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Blog: When The ROCK Occurred

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So far we've looked at people I've ROCKED with and where the aforesaid ROCKING occurred, so today we're going to have a look at WHEN all of that ROCK went on. The sensible place to start woukd seem to be the annual turnover of GIGS, and you can see a constantly updated listing for that over on Gigs We've Done page. So, rather than repeat that as a table I have gone and done a GRAPH!

Gigs By Year

What this shows is that everything was fairly stable and vaguely sensible throughout the 1990s and then in 2004 I got A Little Bit Excited and started to gig more and more often. As I've said before, my recollections of The Britpop Era may be - IF YOU WILL - somewhat "Blurred" (thanks) so there will have been other gigs I can't remember, but around 20 a year sounds about right. I then moved to That London in 2003 and it looks like, once I'd settled in a bit, I started to take advantage of the many many opportunities to ROCK that arose.

An important factor in this was that gig promoters were fully embracing THE INTERWEB around this time, so whereas before then it had been really difficult to get gigs outside of Pubs You Actually Drank In (there was an awful lot of Sending Tapes, Ringing Up A Couple Of Weeks Later and then Ringing Up Again To See If They'd Listened To The Tape Yet), the early 21st Century was a golden period of promoters ACTUALLY ANSWERING EMAILS! I got LOADS of gigs this way, notably in other cities, and then of course once I started to GET gigs other promoters started to email ME to ask if I'd play for them too. This was often people who had only seen my name on the bill - if they'd seen me actually do the gigs in question they might have thought twice!

The graph reaches its first PEAK in 2008, when The Validators and I were in our POMP, and then went even HIGHER in 2011 when that merged into me and Steve doing Dinosaur Planet and then Moon Horse. It was a VERY busy time for me! Part of the reason for me DOING so many gigs was that I was convinced that if I stopped saying "YES" to promoters offering me gigs then they would stop doing it. As you can see from the right hand side of the graph, it turns out that I was pretty much CORRECT - I started my PhD in 2016 so a) stopped ASKING for gigs so much and b) actually said "No thank you" a couple of times, so I could find some time to do some STUDYING. This was very helpful personally, but it meant that I failed to ENGAGE with the next wave of promoters and so didn't get half the amount of gig offers that I used to. The moral of this story is that Promoters do NOT work like crop rotation - you can't leave the fields of ROCK to go FALLOW, they have to be regularly SOWN and REAPED!

I'll look at all of this a bit more when we delve into VALIDATOR PERMUTATIONS next week, but for now let's turn our attention to the TIME of year that gigs happened. Here's a look at gig activity by MONTH.

GIgs Per Month


These results were a surprise for me, as I'd always thought that the busiest time of year for gigs was "Back To School" time, from September through to October, and that Summer was the quietest, but clearly I am QUITE WRONG. Thinking about it, there is obviosuly some DATA SKEWING being caused by the fact that The Edinburgh Fringe happens in August, so that's when Steve and I did A WHOLE LOT of gigs, and July is high because that's when we'd be doing PREVIEWS. October is the next busiest time, which conforms to my expectations, but September is the lowest! I did less gigs in September than I did in JANUARY, which is surely when hardly ANY gigs happen due to post-Christmas Payday Waiting? Also, I would have thought December would have been busier - there always used to be LOADS of Christmas gigs, I seem to have spent half of my ROCKING LIFE re-learning "The Advent Calendar Of FACT" every year!

The next table shows the day of the week that each gig happened:

Day Of The Week For ROCK

Day Of Week

As I keep saying, this data is INCOMPLETE due to Me Not Remembering The 90s Very Well - for instance, you'll occasionally see gigs in the system that happen on Saturday 0, which is when I knew the MONTH but not the day that it happened (my system defaults to Saturday in those cases, and who can blame it). These dates are not included in any of the analyses, which in some ways is a shame as it would have BUMPED UP my Saturday showings. The fact that Saturday - DAY OF ROCK if ever there was one - is my LOWEST scoring day feels like a SLIGHT upon my good name!

Having said that, MIDWEEK is obviously where all the cool kids play, and this has been further inforced in my data because Totally Acoustic usually happened on a Thursday, especially when it moved to The King & Queen. Years ago I posited that we could use Day Of The Week as an estimate of POPULARITY i.e. if we take Sunday as the least popular day to ROCK and Saturday as the MOST, we should be able to plot a graph showing average day of the week by year and see if I got more prestigious gigs over time. Let's see if that makes sense, with another GRAPH!

Average Day Of The Week For ROCK By Year

Hmmm... I'm not sure if that really proves anything either way. I guess there's a very gentle upwards trend, but the years at either end are the ones where not many gigs happened, so there's probably not enough data to make any proper deductions. If we look at the MIDDLE though, between 2004 and 2016 when we have already established that I did a LOT of ROCK - we can see that the day of the week is a CURVE that goes down gently then cones back up again in a SPOOKY MIRROR IMAGE (sort of) of our first graph showing number of gigs. I think, THEREFORE, that this shows that the more gigs I DID, the more midweek/Lower Esteem shows I played too - if you're going out doing more than 52 gigs a year, as I did from 2007 to 2011, then ACTUAL MATHS dictates that you can't do them all on a Saturday!

There is MUCH MORE we could say about all of this but I fear it would FRAZZLE my BRANE to engage in such calculations, so we'll leave it there for today and, indeed, this WEEK. I've got a new single coming out on Monday so will pause to PLUG that a bit, but if such commercial activity is not your bag please come back on Tuesday when we'll be diving into the EXTREMELY FASCINATING world of Validator Permutations!

posted 27/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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that's not how crop rotation doesn't work...
posted 28/1/2023 by don't fear the reaper

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