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Old News: January - June 1999

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4 January 1999
Happy New Year! Just in case anyone's bothered, much apologies for the failure of the promised update last month - life got a bit hectic and mind-filling, details of which will doubtless creep into songs over the next few thousand years...

BUT anyway, let's turn our minds towards the great glowing star of ROCK and consider what has been occurring over the past few weeks. For a starter, i appear to have got myself a TOUR booked up - how this happened i have no idea, but all of a sudden i've got three gigs in the same week, right in the middle of (*gulp*) EXAMS - don't panic, it is part-time, i am NOT an Student, stay where you are. It's going to be busy this month - we should also be recording the Durham Ox Singers single, and building up to finally getting some recording done on the ALBUM.

Talking of which, i did get on down to the Big Meeting about getting some lottery money, and my darlings it looks Quite Good. We have a Board Meeting this week, during which we should hopefully get everything sorted and sent off, so that it should only be a few weeks before we know if moi record is GO. Exciting huh? The only problem hoving into view is that Tim The Celebrity Drummer might be moving to GLASGOW in a few weeks, so The SESSIONS may end up being done at some speed. Really looking forward to it though, as the most recent practice was totally brilliant, everything ROCKED and we nearly DOUBLED the number of songs we were doing! Ooh!

In other news, the second LollopaLeicester went even better than the first, as we were STUNNED by the huge amount of people who came (and again were A Bit Stunned by the DO's). The next one however has ME on at it, so will probably be like all the other gigs i ever do. At AAS we had our first Radio 1 play, with PALA getting on the Evening Session, and should have a bit more excitement over the next couple of weeks as their single (and the brilliant Johnny Domino album) hit THE STREET.

Otherwise there's been a bit of a reorganisation of the lyrics pages here, probably a few more songs coming onto them over the next few days (though the HUGE SONG BOOM seems to have come to an end again, as they tend to do), and next time there may even be some stuff FIXED for the tour and the album. Coo, hark at me...

18 January 1999
Evening all... as per usual, it is a slightly GRIM feeling old bloke who writes this missive, because the TOUR started last night. It was my first gig in Leicester since Abbey Park, amazingly enough, and once again sought to remind me why I don't play in Leicester very often i.e. no-one came to see me
(*sob*) and folkie-types said nice things to me, which is SCARY. Still, it was Quite Good Fun, especially doing the Durham Ox singers to UNSUSPECTING TYPES who, being folkies, clapped politely at the end. As they do. Off to Derby tonight, which will doubtless ROCK HARD, because Derby does that thing, as indeed will London on Wednesday. Probably.

As predicted last time, life is indeed DEAD BUSY, as I am thrust into doing EXAMS - surely I am much too old to have to do this? It's a bit cakey. Did find the time last week, however, to go and record the Durham Ox Singers single, which is ACE. The weird thing was that, when we perform stuff, it sounds like an LARF and quite harmless. Hearing it played back, however, it sounded VERY STRANGE and not a little CHILLING. It is art, baby. The A-side's going to be "Revolution #9" with "Horse Latitudes" and "Alan's Psychadelic Breakfast" on the other, out on Sorted in a while. We're doing "What's The New Mary Jane" next week too. It is ALL GO.

Tim The Celebrity Drummer is now NOT moving to Glasgow, but that's not to say we won't be RUSHING into action on the album very soon. Because we will. If you see what I mean. February is going to be BIG RECORDING MONTH, moi luvvers, as i've got NO school, NO Record Company Business, and a whole bunch of TIME. PLAN is to have a practice, then go straight in and LAY DOWN some HOT TRACKS all in one go, then for me to go back the next week and piss about with vocals, bass, that sort of thing. I'm getting Quite Excited about it now I must confess, because I reckon some of the new songs will sound pretty good... except the times when I think they are all utter crap and OH LORDY What Is The Point? but I tend to not listen to myself at these said times.

Not much else in other news really - the page counter has now started telling me where people come from (have a look, it's GRATE!) so I am now getting PUZZLED as to who on earth these people are - someone from LEEDS? Someone from an ADVERTISING AGENCY? What in the WORLD is going on? Do leave a message on the board won't you kids? it'd be nice to know who's LOOKING at me...

Anyway, that's what'll be occurring - at the end of this month I get FREE of STUFF and will be diving headlong into the cooling waters of ROCK, and MY WORD I will be pleased to do so. Join me, won't you?

29 January 1999
Aaaah... hello and welcome to this beautiful world of NO SKOOL! Pardon my sudden attack of MENTIONING, but i handed in the LAST bit of my SKOOLWORK for the next few months today, and boy does it feel good. It'd feel even better if i'd had more than 3 hours sleep a night for the last week, but still, can't grumble eh?

So now i'm FREE to get on and ROCK this month, and THUS after months of saying it, i should be hitting STUDIO LAND and actually commencing recording of THE ALBUM. Thinking over these hard weeks, i am coming round to the idea of sticking the STERNER songs on the record, and saving jollier ones for the AAS Compilation and stuff, but we'll have to see i guess. Also i'll be doing HOT BASS ACTION on Mr Fleay's STUFF soon too. It will be NICE to get back into the swing of the lower register, and indeed ARTISTRY in general after spending so long focusing on the world of Lo-Fi High Finance BUSINESS-NESS-NESS-NESS.

Talking of AAS, things are going rather swimmingly at the mo, with PALA getting themselves and us into the papers and on the radio - it's still DEAD EXCITING to see the name in print, i'm sure this will change but i'm enjoying it while i can. They're getting TONS of radio play, which OBVIOUSLY is GRATE in it's own right, but also GRATE cos it means people have heard of us, baby, and this EXCITES me. Other fun for AAS has been this TWAT bloke who seems to think we are RIPPING OFF THE KIDS by "raising their hopes" (DEVILS THAT WE ARE). Now, i don't mind this sort of fliddery, but he recently took to messaging bulletin boards that we were using the MONEY from records to fund our own stuff - obviously is crap, my darlings for LO! a) there's not enough money to do this b) about half the money for non-board member projects is PAID by board members anyway, and c) don't we have big ceremonies where we all sign bits of paper detailing EXACTLY where the money goes? Still, it is nice to find a SIMPLE TWAT to have a go at again after all this time.

On a more ROCKTASTIC note, the TOUR was a wobbly ride. The Monday at the Loft was OK and All Right, but i was on first so not many people there, and it felt a bit airy. Also i was MASSIVELY hungover, and didn't have huge swathes of FUN. HOWEVER, the Wednesday in LONDON was BRILLIANT - not the hugest audience in the world but it felt FANTASTIC, and excuse me for being a rampant egomaniac, but i thought i was DEAD GOOD. It's the first time in AGES i've really thought that, so was ACE. Afterwards met some PEOPLE, and again drunkenly mobbed Steve Lamacq. A bit. It's my Just After New Years' Resolution NOT to let myself be persuaded to go first on the bill anymore, just because i don't got no drummer, but we shall have to see how this policy evolves.

In other news... well, there seems to have been an AAS011 RESURGENCE for some reason - this week i finally got a copy of Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters fanzine, which has an article on me, during which i say how EXCITED i am about Clubbing In The Week coming out "hopefully in May!" Aaah, bless. A day or so later i got an email from GERMANY, where someone had just got that same record and was making it single of the week on their radio show! What is
going on? All very nice and that, but does this mean Born With The Century will finally start selling sometime around Christmas?

No, probably not... but that's all for now then. With any luck next time (and i KNOW i keep saying this) we should be lined up for recording, the DO's single will be off to the pressing plant, and who knows WHAT thrills additional will be waiting for us?

12 February 1999
HELLO BABIES! You find yr correspondent feeling a bit dizzy this fine morning, for LO! last night was a Durham Ox Singers practice, and this always seeems to lead on to a few Side Effects this next day... still, it was all TERRIBLY funky, turning into the All England Dancing Like Your Dad Championships by the end of it. I am now EXCITED at the prospect of doing some full-length GIGS at some point. It will ROCK. The cover for the single is done (Here is the front cover and here is the back), the inserts are getting sorted over the weekend, and it should all be off for MAKING soon - Dave says it'll be out in April, so not long to wait now, THE KIDS.

In another exciting development, I FINALLY got round to doing some recording this week! That's right, BE AMAZED! I meant it to be a VALIDATORS session, but both Tim and Rob pointed out we hadn't actually had a practice for about 8 weeks, and anyway they were watching the football/feeling v poorly, so I ended up going in on my LONESOME and recording some of the more LOW KEY ones. This turned out to be ACE, I FLAUNTED my gtr playing ability. yes. It was back with the v GRATE Kev Reverb, and we got 7 songs done in about 2 hours, which was COOL. It's looking like there'll be about 20 going towards the ALBUM all told, with some Judicious Pruning being applicable at some point I do not doubt. The BID has gone in to the Lottery for some CASH too, so all should be WELL.

All sorts of other news this time too - rumours of a VOON reformation may have been a bit premature, as the people whose WEDDINGs we were going to play at have all gone mysteriously SILENT. Could they possibly have only said it in the pub? Surely not? This is, after all, THE YEAR THAT PUB TALK COMES TRUE.

I got the tape of Rob's stuff too, and have been playing the BASS, which was rhymetastically ACE - blimey tho babies, it is BLEAK and ADULT stuff, I was MOVED and CHASTENED by the whole experience merely of listening to it. I don't think i'll be doing a kazoo solo after all.

And that's what's occurring right now - by the time I do this again I MAY WELL have gotten round to sorting out a VALIDATORS practice, who can say? Whatever, we are MOVING now, and only good things can follow...

25 February 1999
Morning all, thought i'd just CHECK IN to keep you up to date with the high levels of Nothing Much which have been going on this month - for some reason CASH has been v scarce, also I have had a bout of Can't Be Bothered, but FEAR NOT because there IS stuff in the offing...

Yes, I know I always say that, but my dears it is TRUE! For example, next Wednesday me and the VALIDATORS finally
go and start recording some songs. AT LAST! I am rilly rilly ooh rilly looking forward to this, it should be GRATE. In my MIND I see us doing a couple of SESSIONS with the band, then one for me to do BASS and BITS, a SESSION of bits du Rob et les autre SESSIONAIRES, a Durham Ox Singers dubbage time, and then some mixing. HOPEFULLY (espec. hopefully that the MONEY comes through) it will be out by the summer, but HEY, this may yet falter. The estimated song count has now gone up to THIRTY, so it may take a bit longer...

On a similar constantly delayed TIP, the DO's single is at least getting it's cover done soon, being sent off (I believe) next week. We have a DANCE REMIX now, which is pretty ace, and also performed this week at LOLLOPALEICESTER. It was rather goood... good night all round in fact, as the wonderful JOHNNY DOMINO were BLOODY GRATE, and so indeed were the Kittiwakes. My eyes were only for JD though, they are ACE.

Though this FACT is true, I start to disbelieve my own words for LO I am now Morale and PR Officer for AAS - at last week's board meeting I got IMPEACHED for financial incompetence, so basically now I am in charge of Being Nice To People and Drawing Pictures. I THROW myself into this new role, but even after one night of BEING NICE I found myself doubting my own sincerity - I take this to mean I must be doing it RIGHT.

Suddenly George Harrison floats by.

Also at the meeting, I found that the lowest selling single on AAS this year is ... Born With The Century! Hoorah for being on the BOARD and thus much harder to DROP! It sold (oddly enough) exactly 100 through the shops, which isn't bad I guess. I think it shall be appearing on the ALBUM tho, so maybe it will TAKE OFF into the STARS after that as a rerelease eh? Well it MIGHT, mightn't it? Hello? Hello?

10th March 1999
HOLD ON TO YRSELF, oh dearest reader, for finally I have NEWS of things that have actually HAPPENED!

I know I know, it is a break with tradition, but be CALM, we must all move with the times. For example, last week we actually finally at last got round to getting THE VALIDATORS into the studio! Oh YES! It was a long old night - we had a practice from 6 until 8pm, which was a good idea for it allowed us to hit the STUDIO for the next four hours with some vague idea of what we were meant to be doing! Unfortunately I had a rancid cold, so the singing sounded even worse than usual, but i'm going back in on Friday to do that again (along with my guitar and bass), so all should be well. We did five songs (Mr Right, The Black Hair And Glasses Brigade, Payday Is The Best Day, Carol And The Mandolin, and Hey Hey 16K) with just drums and electric guitar, and it all sounds pretty good... this brings the Songs So Far tally up to a Mighty ELEVEN. Smashing - i'm now reckoning on recording 24 songs altogether, but I'm going to try and get this bunch done before moving along - in my MIND I see a session of overdubbing (violin, trumpet, keys, Durham Ox Singers) on all of these, and then a big MIX SESH, and then starting again with a bunch of new ones. Is EXCITING!

No news yet on whether we got the CASH for to do the CD, but am even now developing Contingency Plans. One vague daft idea I had was to release a series of small-run singles over a few months, now we have this Czech place who do it CHEAPO. We'll see - i'm coming round to the idea of doing another single anyway, maybe even (Lottery Willing) releasing one a month before the album in a Proper Campaign Stylee. This is all a bit Internal Pub Talk at present tho, so HEY, don't go rushing down the record shop just yet.

I actually did a GIG this week too - one of the bands meant to be playing LollopaLeicester dropped out, so I leapt in as a last minute SUB. It was OK I guess - I was politely ignored by five punks, but at least it gave me the chance to SHOWCASE a new song IN A LIVE ENVIRONMENT. It was "Stop, Look and Listen", which i'm quite chuffed with as it is Cleverly Structured, hmmm. It's up on the Other Lyrics page now, along with a big bunch of other which I stuck on the other day.

In other news - might be doing a couple of interviews for Fanzine Things, which will be nice - the Cheery Wave... fanzine tape has actually been HEARD by a couple of people now, which is also COOL, even if it does mean there are people reading my Excitable Interview where I get all unnecessary about the prospect of ever putting out a record... bless. Also looking at Cunning Ways to get some gigs, but we're discussing this tonight at the Board Meeting, so hopefully there'll be more on this next time.

And that's it, I reckon. Time for a SIT DOWN after that news blattering, I think...

19th March 1999
Another week, another dose of DYNAMIC ACTION, as even MORE things have occurred...

That's right - i've finally GOT A GIG. The excuse that I have been IN THE STUDIO is wearing a bit thin now, but luckily Tom Reveal needed someone to support Half Man Half Biscuit next month in Derby, and OH HAPPY DAY it is me! This is GRATE, i've done Otway, doing HMHB, only now need to persuade Billy Bragg and Paul McCartney that what they need to make a perfect night out is an oaf from the Fens bellowing before they go on, and I can die HAPPY! I'm really looking forward to it though - it will be the perfect biscuits gig because a) I will get in free b) the support band won't go on forever and c) someone at some point might do "Doreen".

When Rob told me of this GRATE GIG, he also suggested doing it as a BAND! Seemed like a good idea to me, so got Ollie out of Lazer Guided in on BASS, and was Slightly Amazed to find that Tim The Celebrity Drummer was GAGGING FOR IT. I think that may, however, have more to do with it being supporting HMHB than anything else, but still. SO, we shall be doing some practicing soon, and then my children we shall be rocking. but gently.

In other news, the recording moves on apace.- I went in last week and did the acoustic and bass OVERDUBBING, which was lots of fun, especially doing the bass. After sitting around being rubbish at guitar and crap at singing, it was nice to do the BASS and actually have some vague clue at what I was doing... unlike yesterday, when I did the SINGING and got All Depressed. Hey ho... got home to listen to it, and my darlings I could have wept, for LO the tape hadn't worked properly, and like a TWAT i'd taped over the earlier mixes too! Oh well, it's all on Kev's Big Computer, so all is well. Next thing will hopefully be a massive session where we do the VIOLIN, the TRUMPET, the SYNTH, the KAZOO, and the DURHAM OX SINGERS! It will be COOL!

Talking of the Durham Ox Singers... practice last night was pretty good, and I handed over some CASH for putting out the single - the covers should be getting done pretty soon, then the Actual Records shortly after. I BELIEVE it will be out in a couple of months, but we shall see. We might also be on Cable Telly next week, but I have no idea whether this is a FACT.

What else? Turns out that the Lottery Bid could be another TWO MONTHS before it's sorted out, as a Backlog means their original "six weeks" turnaround time has now become sixTEEN weeks!! Went to DERBY for a LAUNCH DO for the Home Cookin' CD - it was OK, though most of the evening was spent watching some dreary FUNK bands do their soundchecks. There were some free chips.

And that's all for this time - April will be a busy month tho, so GIRD YRSELF for the world of ROCK which awaits...

31st March 1999
Hallo babies - isn't it a lovely day? Er... unless you reading this on a day not today. Or somewhere else in the world. Um. Well, anyway, i'm sure it's lovely whatever.

Should be a short one this time, as I'm sat waiting to go home for Easter HOLS... we have The Queen Is Dead on the office, and it all seems v beautiful to me. As stated last time, April's going to be a time of hectivity, starting this weekend when it's off to Picturesque BUXTON for the AAS awayday, when we are discussing MATTERS of a serious NATURE, and not at all getting pissed up on a jolly. No. That would be wrong. This is all in preparation for the AGM in a few weeks, about which I am already getting excited, as will involving SPEECHES.

Loads of worky stuff this month, also at last a Recording Session for the overdubs. Kev Reverb's off on TOUR for the next few weeks, the crazy TYKE, so we're waiting for his glorious return before things get stuck on top of other things, which'll be in about three weeks now. Before that we've got to have a Validators Practice, ready for this here HMHB gig, which AGANE I am All Excited About. I am thinking of persuading people that we should play in Leicester that week too, but we'll see how it goes. I ought to get some bands sorted for LollopaLeicester who haven't played there before too...

My Mighty BRANE is still frothing with thoughts of putting out another single soon - if I do I reckon it'll be "Hey Hey 16K", for LO! I have thoughts about the cover, and also it is GOOD. If anyone has any Good Ideas about how I can find a TROUGH OF CASH to do this, please inform me. Or if you've spent yr LIFE thinking "Oh, if only I could find someone to drone hopelessly onto vinyl about home computers", this could be yr BIG CHANCE! Still no news of the Lottery either, but hey hey, let's keep cheery kids!

In other news... that Shortplay Cassette/Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters THANG looks like it's REALLY really coming out at the moment - their webpage is HERE! Being Cut, that's who they are, and the page looks dead good. Meanwhile i've had a mini-song BINGE - talking to Dave Dixey Sorted Supremo the other night, he was on about a sequel to the Braincakes EP, which had 10 one-minute songs on it (including "Face In A Meat Slicer" by Voon), and I thought "That's a Good Idea!" and went home and wrote some. I'll go and stick them on the webpages in a tick...

And that's all for now I reckon - it might be a while before the next one of these, as ting and also ting is big time hectic this month, but after that there will be TIME OFF, and CONCERTED ACTION for this CD. Oh, still yr beating hearts, soon it will be here!

Soon-ish, anyway.

13th April 1999
Morning all, and thanks for coming. There seems to be some people coming MORE THAN ONCE at the moment, so HEY! do drop us a line eh? It is nice to know someone is there.

Life remains hectic here this week, as Actual Work Based Employment gets busy, and I'm off tomorrow to stay in a Big Posh Hotel for until Sunday. This will be GOOD, I theenk. Look out for new songs called things like "The Conference Delegates Have Arrived (and there aren't enough OHP transparencies to go round."

Meanwhile, in the world of ROCK, things are FINE. The Lottery people acknowledged our bid last week, and have apparently written to our referees, so that, I think, is a Good Sign. My mind has also been pretty much Made UP that I WILL be releasing Hey Hey 16K as a single, and we're having an overdub session next Thursday to wrap all that up at last. It will be FUN - i've got about a million people descending upon Kev's little studio to do backing vocals, violin, trumpet, synth and KAZOO, so it will be a Long Old Night, I think.

Before then we have the first full-line-up Validator practice - I went to the Magical City of Derby last night to have an All Guitars practice with Rob and Ollie, and lo it was GOOD, tho it still freaks me out after all this time playing on my own to have other noises going off at the same time, especially when one of them is the BASS - in fact, it was only the third time EVER I had played guitar with Another Person playing bass, so it was weird. But GOOD, obviously. Quite excited about the gig now, I think it will be GOOD.

Played a gig on Sunday night also - Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey decided he would have a Sunday All Dayer in aid of Kosovo, with 10p off every pint donated, and LOADS of people went. Was a lovely day with much BEAUTY. My set was OK, and I was GRATEFUL for the Sunday afternoon many moons ago when I forced myself to learn some cheesy cover versions, just in case. Some hours after ME I decided it would be a Good Idea to display my personal version of ASK, so barged on and borrowed a folkie's gtr and DONE IT, only realising after the second verse that I had reached then end of my knowledge of the words, so did them all again. No one seemed to notice. The BARRAN player who had been unable to get out of the way in time did a DRUM SOLO too, so that were good.

No new songs at the mo, as the BRANE has been clogged with professionalism, but I believe I am in for a SPURT in the next couple of weeks. The next Actual Big Thing is next Monday, when at last it is time for the AGM. I'm currently mulling over my speech and mentally preparing the overheads. It's going to be quite a ROCK second half of the month really - Proper Band Practice, AGM, overdub session, Bowlie Weekender (that I am going to. Cool) and then the HMHB gig, so hopefully the next of these will be NEWS PACKED rather than WITTERING.

28th April 1999
Get yourselves ready babies - this time there is a GLUT of NEWS.

After writing here last, it was HO for That London, where we did the conference. It was load of hard work, not a great deal of fun, BUT did involve a DEAD POSH hotel and a WEALTH of Gin and Tonic. I have decided I really like gin and tonic now.

Upon my return I was straight into the world of ROCK with the first and so far only full Validators practice. It was rather groovy, we ROCKED and I was Really Rather Chuffed. Next day it was AWAY to the Rocking City of Derby for the AAS AGM, which was a thing of great beauty. The actual proper bit didn't last too long - I spoke my speech in the form of SONG, Rob did the finances (and CRUELLY lambasted the EXCLUSIVE nature of my sales) and Mat was an INSPIRATION of the future. It was good, but better even was going back down to the pub and witnessing all of OUR BANDS mixing, chatting, and being an collective. I was moved, and was moved to the Blue Note, and became pissed.

Barely pausing for breath, it was soon WEDNESDAY when I had a Strange Line-up Practice - me, violin, and SYNTH. We used the Durham Ox Singers' rehearsal room (i.e. upstairs at the Ox), which was lovely because, er... it was upstairs at the Ox. This was in preparation for the very NEXT day when I was back in Stayfree, doing the (hopefully) final overdubs for the batch of songs we've done so far. It was all v lovely. A sadly depleted Durham Ox singers (Ann was unwell, Gary was homeworking) did backing vocals, and Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey was heard to say "How odd - in the studio it sounded like us shouting, but in the control room it sounded All Right." WISE WORDS. It did sound pretty GRATE, I thought. Next we did TRUMPET, with Mr Fleay, who got all nervous and BLESS about it. AHA! This is my DEMENTED REVENGE upon him - by making him play an instrument about which he is NERVOUS, I allow him a small glimpse into what it is like for ME to play hamfisted gtr alongside his MarrEsque GENIUS.


Next Neil did SPOOKINESS on the Synth, and Tom turned up and did some LOVELINESS on the violin. We finished off by me seeming to DISimpress Kev by playing Kazoo. Hmm. I thought it was a good idea anyway. Still, am now EXCITED and really looking forward to next week, when we MIX!

Enough ROCK for you? Not for ME baby, because the NEXT day even me and Mr Myland went off to BOWLIE, which was FANTASTIC. Queuing for 10,000,000 years was a bit of a pain, but everything else was ACE. How I will cope with Glastonbury after being at a festival where you can not just WASH, but also GO TO THE TOILET I do not know. Saw TFC, Divine Comedy and B&S plus a great deal of BEER. Went flyering on Saturday and met some people who I didn't know who liked my records - and this was without prompting, so I was DEAD CHUFFED. On Sunday a bunch of LABELS sold some RECORDS, and I met yet MORE people who liked my records... my dear, I nearly WEPT, so happy was I. Instead of that, however, I borrowed a gtr and did a GIG. This went down quite well, probably because I did all the shouty sweary stupid ones, and everyone was PISSED.

It really was an ACE weekend, i've still not recovered properly. It warms the heart to see something so brilliant done so well, and indeed so inexpensively considering all the facilities and the complete LACK of corporate sponsorship. Apparently there's another one in September, I bet it'll be VERY difficult to get tickets...

Anyway, back from that it was time to head off to Derby yet again to do a GIG! Yes, at last it was the first me and the Validators gig, with HMHB. And it was really good, and HEY it's not just me who thought so - a GURL who I didn't know said so also. That's right. Be Impressed. There was only a couple of bits that went wrong, and for a band who'd had precisely AN practice together, it was ROCKING. Especially Carol and the Mandolin, that sounded ACE. HMHB after that were totally FANTASTIC, and I spoke briefly to Nigel from out of them, and did v well in that I didn't pass out through hero worship.

And that is what's been occurring - a lot, yes? I doubt it'll be as much the next time we meet, but keep tuned in darlings, you never can tell...

12th May 1999
Word to all of your mothers, I think, and ta for dropping by... not as much news as last time, so if yr not a regular visitor (and let's face it, who is?) do pop over to the old news to hear all the EXCITEMENT from last time.

NOT, that is, that nothing has happened. OH NO. For LO! last week finally saw the conclusion of Part One of the ALBUM SESSIONS. Went in to Stayfree with Kev and MIXED all 12 tracks that we've recorded so far. Got off to a shaky start when it took an HOUR to mix the first song, but then we got into it and rolled along, and I must say they sound GRATE. I have now DECIDED that "Hey Hey 16K" is going to be the single, because it sounds ACE, and am polling people to see which 2 of the 7 acoustical tracks should form the b-side. I should be getting some CASH next month with which to do this, so get yr pocket money ready kids, soon it shall be here.

Also sounding ACE was Carol and the Mandolin (NOT a single contender, I think) and Would If I Could, feat. DOUBLE TRACKED violins, and sounding rather lovely. I was excited by it all, and will hopefully be getting my Big Beautiful Band in the Rehearsal Room again soon, so that it WON'T take another five months to get the next lot done.

Other than that, not a huge amount has occurred, I have been merely enjoying the PEACE. Another AAS Board Meeting came along with much JOY and PLANS (minutes up in the next few days), and the Durham Ox Singers single is finally nearly ready to go to the Czech Republic for pressing. On the DO's front, we finally got BOOKED for a festival - we're playing the Off The Tracks festival in Donington in September, doing a 20 minute set halfway through one of the afternoons, in the middle of hundreds of folk singers. This will be "interesting". Am in the process of putting together a Songbook for us, and maybe doing War Of The Worlds (abridged).

The only other thing that happened really was that I met Matti, who put out the "Recoute MJ Hibbett" tape last year. That was a bit strange - he lives in Leicester at the moment, and said he had gone and LOOKED at Narborough Road, just to check I wasn't fibbing... apparently some DJ's in Germany have been playing tracks off the tape, so now I am HUGE IN GERMANY. No, really.

That's it for this time then - hopefully between now and next update there'll be something definite about the single, maybe about the album too, and some new songs! Can you wait, my darlings?

26th May 1999
Afternoon all! Is it two weeks already? Time for an UPDATE oi reckon - I seem to be getting into the REGIME of doing this every fortnight now, so hey, i'll try and keep it that way.

Most things this time around have beeeen non-ROCK based - the last exams I shall ever take (for there are no more available) will be in a couple of weeks, and that together with work and, more importantly, not being arsed to do anything, has meant .... um... I haven't done a lot. The main thing I guess has been the commencement of PHASE 2 of the mighty recording sessions - this occurred last night when me and THE VALIDATORS got together for a practice and LARNING session. This was ACE - Verbal Eno Cards ABOUNDED, and we got a LOAD of new ones started up. Best according to ME were "Stop Look And Listen", which sounded JUST like it does in my BRANE, and a new one called "The Pebble and the Boulder", which is so new I haven't even written the words down yet. It's got a SONIC ASSAULT from the BAND and a GOSPEL chorus - basically it sounds like I always think Spiritualised sound like until I actually hear them and become disappointed. Whooshy noises, towers of vocals, strings, keyboards and "samples", all these things and more will be on it. Another practice next week, and hopefully recording will start around Glastonbury time.

Meanwhile, the SINGLE is now fairly sorted - I have the CASH to do it, just need to get going with the Czechs and Cheques and we'll have a DATE and ting. Finally settled for "The Perfect Love Song" and "We'll See What We Can Do" as the b-sides - same as the ones I decided on three months ago, but now they've gone through the Worrying Process and all is WELL. The cover is HERE, for your advanced viewing pleasure.

Rummest Gig In The World... EVER approaches too, as this weekend I play at a WEDDING! Yes, this is correct, Chris and Sharon, who were The Voon Audience for more time than was humane, tie the knot this weekend, and so i'll be doing "Elmer the Happy Little Bottle Opener" and a couple of others. It will be strange. Hopefully Neil will be SYNTHING also, so at least i'll not be ALONE. After that it's off to DERBY for the inner-city crawl, Loughborough for a Board Meeting, World of DOOM for exams, and then it's LollopaLeicester time again! Rocking, no?

9th June 1999
What are you doing sat inside looking at a computer? It's LOVELY outside. Unless you are at work or something, thus CONNING The Man out of cash, in which case, sit a spell, that's fine.

It's been a bit of a blur these past couple of weeks, largely because i've been cramming my BRANE with dull facts ready for these exams - one yesterday (fine thank you) and one tomorrow, then that is IT, there are no more exams possible. Then MOI LUVVERS we shall be ROCKING.

Not to say it hasn't been fairly rocking just lately. Ended up playing at that WEDDING the other weekend, despite my better judgement, and it was FINE. Lovely day (despite the realisation that Women I Fancy no longer already have boyfriends, they already have husbands and CHILDREN) all round, and in the evening I played "Boom Shake The Room" (the Slightly Too Drunk To Remember All The Words Mix) and "Chris and Sharon are Getting Married", a TOUCHING special composition. Can that poet laureate CROWN be far away?

MENTIONING songwriting, there's been a couple more. A nice one called "Where is my Torch?" that the BAND are playing (sounds quite DELICATE, and isn't really long enough) and one I am DEAD CHUFFED with called "Wings Of Fire". It's about CREMATION. YES. Back in the STUDIO next week, when we start Phase Two of the recordings. HOORAH! We had a practice last week, Larning Up some new ones, and my dears I have to say it sounded BRILLIANT, truly, we ROCKED OUT. So much so, in fact, that my PANTS became MOIST, and that doesn't happen every day. Truly though, I was really really pleased with it, we all seem to be GELLING, like a LOT, and the songs sounded Smashing. Just the vocalist to sort out now then.

Meanwhile, I went to the Inner City Crawl in Derby on the bank holiday, and had a BRILLIANT day out. All the bands sounded ACE, there was DRINK, I managed to make an ARSE of myself (dancing round Dee from "All About Dee" saying "Look at me! I'm all around Dee!" may seem like a Good Idea, but ALAS it is in fact a Good Idea AT THE TIME) and ended the evening talking to a Very Pretty GURL. Is there any more one could ask for?

No further news on the single yet - i'm still waiting to hear from the Czechs, but as soon as I do we will be GO, for LO! it has now been VALIDATED by The Board, which is An Relief. We had a Board Meeting last week also, and that was JOLLY. Prime thing, I think, is that we are set to PEN a Quality Manual, both to allow ourselves to develop PROCESSES, and to tell other people how to get it on. Something to do instead of going outside and FROLICKING in the sun, I guess.

So that is what is occurring. Next time should see some details of forthcoming LollopaLeicester, start of recording and ... oh yes, MY BIRTHDAY. How many times must a man mention Star Wars LEGO before people get the hint? FIND OUT NEXT TIME.

22nd June 1999
GOOD NEWS and also BAD NEWS to impart to you this time, faithful reader - shall we start with the BAD NEWS? I think we shall.

OK, so the BAD NEWS is that, after all this time waiting, we finally heard from the Lottery People last week, and lo! it was not good - our bid was turned down. RATHER depressing this, especially as The Compilation Album has now span off into the ether = about 80 pissed off band members. I did think of writing a snotty letter to the Awards people about it, but was too fed up so to do. Apparently only 1 in 30 bids succeeded, but it still doesn't make it any easier to live with, i thought we really deserved it, especially as a big chunk of CASH would have meant the LABEL could start paying for things in the future... hey ho.

It also, of course, rather effects MY stuff, though maybe that turns out for the best in the end - the ALBUM was going to come out of that money. Before we heard, i'd already decided that, if the money didn't come through, i'd Abandon Plan to release "Hey Hey 16K" as a single, and use the CASH to pay for the album instead, so hey hey, that's what's happening. Not massively happy about this, as it'll mean it'll have been a YEAR since i last had anything out (and HEY! The KIDS will MISS me, perhaps), but at least it DOES mean that, rather than paying for a single which will HAEMORAGE (sp.) Money, i'll be paying for a CD that will at least get something back.

And so on to the GOOD NEWS... first bit of which is that PHASE TWO of the recording sessions got off to a good start last week, LAYING DOWN basic tracks for "If You're Too Turned On", "Where Do All The Women Go To?", "Stop, Look and Listen", "Where Is My Torch?" and "The Saturday Lunchtime Wrestlers." It was MUCH FUN doing this, as it was recorded LIVE - well, Rob, Tim and Ollie were. My ACOUSTIC, much as i love it, is falling to bits, and with the pickup Giving Up, i just STRUMMED quietly and Unplugged, while BELLOWING into a mini-PA. It was GOOD tho, and we go back next Monday (the day i get back from Glastonbury! WHAT a Good Idea!) to knock off the last three Official Band Songs, and maybe have a go at a couple of the others that i'd RESERVED for Acousticals. Is all rather jolly, and i'm REALLY looking forward to getting on with the overdubs again. ZOINKS!

And it was my BIRTHDAY! And the LEGO mentioning worked! HOORAH! Also a variety of GOOD STUFF, including some CASH that'll mean i FINALLY get a record player, but perhaps the most PERTINENT here was that, after a couple of years of feedback every time i moved and just not sounding very good plugged in, i decided to retire my acoustic to Playing At Home duty, and got myself a NEW GUITAR! VERY exciting this was, is a Semi-Acoustic, is made by Tanglewood, and i LURVE it. It was rather ODD to see how THRILLED i was when, upon plugging it in at home, i found that you could actually hear ALL the strings playing... prepare for some ROCKING, or at least a lot of POSING with it at gigs...

Gigs?!? YES! As you'll see from the GIGS page, i have miraculously got a couple of GIGS, both with The Band - one in London, and one marking a return visit to the Prestigious Last Slot When Everyone Is EITHER Pissed Ridiculous OR Gone Home at ABBEY PARK! ZANG! That was unexpected, and only SORTED on Sunday night, when we shuffled around the bands, and found a GAP at the end. Also helped by Tim asking Dave when "we" were playing - he got all excited, until he realised Tim meant US, not Prolapse... cool tho, hopefully BOTH these gigs will feature near enough the Full Line Up, which rather suggests we'd better have a practice sometime!

So there we go - a DEAL of NEWS for a change yes? I'm off to Glastonbury tomorrow, so doubtless next time there'll be tales of THIS, along with the next recording session, Board Meeting and who knows what else life will chuck at us? We can only WAIT, and WATCH.
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