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Blog: Underneath The LSE

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A gentle stroll through London's fashionable LONDON area of London after work last night got me to the Quad at The LSE. It was THRONGING with students, unsurprisingly, which did make me feel a little old. Downstairs I met the organisers, also Winston Echo and Chris T-T, and we did the traditional Lurking Around Waiting For Things To Happen whilst The Young Playthings, the only BAND on the bill, got set up.

We chatted a bit, we soundchecked, and then I nipped off to the student canteen to get something to eat. The food was OK, certainly cheap, but I found the whole experience a bit upsetting, as all around me were young students sat on their own, eating a lonely tea miles from home. Near me was sat a lad I (correctly!) took to be German, in smart jumper and slacks, slowly munching through his meal, and I thought that this probably wasn't what he was hoping for when he came over to London. Later some lads he knew sat near him and said hello before carrying on with their own conversation, and I saw him put on his "I'm joining in" face, nodding and smiling along with them, hoping to be invited in.

The sheer loneliness (and, to be honest, familiarity with his situation from when I first went to Poly) was A Bit Much, so I went back to the venue, where I had another chat with Mr T-T about Various Issues Regarding GIGS. It was STRANGE to Talk Shop in this manner, as I very rarely meet anyone who goes off on their own to other towns to play as much as I do, and i was JEALOUS of his plan to go on a solo tour with a TWO MAN TEAM alongside him. It sounded NICE! Also it was good to hear of all the excitement heading his way at the moment, it's always CHEERING when good people do well, and it sounds like he very much IS!

Talking of Good People, The Beer In My Student Union Bar arrived just then, which was especially a relief as all this talk of Gigging Alone was making me feel a bit LONESOME. She arrived just in time to see Winston Echo, and I was much relieved to find that after YEARS of me telling her how ACE he is, also LOVELY, she was moved to very much agree. For LO! He was.

Then it was time for ME to play, and as I thought I'd be playing to a crowd who'd not seen of me before I did the UBER uberset, as follows:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
  • Sod It, Let's Get Pissed
  • Fucking Hippy
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • The Fight For History
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed
  • Boom Shake The Room
  • It seemed to go OK, I certainly enjoyed myself although CRIKEY it felt like a difficult room - it was a big room, but there weren't a huge number of people there, so they were a bit spread out. Also the PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY of the venue, with a number of different levels, raised bits, and PIPES all over the place made it feel very cold and unfriendly. Oh, thou early nineties designers of Student Unions, what WERE you thinking?

    In the end, however, it was a LOT of fun and I THOROUGHLY enjoyed myself. As it turned out i wasn't playing to strangers either, as quite a few people had actually come to see ME, not least Mr David McIntyre who'd come from AMERICA to be there... well, he'd come to London for a month anyway, but it still counts. The Dressing On My Salad and I thus had a very pleasant time on the CHAT to the diverse and lovely bunch of people who had also turned up, it was really nice.

    The next band, the Young Playthings, were really enjoyable too - they had that GRATE onstage attitude of American Bands, where it's not a GIG, it's a SHOW, and they did jokes (most notably about the blokes in SINGLETS that kept wandering through from the GYM next door) and JAMMED and generally had FUN. No matter what happens in the world it is an UNDYING TRUTH that British Indie Types will ALWAYS get smitten by a band with an American Accent, so I was a bit surprised afterwards to find out that they were actually from Kettering...

    Kettering via Hong Kong, anyway, which explains the accent, but it was still DISCONCERTING, especially when I turned round and realised Winston Echo was wearing a WICKSTEED PARK jumper! Crazy Coincidence!

    The evening finished with Chris T-T, who was, as ever, GRATE. He did all my favourite ones and we had a good old SINGALONG, especially during "When The Hunstman Comes A'Marching" which was a whole HEAP of fun. It is, as I continually say, like seeing Billy Bragg when he was still good - lots of righteousness, lots of singing along, and some good bits between the songs. One bit between the songs, however, I found myself disagreeing with. He, very kindly, said "I did think MJ Hibbett shouldn't do the stupid songs anymore, as his political ones are so strong, but then realised you can't NOT do the stupid songs" before doing "Eminem Is Gay". It was a nice thing to say and obviously kindly meant, and I know he means "funny songs" not "songs that are stupid and rubbish" or anything derogatory, but I didn't agree with him, and said so afterwards. I really REALLY don't think you should distinguish between the "funny" and the "serious" songs, as if only some of them are ones that you actually MEAN, while the others are just there for a throwaway laugh. The "political" ones AND the ones about drinking with your mates, they're all ABOUT things that actually happen, they're ALL meant seriously and they're ALL true. I think that divorcing them as two seperate "types" devalues both, and leads us into a less jolly world. There's nothing wrong with making a serious point with a bit of humour and warmth, it makes the point more pointED.

    I thought about this all the way home on the tube AND all the way in this morning, it's something that i think MATTERS, as you can probably tell! But yes, the loveliness of him saying it as he meant it remains, and he really is a DEAD nice chap and the gig was GRATE! Why, he even invited us round for tea if we're in Brighton again, which is something I have NEVER got at a Billy Bragg gig, and it was a very happy pair of us who left the venue for Holborn Tube, singing "Preaching To The Converted" as we went. It was ACE!

    posted 1/3/2006 by MJ Hibbett

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    You're entirely right Hibbett, about not separating 'serious' and 'funny'. In my case, esp with the red material, it's 'funnies' that get the point across, while it's not like anyone's shouting for "Court Of You", for example. Comment was an onstage mistake born of my unwillingness to sing "Eminem" and my being moved by your song about Thatcher.
    posted 2/3/2006 by Christopher

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