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The News Is On The Street
It's that time of the month again, and the newsletter has just gone out, PACKED with FACT this time about the TOUR I seem to have accidentally booked myself on for the next week, and a TON of other stuff.

The last thing I added to it was a vague mention of an EXCITING IDEA I've had for Corporate Synergy between our next single, our next video, and My Exciting Life In ROCK. It came about after a STUNNING REALISATION i had with regards to the unreleased tracks that will be PART of the show, and how I could combine releasing them with a Value For Money Package for people who COME to the show and want to buy stuff afterwards. I THINK it is as a Pretty Darn Good Idea, but i am THRASHING out the finer points of it with The Vlads at the moment, so had best leave it there for now. Suffice to say: I am VERY excited about it!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 30.4.08
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I Did The Show Right Here
For several weeks now I have been PONDERING the content of my SHOW: "My Exciting Life In Rock". In various showers, trains, lavatories and workplaces I have been gently ruminating on how it would work, what songs would go in, and what stories it should include, HEAVILY influenced throughout by the wise words of Mr S Hewitt: "The best songs and the best stories".

Last week I managed to work out a rough SETLIST and over the following days gradually pieced together a rough idea of the stories - BITS of which I've tried out at recent GIGS. An Epiphanaic Moment in the SHOWER (best place for it: easily cleaned up) made me realise EXACTLY how I could make the whole thing hang together, and TONIGHT I sat down with the most recent DRAFT of the whole thing and did myself a RUN THROUGH. Here, chez moi, I sat in my room and TOLD the stories to an audience of guitars, computer peripherals and boxes of unsold CDs, PERFORMIMG each of the songs in full as they came along.

And blow me backwards but it WORKED! It DID seem to have some kind of point to it, the stories DIDN'T go on for hours with rubbish jokes, and the songs ACTUALLY MADE SENSE being where they were! I even TIMED it at 55 minutes, pretty much EXACTLY the right length, with a song near the start i can easily REMOVE if need be, and a song I can stick on at the end if it runs too short.

I am really really chuffed, and to prove it here is a picture of me sitting on my new Rolling Stones Bar-Stool (ROCK) clutching the very piece of paper it was all contained on:

I know you can't SEE The Show, but it IS there, honest!

Oh my oh my but I am a) pleased b) RELIEVED about that - you can probably tell. Now all I need to do is try it out a few times, get The Validators to learn it for the Indietracks version, book somewhere to stay in Edinburgh while we do it, and somehow persuade people to come and see it. But the hard bit, that's DONE!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 29.4.08
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Super Monday!
You discover us today as a band DEPLETED of CA$H, for this day is the one known for e'er forth as SUPER MONDAY!

SUPER MONDAY! The day that both The Fall AND Half Man Half Biscuit release albums, and thus send at LEAST 60% of The Validators to record shops to, on average, by 1.67 albums EACH (I'm not that keen on The Fall). That is, of course, assuming that none of us got copies last week in Nottingham at a gig OR - terrifyingly - were SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM by ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADING!

I'm now verging on my THIRD listen of "CSI:Ambleside" and, as ever, what sounded a bit familiar and vaguely disappointing on first listen is maturing into GRATENESS, with "Bad Losers On Yahoo Chess" the FIRST to become my absolute favouritest, and several others queued up to take over. NOTHING, however, IN THE WORLD will ever be better than the Pam Ayres' Pattis Smith tribute album on the inner sleeve. EVER.

Meanwhile, let us all PRAISE HEAVEN for the mercy that means The Wedding Present AREN'T releasing an album today. If that were ever to happen, we'd be financially RUINED!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 28.4.08
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You find me SLEEPY once again today, as last night I went out for BEERS with my good friend Mr Myland - normally this would be nothing but DELIGHT, but this time i was already KNACKERED from Totally Acoustic the night before, so I fear I did not stay the course, even though we were in a pub doing St George's Day Beer Offers WITH an extra 50p off for CAMRA members! 2 pounds a pint!!

SIDEBAR: this whole business of "Ooh, we're proud to be English, let's celebrate St George's Day in a stroppy show-offy way" - it's not very, well, ENGLISH, is it? In the pub last night they had loads of flags hanging up, which was just a bit TACKY, and some of the bar staff had been forced to wear red and white jester's hat. I don't want to be UNKIND, but it was all a bit AUSTRALIAN. Still, at least that's better than many of the ONLINE versions, which predictably degenerate within MINUTES to people saying "Thiss is surpossed to be Engerland for ther Englash! Vote BNP!"

I personally think we should celebrate our national DAY in the national WAY: at home, with a cup of tea, NOT MAKING A FUSS.

ANYWAY, in jollier news, there are now a few PICTURES from Tuesday night up on FLICKR, courtesy of Warren. Especially pleasing: Frankie Machine, caught in possession of a ukelele!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 24.4.08
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The Lamb
It was Totally Acoustic last night, so I strolled up to Kings Cross to pick up Mr Francis Albert Machine and together the two of us set off like TROUBADORS, with guitars on our backs and a song in our hearts.

This image was only SLIGHTLY spoiled by us stopping for CHIPS, and Frankie having a battered saveloy, but only SLIGHTLY, and soon we were back on the road, arriving at The Lamb to find my REGULARS were gradually arriving. That's ONE of the MANY nice things about Totally Acoustic, the bunch of people who come every time - it's almost as if it's a universal excuse for a medium piss-up with pals, with a bit of some bloke shouting over a ukelele to get through first, but that can't be right, can it?

We went upstairs and got set up, more people arrived, and I PANICKED as I suddenly thought "What if LOADS of new people come and there isn't room for [the aforesaid] REGULARS to sit down?" For LO! as every pub landlord knows, You've Got To Look After Your Regulars, so I went back downstairs and forced them to come upstairs early.

Needless to say, PANIC was unrequired, and it was a snugly PLUMPED room full of full seated people who heard me do THIS on the ukelele:
  • Another Man's Laundry
  • (insert title here)
  • Friday 13

  • Despite THE FEAR I think it went pretty well, especially as it was such an OBSCURE-A-RAMA of songs i've not done for YEARS. I made a bit of a mess of Friday 13, but I think that was OK as at least it meant Frankie could come on and show how his songs SHOULD be played...

    ... which he very much DID, it was LOVELY. I like the way he does such gentle/sad/intricate songs yet carries the entire room with him through a) the POWER of the songs themselves and b) the bits in between when he's both low-key and ASSURED, also CHARMING. It was a lovely set, even though i was a TINY bit DEVASTATED by him using my ukelele to deliver a DAMNING CRITIQUE on ukeleles themselves... although the FACT he played it so nicely and made it sound so GOOD does make me wonder if he's maybe being SWAYED by it?

    Then it was break time, during which we pondered the possibility of The Lamb offering pre-ordered Interval Drinks, as EVERYBODY going downstairs in one go does make for quite a big queue at the bar.

    Once everyone was settled back upstairs I did THIS:
  • I Come From The Fens
  • Fucking Hippy
  • Professional, Competetent, Rocking And Tight
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • Girlfriend Alarmed
  • It Only Works Because You're Here
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • Boom Shake The Room

  • Again, QUITE a lot of obscure-style stuff, especially Professional, Competetent, Rocking And Tight which has only ever been released on TAPE, but which I thought I'd have a go at for possibly inclusion in THE SHOW. There was actually quite a LOT of THE SHOW in there, as I had a go at some STORIES - last time I did Totally Acoustic I actually worked out an almost STAND-UP ESQUE bit of story, which was OK, but seemed to work better a couple of weeks later when I Abandoned Routine and just told the story, so did THAT for all of them this time. It seemed to work, especially when I UNEXPECTEDLY ended up doing the story of The Retro-Gaming Convention at the end. This was helped along by Warren (fresh from his triumph performing The Music Of The Future as a duet with Frankie) VALIDATING events.

    And then it descended - NAY, ASCENDED - into PUB as we all sat around discussing Doctor Who, Musical Instruments, Beer Festivals and, a little embarrassingly at the end of the evening, how much The Bow Of My Violin and i LOVE Pocketbooks. It's all very well shouting "I LOVE POCKETBOOKS ME" until you realise that one of them is sitting about six feet from you, looking slightly alarmed at this outporing!

    So yes, it was a BRILLO evening of lovely people, good times, and BEER. This morning tho, TIRED - how come it's the EARLY gigs that end up being the LATEST nights?

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 23.4.08
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    Over at the marvelous Indie-mp3 there's a SOMEWHAT LENGTHY interview with ME, in which i go on and on about all SORTS of things. I THINK i do not come across as TOO much of a self-obsessed wazzock during the course of it, but have a look and see for yourself!

    Meanwhile, it's Totally Acoustic tonight, with the ever melodious Mr Francis Albert Machine. I've had a PROPER practice for this and will be playing LOADS of songs I've not played for YEARS, so do pop along if you get the chance, I will need the moral support!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 22.4.08
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    Oldham 99.7FM
    You find me today relaxed and refreshed after a, frankly, rather SLOTHFUL weekend, for LO! I entered my house on Friday evening and did not emerge, not even to pop out the back door, until Monday morning. And it was GRATE!

    Much ACTION was undertaken mind you, not least practicing for tomorrow night's Totally Acoustic gig, for which I am doing SEVERAL songs I've not done for a good long while, ALSO some more bits trying out for The Show. I also recorded a SESSION for The Download Show on Oldham Community Radio, with acoustical versions of Professional, Competent, Rocking And Tight, Do The Indie Kid and Hey Hey 16K. The BEST bit was overdubbing some extra bits onto the Music Of The Future section of Do The Indie Kid, MAN ALIVE but that was a LOT of fun. The trouble with Music Of The Future is that it is SO much fun and SO easy that it tends to leave Music Of The Present sitting on its own in the corner, looking slightly sad, perhaps regretting its own youthful mockery of Music Of The Past.

    And then there was cooking and telly and packaging of singles - thanks VERY much for everyone who leapt in and bought the Newly Discovered copies of Born With The Century, I'm now down to three copies, so if you'd like one NOW would be the time to make your feelings known!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 21.4.08
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    More Vinyl
    In the course of CORPORATE WIDE STOCKHOLDING (also know as "opening a box in Tom's front room") I have discovered FRESH STOCK of the Born With The Century 7" single. It was the very FIRST Validators release, featuring the title song along with the original version of Billy Jones Is Dead as well as Another True Story on the b-side. I've only got EIGHT of them, so if you'd like one get in quick!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 18.4.08
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    Ongoing Deletion
    We're still on the front page of YouTube UK, which is all RATHER exciting, although it does mean I'm STILL getting piles of wazzocks leaving comments. If that was all it was then i could cope, but yesterday we started getting video responses too - this APPEARS to be a mechanism where you can... well, make your own response to a video in the form of another video, but ACTUALLY it's a way for people to stick a link to their own stuff directly on somebody else's page, whether it's relevant or, more likely, not.

    It's basically the Modern Futuristic version of the quaint olde practice of putting MASSIVE images in the comments section of other people's Myspace pages, except that having not had a video that anyone really wanted to look at that much lately, I was UNAWARE, so went and LOOKED at loads of these to see what was going on... and spent several minutes feeling firstly FLATTERED and then gradually thinking "But... this is nothing to do with our video and a) was done before Indie Kid went up anyway and b) bloody awful!"

    It was all a bit annoying, so I PLUMPED for Moderating Comments, which means that by the time I get an email telling me that we've had a video response it has DISAPPEARED, as they realise it's moderated and so won't get through! It ALSO means that normal comments are moderated, and I can't help noticing that the STUPIDER the comment, the MORE times someone will post it before they work out why it isn't going straight onto the webpage!

    Still, apart from this light chafing it's all really rather lovely, and now that it IS moderated it seems that the nice comments FAR outweight the stupid/hideously offensive ones. HOORAH for the interweb!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 16.4.08
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    YouTube Fun
    As mentioned yesterday, Do The Indie Kid is currently one of the Featured Music Videos. This means that suddenly hundreds of people are watching it, and almost as many are leaving comments...

    ... which means that I spent a large proportion of Sunday clicking "REMOVE" to get rid of some of the more unpleasant ones. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Freedom Of Speech and all that, but GOODNESS ME there are some not very nice people TYPING on the interweb, some of the things I removed were horrible. Some of the ones I have LEFT, mind you, aren't exactly awe inspiring in their mental dexterity - here's some of my favourites:
    "its not loading so i can't watch it so i'll watch later"

    "i think you need to act a bit more proffesional with the videos! it deters me from watching it!"

    "Not my kinda music. Sorry. :/ "

    there miming most of them,a cheek really

    "The one thing that stuck in my mind was stripey mans big tits.lol "

    I don't know WHAT that last one's on about... and good grief, is it THAT difficult to work out the difference between "their" and "there"? I mean, i am VERY AWARE that this very blog is somewhat prone to misspelligns and poor tpying, but the whole "their"/"there" thing is ENDEMIC. Come on, The Kids, sort it out!

    Some of the comments are very nice, mind you, and some of them make Amusing and Salient Points, for instance:
    "like a load of pissed teachers in the staff room "

    "Did the world really need another half man half biscuit? I mean the original is already so perfect... "

    I can't argue with either of those ones!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 14.4.08
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    Goodness me, if you go to the front page of the UK version of YouTube NOW, you will find Do The Indie Kid! BLIMEY! It's also in the Featured Music Videos section - higher up than Mick & Keith! HO!

    In other video news, my complete GIG from Friday night is now viewable HERE, should you have almost exactly half an hour spare. As reported yesterday, I really do appear to be enjoying myself a LOT throughout!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 13.4.08
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    The Perseverance
    Across town, under a flyover and round the corner and I was at The Perseverance last night, for my gig at Freedom Of Expression. They have a BRILLIANT system for booking gigs - you log onto their online Gig Booking programme which shows you where there's free slots and you just book yourself in. PEASY! I got upstairs to find Tim, the architect of this system, fiddling about with leads so popped downstairs to the pub, a PROPER BOOZE, for a much needed supply of Hair Of The Dog.

    We had a soundcheck and gradually the other acts appeared, and when we were all sorted out he asked if anyone had any preference for where they wanted to go in the line up. Everyone else was being polite, so i said "SECOND!" The others GROANED as i had BAGSIED the best spot but all was WELL, and I nipped out again for some CHIPS.

    Chips came from one of the poshest chippies i have EVER been in - too posh, really. In the "kitchen area" (chip shops shouldn't really HAVE a "kitchen area") lots of men dressed like CHEFS darted around shouting orders at each other - it was still a CHIP SHOP for heaven's sake, it's not like they're going to do anything particularly difficult is it? "Chef, what shall I do with this?" "Batter it and fry it." "And what about this dish?" "Batter it and fry it." "And the cordon bleu Mars Bar?" ALSO it meant the queue took AGES, and it took me about 10% of the time to EAT my chips and mushy peas as it did to BUY them. Do not misunderstand me, they were very nice chips and mushy peas but really, not THAT nice.

    Back to the venue and things were soon commencing, and people started coming in including Stephen who'd heard me on XFM the night before and, DYNAMICALLY, rounded up some pals and come along. Also arriving was Alex from Southampton who's been getting stuff from me for yonks and happened to be in town and so, also DYNAMICALLY, rounded up some pals and come along. Both of them: DEAD COOL.

    Soon it was time for me to get started, and we began with a CHAT between me and Tim, when he asked a couple of questions - he'd emailed me them before (Have you anything to sell? Have you a website? What is a fascinating fact about you?) but I didn't know it was for recreating live, so had to struggle to remember. The fascinating fact was that I went to Poly with the new voice of Mr Tickle from The Mr Men, which i have recently discovered, and got to NICK a joke from Gideon Coe's show ("For the young people - a Polytechnic was like a University, only MUCH cooler"). He also got everyone to raise and lower their arms to indicate whether the temperature was too warm or too cold... which made it look like a slightly camp Nazi rally.

    ANYWAY, soon i was OFF, and this is what i did:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
  • I Did A Gig In New York
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • It Only Works Because You're Here
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • It was really good. Oh HANG it - let the ego run rampant, it was REALLY REALLY DEAD GOOD, and I had a LOVELY time. Beforehand I had been pondering as follows: I have always had a hang-up about bands who play to the same audiences, as they're SAFE and REASSURING and thus can make you SLACK, so I always TRY to do gigs outside the "scene" (As It Were), like this one. HOWEVER: the thing is, "scene" gigs ARE safe and reassuring because they're usually GOOD, whereas playing a night like this - which, to be honest, was more or less a FOLK NIGHT - can be a bit SCARY and, if everything goes wrong, it can be REALLY DEPRESSING.

    SO, i was worried about it, also still HUNGOVER from the night before... but as ever, The Healing Power Of ROCK did its magic, and I was soon feeling in FINE FETTLE. I knew it was going to be good when people started laughing during the VERSE of The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B), and so rather than do the planned song next (The Gay Train) I decided to have a go at a MUCH (MUCH!) shorter version of the STORY around I Did A Gig In New York that I'll be doing for "My Exciting Life In ROCK". It seemed to work, and after that it was all GAGS and SINGING ALONG and just an all round GOOD TIME. HOORAY! My favourite bit was when I introduced It Only Works Because You're Here as a song about love in the IT community, "a subject not covered very much in popular song, for some reason." A woman near the front LARFED and I said "Aaah... the cruel laughter of women!" I know it doesn't seem particularly funny now, but at the time it WAS, honest!

    So yes, a lovely time was had by ME and hopefully other people, and Tim the promoter seemed please. The next act came on with a rather GROOVY box thing that was miked up as an ENTIRE DRUMKIT, which was rather impressive, and I sat back happily to watch them - I was feeling SO much better by this point, and anyway I had to stay to the end as my iPod was being used to supply the interval music! THUS i also got to enjoy "The Temptations: The Ultimate Collection" sporadically through the night and, at the end of the evening, a blast of Wings' "Venus And Mars".

    If only all gigs could end that way! If only all gigs were as LOVELY as this one - HOORAH!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 12.4.08
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    Welcome B3tards!
    This week's edition of B3TA arrived in my inbox half an hour ago, featuring the Do The Indie Kid video and ALREADY 400 more people have been and looked at it. If you're one of those people and you've popped along here afterwards WELCOME! We have a wide range of resources and FACT, including our well-stocked SHOP, packed with SPECIAL OFFERS.

    In other news I got TWO excited Myspace Messages this morning from people who'd heard Do The Indie Kid on XFM last night. I am WELL chuffed about this, especially as a) on checking the playlists I saw Mr John Kennedy had played us on Wednesday night too and b) on the Listen Again he sounded really pleased to play it, and said "it's good, isn't it?" Aaah, thanks Mr Kennedy!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 11.4.08
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    The Code Of My Highway and I arrived outside Gramaphone last night to find a Legend Of Indie Rock lurking around, smoking a fag. Close examination revealed it to be Mr Phil Wilson, whom we'd come to see - HOORAH! We went inside and met Pam too, and MARVELLED at their joint slenderness, it was MOST impressive, also all round lovely to see them, as they are ACE. There was chat, there was BEER, there was more chat and it was all rather delightful.

    The DELIGHT continued as we went downstairs and met yet more lovely people, had yet more beer, and saw the very mighty Pocketbooks. I have spoken before of how GRATE they are, and this is because they ARE very GRATE indeed, and the pair of us had a vigorous swaying around to them that verged on DANCING. It was BRILL!

    After them Mr Wilson came on, EXCITINGLY with not one but TWO June Brides in tow, introduced his set by saying "Hopefully you can Do The Indie Kid to this" - ZOINKS! - and went on to be FANTASTIC. It's very strange knowing him NOW as a lovely chap to be suddenly reminded that he really IS an Legend Of Indie Rock, as all around us people were singing along, grinning like LOONS, and DANCING. OH, the DANCING! There was a LOT of it, especially at the end when Pocketbooks came on and did "Lee Remick" and "In The Rain" for the encore - it was the best bit of a BRILLIANT evening!

    This morning: NOT so brilliant. I KNOW that drinking wine and then going off to drink LAGER is a bad idea, as indeed is drinking LAGER anyway, so why do i do it? OH! The REGRET!

    posted by MJ Hibbett,
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    Radio 2
    HOORAY! That nice Mr Steve Lamacq played Do The Indie Kid on his Radio 2 show last night!

    It was RATHER exciting - i had retired to bed in time (i thought) to listen to the whole show, only to hear him say "If you've just tuned in, we're on half an hour earlier from now on." Aha! THEN he said "Later in the show, music from [someone], [someone else], MJ Hibbett and [name obscured by me squeaking]". I DASHED downstairs and DRAGGED The Frequency Of My Broadcast up to bed so we could sit and LISTEN when it came on, and when it did: ZOINKS! I found myself getting NERVOUS, waiting for the The Music Of The Future section - would this be ALLOWED on Radio 2?

    It was! It sounded GRATE! HOORAY!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 10.4.08
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    Spreading The Word
    ITEM! Rather excitingly, the video for Do The Indie Kid is making its way around the interweb, with various people blogging it such as the venerable Freakytrigger, Subclassed, Mr N Raggett, Pauly, Warren and Nic. Thanks everyone, and if anyone ELSE would like to stick it on their page... why, that would be DELIGHTFUL!

    ITEM! The aforesaid single is also now available to BUY from Thee SPC along with, well, a LOT of other GRATE stuff!

    ITEM! Meanwhile, quite apart from all that, there's a very ukelele-centric interview with ME over at Ukulele Hunt, which rather brilliantly contains a link to the the article which was my main inspiration for picking up a uke in the first place. Let's quote from it DIRECTLY, just because it is so BRILLIANT:
    The ukulele allows you to choose.

  • Difficult chords can be changed to easy chords.
  • If you can't play a part, you can skip it.
  • Sing loudly

    These are the three most important points of the ukulele

  • And, indeed, of LIFE!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 8.4.08
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    Release Day!
    At long last, the GRATE DAY is upon is: Do The Indie Kid is officially OUT NOW!

    To celebrate this auspicious occasion we've got a rather smashing new video - HERE:

    If you like it, do please let other people know - it'd be GRATE if people could blog it, i would appreciate it this much: A LOT.

    And after all that, if you'd like to BUY it you can purchase the 7" Single version from us - if you don't have a record player but would still like to own this chunky slice of vinyl, fear not, all purchases will be rewarded with a link to a page where you can download the songs - or, soon, from the Thee SPC online shop. Alternatively, if you are FUTURISTIC, you should be able to buy it for download from iTunes and all that sort of thing.

    I am RATHER excited about this, it's been a lot of EFFORT to get it all done but i do not think I speak out of turn when I say that I think it has turned out GRATE!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 7.4.08
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    I was awake bright and early on Sunday morning to enjoy the traditional reward for said action: Match Of The Day! I pretty much NEVER watch it normally, but when I'm away from home and AWAKE it is a SPECIAL TREAT. It also reminds me of the Bowlie Festival SO many years ago, when I first discovered it got repeated them, THUS it always feels like a ROCK HOLIDAY when I'm watching it. As I did so I sat on the bed, changing my guitar string. "Cor, look at me, i am SO ROCK!" I thought, "Sat in my hotel room, changing guitar strings, ON THE ROAD." Later on i realised this didn't make me a Rock Star, it made me a ROADIE, but still.

    We met for breakfast and, I have to say, it was one of the NICEST B&B Breakfasts I've ever had. The tomatoes were the BEST EVER in a non-home context, the TEA was delicious and they even had veggie sausages! WELL DONE!

    Suitably filled we hopped into the car and headed to Leicester, getting their in an AMAZINGLY short time, possibly due to Tom's EXPERT ROAD SKILLZ. On the new Lazarus Clamp album Tom is credited with "Violin and Dangerous Driving." I was SHOCKED, nay, APPALLED. We did move very fast, though this may have been aided by Frankie's EGG ASSISTED PUMPING - I wouldn't normally stoop to mention such things, but DEARIE ME. Life On The Road: not all glamour.

    Back at Tom's we had a nice cup of tea, checked emails, that hopped into a taxi for the station. This was GRATE as the driver was Proper Leicester, and I REVELLED in his fantastic accent - Leicester is BRILLO. Indeed, I would even go so far as to say BRILLO PAD.

    At the station Tom and Frankie, who both had reserved seats, discovered that not EVERYTHING with East Midlands Trains is Good and Pure, as the ticket barriers would not let them through because their train was not due in for another 20 minutes. It was sat their on the platform waiting for us, but the IDIOTIC SYSTEM seems to think that if it lets you down more than 5 SECONDS before the train leaves you'll try and get on a different one. NGG!

    We got through Ok in the end tho, and were soon whizzing to London, enjoying CHERRY BAKEWELLS on the way - we are SO ROCK. It was one of these newly timed trains where they've stuck in ten minute waits at every station so that a) it makes it look better on the Punctuality Statistics and b) they can always act all surprised and pleased when the train gets to St Pancras "early".

    A swift tube jaunt and we were on Denmark Street to get some more bass strings, also to look at GUITARS. EXCITINGLY in one shop Frankie saw the Flying V Ukeleles. He looked at them long and hard and slowly a MIGHTY CHANGE came over him. Urged on by Tom and I he eventually BOUGHT one - HOORAH! Another convert to THE CAUSE!

    More TUBING and we found ourselves in lovely Bloomsbury/Clerkenwell, where we stopped in a pub for a swift PINT on the way. As we sat there on of Brontosaurus Chorus appeared - he'd just popped in for directions so was a bit surprised to find us there, with a handy MAP to hand! I rang The Pattisons, expecting them to be on the motorway, and when I found they were actually AT the venue already we supped up sharp-ish and headed off.

    We got to Leonards to find it BUSY, and the bar especially so - apparently it was it's last day of opening, and it looked like some of the bar staff had decided not to bother, so for a lot of the time there was only one person working! We sat and had a chat with various Fighting Cocks, also Penny Broadhurst, then went into the smaller second room to watch George Death - he was dead good, and the FACT that he was the man who taught Charlie Cocks to play guitar, and the other FACT that this was very clear to see, made it even better.

    We wandered back to the main room, where another band (I'm not sure who) were starting up. It was VERY full in there, so all looked GOOD as we went back to the other room to get set up. Another aspect of the Last Day Of The Pub appeared to be evident in The Soundman. Now, normally I try not to talk about the DOWN SIDES of some people we meet, as it's not really necessary and also a bit UNFAIR/NASTY if, years later, they discover via Google that they've been slagged off, but really he was a bit of a poor show. Apparently he was NOTORIOUS for not really doing any sound, leaving the room as quickly as possible to play on fruit machines, which is what happened to us. And also - HORRIFYINGLY - he appeared to be DRUNK!

    I know! Someone at a gig - DRUNK! I was so disgusted I almost dropped my pint!

    In some ways it was actually helpful, as we got ourselves set up without interference and just used the PA for vocals, but it was RATHER ANNOYING when he DID come in mid-gig and decided to tidy up some leads on the stage, by clambering up and KNOCKING Tom out of the way while he was playing! Tom, he was not pleased.

    Anyway, yes, we waited for the other band to finish, and then did THIS:
  • The Gay Train
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Looking At My Hands
  • Best Behaviour
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • The actual GIG bit was all good fun, except for Tom's ENCOUNTER, but overall it felt a bit disappointing - I don't think people realised there WAS another room, as for the entirety of the gig NOBODY came in, at ALL! There were LOADS of people next door, it was RAMMED, but none of them came through!!

    Or maybe they DID realise, and knew it was us playing?

    Anyway, it was soon time to go for TRAINS, so we said our farewells to Charlie and Penny, who had sorted the whole weekend out - it was a MASSIVE undertaking, and it was GRATE, especially the way that so many of the bands moved from one date to the next, it felt like being on a PACKAGE TOUR! It's a shame our bit in The London wasn't as GROOVY as the previous night, but HEY! That happens now and again, and we consoled ourselves by finding there was time for a PINT, and popped into a pub on the way for the further CHAT. The Pattisons left and I escorted (or, rather, ran down the road trying to catch up with) Frankie and Tom as they hurried for their train, said farewell at St Pancras, then trundled home.

    Life On The Road: It's GRATE!

    posted by MJ Hibbett,
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    Day one of The Single Tour started WELL, tho I was afeared it might not. Arriving at St Pancras (The Greatest Station In The World: FACT) I saw that the train just AFTER mine had been cancelled, as it hadn't made it IN to London due to Points Failure. FEAR! Our train would be packed! It too would hit the points failur! DISASTER IMMINENT!

    Disaster did NOT occur... until we got to Market Harborough when there was an announcement that the train had a fault, and needed to be taken out of action. FEAR! DOOM! DELAY! Then they said this'd happen at LEICESTER, and tho relieved i feared for my fellow passengers - doubtless they'd be on the platform for AGES, then get shunted EITHER onto PACKED trains that were ALSO delayed or onto rail replacement buses. Then I saw that, pulling in on the next platform, was a whole new replacement train and that, as we'd arrived slightly early, they'd actually be able to continue their journey on time.

    Eh? When did THAT start happening? Is East Midland Railway run by MAGIC GOBLINS who are somehow able to RUN A TRAIN LINE EFFICIENTLY?!? I suspect FOUL PLAY!

    Anyway, Tom picked me up in the new TigerMobile, we popped over to his, then hit the ROAD. CURRY was spoken of. In Derby we took Frankie onboard, CURRY was spoken of, and we headed NORTH, where many ISSUES of the day were sorted out. Mostly to do with Derby County, but also International Relations. When we got to our hotel we found it was actually TWO hotels joined together - Frankie was staying in the POSH side, me and Tom ... well, we weren't. I don't know if it is a TRADITION or something, but every time i stay in a "family" hotel there are BLOOD STAINS somewhere - on this occasion, on the end of the sheets and on the FLOOR. Not horrendous MURDER stains or anything, but they always seem to BE there. Do people WOUND themselves more often in "family" hotels/B&Bs than in the big chains or something?

    When we checked in the very nice lady on the reception said "Are you a band then? In that case I'll show you how to get in after we've locked the door - you'll be in WELL after Midnight won't you?" We looked HORRIFIED!

    After dropping our stuff in our various rooms we regrouped in the lobby and Frankie informed us that the room next door to his had a PLAQUE on the wall: "Timmy Mallet Slept Here." He later discovered that, further along the corridor, was ANOTHER one: "Chas And Dave Slept Here." Chas AND Dave?

    We ZOOMED across town to Rock And Roll Circus Rehearsal Rooms, which were REALLY nice. It was clean, there were sofas a) IN the rooms b) that you could actually SIT on without risking disease, and all the GEAR worked! Clearly THE MAGIC GOBLINS have branched out into practice rooms. The Pattisons arrived, with Emma bearing HAIR BANDS - soon to be available in our shop!

    When we play with Mr Phil Wilson we're going to be backing him on a couple of songs, so it seemed wise to actually LEARN them. This we did, and then moved on to ACTUALLY HAVING A PRACTICE. We've been together as a band for getting on for a DECADE now, but I think this is only the second or third time we have EVER just had a practice. No new songs were written, we just PRACTICE. I know for some bands this is ALL they ever do, but for us it was a bit weird. We even went back and re-learnt some OLD songs! KRAZY!

    Slightly shaken by our own MASSIVE PROFESSIONALISM we got back into vehicles and went over to The Cardigan Arms, where PENNFEST was occurring. Things were not yet beginning when we arrived, so as by now the Pattisons ALSO had asked "Where are we going for curry?" (it's almost as if Traditional Band Curry is the MAIN REASON we go on the road - surely not?) we set off to GET one. Tim was a little displeased that we were going so EARLY, as he was completely undrunk, and CLAIMED to be considering NOT going for a curry, tho happily the fact that this would involve him NOT going for a curry persuaded him otherwise.

    We had a LOVELY time, as we always do, especially as this time we didn't have any Matters To Discuss - we never actually get round to DISCUSSING the Matters To Discuss when we have Band Curry, and I always feel a bit bad that we instead spend the time talking A Lot Of Old Bollocks rather than Important Band Issues... not VERY bad, but it was nice to be free to get on with the spouting of nonsense. We all made the usual show of looking at the menu before just ordering what we always have, except for Emma who tried to persuade the rest of us to try something new. She did... and it wasn't very nice at all. As i pointed out (possibly more than once) the Joy Of Balti is that it IS different wherever you go, as it is completely made up, and this time Frankie's Jalfrezi was made of SCRAMBLED EGG. We would later come to RUE that recipe choice... especially trapped in a car with him next day.

    When we got back things were in full swing when we arrived, with The Seven Inches onstage. I've heard of them for ages but never HEARD them, so was pleased to find they were really really good. My favourite was an EPIC countering suggestions that Hanna Barbera became rubbish during the 1970s. "Captain Caveman" INDEED!

    Then it was US, so we got set up and did THIS:
  • The Gay Train
  • Best Behaviour
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Looking At My Hands
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • We had a FINE old time, THOROUGHLY enjoying the experience and watching people DANCE. Amazingly Frankie and I BOTH broke strings, something which hardly ever happens to me these days and NEVER happens to him. I struggled on manfully, but Dom from Brontosaurus Chorus leapt in to lend Frankie HIS bass... which was a FIVE STRING! Extremely useful for Music Of The Future!

    There must have been a fault in the microphones tho, as when I told my HILARIOUS ANECDOTE the entire room went SILENT. They must have been trying to LISTEN. The HILARIOUS ANECDOTE was thus: the first curry house we tried to get into was called "India", but it wasn't open yet, so we couldn't get any of their food. That's right - we just couldn't GET any India!!!

    Indie-er - do you see? Is this thing switched on?

    We then sat back and had a GRATE time for the whole rest of the day. The GRATE thing about Pennfest was that ALL the bands were good - after us The Fighting Cocks were EXCELLENT, as were Brontosaurus Chorus, Penny Broadhurts and the MIGHTY Scaramanga Six. The only DOWNSIDE was - when do you go downstairs to the pub for a chat? It was a PROPER Victorian Pub, with that rarest of things, a NICE pint of Tetley and it was a shame we didn't get to spend more time in it.

    When it was all over we strolled out into the SNOW, said farewell to The Pattisons and headed back to our hotel, where we enjoyed a NIGHTCAP in the bar before heading bedwards. It had been a GOOD day.

    posted by MJ Hibbett,
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    Easy Things Made Easy
    Work on the video for Do The Indie Kid continues and, indeed, SPEEDS UP as I finally get to grips with how to make Sony Vegas work. HOORAY! I'm now finished up to the end of the second chorus with the third verse half done and a beginning made on the Music Of The Future section.

    And I'll tell you what, that particular BIT has been an eye opener in MANY ways vis a vis Things That Appear Difficult But Are Actually PEASY. We recorded about 20 minutes worth of Music Of The Future when we were in the studio, different SEGMENTS of which are available on the vinyl and download versions of the single, and we were surprised how SIMPLE it is. It's almost as if another half an hour's TITTING AROUND could have resulted in a complete AVANT JAZZ album! But... that couldn't be right, could it? That sort of thing, that's ART - it couldn't POSSIBLY be replicated by the likes of US, playing THE GIDDY GOAT, could it? Or could it?

    Or COULD it?

    And now I find that the same applies to Psychedelic Film Making - being a Beatles Nut i have watched MORE than my fair share of Psychedelic Film "Happenings", and assumed that some kind of HIGHER STATE and/or DRUGS were required, but no! All you need to do is SLOW DOWN and/or SPEED UP different bits of film, and then play three or four things at the same time and WHOA! Suddenly it's HAIGHT ASHBURY and Janis Joplin's popping round for a go on your bong!

    A word of warning if attempting this, however - do NOT film your cat and then slow it right down. It is WELL spooky. Brrrr!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 3.4.08
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    Forward Motion
    ONWARDS we rumble, as i have the following items to report for you:

    ITEM! Do The Indie Kid was played on the Jimmy Possession show on Monday night - click that link to Listen Again!

    ITEM! After protacted negotiations (Thee SPC: "Shall we?" Me: "Yes please!")The aforesaid single, as well as being available directly from us will ALSO be available from the Thee Sheffield Phonographic Company SHOP, where you can purchase many MANY excellent items!

    ITEM! We get not one but TWO lovely mentions in interviews over on the Indietracks Blog. Aaah, it is a) DELIGHTFUL but b) PRESSURE INDUCING: I really REALLY ought to get on with writing The Show, oughtn't i?

    ITEM! The Video for Do The Indie Kid is now up to the start of the first chorus! I spent a FRUSTRATING hour or so last night trying to get Song Vegas Movie Studio to Render MJPEGS (GLAMOUR) before giving up and spending ANOTHER hour using MovieMaker to convert them all, one by one, into individual normal AVI files. It's exactly this sort of exasperating problem that forced Godley & Creme into retirement!

    ITEM! We are pretty much GO for ROCK this weekend at Pennfest - tickets, accomodation and even PRACTICE TIME have all been booked for what has turned into a mini-tour for us - almost 48 hours of Validators! WHOO! Here is the Proper Press Release for the whole event - if you're in Leeds on Saturday or London on Sunday, do come, it'll be GRATE!
    Electro Disco Club Extraordinaire Chicken Royale is excited to announce their PENNFEST FESTIVAL to take place on April 5-6th in both Leeds and London. Following the success of their electrifying monthly club night, promoters Charlie & Anna (of The Fighting Cocks fame) decided that one night of debauchery is not nearly enough and that by incorporating incredible live bands and comedy with superstar DJs, they plan on hosting an unforgettable weekend in association with Penny Broadhurst.

    PENNFEST will kick off on April 5th at the The Cardigan Arms in Leeds. You will hear musical and comedic mayhem from the likes of


    Following that, PENNFEST moves down to London at Leonardís in Clerkenwell with performances from:

    THE 586

    Plus DJ talents from DJ Pixie, DJ Anna Geddon, DJ Lilí Jo (Shipwrecked, Punk, PLAY) and DJ Nay.

    The Leeds show starts at 6pm and runs till 11pm. The London show starts at 4.30pm and runs till 10.30pm. There will be a £3 door charge on both nights.

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 2.4.08
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    All Change!
    As you may have noticed, we have a rather NIFTY new look on the webpages today, to mark the IMMINENT release of Do The Indie Kid, which means that you can PRE-ORDER your copy NOW! ZANG!

    If you don't have a record player you WILL be able to download it from The Usual Outlets next week, OR you could just buy the seven inch version ready for next week when I'll be emailing everyone the Secret Download Page, and you can grab it for yourself on mp3. All needs: CATERED FOR!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 1.4.08
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    The New Dance Hall Craze
    I was settling in last night for a SESSION on the VIDOE for Do The Indie Kid, and having PRIMED the computer and CD player I wandered into the kitchen to find the CD version of it (so I could sing along), also to make myself a cup of tea.

    As I entered the room I thought "That's funny - someone seems to be playing it already", for LO! THEY WERE! And it was GARY CROWLEY [sitting in for Tom Robinson] on the radio!! AND it even made the official tracklisting! WHOO!

    posted by MJ Hibbett,
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