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Blog: The Laughing Gnome Problem

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There's a RIPPING new WHEEZE on the way! It began when a Mr E Bewsher of Hull, wrote in to say (with regards to the new EP), "why dont you do the ' * Bonus tracks' thing , and slam on all the stuff off the old 7 inch singles thats not available elsewhere! "

I passed this Good Idea on to Mr F Machine, bass and brass supremo, who suggested that we REFINE the idea by RE-RECORDING said songs. SUDDENLY I was reminded of a REMARK made on Tuesday night at the AAS Board Meeting which gave me the Final Thought for the NEW WHEEZE - but let's just explain that repercussions of that conversation first:

Mr Whitaker had just got his tape player working again, and so had got out his old tapes, including the very very earliest MJ Hibbett cassettes - "some of these are pretty good", he said. To explain the SOURCE of these tapes further, many years ago (EEK! Actually just checked this - about NINE years ago!), in Leicester there was a sudden SPLURGE of band activity, led by Cornershop and then Prolapse, when suddenly LOADS of the people I knew and/or drank with in The Magazine and Durham Ox started doing Quite Well. They released records, got reviewed, did gigs OUTSIDE LEICESTER - everyone was doing really well except, that is, for ME! To be Historically Fair, listening back to the gigs and some of the songs I was doing then, at the very START of my Solo Career you can see why i.e. I Was BLOODY AWFUL. I tried to rectify the situation by recording LOADS of songs and handing out tapes of those songs to as many people as possible, in the belief that ONE of the songs on ONE of these tapes might get somehow into the hands of SOMEONE who would like them...

It didn't seem to work at the time, although now I can see that, actually, it DID - Mat K-Star ended up sharing a flat with Sean Fortuna Pop!, who heard and liked "Billy Jones Is Dead", which led to doing "Work's All Right" on the "Work Is A Four Letter Word" EP, which led to meeting Mr Whitaker and also Mr Fleay and THENCE came AAS and the mighty GLORIES thereof. At the TIME however, it didn't feel that way... ANYWAY, in the end there were FIVE of these tapes made over a couple of years, containing almost SEVENTY songs!

Many of these songs have been re-recorded over the years, on "Say It With Words" and the early singles especially, but there's still FIFTY that have never been heard outside the select circle of "lucky" people who got inflicted with them back then. SO, to return to the NEW WHEEZE, what I thought we might do is, instead of rerecording the songs of the recent past, we DIP FURTHER back in time and re-do one or two of the REALLY old ones.

THIS, then, is THE PLAN: I've sent a list of those 50 songs to all the people who I know got at least one of those tapes thrust upon them and, importantly, are still talking to me despite that. I've asked them to nominate between one and five-ish songs that EITHER they remember OR remember and like. When these votes are collated I shall come up with a new list of the top five most liked/remembered songs, which i shall DIGITALLY ENCODE and put up on the website, so that YOU, dear reader, can choose your favourite, and THAT's the one we'll record for the EP. I think also that anyone who DOES vote in this way can get a free copy of one of the TAPES from my Drawer Of Old Tapes (it'll probably be a VOON tape actually).

That's the WHEEZE then - cool, huh? The only SLIGHT problem I note is what we might call The Laughing Gnome Problem... there's two front runners so far, one being "Down The Narborough Road", which everyone's voted for so far and people always seem to have liked, and the other is a BLOODY AWFUL thing called "I've Pulled" which was one of the MOST AWFUL parts of the AWFUL idea I had for a Rock Musical called "Welcome To The Market" which, all in all, was BLOODY AWFUL.

However, unlike Certain People (yes BOWIE, i mean YOU) I shall not chicken out, if that's the one chosen. Hopefully in a couple of weeks my FATE will be in your hands. Exciting, isn't it?

posted 16/1/2004 by MJ Hibbett

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