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Blog Archive: April 2005

Al'Tamara's Party
AK! Do you ever have the thing where you spend A WHOLE MONTH constantly thinking "Must remember to put this in the newsletter - MUSTN'T FORGET", leave NOTES all around the place reminding yourself, and then PLUM FORGET?

BAH! I promised Dr A Farmer of the marvellous BEAROS RECORDS that I'd mention the Al'Tamara's Party site in this month's newsletter (i promised him after i forgot to do it LAST month), and now, not ten minutes after sending them all out, i realise i have forgot AGANE.

UGH! Also, GNARGH! Thus, please accept this as an ADDENDUM: Hey kids! If you're after something NEW, also GROOVY, you could do worse than checking out Al'Tamara's Party, a FREE online mixtape featuring ten songs by ten different bands from ten Proper Independent Record Labels. It's actually rather GRATE, go LISTEN!

posted 28/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Busy Times Ahead
I'm girding myself for a busy week or two ahead - tonight I'm playing the 12 Bar (if you're thinking of coming, which would of course be DELIGHTFUL, I'm on at 8.45pm), then on Monday I'm off up to SHEFFIELD to play at the Fuzz Club Barbecue - if you're thinking of coming to THAT (which would ALSO be delightful) I'm playing at 9pm and 10pm. Yes, i am doing TWO SETS, so much THORT is being expended on what to actually DO.

The next day i get the train back to London, do a Hard Day's Graft, and THEN get the train back AGANE up to Derby, for the next in our series of SESSIONS to learn up some more material. This is turning out to be rather COMPLEX, as I'm not in work tomorrow, so am having to bring in changes of clothes for various eventualities ready for NEXT Wednesday. Oh the life of ROCK GLAMOUR, how DOES Him Out Of Coldplay cope when they go on tour for WEEKS?

After that it's Brixton next Sunday then Brighton shortly afterwards - these are all, as usual, available on the GIGS page, and also available in your INBOX by subscribing to the NEWSLETTER, the latest issue of which has just this minute gone out. I've ALSO been typing away like a LOON doing Actual Work Style Work today, i WONDER i have any fingertips LEFT after all this action!

posted 28/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Is She Really Going Out With Him?
It's wrong, I know, but I can't help it - I really like Sandra Howard. She seems LOVELY. Surely I'm not alone in this? A while ago i SPOKE of political parties being like different bosses, and SHE very much fits into this - she's the sort of boss who'd be a bit annoying about Working At Home a bit too much, but would be also let you do it and would NEVER forget your birthday. She'd also probably talk about shopping instead of listening when you're doing your appraisal, but would have brought BISCUITS in or something.

I was going to thus ask WHY she is going out with an Utter Shit like Michael Howard, but thinking about it THOSE sort of bosses always DO seem to be married to people like that. He probably turns up slightly drunk at her Office Christmas Party and makes offhand racist remarks, whilst jangling the keys to his new car, that DOES seem about right. WHY do they do this? The Wobble In My Jelly suggests that maybe only somebody HUGELY LOVELY can find it within herself to love someone so NASTY, and maybe she has a point - it would explain a LOT of these sort of relationships... but I do think the Tories have missed a trick by NOT shoving her out front more. It certainly would do them better than their current DESPERATE NASTINESS - again, was it me, or did even Liam Fox look uncomfortable and ashamed when he was UNLEASHING that poster?

In a similar way, New Labour seem to be under the impression that Ruth Kelly is a vote winner, rather than A BIT CREEPY. Even BEFORE we all knew she was Head Flagellator of the UK Branch of THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR she seemed RUM, now she's just SCARIFYING. The minute she starts UNZIPPING HER FOREHEAD, everybody RUN!

posted 27/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Thanks, And A New Song
First of all, thanks to everyone who've emailed me over the past couple of days - I'm feeling OK about the whole thing now, thanks for asking, though I'm sure there'll be some more blubbing by the time we get to the Funeral on Friday...

Meanwhile I have gone and got myself a COLD, so am sat at work feeling GROTTY. STILL, one advantage of this contagion is that i couldn't be bothered to DO much yesterday, and so sat around the house with my GUITAR. As well as coming up with a Vague Idea for a Nice Song called "Better Things To Do" I WROTE and FINISHED an entire song called "Hey William", based on a REQUEST from a Mr Bayliss of Worcester for a song to play his 14 month old son William. I must say i am MOST PLEASED with the way it turned out, and got all excited and programmed some DRUMS to record a demo version with. HOWEVER i then discovered that my four track had pretty much given up altogether, and so have just spent a pleasant lunch hour LOOKING LONGINGLY through windows on Denmark Street at 4 tracks. OOH! They are such lovely things, i must go GET one!

Anyway, you can read the Lyrics and Annotations to "Hey William" NOW, and hopefully to "Better Things To Do" soonish. If this cold doesn't feel better tomorrow I'm going to stay at HOME and get ON it!

posted 25/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Quiet This Week
Hello all - you might have noticed it's been a bit quiet on the webpage this week. The reason for this is that there's been some family things going on - my Nan became ill a while ago and went into hospital for a major operation, from which she never fully recovered, and she died on Wednesday morning.

Nan was a brilliant woman, who I've taken great delight in showing off about for many years - right through into her late eighties she was a fantastic forceful personality, very modern and unorthodox in her thinking (you didn't want to get her going on religion...), NEVER afraid to share her views with anybody, always up to date with what was going on in the world, and a constant challenge to anybody's idea of what an "old lady" should be like. The last time I had a conversation with her she was railing against the Royal Family, and pointing out how stupid it was Charles and Camilla getting married when they'd seemed perfectly happy just living together.

Luckily for me and The Love Of My Life we got to see her on Tuesday night - she was heavily sedated, but a nurse told us that she could hear what we were saying, so we sat a while and talked to her, about all the times she and my Grandad had looked after me and my brother when we were little. Talking like this, it struck just how much they DID look after us - my parents split up when I was about seven, and I'd never realised until the other night just how many times we went to stay with them after that, and how much they did for us. I felt blessed, to be honest, to be able to say thank you for her for all of that.

It was thus a relief, in a funny way, next morning to find out she passed away. As I say, my Nan never held back on telling us what she thought about things, especially about how she wanted to finish off her days. She hated the idea of being incapicated, relying on other people and losing her independence, and she also had a fear of dying on her own and not being found, so we were in no doubt that she would have preferred to go when she did. Last night my brother and I and our lovely girlfriends sat in the pub and talked about all this, and, again in a strange way, it felt uplifting, life AFFIRMING really, to know we'd had so much love in our lives, and still had it between us.

I suppose it'd be better if we could tell each other things like that when we're in a position to enjoy it, and I do try and say it when I can, but I'm glad I finally got the chance to tell her. I love my Nan, she was bloody FANTASTIC.

posted 22/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Kernow HO!
Wahey! I've just received news from Mr Pattison that we are now BOOKED to go and record the album in CORNWALL in August - it's actually going to HAPPEN! We've talked about this for AGES as A Good Idea, but I never really thought of is as a real thing, yet here we are BOOKED in for a week. The place we're staying is in the COUNTRY, and has GROUNDS and a POOL table and a nearby Offy and a PUB and somewhere to sleep and a BEACH and a kitchen and ... er... oh yeah, a couple of recording studios too. WAHEY! We are going to be LAYING DOWN SOME TRACKS IN THE COUNTRY!

The PLAN is to do as much recording as we can while we're there (we've got around ten songs LEARNT now, so we'll be busy!) and then finish off any remaining overdubs when we get back, and MIX it, as previously mentioned, at Frankie Machine MANSIONS. I am quite fine with THAT part of the plan, but it is still a bit of a struggle to force my MIND to accept the fact that, basically, we're all going on a summer holiday to Cornwall to do the recordings!

KER-ZANG! Fantastically we have ALL booked the week off within SECONDS of getting confirmation! LET'S GO!

posted 19/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Oddly Proud To Be British
Hearing about the Opinion Polls today, I find myself Oddly Proud To Be British. My brother's girlfriend is Australian, and ever since the Tories got that Spin Doctor in she's been giving us DIRE WARNINGS of the sort of campaign they were THUS going to run, and how well it worked in Australia. She very accurately predicted what they would do, with their lies about MRSA (whilst not mentioning that it was THEM who abolished matrons and privatised the cleaning) and especially the deliberate confusion of Immigration and Asylum in order to get the "Send The Back" votes without actually SAYING so.

For some reason we all seemed to think this would WORK. Like so many Vaguely Lefty types I always think that although I personally can see through their VILENESS and, for instance, actually REMEMBER what they did to the economy when they were in power, everybody else will be so self-centered and ignorant that they'll FALL for it. I seem to have expected the entire nation to say "He's RIGHT! We are SWAMPED by Gypsy Immigrants (who are all failed asylum seekers) with MRSA who WERE released from prison five minutes after murdering an old lady, and we can't do anything about it because of the level of Inheritance Tax! Let's VOTE!" It's not a very NICE way to view our fellow countrymen, and beautifully it seems to be an INCORRECT way too.

As far as i can gather, these methods simply aren't working, and although there's obviously a hardcore (let's call them the GITS shall we?) of people who WANT to believe this Daily Mail-esque FILTH, they're pretty much the hardcore constituency of the Conservatives anyway, and when actually invited to think about these issues the majority of the Great British Public will say "No, actually." The polls APPEAR to show that, actually, Michael Howard is REMINDING people why they hated the Tories in the first place, showing that there IS a difference between them and the other parties, and solidifying people's intentions to vote for them. This is ESPECIALLY GRATE in my view because, again, from what I can gather, people seem to be turning to the lovely Lib Dems instead.

It actually makes me swell with PRIDE to be British when this sort of thing happens, when we quietly show the DECENCY that's meant to be part of our national character that we so very rarely give ourselves credit for and which, hopefully, will turn it's collective back on Michael Howard and his nasty little thwarted rump of a party.

Fingers crossed anyway!

posted 17/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Not Hardcore Enough
I headed into TOWN yesterday for the ZINE SYMPOSIUM being held on Gower Street. I've been to a few SYMPOSIA before, but these have all been for INTERNATIONAL STATISTICS. I wasn't expecting THIS one to be held in a five star hotel next to a BEACH somewhere exotic (although i WAS expecting it to be filled with a similar sort of nice, EARNEST, and slightly socially awkward person), but i DID think it would be similar in organisation. Being in Bloomsbury I thought it would be in a nice airy HALL, with STALLS arranged around the edges which we could wander past. I took with me a huge pile of CDs, thinking I could say "hello" in person to all the various fanzine editors who would be there, passing over some of our new releases, and saying "thank you" to those I knew who'd supported us. I looked forward to a pleasant hour or so strolling round relieving myself of CDs and mixing with like minded TYPES.

It wasn't QUITE like that... for a start it was in a SQUAT, and the stalls for the fanzines were squashed together in two rooms in the BASEMENT, so everyone ended up queuing for AGES to even LOOK at anything, simply because someone at the front had stopped for a chat. It also turned out to be an awful lot more HARDCORE than i was expecting - I'd envisaged rows of TWEE fanzines surrounded by badges, hairclips, and shoulder bags, but everything seemed a lot more STERN and ANNOYED than that. My first impression was that it was like wandering around the "market" area at a RALLY in 1989, with LARKS pretty much frowned upon, and Vegan Chocolate Cake there to be eaten out of DUTY, rather than FUN.

HOWEVER after a wander round i realised that this was VERY MUCH an FIRST IMPRESSION, especially with the CAKE, as i noticed MANY fanzines were for Vegan Cookery, and remembered that just because _I_ am in my thirties, working in London with easy access to both Veggie Food AND my own kitchen to cook it in, doesn't mean that EVERYBODY is in that situation. I looked around me and realised that i was very much one of the OLDEST people there (apart from the Socialist Worker guy in one room, the Feminist Literature woman in the other, and a chap with a LINUS badge on, i WAS the oldest!), and that for most other people there this was often a HARD FOUGHT position on their own identity. As i THEN wandered round the building again it was MOVING to see all these people coming together from all over the country to express SOLIDARITY with each other, to find that they WEREN'T the only ones who felt this way, to make new friends and to buy each others lovingly prepared and printed MISSIVES on the subject.

It was LOVELY, in fact, but in the end a bit too HARDCORE for me. I realised that the music of The Validators or Johnny Domino or Frankie Machine (all of which I had with me) was probably NOT quite what they were after, and felt like a well meaning but interfering teacher who's popped into the Anarchist Revolutionaries After-School Club to offer to help write the posters, so ABSENTED myself.

I went round the corner to Planet Organic instead and bought some Vegan Organic BEER. MUCH more my level!

posted 17/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Doctor Who
I can hold it in no longer - OH MY WORD, isn't Doctor Who COMPLETELY BRILLIANT?!? YIPES! Last night's episode especially - CRIKEY! Utterly SCARY MONSTERS! Plot twists! Fart Gags THAT WERE VITAL TO THE PLOT! "Fantastic"! Big Ben getting exploded! Evolutionised Pigs! EVERYTHING!

Best of all - that tiny bit where he said "Oh look, U.N.I.T. - I know them!" and all over the country men of a certain age and inclination EXPLODED with sheer JOY. For those NOT of either of those categories, U.N.I.T. (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) was the quasi military group that Jon Pertwee hung around with all the time. When photographs were released of this episode showing soldiers all the Interweb FANS said "oh, wouldn't it be nice if they were from UNIT eh? But it will never happen - The Blessed Russell T is making it accessible to the YOUTH, and so doesn't want to bog it down in old continuity, thrice praised be his name."

THUS the way he mentioned it was a BEAUTIFUL SURPRISE to me (who... er... obviously spends NO time reading about Dr Who on the interweb), and another indication of just how WONDERFUL the new series has been. Doctor Who in olden times was, to be honest, usually a bit boring and rubbish (this memory based, for me, on Peter Davidson and Colin Baker), but we have a collective MEMORY of it as something EXCITING and JOLLY (this memory based, for me, on seeing clips of Jon Pertwee and especially Tom Baker), and the new series is making THE LATTER - The Dr Who We Imagined But Never Existed. They COULD have done it all Ironic and Clever and VACUOUS, or they could have gone for the DULL But Continuity Faithful version of the Paul McGann movie, so it's LOVELY that they've gone whole hog instead for something MODERN, Action Packed and Serious AND funny, that still NODS to the fans and RESPECTS the mythology that they've invested so much in (especially over the last ten years) without ever letting it take over.

It's FANTASTIC, more than anything, to have a PROPER chunk of IMAGINATIVE, FUN SCI-FI topping the ratings, demonstrating to the DULLARDS of scheduling that GENRE TV, when done properly, CAN support a timeslot when people could actually WATCH it. If only they'd realised this when BUFFY was still going eh?

posted 17/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Hello Cambridge!
It was back AGANE to King's Cross for me last night, and HO! for the distant FEN, and CAMBRIDGE. On the PACKED train were two young chaps who had guitars with them, and were discussing the ROCK ACTION tonight. I thought "Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out they were playing the same place as me?" and LO! it turned out they WERE, so i said hello and when we arrived in Cambridge we STRODE towards the venue, THE MAN ON THE MOON. They'd told me it was a lot like The Windmill in Brixton, and they were NOT WRONG - it's in a residential area, looks like one of those rotten Estate Pubs that NOBODY goes in unless they live there, and inside has a LOVELY sized, shaped, and staffed VENUE room, and ALSO serve really nice beer. HOORAH! AND the chip shop was directly opposite! EVEN MORE HOORAH!

Mr Frankie Machine arrived at the same time as me, shortly followed by Mr McClure, and then The Pattisons - things seemed to be going FINE, except that there was no drumkit and no time for soundchecks... er... I was unsure at this point whether Everything Would Work Out OK or COLLAPSE, and Martin who was RUNNING the gig was equally unsure. DRUMS however did arrive, things got set up, and all was well. Meanwhile we had a BAND MEETING where we pretty MUCH agreed WHEN we're going to go and record the album (AUGUST) and HOW (recording for six days, mixing and doing additional overdubs in Derby on The Machine Machine [NB Rob's computer] and me and Emma excused from having to sit through the mixing). We then did the setlist, the VOCALISTS had a sing through "Tell Me Something You DO Like", and we retired to the QUIZZER, where as usual we failed to win anything.

The gig started, and there were PEOPLE there - me and Tom had to FIGHT past a QUEUE at one point to get OUT - including a surprisingly large number of people who had come to SEE us, some of whom had travelled FAR. Jeff (who put us on in Ipswich) and Ed had come from IPSWICH, Chris from NORWICH, John from LONDON and Ellen from BLACKPOOL! We'd assumed that nobody there would know us, so thought we could do nearly all NEW stuff, and i thus felt a bit bad afterwards that a bunch of people had come SPECIAL and didn't hear much they might KNOW. I remember when I used to go to a LOT of Belle & Sebastian gigs, it was NICE to hear new stuff but a bit frustrating that they hardly ever played anything i knew - it is a TOUGH ONE to balance i must say. If you do ALL old stuff then it's a bit boring for everyone, although you do get to have a good old singalong, but if you do all NEW stuff it's a THRILLER for the band but you lose the LINK with the audience, who won't know any of them... obviously the answer is to do MASSIVE EXTENDED SETS, but we only had half an hour!

So yes, soon it came time for us to ROCK so in we MARCHED and got set up - one of the MANY GRATE THINGS about The Validators is that everyone just gets on with it, and each of us set to getting their SECTION sorted out. Well, most of us - certain people appear to still be unable to work out how to switch amps on without involving everybody else, but HEY! I don't have one at home, OK? Once sorted we LEAPT into ACTION, as follows:
The Gay Train
Never Going Back To Aldi's
Hey Hey 16K
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Tell Me Something You DO Like
The Fight For History
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
Easily Impressed
New Song TASTIC, i think you'll agree - we did intend to do "Things'll Be Different" and "Symbol Of Our Nation", but TIME seemed to flow at EXTREME SPEED, so we had to cut them. It was GOOD though, I think - I was a bit AFEARED for the first few songs, as I couldn't hear the vocals at all, but thought "COme, ME, Relax and don't SHOUT, lest you bugger up what is already a Not Exactly First Class instrument i.e. yr VOICE" and felt a bit better as we went along. "Tell Me Something You DO Like" did, as promised, get its LIVE DEBUT, and CRIKEY! It was quite EXCITING! Singing it AT people felt DEAD GOOD and I hope, as it GROWS and DEVELOPS, it is going to be a bit of a CRACKER. YEAH!

So yes, it all felt rather good, if rather FRENETIC and SWEATY and all over in a BLUR of ACTION. There wasn't much time to hang around afterwards either - Rob was in the MACHINEMOBILE with the engine running before the rest of us had finished packing, and I soon had to DASH to catch my train, although i DID manage to say THANKS to the lovely people who'd come and, indeed, sorted it out. On the (LONG) way home (who knew there were so MANY places in The Fens?) I thought that, with CAMBRIDGE added to the list of Places We Should Play, IPSWICH to be revisited in the summer, and COLCHESTER and NORWICH as possible other areas to explore, THE FENS suddenly becomes a HOT TARGET for NEW TERRITORY to conquer. With ROCK! East Anglia is the new South Yorkshire, Cambridge is the new SHEFFIELD! For us! Maybe!

Well, it WAS very late. I finally got home a very happy Hibbett, my only sadness being that it's going to be three long weeks until the Validators reconvene... because, united together, we are BLOODY GRATE! YEAH!

posted 14/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Needles In The Rehearsal Room
The Validators convened in DERBY last night, for some CONSOLIDATION work on the new songs. If ever you needed a TABLEAU demonstrating What We Are Like you could not have done better than a scene from Room 1 at The Music Shed: Me, Rob, Tom and Tim taking it in turns to relate our own experiences of "The First Time I Ever Drank A Pint Of Pedigree" (rather brilliantly, we all KNEW) whilst Emma did a bit of haberdashery. WE ROCK SO HARD! If ever you see reports of NEEDLES being strewn in our wake, they will be KNITTING needles.

We had a LOVELY time anyway - after a Warm Up RAMPAGE through "Never Going Back To Aldi's" and "The Lesson Of The Smiths" we ATTACKED "Looking At My Hands". Last time we tried to make the middle section SUPER SKANKING, but this never quite worked out, so this time we did the middle bit more like the rest of the song, and i must be frank and say it sounded BLOODY GRATE. So we did it again. This one's really come together nicely, with Tom especially chucking in some GRATE bits. Well done everybody!

NEXT we moved on to the NEW ONE, "Tell Me Something You DO Like", as discussed yesterday. One minor problem was that nobody could actually remember how the JAMMED version went, but we got going soon enough and it sounded VERY SHOUTY. It was DEAD GOOD! Oddly, it's mostly based on Rob's bassline, which on its own sounds quite FRUITY and INTRICATE, but the PERFORMANCE en masse made me want to jump up and down. So i DID. We all got a bit excited and there were several HOPES expressed (largely, it must be said, by the Don't Have To Learn The Words contingent) that we could play this one TONIGHT in Cambridge. GOLLY!

THEN we ran through "The Other Rush Hour", followed by a lengthy DEBATE about how to make it work better - we all like it, but HEY! It's not really HAPPENING at the moment! Cor, sometimes it is like being in a REAL band! That one was left for some THORT by ME about how to ARRANGE it a bit, and then we moved on to "Mental Judo", ANOTHER one that wasn't QUITE going right. We tried it a couple of different JERKY ways, none of which seemed to be any better, and then just as The Rhythm Section were getting EXCITED about leaving the title track OFF the album (because this gave them an excuse to REEL OFF other examples of bands using album title tracks as b-sides instead) we tried it SLOWLY. IT WORKED! I tried doing it in a sort of COUNTRY SLOW style, but listening back to it this morning in Rob's car on the way to the railway station, it actually SWUNG! Yeah! In a HEP SWINGING WAY! It sounded lovely - it was also noticeable that Tim, formerly The Most Important Punk In The Country is now quite happy to do FILLS that verge on the SHOW TUNE - HOORAH!

You'll hear what i mean when it's done, but honest, it is GRATE! THUS sated we SWEPT through "The Fight For History" (PRACTICE) and a recap of What We Have Done, packed up, and headed out. During this bit we had ANOTHER example of What We Are Like, as towards the end we all began to FLAG. NOT because of Rock & Roll EXCESS, but because most of us are usually tucked up in bed by that time. OH YEAH! With this in mind, and also the FACT that it's going to be a late night tonight, we didn't even go to the PUB, something i think UNHEARD OF even for a clean living bunch like us!

We'll make up for it tonight though - oh yeah! I might have PEANUTS with my BEER too! LET'S GO KRAZEE!!

posted 13/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Tell Me Something You DO Like
NEW SONG ALERT! After a couple of weeks of THINKING about it I had a minor FLURRY of song activity last night, followed by a fairly MAJOR one this morning, and now LO! There is a new song, "Tell Me Something You DO Like" in the Song Blog and Annotations. As the title suggests, it is a RANT demanding that dreary cowards cutting down on SLAGGING OFF pretty much EVERYTHING, and instead put their money where their mouths are and tell us, well, what they DO like.

YEAH! I have read one (possibly more actually) TOO MANY interview with gormless sods saying "Yeah, all politicians are idiots, also everything is RUBBISH" lately from ranks and ranks of bands called THE [syllable][syllable]S being fashionably disaffected and unable to sing about ANYTHING but ROCKING and/or GURLS. BORING!

Yes, maybe I shouldn't read NME in the Virgin Megastore. It does me no good!

posted 12/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Tapton Revisited
The marvellous SANDMAN magazine have had a web update, revealing a - dare i say it? - fairly ACCURATE review of the Tapton Music Festival, available HERE. Accurate in all but surname spelling, but at least it's a live review so fairly excusable, it's not like (as has happened a couple of times) people have copied bits of press release and STILL managed to spell it wrong!

Yes, it is a constant TRIAL being me, WOE etc etc - i should have never bothered thinking up the glamorous alter ego "MJ Hibbett" and stuck with my given birthname, RANDOLPH SUPER-SHAG. Oh well.

posted 12/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Make My Vote Count
After appearing on Steve Lamacq last week i got an email from the people at Make My Vote Count. FANTASTICALLY a chap their had heard the bit about STV (that's the Single Transferable Vote, Electoral System fans!) in "Things'll Be Different" and so emailed to ASK what my THORTS were and whether i wanted to "get involved".

Well, first of all, how GRATE is that? I don't think anybody's ever picked up on that particular bit before, so i was WELL CHUFFED that he had... although, to be honest, that's a simplification of what i REALLY think - i reckon we should have STV to elect the lower, policy making, house (so each member of the house is DIRECTLY responsible to US, and so local issues can be brought to bear), with the Upper House elected using a Party List system, so it represents the "higher" political ideas of the nation as a whole. Also, as ALSO mentioned in the song, the monarchy AND the church would be disestablished, and we'd have a proper grown-up PRESIDENT. I think we'd go for something like the French system for that, but I've not really decided what I think about that yet.

ANYWAY, Make My Vote Count are trying to highlight the need for electoral reform so that (amongst other things) people could feel their vote ISN'T wasted. At the moment, for the vast majority of us, there isn't really any technical point in turning up to vote. In most constituencies majorities for one party are so big it doesn't make much difference either way - of course, _I_ think everyone should vote ANYWAY for LO! a) one vote CAN make a difference and b) it's an insult to the millions who HAVE died and CONTINUE to die fighting for the right to vote if we just ignore it, but, to be honest, I can see why so many people see no practical point in it. If we had a Proportionally Representative system where ALL the votes counted towards something then not only would people would became more ENGAGED in politics, but politicians would have to take note of what ALL of us think, not just people in marginal constituencies and the INSANE LOONIES who run the media.

YEAH! That's what i think about THAT! I'm not sure if I'll have anything USEFUL to say that'll be any use for the Make My Vote Count TYPES, but we'll see won't we?

posted 11/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Broadcasting Sounds
If anyone would like to HEAR one of the demo versions for the new album, of which I have so often spoke, you could always go and listen to a sudden NEW EDITION of John Kell Vs. Satan, by clicking HERE and then following directions to download it.

This is the show that John used to do a couple of years ago on CUR1350, the Cambridge University Student radio station, where he used to play LOTS of our stuff - INDEED my version of STAN, to be heard on that PopGun compilation i was on about the other day, was recorded for a session on his show - and last week he had a brief RETURN to the airwaves. As well as featuring the demo of "The Gay Train", it also has "Black Eyes" by Frankie Machine and "Eggbound Mutebone" by the Plans & Apologies youngsters. It ALSO also has loads of other GRATE stuff - go listen, is GOOD!

posted 9/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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... and talking of James The Kung Fu Cookery Teacher, I'm going to be playing a GIG next month at The Ukulele Research & Development Society, which he runs. It's going to be a TOTAL UKELELE SET!!

This is obviously EXCITING, also a bit UNNERVING, not least because I haven't played my ukelele for AGES, and don't really know any songs all the way through with any particular confidence. Oh well, there's a few weeks to go, how long can it TAKE to re-learn an entirely different instrument then work out 20 minutes work of songs to play on it? PAH! PEASY!


posted 8/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Hands Across The Water
Today's EXCITING NEWS is that it looks like I'll be releasing a record in AMERICA! And when I say "I", i mean ME - it's an MJ Hibbett SOLO record! And when I say "record" I mean a CASSETTE! Oh YEAH!

This has all come about through my friend Jimmy The Kung Fu Cookery Teacher, from The Bobby McGees, who pointed me in the direction of cassette-only label POPGUN RECORDINGS. They're releasing an album of cover versions of HIP HOP FAVOURITES, and he thought they might like to have "Boom Shake The Room" or "Stan", as recorded by me. This seemed like a good idea, so i got in touch and AMAZINGLY i turned out the RAOUL from the label had a copy of "Work Is A 4 Letter Word" (i.e. my first ever record, released by Fortuna Pop! in 1997) and was all CHUFFED to hear from me. LO! BEAUTY shone around!

Shortly afterwards he asked if i might be interested in doing a TAPE on his label, of some of my older recordings - i said that this was a GOOD IDEA, so GOOD in fact that we'd already done it on Warriors Of Nanpantan, and suggested maybe i could do something NEW instead? Raoul, he said "YES!" and so in the next few months I'm coming to be recording 5 or 6 new songs all on my LONESOME in our SPARE ROOM, ready for release in THE AMERICAS! WHOO!

I'm really rather excited about this I must say - if you've ever looked at the Pre-Validators Solo Career page you'll see i've released a LOT of tapes in my life, and if you scroll RIGHT DOWN towards the bottom you'll see the 5 solo tapes i recorded between 1995 and 1998 that were the START of me doing this properly. I've recorded quite a few songs since them on my four track for compilations and things (as owners of Warriors of Nanpantan will know, there are MANY of these) and I still use it to record DEMO VERSIONS for the Validators, but i have long MISSED the process of recording a whole SET of these sort of songs, like i used to do. Oh my, it is going to be SUCH FUN!

posted 7/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Review Flurry
We've had a couple of LOVELY Print Reviews this week, in Plan B and Is This Music?, which finally INSPIRED me to get round to finishing the REVIEWS page for Warriors Of Nanpantan - here it is, they're all rather nice aren't they? HOORAH!

posted 6/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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The Young People
Today i got a SPECTACULARLY ARSEY email from someone from DOG COCK DILDO, the band I mentioned seeing a POSTER for the other week. The poor chap had obviously taken ENORMOUS OFFENCE to me saying they had a rubbish logo, and had then gone on to read the rest of this page with HASTE and in ANGER, and failed to see that i was also saying what a GRATE name it actually, and how it is thus a SHAME to obscure it with an indecipherable logo - he also sent me a copy of said logo, which you can JUDGE for yourself HERE. He was CAUSTIC in his condemnation of me, which i thought was rather lovely - it's what you EXPECT a young punk to be like isn't it? I think perhaps it was him who designed it, hence the RAGE, but it's nice to know that THE YOUTH are keeping alive the burning flame of SNOTTY ANGER. I THUS replied with an email congratulating him for being THUS, and restating my opinion that such a GRATE name deserved a more legible logo for people passing by at SPEED to READ. As i say, i was CHARMED by the ANGER, which will probably make him angrier YET.

Mind you, as well as calling me an "old computer geek" (fair enough) and a variety of OTHER things i would not share on such a well mannered website as this, he also called me "fat". DAMMIT! THAT HURT!

posted 6/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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Cor, it's all go on the NEWS isn't it? Popes, Prime Ministers and Princes A-GO-GO, it's like living in the titles of a Prog Rock Album!

I'm very much looking forward to the election, as i always do, although this time I feel the evening itself is going to be a lot more Star Wars: A New Hope rather than Dr Who i.e. DISAPPOINTING. The last two times we've had the JOY of the Tories being CRUSHED, but that's not going to happen this time, i don't think, and even if it DID it'd mean the AUTONS of New Labour would get to prance around being pleased with themselves. The more i look at them all, the more it strikes me that they're all BOSSES - the Tories are a bunch of SMALL BUSINESS BOSSES (nasty, self-important, concerned ONLY with short term CA$H PROFIT and prone to feeling MARTYRED if they have to give a monkey's about STAFF) while Labour are PUBLIC SECTOR BOSSES (nasty, self-important, concerned ONLY with looking good and have to attend MANY MANY COURSES in order to train to look HUMAN, but never do).

Personally, i shall be voting for the NON-BOSSES i.e. the enthusiastic leaders of Scout Packs, Managers of local charities, and Directors of Amateur Dramatics. COME ON CHARLIE!

posted 5/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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ROCK Sunday
The Walls Of My Building and I set off bright and early on Sunday afternoon for TOWN, and for the BBC. We got there SO bright and early that we actually had time for a quick DRINK in All Bar One - they're funny places them, they FEEL like Bars off the telly, rather than being in an Actual Pub, in fact it feels like you're in a CAFE being SOPHISTICATED - maybe that's so nobody ever thinks "Ooh dear, i have been in the PUB for hours, i'd best stop NECKING BOOZE" and instead swans around going "La de da, i am DEAD sophisticate me, MORE BOOZE!"

Anyway, it was soon time to head to the BBC for - amazingly - my NINTH appearance on the show. We went up to THE HUB, where, being VETERANS, we helped ourselves to TEA, and noted that on one of the walls are some posters put up so that bands have a POLITE place to write their graffiti. NICE. I tuned up, and then IN we went to the studio, where Keith Cameron and Vic McGlynn were already LOITERING, and Mr Steve Lamacq was DRIVING THE DESK (as we say in Radio, oh yes). We said Hello and he asked me if i had anything to plug, and I had to admit i DIDN'T, and then it was OFF WE GO and i was broadcasting to THE NATION! Or at least the bit of the nation that has a Digital Radio.

It was RATHER GOOD FUN i must say (you can LISTEN AGAIN to it HERE if you like, although at the moment it's trying to play LAST week's show) and i actually manage to ENJOY the talking bits these days, although the SONGS were a bit more nervy ESPECIALLY doing "Things'll Be Different When I'm In Charge", as the last time I did it on Steve's show I forgot the first line, and he looked MORTIFIED. I RATTLED on through that and "Good Luck In Your New Job", and HAPPILY everyone on the studio seemed to like it, then that was that and it was HO! for the pub.

This ALSO was good, as that Steve Lamacq is actually A Really Nice Chap, and it turned out EVERYONE was - Producer Henry, Adam and Jim The Soundman came too, and we had a VERY nice time - STORIES were told about The NME and stuff, and it was a bit weird hearing things from the OTHER SIDE and all was GOOD. INDEED, it was only the CALL OF ROCK that made us leave, and we headed off to ALDGATE to attend the Let's Go Baboon gig at The Rhythmn Factory.

We had a GRATE time - we met the lovely Claire Dicko of KOOBA RADIO fame (whose new show is up now, and features THREE Plans & Apologies tracks), also Carsmile Steve of THE INTERWEB fame, and saw General Khaki and Daddy Long Legs. Daddy Long Legs were lovely and JERKY - they did that thing that NORMALLY really ANNOYS me, where all the songs have fifteen different sections all in different time signatures, but they did it in such an ENTHUSIASTIC and CHARMING way that my dears they WON me over. General Khaki were a little SCARY in their INTENSENESS i must say, they were like Lungleg or Yummy Fur BUT VERY SOBER. It was ENNERVATING!

By then it was time for us to go home, which we did with a song in our hearts, having ROCKED: HARD!
posted 4/4/2005 by MJ Hibbett
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