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Blog: Reading At Dina

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On Sunday I returned to SHEFFIELD, site of so many ROCK extravaganzas, to do a slightly DIFFERENT gig to what I usually do.

I was due to perform at DINA for Off The Shelf, a month long festival of LITERARY STUFF. I'd been booked by Ms P Blackham and this was her first experience of ARTS bookings, as opposed to ROCK, so I was delighted to find that she was noticing the MANY MANY differences between the two arenas, much as I had done a decade ago when I started doing the shows with Steve. The big thing you tend to notice when you make the transition is that, compared to pretty much ALL other kinds of live performance, ROCK has MANY more SPREADSHEETS - it is NOT what you would expect, but it is a FACT!

In THE ARTS you also get to play in a wider variety of venues such as, on this occasion, a former nightclub with a (sadly defunct) REVOLVING DANCEFLOOR! We met the owner of the club, who very kindly showed us THE WORKSHOP just in case he wasn't around and we needed a CLAMP to fix a light. He'd also shown Penny the PROPS CUPBOARD (not a euphemism) before I'd arrived - I bet you don't get that level of care at the O2!

I wasn't using the PA or anything so had plenty of time before SHOWTIME to pop next door to The Tap And Tankard which was a dead nice Proper Pub for a Cheeky Half. Back at the venue people gently arrived, including several PALS, and then it was SHOWTIME ACTUAL. I'd had a good old THINK about what I was going to do - Penny had asked me to do a couple of songs as well as a reading, so I thought I'd tell the story of how the book came to be written and self-published too. THUS I kicked off with The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B) to get myself SETTLED before launching into the story of how I was commissioned to write my ROCK AUTOBIOGRAPHY, but then the chap who'd asked me to do it lost his job as a result. Next I did I Did A Gig In New York to illustrate the kind of stories that ended up being in My Exciting Life In ROCK, and then told the helpless audience how THAT ended up giving birth to Dinosaur Planet (with the theme tune played for illustrative purposes). THAT led on to doing the MA, and THAT led to the story of how I got an Agent then LOST an Agent, and how I decided to take the advice from a) The Clauses In My Contract and b) the song We Did It Anyway and self-publish. THEN I read a chapter out, and finished with It Only Works Because You're here, just because I like it!

It all seemed to go all right - I always find it a bit difficult to JUDGE reaction when outside my usual environs, but people SMILED at some of my HILARIOUS GAGS, and nobody LEFT, so I think that's good. I enjoyed it anyway, ESPECIALLY doing the reading - last time I did something like this I just read the first chapter, which wasn't all THAT exciting and had rather too much about FILING in it, so this time I read the bit where (MILD SPOILERS) Shaun sees Trafalgar Square for the first time and Doug and Sir Hugo meet The Rrarrag. I would very much like to do it AGANE if anybody fancies having me!

There was a short break and then we moved into another room where Stan Skinny had set up for his show "Captain 'The Butcher' Reality". It turned out to be a one-man show basically about WRESTLING - it was a work in progress but PRETTY GOOD, I think the main piece of feedback I would have given is that he needs to TELL people it is about Wrestling, as people go MAD for that sort of thing and I reckon he would get LOADS of WRESTLE MANIACS going if he did!

And thus the evening came to a very jolly end, also an EARLY one, and I found myself back in My Usual Suite at the IBIS (which for some reason had been painted INDUSTRIAL GREY throughout, I'm not sure why) at 10:30pm, which lead to me having a LOVELY long kip before getting my train next morning. Their adverts at the moment say you can "Sleep Like A Rock Star" in their beds, maybe that's what they meant?

posted 10/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett

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