustically... and OOH! it was "Don't Dream It's Over" and OOH it was BLOODY MAGIC! He did the first verse like that and it was quite SWEET because the audience was full of people who go to big gigs and try to clap along with everything, but they COULDN'T this time as it would completely drown him out, and you could HEAR people fidgeting. Then it got to the chorus and everyone sang along - it was STUNNING, it was the most IN TUNE and LOVELY audience singalong i have ever heard, possibly because they had to stay quiet, but goodness me it was FANTASTIC.

Then they turned the PA and ROCKED some more, which lost it a bit for me, but OH MY what a lovely little moment that had been. After that i turned to ADMIRING the venue, which is pretty spectacular - we were up top near the back, but it felt like you were really CLOSE - and also enjoyed watching a bunch of lads who had REALLY OBVIOUSLY never been to a gig before, and who thought that it would be like ON THE TELLY, so leapt up and down, shouted to the band (again, from near the top right at the back) and got upset because there wasn't a mexican wave or a moshpit. Bless.

Also, MEMO TO SELF: looking down you could see the screen lights of people playing with their mobile phones - when the Validators play venues like this (surely soon?) we MUST remember to get everyone to set their ringtones off all at the same time. It'll be GRATE!

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Attack Of The Unnecessary Surtitles
It's been a GRATE Easter this year i must say, especially Saturday's FESTIVAL of TELLY - The Football AND new Doctor Who? The BBC, you are SPOILING us, and Dr Who was FANTASTIC wasn't it? - and it was fitting to end it all with a GIG. I caught many trains to get to NEW CROSS last night (where i last spent an evening 15 years ago, when i went to see my school friend Scotty in his flat... all i remember is that it had a kitchen [yes] and was on a corner so i looked SUSPICIOUSLY around me all night but couldn't quite place it) to play at The New Cross Inn.

Everything seemed to go at EXTREME SPEED, and it felt like I'd only just sat down with CHARLIE de les Fighting Cocks for a chat when I was suddenly soundchecking, then MYLES arrived, and then it was pretty much time to begin. Before then, however, i noticed a poster in the LOO for a band called DOG COCK DILDO. The poster was mostly taken up with a GORY PICTURE and a truly RUBBISH logo - surely if you've gone to the trouble of calling yourself DOG COCK DILDO you'd like people to know about it, but the logo was so incomprehensible they had to put "Dog Dock Dildo!" in ARIAL underneath it, and THEN, below that, they put "Live Punk!"

Now how unnecessary is THAT? You're hardly likely to think "Hmmm, DOG COCK DILDO? What kind of music can THAT possibly be?" It's like calling yourself "Plastic Dreams Of Velcro" then adding "Live Romo!" or, as the Ink In My Printer pointed out later, "London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Live Classical!", and we spent a jolly ten minutes citing further examples before it was time to BEGIN. Here's what I played:
The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
Hey Hey 16K
Fucking Hippy
Good Luck In Your New Job
Looking At My Hands
Clubbing In The Week
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Boom Shake The Room

It seemed to go OK, though it was a little UNNERVING, as I was stood at one end of a PUB full of people chatting to each other and it was EXTREMELY obvious when i was LOSING people (such as during Hey Hey 16K) as you could SEE people turning away from me to talk to each other - usually it's dark so it has to be a BIG MOVE AWAY for me to notice, but this time i was micro-managing audience reaction, oh yes. Another thing i noticed was that i appeared to be slightly spoiling things for a young couple at the front. Now, as I'm sure you're aware, i have a special effect on THE LADIES. Oh yes, you know it etc etc - as I've said before, I usually find women to be a more responsive AUDIENCE at gigs because they're generally less UPTIGHT about LIKING things they've never heard before than blokes are. Not always, but it is often the way that i see a parties of pals with the women turned around to watch my SET, and the blokes with them getting a bit cheese off that someone else is getting the attention, especially when that someone else has a MASSIVE PA against which they cannot fight.

Yes, it is a terrible weight to bear, but i do it with fortitude - HA! This is of course GRATE, especially when the cheesed off blokes in question are Other Bands, and ESPECIALLY when it's Other Bands Who've Been A Bit Arsey And Had Long Sound Checks, but last night this was NOT the case! LAST night, right in front of me, were a young couple who, it seemed, were on if not their FIRST DATE then surely one of the very first evenings of their COURTSHIP, and had come in for a Quiet Drink. All through my set the GENTLEMAN was trying to engage to LADY in conversation, but she would not be DRAWN, as she was watching ME. I felt really guilty. Well, not that guilty - I've just gone on about it at some length haven't i?

ANYWAY, the rest of the set ebbed and flowed, I have a COLD on the go at the moment, so wasn't feeling my BEST, and things suddenly went WORSE during "Looking At My Hands" (getting it's DEBUT in the new FORMAT derived during last week's practice) when a STRING BROKE! GAH! This almost NEVER happens, but happen it did, and I had to STRUGGLE through to the end of the song. Playing after me was another guy with an acoustic guitar, who I thought might help me out, and indeed towards the end of the song he wandered over to his KIT... and got his JACKET out!! I was AGHAST - does FEALTY between SOLOISTS no longer exist in this AGE (NB I also spent much of the bank holiday watching Lord Of The Rings)? SURELY in such situations one should LEAP UP and LEND yr guitar to someone in need? I must say i was a little SHOCKED by that, although it DID mean that later on i could leave early without GUILT.

Anyway, that threw me a bit so i HACKED a couple of songs out of the setlist and drove forward to the end, THANKFUL that Myles and Charlie were there for "Boom Shake The Room", and STRODE off. I didn't mention "Warriors" being for sale because it didn't seem like anyone would be bothered, but afterwards quite a few people were GRINNING and giving the THUMBS UP, so maybe it was just the COLD, the VISIBLE AUDIENCE and the STRINGS INCIDENT that made me feel it hadn't gone too well - the promoters seemed quite pleased, so hopefully I'll be heading that way again.

And tonight - I'm off to The Royal Albert Hall! CORKS!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 29.3.05
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New Cross ACTION
ALSO, another short notice gig in South East London - I'm playing at the New Cross Inn in ... er... NEW CROSS this bank holiday monday. If you are near, do consider coming, it will be HOLIDAY FUN!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 25.3.05
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Holidays
Ah, EASTER! The Holiday for GROWN UPS - like Christmas, but without all that preperation or the travelling around to see people, it is the long weekend where you get to just DOSS AROUND. Easter=GRATE, especially for those of us working in Her Majesty's ACADEMIA, as we get the Thursday and Tuesday off too. HOORAH!

Thus it was that yesterday the Trees In My Forest and I got on the TOOB and headed EAST for Theydon Bois - it's only about 15 minutes on the Central Line for us, but it's AMAZING to go such a short distance and suddenly find yourself in THE COUNTRYSIDE. It's also WEIRD to leave the dinky little Country Station and turn around to see a dirty great CENTRAL LINE TRAIN behind you, it's like tripping through a field of corn to find an OFF LICENCE slap in the middle. It was lovely though, we went to the VILLAGE BAKERS and got SUPPLIES (including an ICED BUN - aaah, is there anything so indicative of Simple Good Times than an ICED BUN? I rather think not) and headed off into THE FOREST!

We had a LOVELY time - a three and a half hour STOMP through FOREST and WOODS and lots of MUD. I tell you what though, one thing i have noticed about WALKS that you do from GUIDES (this was one we got off the interweb, from the Epping Forest Guardian) is that always seem to they TAIL OFF massively towards the end. They start off with "As you leave the station car park you will note, 17 microns to the left of a carbon atom, a cluster of hdyrogen. Step one nano-metre forward to see the station master's dog, Albert, looking at you with a curious mix of disdain and laughter, as you note the curtains in the house three doors along" and by the end it's got to "WALK FAR. SEE ROAD. WALK LONG. HOME." and this was NO exception. It took us without FAULT for the first three or four miles, and then suddenly it got massively vague and we found ourselves in an CAR PARK OF ODDNESS, full of single blokes sitting looking dodgy in their cars in the middle of nowhere. It was ODD.

We also saw Ambresbury Banks, which apparently is an old Iron Age Fort but, frankly, has seen better days. MUCH more excitingly we went past a DEER sanctuary, and having PEERED through one part of the fence for ages to no avail, suddenly saw a massive HERD of DOES, grazing and looking PICTURESQUE. THEN we walked a bit further and saw the STAGS, looking like proper DEER off of the TELLY. It was all very exciting. Also i got my foot stuck in some MUD up to my ankle, which is an essential part of any Proper Walk, and had a DELICIOUS PINT of BEER in a PROPER PUB when we got back to Theydon Bois.

It was lovely - when i was a YOUTH my parents used to FORCE us out on these sort of walks, and it always felt like a DRAG but now as an ADULT it is a JOY. Perhaps it is the DELIGHTFUL COMPANY i get to have with me these days, and perhaps it is also the fact that we get to eat ICE BUNS and drink BEER too, but it is LOVELY.

Today i am finally watching LORD OF THE RINGS on DVD what i got for Christmas. It's SORT OF similar.

posted by MJ Hibbett,
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We're BACK
Full of WARINESS re. collisions and delays and ready to be OUTRAGED by Midland Mainline's inability to handle anything out of the ordinary, i headed to St Pancras yesterday to catch me a train to DERBY for a Validators practice ... only to find that everything was completely sorted out, the train left on time, and arrived a couple of minutes early. Oh! I felt almost CHEATED for not getting to STORM around!

I had AGES to wait until it was time for us to get together, so I wandered into Derby city centre. It's strange, I've been to Derby HUNDREDS of times, but my local knowledge is pretty limited - I know The Vic, The Blue Note, Rob's house, and that's pretty much all! THUS it was nice to have a bit of a wander around and JOIN UP some areas I'd been to before, ALSO to find a SPAR that would sell me some BEER for the practice. FLUSHED with knowledge I wandered back toward the station and spent a GLORIOUS 30 minutes in The Brunswick Arms. They MAKE their own beer there which, to be honest, is pretty foul, but BY GOLLY they have the NICEST Pedigree i have ever tasted in my life, and the pint i had last night was one of the GRATEST PINTS OF BEER i have had - EVER! Indeed, it is a lucky thing that i have a photograph of a pint of BASS in my wallet, ELSE i might have got quite carried away. PEDIGREE: it is and always has been my BOOZE CAMILLA.

ANYWAY, by now it was time for PRACTICE, and we CONVENED in The Music Shed. I'd been all excited about this, as it was the first practice of the year and also the first time we'd all SEEN each other for five weeks, and it was GRATE to be back together again. After the traditional Band Taking The Piss Out Of Each Other (and any band that does NOT do this is not, to my mind, a proper band - look at The Killers, for instance, i bet they NEVER mock each other) we ran through "Quality Of Life Enhancement Device" and "Breaks In The Journey" for a WARM UP, and then LO! It was time for NEW SONGS!

The first one we did was "Mental Judo", which sounded NICE, but didn't quite GET there - as Rob said, it sounded like everyone was playing along with ME, rather than US all playing it together. I've changed the song around a bit over the YEAR since i wrote it, and everyone was DISTRESSED that the lines "Let's enjoy it for what it is, not not for what it isn't" had been REMOVED, so now they are back IN. On Tim's behest we also tried it with a heavy backbeat drumbeat A LA Stone Roses. We only tried it the once.

Next we did "The Other Rush Hour", which gradually ROCKED UP until it had 2 quiet verses, 2 medium verses, 2 LOUD verses, a BIT, and then, after much use of hand gestures to describe SONIC ARCHITECTURE, a bit where it ZOOMS over the edge of a cliff and finishes QUIET like. It also has a GOOD BIT where Tom joins in with me CLANGING "The Other Rush Hour " - it all sounded quite good anyway, and we TAPED it. I then played "Good Luck In Your New Job", and we agreed to PARK that one until we actually do the RECORDINGS (as it's not really a BIG ROCK LIVE NUMBER), and moved forward to "Looking At my Hands".

COR! This one came out DEAD WELL - Tim suggested a VERY DIFFERENT way to do it, and BY GOLLY it sounded ACE - from the HEAVY RHYTHM to Emma's backing vocals ("OLD MAN!" she sings at one point ... tho that will probably make more sense when it's finished) and ESPECIALLY when a GAP is marked by EIGHT BEATS on THE PIANO! YES! There was a PIANO there, although BIZARRELY it was exactly a semi-tone out of tune, so not much use, but at least we got THAT bit out of it.

We taped that, taped a version of "Mental Judo" For The Record, and then had a quick JAM on a rather FEVEROUS little bit of SONG, and then LO! it was time for THE PUB! We dashed round the corner and rather SURPRISED the STAFF at the pub we got into, as they'd obviously had no-one in all night and were about to shut early. HOLD FAST we said (inwardly) FOR LO! We have weighty MATTERS to discuss!

RAH! It was BAND MEETING time, and we sorted out SEVERAL things - how to get to CAMBRIDGE for our next gig, what we were doing about a Pal's WEDDING we're playing in July, and also agreed that having EDDY on board is going to be GRATE. We resisted it for a while but eventually had to say out loud "Yes, hopefully he will take us to... THE NEXT LEVEL!" It felt GOOD. FINALLY we discussed going to CORNWALL to record the next album, and i think it is going to be recorded at the start of AUGUST, and then mixed shortly afterwards at chez FRANKIE MACHINE. It's all VERY EXCITING.

A group hug, and then we all went our seperate ways - everyone else to HOME, me and Rob to a nearby CURRY HOUSE. The evening's work was not done for us, NO, we had RECORD COMPANY BUSINESS to discuss. I don't know that we got a lot of WORK done, but BY GOLLY the curry was lovely - you can't get Proper East Midlands BALTI in London (or at least not where I've been looking), and it was like seeing an OLD FRIEND again. And then eating him. With half a naan.

In summary then: HOORAH! We're BACK!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 23.3.05
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Lovely Lovelies
Me and the Kettle Lead To My Amplifier went to delightful KENTISH TOWN on Saturday night to see The Lovely Brothers ROCK the Bull & Gate. It was UTTERLY GRATE.

I was a little NERVOUS to start with as a week or so before I'd asked if i could get a copy of the NEW MATERIAL they are working on, with an EYE to maybe AAS releasing it - i'd heard nothing since, so naturally i assumed they all HATED me and wanted only my grim death, but everyone seemed perfectly friendly and un-ninja like when we saw them, and it turned out all was WELL - they had DISCUSSED it like a proper grown-up band, and had agreed that it might be an LARF. HOORAH!

We went and watched the first band for a bit, and they were actually Quite Sweet in a This Is Very Obviously Only Their Second Or Third Gig kind of way - the DRAMATIC INTRO to one song rather had the ANGST drained from it by the fact they couldn't pay in time with each other, for instance, and the FRAUGHT FACIAL EXPRESSIONS and SHAPES THROWN were STRAIGHT out of the practice room - and probably a practice room with a big mirror too. A couple of songs were ENOUGH tho, especially when one played close attention to the WORDS - sometimes a GRATE sound system like the one at the B&G is NOT such a good idea.

After a gentle PINT in the ante room the Lovely Brothers took the stage, and they did so with STYLE and GRACE - Half the band played a sombre tune REMINISCENT of a New Romantic tune about the Cold War while singing about COMMUNISM, whilst Scott and the two LADIES of the band walked solemnly on, before they all BURST into "Karl Marx", another song about COMMUNISM and possibly the catchiest one i have ever heard. This was the start of a (REALLY SHORT) half hour of WIT, TUNES, BRAINS, LARFS, and general ACENESS. I tell you this, this band are PERFORMERS, i watched with GLEE, my BRANE a-tingle with JOY wandering what would come next, and me and the aforesaid Jack In My Socket spent most of our time turning round and GRINNING at each other. It was ACE - you see so many bands devoid of imagination who want to sound EXACTLY like everyone else and sing about EXACTLY the same subjects as everyone else (1. I like girls 2. I like drugs/beer/to rock 3. Er... that's it) that it's almost TOO MUCH to see a band who are SO VERY DIFFERENT.

There's also always much talk of bands having "Ambition" which usually means they want EITHER to Shift Units OR hire a string section, when the only AMBITION that means anything is the desire to DO MORE and REALISE the Sounds Inside Your Head. The other GRATE thing about the Lovelies is that they DO this - all their songs are RAM PACKED with IDEAS and they REALISE them - i tell you, these kids can PLAY, and what they PLAY is a thing of wonder and JOY to behold.

Also their drummer has DRUMMER FACE - when we played the Bull & Gate Emma was able to utilise the video to point out Tim's DRUMMER FACE i.e. he looks INSANELY yet COLDLY ANGRY throughout, and it was nice to note that the Drummer in The Lovely Brothers also has this. It was interesting to NOTE, and that's not something OFTEN said about Looking At Drummers...

ANYWAY, we RATHER enjoyed it, and tripped home with big silly GRINS on our faces singing their songs and BATHING in the afterglow of a GRATE GIG. I hope we do get to put their CD out, they were ACE.

posted by MJ Hibbett, 22.3.05
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New Song!
I've just realised, I didn't mention this yesterday when I intended to - there's a NEW SONG in the Song Blog and Annotations. It's called "Good Luck In Your New Job", and I wrote it on Wednesday night when i was trying to finish something ELSE off. I'm going to be on Steve Lamacq's final Sunday Session on 6Music on April 3rd, and they've asked me to write a SONG for the occasion, so i decided to write a song about starting new jobs... and this is it! As stated BELOW, I am rather PLEASED with how it turned out and, INDEED, Showcased It In The Live Environment last night!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 18.3.05
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Hello Lewisham!
I was due to head for distant LEWISHAM last night, but before i went i popped to the pub fro a quick drink with my little brother and his young lady. When I arrived a couple of their PALS were there, who were LOVELY, and asked why i had my guitar with me. Usually i just GRUNT something and change the subject, but this time i thought HEY! they asked, i shall tell them, so i did, and it was all very nice. When I left for the TRANE i wondered to myself, why DO i usually do that? Whenever people ask about What Do You Play and such like I always try and get away from it, YET at other times i WILFULLY try to shoe-horn it into the conversation. i PONDERED my own PSYCHE for a short while... but not for long, as i had to find the TRANE, and then had to concentrate on getting out at Lewisham, which, shortly afterwards, i DID.

I strolled through Lewisham, enjoying the sight of a POLICE CHASE and ARREST as i walked along, got to the Fox & Firkin, and was PLEASED to find my GAMBLE of turning up at 8pm rather than 7pm had PAID OFF, as everyone was still soundchecking and i got to spend 40 minutes reading my book rather 100 minutes as I otherwise would. I did a quick LINE CHECK, and then sat down with the small group of PALS who had arrived. It was LOVELY, a group of NICE people who i knew in different ways all sat together, all of whom had turned out ESPECIALLY. It was, as i say, LOVELY.

At 9.20pm it was SHOW TIME, and one of the guys running the evening introduced me by saying "Now here's a guy playing on his own - I always think this is a Really Brave Thing To Do, so let's have some quiet and respect." BLESS - it's nice to get the "You're very brave" thing in BEFORE i even start playing, but I think he was expecting something a bit more RESPECTABLE than what i went on to do... which was THIS:
The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
Red & White Sockets
The Perfect Love Song
Good Luck In Your New Job
Fucking Hippy
Clubbing In The Week
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Easily Impressed
Boom Shake The Room
To get technical, it was a Warriors Of Nanpantan SLANTED Uber Set, with the addition of BRAND NEW SONG halfway through, performed 25 hours after writing it. YES i was chuffed to be doing this, and i was EVEN MORE CHUFFED when it went down REALLY WELL. In fact, let us not mince our words here, it all went REALLY WELL. The room was pretty full, and all around me i could see people getting into it - one of the few who didn't was a chap sat RIGHT near the front who Talked Loudly and Danced Sarcastically for the first couple of songs (i like it when people do this - they forget, I HAVE A PA SYSTEM on my side, and thus will WIN!) but soon was DEFEATED. HA! There was a GRATE table of people sitting quite near the front who were all watching and GRINNING too, which is always nice, and my POSSE of PALS were stood near the front too, so i felt RELAXED and very happy INDEED. Easily Impressed got a PROPER audience participation bit and Boom Shake The Room ROCKED the house. HOORAH! It was really really GOOD - ZANG!!

Afterwards I got changed then did my usual Helpful Walk Around The Room, just in case anybody wanted to buy me a BEER or say i was GRATE (i know, i am a LIVING SAINT in this respect), which a few people did - mostly, i have to say, GURLS. I really LIKE it when this happens - now, I am VERY MUCH spoken for and blissfully happy to be so, so there's none of THAT going on, thank you very much, but somehow i think it COUNTS more when women like the gig. I don't know why, it's probably a leftover from the days when i really wished there WAS some of THAT going on, but there's also a lot less Stuck Up NESS about Women At Gigs than there is with Men At Gigs.

ANYWAY, as well as being ASSAILED by more people telling me i was very brave (and i have given up DENYING this now!) i suddenly got an INFLUX of GIG OFFERS. The Tsunami gig at the LA2 was spoken more of with MALCOM, mighty mentor of Orange and Blue studios and also the chap who kindly asked me to play, which should be GROOVY, and i will hopefully be playing some MORE gigs with the people who put last night's show on. They seemed KEEN on having me play in NEW CROSS in a week or two's time, which'll be good - yet another realisation i had last night is that i DON'T need to be so AFEARED of doing more gigs in LONDON. It's NOT like playing in Leicester, for instance, where you're relying on the same general POOL of people to come to all gigs, London is (stand by for GEOGRAPHY) actually quite a bit BIGGER (FACT!), and you get a very different crowd of people in LEWISHAM as you do in, say, BRIXTON. Yes, I know it is an OBVIOUS THING and probably LOTS of bands know this already, but to me is was a bit of a Clearing Of The Rain Clouds and View Into A More Relaxed Future.

Verily, it was a night of Me Realising Things That Might Appear Obvious To Other People and NO mistake! Most excitingly of ALL, in the GIG OFFERING STAKES, someone asked me whether I was playing The Edinburgh Festival this year. I don't know if I've already mentioned this, but YES, there is a chance that I might have a gig there, so i confidently said "Oh yes, I should think so", and then came a CROPPED when she asked where, or when, and i DID NOT KNOW. Turns out she is putting together a SHOW for a week up there and, i think, wants me to play! COR! That would be BLOODY FANTASTIC if it did come off, I'd LOVE to do that, so THRUST a CD at her and said "Yes please, that'd be GRATE!" Because it WOULD!

There then followed some more CHAT and watching of the second band called, I think, UpCDownCLeftCRightC (that's what it said on the webpage, I don't think it's right actually). They were an INSTRUMENTAL band so OF COURSE my first reaction was one of DREAD, but as it turned out they were DEAD GOOD - their first song sounded really Christmassy (and a chap who MAY WELL have been the DAD of one of them later told me it had been released as a Christmas Single) which put me in a good mood for the rest of the evening, it was LOVELY. The loveliness, however, eventually had to draw to a close so off i headed to the DLR station, finding a handy BUS on the way. Yes, i could have got the TRANE and probably got home a bit quicker, but DAMMIT i LIKE getting the Futuristic Monorail Through Mega City, ESPECIALLY at night-time when it is EXTRA COOL.

THUS i made my way to the FRONT so i could pretend to DRIVE, as did DUNCAN, who'd been at the gig and magically reappeared now, and as did a trio of DRUNK BLOKES, who ALSO wanted to pretend to drive. When they got on i thought "Oh no, a bunch of drunken wankers", then the guy pretending to drive said "Bloody hell! You know those bunch of drunken wankers we had with us on the way in? Now we're THEM!" How could anyone resist such a GRATE thing to say? I agreed and said "Yes, it is ALWAYS THE WAY" and then we had a GOOD OLD CHAT all the way to Canary Wharf - I told them about DOING GIGS and playing "Boom Shake The Room" (something i would never previously have done, they asked and i usually would just GRUNT and look out of the window, but i had LEARNT my lesson from earlier in the day, and also it still felt like CHRISTMAS) and they told me about BRICKLAYING. It was ACE!

Thus it was a very happy Hibbett who eventually got back to Leytonstone. It had not ONLY been a BLOODY GRATE Gig, it had also been an evening of MIND EXPANSION!

posted by MJ Hibbett,
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Two BBC Things
  1. Is it wise to let someone who's still AT school be Secretary of State for Education? I was just watching The Budget (in The Gym - Politics AND Healthy living!) but was DISTRACTED by Ruth Kelly appearing and looking VERY pleased with herself, obviously because she is currently missing GAMES afternoon.
  2. I've just been sent this article about City Centres which agrees almost ENTIRELY with our song City Centres. HA! Well done, THE BBC!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 16.3.05
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A New Family Member
I've just got back from the MATERNITY HOSPITAL OF ROCK, and am VERY pleased to announce we have a new member in The Validators family - Mr Eddy Bewsher!

Regular readers of this mighty missives may well recognise this manly moniker (WARNING: I am currently reading The Essential Silver Surfer, can you tell?) as Eddy is the chap who's sorted out all gigs in Hull, also our recent radio session there, and also also has recently taken up with MYSTERIOUSLY APPEARING at gigs around the country. The NEWS is that we're finally making our relationship OFFICIAL, and he is clambering aboard the good ship Validator as MANAGER!

Yes, MANAGER! Sounds PROPER doesn't it? As is our way, this DOESN'T mean he is going to start dangling people out of windows or walloping recalitrant promoters with a CRICKET BAT (although if he WANTS to do this i have a few suggestions...), rather he's going to INVESTIGATE a few Promotional Avenues for us, especially to do with what happens with the NEXT album. I have high confidence in his ability to DO this - indeed, within HOURS of his accepting this position he DEMANDED we write and record a RADIO HIT, so i think it is going to be FUN!

It's a long time since we've had someone NEW join THE TEAM, so it is all quite exciting - we'd actually talked about doing this for AGES, with Eddy AND amongst The Validators, and maybe that's why it took a while to SINK IN - yesterday when I got Eddy's email saying "YES!" I thought "Oh lovely, that's all right then" and it wasn't until last night that I thought "CRUMBS! Who KNOWS what AMAZING ACTS and DYNAMIC DEEDS Mr Bewsher will accomplish for us? LUMME!" Not wanting to put any pressure on him, but i'm sure that this time next year I shall be typing this on a GOLD ENCRUSTED KEYBOARD, with DIAMONDS on the SPACE KEY. Go EDDY!

posted by MJ Hibbett,
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www.qoled.com
After WEEKS of Not Getting Round To It, I've FINALLY completed the webpage for my New GRATE Idea - WWW.QOLED.COM.

It's based on one of our new songs, Quality Of Life Enhancement Device - if you read the lyrics you'll see i make mention of setting up a webpage to collect a few e.g.s, and asking people to email me their suggestions for QOLEDs. Well, this is IT! If you have a quick look at the site, you'll see that we've already had one suggestion of a Quality Of Life Enhancement Device, from a young man called T Pattison of Woodhouse Eaves, Leicestershire. He's even made his suggestion in RHYME, which wasn't my original idea but is SO VERY COOL that it IS NOW!

So yes, do please pop over to WWW.QOLED.COM and have a look (and maybe also a listen), and if you're suitably INSPIRED or INTRIGUED, ZAP me your own couplet. Go on, it'll be GRATE!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 15.3.05
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Gig Action
I had a sudden mad flurry of GIGS offered over the weekend ... well, I had two, and both of them are in London, but one of them is THIS THURSDAY so it's quite exciting - I'm playing at the Fox & Firkin in Lewisham, i am hitting the SOUTH.

Meanwhile I gradually moved forward with a couple of songs and generally RELAXED a bit. I must say it all feels WEIRD, like that feeling after you've done loads of exams when, for AGEs afterwards, you feel BAD about having fun because you're sure you ought to be REVISING or something. Actually, I still get that feeling and i haven't had to do exams for AGES...

Meanwhile the demoes have reached the Validators, and now we're gearing up to enter PHASE TWO of the album sessions i.e. Learning Some More Songs... which i haven't finished writing yet - EXAM PRESSURE!


posted by MJ Hibbett, 14.3.05
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Book Club
The start of this year has been pretty HECTIC and MAD - I've had LOADs of work on (i don't like to mention it, being a LIVING SAINT and all, but i have been working until 7 o'clock at night some nights and, as previously stated, that was NOT what I was signing up for when I joined Her Majesty's Academic Forces) and also lots of ROCK for which I need to travel. THUS many aspects of normal life, like getting home, hanging around with The Dimple In My Wimple, or Just Going To The PUB have fallen by the wayside a little.

HOWEVER things are now gently returning to normal - the BOTTLENECK of work i was doing has now been pretty much GOT through, the demoes are FINISHED, the gigs are DONE, and I've got a couple of weeks now when I'm not got much to do apart from go hang, hang out with The VeggieBurger In My Bap, or Just Go To The Pub. I know it's not very Rock & Roll to say so, but this is BLOODY GRATE, and every day just now is a joyous reaquaintance with Aspects Of My Life that i LOVE - last night, for instance, I went to the pub with my brothers, as i do EVERY Thursday night, except for the last five or six weeks. We argued, drank BEER, and went home, and it was MAGIC.

ANYWAY, with that in mind I thought today I might return to a theme long in ABEYANCE on these pages, i.e. BOOKS. Apparently, people who are DENSE and in Succesful Bands find LIFE ON THE ROAD to be a tedious process of travelling and then hanging round with nothing much to do. PERSONALLY i find it a GRATE opportunity to LOOK OUT THE WINDOW at the places you are travelling to, actually say HELLO to other people you meet (and goodness me, so very few People In Bands seem able to bring themselves to do this), and - hey HEY! - do some READING. On my recent forays into ROCK i have read some bloody GRATE books, so i thought i might SHARE some of this reading with you. It's like Richard & Judy, but without that Naming Things game the so degrades us as a species. Here we GO!

The Time Ships, by Stephen Baxter - Charlie from The Fighting Cocks got me into Stephen Baxter, he writes Big Proper Science Fiction about IDEAS and PEOPLE doing STUFF. I am repaying this favour by forcing JANE AUSTEN upon him - funnily enough, another book i read recently had a LOT to say about Science Fiction fans usually really enjoying Jane Austen, but not many Jane Austen fans liking Science Fiction. As i will tell anyone who wants to listen, this is because SCI FI opens your MIND to all SORTS of new ideas, if you'll let it, so most SCI FI fans are pretty open minded about things. HOWEVER the world of LITERATURE is very insular and closed and so its members SCORN genre fiction LEST they be caught reading something UNCOOL in the playground. ANYWAY, i got this book because I couldn't decide whether to get ANOTHER Stephen Baxter book or ANOTHER HG Wells (who i got into via The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen), and HAPPENED upon this combination, as it's a sequel to "The Time Machine". It's a HUGE book and i PLOUGHED through it as it is UTTERLY BRILLIANT and PACKED with IDEAS and EXCITEMENT and THORT. It's GRATE!

The Rotters Club, by Jonathan Coe - i read this because I loved the telly series so much, and read a review that said the BOOK had loads more in and was Cleverly Written. It did, and it was, and it was GRATE!

I Didn't get Where I Am Today, by David Nobbs - this is the autobiography of the chap who wrote Reginald Perrin, amongst other things, although I bought it thinking it was a novel. I read his book "Going Gently" AGES ago and thought it was utterly LOVELY, and though this wasn't quite as ACE as that was, it was still DEAD GOOD.

The Time Traveller's Wife, by someone whose name i have forgot - i got this one because, to be honest, it had the Richard & Judy Bookclub sticker on it, and I'd REALLY enjoyed that "Star Of The Sea" one that, I think, WON last year. Richard & Judy, they did not steer me wrong as this was the BEST book i have read in YEARS. MAN, it made me LARF loads and loads of times (out loud on the aeroplane to Cork, for instance, so people LOOK at me funny) and also CRY quite a bit (in the airport in DUBLIN, when a woman asked me to fill in a Questionnaire and I had TEARS running down my face - yes, i am NEW MAN! i BLUB in public, due to BOOKS!) and THINK and wonder about STUFF and all round have a FANTASTIC time of it. The last book i read that MOVED me so much and made me want to get everyone else to read it was "The Lovely Bones" (oh Richard & Judy! AGANE!), but this was EVEN BETTER. Everyone! Go and buy it! It's FAB!

The Jane Austen Book Club, by someone else whose name escapes - a bit of a come down really, another Richard & Judy and another one I'd seen on LOADS of adverts on the tube, and it was OK, all right, and not bad. Actually, the major emotion this ENGENDERED in me was a DESIRE to go and read either "Northanger Abbey" or "Sense & Sensibility" again, although it DID have that interesting thing about Jane Austen and Sci-Fi in it.

Yeah, BOOKS! Those are all my recent BOOKS what i have read. Books! They are COOL!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 11.3.05
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First Class
I headed on up to LEICESTER last night, and i travelled FIRST CLASS. Apparently it's all because of Network Rail being - GIRD yourself for a shock - utterly incompentent and unable to provide timetables of WORKS, so there's no cheap tickets available to pre-book on any trains, THUS the cheapest i could get was an Apex First Class ticket. I don't understand it either, but i was quite excited at the prospect, having only travelled in this way once many years ago. It was, i must say, Quite Good - you got free tea and coffee, like you always do on Midland Mainline, but in a PROPER CUP, and also free orange juice, biscuits, and WINE! FREE BOOZE! The seats were also much nicer, but i have to confess i found it all a little uncomfortable, as I was never sure whether that was IT, or whether someone'd be coming along to offer me more THINGS. I think this is the big CLASS DIFFERENCE - POSH people never worry about this, they always think there's going to be more THINGS coming to them as soon as they want them, as they EXPECT other people to SERVE them, whereas people like me DON'T. HENCE i get nervous in the sort of Restaurant where they take the wine AWAY and pour for you (i hate it when they do that) and tend to PANIC when i can't see anyone to ask for the BILL from. ALSO HENCE Posh people seem to spend most of their life being IRATE in shops because the person behind the counter DOESN'T think that they the consumer are the be all and end all of EXISTENCE.

ANYWAY, we reached Leicester, I had some CHIPS, and then popped to the Rainbow & Dove to wait for Tom to arrive. This was a pub i used to drink in YEARS ago when i was a student. It was a Proper Real Ale Pub, and also a proper Old People's Pub of the sort you don't seem to get anymore, where you have to WORK to be said hello to, and YOUNG PEOPLE are never even SPOKEN to... or maybe it's just that I'm one of the old people now who get wound up by the bunch of students in the corner talking to loudly. WHATEVER it was a pub i loved, and I was looking forward to a PINT. Imagine my horror when i discovered the whole place had been GUTTED, and not only had they removed the comfy old BOOTHS and smelly tables, but also the BEER PUMPS! There was no proper BEER at ALL! Even on the TAPS!

Staggered, i wondered down the road to the Ale Waggon, where The Regulars were openly mocking the opinions of The Landlord, and all was WELL. Tom arrived, we DISCUSSED items, and headed to the studio, bumping into Emma on the way, and discovering Mr Reverb ENSCONCED when we got there. Have I said WHY we were doing this? It was all to finish off the demoes we started a couple of months ago - we were supposed to have been in last month, but it got cancelled at the last minute due to the people who BOOK stuff at the studio not being able to do so properly. Last night was nearly cancelled for the same reason, as Kev was TEACHING, but he GALLANTLY came in afterwards, so that it was already 9pm by the time we started.

The lovely thing about doing recordings is that I get to hear what Tom and Emma are doing. Generally i try to concentrate on my OWN bits, especially the singing as otherwise i get all distracted, and i always hear The Rhythm Section because it's hard not to, but it's always a SURPRISE to find out what the other two have been up to. I was surprised and EXCITED this time, because what they had been up to was DEAD GOOD.

This whole "Learning The Songs" plan is not as INSANELY LUDICROUS as it may first have seemed, as both Tom and Emma had LOTS of BITS, and did pretty much the LOT in one take. My special favourite BITS are Emma's HARMONY singing throughout "Breaks In The Journey", when she sings "It makes life EASY" in "Quality Of Life Enhancement Device" (as i'd never realised she was doing it), Tom's DESCENDING in the third verse of "The Gay Train" and his Psychadelic COUNTRY PLAYING in "Lesson Of The Smiths". Actually, it was all dead good - we recorded extra bits for them both on the above plus "Never Going Back To Aldi's" and "The Fight For History", then Kev LIGHT SPEED mixed them, plus the BARE BONES of "Zipcodes" and "Girlfriend Alarmed" which we'd also done before. It was half past midnight by the time we finished, but I believe it was worth it, as it's all sounding PRETTY DARN GOOD to me today.

So there we go - 8 songs DEMOED, it's like being in a proper band!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 9.3.05
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New Song!
Crumbs, it seems like a LONG time since we've had a NEW SONG, but here it is, the first fruits of my CLEARING UP operation pre-Phase 2 Practices is "The Other Rush Hour", over in the Song Blog and Annotations. There is a LOT of it and it goes on for quite a while, I did try to end it a bit sooner but it turns out I had quite a lot to say, and quite a lot of BITS to use to say it. I've not actually played it to anybody yet, so I don't know if it'll be any good, but see what you think.

In other news - WHOO! I'm going to be playing on Steve Lamacq's FINAL Sunday Session on 6Music in April, and I'm going to try and write a new song for that too. Easter is going to be SING SONG A LICIOUS!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 8.3.05
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Housekeeping
In the spirit of Doing Things Properly, I've added a LINK to the Newsletter Archive to the left of the screen - yes, I know it's not much of an archive when there's only one issue in it so far, but TIME will change this into a valuable RECORD of DOINGS, I hope. As stated before, I'm going to try and make this a monthly thing, so do SIGN UP if you want to get it!

Whilst doing that I updated the GIGS page, removing the mini-tour I've just done, and as ever it made me SAD to see what was a list BURSTING with activity reduced to just a few outings. I'll be busy in the next couple of months with The Validators working on new songs, and goodness KNOWS it's going to be lovely to actually get to spend a bit more time at HOME with The Rock In My Roll, but I always have a bit of a PANIC when i see the gig list so reduced... I wouldn't like to see you, dear reading, worrying though, so FEAR NOT! There's a number of irons in various fires even as we speak, and i shall FACT you more as soon as i know it.

posted by MJ Hibbett, 7.3.05
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Jiggity Jig
Once more onto the road for me, as yesterday I headed back out again to SHEFFIELD for the Tapton Music Festival. All was well with the journey, as i got there with EASE, checked into my hotel (which wasn't perhaps the cleanest I've ever been in, or indeed the warmest - my dears i froze my funky ASS off there last night), and got on the TRAM for the University. From there I had directions to the Halls Of Residence where the thing was happening, but what they didn't tell me was that the location was ATOP A MOUNTAIN. HELL's BELLS it nearly DONE ME IN hiking all the way up there, and I arrived in a bit of an old sweat. I met Bob, the fine chap who had sorted out all my things, and was led into the VIP ROOM.

Oh yes! It was like being on the set of an Old People's TV Show, in an episode where Inspector Morse (or equivalent) had to solve a case AT an all day music festival, as seated all around the room were various young people SLOUCHED in In A Band poses, chewing on cigarettes, wearing regulation THE Band clothing, including several SILLY HATS. Bless, some of them turned out to be dead nice - i had a LENGTHY chat to The Smoking Hearts, for instance, but it was quite a striking sight to come upon, especially at such high altitudes where my BRANE was starved of Oxygen.

I was told that I'd be on at 8.45, as a CROSSOVER with a band in the other room starting at 9 o'clock "as we don't want people all being in the same room." I politely but firmly (i was about twice the age of everyone else there, so it came sort of naturally) asked to move my set forward a bit, as everyone being in the room while i was on was pretty much the IDEA as far as i was concerned, and once that was sorted out I nipped over the road for a pint, a jacket potato and a spot of watching Celebrity Fame Academy... er... whilst, obviously, consorting with cocaine laden prostitutes worshipping beelzebub. Obviously.

I got back just before my set was due to begin, and got a bit worried, then got set up. AGAIN i was firm but polite with the sound chap, who insisted that everyone would be able to hear my guitar, when _I_ couldn't hear it, leaning down with my ear next to it. "It's your pickup!" he said, when actually I think it was the 10W amp i was playing through, but i CRANKED it up a bit, and off we went. There was quite a roomful of people by this point, and the QUIETNESS of my voice worried me a little, but it turns out that Bob had been SPREADING THE WORD, and a DISARMING number of people seemed to know the words and SANG ALONG. I did "The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)" with a DISARMING amount of Joining In, and then was AGANE firm with the sound guys, and got them to turn me up some more - honestly, if things had carried on like that I would have started saying "I'm not upset, I'm DISAPPOINTED" and sending everyone to bed. HOWEVER, I launched into "Red & White Sockets" and starting ENJOYING myself. HOORAH!

BUT!! During "Clubbing In The Week" TERROR occurred - a STRING broke! This may not sound much, but when you are a SOLO ARTISTE lugging everything on the train, that means you've NO SPARE and not much you can do about it. I finished the song ACAPELLA and wondered if I'd have to do the REST of the set that way - i could feel, nay, HEAR the SWEAT cascading off the end of my nose and down the back of my neck, but then i noted a FINE YOUNG MAN striding forth with a SPARE GUITAR - PHEW! I did "Billy Jones", remembered that guitars need tuning, tuned it, then did "Perfect Love Song", "Fucking Hippy", "The Lesson Of The Smiths", "Easily Impressed" (with ENTHUSIASTIC joining in) and "Boom Shake The Room" at the end, which goodness me even got a CHEER, and loads of joining in at appropriate points. They even did an Accurate To The Original Recording "BO!" in that bit, and by now i was having so much FUN i leant back and everyone sang the CHORUS for me - it was ACE!

Afterwards a young lady RUSHED THE STAGE to give me a HUG and tell me it'd been GRATE, which is always nice, and then there was a steady stream of YOUNGSTERS who came up to buy CDs, it was LOVELY. One girl said she had TWO (2) siblings who were really jealous that she was there, as THEY liked me too - i was MOST impressed - and then I HELPFULLY wondered round the room a couple of times pretending to look for someone, just in case anybody else wanted to be nice to me. Yes, I am very good that way.

Afterwards I ATTACKED the FREE BOOZE, and had a chat with a young fellow called Chris who had come down especially from Liverpool to see me (and, I think, someone else too), and who asked if our conversation would get onto the webpage. Chris - yes, it did, look! There was some swanning around, some chatting to the various delightful people I had met (including one chap who was writing WORDS but not music, who i very sternly told to learn guitar as it'd make life easier - i was back to the BENIGN PATERNALISM i exercise in all these situations), and by 10pm I had had enough free BOOZE and was ready for bed. I wandered around saying bye bye to people, then got a TAXI down the mountain and down to my chilly boudoir.

It had been a BLOODY GRATE evening though - apparently they've had a festival like that every year, and I'm not surprised as it was ACE. Lucky sods who live there - they get a festival laid on IN THEIR HOUSE! With a proper PUB in it! I've never NOT had a GRATE time when I've been in Sheffield, and this was no exception. I might be going BACK again in a few months, maybe - i really hope i do. Sheffield, it ROCKS!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 6.3.05
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Revenge In Dublin
When last we spoke I was about to head for DUBLIN, and that is indeed what we did. Jim came round to the hotel to fetch me, and away we drove. It turns out Dublin is a LONG way from Cork, and it took about 3 and a half hours to get there, but LUCKILY the way was full of MOUNTAINS and CASTLES to look at, and also MUCH CHAT about a diversity of ISSUES - it turns out Jim used to run a Comic Shop, so not only did the journey pass at SPEED, but I was also able to wheel out all the SIMILES that nobody else ever understands e.g. in terms of playing gigs in new places I am like the Silver Surfer and The Validators are GALACTUS, EATER OF WORLDS!

Oh yes! We eventually got to Dublin about four o'clock, to the studio where we were recording a SESSION for Ana Livia (i think that's how it's spelt) - we got in, said hello, utilised the LOO (it may have passed quickly for the BRANE, but not for the BLADDER), tuned up, DID three songs, and then ran out again, for LO! THE JANITOR was coming to switch things off! We'd see Dave later, so me and Jim went and got ourselves some GRUB, then got me booked into a hotel (which was NICE, and had VERY PRUSSIAN people working there), and soon it was time to go back... to THE PUB!

We sat around having a chat, then Cillian turned up, also from the Radio Station, and also also someone who wrote a REALLY nice review of "Say It With Words" in Zeitgeist, about a MILLION YEARS ago. I remember it largely because it compared my SONGS to GOLDEN THREADS being WEAVED, and also because it was one of the only reviews we actually got for it when it came out, so i was very grateful. Me and him went upstairs and did an INTERVIEW, which i THINK was OK but may have MEANDERED a little... he only needed about 5 minutes of STUFF tho, and as I'd given him about 15 i think it will be OK.

The main band turned up and took ages soundchecking, and i got a bit PEEVED with them - this was unwarranted, as it later turned out that they didn't know I was supposed to be playing, but it DID mean that there was some NEGOTIATION to let me play at ALL, and when I did, halfway through, Jim had to come over and say "Er... two more songs". In some ways it was a bit of a shame to end up only playing about 15 minutes, BUT it did mean the second "half" of the set was a VERY LOUD version of "Fucking Hippy" and a ALSO VERY LOUD version of "The Lesson Of The Smiths" - i REALLY enjoyed myself i must say, and RELISHED the swearing. There were about 7% as many people there as had been the night before, and many of them were just THORT WISHING me to get off, but i REALLy enjoyed myself, it felt GOOD!

There'd been two chaps sitting near the front who were really into it, and apparently as soon as I'd finished they left - they must have been there ON PURPOSE to see me! COOL! But chaps - next time, come and say hello won't you? This applies to everybody, by the way - if you've come to see me, do come and introduce yourself. I LIKE it! That made me feel HAPPIER STILL, and i fell on my GUINESS with RELISH, before nipping out to ring The Harp On My Logo to tell her how it'd all gone. When i returned i found everyone except Cillian had gone to look for me, but then they came back and we said our goodbyes - Jim had been BRILLIANT I must say, not only he is a totally LOVELY CHAP but he got EVERYTHING sorted out. Thanks Jim!

Not wishing to go home just yet me and Cillian then went down the road to THE PUB, where i was AVENGED of YEARS of sitting in pubs with Irish people always saying the SAME THING. I'd been taken to this place because I'd been talking about drinking BASS (amongst MANY other things), so had a pint of that. I did this PURELY so that I could sit down, have a sip, and say "Oooh, it's not like it is at home you know", like a MILLION Irish blokes in Pubs EVERY NIGHT. HA! My revenge was short lived, however, as it really was a FOUL pint, so i went straight back to The Guiness - not only does it TASTE much nicer over there, it is also pronounced differently, with a THE at the start. It wasn't half nice, i could see what the fuss was about, but my INNARDS are STILL feeling the effects.

We sat and had a GRATE evening, topics included The Inherent Campness Of Robots, Billy Bragg Should Start Putting Some Effort Into His Lyrics Again, and The Nature Of The Universe. Over the past few days I've switched between talking A LOT to people I didn't know before, and sitting on my own, reading. I'm getting mental CHILBLAINS!

Eventually it was time to go, and I headed back to my hotel room, waking next day to find i had knocked a cup and saucer off the sideboard - not only that, but i didn't even bother to pick it up until I got back from BREAKFAST! ROCK AND ROLL MAYHEM! Rather than PANIC about buses i got a taxi to the airport, and was driven there by a Local Character, who swore the whole way, nipped through red lights, and showed my The Oldest Taxi Driver In Dublin - " Look at that cnut there - look! 92! Takes him 20 minutes to cross the fcuking road!" he said, amongst many MANY other things. He also told me Liverpool is only 27 miles from Dublin, which it very clearly ISN'T.

After that all was plain sailing really, there was a LOT of waiting round but handily i had a GRATE book - I finished David Nobbs autobiography on the plane over, and i spent much of the rest of the time reading The Time Traveler's Wife, which i must say was UTTERLY UTTERLY BRILLIANT. I know everybody else says so, but this is because it was TRUE - ooh, it was just LOVELY. On several occasions i LARFED out loud, and on several MORE i shed a few manly tears, and i even DREAMT about it. It's just bloody FANTASTIC, i HIGHLY recommend it.

And that is the end of this week's Richard And Judy Book Club... anyway, then it was aeroplane, Heathrow Express, two tubes and a quick stroll and i was HOME once again. As you can probably tell i had an UTTERLY GRATE time in Ireland, and i really hope I get to go back again. I sold no CDs or anything, but I did get to hang around with loads of LOVELY people and stretch my BRAIN quite a bit too, and I also saw some MOUNTAINS. It was BRILLIANT!

And now it's off to my Favourite City In Britain That I Have Never Lived In - SHEFFIELD! There won't be many mountains, but there's bound to be some lovely people there... I shall report back and let you know what happens!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 5.3.05
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Hello Cork!
Greetings from an interweb cafe in CORK! I haven't much time, so here are the main points:
  • Everything here is VERY SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT and it's FREAKING me out a bit. Even the traffic lights are VERY SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT.
  • Cork seems to be MAD about shop window dummies, there are millions of them everywhere and they all look disdainful, as if they are disappointed to have ended up in shop windows.
  • Yes, The Guiness DOES taste nicer.
  • It also feels less nice in the morning. Ow.
  • I was met at the airport by Jim Morrish, holding up a sign saying "MJ HIBBETT". I knew then that everything was going to be FINE.
  • I had tea in a Veggie Restaurant, and it turned out that The Chalets were sat at the next table to me. I knew then that everything would CONTINUE to be FINE.
  • The venue was ABSOLUTELY PACKED and i was TERRIFIED. I did the UBER SET, and it seemed to go OK, but it felt like REVERSO HULL - everyone was enthusiastic and clapped, but at the back of my mind i thought i was losing it. I sold precisely NO CDs, but gave quite a few away over the course of the rest of the night to lovely people who said how much they'd enjoyed it.
  • I also gave my email and a CD to someone from a Radio Station, then ten minutes later to someone ELSE from a Radio Station, who ran after me as i was leaving - either everyone round here has a radio station, or it's the local method of getting free CDs. It works!
  • At some point 2 copies of "Warriors Of Nanpantan" got nicked! I took this to be a very good sign indeed!
  • Walking home i kept bumping into really friendly people. One of these was a woman sat playing her guitar in the street, and I tuned it up for her. It all seemed very normal, and afterwards i felt a bit TOO RYE AY as i strolled home.

    So, in conclusion, Cork is LOVELY. The sun is shining and all is well in the world, although I do worry about Jim on the 2 hour journey to Dublin. That Guiness is powerful stuff!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 3.3.05
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    Across The Irish Sea
    I'm just about to head off to Heathrow, and thence to IRELAND, and my NERVES about the whole thing are hitting me NOW! What with being so busy at work and stuff I haven't really had time to think about it, but I've just this minute emailed off the things I've been working on and my brain has gone "aaah... now then, what's next? Oh yes - AAAAAAARRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"

    If I can get to an interweb portal while I'm over there then I'll keep you updated with FACT about how it's going, otherwise I'll try and get things sorted when I get home on Friday, before i zoom off to Sheffield on Saturday. It's a mini-tour! AGAIN!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 2.3.05
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