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They're Here!
The singles are HERE, and they look GORGEOUS! HOORAH! Almost unbelievably this means everything has so far pretty much gone to PLAN - THUS I await news of a lightning strike by postal workers with a sense of foreboding.

Despite this fear most of the promo CDs are now in the post, and really all I need to worry about now is actually DOING the show. CRUMBS!

Meanwhile, the latest issue of the newsletter has just gone out. As ever, SIGN UP if you'd like to join the GLEE!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 30.6.08
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Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
What a DELIGHTFUL weekend that was - a Friday night spent in the pub with an old pal was followed by a Saturday afternoon sat in my STUDY with my colleague Mr S Hewitt doing another run through of My Exciting Life In ROCK. I found myself a bit SHAKY at the start as I've not had a go at it for a couple of weeks, but it soon came back AND was all wrapped up in 58 minutes. EXCELLENT. We then settled down to BUSINESS... only to discover that we're pretty much on top of everything. ALARMING!

Then i watched Dr Who. Quick Summary: OMG! EEEEEE! MAKE IT BE NEXT SATURDAY NOW!!!

I quite enjoyed it, yes. Yesterday consisted of some BOATING, some COOKING, and some FOOTBALL and now I'm back at work waiting for a DELIVERY of CDs! Excitement: INCREASING!

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REAPING
Today I think I've pretty much spent the LAST big chunks of CA$H i need to spend before going to Edinburgh, as the tide turns and GOODIES start coming IN!

Yesterday's big thrill was the arrival of BADGES from the lovely firm Wee Badgers (recommended for ALL your badge needs!), which look [design 1] even GRATER than I expected and [design 2] even more TERRIFYING than I dared imagine. HOOPLA!

Today I have been putting folded press releases and flyers into pre-labelled envelopes then sticking Large Letter STAMPS on them. Buying stationery is always the LOVELISET Big Spend of a Release Campaign, and buying 100 52p stamps today felt a LOT more fun than, for instance, shelling out a similar amount for train tickets. Once that was done I nipped down to my friendly neighbourhood ARGOS to buy a SURPRISINGLY nice easel. It was really cheap so I was expecting something a bit tatty, but it's a lovely arrangement of WOODS which I'm now very much looking forward to utilising.

Now all we need is the actual singles! These should, in theory, be arriving on Monday, which would be EXTREMELY handy as it'll mean I can take some up to Leicester with me for our Vlads Practice that night. Which pretty much DETERMINES that they'll not come. But when they DO it will be FULL STEAM AHEAD - once they're in the post all I need to do is make final adjustments to the VIDEO and then everything is GIGS and BEER and GOOD TIMES!

Very INTRICATELY ORGANISED good times, but GOOD TIMES none the less!

posted by MJ Hibbett, 27.6.08
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Back To Work
Sing hosanna and ring the bells, after a week off LARKING i am back at work. Whoop. Hoopla.

The week off BEGAN last Wednesday, when I went to The Buffalo Bar to play with Keith TOTP's band, The Indelicates and Lily Rae. All was good, tho the highpoint of STRANGENESS came at the start when I realised I Sort Of Knew nearly EVERYONE in the TOTP all-stars, but from very different places. I had a nice chat with Mr Les From Carter (a lovely man) and when I did my set i did THIS:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
  • The Gay Train
  • I Did A Gig In New York
  • It Only Works Because You're Here
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • THURSDAY was my birthday, and LO! It was GRATE! Any day that features PRESENTS and ends with BEER, CURRY and THE FOOTBALL (and OH! what football) is a GOOD day!

    On Friday we headed up to Sherwood Forest to meet our lovely pals Stu and Ange and then to go and see Crowded House. This too was excellent, we met the manager of support band DELAYS (I was surprised to find he WASN'T their Dad... but their other manager WAS) and Crowded House were BRILLIANT. Really REALLY good, also quite funny, especially when the bass player appeared to tell EVERYBODY from Nottingham that their children were SLAPPERS. This didn't go too well, so Mr Finn swiftly took over.

    Saturday saw us up EARLY and off to Birmingham Airport... to wait around for our flight to Cornwall, which was DELAYED (not DELAYS). Still, we got to Newquay in SUPER fast time and were met by PARENTS. We had an ACE weekend with them, featuring LOTS of beer, more presents, and TONS of walking around. It was LOVELY.

    We'd then intended to go on to see more pals, Suzie and Steve then Phil and Pam, but had to go home on Monday for the reason of STUFF. This was a bit of a disappointment, as it would've been LOVELY to see them, but it DID mean that when we DID get home and got into the aforesaid STUFF we were left with a couple of spare days, which I utilised by... well, not doing anything really. It's been such a DASHAROUND these past couple of weeks it was actually rather nice to loaf about a bit. I did manage to SQUEEZE IN a few episodes of "Absolutely" tho, which i got the box set of: people who know me! Prepare for me to once again keep going "MMMMmmm, Very ZENZIBLE!" at any opportunity!

    And now it's back to work, both WORK work and ROCK work. The latter, rather excitingly, has so far today featured a delivery of BADGES, which look rather SMASHING, and the promise of CDs by Monday! It's good to be back!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 26.6.08
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    Out Of Office
    Apologies for the lack of updates - I had a dead good night out on Wednesday night playing at The Buffalo Bar with (amongst others) The Keith TOTP Allstar Band, which was almost totally made up of people I knew from VERY different places, who I was surprised to see all in the SAME place. Yesterday i went on a Birthday Trip to see an exhibition of BEATLES stuff, then came home for CURRY, BEER and THE FOOTBALL. It was a pretty much ideal birthday, especially as it has left me with the "Absolutely" box set. PREPARE for me saying "It's a VID-AY-O" and "ZENZIBLE!" all the time, despite incomprehension from all around.

    And now we're off for a couple of days to see some pals in Birmingham, Crowded House in Sherwood Forest, and then my Parents in Cornwall. We WERE going to see some other pals on the way back, but a Change Of Plan means I'll be back on Monday night, so i shall report back then, when hopefully I'll be ascending the final ramp to ROCK OCCURENCE with the single and all that. In the meantime I DID intend to keep the My Exciting Life In ROCK blog going and INDEED posted two entries AHEAD... but WordPress seems to have lost them, so I'm afraid they'll have to wait until I get back to work. SOZ!

    Right then, PACKING!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 20.6.08
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    Investing In The Future
    JINKIES! There is a whole lot of CASHFLOW USAGE going on at the moment, as preparations for My Exciting Life In ROCK continue. This morning I sent off about a GRAND's worth of cheques for accomodation in Edinburgh, the mixing/mastering of the new single and, perhaps MOST excitingly, for BADGES!

    BADGES! We're getting some BADGES made for everyone who comes to a show - hopefully there'll be enough for everyone who comes to the Dress Rehearsal (July 1st, The Lamb, That London), Press Preview (July 14th, The Cross Kings, That London), World Premiere (July 25th, Indietracks Festival) and The Actual Edinburgh Run (August 4-9, Medina & Negociants, EDINBURGH). Blimey, that seems like a LOT of gigs, doesn't it? It's all I can do to stop myself PANICKING and ordering a MILLION more - I've got 600 coming, I'm sure that'll be enough, won't it?

    I'll probably have 550 left over at the end won't I? I'm ALSO getting 100 rather special OTHER badges done, JUST FOR FUN. Originally I ordered these ones, as I say, JUST FOR FUN, but I think what we'll do is AWARD them to anyone who comes TWICE, so long as they're wearing the badge they got the first time. How about that? It'll be like the BLUE PETER badge... except it won't get you into any museums. But otherwise, EXACTLY THE SAME!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 17.6.08
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    GIGS: Good News/Bad News
    I've just done a couple of updates to the GIGS page, with the GOOD news that The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut has not only been added to the bill of my gig in Sheffield on July 7th (a wise decision by the gig promoter, Mr P Green) with The School and Slow Down Tallahasee, but that The Pete Green (without Juggernaut) has ALSO agreed to come and play at the Press Launch (SO swanky) for My Exciting Life In ROCK on July 14th. HOOPLA! (EDIT: It's not July 1st, it's July 14th!!)

    Such goodness must,as ever, be balanced by badness, and it is with regret that I report that the Duckworth Fayre all dayer has had to be CANCELLED. This is a right bugger, not least since our very own Mr Francis A. Machine has spent MONTHS helping to organise it, only for them to be THWARTED at such short notice. BOO!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 16.6.08
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    Wave Pictures
    Last night started with HILARIOUS INEVITABLITY. The last time myself and Mr S Hewitt met to discuss My Exciting Life In ROCK we did so in The Ship, Holborn, which is a LOVELY pub. Since then we have met for the simple joy of BEER in another lovely pub, The Ship in Fitzrovia.

    Last night we hard a Catch-Up Meeting (oh yes), and I said "Shall we meet in The Ship?" Can anyone GUESS what might have happened?

    How we laughed! We eventually managed to be in the SAME pub and shared an EXCITED run through of where we're at at the moment with the planning and arrangements (precis: AHEAD) and how excited we are about what will surely be the most well organsied Week Long Knees Up EVER (precis: VERY).

    After we said our goodbyes I wandered off to The Social, to see The Wave Pictures. The Social's a funny old place - it's a TERRIBLE room to have gigs in, the audience is all split up in different places, with the area you stand around in near the bar HIDDEN from the actual stage, but the area people sit around in with their back to the band right NEXT to it. The sound system's really good, but it HAS to be to cope with the HUGE volume of sound generated by the people CHATTING in the concrete basement. It also has VERY nice barstaff - i THINK I paid for a drink with a 20 and got a tenner change, and when I said so everyone LEAPT into action - I didn't get my tenner back mind you, but they DID say they'd RING me if, upon cashing up, it turned out I was right. They were SO nice about it I don't really mind if they never do!

    The first band sort of passed me by, but The Wave Pictures themselves were AMAZING. I'd heard them on the radio and, in a fit of KRAZY SPONTANEITY, bought their album, which is FANTASTIC. It's VERY Jonathan Richman influenced, but full of WORDS and TUNES and FEELINGS and HUMOUR and... well, basically it's really really really good. On the album the basic band is AUGMENTED by other instruments, but LIVE there was just three of them. There was, however, no lack of AUGMENTATION, althought it was ALL done through the medium of INCREDIBLY BRILLIANT GUITAR SOLOES.

    My word, there were a LOT of Guitar Soloes! Just before they came on the DJ was playing "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon, which prompted them to start off with a song of THEIRS which I didn't know, but sounded very much of that idiom... and having heard THAT you could hear it through all the other songs, with a shimmery musicality (ROCK JOURNALISM) I'd not noticed before. Also: those GUITAR SOLOES. WOW! it was AMAAAAAAZING, I'm not usually a fan of the Instrumental Break, but these ones were EXCITING and TUNEFUL and just dead DEAD good.

    At the start of the evening I'd been very tempted just to go home for my tea after the PUB, but I'm SO glad I went to see them - the levels of WOWness were such that it reminded me of seeing Belle & Sebastian the first time. My BRANE wasn't quite as UTTERLY BLOWN this time, as I'd at least heard Wave Pictures songs before, but even Belle & Sebastian did not WRESTLE THE AXE quite as majestically as this lot.

    I had a MASSIVE grin on my face all the way home. FANTASTIC!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 13.6.08
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    It Only Works Because You're Here
    You find me sat at home still, having recently finished a MANLY conversation with the BT Engineer during which i managed - but ONLY JUST - to NOT say "It only works because you're here", for LO! our Broadband has been broken all week, only to start working again an HOUR before the engineer came round. I've spent much of this week on the phone to very POLITE, very HELPFUL call centre operatives in Indie, who became progressively MORE annoying over the course of a few days when EVERY SINGLE TIME I RANG we had to go through ten minutes of "and have you turned the router ON?". After Escalating The Issue To The Engineering Department the Engineering Department he says "DUNNO". Apparently they sometimes need to switch things on and switch them off again to get things to work.

    STILL, it does mean I've had a spare couple of hours to finish off the video to the aforesaid song, which is looking PRETTY NIFTY now I must say. I'm just uploading it for VLADS approval, but hopefully that'll be it sorted... and then we just have to wait a few weeks before I can release it into the WILD!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 12.6.08
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    The Lamb
    Back to The Lamb last night for another Totally Acoustic. I rolled up at the bar to find my GUEST, Jim aka Jim'll's Brain asking "Do you know where Mark is?" "Here I am!" i said.

    We sat down for a CHAT around that perenial topic of ROCK - bad backs - after which I went off to spend an INORDINATE amount of time trying to pay for the room - I always like to get that done as SOON as possible, to decrease the chance of someone saying "Oh no, it is hired by 300 MASONS tonight" so the way the lady behind the bar kept wandering off was ADDING to my FEAR. Barb & Mark arrived while all this was going on, and once everything was sorted we all went upstairs and set things up, in The Cabaret Style.

    More lovely people arrived and soon it was time to get GOING - as per, I did a couple of songs on the ukelele to get things going, and did THESE:
  • Red & White Sockets
  • Everything's Turning Out All Right (everything)

  • I made a bit of a mess of the end of Everything's Turning Out All Right (everything) - the line "I'll base how I feel my feelings are upon the way I feel and not the was I feel I ought to feel" quite UNDERSTANDABLY slipped from my grasp - but it was nice to play it again after MANY years, and it may get done again.

    Then JIM took to the "stage" and was, as ever, AMAZING. My only disappointment of the evening was that there weren't LOADS more people there to see him, especially people of the more usual Indie Persuausion, as he's not someone you'd normally SEE at those sort of gigs. He plays The Comedy Circuit more than The Indie Scene, which is understandable as he IS very funny, but his songs are also really TOUCHING, and the way he performs them is FANTASTIC. He can go STRAIGHT from getting bit laughs with his Elvis/Non-Elvis legs to a song about clinical depression and make it seem EASY and oddly LOGICAL. By the end of his set everyone had a MASSIVE GRIN plastered on their faces - everybody: go and SEE him, he is BRILL!

    After the traditional beer/cigs/toilet break it was ME, and this is what I did:
  • The Gay Train
  • Bands From London (are shit)
  • I Did A Gig In New York
  • Work's All Right (when it's a proper job)
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • Sod It, Let's Get Pissed
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • There was a LOT of talking! I did a big chunk of My Exciting Life In ROCK and, I think, got the Story Of The Gig In Derby HONED a bit better, tho i may have to illustrate it with a DIFFERENT song. I'd excitedly given out some flyers beforehand, so used THEM as my guide throughout - once again, everyone's reaction on reading them was "Have you REALLY..." and the answer was "YES!"

    Gig done we settled down to beer, although this time around nearly everyone had to NIP OFF, so it ended up being a table of HARDENED REGULARS - Mr Charlie Flowers, Mr Peter Knight, The Glass Around My Pint, and Mr John "when he says a half he means a half" Kell - who sat around for a GOOD OLD CHIN WAG. Many items were covered, including DINOSAUR PLANET - book now for 2009!

    Another lovely night then, and, due to the use of IPA, one that has resulted in surprisingly little HANGOVER. I wish i could have spent the morning in bed tho, these late nights aren't right for a man of my age!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 11.6.08
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    AVANTI!
    We're still EXCITINGLY ON SCHEDULE for the explosion of CORPORATE SYNERGY that is next month's CROSS MEDIA ATAK. Yesterday the posters for My Exciting Life In ROCK arrived, and rather SPECTACULAR they look too. This morning the flyers arrived, which allowed me a small bit of SHOWING OFF in the reception off our offices... which is always nice. This means the whole poster/flyer BIT is DONE - all we have to do now is cart them up to Edinburgh and hand them out!

    Meanwhile Tim spent a large chunk of the past few days working hard on the artwork for the new single, It Only Works Because You're Here, which, after full checking and the addition of an apostrophe, has just been emailed to the manufacturers for checking. Getting the artwork DONE is a MASSIVE DEAL - it's usually BIG HASSLE and I'm currently on tenterhooks waiting to see what needs changing. Something nearly ALWAYS does - will it be the bleed? the CMYK/RGB? Maybe the DPI, or the TIF should be a PSD?

    SIDEBAR! One of the many delightful side-effects of being as INDIE as what we are (i.e. pretty much totally) is the transferable skills one picks up along the way. I didn't get into bands to learn about printers' requirements (like everybody else, I did it to MEET GIRLS) nor indeed did I do it to learn about sound frequencies, video mixing, stereo panning, webpage design, setting up PA systems or booking function rooms or indeed DIPLOMACY, but it's nice to know I've got them available should they ever be needed.

    Meanwhile Mr R Newman at Snug Studios has been MASTERING the actual MUSIC section. He'd finished it and posted it on Friday but it never arrived so, BLESS HIM, he re-did it yesterday and sent it registered post. It got here this morning and I'm listening through to it now - COR! He's done a RIGHT good job, even the home-recorded versions of Sod It, Let's Get Pissed and Professional, Competent, Rocking And Tight stand up well. Well done Robbie!

    "Gosh, what a lot of ACTION - I suppose that's IT now then isn't it?" you may well ask. Well, NO, it isn't - Corporate Synergy being what it is there's PLENTY more that needs doing. I've just heard from those LOVELY people at Proper Distribution that they're willing to LIST the single for us, which means it'll be available on Amazon and all that, which is a BIG relief. I think that not having Do The Indie Kid available on the big sites when the vidoe was on the front of YouTube meant we lost a chance to get copies out to more people (although, clearly, having it only available on vinyl didn't really help either!!), so hopefully that'll make THAT work a bit better this time. I'll also need to send it off to Emubands soon to get it into iTunes and so forth.

    And once all THAT's sorted out we've got the mailing list to sort out (oh yeah - Press Release writing, add that one to the CV!) and DO, before we can sit down and relax, safe in the knowledge that the only thing left to do THEN is, you know, actually PRACTICE the show itself. That bit: EASY!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 10.6.08
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    Required: Weekend In Order To Get Over Weekend
    You find me today KNACKERED, from a weekend PACKED with ACTION. It was The Landlady's Action, so Friday involved CHAMPAGNE! CHAMPAGNE! And the drinking thereof.

    SATURDAY thus got off to a late start, and involving shopping for and COOKING of a Big Sunday Lunch - this was the requested TEA, so that's what I cooked up. It was BLOODY GRATE, especially as we watched "Little Miss Sunshine" (Review: BRILL) whilst WADING through the ensuing huge mountains of GRUB.

    Whilst not eating and drinking (or involved in subsidiary activities thereof) I did some work on the video for It Only Works Because You're Here. I was greatly helped in my endevours by the videos of Mr Bill Myers. AH! Bill Myers, he is my GURU! So full of WISE WORDS, always delivered in a CALM ORDERLY WAY. It may just be that everything is accompanied by LIGHT BLUES, but he does seem to possess the ability to turn a STRESSED RANTING HIBBETT into a calm, collected professional within SECONDS. Bill Myers! ROCKS!

    Sunday saw us heading off as a household into TOWN - despite the best efforts of Transport For London to STOP us by switching off EVERY tube line we would usually use for this action - to go on a Guided Tour of Broadcasting House. It was GRATE - I was especially pleased to see that the bookshelves in the Radio 3 Offices were ALL things like "Opera!" or "BACH!" while Radio 4's were stacked with big political biographies... although you'd think that, if you'd got to work there, you'd know that already? I also managed NOT to blurt out "I HAVE BEEN ON THE BBC YOU KNOW", tho it was very difficult to keep it in.

    We noticed that everyone ELSE was very middle aged and middle class too. Everyone ELSE, that is.

    THEN we went round some shops before hitting TEA-TIME, when we had another SLAP-UP FEED, culminating in The Landlady and The Pasta With My Arrabiata being too POOPED to hit the FINAL leg of the day, so I ended up using MANY forms of transport alone to get to Highbury & Islington for the Conceited Presents night.

    While STRIDING MANFULLY towards the venue I met The Bobby McGees, so pestered Graham from them to let me help carry his BASS (he declined politely, despite my persistence) and then wandered off to find Mr Pete Green and cohorts while they soundchecked.

    Pete was playing with his new band, The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut, which is SURELY Best Band Name EVER. They were really good, tho my appreciation was hindered by the fact i was watching EVERY song thinking "How are they going to do THIS? How is this DIFFERENT? What are they going to do about the NEXT bit?" THUS "She's An Account", which I'd not heard before, was my FAVOURITE, it sounded GRATE and BAND-Y and FAB. I was also VERY impressed by the way he'd got pretty much ALL his usual gig songs learnt up by the band, something which I've NEVER been able to persuade the Vlads to do!

    After them were The Kabeedies, who also were GRATE. It was all with the haircuts and the dancing and the clothes and the shouting and... well, it was YOUNG PEOPLE in INDIEPOP and it was FAB!

    Happily The Bobby McGees were then on hand to STRIKE BACK for the more "mature" bands, with their usual set of MAGNIFICENCE and EASY STAGE POISE. I say "usual" because it IS usual for them to be so brilliant, but it is almost UNHEARD of for other bands - I've said it before I know, but their, and especially Jimmy's, MASTERY of the ROOM when they're on stage is a joy to behold. You just stand there full of GLEE, they're GRATE!

    So, all that PLUS a million lovely people to say hello to made for a rather AMAZING night, which the torturous journey home of HIKING, tubes, tubes, a train and a BUS did little to sully.

    Today, however: MUCH SULLIED. Is it bedtime yet?
    <

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 9.6.08
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    QOLED
    On the way home last night I was listening to WE VALIDATE! for the first time in AGES. When we're recording new stuff I listen to it a LOT - I mean, i have listened to the rough tracks of the next album about a MILLION times (ISH) - but once it's all done and released I very rarely go back for another listen. For instance, I think I've only listened to Say It With Words ONCE in the past three or four years, when me and Tom were on a long car journey.

    So yes, it was an unusual occurrence, and when I got to the song Quality Of Life Enhancement Device I thought about what a lovely idea qoled.com had been, and what a shame it was that it hadn't got on a bit more.

    For those who don't know, the SONG is all about little items that make a MASSIVE difference to your quality of life. The prime example, being the purchase that made me think of the song in the first place, was a four way plug adapter from the pound shop which IMMEDIATELY meant I didn't have to juggle plugs every time I wanted to watch telly or use my computer, negotiating a writhing snakes' nest of WIRE in the corner of my flat.

    The song contains a link to the qoled website, which I set up so that OTHER people could submit their own QOLEDs, and though it got off to a RARING start, with many LOVELY submissions (they are, of course, all fab in their own way, but the William Wagtail one, I have to admit, is my personal favourite), they rather peetered out after a while.

    So, imagine my surprise when I logged on this morning to find Mr W Pilkington had sent in a whole NEW QOLED! Once I'd got over FREAKING OUT I went over to the site to look through all the other ones, and was filled with joy. If you've not had a look before, or even if not for a while, might I suggest a quick visit? It really is a repository of Small Loveliness which I think you might enjoy and - HEY HEY - perhaps even like to contribute to yourself?

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 5.6.08
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    The End: A Good Start
    I started work on the video for It Only Works Because You're Here last night. I'm still waiting for an extra bit of KIT so i can actually USE my own video camera, but I WAS able to get at the little bit we did on Tim's camera when we played in Leicester the other week, as he'd uploaded it for me.

    All i could really do was the very ending, but it did look rather good - it's basically Main Site IT Guy leaving the building and sadly going "home in a flood of tears." A combination of clever editing, Tom's ACTING and - i hate to say it - AMAZING DIRECTION hem hem hem - led to that scene looking LOVELY. My dears, it raised a gentle tear in my eye to look at it. That's 5 seconds done, only four and a bit minutes left now!

    In the meantime, here's ANOTHER video that i did at the weekend. A while ago I was on about the song I wrote for an ADVERT that never got used. A number of people have asked a) to hear the song and b) what the full story was, so I thought I would combine the two in the form of VIDEO.

    And here it is!


    posted by MJ Hibbett, 4.6.08
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    TECHNO FEAR
    I went to sort out a new phone yesterday - I've been meaning to for ages, but now that my old one was ACTIVELY SEEKING SUICIDE I thought I'd better get on with it.

    In the shop i felt INCREDIBLY OLD, also OUT OF TOUCH. The Nice Young Man asked "What sort of tariff did you want?" Tariff? What? Eh? I guess i COULD take it as a compliment, that he thought I looked YOUTHFUL enough to actually have a clue/give a toss about that sort of thing. Once he'd explained that to me - TWICE - we moved on to an even harder subject. "What sort of phone are you after? Do you have any brand preferences? What sort of features would you like?"

    EH? What? Features? Well, the "RING" button on my old one had broken, so I'd like one with the feature that you could actually USE it, but otherwise... and then I realised that no, he didn't think i was one of the YOUTH with a brain full of PHONE FACT, he thought I was one of those WEIRD TRENDYGEEKS who buy ENTIRE MAGAZINES which are ALL ABOUT TELEPHONES.

    Yes! There are ENTIRE MAGAZINES - and note the plural, there are MORE THAN ONE - that are JUST and ONLY about mobile phones! AND THEY SEEM TO MAKE MONEY!!!!! I looked at him with a mixture of fear and helplessness and very very gradually we went through the options. I've now got a clamshell (look at me with THE LINGO!) which, I think, probably has some interweb on it, but mostly has my phone numbers. Also a camera that switches on when I least expect it, so I now have a lot of UNDER CHIN shots of me looking variously surprised, confused and perplexed.

    Walking back to work I felt a sensation I've felt a lot just lately: TECHNO FEAR. Rather than being charged up with GLEE for a New Tour I just felt DREAD. "This", I thought, "Is going to be awful. NOTHING will work the same, I'll have to relearn EVERYTHING, reprogram all the bits I like, and spend FOREVER struggling to cope with what I've lost."

    As I say, I've had a LOT of this lately - at work our computer department moved us all over to a system which doesn't work half as well, crashes continually, has none of our old features but, on the plus side, means they can reboot it from their offices rather than coming over to our building. I've also been GRAPPLING MANFULLY with my new camera which - it FINALLY turns out - isn't compatible with VISTA (which I've got at home) using the leads supplied, so I've had to buy a firewire lead. And also, a firewire card, as when I bought it firewire was one of MANY things I thought I'd never need, but did.

    And so on and so on - now, I know this will pass, I know that almost EVERY new technological THING I've got involved in has been like this and I've eventually managed to get on with it OK e.g. the whole NIGHTMARE DOOM of Video Editing which is now, frankly, a bit peasy. The thing is, I was rather under the impression that Plug & Play and Modern Computing was supposed to mean this sort of thing DIDN'T happen anymore? A decade or so ago, when ALL new technology required an ENTIRE DAY of labour and telephone calls to grumpy men with beards, I didn't mind because I knew the pain would be SHORT and then everything would WORK. Now it seems things give the ILLUSION of being able to work, but don't, and the grumpy bearded men have been replaced by INCREDIBLY BADLY THOUGHT OUT manuals that you have to download from the interweb.

    Hmmm... memo to self: when getting grumpy about Modern Computers, BE SURE TO SHAVE!

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 3.6.08
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    The Video Shoot
    Off to ENDERBY yesterday, for the Video Shoot (VIDEO SHOOT) for It Only Works Because You're Here. FITTINGLY, for a song based on Work Life, our alarm clock failed to go off (alternative version: was switched off by a pillock who then got straight back into bed and went to sleep) so I woke at 8.50AM and had to DASH through a wash, shave and getting dressed then FLY out of the house in order to get to St Pancras to catch my train at 10am.

    It was all FINE and I arrived in Leicester to be met by Tom in The Tigermobile. We drove off to his work in Enderby, where we discovered The Pattisons waiting for us with a BIG BAG OF CLOTHES, for LO! They had brought MANY changes of costume. You can see for yourself on the FLICKR Set. You can't see Tom in these photographs as, well, he was taking them, but rest assured that, like me, he didn't get changed either.

    SO, armed with The Shooting Script (SO professional) we got to work and pretty much WHISKED through the filming. We started a bit nervously with our STARS a little trepidatious about The Acting, but they soon got into it and we were moving smoothly with a LOT of shouting of "ROLLING!" and "ACTION!" and so forth. It was just like HOLLYWOOD!!

    We did all Emma's scenes first, in chronological order, being careful to take NOTES of Tim's t-shirts for when we went back to film his solo bits. It was all a bit complicated but seemed to work, and soon we were ready for the Big Crowd Scene. When Tom had checked with his work that we were OK to film there lots of people had got Excited and asked if they could come and be extras - I was expecting LOADS of them to turn up, but Tom was less sure. As it happened in the end we only got ONE Supporting Artiste, Mr Warren Pilkington, who arrived at the front door about three minutes after Tim had gone to see if he could find him.

    With us all regrouped we noticed a PROBLEM: the Leaving Do scene had us ALL in it, so who was going to work the camera? The answer: TRICKERY! I knew watching all those DVD extras would pay off one day! Then it was time for THE BIG KISS which, it should be noticed, The Pattisons did more times than we actually FILMED. SHOCKING!

    Emma left at this point so we went back and filmed Tim's solo sections, which seemed to involve an awful lot of running up and down stairs - which he did even when we weren't FILMING those specific bits, just to get into CHARACTER. METHOD ACTING. It all got wrapped up surprisingly quickly and easily, and so we had a bit tidy up and Idiot Check then headed back to Tom's. On the way I noticed I was still in DIRECTOR MODE: this is something I slipped back into VERY EASILY even tho it is YEARS since I did Dramatic Direction (darling) at Poly. It basically involves being REALLY BOSSY and saying "Right, now you're doing THIS, like THIS. DO IT!"

    We also had an Artistic Discussion about how to start the song - Tom and Tim were heading to Derby that evening to do the violins and final mix, so we still weren't sure. My idea was to do a STRINGS intro, which prompted Producer Pattison into a LENGTHY metaphor about how the violins are the SAILS for the song, which need a MAST (rhythm section) and RIGGING (lyrics?) and... well, it made sense at the time anyway, basically he was saying that on their own they'd sound a bit FLAPPY so we needed something else. INSPIRATION suddenly struck - just as Warren ALSO had the same idea, but HEY! I was still being a BIT bossy so got in first to make THE CLAIM: it now starts with JUST a phone ringing. Tim pointed out that the EP would thus START with the same ringtone that ENDS Do The Indie Kid at which point the ENTIRE CAR had a MASSIVE BRAINWAVE about sequencing the EP so that Do The Indie Kid is the LAST of the bonus tracks, thus starting and ending the whole thing with the same sound.

    It was a car journey of MIGHTY THORT, I can tell you, and we very much needed the HOT DRINKS which Tom provided back at his house. He went and did us CDs of the photographs and then we popped over to The Pump & Tap for a Swift Pint. The P&T is probably the pub i have been to more times than any other - i first went in there in 1989, during my first year at Poly when it had sawdust on the floor, a clientele made up almost entirely of Hells Angels and was run by (apparently) Devil Worshippers, and for the next 14 years went there as my first (and sometimes last) stop on almost every night out. I'd not been in for about year tho, so once we'd looked nostalgically at all the Christmas Photographs (there's a group photograph of everyone who goes to the pub on Christmas Day stretching back nearly 20 years) Tim directed me outside, where I was AMAZED to find The Arches had been cleared out and turned into a Beer Garden. They even have a cupboard of BLANKETS you can borrow out there if it's a bit chilly!

    It was lovely to be back, and horrible to realise that this brilliant pub could soon be demolished - there's a (EVIL) plan to knock down the Bowstring Bridge over Braunstone Gate and if THAT happens then the P&T will be knocked down too! It's yet another local Landmark that's going to be taken away for no reason other than to give a tiny bit more land up for even MORE of the Funny Curved Lid Roof buildings that DOMINATE that part of town now - there's a petition to stop it but, knowing the way these things works, I somehow doubt the pub will be saved.

    Anyway, Tim and Tom went off to their recording session and me and Warren headed into town, stopping off for another swift one in The Criterion (it would have been WRONG to pass it!) before he sidled off for a MOOCH around town and I went to get my train.

    Trains, offices, BEER and more trains - why do i get the feeling that the SHOOT for RIO wasn't quite like this?

    posted by MJ Hibbett, 2.6.08
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