MJ HIBBETT & THE VALIDATORS
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Lessons In Commerce
The launch of a new album is always fraught with WORRY, especially around SALES. After the initial RUSH of lovely people who buy it as soon as it's UNLEASHED there's always a massive drop-off while you wait for other lovely people to find out about it. As I say, this ALWAYS happens, but that doesn't mean you ever get used to it!

In an effort to try and UNDIP the sales figues this week I thought I'd try an exciting new media strategy: I would ASK people to buy the album. No, stay with me, this may SEEM like an impossibly radical idea that has never even been attempted before, but I thought it might just work so, on Monday, I tweeted this: INCREDIBLY it actually WORKED, and several people DID buy the album. I could hardly believe it! However, I have worked in Academic Research for DECADES and are well aware of the dangers of a small sample size. It COULD have been that people were going to buy it anyway that day and it just so happened that my REVOLUTIONARY TWEET went out at the same time. So, on Tuesday, I tried again, THUSLY: And guess what? IT HAPPENED AGAIN! I am now AFEARED of what I should do with this KNOWLEDGE. Should I spread the information around the world? If I did, might there be a chance - a tiny chance, but a chance none the less - that someone might use this "asking people to buy things" power for EVIL, rather than good? Might it even become some kind of SMALL INDUSTRY that might, maybe, one day, ask people to buy things that WEREN'T in their best possible interests?

It is a weighty responsibility, and one that I will MUSE upon further. While I do that though - hey! - if you haven't bought our album yet, why not do so via this purchasing link? You can take it from me that it is Quite Good, and I should know - I've listened to it a LOT!

posted 20/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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Festival 8
The Summer of ROCK continued at the weekend as The Validators travelled NORTH to play at Festival 8, just outside Grimsby. Executive Summary: we had a lovely time.

I met up with Mr T 'The Tiger' McClure and Ms C Birkby the night before at the Grimsby Premier Inn, our base for the weekend. Everyone there was VERY friendly, apart from a barman who, in his defence, had spent the previous 2 hours dealing with a pub full of CHILDREN. Apparently everyone else was there for EITHER a junior football tournament OR something to do with BALLET, so there were a LOT of kids!

On Saturday we headed over to nearby Cleethorpes to collect Mr FA Machine from Cleethorpe's BEST, also Cleethorpe's ONLY, real ale pub, where he had taken a ROOM. On the way he texted to ask if we had time for a BEER there. My BRANE clicked over into TOUR mode: of COURSE we did - I texted back "3 pints of lager and a coke please" then added "Everyone else can buy their own" because I am ENTIRELY HILARIOUS. Nobody laughed when I repeated the joke several times over the weekend, I can only assume this is because it was TOO hilarious.

Post-pints we got ourselves rounded up and headed to Cabourne Parva, where the festival was taking place. It's theoretically a FARM but seems to be used for lots of events, as the PARTY BARN where we were playing (they're ALL party barns when WE play them etc etc) had a bar installed and floorboards, and there seemed to be several permanent structures for cafes and suchlike. There were also LOTS of tents and big tops, mostly of a ETHEREAL theme e.g. yoga, healing, that sort of thing.



It reminded me VERY MUCH of Glastonbury in Olden Tymes when I used to go or festivals in general from back then, there was a LOT of juggling, pantaloon trousers, dreadlocks and so forth going on. As with festivals of yore, it was also a VERY friendly, VERY safe atmosphere into which we relaxed like the old hands we are.

We found Mr E Bewsher, long time CHUM and the person who suggested we apply, outside the PARTY BARN and then The Pattisons INSIDE. They were watching the act before us so we all stayed to watch too.



Soon it was time to go and collect GEAR ready for SHOWTIME. When I got back I was told to report to the Stage Manager, who wanted "some words to describe you for when I do the introduction." "International Indie ROCK" I said, which seemed to please her, although I think maybe she had read a handwritten version of the running order, as she introduced us ON and then later OFF as "MISTER Hibbett And The Validators". I reckon it sounds quite sophisticated! Here's what we played:
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • Can We Be Friends?
  • That Guy
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
  • I Want To Find Out How It Ends
  • Burn It Down And Start Again
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • We Did It Anyway

  • It was All A Bit Crash Bang Wallop to start with but we soon relaxed into the gig, and I remembered that a large part of the fun, for ME at least, in doing Validators gigs is the opportunity to BICKER with Emma. There was quite a lot of said bickering and I am now convinced that That Guy is her FAVOURITE song and she just says it isn't so that we can argue about it. We didn't have a HUGE audience, but the people who were there seemed to enjoy it and I did get to have a debate with one gentleman about which end of Lincolnshire is the flattest!

    We'd intended to finish with Easily Impressed but there seemed to be a slight misunderstanding about our set length (we thought 45, the schedule apparently thought 40) so we had to cut it off, though it ended up being quite SUITABLE ending with We Did It Anyway. As was said several times over the course of the day, other indiepop bands might be playing the Fortuna Pop! weekender that day or will be playing Indietracks in a couple of weeks, performing for audiences who've come specifically to see them, but we're the only ones playing in a Barn near Grimsby! I genuinely think ALL bands should do more of this sort of thing - it's fun playing to people who probably like you already (actually, it's a LOT of fun), but you've got to get out and about to find NEW people!

    With that all done it was time for the main business of the day i.e. finding some SEATS and then sitting drinking BEER and YACKING for the next four hours, which we duly did. It was GRATE! Tom found himself elected to a new POSITION i.e. The One Who Asks About Money, and he fulfilled this task SO well that it has now become a permanent role. Congratulations Tom! He even managed to get us some BEER VOUCHERS, so it was a fairly DELAPIDATED group of Validators who staggered off to the campsite at approx 9:30pm to enjoy a final group discussion while sharing a bottle of WHISKY.

    It was, basically, a lovely way to spend a weekend - thanks VERY much to the organisers of Festival 8 for having us, we really enjoyed it - and it was made all the lovelier by the knowledge that in a few days time we're all back together AGANE to ROCK Leicester (supporting Po! at The Firebug)! HOORAH for The Summer Of ROCK!


    posted 18/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Shy And Retiring
    After leaving the post-Hibbettfest pub on Saturday evening I headed to Birmingham New Street Station (which despite the new shopping centre plonked on top is still Hell On Earth) to catch a train to PETERBOROUGH, where I was due to attend and also perform at Mr CM Smith's retirement DO. I was stood on the platform looking at twitter and, after about ten minutes, realised someone was stood next to me. It was Mr Mark Collins! "I've been stood here for ages!" he said. In my defence there'd been a LOT going on in The Politics, which we then went on to discuss all the way to LEICESTER, to which he was returning.

    After Mark had disembarked I went to the LOO to get changed - it had already been a long day and a change of clothes was very much needed. Of course, this being a MODERN TRANE it had a toilet with a very confusing LOCK and, OF COURSE, the door flew open at the worst POSSIBLE moment for such a thing to happen, though luckily for me (and any observers!) no-one was there to witness the moment of HORROR. Phew!

    I arrived in Peterborough just as planned and, a few minutes later, so did The Points On My Plan, who had come direct from London. We hopped into a taxi and were soon in HELPSTON, at http://mjhibbett.co.uk/gigs/venue.php?venuecode=383>The John Clare Cottage where the DO was being held. My MUM works there sometimes so it had seemed like an logical place to have it.

    What followed was a DELIGHTFUL evening. Various family were there and some LOVELY old friends including Mr S Carter and The Mylands. They'd also laid on SPECIAL food just for me and The Meals On My Menu, which was MOST appreciated, especially next day when we ate the leftovers out of tupperware!

    There was catching up, there were presentations, there were speeches, and also there was ME doing a few songs. I wasn't really sure, beforehand, whether this would be a good idea but when it came time to DO it I realised that I'd just COME from one gig in a back garden so another one should be no bother at all. ALSO it gave me a chance to boss around an audience featuring many of my parents' friends, which was MOST enjoyable. Here's what I did:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • I Come From The Fens
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • Can you spot a theme? "Boom Shake The Room" seems to have become a FAMILY TRADITION now, and I was aided by Mr P Myland, formerly of The Durham Ox Singers on Backing Vocals, as you can see below:



    What a team! And also: what a night! I must admit that when PLANNING this ludicrous day of travel ACTION I'd expected to be EXHAUSTED by the time we got to Helpston, but actually I had a LOVELY time. That may have been helped by the BARRELS of Oakham JHB that were laid on (that is a NICE beer), I cannot say. What I CAN say however is that it caught up with me next day - even if the Euros Final had been INTERESTING I'm sure I would have dozed off, in the state I was in that evening I stood NO chance!

    posted 13/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Hibbettfest 2016
    The morning of Hibbettfest 2016 began for me at the UNGODLY hour of 6am (on a SATURDAY!) as I had a HECKLOAD of travelling to do. The plan was to zoom up to Cradley Heath for a band practice at 11am, go over to Kingswinford for Hibbettfest itself, pop back to Birmingham for a PINT and then get on ANOTHER train to Peterborough for Mr CM Smith's RETIREMENT do. PEASY!

    It was a BUSY schedule which i was dealing with HEROICALLY by MOANING to The Validators, only to be told by Mr T Pattison that HE had been up since 5am and was flying into Birmingham from AMSTERDAM, having been in Ghana the day before. Honestly, some people make SUCH a fuss don't they?

    The first part of the journey went fine and I met Mr FA Machine at Birmingham Moor Street Station just after 10am to catch our train to Cradley Heath. We arrived at 10:36am with almost half an hour to find our way to the rehearsal studio, which turned out to be NEEDED because the address given on their webpage was NOT, it turned out, where they actually were. "A rehearsal studio not having an entirely accurate and up to date website?" we said, STUNNED. "Surely not?"

    The only place we could find open on an Industrial Estate at that time of a Saturday morning was a DANCE studio, so we went in to ask for help. As soon as we entered it was clear that we were in the MOST WRONG place for two men of distinguished age to be. The whole BUILDING turned and LOOKED at us, parents, teenage girls, and MORE teenage girls. "Are you lost?" said a kindly lady. WE WERE. She took us back outside, where a man washing his car said "Are you looking for the rehearsal studios?" He told us where they were (round the corner and up a different road). "It's round there somewhere," he said. "I can hear them playing LATE AT NIGHT."

    Duly advised we went down a dirt track and discovered the studios HIDDEN, also ALARMINGLY CLEAN. I thought about complaining to the managament - the toilet not only had loo roll in it, but also SOAP! What is the world coming to when basic rules of rehearsal studios are not obeyed? I blame BREXIT.

    Mr T McClure was next to arrive (I'd rung everyone to tell them the actual address) and after a short delay brought on by TRAFFIC so did The Pattisons. As we set up we discussed many issues of the day and agreed that, for the duration of this SUMMER OF ROCK (we're seeing each other pretty much every weekend for the next five weeks!) ALL REMARKS would be phrased in terms of SEARING Brexit-related SATIRE. This mostly came about because we had VOTED on what songs would be on our setlist and so there was much "I only voted for Lesson Of The Smiths as a protest" etc etc etc and resigning from things with heavy hearts and so forth. It was HILARIOUS and there is NO WAY that it will not STAY so until mid-August. If it does, no-one will ever know because, as Tom said, "What goes on tour REMAINS on tour."

    Please feel free to pause a moment while GUFFAWS subside.

    We RATTLED through the thirteen songs we'd chosen (13 because three songs came joint 11th, and 10 wouldn't have been enough), pausing for FURTHER LARFS and also FILMING ourselves for possible video use. After that we packed up then most of us headed off to Kingswinford, with Frankie returning to Derby for a Family Committment. As we said bye to him we got to say "See you next week!" which was RATHER LOVELY.

    We arrived at the Hibbettfest site to find the event in FULL SWING. There was a garden full of lovely people, including Mr R Kirkham and his parents, several dogs and a LOT of small children. Hibbettfest may have started out as a small event, but over the 11 or so years it's been going it has grown primarily via existing audience members MAKING more audience.

    Ray proclaimed the BUFFET open, we ATE (it was PARTICULARLY delicious this year - especially the AFTERS, of which I had HELPINGS) and then Mr A Hale got up to do a set. Originally there was going to be THREE other acts playing, but it had been reduced to one by the day itself and Alex filled the space ADMIRABLY, even though I was a bit distracted by the fact he uses my old guitar!

    I had decided to PACE myself this year i.e. NOT drink ALL the beer, in order to be in a sensible state when I saw my parents in the evening. However I almost made a terrible ERROR when I said to Mr Kirkham Senior "Have you got any of that Rhubarb Wine left?" This was a beverage he had given me a couple of festivals ago, saying "I won it in a raffle". This had NOT ended well for me, so I was only JOKING but he LEAPT at the chance to get rid of some more, producing an entire DEMI-JOHN of it from the garage. I managed to avoid drinking TOO much of it - I think it may need another DECADE or so to mature properly.

    Anyway, soon it was SHOWTIME. Here's what we looked like:



    And this is what we did:
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Can We Be Friends?
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • We Did It Anyway
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • That might not be the EXACT order we did it in - we made up the list as we went along - but I should be able to CHECK*, as Ms L Handcock very kindly FILMED the whole thing for us, in the hope that we can use it ALSO for a future video. Hey, we live in the modern era, it's the way we're going to connect with THE KIDS! (* UPDATE: have checked, this now the correct setlist!)

    It all seemed to go pretty well, then all too soon it was time to say "See you next week" to the rest of The Validators and hop into THE PARTY BUS aka the taxi into town which Ray had ordered. The PARTY decamped to The Wellington as is traditional, but ALAS I had time for just one pint as I had a whole OTHER party in a back yard to get to, of which more NEXT time!

    It was, yet again, a BLOODY MARVELLOUS Hibbettfest. It really is my favourite festival roll on next year!

    posted 12/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    For The Rabbits
    I'm very VERY pleased to say that today we're PREMIERING our brand new video for 20 Things To Do Before You're 30 over on For The Rabbits. Go an have a look, it's GRATE!

    The video was put together over many weeks in VARIOUS ways. Firstly we put out a call for help asking people to submit CLIPS to go with the lines of the song. A core group of MARVELLOUS chums answered this call and, once those were all in, I coerced Mr S Hewitt and Mr W Pilkington to help me fill in a few of the gaps. MEANWHILE Tim, Emma and Tom gathered on a street corner in Leicester to film UN HOMAGE to That Bob Dylan Video What Everyone Rips Off for use in the CHORUSES and elsewhere.

    I'm pretty sure that this methodology is used in HOLLYWOOD, by the way. "What, we didn't film enough light saber battles? Quick, let's go to the pub and film a bit there, it'll be fine!"

    I then spent a couple of evenings lining everything up and TEST SCREENING it to The Audience In My Auditorium and Validators, then gently re-editing it until it was the MEISTERWERK you see before you today. I'm quite pleased with the results I must admit. It might not be the SLICKEST or most COHERENT video you'll ever see, but it does feature some of the MOST DELIGHTFUL people!



    posted 11/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Totally Tuesday
    I felt TEMPORALY DISCOMBOBULATED at Totally Acoustic this week, a sensation I put down to the fact that it happened on a TUESDAY rather than the more usual THURSDAY. Either that, or someone had put some BOOZE in my drink, but that sounds very unlikely.

    For LO! we had gathered in The King & Queen for a rescheduled day this month - CJ at the pub had suggested moving from our usual Thursday as there was Euro 2016 ACTION scheduled and there was a possibility it might have been an England match. This seems LAUGHABLE now of course, but this was all arranged back in those crazy optimistic days of MAY, so we weren't to know!

    Acts, audience and regulars all arrived in good time, and we kicked the show off with me leading everyone through the THEME TUNE as usual before doing (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock and Burn It Down And Start Again. I wasn't intending to DO Burn It Down And Start Again but I asked for requests and somebody shouted for "song 5" on the album, so I thought I ought!

    Next up were My Favourite Andy, who were ACE. They'd emailed to ask about a gig, I'd listened to their tracks and thought "These are really good!" and so was DELIGHTED to find that, live, they were ACE. I don't think they'd DONE a gig like Totally Acoustic before either, as they were REVELLING in the freedom of movement, also in the EXCELLENCE of the audience!

    After them we had FakeDaveGreen '80s Synth Singalong (feat Denmark Massive) a.k.a. Dave, his friend Rob, and a PILE of instruments including a toy piano that was THROWN to the floor at the end in a fit of ROCK ABANDON. They played a host of 80s synth hits which we all SANG ALONG with (as the name would suggest), helped by song sheets. It was FAB, though I couldn't help noticing that the songs chosen were almost EXACTLY the same as the ones Dave suggested I do WAY back in Christmas 2000 when I played at the Need To Know Christmas Party - I've still got the list and CHORDS somewhere, the only song he omitted was "Move Any Mountain". NEXT time!

    Finally Mr Kriss Foster performed a selection of songs from his forthcoming "Very Small Museum" show that he'll be doing at The Fringe. I love Kriss's stuff, as I have remarked many times before, and this time he was precisely as MARVELLOUS as ever i.e. TOTALLY. He passed a box containing museum exhibits (well, pieces of paper in this instance but it'll be ARTEFACTS by the time he gets to Edinburgh) around the room, getting audience members to choose one at random then he told a story and/or sang an associated song. It worked really REALLY well, it almost made me want to go to the Fringe in August!

    And that was that for an entirely LOVELY evening. The only DOWNSIDE of the entire experience was, as I say, the TEMPORAL DISCOMBOBULATION waking up next morning thinking it must be Friday and the disappointment of realising it was only Wednesday - back to our usual day of the week next time!

    posted 7/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Reviews Begin
    The new album has only been out for a few days but the MEDIA ONSLAUGHT is already reaping rewards!

    At time of writing we've had 2 (two) reviews, and both of them are LOVELY. This one in Sounds XP is FLATTERING ("Me, a renaissance man? Coo er gosh I couldn't comment hem hem") while this one on The Album Wall is pretty much my favourite review EVER, featuring as it does the reviewer getting his MUM in to help advice on Middle Aged Issues. Give them both a read, they are FAB!

    We've also had some radio play, with tracks on Pete Jackson's Dandelion Radio show, The Breakdown and Brutha Voodoo's Playlist Obscura, and I remain hopeful of a few more plays ELSEWHERE. There is a lot of Radio Listening going on chez moi, just in case!

    We're EXTREMELY grateful to everyone for mentioning us - as I keep saying, we're doing it all ourselves and REALLY want to get people to listen to this album, so as ever we can do with all the help we can get!

    posted 6/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Back To Brentwood
    I spent the Saturday afternoon just gone catching the fast train to Shenfield for what would apparently be my SEVENTH appearance on the Brentwood's Only Alternative radio show. I was meant to have been there the week before but it had rained SO much that the trains had been CANCELLED. It worked out MUCH more easily this time, and Mr P Golder picked me up from the station to headed on over to the Phoenix FM studio.

    The FIRST time I appeared on Phoenix FM was 12 years ago ("You are The Fall to my John Peel", said Paul), when it had had a temporary licence and had been based in a small room above a youth club disco. It's MUCH swankier now with ROOMS and EQUIPMENT and CHAIRS and EVERYTHING. Paul and I relaxed in the second studio while we waited for show time and had SUCH a right old natter that we forgot the time and had to RUN into the main room before the news finished!

    This would be pretty much how the entire session would go - we started NATTERING and went on so long that I had to keep reminding myself I WASN'T just sat in a pub and so MUST NOT SWEAR. We covered diverse topics such as If Kratfwerk Did A Panto and Cover Versions Of Other Radio Shows but also managed to go through ALL the songs on Still Valid, explaining what they were about, and I did THREE songs, THUS:

  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • In The North Stand
  • We Did It Anyway

    The songs actually went quite well- I'm not gigging much at the moment so I always worry that I'll a) forget the words and b) not be able to sing at ALL, but it seemed to go OK. You can judge for yourself with the videos BELOW:





    I had, it must be said, a BLOODY LOVELY time - it would be WRONG if we ever released an album without going to tell Paul about it, so I was most pleased to have managed it in DEFIANCE of the elements!

    posted 5/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Still Valid is OUT!
    At long last, after YEARS of writing, rehearsing, arguing, gigs, recording, arguing, beer, mastering, arguing, curry, sleeve design, curry, arguing and BEER our brand new album Still Valid is officially released TODAY!

    This time around the actual CD version is ONLY available to buy directly from us, either via these very webpages or at one of the upcoming gigs. You can buy it DIGITALLY though in all SORTS of ways - direct from us via our bandcamp page, on iTunes, Amazon or pretty much ANY digital downnload site.

    "But Mark", I hear you say, "How are we to know whether we'd LIKE the album 'Still Valid' by MJ Hibbett & The Validators?" This is an excellent question, for which there are TWO answers. The first answer is "Because I am telling you it is GRATE!" and the second is "By checking for yourself, with this here STREAM thing:"



    We're all RATHER excited that this is FINALLY out and about for people to hear. We hope you enjoy it and HEY! If you DO, it would help us ENORMOUSLY if you could spread the word by telling other people. It may SEEM, from the SLICKNESS of our COMMUNICATIONS, that we are a high powered media conglomerate, but in reality it's just US and a book of stammps, we need all the help we can get!

    posted 4/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Ongoing Onslaught
    The Media Onslaught for Still Valid continues today as a stream of the ENTIRE ALBUM is premiering over on God Is In The TV. You can listen to THE LOT - go on, have a listen!.

    Once again, as with our appearance on Louder Than War recently, this was sorted out for us by Mr G Gargan, so many thanks to him for that. He has been patiently explaining to me how all of this WORKS nowadays, with yr exclusives and yr premieres and so forth, and I am very grateful indeed to him!

    NEXT week we have the ACTUAL Official RELEASE of the album, which means it'll be on Spotify and iTunes and all that sort of thing. We should also have the VIDEO premiering too - I'm about halfway through editing it at the moment and it's looking pretty good. After that - well, I don't know what happens after that. What I do know is that AT LAST you can hear what we've been working on these past four years, and what I HOPE is that you enjoy it!

    posted 1/7/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Back On Set
    Regular readers may recall my appeal for help making a video for 20 Things To Do Before You're 30. We got a lot of GRATE clips sent to us, but there were still a few GAPS which needed filling, so last night I met with Mr S Hewitt and Mr W Pilkington in central London to see what we could do about it.

    We met at Russell Square and headed up the road to The "Laundrette" Launderette to film the line about... well, going to Launderettes. This took approximately 20 seconds to do so we retired to the nearby Lord John Russell pub for a well earned PINT and then to film another four lines. This took over two minutes to do, which was EXHAUSTING, so decided to go inside and sit in the warm for a bit, also for some more PINTS.

    It was all rather delightful I must say - quite apart from anything else it was MARVELLOUS to be sat in a pub which such charming fellows discussing Vital Issues Of The Day, especially at a time when there are so MANY Vital Issues to be discussed. I'm beginning to think that we need to STAY in the pub full-time in order to prevent the entire country collapsing about itself - this is, I feel, pretty much the only SENSIBLE policy anybody's suggested all week!

    posted 30/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Comics Crossroads
    I got up at an HORRENDOUS hour on Sunday in order to be in Canterbury at 10am for a CONFERENCE. That's right, I AM dedicated to my ART and my ART is COMICS, for LO! I was attending "Comics Crossroads", and all day symposium covering VARIOUS aspects of comics studies.

    When I got to Canterbury I thought I knew the way to The University Of Kent as The Students In My Study Group and I had passed through it a while ago when we did The Crab & Winkle Way walk. We got a bit LOST that time though, so I was not entirely confident I'd get there, but my worries disappeared when I spotted someone who looked very much like he was going to the same place as me, so I followed him. Turns out he totally WAS!

    The University Of Kent is one of those PROPER University campuses (aka Former Polytechnic campuses) built in the 1960s/1970s, where the whole place is miles from anywhere in a FIELD with loads of small buildings and, for some reason, hexagons. The event was happening in an actual THEATRE that looked EXACTLY the same as the one we went to in Bedford earlier on in the year to see 'Captain Wonderful', I guess maybe there was a DESIGN going round that everyone just used?

    Anyway, the day itself did my HEAD in as it was FULL to BURSTING with IDEAS and TERMINOLOGY and THEORIES that I never even knew existed, let alone had thought about. My supervisor, Professor R Sabin, apologised for the lack of SUPERHERO stuff in the day (as that's what I'll be doing when I start my PhD in October) but I didn't mind at all. It was GRATE to be exposed to the world of CULTURAL STUDIES and so forth. I learnt about linguistics, philosophy, art history and ALL sorts, it felt like getting a GROUNDING in a whole new world, into which I shall be dropping SUPERHEROES later in the year.

    At about 6pm I STAGGERED out of the building, mind REELING with THORTS and set off for the railway station. Imagine my DELIGHT when I saw, just ahead of me, the same person I'd followed there in the morning. Turns out following him BACK worked as well!

    posted 28/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Media Onslaught Commences
    Apart from GOGGLING at the telly trying to work out what on earth was going to happen NEXT, I spent most of Saturday packing up CDs for newsletter subscribers who'd taken advantage of the EARLY ORDER OFFER. They've now ALL gone in the post so should start to arrive through letterboxes TOMORROW!

    I've also unleashed PRE-ORDERS for people who aren't on the mailing list. If that's you, or you know someone who might like to buy an album, you can get pre-ordered NOW and I'll have it in the post first next Monday morning.

    For LO! official release day is but a WEEK away and it has been heralded by a whole HEAP of stuff happening, mostly to do with 20 Things To Do Before You're 30. The mp3, what was premiered on Louder Than War is now FREE and WILD for ANYONE to listen to ANYWHERE via our soundcloud page. It was also recommended by long-term ADVOCATES CMU in their CMU Approved column, featured on the excellent The Breakdown radio show (using the Radio Edit!) and appears on the FREE download album from Towersey Festival featuring LOADS of artistes playing this year (inclduing Mr G Osborn). Basically, if you want to hear '20 Things Before You're 30' then you totally can!

    And as if THAT wasn't enough you can also hearing me banging on AT LENGTH about the album, STAGECRAFT, how to get people to call you an Indie Legend and many, many, MANY, many more topics on the Desert Isolation Discs podcast. This is that thing I did a few weeks ago where I met Mr A Lawson after work, and features a TONNE of EXCELLENT music by other people chosen by ME!

    It's all rather EXCITING I must admit - we've spent so long CRAFTING this album in quiet seclusion, it's nice to think people will soon be LISTENING to it!

    posted 27/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    It's Out
    I haven't said much about the Referendum here because a) this is a source of amazing ROCK content, not ASTOUNDING political analysis and also b) goodness knows there were enough people going on about it. I was hoping today would be "GOOD that's that over with let's never discuss it again" DAY but instead it seems to be "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHH!!! WHAAAAAT?" day instead.

    Normally in these sort of situations I would spring straight to OPTIMISM but this morning I thought I'd make an exception. "TOMORROW I'll look on the bright side", I thought, "today I will just stare blankly at computer screens, shaking my head and resisting the urge to throw chairs through windows/set fire to national landmarks".

    With that in mind I did consider changing my ORIGINAL plan for the day, which was to email everybody on the newsletter subscription list with the offer of buying our new album EARLY. "Nobody will want to think about ROCK today" I said to myself. "It would be stupid to even MENTION it."

    HOWEVER after further thought I realised that I had PROMISED to UNLEASH the album today, and maybe some people WOULD be up for a cheering purchase, so I sent out the email, not expecting anything to happen. How wrong I was! For LO! my inbox gently filled with a steady stream of people making the purchase and, as this is a mailing list I've had on the go for over a DECADE, nearly all of the names were very familiar to me. Some were people I'd met (often) in real life, others were names and addresses I've written out MANY times over the years, and it was truly lovely to see them again. I gave out actual miniature WHOOPS when familiar names appeared, it was bloody GRATE!

    The next task will be to pack them all up and get them into the post, which shall be my grand task tomorrow. If you've ordered one already thank you VERY much for doing so - it's cheered me RIGHT up - and if you're not on the mailing list then FEAR NOT, your time will come a week on Monday, the fourth of July!

    posted 24/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Louder Than War Premiere
    When I started to think about the Publicity Campaign for the new album I asked several wise heads what was the best way to do PLUGGING nowadays. I was aware that things might have changed in the four years since we last released an album so thought I'd best check - do Melody Maker prefer cassettes in brown jiffy bags or white?

    It turns out things have changed A LOT, with pretty much everybody saying that these days you have PREMIERES and EXCLUSIVES of tracks and videos, rather than reviews like in the distant past. With this in mind I asked around a few people to try and rustle something up and the marvellous Mr G Gargan said he would see about getting us something in Louder Than War. And LO! he has only gone and done it!

    THUS I am very happy to say that the song 20 Things To Do Before You're 30, the LEAD TRACK from our exciting new album Still Valid is now available to stream EXCLUSIVELY on Louder Than War!

    Go and hsve a listen - if you like it then rest assured there is a LOT more like it to come. Release day is July 4th - put it in yr diaries!

    posted 23/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Hockey
    There is a big international tournament of team sport going on that the whole WORLD is enjoying at the moment - I speak of course of The Hockey Champions Trophy 2016! Whoo!

    Yes all right maybe there is ANOTHER international tournament of team sport occurring at the moment and MAYBE I am diligently filling in my Radio Times wallchart every night, but that one isn't happening ten minutes away from my front door at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. The hockey very much IS!

    The Curve Of My Hockey Stick had got us tickets a while ago and I must admit that, as we set off last night, I was kind of wishing we could have stayed at home and watched the FOOTBALL on TELLY. These doubts, however, soon began to dissolve when we arrived to find that it was like a tiny bit of the OLYMPICS brought back to life. This was partly because the only other time i've watched hockey was when we WENT to the Olympics, but it was also because of the atmosphere - lots of people wandering around, some looking puzzled, others VERY excited about seeing THEIR sport, lots of temporary structures holding exhibitions, shops and cafes, and everywhere you looked volunteers EAGER to help out. It was lovely!

    After a quick wander round and an even quicker look in The Museum Of Hockey we found our way into the stadium just as the New Zealand National Anthem was playing. I thought this was HANDY as it meant we could edge along to our seats, but The Words In My Song suggested we go and sit on one of the bank of empty seats in the other direction instead, so we found ourselves with GRATE seats right in the middle of the stand just in time for the British anthem to boom out.

    For LO! we were there to watch Great Britain play New Zealand and it was, all in all, jolly good fun. We weren't quite sure what was going on for large portions of it, but things moved so quickly that it didn't really matter and by the end we were both shouting "GO ON!" whenever one of our "girls" got close. It was, in fact, very much like going to watch Posh, not least because we were sat almost EXACTLY where Mr P Myland has his season ticket! There were also long periods of The Mind Wandering, occasional bursts of SHOUTING, and also people nearby making REMARKS to each other under the impression that they were Wise Commentators.



    The differences were a) everyone was quite a bit posher than at football and b) it was a LOT slicker. Whenever somebody got BOOKED they played "Trouble" by Shampoo LOUDLY through the PA system (which did not give it the air of a Serious Offence), other music played at appropriate (and occasionally inappropriate) moments, and CAMERAMEN kept running onto the Actual Pitch to film things. We agreed it was sort of like how you'd imagine American Football being, except on a slightly smaller, and more English, scale.

    It was all GRATE fun, even though GB lost 1-0. "They have the same problem as England" remarked The Pundits In My Panel. "Lots of pressure but they can't score." She wasn't wrong!

    posted 22/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Durham Ox Singers Unleashed
    For years and years I have been BANGING ON about how The Durham Ox Singers are the GRATE Undiscovered Art Project of the 20th Century. "Is this because you was in them?" people ask me and of course the answer is NO, hem hem, I would think that even if they were nothing to do with me, honest.

    For those UNLUCKY enough never to have heard my CORRECT argument about this, The Durham Ox Singers were a group of six people who were all regulars in The Durham Ox pub in Leicester, run by Mr D Dixey and thus de facto HQ of Sorted Records and meeting place of much of the Leicester Indie Scene of that time. Me and Dave were starting a regular gig night called LollopaLeicester (good name!) and wanted to have a regular THING every month to make it more than just... well, a regular gig night. After much thought and a LOT of Bass Beer we came up with the idea of an acapella group performing hits of the Avant Garde... because you would really, wouldn't you?

    Anyway, one thing led to another, we persuaded a bunch of people in the pub one night (half from bands, half not) to have a go and it all went SO well that Dave suggested we record a SINGLE, so we did, with our acapella version of Revolution #9 as the lead track. It is, frankly, AMAZING, and when I listen to it now I am ASTOUNDED that I was ever involved in something SO BRILLIANT. We did a few more gigs (including a QUITE ODD appearance at a folk festival where we were told in no uncertain terms that ENOUGH was ENOUGH) and then did a whole ALBUM with Mr A Jenkins at Cordelia Studios. This album was called Mute Nostril Agony and featured our entire live set (including another version of 'Revolution #9') and BEST OF ALL a pretty darn exciting version of John Cage's 4'33".

    And there the story might have ended - LollopaLeicester came to an end, we stopped doing gigs and, as far as I'm aware, nobody ever bought the album so the only copies belonged to the band. Until, that is, a couple of weeks ago when Dave got in touch again to say that he'd found a way to release the album DIGITALLY (and quite cheaply). After some discussion I provided a new version of the album cover (the original had Tom Baker on it and Dave was worried about getting clearance) and LO! a few days ago word came through that it was LIVE, on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and, I guess, ALL other digital download sites!

    Let's all take a delightful moment to allow that to settle in. On Spotify there is now an acapella version of John Cage's 4'33" recorded by six twits in Leicester for LARKS. MARVELLOUS. This is a "Deluxe Reissue" too, so as well as the original album you get ALL of the single AND some remixes too!

    I heartily recommend a LISTEN to it as it is GRATE, and I look forward to it finally receiving the PLAUDITS from the Avant Garde Community what it has so long deserved!

    posted 21/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    New Look
    Keen eyed observers of this website will have noticed that we have a whole NEW LOOK today! This has come in for two reasons - firstly obviously BRANDING, what with the new album coming out soon*, and secondly in order to make it easier to use the site on a TELEPHONE. I know that the majority of my regular visitors are probably viewing this on an Amstrad PCW plugged into the wall, but apparently these days THE KIDS are looking at the interweb on their mobile phones so I thought I ought to at least make an effort.

    Also - FULL DISCLOSURE - I've often found it really difficult to get to the gigs page when I'm on the way to a venue but can't remember the address!

    I hope you like it - I know it's not quite as COLOURFUL as the longstanding Dinosaur Planet inspired scheme, but hopefully it will prove to be a bit more useable!

    * talking of which, I'm thinking that we might make the album available to newsletter subscribers a little bit earlier than originally planned. Watch your INBOX on Friday 24th chums!

    posted 20/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    What A Day
    Apologies for the lack of UPDATES here just lately - ROCK stuff has been occurring but it's been almost entirely ADMIN e.g. posting things, sending emails, getting ready for a website update etc etc etc. Yesterday, however, was basically a WEEK'S worth of THRILLZ all rammed into one day!

    It kicked off with a DELIGHTFUL morning highly reminiscent of my life about a year ago, when I was off work and cavorting around. I went first to Gosh Comics, where I bumped into Mr R Johnston of Bleeding Cool, there to film a FILM, and had a right old chat with him about all sorts, including the PhD which I'm starting in October. He said he might be able to help me contact some of the Marvel Bullpen from the 70s, which would be EXTREMELY helpful!

    After a chat with Mr N Metcalfe and a TRIM of my Pull List I set off for The BBC Secret Window, that hallowed and SECRET place where you can hand over all your CD packages for DJs without having to spend CA$H on postage. It's moved since my last visit and now you have to BUZZ a doorbell to be allowed inside and then scan all your packages through an X-RAY machine before they'll accept them. I had a LOT so it took a while, but then it was DONE - all CDs have now been either handed over or POSTED to radio DJs, so be ALERT for possible radio play over the coming days!

    I wandered happily through Fitzrovia to my next appointment - lunch with Mr J Dredge. It was lovely wandering through that part of town. I'm working mostly in Hammersmith and White City at the moment and, with the best will in the world, it is not QUITE as nice! John and I had a good old chat about a stand-up character what he is working on at the moment, which I am sort of helping to script edit, and we discussed a) high falutin' ideas b) GAGS for a DELIGHTFUL hour.

    That done I headed home to watch the England VS Wales game which was mostly boring for the first half and mostly NOT boring for the second. However, while that was going on I started to see the news coming in from Birstall about the murder of Jo Cox. Everybody's had a lot to say on this and I don't think my opinions on it will make much difference, it just felt horribly horribly depressing.

    I thus set off for my gig that night at The Croydon Comedy Festival REALLY not in the mood for it. I arrived to find Mr T Eveleigh setting up in much the same way. We talked about how we could make the evening work, as just doing a normal gig didn't feel right. I was happy to pass responsibility for deciding onto others, choosing instead to go for a PINT with Mr S Hewitt and various CHUMS who had arrived. We sat out the back and talked about The Football, which was just what we all needed - chatting and laughing about something that doesn't really matter AT ALL in the face of events which DO, but which feel out of our control.

    THUS by the time SHOW time rolled around the mood was back in place. It kicked off with Ms J Lockyer who was GRATE - featuring new songs! - and then ME, doing this:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • That Guy
  • In The North Stand
  • Can We Be Friends?
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • I must say I REALLY enjoyed myself. It feels like AGES since i last did an actual gig and I've not done any practicing or anything, so was PLEASED and SURPRISED by how easy it was to get back into it. I also found myself talking even MORE than usual - like everybody else, the events of the day had made me feel VULNERABLE and so I found myself speaking in depth about the stories behind the songs i.e. not my usual pre-song PATTER, but actual FEELINGS. Goodness!

    Next up was Ms G Petrie who was, of course, ASTONISHING. Every time I play with her I am surprised anew by how AMAZING she is - I was very very glad I had been on before her, and did not envy final act Mr G Osborne who had to follow her although, OF COURSE, he managed it perfectly. It was BRILLIANT being back with my TOURING BUDDIES - we're next playing together at the Towersey Festival and I for one CANNOT WAIT!

    The only downside of all this FUN was that, by the time it had all finished, it was 11:30pm and i was in South Norwood i.e. a LONG LONG way from home. Luckily Jenny VERY kindly gave Steve and I a lift to East Croydon so we could catch trains into London Actual, and I managed to get back to The Olympical Village just after 1am. It's been AGES since I was last out that late, but it had been worth it - what a day!

    posted 17/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Croydon Will Not Fall
    Wednesday evening last week saw me wending my post-work way to Croydon, where I was due to appear on the Joyzine Radio Show on Croydon Radio.

    I was delayed on the way by LIGHTNING hitting various train tracks and thus slowing the rest of the network down, so it was a very flustered and sweaty Hibbett who RAN into St Matthews Yard (where the station's based) as the church clock was finishing off its chiming of the hour. Luckily Mr P Maps had started the show with a record, so I was able to slip into the interviewee's chair as if nothing had happened.

    Things kicked off well with some chat and some records. He'd asked me to choose three of my tracks to play and three of other people's, so I went for songs by Frankie Machine, Gavin Osborn and Robberie. I'd thought I ought to pick a Chris T-T one, as his (EXCELLENT) new album 9 Green Songs has just come out, but then I realised that he'd been on the show HIMSELF a week or two ago, so the people of Croydon were already TT-aware!

    Ten minutes in Paul looked CONCERNED. "We may have a problem", he said. Apparently sometimes the broadcast from the studio doesn't work, so the station automatically broadcasts something else instead. He assured me that all was well - most of their listeners come from the podcast, which is recorded separately - so we carried on as we were. We had more chat, played more records, I did live versions of Can We Be Friends and It Only Works Because You're Here, and soon our hour was up, broadcast or not!

    Next morning I got an email from Croydon Radio to say that the podcast was online, and I discovered that we HADN'T been broadcast live as the playlist was the Emergency one that had been put out instead. However the podcast very much WAS the one we'd recorded, and Paul has since corrected the playlist so you can now enjoy it in ALL its glory by listening to it online.

    I think it came out quite well, despite the LIGHTNING and other mishaps - even if my bits aren't much cop, the other records are GRATE!

    posted 13/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Chat The Wizards
    The PROMOTIONAL TREADMILL for Still Valid continued to ROLL on Tuesday night as I sat down to do a SKYPE interview with Trust The Wizards for their podcast.

    I had been right looking forward to this as they are LEARNED types but was not expecting the GRILLING wot I got - cor! Some of the questions were DEAD hard, they right taxed my BRANE. My favourite bit was when Mr C Bounds asked about the STRUCTURE of my songs. He'd noticed that some of them start off with an idea, expand upon it, challenge itself in the middle and then have a TWIST at the end. "Some of them" he said. "ALL of them!" I thought. RUMBLED!! I was actually DELIGHTED to talk about this because it is something I have thought about a LOT and do deliberately, but I don't think I've ever had the chance to discuss AUDIBLY!

    All the questions invoked LENGTHY answers due to being so INTERESTING but this did in turn lead to problems, as he'd only downloaded the free version of the Skype Recording Software which only did 5 minutes at a time! THUS I had to go back and re-answer a couple of bits, so if, when the podcast is released, it sounds like I am really struggling NOT to say "As I said a minute ago" in various sections, that's because i AM!!

    It was GRATE tho, and should be out at the start of next month. My only disappointment with the entire experience was that he was approx 212 miles away so we couldn't go for a pint after. He'd asked me so many questions I felt a bit rude not having asked any back!

    posted 10/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Gigs Are Still Good
    As regular readers of all this will know I am currently GEARING UP for the release of the new Validators album Still Valid, which involves reaquainting myself with all SORTS of things I haven't done for ages like dealing with manufacturers, registering songs for PRS, getting together mailing lists and so on and so forth. With all that happening I thought I might as well go the whole hog and do another ROCK-related thing that I used to do ALL the time but haven't for ages: go to an actual GIG!

    So it was that I found myself in The George Tavern last Friday night with Mr S Hewitt, there to see David Leach and The Thyme Machine. It was WEIRD being back at a PROPER gig - apart from Totally Acoustic most of my gig-going in recent years has EITHER been at The O2 OR to All-Dayers. I can't remember that last time I just went to A VENUE to see a regular SHOW, but it doesn't seem to have changed. AT ALL. The SPACE was still slightly too spacious, the LOO was still covered in Graffiti and the BEER was... well, the beer got a lot nicer after Steve sent the first one back!

    We'd arrived just in time to see David Leach, who was a PRO as ever. He eschewed the PA system which as usual meant some battling with talkers which he did CALMLY and FIRMLY. "Lads!" he said, "we can hear you! Take it outside!" I've seen him approx 1,000,000 times so knew most of the words to most of the songs but was DELIGHTED with the new ones, especially the cover version (I can't remember what it was of - clearly that first beer wasn't putting me off!) which turned into a song ABOUT cover versions on ukeleles. It was ACE!

    We went outside for a chat to chums various where, I seem to recall, I knocked over a TABLE. "That's how I roll" I said, and it was only when I got home that I realised I'd just left it there. Apologies to all concerned - there is a LINE between ROCK AND ROLL ANIMAL and RUDE and I fear I may have crossed it.

    We popped back in the see the last couple of songs by the next band, Suggested Friends, who were GOOD but when did bands all get so ABLE? Back in my day a band as young as them would have broken all their strings, forgotten the words, fallen over the drum kit, never ended a song at the same time and rarely had all four members playing the same tune. Are they teaching COMPETENCE in sixth form or something? Also their last song (according to Steve, who checked on his phone) heavily referenced Harry Potter. This seems to happen a LOT nowadays but I guess it is the same as band's of MY generation referencing Star Wars.

    Finally The Thyme Machine came on and were UTTERLY AMAZING. I think I've only seen them once, at Mr D Ransome's birthday, and remembered them being INCREDIBLE so was happy to find my memory was CORRECT. Mr K Foster, lead singer, has a GRATE manner on stage, calm yet in command, sort of innocent but confident, a bit like Frank Sidebottom but a Frank Sidebottom that you wouldn't mind living next to. ANYWAY he was him and the band were ENORMOUS. They had an (i estimate) 12 year old AXE HERO and, occasionally, an actual real PIANO which sounded BRILL. At one point Kriss asked the whole audience to hold hands and dance in a circle, so we DID, such was his PRESENCE.

    It was one of those times when you remember WHAT it is about gigs that you love so much. I staggered out into the night afterwards SO full of joy that even the fact that the 339 bus wasn't due for over 30 minutes (according to TfL) did not dim my happiness. I went and got a CAB, setting off just in time to see the 339 leave my bus stop! It didn't matter - this was a BRILLIANT night. HOORAH!

    posted 8/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Very Special TA
    We gathered for a Very Special Episode of Totally Acoustic last Thursday, as one of the three musical guest acts was ME! I haven't done a full set at TA for AGES so was a bit worried that we'd be losing a third of our potential audience and also VERY worried because of what I was planning to do. I thought it would be a good idea to do all 10 tracks from Still Valid in order. Well, I thought it would be a good idea three weeks beforehand, now it was about to happen I was distinctly less convinced!

    The first of my worries soon disappeared as a lovely bunch of people rolled up and we kicked off with the JAZZ STYLINGS of Paul & Cathy Tornbohm. When I did the Desert Isolation Discs podcast the other day Mr A Lawson asked me whether I have any particular thoughts or plans when I put the line-ups together for Totally Acoustic, and I answered "No", for LO! what I like most about the arrangement of acts is that they're generally done entirely randomly, so you end up getting acts SLUNG together who would never normally play in the same room. It was similar this evening as Paul and Cathy's world of JAZZ and SOPHISTICATION met our world of NOT JAZZ or SOPHISTICATION. I think the meeting went well!

    Then it was my turn and I THINK it went OK. The nice thing about doing THIS album in order (not that I've ever done any others this way) is that they're ALL pretty good songs, I reckon, that seem to work In The Live Environment. The WEIRD thing is that the order you have songs on an album is NOT necessarily the order you'd do them live, especially starting with 20 Things To Do Before You're 30! ALSO weird was being host AND an act - luckily Mr S Hewitt was on hand at the end to do the bit where I usually come on and BACK announce the act!

    You can hear what I mean for yourself by listening to the podcast, which I've just put online. If you do you will also hear the SUBLIME sounds of Robberie who played last and were ACE. I really like Robberie - not only are their songs GRATE (and VERY catchy - we have BOTH been singing them around the house all weekend), but the GIGS feel as if some old friends have strode on stage and started performing. I always get the impression that if there was an EMERGENCY during the show they would take care of it, no fuss!

    They have an album out right now, which you can buy direct from them. I heartily recommend you do, it is GRATE!

    posted 7/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Poised For Postage
    In the run-up to the release of the past couple of albums I've had some Promotional Postcards made. When I first did them, for Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez, the plan was to post them out to DJs and so forth to tell them the album was on the way, but that didn't really happen did to STAMP COSTS. Instead I used them for writing NOTES when people bought CDs, which was SUPER handy - I always like to put a NOTE in when somebody buys something, but used to have to get a scrap of paper to do it on. Now I looked SLICK... or would have done, if I hadn't accidentally done the postcard THE WRONG SIZE i.e. twice as big as they should have been, so ended up having to cut them in two to fit into jiffy bags!

    So when Dinosaur Planet came along I was VERY careful to get them the RIGHT size. They looked lovely, and I used them for sending out promo AND purchased copies. I got LOADS done so, over the following years, was able to use them for all sort of other things too. I'd like to say this was an exercise in cross-promotion, highlighting a past release while promoting future ones but actually I did it because I LIKED them so much.

    Eventually I'd used them all up and so wondered whether I should do MORE for Still Valid. I had a couple of thoughts about a design but it never looked very exciting - the cover image looks AMAZING and BIG on the CDs, but on the postcard it just looked like more of the same. I spent ages puzzling over it until eventually realising that I could use the INSIDE of the CD instead! The image therein is a thing of GRATE beauty and interest and it didn't take long to get it designed, off to the lovely people at Saxoprint, and a week or so later back in my flat looking like THIS:



    NICE isn't it? As I say, these'll be going out with all copies of the album bought online, OFFICIALLY from July 4 but also SECRETLY for newsletter subscribers a few days earlier. Only a few weeks to go now, it's going to be GRATE!

    posted 2/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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    Forced To Talk About Myself
    You always hear actors MOANING about having to do interviews as if it is somehow ARDUOUS. I don't know what they're complaining about - all right, I don't LIKE banging on about myself as anybody who knows we will tell you (and as this non-ME-mentioning blog is surely PROOF), but when it's with the right person it can even be FUN!

    For instance, last night I met with Mr A Lawson in The Old Mitre, a LOVELY pub just off Chancery Lane which we'd picked as a (hopefully) QUIET place to do an interview for his podcast Desert Isolation Discs. I wandered around the pub's various rooms until I found one that looked PERFECT - "The Bishops Room" upstairs. As I stepped through I was disappointed to find that someone else was already there, but it turned out to be Alex so all was well! PHEW!

    He got his laptop set up, bought me a pint (doing interviews is GRATE!) and then we kicked off with a LENGTHY chat. The idea of the podcast is that you choose the eight records and one luxury item that you'd want to have with you if you were stranded in the desert. JUST the desert, not an island - any similarity to any other programmes is pretty much definitely coincidental.

    I'd had a good old THINK about the records I'd chosen, including discussing the issue with The Songs On My Playlist the night before. I wanted to make sure I'd not missed anything IMPORTANT, so she GUESSED what artistes I'd picked and got FIVE of them straight away, so clearly a) I had picked the right ones and b) she is an excellent judge of my musical tastes, POSSIBLY because of all these years of me BANGING ON about the same things!

    Before we began Alex asked if I had any particular STORIES about the songs I'd chosen. I was AGHAST - they ALL had stories! I'd picked particular songs to try and tell a TALE of My Exciting Life In ROCK and I had a BLOODY LOVELY time TELLING them. Again, those familiar with me will know how I HATE to give opinions or tell stories, but with a little prompting I found I was able to YACK for about an HOUR!

    We had a lovely time, and afterwards celebrated with a CHAT and further PINT. I've known Alex from when I used to do lots of gigs in Sheffield - I think he was doing the student radio station the first time we met, and he has done VERY well since then. He is one of a group of people that I think of as TEENAGE fanzine types who appear to have become High Powered Journalists while I wasn't looking - he claims to be Business News Editor at a national newspaper, but how can that be? He's only 19!

    Anyway, I had a DELIGHTFUL time and was rather pleased with the range of songs what I chose. The room DID get a bit fuller as we went along but I think we TALKED louder to counter it, so hopefully it will all be clear enough when it comes out. Obviously the only thing I hate more than talking about myself is LISTENING to myself talking about myself, but I think I will make an exception for this one!

    posted 1/6/2016 by MJ Hibbett
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