MJ Hibbett & The Validators

Blog: Horizons At The BFI

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I was up SUPER EARLY on Saturday morning, so that I could ZOOM across town to the BFI where I was due to appear at Horizons: The Sinclair ZX Spectrum At 30 as part of the Sci-Fi London festival.

I arrived super early because I knew that the South Bank (where the BFI is) is NOTORIOUSLY difficult to navigate, and this wasn't helped by the fact that I had foolishly printed out the BFI's own Simplified Map. Aaah! The Simplified Map! Has there ever been a WORSE idea? "Hey, fellow design guys! This boring ordinary map is too complex, with all its street names and representation of actual geography. Let's simplify it so it LOOKS nice!" "But boss! Won't that make it impossible to use?" "GET THEE AWAY, young Novice Design Guy! Maps are meant to LOOK NICE, who cares if they actually work as MAPS?!?"

Eventually i found the BFI Southbank - UNDERNEATH a bridge, not on a street running parallel to it as the Simplified Map had beautifully described it - and after some wandering about with a fellow lost soul (who I was following because he looked like he knew where he was going... but he turned out to be trying to follow ME) we found our way to the Blue Room, a very pleasant 100-ish capacity room. I was quite relieved to find out it WASN'T a cavernous space, as it made doing my soundcheck much easier i.e. I didn't NEED any amplification, so didn't have to do one.

More people arrived, including someone running a STALL selling old ZX Spectrum tapes, which everyone gathered round to DROOL over. There were also copies of the original ZX Spectrum User Guide, my BRANE went ZANG with MEMORIES!

While we waited to start people kept coming over saying "AHA! You must be MJ Hibbett!" For AGES i thought "Gosh, I must be WELL famous" before I realised that a) I was the only person there carrying a guitar and b) I was wearing a Hey Hey 16K t-shirt. That would probably explain it.

This actually worked out pretty well as lots of nice people came over to ME for a CHAT, which was lovely. There were a couple of people there with a Posh Camera filming the event, and they came over to say hello too - they were making a documentary about the effects of the ZX Spectrum, and asked if I'd mind them using "Hey Hey 16K" over the end-titles. I told them I didn't mind that ONE LITTLE BIT, and excitedly exchanged BUSINESS CARDS!

Soon it was SHOW TIME and, after a brief intro, I took to the stage and played Hey Hey 16K. I'd been really worried about it beforehand, as I nearly ALWAYS get it wrong, but this time I not only got it RIGHT but also played it at a reasonable TEMPO too. It turns out that playing songs at 11:30am when you HAVEN'T drunk loads of beer makes it MUCH easier to remember the words!

I then delivered a couple of REMARKS about how GRATE the legacy of the Spectrum is (my idea to go "AHAHA! The Commodore 64 is RUBBISH!" was vetoed by the same part of my BRANE that remembers lyrics before noon) and then I did Programming Is A Poetry For Our Time, which seemed to ALSO work pretty well, then GOT OFF.

I had time to hang around for a LITTLE bit afterwards, but I soon realised that that would mean shuffling around getting my gear together and noisily leaving during someone else's TALK, so thought it best just to get GONE. It was a shame as the rest of the day looked BRILLIANT, and I wish i could have stayed, but I had another appointment to keep, so dashed off to St Pancras, and thence to Leicester, where the rest of the weekend was waiting for me.

posted 8/5/2012 by MJ Hibbett

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