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Blog: Data Entry

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For the past week or so I've been doing ROCK DATA ENTRY, going through the list of ONE THOUSAND GIGS and, for each one, putting in who actually played at them. Ideally this means all the other bands on the same bill (who actually played, as opposed to who was advertised as playing) and who else was in a band with ME, although quite a high proportion are not particularly ideal especially for early gigs. It is a constant source of astonishment to me how LITTLE is recorded about this sort of thing - I'm prepared to accept that there is not a permanent record of who played in what order at a Charlotte All-Dayer in 1998, but there are LOADS of festivals from the past decade where it's impossible to find out who played AT ALL, let alone when.

THUS I have had a lot of use for "OTHER" for bands on the bill, and code "99" meaning "I have no idea what order we were all in". I've done pretty well with working out who was IN the band with me at various times, though a lot of that has been down to having a BLOG which talks about who was there. This has led to many revelations, such as the fact that I've done WAY more gigs than I thought as a duo with Tom, and there's also a SLEW of gigs with just The Performing Pattisons. There are, in fact, a BEWILDERING array of Validators line-ups, with actual 100% complete Validator presences surprisingly rare.

The blog is, as I say, extremely helpful, but there is a point about 15 years ago when this ceases. Previous to this I would often REVIEW the other acts playing, but eventually realised that GOOGLE existed and so this was not necessarily hugely sensible, TACT-WISE, and instead instigated a policy of EITHER saying nothing if I had nothing nice to say OR making VEILED remarks which could then be explained in person if anybody asked. I should say here to anybody I've ever played with in the past that OF COURSE this doesn't include you! If I DID NOT mention someone in a blog it does NOT mean that I thought they were a bunch of dickheads, usually it means that I had had too much to drink and had to go home early. The exception to this is when the other band WAS a bunch of dickheads, OBVS.

I did the data entry from both ends and moved inwards i.e. I started putting in details of 1988 and 2022, then did 1990 (I didn't do any gigs in 1989!) and 2021 and so on. I did this for two reasons: firstly, I couldn't decide where to begin so did it both ways, and secondly because it allowed me to test out the data entry system more effectively, covering more of the different TYPES of gigs and line-ups I played early on the in process, so that I could adapt my data entry system as I went along. This worked pretty well, though it did lead to some confusing HEAD SPACES where I'd be merrily entering details of loads of gigs with The K-Stars one moment then touring with Mr Matt Tiller the next!

One nice thing was remembering all sorts of places, and especially people, that I used to play with a LOT in specific little bubbles of time. For instance, there's a little run of gigs at Vic Lambrusco's Cabaret Hour in Brixton that I'd not thought of for AGES but were great fun, and similarly there's a period when I went and played a ton of gigs at CB2 in Cambridge. I've been scanning the blogs as I've gone through too, and there are an AWFUL LOT of times when it's been the promoter's first show - hence thinking it'd be a good idea to put me on! ALSO it's been nice to look back on our brief period of POP POMP in the NOUGHTIES, where there's loads of gigs where we HEADLINED and people CAME!

It's all been fun, but obviously there is a Serious Intent i.e. to get some STATS out of it all. I've nearly finished the first pass of data entry now, after which will begin the serious work of DATA CLEANING before we can finally get down to answering some vital questions: who have I played most gigs with? which Validator has turned up most often? where have I ROCKED the most? And: MANY MANY MORE! Stay tuned, STAT FANS!

posted 17/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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