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Blog Archive: September 2010

Album UNLEASHED
It's the last working day of the month, which means it's surely time for our newsletter, The Last Working Day Of The Month to wing its way out to a waiting world.

It's ALWAYS an exciting day, Newsletter Day, but today is an ESPECIALLY thrilling one as it heralds the Early Bird release of our new album, Forest Moon Of Enderby. Ever since we've had the newsletter going we've always had one of these early bird offers when we release new stuff, so that newsletter subscribers can get things FIRST and usually EITHER extra bits and bobs attached OR at a knock down price. In these times of AUSTERITY I thought the LATTER would be the best thing this time around, so if you're on the newsletter list LEAP IN, you've got two and a bit weeks to get it CHEAP!

I love this bit - FINALLY the CD is available for people to actually BUY. I'm really pleased with how this one's turned out, especially with having the full band songs seperate, and UNLEASHING the various bits of rumness on Hibbett's Superstore on an unknowing universe. I think it's GRATE, and I'm looking forward NERVOUSLY to finding out what everyone else thinks!

If you're NOT on the mailing list (and honest, it's PEASY to sign up to) then you won't have long to wait until you too can join in the Purchase Joy. It's going to be in the SHOPS (well, the online ones anyway) from October 18th, and the main album will be available from download places then too.

I'm all excited about it I must confess - i know the main album's a collection of b-sides (and am EXTREMELY AWARE of how ludicrous it is for a band like US to be releasing RARITIES!) but there's some of my favourite songs of ours on it. As I say, i think it's GRATE, I just hope other people think so too!

posted 30/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Getting ready for Totally Acoustic
As discussed when last we spoke, the work of ROCK continues. Yesterday I sent out the traditional Follow-Up Email to some of the people I'd sent promo copies of Forest Moon Of Enderby to, which is always a DELIGHT to do as you usually get a couple of people replying saying "YOINKS! Yes, I did get that!" and, hopefully, saying they liked it. This INDEED occurred today, which was absolutely lovely - the whole thing with this album has moved so slowly that I sometimes forget it's going to actually be OUT in a few weeks!

Tied in with THAT has been preparations for the new season of Totally Acoustic, which starts in just under a fortnight (in fact on Monday October 11th, with Gavin Osborn and Dr Neil Brown!). I've already got a stock of TAPES and CARDS to tape it on and have spent many happy hours these past couple of days updating the website to make it all a bit clearer and also to include capacity for podcasts. If you go and look at it now you'll see it looks SLIGHTLY different (I've mostly moved some of the information to different places), but hopefully it'll all begin to be look MUCH more organised once we've got some PODCASTS up there.

I've put all the details about SUBSCRIBING to the podcasts over on the new Totally Acoustic Podcasts page, so do sign up if you're interested. Looking through the list of GUESTS that we've got coming up, I think it's all going to be RATHER WONDERFUL!

posted 28/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Sick Note / Postcard
Sorry for the long Information Blockage - i hope not TOO many people called the POLICE in a blind panic - but last week saw a couple of EVENTS which kept me from my keyboard.

The first was the least DELIGHTFUL of the two, as on Tuesday morning I woke to find i had got The Old Problem. The Old Problem, as anyone who's read/heard me BANGING ON about it at LENGTH over the years is basically when i get an INFECTION in my "lower back" due to having psoriasis. It is a bloody nuisance and no mistake, and tends to involve me having to go and get into bed for two days until it goes away. I thus spent Tuesday and Wednesday doing just that.

It was ANNOYING as i had arranged to go to the PUB with PALS on both nights and was REALLY looking forward to it, having not been to the pub solely for the purpose of LARFS for - it feels like - DECADES. Still, it did give me some time for a good old RUMINATE, and I had a right proper THINK about "Moon Horse". When I tried to explain the plot to Mr S Hewitt a while ago i realised it was all a bit complicated, largely due to a HUGE amount of nipping backwards and forwards in time via FLASHBACKS. From my SICK BED i realised I could just tell the story almost STRAIGHT, and that that could be done fairly simply. I rewarded myself with a SNOOZE!

I also FINALLY had a Critical Listen to the mixes for "Dinosaur Planet: THE ALBUM". Mr T "The Tiger" McClure is heading back in soon to make some adjustments, and had asked us all to have a proper listen and give detailed NOTES for each song, entered into a SPREADSHEET. I'd been feeling bad about NOT doing so as it always niggles me when OTHER people don't do what I'M asking them to, so did LOADS of notes. Lucky lucky Tom!

And I also also watched LOADS of episdoes of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer". MAN ALIVE but that is a good show - I'm now onto Season 2 but CRIKEY it was GRATE right from the very start!

Anyway, that was my Time Of Illness, made WORSE by worrying about the possibility of missing the SECOND, SIGNIFICANTLY more DELIGHTFUL event: Our Trip To York. My parents had given myself and The Rooms In My Hotel a joint birthday present of two nights staying in a MEGA POSH hotel in York and we'd booked it, along with train tickets, for Thursday and Friday night last week - the anniversary of the BIRTH of the aforesaid Dates In MY Calender! Imagine my relief on Thursday morning when I found that, though not entirely healed, I was well enough to - BRAVELY - set off for our MINI-HOLIDAY. It was a LOT of relief!

And what a FANTASTIC mini-holiday it was! EVERYTHING went according to plan - the trains were fab, the hotel was GORGEOUS (and LITERALLY five seconds - i timed it! - from the station!) and York itself was BLOODY WONDERFUL. We did the Open Top Bus Tour - TWICE - walked around the walls, saw our friends Claire and Stu, looked at some ART, spent a FANTASTIC morning in the National Rail Museum (GRATE - tho they could do with making nicer cups of tea!) and went out to a restaurant in the old Assembly Rooms that looked INCREDIBLE. York really is a lovely city and everybody THERE was BRILLIANT - one time we were a bit lost and a man came running over to help us, another time The Streets In My Shambles said "Where's the Shambles then?" and a lady stood next to us GRINNED and said "Over there!" It was like having VOICE ACTIVATED SATNAV at all times!

So THAT is why I have been away from the blog - I've been being poorly and then having a BRILLIANT time in York. Given a choice I would have avoided the former and gone solely for the latter, but it all worked out pretty well in the end i think. And now: back to work - the work of ROCK!

posted 27/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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The Open Road
It is a deligthful time in ROCK currently, as i look across the vast open expanses of the rest of the year thinking "PREPARE TO BE CONQUERED."

For LO, the ongoing excitement of NEWNESS continues, as all manner of Future Activities fall into place. For example, there's a whole HEAP of emails that flitted back and forth recently to sort out the Dinosaur Planet TOUR, which is slotting together quite nicely. One GRATE innovation we are trying this time is MATINEES! Yes, MATINEES! We've got TWO of these lined up - we're doing a kids version in Croydon one afternoon before the ADULT version (i.e i will probably use the Discretionary Available Swear Word) in the evening, and we're ALSO doing a Birmingham afternoon show before the Northampton show the same night. My main worry about this was that it'd do my VOICE in, but then with Steve on board I'm only actually singing HALF a show, right? I'm sure it'll be FINE.

In the meantime progress progresses progressively on the Totally Acoustic PODCASTS. Most of this has involved DESPERATELY THRILLING action by myself writing the automatic RSS feed doohickey, which means it's going to be fully available via iTunes. This means it will ALSO be fully available for the iTunes CHART! AHA! I have no idea about how it works or anything, but the slim possibility of being IN a chart always fills me with JOY. MAN ALIVE, when we got up into QUADRUPLE FIGURES in the Amazon Chart for the last album I was skipping about with GLEE for DAYS!

And talking of albums, there's also the impending release of Forest Moon Of Enderby in a few weeks too. I've just ordered some more JIFFY BAGS for if people want to BUY them, and sent out some more PROMO COPIES in the hope that someone'll MENTION them also. I am GOOGLING on a daily basis too - there's nothing unusual, of course, in me doing that, except that this time I can claim it is part of my Responsibilties As An Independent Record Label, and not just VANITY GONE MAD.

Most exciting of ALL though is the NEWEST of the NEW that is MOON HORSE (which may be being called "Moon Horse And The Mars Men Of Jupiter" to make it sound less like something you'd see in an airbrushed poster advertising a webpage selling tantric beads). I'm now onto page 23 of the script and am RACING along. That may not sound like much, but Dinosaur Planet in it's ENTIRETY is only 24 pages long, and I've not even written the words to some of the SONGS yet.

Actually, that's a bit ALARMING - there may be some PRUNING ahead!

But that is all to worry about in the future, for now I am winding down the window, putting the sunshield thing down, putting it back up again because they're just annoying, working out where my first service station stop is going to be (hopefully one with M&S Simply Food in it), and then it's HO! For the Open Road of ROCK!

posted 20/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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First THORTS Of Christmas
Living in That London is, at times, pretty darn SWEET. If there's a film out, or a band's touring, or there's an exhibition or anything like that you can be almost entirely SURE that it's going to be coming here at some point, and even WITHOUT seasonal variance there's ALWAYS something to do. This is GRATE.

Even better than this, however, is our delightfully MASSIVE public transport system. People who've lived here FOREVER don't seem to realise quite how lucky they are, but GOLLY anybody who grew up in (FOR ARGUMENT'S SAKE) Peterborough, say, would have LOVED to have even ONE bus going somewhere they wanted to go at ANY time of day, let alone 300 MILLION of them every 3 seconds all day and all through the night. If there'd been an underground TUNNEL network of TRANES too... well, I'm sure I'd've spent much of my youth zooming backwards and forwards between Dogsthorpe and Orton Longueville just for the SHEER HECK of it.

There is, after all, no other reason to ever go to Orton Longueville.

And one of the MOST GRATE things about HAVING this here underground tube train network is that if you work in London's Fashionable Bloomsbury Area Of London and live MILES away, you get to have a TRANE journey every single day during which you can think of IDEAS. I don't know about anyone else, but all through my life there have been specific places or journeys which have engendered IDEAS - the walk from my old flat to Simon's flat, for instance, in the mid-1990s, was a PARTICULARLY fertile stretch of THORT SPACE - and at the moment the prime spot appears to be the Westbound Platform at Leytonstone Underground Station. BY JIMINY but there's been some JUICY THORTS and PLANS that have seen their birth throes there, LO, on the edge of Essex.

As an example, let me take you back in time to this very morning, when I found myself suddenly reaching for my pen and IDEAS BOOK as a FRESH and EXCITING THORT made itself known to me: I've got a bunch of Christmas Songs, none of which have been part of the ongoing Bandcamp-erisation of our BACK CATALOGUE, so how about releasing a CHRISTMAS EP, via that proud website, this yuletide?

It could be all SORTS of wonderful! It'd have I Got You What You Want For Christmas, Give Us A Kiss (for Christmas), The Advent Calendar Of FACT AND my version of "Little Donkey" which i did YEARS ago for an online fanzine thing. It would be GRATE!

"Hang on though", said my INNER MIND, "ChristmasALICIOUS as that is, surely that's a bunch of OLD songs? How much are you expecting people to PAY for all that?"

"As much as they LIKE!" replied my OUTER MIND. "Hark!" (i was feeling pretty Christmassy by this point) "Bandcamp do a thing where people can set their OWN price for a download, we could do that!"

"And glory shall shine around!" countered the aforesaid INNER MIND. "How exciting! Let's have a bit of a sing song now, shall we?"

But as my various internal psychiatric workings prepared to burst into song, a NEW THORT appeared (NB I'm not sure if any of these come from the id, ego or super-ego but i've just looked it up on Wikipedia and remain CONFUSED, so let's just move on) and it was THUS: How About Writing A New Song too?

There was much rejoicing, also HALLOO-ING as a long vaguely considered idea for a song about BOXING DAY transmogrified into one about The 29th Of December. "HA!" yelped the united BRANE, "That would be AMAZING!"

So that's the PLAN, as it stands a couple of hours later in the day - release a bandcamp EP of our Christmas songs with a bit of new material added and let people pay what they like for it! What could be more CHRISTMASSY than that eh? I might even have a go at "Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem" or something too! MERRY CHRISTMAS everybody!

posted 17/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Forest Moon Of Enderby: Making Its Way
Our THRILLING new album Forest Moon Of Enderby isn't out for about a month yet (unless, of course, you subscribe to the newsletter, in which case you'll be able to order it CHEAP in less than a fortnight - ZANG!) but review copies are very much OUT there, and a couple of MENTIONS are already filtering through.

For starters, Never Going Back To Aldi's is on the 89th Burning World Pod Fodder podcast, while Other Bands' Setlists appears on Beehive Candy. I think there's a couple of other places where we've either HAD or are GOING TO HAVE tracks in podcasts or to download on mp3 blogs - it's all SO TERRIBLY MODERN I can't really keep up with it!

Meanwhile there's an absolutely bloody LOVELY review over on A Layer Of Chips which, I don't mind admitting, MOVED me rather. Thanks Sam!

It's early days yet, of course - I haven't even sent out the Reminder/Gently Hassling Email yet, which is TRADITIONAL a week or two after posting stuff, let alone embarked on a world tour in a room above a pub to promote it, so hopefully there'll be a HEAP more mentions of it. I really DO hope so as I think it's really pretty bloody good and, for a selection of songs recorded over several years with no intent of being listened to together, it all goes together surprisingly well. There's some of my all-time favourite Vlads songs on there too, I'm looking forward to re-learning them for the GIGS!

posted 16/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Podcasting AHOY
As regular sufferers of my THORTS will be aware, I'm planning to PODCAST the forthcoming run of Totally Acoustic gigs. The general idea is to take the FAVOURITE sort of gigs that I do, with some of my FAVOURITE people, and propel them headlong into the future, challenging preconceptions of what a gig and indeed and audience can be whilst simultaneously bring some incredibly music to a much wider audience.

The fact that it also gives me an excuse to sit in my favourite pub once a fortnight instead of having to spend GALLONS of CA$H go off on tour to promote Forest Moon Of Enderby is simply a delightful side effect, and certainly NOT the main factor which made me decide to do it. It's all about THE INTERWEB.

The main drawback to my cunning plan has been that, apart from regularly listening to Kooba Radio, I'm not terribly familiar with how podcasts actually WORK, so have had to do a bit of research. This has mostly so far involved more learning how to do RSS feeds by HAND (JOY), but has also made me realise that it can take a little while for all the processes to start WORKING and so, rather than launching it with the first actial SHOW I thought it might be a good idea to do a TRAILER, just so's there was something already in place for people to subscribe to, and so forth, before we actually begin.

And LO! I have done that thing! If you'd like to SUBSCRIBE to the show you can do so via http://www.mjhibbett.co.uk/totallyacoustic/totallyacousticpodcast.rss. I've submitted it to iTunes too, so if you'd rather do it THAT way then that should be available soon ALSO. I've also set up a mixcloud account so that I can do jolly STREAMING widgets like THIS one:

Totally Acoustic Series One: Trailer by Totally Acoustic on Mixcloud



GROOVY, isn't it? I think that's pretty much the LOT, though if anybody has LARGE AMOUNTS more knowledge of this than me (i.e. pretty much anybody, I should think) and have any ideas of what ELSE I should be doing, I would be EXTREMELY grateful to hear it!

posted 14/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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A Weekend In London Town
For the first time in MONTHS I had a weekend Actually Staying At Home. It was LOVELY! Also, there was LOTS of it.

A huge CHUNK of stuff occurred during the weekend's very birth throes, when i went to the PICTURES after work. I went to London's Glittering West End to see "Scott Pilgrim", which was Quite Good. I think I'd built it up in my mind to be as FANTASTIC as EITHER the comic OR "Shaun Of The Dead", and it was very much NEITHER of the above. I mean, it was pretty good and some bits were so LUDICROUSLY ASTONISHING (i.e. the bit where Sex Bob-Obm go up against the twins, that was INCREDIBLE) but otherwise it verged slightly on being a bit disappointing. A few weeks ago I'd shown the trailer to The Events In My Plot, to see if she fancied coming too. Afterwards she said "Now I've seen that I don't think I really need to see the actual film" and she was NOT FAR WRONG.

I then headed CROSS TOWN to The Buffalo Bar, there to see Mr Phil Wilson and his BIG BAND play at Baby Honey. This was GRATE - we sat and compared AILMENTS for a bit in the pub upstairs (which, amazingly, now has Doom Bar on tap - they might want to think about cleaning their equipment, as it still tasted a bit unpleasant, but at least they're trying) and had a jolly old time before Mrs Pam Wilson said "Aren't you supposed to be on stage now?" It's always best to have a drink WITH the band when you go and see them, as it always ensures you don't miss them PLAYING, and I was glad to have used this ploy as they were BLOODY BRILLIANT. Goodness me, the old June Brides songs sounded fantastic, but the new ones were EVEN BETTER. I stood with a gibbering grin on my face throughout, singing along, thinking "COR!" The sound was dead good too, as it so often is at The Buffalo Bar, which led to me thinking "That jangly indie guitar sound - I am listening to it being played by one of the main people who INVENTED it. Golly!"

Afterwards we watched, and very much enjoyed, The Hardy Boys, before it was time to say my farewells and ZOOM on the Overground and then BUS back to scenic Leytonstone, where I spent the next day a) pottering around b) looking at carpets b) cooking d) going for a STROLL in nearby Epping Forest. That was lovely too!

Then on Sunday we headed out on a Family Outing to Walthamstow Village. The Residents Of My Residents' Association had been there recently with the Photographic Society to which she belongs and had been struck by how it might be the kind of place I would like. Once again, she was NOT INCORECT - Walthamstow Village is GORGEOUS! There was an Arts Trail thing going on, and it was PACKED with people wandering around looking at stuff, but you got the impression they'd've been out and about anyway, as the area was STREWN with really really nice pubs, museums, a GRATE church, and various shops you might actually want to go into. The people THEMSELVES reminded me of LEICESTER too - a huge variety of all SORTS of people, all appearing to Want To Have A Nice Time Of It. This might seem odd to people who DON'T live within the M25, but round where I live there do appear to be huge numbers of CHARACTERS determined to spend their entire lives ANNOYED about things.

It was all DELIGHTFUL, but the thing that BLEW MY MIND was going into The Spar. When I say "Spar" i do mean the supermarket chain which most people would be familiar with, but even from the outside this was obviously different - the logo had a tasteful SLATE GREY backing. Inside there was an ARTISAN BAKERY. I walked to the back and found myself confronted with about FIFTY different kinds of REAL ALE, including a full range of SAM SMITH'S ORGANICE ALES!

It was almost TOO MUCH - it was like being somewhere in WEST London, except NOT massively posey and full of SHOW OFFs. It was all I could do to struggle home and drink copious cups of TEA to recover from the SHOCK. It was... NICE!

Happily I am now back at WORK, so can RELAX a bit - what a weekend of PLEASANT ACTION that was!

posted 13/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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A Fateful Meeting
I met with Mr S Hewitt this week for a MEETING to discuss THE FUTURE! And also, THE PAST!

Not everyone's future and/or past, obviously, and not even the entirety of ours - to be more precise it was to discuss Lessons Learnt from this year's trip to Edinburgh and how we would apply it in our future dealings.

It was a GRATE meeting, and not just because it ended up with us going for a CURRY (although ANY meeting where that happens is a pretty good meeting in my opinion). MUCH was decided, not least the fact that we WOULD aim to go back to Edinburgh next year, and would probably attempt to a) do the Free Fringe b) for the first two proper weeks. This in itself was quite exciting, but we also sorted out when we'd aim to be ON during the day (a bit later than this year, a bit earlier than the year before), how we would PREPARE, and what we'd do in the INTERIM with regards to more performances of Dinosaur Planet (we're going to do some) and ALSO trying to get a few more short SPOTS at comedy things.

Perhaps most VITAL for the FUTURE OF ENTERTAINMENT we commenced negotiations RE: our TITLE. We both definitely want to do more stuff as the PAIR of us, but if we do that it doesn't really seem right to be billed as MJ HIBBETT, as we were for Edinburgh this year. An early contender for name was "Hibbett & Hewitt" which is a) short b) to the point c) easily verifiable, but now I'm sort of leaning towards "MJ Hibbett (and Steve)". It's the parentheses that make it for me!

On the way out I realised we hadn't spotted Steve Lamacq - on the all previous occasions when we've had our First Meeting About Edinburgh Next Year (incorpoating Lessons Learnt From Last Time) we've spotted Mr Lamacq, and NOT doing so felt like a BAD OMEN. Luckily, as we walked round the corner to get our curries we DID spot him in a nearby pub. PHEW!

And then, as stated, we went for a curry, during which I attempted to explain the plot and THEORY of "Moon Horse" to Steve. I didn't do a very good job of it I must say, but he didn't seem to mind, and got positively ENTHUSED about certain aspects, ESPECIALLY the bit where we launch into a DANCE ROUTINE. That's my favourite bit at the moment too - and if it's even 0.01% as AMAZING as it looks IN MY MIND, then they might as well not bother HAVING any awards ceremonies and send us THE LOT. It's going to be BRILL!

posted 10/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Two Of The Beatles Have Died
You find me this afternoon surrounded by CDs, as I continue with the job of stuffing envelopes, also labelling and putting stamps on them. It's one of the loveliest parts of being your own record label, I always find, as it's a RELAXING bit of repetitive work that usually involves a bit of Listening To Records while you do it, but which also includes a lot of DELIGHTFUL NOSTALGIA. A large proportion of the people I send our CDs to are people I have a) actually met and b) LIKE, so seeing the names as the envelopes get filled always reminds me of GOOD TIMES past and also brings hope of future GOOD TIMES yet to occur. It's GRATE!

But even as a new CD drops into the postal system a PREVIOUS one rears up again for another attempt on the senses - for LO! Two Of The Beatles Have Died is being RE-RELEASED today on the mighty Corporate Records!

This is pleasing to me in MANY WAYS. Mostly I'm pleased that this DELICIOUSLY STRANGE collection of songs is finally going to be available to download, not least because it's benefiting a Good Cause. I'm ALSO quite pleased, however, because it's out on Corporate Records, a MARVELLOUS venture whereby you basically pay whatever you LIKE for downloads, with the CA$H funnelling back to the ARTISTES involved. WELL DONE TEAM!

For those unfamiliar with the compilation, it's a collection of songs put out by Helen Llewelyn Product Nineteen Recordings and Brainlove Records, all inspired by the song in this video. It's VARIED to say the least, with some lovely stuff (especially Keith TOTP's song, not least because [NB This may only be in my MIND] the bass line appears to chart the development of the Beatles, EVOLVING as they did as the song goes along [SEE ABOVE], but also because it always makes me get a bit EMOTIONAL) and some that is RATHER RUM.

It's definitely worth a download - INDEED, it's worth EXACTLY what you think it's worth - and I recommend it to you HIGHLY!

posted 9/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Amazon Is Ready
Progress towards Forest Moon Of Enderby being purchasable CONTINUES, as today I sent off a big box of CDs to our distributors, the ever GRATE Proper Distribution. I've said it before and I hope to be saying it for ever more but GOODNESS me, they're DEAD GOOD. Much of my time on the admin side of ROCK through the years has been spent dealing with Distributors who... well, let's be diplomatic here, were not exactly shining examples of professionalism. Little things like never answering phone calls, going suddenly bankrupt, refusing to pay invoices and "losing" hundreds of CDs. That sort of thing was THE NORM, or so I thought until we started dealing with Proper who answer emails, offer advice, do what they say they're going to and actually PAY UP without you having to GO TO THEIR OFFICES AND SHOUT (which i have done for other places). INDEED they do it without really being asked, it's wonderful!

PROOF of the aforesaid wonderfulness can ALREADY be found on Amazon where the album is ready for pre-order. COR! I always find this TERRIBLY exciting, as it's the modern equivalent of going into a big record shop and seeing you've got your own SECTION in the albums bit. I mean, I've never actually DONE that (I would always look at the Prolapse section, ENVIOUSLY), but still, I'm sure this THRILL is pretty similar!

Tomorrow the PROMO COPIES start getting posted out! ZANG!

posted 8/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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Just Showing Off For The Sake Of It
There's a GRATE review of Indietracks in The Fly this month, which I reproduce for your below:
With its tiny capacity and eccentric setting, Indietracks is a one-of-a-kind festival where you can spend as much time hanging out with bands as watching them perform. It's as friendly as a Christian Union camp without the religious indoctrination. Musicl highlights this year include the lyrically crafty and hook-laden power pop of rising stars Allo Darlin', the mournful kitchen sink nostalgia-folk of The Just Joans, dark heart balladeering from a resurgent Ballboy and the extraordinarily mature songwriting of Standard Fare, who capture the wonder and trauma of young relationships with rare energy and melody. On Sunday, MJ Hibbett & The Validators steal the festival from under the noses of off-key headliners The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart with their songs of joy, humility, and alien dinosaurs invading earth. And did we mention you could watch all of this on a moving steam train? Join the cult next year.
James Walsh

I was going to try and come up with all sorts of justifications for sticking THE LOT of it on this webpage - if nothing else the web version of the magazine is a NIGHTMARISHLY BAD IDEA, combining hideous navigation and complete unsuitability for ACTUAL USE with overbearing adverts which stop you READING the damn thing, seemingly designed to drive you AWAY from their pages as quickly as possible - but to be perfectly honest I just wanted to be able to show off about a review in an Actual Magazine which says that WE are better than The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

AND SO I HAVE!

posted 7/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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The Walking Circle: FINISHED
Way back at the start of the year I came up with a CUNNING PLAN to get some exercise at lunchtime WITHOUT going to the gym - The Walking Circle. This was a photocopied map of the area of London I work in with a big CIRCLE drawn on it centred ON my work, with a radius that was roughly as far as I could walk in 20 minutes. The PLAN was to walk ALL those streets.

Thus, most lunchtimes since then, I have gone stomping off around the streets, alleys, and MANY MANY Mews of London town, and have seen many delightful things, like squares, parks, lots of blue plaques (mostly commemorating architects, for some reason). I've come to LOVE the Post Office Tower, which has LOOMED over buildings smiling at me like an old PAL, and have MARVELLED in the differences between places RAMMED close together, like the cheap cheerfulness of Euston STACKED within a few minutes of the GHASTLINESS of Mayfair. I tell you what, if you ever wonder if money can by you CLASSINESS, just wander down Saville Row to see HORRIBLE people swanning around with CA$H dripping off them in globules, it's disgusting!

Mostly though it's been BRILLIANT, and I've got to know lovely bits of town like Fitzrovia, Covent Garden and especially BLOOMSBURY in a way I never would otherwise, but now it is OVER! For LO! At twenty to two this afternoon, on the corner of New Cavendish Street and Hallam Street (coincidentally right outside The Stag's Head, a REALLY nice pub which i had to FITE myself NOT to go into) I FINISHED. Fittingly the last little bit I did was a MEWS - i LOVE a nice Mews, and London is PACKED with them.

Then on the way back I bumped into Mr Matthew Jones, formerly of The K-Stars, who I'd not seen for AGES. It was lovely!

But anyway, that's that DONE now! It was GRATE fun and I would ENDORSE something similar for everyone - it's dead interesting and gets your out and about doing EXERCISE. The only trouble is I need something ELSE to do now - i might go and see if I can visit Boris Bike Stations i think!

posted 3/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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The Promotional Whirl
Like the wind, the sea, or the UNIVERSE ITSELF, it seems that the promotional whirl of ROCK has no real ending, for LO! today I sent out a huge batch of emails to over a THOUSAND music blogs, telling them that "Forest Moon Of Enderby" is going to be released SOON.

It was all fairly painless, and certainly took a LOT less time than it'll take to do the hundred or so PHYSICAL CDs I'm going to be sending out. I don't know though, somehow emailing a link to a DOWNLOAD point feels significantly less exciting than struggling down Leytonstone High Road with huge bags FULL of jiffy bags that I've sat and packed myself. I know some people who've followed the indie ROUTE complain about this bit - "I didn't set off on the road of ROCK to spend my days in the POST OFFICE", the might say - but I actually rather like it. It's not as much FUN as the first flurry of orders for a new album from actual PUNTERS, but posting out the promo copies always feels to me like the first stage of the GOOD TIMES of an album being released.

That said, there are certainly HUGE parts of the process I could happily do without - I'm sure nobody wants me to go over the RIGMAROLE of preparing artwork in the right format for printers, for example - but when it's all finally analysed at the end of Release Schedule, i have to say it IS good fun doing it all yourself, especially, as I say, when you're sending out the first batch of orders. The same names pop up again and again, and it's lovely to think there's people out there who keep coming back and buying our stuff.

And still to come are the WEEKS of googling and Nervously Checking Radio Playlists. Aah, the joys of THE INDIE! I bet U2 never get as much JOY out of finding their name in a podcast do they? Your loss, THE EDGE, this is GRATE!

posted 3/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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The Creative Process
Cor, it's a wonderful thing, the old Creative Process isn't it? I love it when I've got a NEW THING on the go and the BRANE is at FULL TILT. It feels like trying to SOLVE a puzzle while WRITING it at the same time - for instance, in "Moon Horse" I knew there had to be (MILD SPOILERS) a ROPE dangling from the sky into Trafalgar Square at the start, but spent ages worrying about how it got there and who made it. I went through a couple of solutions to this before finding one SO OBVIOUS it made all sorts of OTHER things fall into place, almost as if it had been the answer all along and I'd just had to solve it. The solution involved a SUPER VILLAIN who was SO obvious that I have spelt the past week and a half LARFING about it - truly, it is a thing of GRATE BEAUTY, the old INSPIRATION, even when it involves as much DAFTNESS as this all does.

And believe me, there is DAFTNESS to the MAX - I spent a good chunk of yesterday GIGGLING about some particularly foolish rhymes for "Jupiter" whilst mentally choreographing some STREET DANCE. Obviously all these years reading biographies of and documentaries about Old Fashioned Comedians is finally having its DREAD EFFECT and I have become CONVINCED that the future of ROCK lies in All Round Entertainment. I wrote a song the other day that features a TAP DANCE BREAK. Really.

It's all jolly exciting, but it doesn't mean that I've forgotten about Dinosaur Planet. FAR FROM IT - we're negotiating a bunch of tour dates, and have a MEETING next week to get us fully into the SWING of it. We can confirm ONE date, however - we're playing at The Waiting Room in Stockton-on-Tees on October 23rd! I'm RIGHT looking forward to this, it's always a good night there and you get FREE GRUB! Now THAT'S what the future of ROCK is REALLY about!

posted 2/9/2010 by MJ Hibbett
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