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On the way to Hull, Tim and I wrote a song. Well, we had a lengthy discussion about people who say Town Centres Nowadays All Look The Same (actually they only look the same if you JUST look at the shop fronts - look at the people, the other buildings, the layout, the landscape or even the shops above the ground floor and you'll see massive differences) and then MAPPED OUT the structure, but how hard can it be to write 3 - 4 minutes of RHYME on the subject eh?

We arrived, as in Derby, to find no-one at the venue, so went round the corner and had some FANTASTIC chips. I had Chips & Cheese - the OFFICIAL food of the MJ Hibbett & The Validators Autumn 2003 tour - and it was LOVELY. Dark comments were made later in the night about whether Hull chippies use Vegetable Fat, but I'm SURE it was probably OK, possibly. We got back to the venue and gradually everyone arrived, including Eddy THE KING OF PROMOTERS.

He really had done a BRILLIANT job promoting it - for weeks he'd been sending ideas for getting people interested, including contacting the Guardian, the Hull Daily News, and the Sunday Sport. Posters were all over the place, ALBUMS had been played to half of Hull, it seemed (including the week's customers at the local Health Food shop), and he'd even printed off reviews of the album and put them all over the venue. All of this, however, became as nothing when he arrived with our RIDER DEMANDS, IN FULL... he gave us a BEECH TREE.

Not a twig, not some seeds, but a real life actual TREE, lovingly cared for by Dave The Gardener (as mentioned from last time I played there). From this point on I knew that this gig was going to be BRILLIANT. This was only REINFORCED when we noticed that the venue had us in the listings flyer as "PJ Hibbett & The Validators". Proby? Harvey? & Duncan? This night, i declared to The Gods Of Rock, we would be as mighty as all THREE! Or is it four?

Anyway, soundcheck was good (although a bit weird, as Emma hadn't come and there was a GAPING HOLE in the overall sound where her vocals usually are) so we popped to the nice pub round the corner ("through the GINNEL"), got the set list sorted out, and then went back to see Herman Grosse's Trouser Emporium. They started off WORRYING and a bit dodgy, but halfway through became GRATE doing a Percussion TASTIC version of a Tom Wait's Song and ending with a MIGHTY rendering of "Tiger Feet". Also a man did IRONING throughout, and really it seemed like the most natural bit of ROCK THEATRE ever.

We had a bit of messing about with the tree - we'd decided to have it on stage with us, and Tim suggested miking it up... which he did. Then we moved the tree around, and each time one of us would dilligently re-arrange the microphone to suit. Oh, the TOUR JAPES eh? That done, it was time to ROCK... and oh my good golly, but we BLOODY DID ROCK! Amazingly, about half way through, I suddenly realised that some people were singing along, quite a FEW were doing gig dancing (i.e. with shoulders and heads, enthusiastically), and all 60 or so people were GETTING REALLY INTO IT! We were headlining, and we were behaving like a Headline Band. It was FANTASTIC! WORRIED GLANCES were exchanged between us at the Enthusiastic Cheering And Clapping that was going on, but soon we realised that's the noise audiences are SUPPOSED to make!

Tom, I must say, ROCKED OUT on the electrical violin, and the rest of us just plain ROCKED. There was also HILARITY over a Christmas Cake that someone seemed very keen for us to try (it was delicious), and "Easily Impressed" went down GRATE! Usually with the band Emma leads the "OI! HIBBETT!" bit, but as she wasn't there I went all out for the Audience INSTRUCTION beforehand, and it sounded FANTASTIC. We then did an ACTUAL REAL PROPER ENCORE of "Fat Was A Feminist Issue" which was (Warning: Rock Cliche ahead) PULVERISING. Rob LARFED when I acted out the bit about "Perfect Pecs and Six Pack", which made ME laugh and forget my lines, so I GLARED at him so that he thought he'd made a terrible BASS ERROR, and nobody noticed that it was ME who had gone wrong. HA! I have been in this Krazy Business long enough to know a few tricks...

When we came off stage Tim was GRINNING as I came in followed by a BOUNCING ROB, and we were just comparing ASTONISHMENT at how well it'd gone when Tom came dashing in. "CDs!" he yelped. "They need CDs to sell on the door!" I handed him a handful, then a minute later he RAN back in saying "MORE! MORE! They need MORE!" It was very exciting. I then went and said hello to loads of people (including Al McCeachen, who'd done the Cheery Wave fanzine years and years ago) and generally ponced about being WELL CHUFFED and sweaty. Afterwards the chap on the door revealed he'd sold EIGHT albums, which added to the ONE I'd sold myself makes for the rather impressive new totaliser you can see to the right of this screen. We also got PAID, and it was an EXTREMELY pleased band of Validators who set off home. The only down side really was that Emma wasn't able to make it, but hey - ALL our gigs will be like this from now on, right?

If not, Tim and Emma will at least have a TREE in their back garden to remind them of the time we became a Headline Act. Oh yeah, it was BRILLIANT - Leeds on Thursday, and i cannot bloody WAIT!

posted 13/10/2003 by MJ Hibbett

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