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Blog Archive: November 2021Eternals
Last night I met with Mr S Carter to go and see "Eternals". I have seen the vast majority of the Marvel films with Steve and was quite excited to be doing so again, despite having read some fairly mediocre reviews of it. Lots of these claimed that "The Marvel bubble has finally burst!" which is pretty much what traditional film reviewers have been saying since "Iron Man 2", so I went in with an Open and also a Hopeful mind.
I got the first inkling that something might be amiss when we got to the MASSIVE Leicester Square Odeon and had to walk through a maze of corridors to get to screen number five. I didn't realise there WERE other screens, and this one turned out to be basically someone's living room with a big telly and a few (LUXURIOUS) chairs. Surely a Marvel movie would usually still be on a big screen a couple of weeks after it came out?
We settled in and the film began... and then kept on beginning for about 90 minutes. Flipping heck, I understand that "Getting The Band Back Together" is a THING, but it doesn't usually take up the vast majority of the film and it's also meant to make you somehow give a toss about the actual band. The whole thing was weirdly BORING, with lots and lots of very bland characters standing around impassively explaining things to each other, and then occassionally all getting in a line for no apparent reason to stand still and Be Looked At. To be fair, The Eternals being a bunch of pretty dull characters who say Important Sounding Things over and over to each other is VERY faithful to the source material, but it didn't half get dull quickly. It was highly noticeable that little lights kept flashing on around the tiny cinema as everyone kept checking their phones to see how much longer it had to go!
To be clear, I'm not complaining about the film Trying Something Different (which is A Good Thing) or attempting to deal with Characters rather than Constant Action, it's just that they made such a dreary mess of it all. There was SO MANY scenes of characters sitting around Telling Each Other Things, and so very little of any of them Actually Being Interesting. This made the traditional Marvel Scenes, like when they're sitting around drinking beer and bickering, feel totally out of place. Apart from Kingo and his "valet" I didn't really care enough about any of them enough (or at all) to enjoy it.
Also, the flipping plot made approximately ZERO sense. What on earth were The Deviants all about? And why did they team up with (A CHARACTER) later on? Were we meant to care about them, or were they just baddies? Why were THE MASSIVE SPACE GODS so very boring? And how many times did Previously Unmentioned Cosmic Powers really need to appear out of nowhere? And most importantly, why were school children having a lesson in the Natural History Museum?
In discussion afterwards Steve made an EXCELLENT comparison to "Guardians Of The Galaxy". That was ALSO a deep dive into Marvel characters that nobody outside of comics really knew beforehand. It ALSO spent time bringing a large group of characters together, and it ALSO was a pretty big swerve from what Marvel films had been before. The big difference with THAT film however is that the characters were Actually Interesting and Different From Each Other, so the bits with them just hanging around together were ENJOYABLE and you CARED about what happened to them. I AUDIBLY GROANED when the bit at the end came up with "Eternals Will Return..."
Happily, with this and "The Inhumans" I think that's IT for adaptations of Ponderous Super-Powered Families Drawn By Jack Kirby (for Marvel anyway, we've still got the threat of New Gods). Hopefully with that out of the way they can finally give us the "Devil Dinosaur" movie we all deserve!
posted 23/11/2021 by MJ Hibbett
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Farewell To Indietracks
After my long lay-off from blogging I wasn't expecting to be writing three blogs in such close succession, but then I wasn't expecting to see yesterday's announcement that Indietracks is calling it a day.
It was really sad news, but it wasn't a huge surprise. Getting our Indietracks application in has been part of The ROCK Year for The Validators ever since the festival started, closely followed by the months of waiting to see if we'd get in and then dismay/jubiliation according to the results. I've spent the past few weeks checking their site every couple of days to see if they'd put the call out yet, and was beginning to suspect that something might be different this time.
I can fully understand why the Indietracks Team would see this as a time to bring it to a close, especially after two years off. It must have been an ENORMOUS amount of work and it's been an incredible run of festivals so it's good to go out while you're ahead, but CRIKEY it's sad to think that we'll never get to go there again. Indietracks was the one and only festival where we felt like ROCK STARS - it was the one place where pretty much everybody who gave a monkey's about MJ Hibbett & The Validators would all be in the same place together, and we could play a proper big stage show like what you see on telly. It was the centre of The Validators' ROCK year - the argument about what our walk-on music could be for next time started pretty much as soon as we'd come off-stage!
It was also the only place where I felt like we truly fitted in as a band. We were never part of any scene when we started, and have been around so long that we've out-lived most of the bands we've played with, but when Indietracks came along, and especially when it included bands like Allo' Darlin', Standard Fare, The Smittens, The Just Joans, The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut and all the others, it felt like a group we could be part of. To me that scene will always be "Indietracks Bands" because that's where I got to see them, on stage but especially in-person before and afterwards, and it was wonderful to feel accepted, like we were a part of it all rather than our usual position of That Band Who Were On Before The Band We Came To See.
That's probably why it's the home for some of my favourite memories of Actually Doing Gigs. As anyone who's ever seen me live, and especially anyone who came to see My Exciting Life In ROCK, will know, my favourite bits of ROCK have tended to be the stuff AROUND the gigs - the stupid adventures getting there, the crazy people talked to afterwards, or the ludicrous mishaps that happened during. All of those things happened at Indietracks too, but we also got to play some proper Actual Amazing Gigs. With The Validators we had the time on the main stage when we got everyone to tweet "happiness" at the same time, inventing Friday nights with the full band version of My Exciting Life In ROCK, the day we played to the the biggest crowd we ever had (and two very bored Pattison daughters), and all the post-show hours in the Merch Tent when lovely people came along to Actually Buy Stuff. Then there was the year when me and Emma sang with A Little Orchestra, or the time I had to force my way into the train carriage to do my own gig because it was so full.
Best of all though, for me personally, was in 2011 when I played in The Merch Tent. I was really nervous beforehand, and was even more so when I arrived to find that the tent was packed out with people. Gigs in The Merch Tent are Totally Acoustic, and there's all sorts of noise going on from the festival around it, so I had no idea how I was going to make myself heard in what I assumed was a crowded tent full of people chatting and buying records. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, especially when it proved to be difficult to get in due to the mass of people, as I prepared myself for a miserable set, shouting in a corner to people who didn't want to hear - I've done this many times in my illustrious career, but it didn't seem fair to be doing it at Indietracks!
As I pushed my way through I said to somebody "It's very busy!". "Yes," he said, "It's rammed because MJ Hibbett's going to play."
I could have cried then and it still makes me well up now. That was Indietracks - a place where a band like us, and people like us, and people not like us at all, could all come together and actually BE the International Rock Stars we are in our heads, if only for a weekend. It's sad that it's gone, but it's wonderful that it was ever there at all. Thanks Indietracks, you were the best!
posted 16/11/2021 by MJ Hibbett
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Is It Too Soon For Christmas?
As promised last week, today we have some Jane and John news, and it is this: today we're releasing Is It Too Soon For Christmas? as a single!
The song originally came out last year on A Very Cherry Christmas E.P. 2020, but due to Covid it was only released on Bandcamp. We still love the song, and feel that the question it asks remains relevant, so - with Cherryade Records' permission - we decided to release it ourselves on streaming services for this year. You can get it on Spotify, Amazon, or pretty much anywhere that does that sort of thing!
We've also got a Teaser Video (i.e. it's just a BIT of the song, not the whole thing!) which you can see BELOW:
As ever, likes, mentions, retweets and so forth are all very much appreciated, whether you think the answer is "Yes" or, correctly, "No it is definitely not too soon, bring me a mince pie immediately"!
posted 15/11/2021 by MJ Hibbett
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The End Of Doom
Cor, it's quiet round here isn't it? Apologies for the lack of updates lately, this has mostly been because there hasn't been anything new, ROCK-WISE, to report, although this will change next week as there's a Jane and John release heading your way!
Other than that though, as stated last time I have mostly been working on TWO (2) projects, one of which remains Annoyingly Secret (in that it's annoying because I can't show off about it yet). The other is of course my PhD, which has very much entered its final furlong. Last month I submitted the FINAL draft, which means that it's now with the examiners ready for my VIVA on December 10th, when they will question me about it to see if it really is a Unique Contribution To Knowledge. The outcome of that will either be that they accept it straight away (which is apparently unlikely), request amendments (minor or major, which take 1-6 months depending) or just tell me not to be so silly. Hopefully it'll be somewhere in the middle!
Alongside that my Marvel Age Doom blog is ALSO coming to an end. A couple of months ago I posted a blog about the last comic in my long list of Doctor Doom comics, and since then I've been hoovering up stuff I missed along the way, such as the Doctor Doom novel, and finally doing some Lessons Learnt. The very last one of these is coming out tomorrow, and then that's pretty much IT! After FOUR YEARS I will have officially read and cogitated upon every official Doctor Doom appearance in narrative texts with cover dates between November 1961 and October 1987 - and if you think THAT sentence has a lot of caveats, you should read the PhD!
At the moment this is all Quite Exciting. I started this process over six years ago, and since then there has been a LOT of work, so I'm really really looking forward to it all being over so I can do some other things, but I know I'll also miss it. Since stopping Tutorials I've often found myself thinking "That's interesting, wait until I tell Roger and Ian about ... oh." I'm sure there'll be a lot more of that to come, but my great hope is that by Christmas it'll all be either DONE or very nearly done.
After that I'm hoping to get a few PUBLICATIONS out of it, and there will of course be the traditional process of telling people that off course they don't have to call me Doctor Hibbett and hoping that they do. For now though, plain old Mr Hibbett has quite a lot of revision to get on with!
posted 11/11/2021 by MJ Hibbett
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