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Old News: January - June 2000

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6th January 2000
Happy New Year! 2000AD eh? RUM, no? I know that, personally, it's going to take a while to get used to coming to work on a plastic hovercraft, having cyber sex 28 hours a day (moon-time) and eating all my meals in pill form, but HEY! you've got to move with the times haven't you? The only disappointing thing is that the answer to the greatest question of the age - "what will 2000AD comic be called in 2000AD?" turned out to be... er... 2000AD, but i feel there may at least be a song out of it somewhere.

Talking of new songs... there's a couple of new ones up, written over Christmas, one of which is Quite Good. They both utilise PIANO NOISES in them, largely because i got a KEYBOARD for Christmas, so watch out for the next album being a collection of gentle piano ballads. With Bellowing. Meanwhile, the current album has STILL not gone off to be pressed up, but it nearly has, honest. I'm just putting the finishing touches to the cover as we speak, and it's looking RATHER good, so it should be going off sometime in the next week. No, honest. We're planning to do some Actual Promotion for this one too, in tandem with "Players", the ACE Johnny Domino album that's coming out at the same time, but more news of that when something Actually Happens. There should be a few gigs too - so far there's a solo one by me at the Pop-A-Go-Go festival, but (AGANE) by the time this changes again there should be a few more sorted out for the Actual Band. We live in hope eh?

In other news, i got an email from the people at this morning, telling me how many people have been to they Hey Hey 16K page (at, and i was STUNNED to find that it's done FAR FAR better than ANY record i've ever Actually Released - 2880 hits so far! Bloody hell eh? This Targetted Songwriting lark seems to work doesn't it? My next vinyl release shall thus be "Isn't it Cool Working In A Record Shop?" or something...

I JEST OF COURSE, as any fule kno, the NEXT vinyl release is the Johnny Domino split single, out on REVEAL... er... soon! It was supposed to be out on January 10th, but as Spookily Predicted, this turned out to be rather wishful thinking... i shall endevour to find out when it's going to be ready, so stand by yr Computers to find out the LATEST as soon as i know myself. It's felt a bit odd, i must say, to go back to releasing a record not on AAS, as all i've done so far is send off a DAT, and have heard no more, but i'm sure it will all be FINE. I'm also trying to find something to do with all the spare songs from the album sessions - there's a wee few that are actually GOOD and need to be put somewhere, so if anyone has any THORTS i should like to hear them. Maybe there'll be another interwebnet single, but we'll have to see.

And that's the news as it stands today - next time should see more songs, more gigs, and MAYBE, just MAYBE, some Actual Release Dates. THRILLING, isn't it?

24th January 2000
Hello darlings, and thanks for popping back. As promised last time, i've held back for an update until i have something to tell you. I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU.

OK, calm down at the back, it's not THAT exciting. But it is QUITE exciting - the album is (nearly) ready! Yes yes, i know i have been saying this for about six months, but this time it is REALLY nearly ready, in fact, this time next week, it should be GONE from my house and being pressed up! With covers! And EVERYTHING! Not only that, but we have an Actual Sort Of Nearly Definite Release Date of MARCH 27th, so GET it in yr diary. AND! Not only THOSE, BUT the TOUR is being booked - check the gigs bit, but so far we play Nottingham and London, with Derby and Leicester being DONE and the possibility of one more... er... somewhere else. But it's really a tour! With The Validators! And Johnny Domino!

I told you it was exciting... the plan, basically, is to do it PROPERLY this time, and go all out to get SOMEONE to listen to the records for a change. We take this challenge with glad hearts, and can only pray that we succeed.

Meanwhile i'm busying myself in various ways, not least getting practiced up for Pop-A-Go-Go, learning some cover versions so's i can WOO the KIDS. Best ones so far are Back For Good and I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea, also having a try at Don't Worry Baby and Are You Lonesome Tonight, with all the USUALS in there too. It will be GOOD. I've been in the PAPERS too, which is NICE - FRONT magazine did a review of The Fighting Cocks, which mentioned me & "Bands From London" in it - BIZARRE really, cos the only other time i've been in a Magazine it was ALSO "Bands...", and that was in LOADED. What's going on?

I hope to find out what's going on with the single soon too, PERHAPS even getting one to hold in my sweaty hands. Johnny Domino have done their sticker (it's in a cardboard sleeeeve, so we're doing STICKERS for COVERS), and i'm off to get mine done later this week - a PREVIEW is at , but not for very long. Done an insert for it too, which is SMASHING, or at least i think so.

SO that is the SCORE - the next couple of weeks will involve me dashing around looking busy and trying to get the last gigs sorted, and think about how on earth we're going to get to these gigs, then it'll be sending out to papers and stuff, before we can settle down to the THRILLS of a release! Whoo!

9th February 2000
What's this? An update occurring ON TIME? Well, the daffodils are blooming and all is BEAUTIFUL, so i thought i'd pass some LOVE onto the world. And YES, i AM in a really good mood.

No, nothing like that, for heaven's sake! I'm going on TOUR soon, do you think i'd DISAPPOINT all the LADIES by hitching my wagon to some lonesome cowgirl's trail? No, i am in a GRATE mood because, after all these months of nearly being ready, today i FINALLY sent off the CHEQUE to PAY for the ALBUM! Last week i was in Derby flitting about getting transparencies picked up, and when it came time to send them, and the DAT, off to the PLANT (The very wonderful VOYAGER, who have been FANTASTIC, especially Alex there who had very politely answered my 10,000,000 idiot questions over the email) i had to have a Bit Of A Sit Down, as i had got myself all DIZZY with the excitement. The Test Master arrived yesterday, and so i spent a happy few hours last night listening to it VERY LOUD and thinking "Oh yeah, we DID put a lot of instruments on it didn't we?"

I trust you will not think it big headed of me to say it sounded BLOODY GRATE. Because it did. Especially the bit where the trumpet and violin come in on "Where Is My Torch", that is WONDERFUL. The release date now seems utterly SET at March 27th, and we should be sending copies out to MAGAZINES and ting very soon. Ooh! OOH!

Meanwhile, to support this ACTION, we've also AT LAST got The TOUR ("Players With Words", cheers) sorted out, details of which are in the gigs section. I very carefully and PRUDENTLY collected all dates of non-availability from all Validators AND Dominoes... except for myself. THUS we're playing Leicester on the middle day of a 3 day conference i'm meant to be at... in London. ARF! I'm sure it'll all work out NICE tho, indeed, i am EXCITED. Again. I've also been following the GUIDANCE of the Domino getting their artwork for THEIR mighty platter into the right format. It looks VERY nice, as it ought really, and ALSO looks set to follow the PLAN for release.

It's all working out Rather Nicely so far. The Reveal single hasn't arrived yet, tho i DID get a test pressing last week which sounds GRATE (or did, until i thort it'd be a Good Idea to clean it... with a washing up sponge...). The covers are all done too, and MY what fun that was. I bought EXACTLY 200 stickers, so could NOT afford to tear any of them. OH! how i LARFED as i spent FOUR SODDING HOURS delicately peeling each one. I am not doing THAT again. Anyway, I think there'll be an IN-STORE promotion in the Reveal SHOP on the 28th Feb to sort of promote it, a bit, but we shall have to see. Also Mat is TRYING to persuade Paul at Prime to ask shops if they'll have me doing IN-STORES too, as a Kind Of Tour - there's only four dates on the PLayers With Words Tour, so this'd be a nice easy way for me on my own to Spread The LOVE around the country a bit. Alternatively, it might be a way for lots of Independent Record Shops to drive all their customers out, screaming as they FLEE to HMV.

But there'll be more of this next time, when we should also be POISED to UNLEASH the first stage of the PRESS CAMPAIGN on the world, and then who KNOWS what WONDERS will ensue?

24th February 2000
Be WARNED - i am EXCITED again. Still i sit on the CUSP of ACTION, but it moves ever closer...

First of all, i began the Massive Promotional Campaign over the weekend, when i played at the Pop-A-Go-Go Festival in Sheffield, and it was a Good Day Out. As well as the previously arranged Playing Between Bands, i also did a SET all by myself right at the start. I was TERRIFIED. It SHOWED. Still, i did do "Back Of The Sofa" for the first time, and it is a song i REALLY like, plus some old stuff like "Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)" and "That's A Bonus", which i've not played for AGES, and heftily mentioned the ALBUM. Reaction was INTERESTING - someone asked me not for an autograph by a web address, which was DEAD MODERN, someone else told me of a Boyfriend From Peterborough who could never work a clutch, and some other poor unfortunate started me off on a RANT about the Boo Radleys' GRATEness, from which their was no escape... but best of all, just as i sat down again, a GURL came up to speak re. my gig. I thort this was the start of the AVALANCHE of LADIES which would be a theme for the TOUR. She said "Well done, you were very brave, it must be scary being on your own, you looked terrified, but well done for keeping trying, and good luck in the future."

Well, if you can't get adulation, PITY is nearly as good isn't it? Much more fun, bizarrely, was Songs Between Bands, ESPECIALLY playing "Bands From London" straight after Vyvyan... the rest of the day involved people queueing up to say "Did you do that for any reason? At all?" Also "Ooh Stick You" and "Back For Good" seemed to go down well, i got REQUESTS for "Work's All Right" and "Clubbing In The Week", and it ended with Rob & Tom joining me for "Where Is My Torch?" After that it all went a bit unclear - i'm sure there was DANCING at some point, and a singalong session BACKSTAGE, but details are hazy. Of other bands, Chemistry Experiment and GG Action and Airport Gurl were pretty darn GRATE, and i was stunned to find that Milky Wimpshake were BLOKES. Missed much of Twinkie and Spraydog, tho did get dewy eyed thinking what Lovely People they were, and somehow managed to get home after all. It was a Good Day.

Meanwhile, the singles are HERE and DONE and will be in the SHOPS on Monday - Wahey! The In-Store Promotion PLAN currently starts and ends with Reveal in Derby on that day, but there is talk of possibility of going to MANCHESTER, so we shall see. There is also talk of MAYBE going to Brighton, and Alex from Voyager (all hail him) foolishly suggested me playing with HIS band up Scotland way! This sounds MAD and also GRATE - i have said in public "Coo, i shall be like CHUCK BERRY but without the unfortunate toilet watching convictions" while internally i have thort "AHA! Johnny Gently and the Silver Beatles touring Scotland - KERZANG!" but don't tell anyone eh?

The ALBUM itself should actually be here in a couple of days, though i am finding this VERY hard to believe... in fact, i am starting to see April 11 as a GOLDEN DAY when all things will change - my numerous second jobs/PAPER ROUNDS (with which i am paying for all this stuff) will be completed, all the ALBUM organisation will be done and the TOUR will be over. What am i to do with myself then? I think it may well involve LOTS of Tea, and a deepening addicition to Eastenders, rather than the more ROCK-based ephemera which i still hope for, but as long as it involves KIP i don't mind.

So there we go - coming up to kickoff with everything to play for. Over the next few weeks there are GIGS, band practices (first one in six months last week - we ROCKed, in general), RELEASES, and huge mailouts to PRESS and RADIO, so next time we speak, things will REALLY have begun! NOW do you understand my EXCITEMENT?

8th March 2000
Today you find me in PHILOSOPHICAL mood. The past week or so has been one of STRAIN and harrassment, but now i am feeling DEEP. And KNACKERED. Let me explain...

First of all - the ALBUMS are here! Yes! It did involve a lot of waiting around tho, not least me getting up at SEVEN AM on a Saturday morning to get them, and them not actually arriving until the next Tuesday! But they ARE here, and i hope you'll excuse me when i say that the album is BLOODY GRATE. WORD from the BAND is that this is correct, and that it having been mastered once at Stayfree, again by Julian at the HIve, and AGANE by The Marvelous Alex at Voyager, has considerably BUFFED IT UP. It does sound smashing tho, and all through i have noticed many incidents of oddness. There is a three song section in the middle where each ends with someone going "Is that all right then?" or words to that effect. I'm dead chuffed anyway. One of the nicest things has been other people's reactions - usually i give people my stuff, they nod, and then tactfully NEVER MENTION IT AGAIN. This time people have come back to me, looking shaken, and said "But it's Quite Good! I don't understand!" and fallen over in shock. I have decided, as usual, to take this as a compliment.

The only thing now is that the Johnny Domino parts have only just got to Dundee for production! Hopefully it'll all be done at SPEED, so we can get them all sent off, and all will be DONE. I look forward to the day i can say it is PAID for and SENT, to a level beyond IMAGINING. This is where i become philosophical. We had an PRACTICE last night, and i came out of it REMINDED of exactly the reason we're doing all this in the first place, and on the way home i had an EPIPHANAIC moment (cheers), where i realised that, yes, it is all a massive hassle right now (as is combined with the end of one of the big massive extra jobs to pay for it all, the start of another one, stuff about Abbey Park, stuff about a new label, and WORK), but HEY! All i'm doing it for is the beautiful DREAM of getting people to actually hear this record. ALSO thort upon people i know, such as my Grandad who had a stroke before Christmas (again), which he is now fighting back against and moving his legs which no-one ever thought he would. And here's me getting fed up because putting MY record out is a hassle? I then descended into BEAUTY and thought how fortunate i am to be able to do all this, and to have friends along for the ride who want to be involved and actually believe in it all. And LO, it was all jolly beautiful. And if it all flops and no-one buys it and those who get a free one hate it, then it doesn't matter, for At Least We Had a PROPER GO at doing it.

Aaaah... so there we go.

In other news - i had FIVE meetings about Abbey Park recently, no idea what's happening now, but i guess i'll find out eventually. The Payday single came out last week, but nothing was done to actually _tell_ anyone that it had come out (the in-store thing didn't happen either), and no-one's told _me_ what's happening either! SO, i went and bought 25 copies myself last week, which have now gone to Overground, and should be heading out to stations and ting even as we speak. We're pretending they're out NEXT week now, so hey, keep it under yr hat eh?

We're getting our PLANS in gear for the gigs too - Ollie can't make a couple, so it looks like Rob will be playing bass, with me SOLE gtrist. As you can imagine,it makes it all, shall we say, a bit "punk." Ollie's off to Uni in the Autumn too, so things may ALTER.

The New Song Tap seems to have a new washer on at the moment, tho there is one slowly appearing called "Following A Star", and last night we worked up a version of the Sea Shanty "Stern Old Batchelor", for possible use on an EP called "Songs In The Key Of Sea" - more on this another time. There should also be a few outtakes from the Mighty Album Sessions going on the WEB soon, and even a bit of my WRITING too - yes, be EXCITED! I might be being involved in a New Label too, with Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey, but hopefully this will be a WAY OFF due to TIME and stuff, and FINALLY we're away on (suitably) our Away Day next weekend.

It's all happening isn't it? Hopefully when i do the NEXT one of these, the TOUR will have started, ALL the CD's will be sent to the press, the pluggers, and the distributors, and it'll be time to lie back and let the ROCK flood in. i DO hope so!

22nd March 2000
Today i am BUZZING a bit i must confess, as yesterday was DAY 1 of THE TOUR! And it was QUITE GOOD! OK, hardly anybody came, but hey, it was only the first gig, and it WAS Leicester. We all enjoyed it anyway, and it's GOOD to think i get to see The Mighty Domino another THREE times in the next three weeks - next stop, NOTTINGHAM!

Now, remember how i have been saying for WEEKS how much i have hoped that all the ADMIN stuff will be done before the TOUR starts? Well, my wish came true, even though it occurred with only 12 hours to spare... the GETTING of the JD CDs turned into a bit of a NIGHTMARE with a lot of shouting and Giving Of The Hassle to various people - they were meant to come on last Wednesday, the cnut manufacturers tried to charge me 60 quid to deliver them on Friday (!), they EVENTUALLY arrived this Monday - at this point one should say The Magical Alex at Voyager got EARBENDINGS no end about it, when it all appeared to be due to the aforementioned cnuttish manufacturers. Anyway, all the CDs (both albums) went to Prime for Distribution on Monday, so HOPEFULLY they'll still both be out on the 27th. MEANWHILE i had an happy evening licking OVER 100 stamps for promo copies, all of which went out yesterday morning at 9am - THUS completing all processes 12 hours before the gig. And baby, it was a RELIEF to know it was FINALLY all out there. Now we just have to sit back and wait to see if anything happens.

I must confess, i am QUITE optimistic about the whole thing - both records are GRATE, and seeem to have potential to Actually Be Heard By People. The promo copies went out to LOADS of people, so surely SOMEONE must write about them, Overground are commencing PLUGGING, and i have a FEELING that the London gig might actually attract a few people, so all in all we are taking up residence in HOPE for the next month or so.

And talking of HOPE... we had our annual AAS Away Day at the weekend, at the Millstone Inn, Haversage in the Hope Valley. And it was GRATE. I can HIGHLY recommend the pub, as the beer was good, the food was ACE, everyone was friendly, there was a FANTASTIC view and the bar was open late. What more could you want? We all remained dead sober throughout, of course, and thort up some GRATE new STRATEGY and PLANS. One idea that emerged from the BRANE STORMING was to do some concept EPs this year, possibly on the theme of Replacement Title Tracks. That is, bands writing and performing songs which would REPLACE the existing title song to a film. So, to take one idea of a Bond Replacements EP, i am thinking about writing "The Spy Who Loved Me." Do you see?

In other news, "Mr Right" should hopefully be coming out on a Sorted Album at some point in the distant future, while many of the other unreleased tracks will be going onto the webpages, if all goes to plan. The New Song DELUGE has yet to commence - i've finished "Following A Star" (and put it on the new songs page), and have a couple of IDEAS (including a particularly ACE one called "The Symbol Of Our Nation"), but my darlings the past few weeks have been rather PACKED with ACTION non-conducive to ARTISTRY.

Other than that, the only other thing of note is that the blank page has FINALLY been filled with The Gallery, where i'll be putting some PICTURES up - there's only one there at the moment, but i'll get a few more from our PHOTO SESSION scanned in, and there might be some from THE TOUR at a later date. We shall see.

And that is how it IS. Next time there will be NEWS of more GIGS, and possibly even some PRESS, and please, gentle reader, do not forget to visit yr local record store this monday and DEMAND the ALBUM, and if they haven't got it, MAKE THEM ORDER IT! You won't regret it, honest.

6th April 2000
Contrary to all expectations, i do not write this from the poolside in LA where i have been WHISKED by a conglomeration of eccentric millionaires and BURDS entranced by the power of the album, offering escape from the millions now baying for the merest glance after the record breaking success of "Say It With Words".

No. All is in fact a Bit Quiet - the album's now out there in the shops, and i'm languishing in the SILENCE after the Big Push to get it there, waiting to see if we get a mention anywhere - there was an advert in last week's NME, so we live in hope that SOMEONE saw it, though last i heard shops were reluctant to stock it. PLUGGING is going great guns, i believe, so we may get somewhere. I have CONFIDENCE that if ONLY people get to hear it, or hear about it, then they will LIKE it and CHERISH it, but how, how to get them to do so? Answers on an email please.

GIGS have been divergent - last week's one in Nottingham seemed to engender DOOM in all Validators, even though i quite enjoyed it. LONDON the other day was MUCH better - we sounded GRATE and people liked us! Wahey! Earlier on in the day we returned to Imperial College Radio and did a session, 50% of which was RUBBISH, 50% OK - handily we did most of that night's SET, so at least we got a practice!

Just the one gig left now in Derby, and i feeel i shall rather miss it - last week we developed a PLAN which would involve me going off and doing gigs on my own, but after the JOY that was London this may be discarded. Whatever, there's a TON of new songs ready to go, and i'm hoping to rent a CHURCH HALL (of sound) for practicing them in. We shall seeee.

In other news, i'm apparently doing a radio interview on Saturday night. It's after midnight i.e. after the PUB, so the results could be "interesting." We met the chaps from after the gig on Tuesday, and it looks like some stuff will be going up there soon, which is GOOD. I've got a SECRET PROJECT on the go, which is SECRET, and am also still trying to write a replacement Bond Theme... and that's about it! Maybe NEXT time we'll have actually got some reviews going, we'll certainly have finished THE TOUR, and who knows? I might even get some more PICTURES scanned. See you in a fortnight!

14th April 2000
Slightly earlier than planned this one, prompted by an INFLUX of people visitoring, so Hello To New Readers! I am Your Alien Editor, welcome to the galaxies mightiest... no, hang on, that's not right, is it? Anyway, hello to those of you new to the page, and thank you kindly for taking a gander - be sure and come again, you hear?

There seems to be two reasons for this FLOOD (no, it IS a flood, honest, just BELIEVE me and don't feel you have to look at the hits counter) - firstly thanks to GEZ who runs the Half Man Half Biscuit page, he has v kindly PLUGGED the album on the HMHB list. Bless him, it seems to have WORKED too! Anyone coming through that route may care to look at the GIGS page for some EXCITING news - we have BOOKED not one but TWO gigs supporting them! Hoorah! It's not that we're mentalist band stalkers or anything, in fact it's just because we're all fans but don't like paying to get in. Should be GRATE anyway - CRAYZEELY enough, the other HMHB Midlands gig is in Nottingham, where they're supported by Johnny Domino - one day, ALL bands will have to play with AAS acts.

The second source of visitors is from Freaky Trigger, the UTTERLY GRATE magazine which i may have mentioned before. There's an article by ME in this month's issue about bands and stuff, from whence these visitors have come, but there's also some really good stuff, especially Tom The Editor's article about The Smiths, or more accurately, Being A Fan, which is extremely moving - the whole magazine, in fact, is exceptionally well written and thought-provoking (present company excepted, obviously) and makes me wonder why ALL such things can't be as good?

Enough already - what has been occurring? Well, the TOUR came to an end not with a WHOOP but a WHIMPER when we played in Derby to almost nobody... it was VERY depressing, especially as the UpBeat GoGetterNESS of the previous three gigs EVAPORATED, and wasn't helped by Johnny Domino being UTTERLY GRATE at SOME LENGTH afterwards, just to rub it in... the swines. In all honesty i'm GLAD it's over now - we really HAD to do it for the sake of APPEARANCE for press releases and radio stuff and that, but the only thing about it i shall miss is seeing the MIGHTY DOMINO every week. They were SMASHING people to do gigs with, darlings, we must do it again some time.

However, everyone seems up for some GIGS with PEOPLE at them now, and as STATED previously, we've got a couple with HMHB on the way, which should ROCK. Baby, it will be Target Audience TASTIC. I'm also playing in Manchester soon, and there should be a few more solo and/or band things coming up - watch the GIGS, KIDS. Meanwhile, the RADIO PLUGGING is going Rather Well. We got the first plugging reports last week, and they were GRATE, places all over the country are playing the record and saying nice things, my FAVOURITE being from Nevis Radio, who called it "A decent album with some live beats, clear vocals plus fine instrumentation. Nifty rhythmn guitar work." Lovely. Also The Eagle radio said "Honest, entertaining with wit and good tunes. He's singing about our lives!" I blush, truly i do. The Mighty OVERGROUND have even been sorting out some radio sessions for us (hopefully in a few weeks in Brighton, Bradford, Bristol and maybe Coventry), and last week i did my Big Radio Interview. Anyone in Ireland (or maybe just Dublin, i don't know) may wish to tune in to Noise Annoys on Anna Livia just after midnight, for twenty minutes of me GOING ON ABOUT STUFF. I challenged them to play "Carol & The Mandolin", so do let me know if they do eh?

Here on the website there's beeen a few additions too. I've finished off reports on the Gigs We Have Known page, put up some more picture in The Gallery, added some THRILLING links to the writings section, and added an whole other SECTION for downloads - you might want to try this out, as i'm not sure it all works. OI BE A BIT DIM with such things, so though most of it works (as it's on other people's sites), the song on THIS site might not. Do try tho, am sure it's worth it. Oh, and after some requests (no, REALLY), there's now a bit that tells you how and where to buy the album - shops, for some inexplicable reason, have uniformly failed to remove all other stock from their shelves and paint the walls with Say It With Words, so some people are having a job getting it...

And that's about it for this time. Still no newspaper reviews, though we live in hope - Need To Know will hopefully be giving us a BIG UP soon, Dave Green from there called me a "twisted genius" the other day, so i hope that means he likes us anyway. Yesterday i finally bought a new tape deck, so this weekend i'll be DEMOING some new songs (and who knows, maybe even WRITING some more?!?), and there might be some more GIGS too. Can you STAND to wait until next time?

2nd May 2000
Isn't it a LOVELY DAY? Far too lovely and SUMMERY to be sat indoors looking at a computer, so thank you for taking the time. Unless it's raining when you read this, in which case still thanks, but not quite so much.

Much GADDING ABOUT has occurred since last we conferred. As the HIPSTERS at the back will know, The Butterflies of Love have been in the country, and have been touring with Airport Gurl and The (brilliant) Chemistry Experiment, so i've been to a few of those. The first was the Derby gig, which was a bit dull, the second was in LONDON, and it was GRATE. Especially the Chemistry Experiment, who i have been ON ABOUT to anyone who will listen - their new single (Be My Postman, out now on Fortuna Pop! kids) is FANTASTIC, especially the song "Are you a slave to yr history" which, dear reader, made me nearly WEEP. Anyway, being in London it had it's fair share of LOVELY PEOPLE, who stood out more than in other places cos London Is Full Of Twats. The nice people were, in fact, nice though, and some of them even bought a CD off me! ZANG!

More CD selling shenanigans the next day too, when i went up to Manchester and did a gig MYSELF also. Took the acoustic and sat down and Just PLayed Some Songs (with TALKING between) and my dears it was an absolute PlEASURE, and even more CDs were sold. On the downside, it did INVIGORATE me with the idea of doing some more solo gigs. This idea was ADDED TO by the first of our Half Man Half Biscuit gigs the other day. It had started so well - i bumped into NIGEL from them in the dressing room and had a CHAT (which made Tim jealous - HA! Let him have his I Met Thurston Moore stories, I WIN) - and the soundcheck was FINE, but when we were onstage we just got STARED at. Apparently audience people thought it was OK, they just chose not to make any noise AT ALL.

It was all a bit scary. But still, we got to see Half Man Half Biscuit afterwards, which cheered me RIGHT up. I felt a bit guilty for dragging the Validators over for such a gig, but then not very much because they all wanted to see HMHB! CUH!

Been getting a bit of FAN MAIL about the album too, which is BLOODY FANTASTIC and, i believe, should be ENCOURAGED. So far, however, there has been UTTERLY NOTHING from any of the print-based media - i hesitate to think this is because we are Small Label, No Adverts - it's also because none of us are Top Mates with journalists. Still, i live in hope of something when next month's magazines come around. I finally saw issue 2 of CRAZYNET has come out, so maybe next month Hey Hey 16K will FINALLY make an appearance? The INTERNET people are liking us tho, and the Radio Plugging is going GRATE. I went down to BRISTOL on Sunday to do a SESSION with Gary Smith from the Eagle/Falcon down that way, and had a SMASHING TIME. Did a few songs acoustically, had a TOP CHAT for the interview bit, and BEST OF ALL got to do some station idents!!! This means over the next few months people in the South West will be THRILLING to the sound of me going "Hi! This is MJ Hibbett, and you're listening to 107.3FM - the REAL alternative." I wonder how many Broadcasting Awards i'll get for it?

On the ARTISTIC side of things, all is a little quiet at the moment - not many new songs poking through the MIND SOIL into the SUNLIGHT OF ROCK at the moment, but have made a start on doing some posh demos up in the attic. Hopefully THE BAND (now, by the way, with Rob on bass and ME on sole guitar, due to Ollie's ACADEMIC achievements, bless) will be back in a rehearsal room soon, so we can a) REHEARSE and b) expand our repertoire a bit. HOPEFULLY then we can get on and do some more recording, and it can all get started again. Won't that be nice?

16th May 2000
Another sunshiney day, another missive of JOY - now, i know normally we here chez Validators are up and down like a yoyo in a whore's draws, on a bouncy castle, in a lift, in a building on springs. In an Earthquake Zone. But the last few days have been days of untrammeled HAPPINESS for all concerned. Yes, you have GUESSED IT, it's all because we Actually Did A Good Gig - the second of our HMHB supports, this time in Leicester.

Not that i enjoyed it at the time mind, it was BLOODY TERRIFYING. There were LOADS of people (150 according to Andy The Promoter, but i am CONVINCED he went to the Metropolitan Police School of Crowd Size Assessment) and they all came and LOOKED at us this time. I must be a LONG time since we had an audience of that size (if ever), because i was REALLY scared by the whole thing, but amazingly it seemed to go down really well, especially Quality Janitor. There had been some debate about doing this amongst The Band, as we thought it might turn a bad gig ugly and lead to us getting bottled off, but as it turned out most people realised why we did it (for LOVE) and got into it. Cool. The BEST THING EVER tho was afterwards, when we had a quick chat again with Nigel. UNPROMPTED he said he liked the album, and that "Stop, Look and Listen" and "Born With The Century" were his favourites. We managed to remain calm, but MY WORD later on was there some GIBBERING. HE HAD LISTENED TO IT AND LIKED IT!

I know it sounds a bit SAD to be SO excited that Nigel From Half Man Half Biscuit didn't actively HATE the album, but he _is_ one of my greatest heroes EVER, and i was a bit tiddly, so let me cherish the moment, OK? The rest of the evening was pretty ACE too - i even got QUIZZED on some Obscure Solo Tape Tracks, eeh, it was like being FAMOUS. We sold some MORE CDs, and we did a NEW SONG too, "You Will Be Hearing From My Solicitor" what we had actually practiced in the week, so hopefully there'll be a few more being SLID into the set in the future.

Indeed, the SONG DROUGHT seems to have ended - i wrote a CRACKING new one called "Graffiti on the Cenotaph" last night (and it's in the new songs bit even now) and there's a good few others bubbling up. With any luck we'll have a couple of practices soon - i finished off the New Song Demo Tape last week, but everyone who's heard it has been Tactfully Silent so far, so it's probably a good job if i _do_ write some more new ones.

In other news, Hey Hey 16K seems to have REARED UP again - there's a bit about it in Blue Lines, in the EVER MARVELLOUS FreakyTrigger right now, which to be fair seems to be just so Tom can do his own bit of reminiscing, but still, IT COUNTS. Meanwhile Dave Green from Need To Know is putting some Deluxe Quality versions of it up on HIS site. All this even BEFORE the (probably disappointingly non-existent) appearance in next month's Crazynet magazine. Golly, all we need now is for one of the monthlies to do a review, and it'll be a summertime REISSUE bonanza!

Is a bit strange though, as things had all gone a bit quiet up until the other day, now is All Go - for instance, off to BRADFORD on Thursday to do a session for BCB. They've asked me to take some "obscure" records to play, which'll probably involve a good few hours desperately searching through my records for something that isn't Blindingly Obvious. Cool. More news on that NEXT TIME kids, along with - DARE WE HOPE? - possibly even some Printed Media Coverage. HEY! Remember, you read this BEFORE it was famous!
2nd June 2000
Thanks for dropping by, is APPRECIATED, especially anyone who's come over from this weeks Need To Know who are apparently going to be MENTIONING the site this week. If you've not seen it, the Lord Of Interweb Media Stuff Dave Green has done a big review thing of the album on his pages, this best bit of which is when he says Payday is better than The Manics. Well, who could disagree?

It's especially cheering to see that today, as all hopes of Old Fashioned Print Media reviews finally lay in tatters, as i just bought this month's Q magazine to find ZILLIO re. us in it. Oh well, it's not like i'm surprised, but it would have been NICE. I'm thinking of going to the post office and demanding back the 20 quid in postage we spent sending all those copies out... a cynical person might think this was due to us a) not being on a Major Label, b) thus not spending millions of quid on adverts in their papers or c) not buying drinks and chumming up to Journo Scum, but me, i think it is THE CURSE OF VOON putting the FEAR on them.

Let me explain, and give WITNESS - The Curse Of Voon (detailed at LENGTH here), which caused venues we played in to burn down, go bankrupt etc etc, was thought to lay DORMANT when we packed the band in, but it seems to STIR ANEW. Consider the evidence. Long-term readers (hello mum) will recall last year me getting all excited about a new magazine CRAZYNET which was going to feature the mp3 of Hey Hey 16K on the CD on the cover of their third issue, only for it to get CANCELLED after the first one. More recently i got all excited to discover that they were having another go, and that issed TWO had finally come out, BRAVELY trying to labour through to their third issue, JUST (of course) to get that song out to THE KIDS. And what, you ask, has happened to that third issue? It has, of course, been cancelled again. Magazine publishers, be BRAVE! Stand UP to the Curse, and hold yr head HIGH!

In other news - i went up to Bradford to do a session for the Tim Eames show on BCB, it was GOOD - did the usual stuff, plus played some RECORDS ("Don't Be A Robot" by Frankie Machine, "Slave To Yr History" by Chemistry Experiment, "Shark Fishing In America" by FPV and "Do You Always Dress Like That" by Mambo Taxi, FACT fans) and done some CHAT. Most of this, as far as i recall, centered around how GRATE the aforementioned Mambo Taxi were. Don't know when it's being played, but Northern Small Radio Statio FANS may be THRILLED to discover that i'm embarking on another northern expedition on June 13th, when i'm playing on CCAD radio in Middlesborough. Middlesborough is BLOODY MILES away, so it'd be nice if someone was listening!

Got some CULTURE of various types too - last Friday saw me at WEMBLEY, to see an hour of CRAP DIVISION THREE FOOTBALL supplanted by nearly half an hour of DAZZLING EXCITEMENT as my new hero Andy Clarke took Posh back up to Division Two. It was VERY VERY GOOD INDEED, there was a LOT of jumping about and shouting, and i was HAPPY. That same weekend i also attended an Early Music Concert, cos i am dead sophisticated, and saw a Young Lady being FANTASTIC at SINGING in town on Music Live day - Tom The Violin and i are even now trying to find her next gig, that we may WONDER at her GRATENESS.

And that's about it for now. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks we'll get round to a Validators practice, to sort out - hey hey! - our NEXT SINGLE, which will be "You Will Be Hearing From My Solicitor", and talk about some more gigs. As well as the one in BRUM mentioned on the gigs bit, there should be ones in Bristol and London coming up, and maybe some more if anyone in the band fancies it. Stay tuned kids, and you will DISCOVER the TRUTH.
22nd June 2000
A thousand apologies for the buckets of woe caused to all and sundry by the lateness of this, is because a) i haven't been around much and b) nothing's really happened. Well, not NOTHING, but nothing involving international fame, glamour, LADIES, and that sort of thing. Which is a nice change, i could do with a rest after the AVALANCHE OF ROCK that ... er... happened before, which i probably never mentioned because... um... i didn't want to make you jealous. Yes.

ANYWAY, a few things have occurred - i went to Middlesborough the other day, and had a lovely day - HOURS on the TRANE (reading Underworld by Don De Lillo, BOOK FANS, which i must recommend because it was UTTERLY UTTERLY GRATE and made me feel like i had been to the MIND GYM afterwards), a gentle stroll through Newarke, City Of The 70's, and a pleasant session. Before going, i'd thought it would be a hep student party ROCK and hanging out and BEER, but it turned out to be RATHER less so... everyone there was v nice tho, and even filmed me playing. It was broadcast around the building, where there appeared to be NOBODY ELSE (a competition - knock on the door and "win" an album - had no entries!) so i doubt it'll have Improved My International Profile, but HEY! It was a Good Day Out.

More recently i was in LONDON, not for ROCK but for a PARTY, only to have ROCK impinge on my mind again - after the FOOTBALL (Mmm - i start to think our National Side is a SCHEME to make supporters of Man Utd et al see what it is like for the rest of us, to support teams that are CRAP) we went to the pub and saw - OH MY GOD! - ANT AND DEC! Needless to say, i was VERY excited about this, and have told ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE about it. Was an heavy weekend really, as my BIRTHDAY (OLD, that's all i'm saying) was at the end of it. Ooh, and also saw Half Man Half Biscuit the other night, that ALSO was good.

Back in Things About Me LAND - a bit more writing has occurred, including another article at the marvellous Freaky Trigger, as well as some SHOUTING about stuff in their Focus Group... AND there's a couple more songs on the New Songs Bit - i'm STILL trying to finish off that "The Symbol of Our Nation" one, but will soon, honest.

And that's about it, i fear. Gig in Brum next week, hopefully followed by a few more later on (tho hopefully NOT Abbey Park which i REALLY don't want to do anymore) and maybe even, when we Get It Together, some BAND gigs. Whoo! Let's ROCK!
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