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Blog Archive: June 2011Newsletter Day
It's the last working day of the month, which means it's time to send out the latest edition of The Last Working Day Of The Month, which this time seems to be full of projects nearing COMPLETION as Dinosaur Planet and Moon Horse VIE with each other for your attentions.
It feels like exciting times are ahead, and this is perhaps encapsulated best by the following VIDEO, shot by The Tiger on his phone at the weekend, featuring AXEWORK that DEFIES COMPREHENSION:
All right, I wasn't making ALL of those noises at the same time, but still: GOOD TIMES!
Also of note within the newsletter is the the announcement of the final line-up for the Totally Acoustic SUMMER SPECIAL. We've got the MARVELLOUS Dave Barnett playing his first solo gig in over a DECADE, and the promised return of A Fine Day For Sailing after their recent mini-set. It's all occurring on July 14th, full details over on the gigs page - it should be a GRATE night, do come along if you can!
posted 30/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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My Band T-Shirt
I've been an avid reader of My Band T-Shirt since it started - it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like, people talking about a band t-shirt that means a lot to them, with a picture of same. So when they put out a call for people to contribute i thought "I would LOVE to... but I don't actually OWN any band t-shirts."
I DO have a LOT of t-shirts, but they're mostly featuring COMICS type stuff - if it was called "My Internets Comics T-Shirt" then I would be WELL in - so wasn't sure what I could do... until I realised that, HANG ON, i DO have a band t-shirt! In fact, at one point, I had about a HUNDRED of them!
THUS I wrote the small article which went live yesterday afternoon, all about my brief experience at being a MERCHANDISER of 'Hey Hey 16K' t-shirts. It's up on their webpage RIGHT NOW and I must say I am rather excited to be allowed to be on such an ACE blog. Do go and have a look if you have time, won't you? Not only is it all TRUE, but I went over it twice to check for SPELLIG MITSAKES! That's DEDICATION that is!
posted 29/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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The OFFICIAL Trailer
Today I am happy to announce the premiere of the OFFICIAL Trailer for Moon Horse vs. The Mars Men Of Jupiter. Don't go looking at any of those UNOFFICIAL Trailers, they are insufficiently official, only this one will suffice!
As you can probably tell it features footage from the performance on my BIRTHDAY from which all the other clips are taken. This is because we've only done it twice, and didn't record it the first time! I thought I'd go for a more CLIP BASED trailer than last year or, indeed, the year before, partly because I thought it was time for a FRESH LOOK, and also because I couldn't really think of any other way of doing it!
Still VERY MUCH in attendance though are the voiceover talents of Mr Johnny Yeah, STALWART of these campaigns and soon to be cast into YET MORE limelight at THE NARRATOR of 'Dinosaur Planet' - he's the twenty first century RICHARD BURTON, in SO many ways! I'd like to take this opportunity to THANK Mr Yes for his excellent work and say that if you have enjoyed his vocals, you can hear them in greater depth, allied to EXCITING NEW MUSIC, over at our old friends Kooba Radio. Go on, have a listen, they're GRATE!
posted 28/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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I Saw The Whole Of The Dinosaur Planet
Regular perusers of these missives will know i hate to SHOW OFF and am LOATH to CROW about the massive work and effort that I, SELFLESSLY, pour into the world of ROCK, so you will understand if I only briefly mention that I had to get up at SEVEN O'CLOCK A.M IN THE MORNING on Saturday (SATURDAY!) in order to get to Derby in time to do some mixing.
It turns out there are TRANES and even SHOPS open at that time of the day! Who knew?
For LO! I was due in the East Midlands for eleven-ish to meet Mr T 'The Tiger' McClure and Mr R Newman at Snug Recording Co to spend a DELIGHTFUL day doing most of the re-re-re-mixes for Dinosaur Planet. As mentioned previously, a fortnight ago we'd completed PENULTIMIXES of everything and mysefl and The Validators had spent the next several days LISTENING and CRITIQUING them. I arrived at the studio with two pages of NOTES to guide us through the day, fixing errors and bringing everything up to Release Standard.
Just before I arrived Tom texted to say he'd been slightly delayed, so I decided to first of all get stuck into Literature Search. It's been pretty much the most problematic of ALL the songs for this album, going through several VERY different mixes and having TONNES of stuff loaded onto it. The mix Tom and Tim did when they were in was NEARING the right place, but I still had some more ideas on how to do it. However, once we'd started mixing I suddenly realised the one thing it TOTALLY needed to make it work: A MASSIVE GUITAR SOLO!
And so it was that Tom came in to discover me GUILTILY HUNCHED OVER MY INSTRUMENT, making a right old racket but, eventually, getting it sounding pretty darn good. We then returned to the top of the list and spent the rest of the day working through, with some songs taking just a couple of minutes to sort out (we just needed to check we had the CORRECT mix of Here Come The Dinosaurs for instance, while We Are The Giant Robots needed the volume on LARFTER turning up and the ROBOT VOCALS being less Stereo Panned) and others taking a bit longer. We spent AGES getting the timing of a THUNDERCLAP right on the OVERTURE and did quite a bit of adjustment on My Grandad Is Nuts and Please Don't Eat Us, but the MOST effort went into For The Fate Of The Earth.
CRIKEY! Those who saw the show will know that this is the GINORMOUS EPIC which acts as a CLIMAX to the whole thing, and so not only runs for a ROCKING SIX MINUTES but also features HUGE amounts of ACTION and VOCALS from about half the cast. Tons has thus been done on it already but yet MORE was required with timpani, orchestras, explosions, "brass lag at the KT Boundary" (one of Tom's notes) and general maintenance of BALANCE between it all. It took extra long because we had to bounce everything down TWICE to get all the sound effects right, so when we noticed something missing we had to go back and do it AGANE. It was worth it tho - listening back when I got home, I couldn't quite believe that we - little old US! - had managed to CREATE such a thing! I keep telling people that when they HEAR what we have done they will understand why it has taken so LONG, and i think For The Fate Of The Earth will probably be enough to demonstrate all that on its own.
We didn't QUITE get everything finished - I had to dash off for my train before we could sort out A Little Bit More, but I can do that fairly quickly when I'm back in three weeks to prepare what we have decided to call THE PENULTI-MASTER! This'll feature ALL the "final" mixes of the songs which we finished on Saturday finally MERGED TOGETHER with the DIALOGUE (which I plan to spend the first few hours of the session remixing) to form a seemless HOUR OF THRILLPOWER that we will then spend AUGUST listening to... before returning in September, probably, to fiddle about with one final time before it's DONE.
It's all getting scarily near to completion now, and I'm starting to catch GLIMPSES of what it's going to look like when it's finished. We've spent a couple of YEARS now working on small PARTS of it, but as these get assembled into larger components, and as these components themselves are welded together, every now and again you get a brief look at the final MACHINE that you are creating. It is a HUGE and MIGHTY and BEAUTIFUL thing, and though I'm a bit afeared of letting it out into the world at last, I also can't WAIT to show it off!
posted 27/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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I was off work POORLY again yesterday - heckers neckers, this dribbling cold is sticking around. It's not making any effort to be DEBILITATING, it just SITS there in my nose and forehead, being dreary. Get lost, rubbish cold!
In my efforts NOT to be deterred from ACTION i spent a very delightful couple of hours in the afternoon FINALLY finishing off a recording of the song 2000AD Nans (there's nothing at that page at the moment,by the way, I'll sort it out soon!) for inclusion on a forthcoming Keep Pop Loud compilation.
This song has had a LENGTHY gestation period. It first came about via an occasional and ongoing experiment in COLLABORATION between myself and Frankie Machine whereby every couple of years he sends me a batch of TUNES... which i proceed to MANGLE through my general inability to play the Proper Chords he often uses. This time i TRANSPOSED them into a key i COULD play (with vaguely similar versions of the chords anyway) and wrote down some words for an idea I'd had for AGES.
A few years ago there was a spate of very similar letters appearing in the 2000AD letters page, from people who wished to pay tribute to their NANS. All over the world there were, and doubtless still are, people whose Nans had bought them their regular weekly comic as a special treat, and had then kept doing it when they left home. People talked about Nans stockpiling back issues until their next visit, or sending them all around the world, with the exchange becoming a constant symbol of their relationship. As 2000AD readers move into their thirties and forties the league of Nans gently declined in number, and it really touched me to think of all these lovely relationships which had, as a small but vital part, an incredibly violent, anarchic slice of weekly punk rock.
It probably helped that my own early comic buying years had involved my Nans - Nan Bertie used to get me The Beano (which I read while she read The Weekly News) and Nan Bike gave me the pocket money which bought Whizzer and Chips, Starlord and then 2000AD. I stirred in my own story to all the other stories I'd read and came up with some words which, invariably, got me a bit weepy whenever I sang them.
The tune, meanwhile, went through all SORTS of changes, into different tempo, keys and time signatures. When Keep Pop Loud got in touch for a track I returned to the latest version of the song, as a fairly straight 4/4 strum and tried it in WALTZ time. It sounded good to me, so I sent a version off to Frankie to see if he fancied joining in. A week or so later I had another listen and realised, to my horror, that I had turned it into a DIRGE. It thus FINALLY went back to something approaching its original format, being a bit JAZZY and growing a SUPER FUNKY bass line. This went back to Frankie again, where it was received with some RELIEF!
Also he was unable to add some SUPER JANGLE to it, but for an EXCELLENT and EXCITING reason - he and his band are playing INDIETRACKS this year, and so were not only knee deep in REHEARSAL, but also RECORDING! The news JUST IN is that there will AT LAST be a BRAND NEW Frankie MAchine album available for the Festival - I am going down for the Sunday ESPECIALLY to get it!
And so it was that yesterday afternoon I sat down to add my OWN jangly guitar (recording the different sections as different tracks, jangling is HARD!) as well as a tiny bit of keyboard, some UKELELE and - ho! - MASSIVE DISTORTED GUITAR. Luckily I'd already recorded the vocals (i was and am in NO fit state for singing!) so then it was just a matter of a bit of MIXING and it was FINALY finished. HOORAH! And best of all: it sounded really lovely!
It's over with Lee Keep Pop Loud Now, who says it should be out fairly soon-ish. I shall ALERT you when it's available, as I am EAGER to play it, it's dead nice. Just have a hanky ready!
posted 23/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Moon Horse VIDEOS
I was off work POORLY yesterday with a drippy dreary cold, but managed to DRAG myself from my SICK BED for long enough to extract the VIDEO off the camera from Sunday's Moon Horse show. After a good long look at it all I picked out two EXCERPTS which seemed quite good and DIDN'T present any Massive Spoilers!
You can see them over on the super duper new Moon Horse videos page... or just look at them here! The first one is a faithful historical reenactment of the firts meeting between President Lyndon B Johnson and Prime Minister Harold Wilson which we have titled "A Very Special Relationship":
I think the picture YouTube chose to represent the video is my FAVOURITE of ALL YouTube video representational pictures! And for the second one we have The Mars Men Of Jupiter singing their company song, THUS:
Hope you like them - I'm also planning to use some of the footage to make another TRAILER like we have in other years. This time it might be a bit more of a NORMAL compilation of CLIPS, rather than a specially filmed EPIC like last year's effort or, indeed, the one from the year before. I AM however hoping to feature the usual Narrator!
posted 22/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Dinosaur Planet Artwork Preview
I spent most of yesterday feeling a little bit hungover, a LOT full of cold, and generally slightly grumpy, so you can imagine my DELIGHT when my inbox went "PING!" with a message from noted artist and all round good guy Mr J Allison containing FINISHED ARTWORK for Dinosaur Planet.
"Oh! How does it look?" you may ask. To get the full effect of the answer, please imagine me leaping up and down with excitement, blowing trumpets and shouting "AMAAAAZING!" with a big silly grin on my face - for LO! It totally IS!
I'm been trying to keep a LID on my EXTREME EXCITEMENT and NOT show off the artwork until the album is actually released, and this seems to be the a GOOD IDEA so far - i DID send the artwork to the various cast members last night and the general reaction has been one of AWE and GLEE, STUNNED to see it all in one go, so I think i'll STICK to that - but i WILL share three tiny little details with you now. Look at these TERRIFIED people! What can they see? What do they KNOW?
These are just TINY details, missing out the GLORIOUS scenes of TERROR, MAYHEM, BATTLE, DESTRUCTION and... er... TENSE NEGOTIATIONS that are also covered, but OOH! Aren't they nice? We've got a wraparound cover, a t-shirt design and FOUR seperate illustrations to go in the booklet, it's going to look WONDERFUL!
Now all we have to do is finish mixing it!
posted 21/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Moon Horse Rides Again
It was my BIRTHDAY yesterday, but we'd celebrated it CHEZ MOI the night before, so as to leave room for some ROCK on Sunday. I had a thoroughly delightful time I must say - many presents, much being looked after, a CURRY and - perhaps best of all - a whole BATTENBERG CAKE to myself. MAN ALIVE but i like Battenberg Cake - i try to restrict myself to eating it only on my birthday, otherwise i would eat it ALL DAY EVERY DAY. I would LOOK like a Floor Cake!
On the Grand Day itself (when I turned 29... in hexadecimal) myself and The Date Of My Birthday journeyed to The Lexington, where Mr S Hewitt and I were BOOKED to give an afternoon performance of Moon Horse. There were a wide variety of pals there, including some ACTUAL PARENTS - my step-dad rather nervously asked me "What IS this then?" and didn't seem to believe me when I said "It's a two man Rock Opera!" We sat around and had a bit of an old chat for a while before gently ushering people upstairs. I was surprised to see most of the PUB was following us upstairs, and when we got up there quite a decent AUDIENCE had gathered.
The show went over pretty much FINE. Both Mrs M Hewitt and The Lines In My Script commented that it was MUCH better since the last time they'd seen it (i.e. at the first readthrough) and both seemed to think it'd changed quite a bit, and everyone else seemed to a) FOLLOW IT b) LIKE IT. Phew! Mr J Kell, who'd seen all the drafts, also said it was EVEN better than he thought it'd be, having read the script, possibly because you cannot quite appreciated the POWER of SILLY HATS when you read it written down. I don't think I personally even have fully come to grips with the aforesaid POWER - we must remember to only ever use our SILLY HATS for GOOD, and not EVIL.
So yes, much relief, tho we do not rest upon our laurels - I VIDEOED the performance for a) possible use for publicity but also b) REVIEWING purposes. Whenever we've had a run though I've always thought "ooh, must remember to talk about changing that bit" but always forget WHICH bit by the time we've got to the end, so it'll be good to watch and take notes, not least because I still think we could do with shaving a couple of minutes off it. We taped precisely an HOUR yesterday, which will get a bit shorter once we've learnt the whole thing properly (again there were quite a few BLOOPERS, but we COVERED almost as if we were USED to it, including an entire EXTRA CHORUS of NEW WORDS for We Did It Anyway which we JAMMED on the spot) but it'd be nice to give ourselves a bit more breathing space in case of LARKING ABOUT or even - imagine! - APPLUASE in later shows!
Everyone seemed happy anyway, so we went back downstairs where there was a quantity of further BEER and CHAT and all round GOOD TIMES, so much so that when we eventually wandered off home about 7ish I felt just a little bit tiddly, and required some TEA when we got home. It was a bloody lovely way to spend one's birthday I must say, thanks VERY much everyone who came along, it was FAB!
posted 20/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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If there is ever a competition for the title Hardest Working Man In Indie (Amateur Division) i would like to put this week in as my entry, for LO! it CONTINUES to be busy. Last night I met with Mr S Hewitt and J Kell to go and see Half Man Half Biscuit. They were GRATE, as ever, but even their majesty could not distract me entirely from how much i dislike venues like the Shepherds Bush Empire. As soon as I go into one of those places I feel like someone is LARFING at me, and everyone there. "HAHAAHAHA! Look! We charged them a huge amount of money AND a booking fee too! SEE! They willingly queue for ages at the understaffed bar to buy beer at TWICE the usual price! AHAHAHA! And better yet, we've crammed FAR too many of them in so nobody can see comfortably and they have to JOSTLE each other to get to the TOO FEW Toilets!"
Things could not have been more different at the NEXT gig I was to attend, this very morning. I was booked to play at the Interesting Conference as part of Ms L Johnston's Hack Circus section. I arrived at about 9.30am (A!M!) to find the Conway Hall full of excited people, many of whom were fiddling about with computers and various chunks of machinery. The whole point of this DO is, as I understand it, to do INTERESTING things and there did seem to be rather a lot of that in the offing. They also like to try out different ways of DOING things, so although things were set out in a school hall-type arrangement to start with this would change later. It was a lovely atmosphere full of people KEEN to DO stuff!
Things kicked off with a mass singalong to "The Final Countdown" (honest!) before some words from the organiser, then a couple of people got up and showed everyone how to do BOOK BINDING. They'd given out 200 Book Binding Resource Packs so the whole room was busily threading needles through paper - it was a brilliant idea, not just because it was an ACE thing to do, but also because it then gave everyone a notebook to use throughout the rest of the day. CUNNING!
Then it was the Hack Circus section, which kicked off with a brief introduction and then ME,doing THIS:
We were supposed to do a mini-CHAT before but... er... I think I sort of took over a bit and started LECTURING. My BRIEF was that it was meant to be a bit participatory, and so I tried to do the songs as a gradual gradation of Audience Participation, from a simple singalong (the words to Hey Hey 16K were up on a screen behind me, which was VERY handy!) to "Aah Ooh Aah Ooh" and free-style EVICERATION in Theme From Dinosaur Planet to a FINALE of chorus singing, the AVANT GARDE section, and mass DANCING. I have to say that the sight of a room full of 200 people ALL Doing The Indie Kid is something I shall take with me in my heart forever. It looked FANTASTIC, like a little bit of Indietracks dropped into Holborn!
After me a group of people made a big song on a MASSIVE synthesiser before Sarah Angliss came on and did a talk and performances with a theremin, laptop and robot. It was... well, EXTREMELY INTERESTING. She spoke about how she'd realised that performing music using a laptop was losing part of what music IS - the COUPLING between human action/movement and the sound it produces. I thought this was FASCINATING - I've just said "It's BORING" in the past but will be using her version from now on - and she demonstrated how she interacted with computer music with the theremin and... well, lots of other stuff which she explained and demonstrated a lot better than I could. It was basically fantastic, I would HIGHLY recommend seeing her live - apparently there are MANY ROBOTS normally! COR!
Then there was a BREAK, where the idea was for people to wander round the room. I'd intended to LURK for a bit at the side of the room,in case anyone wanted to CHAT (so good of me!), but then it was announced that all the chairs needed to be cleared away and stacked - stacked where I was standing! I thus had to SHIFT pretty SHARPISH and ended up doing mostly SOLO LURKING nearby for a bit. There were SO MANY interesting things to go and look at I think that I was pretty much at the bottom of the list!
Ordinarily I'd've stuck around and seen some more of the day, but all this ROCK ACTION is wearing me out a bit, so I said my goodbyes and headed home. It felt very strange to be arriving back from a gig just after noon, but a RELIEF to be here! Tomorrow we have the second live outing for Moon Horse (3pm ISH at The Lexington in London, do come along if you can) and then this KRAZY WEEK of CONSTANT ROCK will come to a close. It's been a dizzying array of very different activities, but I'm quite looking forward to just watching a bit of telly next week!
posted 18/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Moon Horse Begins
Mr S Hewitt and I took to the RAILS again last night to head out to Northampton for the WORLD PREMIERE of Moon Horse. As is our TRADITION we did The Words on the way there, getting through Episodes One and Two (you'll see what I mean if you see the show) with surprising EASE. We arrived and checked in to the IBIS - Steve REVELLING in the fact that his status as a Qualified Practitioner of ROCK means that he knows where the IBII are in many towns - and had a DELIGHTFUL hour or so watching The Simpsons. Aaah, life on the road!
We strolled round to The Nook Cafe, said HELLO to Tamsyn, who was putting us on, had a cup of tea, and then PROWLED round the cavernous Fishmarket building running through Episode Three. Part of this was done outdoors on some DECKING, where I suddenly felt as if i was ON STAGE at a THEATRE. It felt GOOD!
Again, we got through it mostly intact, yet still i was WORRIED. What if we did the show and nobody laughed AT ALL? What if they just sat LOOKING at us, thinking "Why are these two old men being so silly? This is rubbish"? We would be DOOMED - we've got the posters printed, the badges are made, the venues are booked and the press releases are sent out, there's no going back now!
On first were The Jack O'Lanterns, a Winston Echo/Retro Spankees SUPERGROUP which usually only ever plays around Halloween. We felt SPECIAL to be treated to an out of season show, and it was BLOODY GRATE - "Sexy Friction" is, i think, up there with the very best of Winston Echo (i.e. ACE) tho I did think they could ADAPT the gig to ANY season. Imagine them all in Santa Suits! It would be FANTASTIC!
And then it was US! EEK! And it was... GRATE! Phew! I made it clear at the very beginning that it would all be a bit ramshackle, and it certainly was a bit THAT, but for the most part we romped through pretty effectively. It felt EXTREMELY STRANGE to be suddenly DOING this thing in front of Actual People, rather than in our "rehearsal space", and also ODD to be in this situation and doing something that was LIKE, but very much NOT Dinosaur Planet.
It also felt a alot LOOSER (in a good way!) than last year's show. By the time me and Steve started performing Dinosaur Planet we'd not only already DONE it for a year as a solo show, but had RECORDED the whole script for the concept album, so it was much more set in stone. Now, I suddenly realised when on stage, it was all to play for, and MESSING ABOUT was ALLOWED! Also also we've got a year's worth of DOING this behind us now, so both feel a lot more confident... which certainly came in handy when we forgot bits and managed NOT to break down and cry!
The best thing though was rediscovering ASPECTS of the show that I'd forgotten were there. When I wrote the Tiddy The Tin Man bits, for instance, i was aiming for PATHOS, but after weeks (WEEKS!) of rehearsing in a silent room I was SURPRISED, also PLEASED, when people reacted to it and went "AAAAAH!" Similarly I was OVERJOYED when people not only GOT the "Broad" "Satire" but CHEERED it, and especially BOOED the main baddy.
Perhaps my FAVOURITE part was when Steve did some ACTING! I was a bit stunned - just before the end he LAUNCHED into it, and i was so surprised that I just stood LOOKING at him when I was supposed to do MY bit. It was ever so good!
It all FLEW by (another odd thing about doing a different show is that it hasn't got the same MILESTONES - I always knew we were just over halfway through Dinosaur Planet when the Giant Robots turned up, but with this one it felt like we'd only been going ten minutes before we revealed the secret baddy, and surely that's nearly the end?
The End: there is a BIG JOKE there that we wondered if people would LAFF at. They did. PHEW!
SO yes, we rather enjoyed it and other people seemed to as well. Everyone was smiling when we'd finished (and not ENTIRELY because we HAD finished) and tho there's probably some PRUNING to do I think it's all going to work out OK. We had another beer and then I headed for home, relieved and rather EXCITING about what is to come. Moon Horse has BEGUN!
posted 17/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Where's A Careers Advisor When You Need One?
It really is a FUNNY OLD TIME at the moment for me. After doing comedy and a bit of HOBNOBBING on Monday night I spent most of Tuesday on a COURSE about Safe Research on Administrative Datasets. I was shocked and surprised to find that, when called upon to engage in group exercises, I seemed to actually know what I was talking about. More amazing still: i found most of it Quite Interesting, ESPECIALLY the parts about individuals being indentified within apparently anonymised datasets. Does this mean i've been paying ATTENTION at work all these years or something?
Once the day was over I went and picked up my guitar and then headed over to A Secret Location to do A Secret Thing. It's all SECRET because the THING is being done for somebody's birthday, but basically someone wanted me to help them write a SONG, and then we videoed it. It's not the first time I've done something like this, but the difference on this occasion was that the LOCATION for it was WELL SWANKY. Also, during the process of setting things up, the possibility of another Exciting Project came up which, also, I can't really say any more about. Sorry about all this, I know it must be ANNOYING to have me being all ELUSIVE and that, I will try to report PROPERLY when I can!
The upshot of it all is, however, that I left the building in Slight Mental Turmoil. At the moment I find myself coming into regular contact with people SIMILAR to me who are doing CREATIVE THINGS for a living, and it looks GRATE. I'd really REALLY like to make that leap myself, but I haven't the first idea about how to do it - my Proper Job might be ending in March, and I'd like to use that as an OPPORTUNITY to force myself to have a proper GO at, you know, WRITING and stuff for a living, but I feel like I'm missing the KEY INFORMATION required to start getting that set up.
Yes yes, I can hear people at the back saying "Or maybe you is just too RUBBISH to do it!" and there may indeed be something IN that, but still, I would like to at least have a go. What I need at this point is some kind of MENTOR or Mid-Life Careers Advisor to point me in the right direction - like, how DO you go about getting festival gigs? How DO you get jobs in freelance writing? IS there a central commision for TV Theme Tunes? That sort of thing!
My main worry is that this is all very easy and I'm MISSING it somehow, and so letting opportunities for GOOD TIMES go by unnoticed. I very much fear I may have DRONED ON about all this to rather a large extent to The Lines In My Script last night, who listened very patiently and made some SUGGESTIONS. One of these was to ASK people, which I am going to try and DO (thus: "Anyone have a clue about this sort of thing?") and HAPPILY later on in the evening I had a reply from someone I had ALREADY asked.
When Mr J Kell and I had been to his wrtiers' group a couple of people had said they were writing things for COMPETITIONS and Calls For Scripts. "Is there a LIST of all this somewhere?" I asked Mr Kell. And LO! he said "Yes, there is" and SENT them to me. COR! I IMMEDIATELY saw an opportunity to enter Normal Island in for something IDEALLY SUITED, and also spotted a way to RE-JIG the whole "Tebbs" idea (which was going to be this year's Edinburgh show, until Moon Horse came along) for something else.
This made me feel a LOT better - thanks John! Knowing there's something i can do AND DOING IT makes everything feel all right again, and after all, it's not like i'm INCREDIBLY BUSY at the moment or anything is it?
In other news: we're moving towards completion of NOTES for the Final Mixes of the next album, artwork is nearly done, I'm doing a special Audience Participation show on Saturday morning at the Interesting Conference, off to see Half Man Half Biscuit tomorrow night, and this evening sees the first PREVIEW of Moon Horse in Northampton! There's PLENTY of time to write a couple of scripts around all that!
posted 16/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Compere The Difference
I was booked to COMPERE a COMEDY gig last night, and i was BRICKING myself beforehand. I have had BAD TIMES compereing gigs in the past - mostly at ROCK gigs where nobody WANTS a compere (which is why you don't usually have them) but also many many years ago when I compered the Fringe Club and got BOTTLED OFF. For EIGHT HOURS.
I was hoping this time would be a bit better, not least because it was for a Good Cause. It was run by Mrs M Hewitt (wife of Mr (S) Hewitt) in aid of the UK Friends Of Bradley Manning. If you don't know anything about Bradley Manning I would advise GOOGLING his case - I did yesterday afternoon, just to check the FACTS, and MY GOODNESS but I was APPALLED. Go on, have a look, this'll still be here when you get back!
I was also GOOGLING my fellow performers as, to be honest, I didn't really know much at all about most of them. When I do Totally Acoustic it's EASY to say something between the acts because they are usually my PALS so I can go "Ooh ARTIST X is ACE! I remember the time we did a gig in LOCATION Y and AMUSING INCIDENT Q occurred!" but I wouldn't be able to do that this time, so thought I'd better do some RESEARCH. I didn't get very far with it tho and, not wanting to let anyone down, was AFEARED.
By the time we were about to start I had decided that, actually, what I needed to do was make it clear i am NOT a comedian, NOT try and be one, and instead do a VERSION of what I do at the aforesaid Totally Acoustic: run on, witter slightly, shout the name of the act and then WAVE my arms about a bit. I'd been worried about doing a SET at the start = as comedy comperes always seem to want to, but HAPPILY Ellis James, the first act, asked if I wouldn't mind NOT doing a long bit, as he had to get off somewhere. I was MORE than happy to oblige, so did The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B), said "Here's someone who's seen Gorky's Zygotic Mynci more times than me!" and RAN OFF, arms a-waving.
This seemed to go quite well, INDEED i may have become over-confident as when it came time to introduce Lloyd Langford i did EXACTLY what I had spent most of the week before reminding myself NOT to do: I introduced him as LORD LONGFORD. He was very nice about it, and did a GRATE bit during his set where he started joking about the Bradley Manning case itself, which then led into a DEBATE between himself and various audience members who were part of the campaign. It was BRILLIANT - one of those MOMENTS that happen in the live environment where you find yourself part of a unique EVENT. It was very informative but also kept JOLLY, and he handled it brilliantly - Question Time Producers, TAKE NOTE for future host requirements!
Next up was Terry Saunders, who was dead good, and then I managed to close the first half of the show without further INCIDENT. PHEW. Come the second half I thought I should maybe do a few more songs, as AMAZINGLY it turned out a few people had come to see ME! Imagine! I thus kicked it off again with The Lesson Of The Smiths - I had to stand on the monitor riser at the front and SHOUT, as I couldn't work out how to get the DI boxes plugged in, and thus "HILARIOUSLY" pointed out that this was my ACOUSTIC STAGE. As I said at the time, I am not a comedian.
Naomi Colvin then stood up and gave a big SPEECH which was GRATE - also STIRRING! I thought it might be an idea to wheel out "Boom Shake The Room" in order to get us back towards JOLLITY, which seemed to work out OK and, by this time, I was actually quite enjoying the job. Maybe I shouldn't have then just started telling people what I was READING on the tube, as it wasn't STRICTLY relevant, but still: nobody seemed to mind too much. Then it was the excellent Helen Keen, before another chap from the campaign got up and STIRRED EVERYONE UP with another of those Stirring Speeches... so I thought I'd use that as an excuse to do ANOTHER song! AHA! I did The Gay Train and then introduced Andy Zaltzman, who was GRATE - he did some of that Actual Political Comedy which, rarely for much of it, was both Comedic AND Political. And then it was RObin Ince who, as usual, appeared to come out with no real plan and then RANTED with HILARIOUS CONSEQUENCES for half an hour.
And that was that! MUCH to my RELIEF it all seemed to work out OK in the end, and even involved chatting to various TYPES, like Mr D Kitson, who I'd not seen for AGES and also FINALLY getting to say hello to Mr Ince himself who, oddly, it seems, I've never actually met before. It was an all round GRATE night out and all for a Good Thing too - if you've not done that Googling yet, go do it now, honest, you will be as STIRRED UP as the rest of us when you have!
posted 14/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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On Saturday I got up at the CRACK OF DAWN - 7am! ON A SATURDAY! - in order to be in the fair city of Derby for 11am, where I met with Mr T "The Tiger" McClure at Snug Studio, there to do us some MIXING.
I arrived bearing an AGENDA, which I discussed with Tom, Robbie and Rich. As ever it felt about Not Quite On to have an AGENDA and a PLAN when you're launching into ROCK AND ROLL but, as we have discovered so many times, you can't really just JAM an hour long fully scripted concept album with sound effects and orchestras. You need a PLAN.
The aforesaid plan for the day was to get everything up to PENULTIMIX standard. A few weeks ago Tim and Tom had both been in and had got penultimixes (TECHNICAL TERM: "last mix for commenting upon by Validators before the Final Mix") done on about 40% of the songs. A couple of the other ones don't seem to NEED anything doing to them, so our mission was to go through the rest and make ADJUSTMENTS.
I had some NOTES with me, and we decided to do the ones with MOST WORK REQUIRED first. We began with A Little Bit, and spent a couple of hours transforming it from being A Bit All Over The Place to a INDIE DANCEFLOOR FILLER. I especially enjoyed STRIPPING DOWN pretty much EVERYTHING from the intro, so it begins with JUST ME. Aaah, if only all our songs could be that way!
Next we had a good old go at My Grandad Is Nuts, not forgetting to enjoy the HILARIOUS remarks that can ALWAYS be made due to the fact that this can be abbreviated to "My Grandad's Nuts". YOU CAN IMAGINE. This also got stripped back a bit to start with, before we gently layered instruments back in at various points to make it all a bit more DYNAMIC. Again, it sounded a bit messy beforehand, now it is BANJOLICIOUS!
The final BIG JOB was on Strangely Attractive, which sounded a bit LOUD and AGGRESSIVE and also as if it was about to fall down the stairs at any moment. There was much fiddling with EQ and levels for this one (also: discovering that there was FUZZ BASS throughout which was probably not required) as well as a rather lovely adjustment to the introduction, to make it fit in with the dialogue. Ooh, it does sound nice now - it's amazing really, we didn't change any of the sounds, or put anything new in, but with just a bit of tinkering we changed a song that sounded a bit HAPHAZARD and NERVE WRACKING into something BEAUTIFUL. Also, there's a bit at the end where Claire (playing General Truelove) CHUCKLES which is probably the funniest bit on the whole album - it's STILL making us all LARF with DELIGHT, even tho we have heard it MANY times.
And then there was just a series of MINOR adjustments - a bass raised here, and adjustment to violins there - and we were DONE. It was tempting at this point to move on to the NEXT batch of jobs, but at 4.30pm I thought it was probably best to cut straight to the PUB. It usually is.
In the pub we were joined by The Family Machine for some DELIGHTFUL beer and a bit of Baby Grappling before it was time for me to head home, extraordinarily pleased with the work of the day. We've got another session booked in a fortnight when I shall hopefully be taking any further Validator comments on board to create FINAL mixes, also making some minor adjustments to the dialogue sections, then three weeks after THAT we make our first attempt on THE LOT - putting the whole thing together as it will be when released! We'll be listening to this during August, while I'm doing Moon Horse, and then one LAST session should enable us to make any last minute changes required and get it DONE!
Crikey! It suddenly feels like ONE DAY this will all be completed, and I can FINALLY play it to people. That day cannot come soon enough!
posted 13/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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The Eve Of Battle
I met with Mr S Hewitt after work last night for our FINAL rehearsal of Moon Horse before we take it out and SHOW it to people. EEK!
The meeting commenced with a bit of a read through the Edinburgh Fringe Programme, which Steve had picked up HOT OFF THE PRESSES. As usual it was very very exciting to start with, then quickly ENRAGING as some of the usual ANNOYING shows LEAPT out at us. If you've never SEEN the Fringe Programme this may sound odd, but there are always HUNDREDS of shows which have descriptions that make you want to run into the street screaming "ALL STUDENTS MUST DIE!" into the night sky. Honest - go and have a look!
We also noted the LACK of certain Fringe Staples - where were all the Hamlets? The Macbeths and Equus? For goodness sake - was NOBODY doing Waiting For Godot AGANE?!? I thought this a terrible shame... before I was struck with an IDEA: we're definitely not going next year, but if we DID go the YEAR after: "GODOT! THE MUSICAL!" What could possibly go wrong?
We then LAUNCHED ourselves into a full rehearsal with no scripts but WITH props and... well, I wouldn't necessarily expect someone to PAY to see our efforts, but we DID get through to the end in just under an hour and MOST of it was at least SORT OF right. There were GAPS but I think it FELT worse than it would be in The Live Environment, as in rehearsal we were SUPER OBSERVANT of everything that wasn't exactly right, but when there's PEOPLE watching we'll be happy enough to get by on ROUGHLY the correct words and be more FORGIVING to ourselves about slight mistakes.
I hope we will be anyway - my MUM is coming to see the preview on the 19th, she's not seen me do a gig for YEARS, i'd like her to think I've got a bit better!
So yes, we went to the pub a bit NERVOUS but also, I think, pretty PREPARED to start DOING this crazy thing. It doesn't feel like THAT long since the script was done and we first had a read through, but it does look very much like all the props are bought, the lines are (mostly) learnt and the dates are BOOKED. We're doing MOST of the previews in London this time, largely so that we can take the FINISHED version out to show everyone else later in the year, but if you are ABOUT in this country's capital or INDEED in Northampton next week, it'd be lovely to see you. Here are the DATES:
Thursday 16 June - Nook Cafe, Northampton NNN1 2HL
Sunday 19 June - The Lexington, London N1 9JB (show starts 3pm)
Thursday 7 July - Fox & Firkin, Lewisham SE13 6JZ
Tuesday 12 July - The Green Dragon, Croydon CR0 1NA
Saturday 16 July - Ray's Mum's House, Dudley (Hibbettfest!)
Tuesday 26 July - The Old Coffee House, London W1F 9SF
Friday 29 July - The Bedford, Balham SW12 9HD (on 6.45pm-7.50pm)
After all THAT we're at The Buffs Club (R.A.O.B.) at 5 West Register Street every day at 5pm from Saturday 6th to Saturday 20th August in Edinburgh, and then at The Camden Head at 8pm on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th August for the Camden Fringe.
It all looks a bit PROPER doesn't it? All this and I'm still not entirely sure whether it's actually FUNNY or not. I guess we're about to find out!
posted 10/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Frantic times are a) occurring b) AHOY here at Hibbett International. Next week is looking a bit MANIC - I'm off to Derby on Saturday for MIXING, hosting the Bradley Manning benefit at The Wilmington on Monday (tickets HERE, also features Robin Ince, Andy Zaltzman and loads more), doing some VIDEOING on a THING on Tuesday, heading off to Northampton on Thursday for the first Moon Horse preview, seeing Half Man Half Biscuit on Friday, doing a spot at the Interesting Conference on Saturday then it's the SECOND Moon Horse preview on Sunday 19th.
On the Monday i think I may award myself a bit of an old LIE-IN.
But even with all that on the horizon there has been yet MORE occurring here in the humble present day. Yesterday I recieved the latest version of the cover art for Dinosaur Planet which looks FANTASTIC! It really is going to be a thing of almighty BEAUTY but I am going to try and stay calm and NOT show it off until everything's finished. It's GORGEOUS tho!
Meanwhile I popped over to the King & Queens in London's Fashionable Fitzrovia on Tuesday and BOOKED the London Summer Special for Totally Acoustic, on July 14th. I've already asked a couple of acts about doing it (including one of my ALL TIME MUSICAL HEROES) and if it all goes OK then hopefully we'll start doing a monthly night there starting around October/November time.
Other gigs are RUMBLING in the DISTANCE, not least a return for The Validators! We've booked an ACTUAL GIG in Nottingham in November, and we MIGHT be making a return to BERLIN in December too!! This latter is all in the air at the moment but if it works out we'll be part of an EXTREMELY exciting line-up playing a Christmas all-dayer in that fine city. Stollen for all!
And if all THAT wasn't enough - the Moon Horse badges have arrived, and look as BRILLIANT as I suspected they might. With those received I think we are pretty much ON TOP of arrangements for the show. All we need to do is finish and send out the press releases and we're good to go! Well, we've still got lines to learn of course, but there's plenty of time for that... isn't there?
posted 9/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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A couple of weeks ago I went to visit my GP - several months ago I'd woken up with NUMB FINGERS (little finger and next one along) on both hands, WORRIED about it for a few weeks, mentioned it to The Arms On My Shoulders, been told to see the GP, WORRIED for a few more weeks, been told to go again, WORRIED a bit more and then DID book an appointment. The traditional method, in fact.
So yes, I turned up at my Doctor's and told him this and he immediately looked AFEARED. He wobbled my head and MIDRIFF about for a bit then JABBED me with a Pointed Implement for a bit, before declaring that there didn't SEEM to be any Neurological Damage and told me to get a BLOOD TEST. "It could be all sorts of things", he said, "Like a B12 deficiency."
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE! Did he say "B12"?!? As anyone who has spoken to me in the past few months IN ANY CAPACITY will know, I have PREVIOUS with this miracle vitamin! Back in FEBRUARY i was feeling super sluggish and KNACKERED all the time so GOOGLED the symptoms and found it MIGHT be B12 Deficiency. This COULD happen to Vegetarians, it said "but only if you have been Vegetarian for about 20 years." I had been vegetarian for NINETEEN YEARS! I bought some tablets and within A SINGLE DAY i felt like i had SUPER POWERS!
So when my GP mentioned this my BRANE immediately flew into action and I realised - HANG ON! - that the Tingly Fingers had ALSO started around then. Full of the joys of Self Diagnosis I reported next day for a BLOOD TEST expecting to have this entirely VERIFIED. The NURSE was incredibly GRUMPY when I did this and when I asked him if i'd still be able to give blood that evening he SNORTED his DERISION. "Of course" he scowled. Inevitably, when I got to the Donor Centre they said it was probably best to wait for the results. BAH!
ANYWAY I rang up LAST week to get my results, only to hear the receptionist say BRIGHTLY "It's all fine!" That WASN'T exactly what I was after, however, so THIS week I was back in the GP's office, discussing what was going on.
Well, I say "discussing", what I mean was BLUSHING. It turns out I am the VERY MODEL OF HEALTH AND FITNESS! Turns out that Vegetariansim and BEER are the perfect diet - he didn't actually SAY that, but it was INFERRED - and I am King Of All HEALTH. Best of all I explained about the B12 tablets and, rather than ticking me off for Self Diagnosing (as my GP has been known to do) he said AGREED with me, said "Keep Taking The Tablets" and gave me a MANLY HANDSHAKE! I wasn't sure whether he was supporting my veggieNESS, my Supreme Physique or my Medical Know-How - I suppose it was probably THE LOT.
I thus walked out of the surgery feeling like the KING OF THE WORLD. Who knows? Maybe my slight deafness, bad eyesight, pointy out feet and VERY SLIGHTLY OVERLARGE GUT are ALSO down to B12 deficiency? I'll keep taking the tablets and report back!
posted 7/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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X-Men First Class
I went to the PICTURES on Friday after work - the Odeon on Tottenham Road, which is probably the GEEKIEST cinema in London, PERHAPS THE COUNTRY for LO! it is right next to Soho/Fitzrovia (FULL of computer types having to pretend to be Groovy) and Bloomsbury (FULL of academics and computer types, not even bothering to pretend to be Groovy) and thus home to at LEAST four comic shops all within ten minutes' walk of each other. And yet, ODDLY, i feel quite at home there. STRANGE.
I arrived (on my own - WHAT?) to find FIVE employees working in the foyer, NONE of whom were actually selling tickets. Well done team, much more important to keep the GUMMY SNAKES stocked up than actually let anybody in to BUY them! Eventually I got in and strode through to my seat RIGHT at the front. I love sitting right at the front at the pictures - what's the point of sitting at the back? If i wanted to view a screen that looked about the size of a telly i would watch TELLY. RIGHT at the front not only means everything is MASSIVE but you can also stretch your legs out and lean back. AND it's easier to go to the loo, if you are, just for instance, a Gentleman Of A Certain Age who ALWAYS needs the loo halfway through a film.
From this vantage point I looked back to see the room was filling up with blokes aged around 25-45, all wearing glasses, often on their own, looking all excited about seeing a superhero film. CUH! Geeks eh?
Then the film began and (REVIEW) was BLOODY GRATE! I didn't really like the other X-Men films - the first one was all right, but was still a bit PONDEROUS and seemed to spend most of its time going "AHA! LOOK! It's COLOSUSS! OOH!" and they all went on FOREVER. This one had LARFS in it (including best use of Wolverine EVER! in ANY medium!) and IDEAS and was FUN - it fair WHIPPED by with EXCITEMENT, i thought it was BRILL!
What was quite INTERESTING about it, to me at least, was they way it created its own version of X-MEN LORE. The BEST Superhero films (e.g. Spider-man, Thor, Iron Man) tend to cling Quite Tightly to the PROPER story, but this played fast and loose with it, moving all sorts of characters about to make it very very different to the COMICS, and it all seemed to WORK. Magneto being in the goodies at the same time as ANGEL? Why not? (YES YES i KNOW technically that HAPPENED in the Grant Morrsion run) Nightcrawler's rubbish Dad in the League Of Evil Mutants with Sebastian Shaw and someone from the '90's? OF COURSE! Quite apart from the fact that all these changes were done to get the best possible USE out of them for STORY PURPOSES, they managed to persuade GEEKS (er... and also me) that it was a good idea by doing those characters PROPERLY or, indeed, BETTER than in the comics.
But most of all it was FUN and a RIOT of GROOVY SUPERHEROES, which are pretty much my favourite kind. I do hope they make another one, I would LIKE that!
posted 6/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Good Times In Cambridge
I slunk off the Kings Cross after work last night to catch a train to Cambridge for a GIG. I was VERY EXCITED INDEED about it for reasons stated previously (my first "proper" gig-style gig for AGES, also i was supporting Chris T-T) and right away I was reminded how DELIGHTFUL touring by train can be. For years now I have read my weekly dose of comics ONCE and then saved them for a second reading on the TRANE. This means I get several months' worth a series to catch up on, which is IMMENSELY satisfying. As I'd not been on a train for YONKS I had a wide range to choose from, and so had a RIGHT relaxing time with the past six months of The Avengers. I know I could do this ANY time, but being on a train (or, later, in a B&B) is one of the few times my BRANE thinks "Right, I can't really DO anything else right now, so i GUESS i can relax. JUST FOR A BIT MIND!"
From Cambridge I got a TAXI (GLAMOUR) to my B&B, where I'd stayed before, and allowed myself the luxury of a SHOWER before wandering down the road to The Portland Arms. It was a bloody GORGEOUS summery evening, so i dared to do my stroll without a JACKET! KRAZY, I know, but worth it!
At the venue I met Steve, who was organising, Mr T-T, and Anna Madaleine, sister of same and fellow performer. Once soundchecks were done we went outside for a CHAT - I do love a bit of SHOP TALK, and Chris is a FOUNTAIN of ROCK KNOWLEDGE in such situations. I should say that I wasn't just RECEIVING information - I also introduced Anna to the joys of MILD, and the phrase "Avoid The Beer Called Old: Drink The Beer Called Gold", which i think all young people should know.
While this was goinging on our TEA arrived. We'd been told they'd got some "Veggie Food" for us all, and I was expecting something involving Hummus, Bread Producs and/or salsa. I LIKE these things, don't get me wrong, but I was OVERCOME with GLEE to discover that what they'd ACTUALLY done us whas CHIPS! BEANS! VEGGIE SAUSAGES! It was FANTASTIC!
Soon it was show time, with Anna on first - she was dead good, ENTIRELY different from us, doing this here young person's ELECTRONICA sort of thing. It SOUNDED lovely, but also featured... well, I don't know really, I felt like a CRO-MAGNON looking on in confusion as HOMO SAPIENS fashioned TOOLS - there was SAMPLES and BEATS and sort-of ACTING and MOVEMENT and all KINDS of things beyond my ken. It was GRATE, but made me feel OLD!
Then it was MY TURN, and I did THIS:
The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
The Gay Train
Hey Hey 16K
Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
Billy Jones Is Dead
Do The Indie Kid
The Lesson Of The Smiths
Boom Shake The Room
If I wasn't already feeling a bit ANCIENT I certainly was halfway through as I FORGOT huge CHUNKS of most of the songs. It was a bit embarrassing really - I'm always getting Fucking Hippy wrong or the verses to Dinosaur Planet in the wrong order, but GOODNESS ME - forgetting how to PLAY The Lesson Of The Smiths and singing the words to Do The Indie Kid instead? Clearly it is time to upgrade my BRANE to 48K, if it can't cope with learning a new show AND keeping old songs stored!
Nobody seemed to mind though, and i managed to make it a FEATURE. There was actually a LOT of chatting - a LOT - not least because MANY old pals (including Messrs Finch, Breach and Boschi) were in attendance and I think it worked out OK. I certainly had a WHALE of a time!
Just before going on someone had approached to ask if I'd be playing I'm Saying Yes, as they'd seen the video and had come on PURPOSE because of it. I had to politely decline - I didn't know it THAT well when I was playing and, correctly as it turned out, thought my BRANE would have WIPED it to make room for Moon Horse. I felt BAD about it thought, so afterwards we gathered a group together and went out to the smoking area for a PRIVATE ENCORE. As it happened i DID stumble over loads of lines, but I think we got to the end in one piece.
Then it was time for the main attraction himself, and as ever Chris T-T was MARVELLOUS. Moving, ROUSING, thoughtful and just all round GRATE songs with humour and SINCERITY in between, he was just brilliant - even tho he TERRIFIED me halfway through when he asked me to change a STRING which he'd just broken. As current and former band colleagues of mine will ATTEST i am ROTTEN at that sort of thing, but did seem to manage to sort it out, (even though, to my surprise, he turns out to be left handed!) but I DID spend most of the second half of the set ON EDGE in case i caused the whole instrument to go TWANG!
Afterwards there was a whole lot of chatter and DELIGHT before the bar staff gently pointed out that we really really REALLY had to go home now, so we said our goodbyes and went out seperate ways. I arrived back at the B&B full of the joys of ROCK - gigs! They are GRATE!
posted 3/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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An Actual Gig (and BADGES!)
You find me a little bit EXCITED this afternoon as tonight I am doing an ACTUAL GIG!
An actual GIG! Not Totally Acoustic, not a Moon Horse preview nor any kind of APPEARANCE in Other Styles, and not going to SEE a gig. I am PLAYING an actual GIG! IN A DIFFERENT CITY!!
For LO! I am off to Cambridge after work to ROCK The Portland Arms in a veritable T-T SANDWICH, with Anna Madeline and Mr Chris T-T. I haven't travelled off to do a "normal" gig since MARCH when I went to Leeds - that sort of thing used to be my BREAD AND BUTTER but of late it has fallen by the wayside a little to make space for SHOWS and things. I'm not complaining - i LOVE doing the shows! - but it is nice to get to pop off somewhere again and play a SET that is not SET IN STONE!
Those crazy SHOWBIZ SHOWS are never far from my mind though - why, this very morning I ordered the BADGES for Moon Horse from the ever wonderful people at Wee Badgers. I'm rather chuffed with the design for these, LOOK!
COOL eh? I did briefly consider having a SECOND design with GOOGLY EYES but it quickly became clear GLUING several hundred pairs of googly eyes would be a PAIN IN THE WHATNOTS and also... well, without HAIR it wouldn't be the same would it?
And with the ordering of BADGES we pass yet another MILESTONE on the road to the Edinburgh Fringe. The next step is to actually start DOING the show! YIKES!!
posted 2/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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Art Brut Made Me Rock Out
Last night, after a pretty successful Moon Horse rehearsal (not ALL lines perfect, but we've still got a fortnight until we have to SHOW it to anyone, right?), myself and Mr S Hewitt got the 73 bus to ANGEL, there to go to a GIG.
For LO! it was the second night of Art Brut's residency at The Lexington, for which we had TICKETS. I was QUITE EXCITED about it to be honest, as a) Art Brut are GRATE b) the new album is ACE c) the Lexington is a BRILLIANT venue d) I had reason to suspect that the support would be PRETTY DARN GOOD.
For Lo! Again! It was Keith Top Of The Pops And His Minor UK Indie Celebrity Allstar Backing Band - the band I have probably seen MORE THAN ANY OTHER over the past couple of years! This meant that me AND Steve both pretty much SANG ALONG with all the songs, which sounds FAB coming through the Lexington's excellent PA, as LARGE as it should be with 11 people on stage but also allowing the always excellent SONGS to come over. "Two Of The Beatles Are Dead" was one of the best versions I've heard, although I was a little alarmed at the appearnace of a B FLAT CHORD in a new song. Is this a harbinger of a JAZZ direction?
We sat and had a bit of an old CHAT during the next band before heading back up for the MAJESTY that is the Art Brut Live Experience. MAN ALIVE but they were FANTASTIC - I would, of course, hate to go over the top in ANY way, but... er... it made me think of THE BEATLES post-Hamburg. That's not too over the top AT ALL is it? What i mean is that it was CLEAR that they had played A LOT OF GIGS, had learnt ALL The Tricks Of Rock along the way, and were not afraid to DEPLOY them. The BEST thing about it though was that the whole band were at it - Jasper The Guitarist was leaning out into the crowd to get them to join in, Ian The Lead Guitarist was STRIKING POSES, Mikey The Drummer was COMMANDING the audience to DO HIS WILL, and perhaps best of all Freddy The Bass Player, who always seems to stand right at the back, afeared, was this time SINGING ALONG the whole way through. You KNOW it is a good band when the bass player sings along, it becomes a FOCUS for everyone ELSE to join in. And there was a LOT of that.
And of course Mr E Argos was at the front and in charge throughout - there are MANY MANY MANY things to admire about his work, from his DELIGHTFUL stage manner and EXCELLENT lyrics (good golly they really are brilliant, and you could hear ALL of them lats night), but the thing i would salute him most for is the GENIUS way in which he has turned ADMIN ISSUES into STAGECRAFT. Whenever you see a band play there is usually a big bit where the singer (or in some cases guitarist) has to look round and check that everybody else in the band is ready to start. It is pretty ESSENTIAL - it takes us AGES sometimes - but Mr Argos has developed this into his "READY ART BRUT!" rallying call. It's like "Avengers Assemble" or "To Me, My X-Men" or - NO HIGHER PRAISE - "It's Clobberin' Time"!
Talking of which - after a SMASHING re-write of "Modern Art Makes Me Want To Rock Out" taking in Eddie's trip to the DC Comics Office (featuring THE WHOLE AUDIENCE crouching down for AGES before LEAPING in the air to the sound of recent major DC crossover events - really) he then re-did "DC Comics And Chocolate Milkshake" as "Marvel Comics And Banana Milkshake" in honour of certain Marvel fans/EMPLOYEES in the room. It is a testament to his SKILL that BANANA Milkshake is EXACTLY the correct flavour of milkshake that goes with Marvel Comics. I personally, for instance, love BOTH the flavour and the company, but have not much time for Chocolate flavour or DC.
In fact, the only thing that i didn't like about the gig (NB SARCASM APPROACHING) was being namechecked again as "MJ Hibbett, Top Of The Pops". OH HOW I HATE THAT SORT OF THING! If I looked like i was GRINNING LIKE A WAZZOCK at that point it was just me bravely coping with the invasion of my privacy. It was AWFUL... goodness knows why i am bringing it up again here, hem hem.
So yeah, it was FANTASTIC all round, and then afterwards we sat and had a beer and chat with a host of LOVELY people which may have DEVOLVED into HUGGING variously. It was lovely, gigs are GRATE aren't they?
posted 1/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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An Artists Against Success Presentation