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MJ Hibbett & The Validators

As Seen On The Interweb

(now with added Song Blog and Annotations)


Validator Action
The text messages were buzzing up and down the Midland Mainline route last night, as Tom kept me informed of his progress in The Studio. He was in Memphis last night with Mr Reverb to record his final parts for the album. A couple of weeks ago he went in and recorded piano and violin for "Mental Judo" and a trumpet-esque bit for "Girlfriend Alarmed", and last night he did some new violin tracks for "The Gay Train" and then got them all onto CD before heading off to Derby to pass them on to Mr Frankie Machine for mixing.

I was EXTREMELY impressed to hear of all his activity, and it made my heart GLAD to know that I'm in SUCH a GRATE band that can all go off and get things DONE individually like this if need be. Verily, we are like G-FORCE.

Did anybody else see the documentary last night about Harold Wilson? EH? WHAT? BLIMEY! WHAT?!?

It was basically the story of how two journalists failed to expose a planned military coup against Harold Wilson, and i spent most of the programme with my MIND BOGGLING. To start with it wasn't that interesting, until about halfway through when you realised everyone was talking quite calmly about a proposed military coup that NEARLY HAPPENED. Here were grim faces from the Tory past like William Waldegrave and Jonathan Aitken quite happily talking about hearing of such things, and mixing with the people who were plotting the military take over of the country, as if it was just another bit of jolly old 1970's nostalgia. They had ONE OF the MANY retired military figures who had their own private army, ready to seize power - he looked like the complete stereotype of THE BARMY MAJOR, moustache boggly eyes and all, but he DID have thousands of men at his command ready to take up arms and kill people in order to, basically, protect the wealth of the Aristocracy.

And all through it everyone was quite happy to accept that Lord Mountbatten was going to lead the coup, and had even popped over to the Queen Mother to check that she wouldn't mind! And obviously she didn't!

I was stunned by it - as the programme said, nobody's ever been charged with anything (e.g. TREASON) and none of the "very senior" figures in the military have even been disciplined. It seems that the election of Ted Heath reassured them that their POTS OF CA$H would be safe, and so they pulled back. BLOODY! HELL!!

It's one of those moments when you pull back and realise that, actually, the artistocracy are there not because they're jolly benevolent charity workers or harmless old duffers, but because they're a bunch of semi-crazed ruthless bastards who'll stop at nothing to protect their own interests.

I've a good mind to hand my Jubilee Mug back!


It Only Works Because You're Here
It's all busy busy busy here, as I'm beavering away both to do the extra work I've taken on the PAY for the album and single but also to sort out the multimedia bits that'll go on them. It's all looking pretty good, but it's not the most thrilling thing to have to do.

However, alongside all this Effort and Work the CREATIVE JUICES once again flow as over in the Song Blog you'll find the first new song of the year, "It Only Works Because You're Here". It's a lovely little song this one I must say, I've been singing it to myself ever since I finished writing it last week and playing it whenever I've had the opportunity. As is fairly obvious from the lyrics it's based upon the SUPERPOWER that all IT guys get after a while - if someone's computer is broken it can often be fixed by standing beside it's owner and saying "LO! Show me what is wrong!" and it will suddenly start working again.

Some people have tried to persuade me that this is because the user actually concentrates on what they're trying to do when a computer guy is stood behind them and thus does it properly, but personally I like to think of it as MAGIC. I've been thinking about all this quite a bit lately due to the GRATE programme "The IT Crowd", which is ACE and FUNNY and also VERY TRUE. I was just getting ready for work the other day whilst thinking about it and caught sight of myself in the mirror, dressed COMPLETELY stereotypically for my line of work and thought "HA! COMPUTER GUY!"

For some reason my brain went FTANG! and the idea for the entire song LANDED upon me there and then, and by the time I'd finished cleaning my teeth I'd got it all worked out, including the tune for the chorus. I spent a week or so actually writing it mind you, as I wanted to make sure it was RIGHT, and I was especially trying NOT to make every line 300 syllables long and impossible to sing. ALSO I spent a while trying out Actual Different Ways To Play It, with rhythms and that, which is a bit unusual for me playing stuff on my own, but I think it WORKS. I can't wait to get my next gig sorted out when I can play it - i want to see what people think to it, for LO! i LOVE it!


In The Conference Room
Sunday afternoon found The Validators gathered in Woodhouse Eaves for a MEETING to discuss relevant issues for the forthcoming RELEASES. Usually for these sort of things we have an AGENDA - it's not very rock or roll, but it IS very handy, especially when you're wont to get a bit over-excited and start arguing about what we're all going to where on Top Of The Pops - but this time we had gone MUCH further. There'd been talk beforehand of getting a Data Projector sorted out, which I thought was a joke but NO, Mr McClure arrived with one he'd borrowed from work. Tim, however, had surpassed himself - not only had he got us a real-live projector screen, he'd also set up their dining table in full CONFERENCE MODE. Glasses, bottles of water (which me and Emma had picked up on the way), pads and pencils for all were provided, as well as NIBBLES. Even better, Tim had prepared a PRESENTATION for when he took us through the album design, which made me feel a bit guilty about NOT doing so for my bits.

It was GRATE. For about 2 seconds we all sat round going "Ho ho! Look at us with our conference table, are we not KRAZY?" then GOT DOWN TO IT and ROCKED HARD. I sometimes wonder if maybe we are not fulfilling our full potential by being content merely to ROCK - with the skills base, teamwork and DOWNRIGHT DYNAMISM of the five of us together one can only think that there are NATIONS out there who would benefit from our RULE.

We got a whole lot decided - the biggest item to come from it, for us at least, was that the EP is now NOT going to be an EP, it's going to be a DOUBLE-A-SIDE SINGLE! I know this is pretty much the same as before, but the reasons behind the change are pretty big for us - it's NOW going to be "Better Things To Do/Hey Hey 64K" (not "A Fridge Full Of Nice Things"), with "Leave My Brother Alone" and "The Other Rush Hour" as b-sides (not Other Tracks On The EP). It's all to do with FOCUSSING it as... well, as a proper single really, so we can use it to PUSH the album itself. It'll still have the extra stuff on the multimedia, but it DOES mean we've got to re-re-design the cover.

We then went through design decisions for both single and album, tentatively arranged dates for release of single (26th June), album (10 July) and then THE TOUR (w/c July 21st - diarise NOW!), worked out a schedule of EVENTS to achieve this, argued about t-shirt designs (GET! US!), debated points to TOUR to, and formalised ideas for the running order of the album. It was, in fact, a MAMMOTH SESSION but we got a whole HECK of a lot done, and I believe we all went away PLEASED, and also more than a little bit pleased with OURSELVES for being such a MIGHTY TEAM. Reader, I was PROUD of us!

Now i've got about eight weeks of BIG EFFORT and WORK to do - let's GO!

Weekend of ACTION!
My weekend started on FRIDAY, as I'd taken the day off so i could join other members of The Mysterious Organisation Known Only As "The Lunch List" on a journey... UNDERGROUND. One of our number is an employee of London Underground, so was able to arrange us a trip into Down Street Station, an abandoned tube station on the Piccadily Line just down the road from Green Park.

It was WEIRD, and also EXCITING. It was closed in the 1930s, used briefly as temporary HQ for THE WAR CABINET (until the proper bunker was built), and then pretty much left alone. Every now and again you'd see remnants of the war, like a raised area in the corridor down to the platforms that was used as the typing pool, and we also saw the LOOs that were built for the Cabinet, and the tiny poky little offices that got built on the disused platforms. There were ancient signs painted on the walls, both for the war use and for the original platform, and if you ignored the fact that it was so dark and filthy it was almost like being in a normal station after dark.

The best bit was when we got down to the platform and trains went by - OH the HILARITY! We had to turn off our torches so as not to distract the driver (it would be awful if they lost control of the STEERING, i guess), but as soon as he'd gone by we could switch them back on, point the upwards beneath our faces, and wave at the passengers going "WHOOO!!! We am the TUBE GHOSTS!"

This stayed funny FOREVER. An odd thing was how EXCITED we got about being near the tube trains. "Ooh! this bit of the platform is open to the track!" we cooed, "Er... just like it always is. But look! here comes a TRAIN! Er... just like the ones we all took to get here." We also got to stand right at the end of the platform, where only staff can usually go, so we were SLIGHTLY further away from passing trains than we'd usually be on a platform. I guess it was cos it was so ILLICIT, but it was REALLY exciting!

Then we wandered back up to ground level, the small group of us tromping up another abandoned corridor towards the old lift shaft (which looked like a BADDIE'S LAIR, also like a DURAN DURAN video) past was what MYTHICALLY a blocked up entrance to a SECRET TUNNEL to Whitehall. In the pub afterwards we all GOGGLED at the thought that there's LOADS of these places under London, and plenty of other tunnels, sewers, and underground LAIRS that most of us know nothing of. It was all rather THRILLING!

I then headed off to the station to meet The Track In My Tunnel, and off we headed to LEICESTER, where we enjoyed a MARVELLOUS weekend of relaxification and SIGHTSEEING. Despite me having lived in Leicester for 14 years I'd never been in the Cathedral, so we had a look at that, then The Guildhall, before a gentle stroll around the new Cultural Quarter. On the way we ATE, we popped into The Orange Tree, and we finished up with a visit to the Jewry Wall Museum. It was like a Museum from childhood - some FASCINATING things, but all hemmed in by ODDNESS, like cases containing DOLLS dressed in random historical costume, or some toy soldiers stuck to some green baize or, my favourite bit of all, "From The Stores". This was a random collection of STUFF, like American Indian Arrows for instance, that bore no relevance to anything else, but happened to be there. It was like a journey into the past OF journeys into the past.

In the evening we enjoyed a DELICIOUS curry, and next day availed ourselves further of the hotel's SPA facilities before DIVIDING. The Times In My Timetable headed home, whilst I got the bus to Woodhouse Eaves, there to MEET with The Validators...

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