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Blog: Manchester

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Off to MANCHESTER on Saturday for one of the ODDEST and simultaneously MOST FUN gigs we've ever done - it was Retrovision/Step Back In Time, a convention for RETRO GAMERS...

I set off LOADED DOWN with a HUGE rucksack containing ALL the new Hey Hey 16K t-shirts (coming to the online shop soon!), my electronic guitar, and a large WHEELY SUITCASE full of CDs. I had to CLAMBER up the stairs to Leytonstone High Road Station and nearly DONE MYSELF IN right there and then. I got to Euston and had a SURPRISINGLY NICE trip to Manchester courtesy of Virgin, during which I read most of "Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein, what Mr Charles de Fighting Cocks leant me. It was GRATE! It DID however lead me to think of things in terms of a FIGHTING UNIT for the rest of the weekend, tho this wasn't so bad as this is pretty much what the Validators ARE.

Anyway, I was met by Tiger Tom McClure at the station, and off we went, passing that huge SPIKY STATUE outside the City Ground. Our hotel was ALSO Surprisingly Nice, so we checked in, got SORTED, then headed off to the venue. We all gradually arrived and got set up. The soundman was a really nice chap, but seemed to have an odd way of going about things - later we discovered this was his FIRST EVER TIME at doing the sound for a gig, which did explain a few things, but i predict a FINE FUTURE for him, as he gave off a feeling of UNRUFFLEDNESS throughout, which is always helpful.

I'd arrived wearing my "Hey Hey 16K" t-shirt, and this caused a few reactions through the afternoon when people realised it was ME, The Hey Hey 16K guy in PERSON. Several people started singing the song as i passed, there were many double takes, and later on when I went round the main room putting down flyers i was APPREHENDED by MANY MANY PEOPLE who wanted to shake my hand or even HUG me. It was weird, but REALLY NICE - it was like being REALLY FAMOUS!

We started off our Actual Gig a bit earlier than expected, at 8pm, and THIS is what we played:
  • Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Better Things To Do
  • Never Going Back To Aldi's
  • The Gay Train
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • Hey Hey 16K

  • Yes, we DID do "Hey Hey 16K" twice! The first time was really nice, everyone seemed really pleased to hear it, and we were GLAD. The rest of the set then sounded pretty ROPEY - we couldn't really hear each other, especially the vocals which were inaudible, except at the end when Emma was suddenly SO LOUD that the monitors were distorting, and except for Tim who apparently could only hear ME throughout... it was a shame, as it would have been nice to play really WELL, but the sound guy WAS trying, and I think it went OK considering. I was glad we did "Hey Hey 16K" again at the end, especially as a whole BUNCH of people came right down the front, and I left THEM to sing the "For n=0 to 2" bit, which was the BEST bit of the whole gig.

    Afterwards things became a little CRAZY. We stood behind the Merchandising Stand, and there was a gentle RUSH, during which something fairly KRAZY happened - somebody asked if they could have their picture taken with me, and then a bunch of OTHER people saw this happening, and formed a small QUEUE! Now, I've signed a few autographs over the years (and tried not to look quite as PLEASED to be doing so as I always AM), but never this sort of thing - this really WAS like being famous! On the one hand I was thinking "COR! This is FUN!" and on the other my BRANE was dissolving with the LOOPINESS of the whole thing... so i decided to just GO! with it, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

    I also discovered a SECRET TALENT of Mr McClure - STOCK CONTROL! I'd asked him to give me a hand at the stall, and he LEAPT to the task like a man possessed. Whilst i was busy POSING he'd reorganised the entire STOCK, so that I could say "Tom! One Large T-Shirt and Two Smalls please!" and there they'd be, ready for CUSTOM. It worked really well, and this will be his NEW JOB from hereonin. Well done Tom!

    After the rush me and Emma were left on the stall whilst the others went for CHIPS, and we stood and watched the other band, who appeared to be playing WORLD MUSIC. It was ODD in the VERY EXTREME, everyone went WILD at the end of every song, and apparently these were all old Commodore 64 tunes, played with FLUTES and VIOLINS. Mrs Pattison and I confessed our CONFUSION to each other, but everyone else seemed VERY HAPPY, especially the club's landlord. He was OVERJOYED to have a huge crowd of BLOKES, drinking a LOT all weekend whilst being very POLITE and having FUN, and indeed it was a VERY LOVELY ATMOSPHERE all round.

    Mr F Machine had left very early in an effort to reach Derby Last Orders, so it was four of us who finally packed up and made for the hotel. Here we discussed NEXT year (we're going to rehearse some OLD songs, like "Stop, Look And Listen" so we can vary the setlists a bit more) and sat around feeling PERPLEXED by the whole affair. Had it really happened? Other people in the hotel had been there, and cheerily waved as they passed us, so it seemed it HAD. It also seemed that there had been at least THREE weddings in the hotel, as the building had a LARGE STOCK of BRIDES, but it was late by then and we were confused.

    In summary then, it was a pretty amazing evening! It's a shame we didn't PLAY better, but the rest of the weekend MORE than made up for it - it was LOVELY!

    posted 12/9/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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    Hey there, great to see you guys live, Hey Hey 16K was awesome both times. Nice to chat to you after the gig as well. As the saying goes, been there, got the T-shirt (and the CD)
    posted 13/9/2005 by Merman

    What a retrovision, my 2nd and it was brilliant. i love 16 k and you made it a good weekend along with the other musicians :)
    keep it fluffy, mjh!!
    thanks for a good weekend.
    posted 14/9/2005 by postladyamy

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