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Blog Archive: August 2022

Cover Reveal
Today is an EPOCHAL day in the history of ROCK, for today is the day that I reveal the majestic majesty of the cover for my forthcoming solo album, The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett, THUS:



APTLY TITLED, I am sure you will agree. As you'll also hopefully have noticed, I've done a big redesign of the website to match the BRANDING, and if I've done it correctly then you should also notice that some areas that were distinctly UNFRIENDLY to mobile phones and tablets have become slightly MORE FRIENDLY now. Hopefully, anyway.

I'm updating all the SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS too in order to engage maximum brand synchronicity, and then next week I commence the long formulated MEDIA PLAN to try and get people to actually LISTEN to it. I'm dead proud of this here album - it may be almost beyond the reach of understanding, but it really does sound as good as it looks!

posted 31/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Fringe Fun
I went up to the Edinburgh Fringe last week, spending just under 48 hours there. From this experience I can tell you two things with certainty: firstly, the Fringe is still a LOT of fun, and secondly, being there for more than 48 houtd would have probably done me in. I am still knackered!

I headed up on the train on Wednesday morning, checked into my (only ludicrously priced, rather than horrendously ludicrously priced) student hall of residence, then hotfooted it back into town to meet Mr S Hewitt and The Mylands in the Holyrood Bar. They'd already been there for several days (NB in Edinburgh, not that particular bar) and how they were looking so fit and well I do not know!

There then followed nearly two days of zooming around watching shows with various combinations of the aforesaid pals, visiting multiple ace pubs, and eating a LOT of chips. My favourite shows were Nic Sampson: Marathon 1904, War Of The Worlds On A Budget, Josie Long: Re-enchantment and John Hastings: Do You Have Any Ointment My John Hastings, all of which had PROPER stories with beginnings and ends and A Point, unlike the weirdly disappointing John Culshaw As Les Dawson which was about Les Dawson getting on a plan and thinking about some bits of his life ... um... and that was it. It was odd!

We also saw Basil Brush: Unleashed, which was not particularly great as a show in and of itself BUT did have ACTUAL BASIL BRUSH in it, and I went to see Steve Richards: Rock'n'Roll Politics which was exactly what it said it was going to be i.e. Steve Richards Talking About Things. It was at this show that I first noticed a recurring TREND this year, that everybody was QUITE OLD. In some ways this was quite nice, as it made me feel YOUNG and VITAL when my hangover was trying to persuade me very much otherwise, but it seemed strange that it kept happening. I mean, I was going to shows that YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE ME were interested in, what were all these grey-haired Radio 4 listeners doing there? IT MAKES NO SENSE.

We also got some decent PUBBING in, with trips to The Halfway House, The Albanach, Dagda and Brass Monkey along with various Corporate Comedy Company Bars, and there was WHISKY and CHAT and general good times. I flipping loved it, but I was VERY happy to get home!

posted 29/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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An Epochal Day
Friday was an EXCITING day for me, as it contained THREE (3) thrilling occurrences.

Firstly, I took delivery of the PHYSICAL MERCHANDISE for "The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett". It's not boring old CDs or tedious vinyl or even delightful cassettes, but something ELSE which is going to contain all the usual album STUFF plus loads more. Full details will be in the next newsletter, it is going to be GRATE!

Secondly, I fought back against a deadly PLOY by Netflix. As mentioned previously I have been RACING against time to finish "The Sandman" and thus COMPLETE NETFLIX before my subscription ran out, and I was very pleased to have done so successfully at the start of last week. I then moved on to COMPLETING PARAMOUNT PLUS (i.e. watching the most recent series of Star Treks Strange New Worlds and Discovery) and was happily fulfilling this task when Netflix dropped a bombshell: TWO new episodes of Sandman!! The SWINES!

Luckily for me it turns out that it was actually two stories contained in one normal-sized episode, which I was able to get watched with a couple of HOURS to spare. It was a close-run thing but worth it as the episode(s) was/were inevtibaly FAB. Nice try though, Netflix!

THIRDLY, and perhaps even more EPOCHALLY than even both of the above, I signed a publishing contract! This was for a revised version of my PhD Thesis, which will be coming out next year (or possibly early 2024) from A Reputable Academic Publisher. I'm probably allowed to say who it is and everything but I'm not entirely sure so don't want to mess it up at this early stage, but suffice to say it is VERY exciting! The working title is "Heroes Of Multiple Worlds: an empirical model of transmedia character coherence" which, I'm sure you'll agree, is pretty much a shoe-in for a FILM ADAPTATION!

The next step is to actually WRITE it, as it's going to have a slightly different FOCUS to the PhD project, but I've got until May next year to do that, so it'll be a while before it actually comes out, but when it DOES I will be sure to let you know!

posted 22/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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It's Just Not Cricket
In general, Cricket is a sport that I am Totally Fine With. There was only one time in my life when I actively watched it, during the recording of WE VALIDATE!, when we'd take it in turns to watch a bit of The Ashes whenever we weren't needed either in the studio or building sandcastles.This was very enjoyable, but I've never really felt an urge to engage further and am more than happy for it to exist without me.

I played cricket at school and, like rugby, came to dislike it intensely. However, unlike Rugby, I later came to understand what other people see in it - I thought the point of cricket was the actual playing of it, with the running backwards and forwards and hitting balls etc etc, but I eventually realised that that's just an excuse for EITHER sitting around for a whole afternoon getting drunk and talking to your friends OR listening to silly old twits talk about it on the radio amusingly and remembering FACTS.

These are clearly all activities which I am TOTALLY behind and fully support anybody's right to pursue. However, I have already made lifestyle choices which satisfy my needs for all of the above, and so I am happy to leave cricket to others. I understand enough to get references to it if I have to, and I own a Duckworth Lewis Method album, and so until now I have been confident that I would never have the need to log an opinion re. cricket in the public domain.

UNTIL NOW.

Flipping heck, this The Hundred business has RIGHT wound me up. For those who don't know it's basically a way of making cricket fit into less than the eighteen months it takes to play Test Cricket so they can show it on telly wit adverts. The way it works is that you get 100 goes at bowling each, and then there are various fiddly bits to keep THE MATHS fairly simple (which seems to be against the whole point of cricket to me). It seems daft when Twenty20 already exists to do the same thing, but if that's what television stations want to spend their money on then that's fine with me, as long as they don't spend so much that they can't make MY telly shows anymore. Live And Let Watch Game of Thrones Prequels is very much my motto.

HOWEVER, the thing that has wound me up about it is the bloody "TEAMS" what they have invented. I was watching the telly news the other night and the News Person was going on about "The Oval Invincibles" which he then shortened to "The Invincibles" as if that was SOMEHOW A THING. It's a totally made up non-existent BRANDING exercise to bring together a bunch of entirely unrelated highly paid sportspeople so they can play against another BRAND of other similar sportspeople. And YES YES I AM AWARE that one could describe ALL modern professional sports teams like this, but the point is that THOSE brands are rooted in history and have been around for AGES. When I go to see Peterborough United (when I CAN get to see them that is - I was prevented from going on Tuesday due to BROKEN TRAINS and it made me SAD) it is because of an entire LIFE of going to see them, the associated family traditions of doing the same, the many memories, and of course the various delightful TYPES I see in the PUB beforehand who have also gone for similar lengths of time. It's lovely!

This is clearly very much not the case with "Trent Rockets", which did not EXIST until a couple of years ago. Maybe in 20 years time, if the 100 thing carries on, there will be people in Nottingham who bear a local grudge against their deadly rivals "Birmingham Phoenix" and sing songs of their disdain at every match, possibly getting into a mild RUCKUS when "South Eastern Conglomerate" come to play. But for now it seems utterly ridiculous when I see clips on telly of people wearing MERCHANDISE KITS and getting terribly excited about a team that DOES NOT REALLY EXIST! AT ALL!

Why are they doing it? This is The United Kingdom Of Lots Of Sports Teams, you can't MOVE without tripping over a hockey squad or a lacrosse team or any one of the 17,000,000 clubs in the Infinite Pyramid Of Football, so why on earth would you want or even NEED to go to The Hundred as an excuse to drink beer and shout when there are so many other options? And if it really MUST happen, could they not have come up with better names? They're all called "Superchargers" or "Spirit" or "Fire" as if they were all thought up by competitors on THE APPRENTICE. The Hundred! If you really MUST do this thing, at least be brave and call the teams PROPER business names like "Essex Mandatory Training" or "Wiltshire Mid-Year Appraisal".

I wouldn't mind so much if Telly Sports People weren't so ruddy JOVIAL about it. "Oh, that's just SO Middlesbrough Fire Drill!" they say, or "If it was going to happen to anybody, it had to be Yorkshire Broken Photocopier!" It's time we all stood up and refused to engage with this at all, and forced the telly to focus on PROPER sports. Like DARTS! or WRESTLING!

posted 18/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Whatever It Is, That's What It Is
As part of the preparations for my Exciting New Album I've been busily sorting out some MUSIC VIDEOS, like what Sting used to complain about on his MTV. The first one was done a little while ago using POWERPOINT, for a song which will, I am sure, finally end the use of AGILE as a project management methodology (I'd like to see Woody Guthrie achieve something like THAT) but this past week has seen me using MYSELF as the main focus for two (2) more videos.

The first was for the single "Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?" My original THORT was to do this as a re-enactment of the album cover, which (SPOILERS) is a picture of ME. I set myself up in what I thought was the correct position and filmed myself singing the song, accompanied by a few props, thinking it was going to be a bit like Sinead O'Connor in "Nothing Compares 2U".

Clearly, it was not really like that, but after a few goes I'd got the words pretty much almost right all the way through, so sat down to edit it. At this point I realised that I had NOT set myself up in the correct position and was in fact facing in entirely the wrong direction, and it was here that I codified the methodology I would employ for the rest of this process: Whatever It Is, That's What It Is. In other words, whatever I manage to actually DO, that's what I'm going to work with. This may seem BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS, but I found it IMMENSELY helpful as a way of not worrying too much before starting filming and instead trusting that SOMETHING fun would come out of it as long as I allowed it to do so.

For instance, once I'd set it up so that the album title appeared on screen alongside my HEAD I realised that the rest of the video then had a MASSIVE GAP where the words had been, and so I decided to make it into a LYRICS VIDEO as well. Did Sinead O'Connor do that? No, she did not, most likely because there was a team of 17,000 directors, assistant directors, camera persons and multiple posh teenagers getting coffee, and so she was unable to suggest exciting new ideas that could be enacted within the time booked for the SHOOT. Also, lyrics videos had not been invented yet, although that's probably purely because of the above mentioned process issues.

Once that decision was made the whole thing was finished off dead eaasily, leaving me all excited for my NEXT video shoot, which was booked to happen on Saturday. I say "Booked" because I had actually BOOKED somewhere to do it, as it involved me DANCING ABOUT in an open space which was neither available nor conducive to good neighbourly relations at home. I thus arranged myself a couple of hours in Theatre Deli, the organisation that takes over unused office space and turns it into rehearsal studios.

When I was making videos with Mr John Dredge we used Theatre Deli several times, as it was a really convenient way to get a nice clear SPACE to make stuff in, and which often included the PROPS we needed, like desks and chairs etc. It seemed to move to a different location nearly every time we did something, and it was in a different place AGANE this time, on Leadenhall Street in The City. This was very handy for me as it meant I could get the Elizabeth Line to Liverpool Street and then walk there, passing a GREGGS on the way where I bought a FANTASTIC Vegan Cheese And Ham Baguette. MAN ALIVE, I know there is a lot wrong with the world today, but it is also a world where such things as Vegan Cheese And Ham Baguettes are not only available, but available in GREGGS. It is a truly wonderful thing, I will be back for MORE!

It was REALLY REALLY HOT on Saturday, so I was a bit worried about how I'd SURVIVE a couple of hours of dancing around, but was relieved when I arrived to find that the air conditioning was very much ON. I went to my alloted room, got the camera set up, and then spent about forty minutes DANCING. This will all become clear when I UNLEASH the video, but the basic idea was to ACT OUT the story of "Kenny's Brother Alan's Stag Do" through the medium of INTERPRETIVE DANCE, performed by ME in various different t-shirts playing up to four characters at once. Yes, you are correct, it is a SHOE-IN for Awards Season.

I'd spent much of the past fortnight THINKING about how this would work, with the main thing being all four versions of me DANCING in SYNCHORNICITY during the choruses. When me and Mr S Hewitt did our Fringe shows I was always struck by the realisation that what people like most of all during live shows - more than ANYTHING else - is the simple joy of seeing two or more people moving in the same way at the same time. There's something about it that brings DELIGHT to the soul, and when I watched the finished thing later on I felt that same DELIGHT myself, even though i knew it was NOT different people, and even though I did not quite get it right all the way through.

For LO! the dictum that Whatever It Is, That's What It Is applied VERY MUCH here, as not only did I not get the dancing right (I went the wrong way a few times, and also forgot where I was in one bit) but also had not given a great deal of THORT to what I'd do in the verses. I'd originally planned to sing the WORDS, sharing them between characters, but the problem with this was that "Kenny's Brother Alan's Stag Do" is nearly five minutes long (by FAR the longest track on the album) and I had not really LEARNT it. Thus I was forced to IMPROVISE some vague dancing and ACTING which, again, I am sure will be rewarded both at this year's MTV Awards and the Smash Hits Pollwinners' Party.

I did five different versions of the story in five different t-shirts, all with the same camera position, and then decided that that was probably enough. The original plan was to do close-ups and all sorts, but something told me that I didn't need to, so I packed up nearly an hour early and went home to start EDITING. Often this is a COLOSSAL PAIN, but this time around it was farily peasy - there were four clips all playing at the same time (again, this will make sense when you see it!) and so some TRICKERY was needed to do to make it all work, but as I'd done each shot all the way through I didn't need to do much actual editing, and by the end of Sunday it was DONE.

This gives me a total of THREE (3) videos completed, with maybe a couple more to go. As you can probably tell, I've really enjoyed the process so far, I just hope that other people enjoy the results when they are finally UNLEASHED!

posted 15/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Updating The Socials
One of the driving IDEAS behind the new album ("The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett", available on all streaming services on Friday 14 October, guaranteed delightful) has been doing it ALL myself wherever possible, without consultation or assistance. This has had some GRATE results (e.g. the title) and has been very FREEING, in that I can just DO stuff whenever I fancy, but it has meant that I've ended up with quite a bit of extra work that I have been largely AVOIDING for the past many years.

The area where this has applied most vividly is in THE SOCIALS. Back when I first started in The Krazy World Of Rock And Roll the biggest deal in promotion was finidng an Amusing Picture to put on your posters and, in my case, cutting out the right letters in Leicester Mercury headlines to stick on for the date and location. Yes kids, that's right - this was BEFORE we even had COMPUTERS that could do that sort of thing nicely. IT WAS LONG AGO.

Since then The Interweb has come along and to begin with this made life MUCH easier. You could tell people about gigs and albums and all sorts without having to go anywhere NEAR a photocopier, and you weren't just restricted to the three record shops in your home town that took posters and/or the library. Then we got SOCIAL MEDIA and, again, this was GRATE to start with but now feels like a flipping full time job. All the "How to promote yourself" articles are forever talking about Providing Content and Claiming Artists Profiles and Updating Social Streams and Engaging With Fans and it is FLIPPING EXHAUSTING. There is SO MUCH to do that, to be honest, I have mostly given up on it over the past few years. The MJ Hibbett Instagram is testament to this - it is basically the 21st Century equivalent of a Geocities (ask your grandparents) site with "More News Coming Soon!" at the top and a GIF at the bottom of a stickman digging a hole.

None of this has particularly mattered as there hasn't been an awful lot of ROCK to promote, but that is about to change. When we did Jane And John we got the lovely High Violet PR to do our radio plugging, which was GRATE because a) they did a really good job and b) I didn't need to worry about doing any of it. NOW, however, I am duty bound by THE RULES to do it myself, so I have been revisiting my ancient contacts database to generate a MAILING LIST.

It turns out that a) a surprsingly large number of people who were fiercely enagaged in ROCK when I set the database up are, nearly two decades later, not anymore but also b) quite a few LIFERS are still there. It also turns out that there are LOADS of new people, particularly in the realms of local/internet radio, which seems to be THRIVING. I do like RADIO people - they actually PLAY your music so others can hear it - so this pleases me immensely!

There's also all this NEW (to me) stuff about PLAYLISTS and EXCLUSIVES and BLOGS (which are not like what I think of BLOGS i.e. this) and CHANNELS and goodness knows what, all of which seems to require a PROFILE of some sort, usually slightly different to how it works in other places and ALWAYS with an entirely different specification for banners, profile pictures and all that. It's wearying, but I console myself with the THORT that if I go through and do it all properly THIS time then it won't be ten years out of date when we do the NEXT things... so long as it happens sooner than in ten years!

In summary then: the enormous hassle of doing SOCIALS is probably what keeps bands together these days. "We can't split the Stones Keef, I'll have to update our Myspace and I've lost the passwords."

posted 12/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Sandman And The Race To Complete Netflix
A few weeks ago I came to a Decisive Decision re. Entertainment Options and The Cost Of Living Crisis. I looked at our PORTFOLIO of streaming services and realised that, now that I'd watched the (AMAZING) latest series of "Stranger Things" I had pretty much COMPLETED NETFLIX and didn't really need it anymore. Also, I really really really wanted to get Paramount+ so I could watch the (ALSO AMAZING) "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" and THUS decided to cancel Netflix and reallocate my resources. The date was set for a couple of weeks hence, and all seemed well.

However, Netflix had other ideas. "Cancelling us, are you?" they said. "Oh, so I suppose you don't want to watch THE SANDMAN then eh? EH?" "Curse you Netflix!" I railed, but then remembered that when it "dropped" (MEDIA LINGO) on August 5th that meant the whole SERIES would be available, giving me just over a week to watch THE LOT. "Challenge", said I, quoting another series available on streaming services, "Accepted!"

It's now a couple of days later and I am about halfway through and I must say I REALLY like it. Of all the Neil-Gamain-y things I have ever read or watched (and I have read or watched LOADS of the above) this is pretty much the MOST Neil-Gaiman-y thing EVER. As well it might be, OBVS. For instance, last night I finished The One In The Diner, which a) was creepy and scary but b) suddenly made a beautiful point that made everything look very different indeed i.e. c) was very Neil-Gaiman-y. Also it is packed full of Interesting Goths wafting around saying Important Sounding Things but then being Charmingly Quirky just before Something New Happens. I LIKE IT.

I bought the first few issues of the comic when it originally came out (and, INEVITABLY, sold them ages ago for quite a bit less than they would have got now!) but then drifted away. I eventually read the whole thing about four years ago in the library at UAL, so am only VAGUELY away of how the original story worked. This is GOOD in that I am getting the joyful twinges of recognition every few minutes, but does make me wonder what anybody who HADN'T read it before would make of it. Does the story really make any sense this way? I mean, I'm not sure that it did originally, being more a series of VIGNETTES, but is that all right on the telly?

I'm also aware of the changes, especially to the casting which I am ALL THERE FOR. The Sandman comic came out DECADES ago, and it's great that Actual Neil Gaiman has thought about things in Modern Times and shifted the casting choices around, although this does lead me to question some of the things that HAVE been left as they are. Specifically, why does everyone have to have pointy ears all the time? Just for practical purposes, it must take AGES to get everyone fitted out with them, so is it completely necessary so to do? Or did Actual Neil Gaiman say "Pointy ears are CRUCIAL to the success of my OUVRE - if they go, I GO ALSO!"

Having said that, I have really enjoyed some of the tiny daft aspects of COMICS that have made their way into this multi-million dollar extravaganza, ESPECIALLY Cain and Abel. NB if you haven't seen it yet this isn't really a SPOILER or anything, they are basically A SMALL JOKE what Alan Moore put into "Swamp Thing" about a THOUSAND years ago which then made their way into the "Sandman" comic as well, and then eventually into this incredibly expensive telly show, complete with original haircuts and even the joke about "The House Of Mystery" and "The House Of Secrets" which was monumentally NICHE in the comics, let alone now. Also: POINTY EARS!

There's still a way to go but, as I say, I am thoroughly enjoying it, and then I will have FINISHED Netflix... unless they suddenly announce "Giant Days" or "Dinosaur Comics" as a series, in which case I AM BACK!

posted 10/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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It's Called League One For A Reason
Saturday found me travelling to Peterborough once more for Posh's first home game of the season and also - perhaps even MORE importantly - my first game as a Season Ticket holder!

I set off full of excitement, and was surprised to find my train to St Pancras full of OTHER people, ALSO full of excitement, for OTHER games. Everyone was in groups talking over each other - it was VERY loud but nobody was being Rude or Aggressive, if anything it was like being on a massive school trip!

When I got to St Pancras it was RAMMED - half the escalators are being repaired on the Javelin platform, so that was a bottleneck, and when I eventually got downstairs I had to QUEUE TO GET OUT, due to the Eurostar queue being so massive and backed up. St Pancras is a lovely station but it is designed for breezing in and out of, and lacks the vast halls of your Kings Cross or Euston, which are there to hold huge numbers of the disgruntled. Kings Cross was similarly busy when I got there, but it was at least possible to move around!

After that it was all smooth sailing, or rather railing, and I was soon in Peterborough marching across town to Charters AKA The Boat Place to meet the usual bunch of DELIGHTFUL people and LO! much intellectual conversation was had. Again, people all around were jolly, including a large contingent of Morecambe fans, who turned out to be pretty much ALL of the Morecambe fans. Inside at the bar I got chatted to by a young lad who was DELIGHTED with how it was all going. "This is the best pub I've ever been in!" he said. This pleased the bar staff immensely!

After a while it was time to stroll over the road. The sun was shining and all seemed well with the world, which is usually the cue for it all to go horribly wrong but, astonishingly, NO! The actual game itself was an actual PLEASURE to watch, which was certainly NOT the case in the ugly, mean, DIFFICULT world of The Championship. Ugh! That was a nasty league, full of teams CHEATING by PRACTICING beforehand and agreeing between them what they were going to do. This was very much NOT the case with Morecambe who played the game as it is meant to be played i.e. not very well. We, on the other hand, had kept some of the GAMESMANSHIP of the Championship and did crazy things like occassionally passing the ball TO each other rather than just HOOFING it (not all the time, but still) and managing to do Dribbling and, in the case of our new Enormous Goalkeeper, stopping it going in the goal. We won 3-0 in the end, it was GRATE!

INDEED my only complaint was that, despite that FACT that The Family Stand is now sponsored by Compare The Market and EXPLICITLY re-named The Meerkat Family Stand, we did NOT have a Meerkat Mascot. How can this be? When we were sponsored by a mattress company we had a MATTRESS mascot, when we were sponsored by Abax (whatever that is) we had a GIANT LETTER A mascot, but now there is a sponsor with the possibility of a mascot that would NOT actively terrify small children the opportunity is not taken. Since "Miss Posh" (a woman in a top hat) was retired we are now in the perilous state of only having FOUR (4) mascots - Mr Posh (a man in a top hat), Mick The Skip (a builder), PB (another builder) and The Rabbit Thing (a rabbit thing) - which to my mind is far too few. Come on, Barry Fry, SORT IT OUT!

Apart from that though it was a wonderful return to London Road, especially as winning BOTH games so far means that we are TOP OF THE LEAGUE. A league when winning twice puts you at the top is EXACTLY the sort of league I like - it's good to be back!

posted 8/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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Superhero Fatigue Fatigue
I went to the pictures on Monday night to see the new "Thor" film with my pal Mr S Carter. Steve had got us SUPER posh seats with reclining backs and FOOT LIFTS which was VERY fancy, and the film itself was GRATE. At times it seemed like about 7 different films chopped up and then stuck together, but that's fine, and I was surprised to find Christian Bale doing a DENNIS PENNIS impersonation throughout, but it was a LOT of fun, with plenty of JOKES, lots of CAMEOS, and I had a bit of an old cry in several places too. What's not to like?

Well apparently quite a bit according to THE REVIEWERS who all seem to have been banging on about "Superhero Fatigue" again. This is the idea that people have had enough of superhero movies so won't be going anymore, and it is something that they have been saying pretty much since "Iron Man 2" came out, despite the fact that the films seem to be making about A BILLION POUNDS* every time (*ACTUALLY a billion pounds!).

I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly, THE REVIEWERS hate the fact that people go and see films they actually WANT to see, rather than the ones THE REVIEWERS recommend. I mean, there have been about 17 billion Jane Austen adaptations, but you never ever ever hear anybody talking about "Austen Fatigue" do you? I mean, nor should they, Jane Austen is ACE, but even when a rubbish version comes out (like the recent one on Netflix) it doesn't do well because a bad film, and not because of AUSTEN SATURATION.

Secondly, and perhaps more charitably, the last 15 years or so of Superhero Movies have been a NEW THING. There have been successful superhero films before e.g. "Superman" (OBVS) and the first Tim Burton "Batman", but these were all very traditional films with a traditional film structure and though they DID have sequels they tended to be design so you could see them quite happily without having watched any of the others. The new Superhero movies - and ESPECIALLY the Marvel ones - very definitely DO NOT do that. Quite a large amount of the FUN of the new "Thor" movie, for instance, was seeing references to past events, cameos from other characters, or STUFF that toys around with established aspects OR sets up exciting new things. Again, there have been film series before, but these tended to revolve around specific characters rather than be MODULAR like what the MCU is. An exception to this (that I have just looked up to check!) is the GODZILLA franchise which had a whole heap of different movies and solo adventures. As per with TRANSMEDIA stuff, the Japanese got there first, and they do not appear to be suffering from GODZILLA FATIGUE.

The other interesting thing (NB perhaps just for me) is the way that Marvel keep on doing ACTUAL Superhero Movies. It must be very very tempting to go "Hang on, here's an amazing idea - why don't we DECONSTRUCT the superhero movie genre? Eh? No one has ever thought of that before!" and YES ALL RIGHT there is a bit of that going on within the films themselves, but overall the MCU is a series of Actual Superhero Movies that define what Actual Superhero Movies ARE. This is GRATE because when you have a proper established genre like this it means that other film and TV makers CAN then go and muck around with it a bit. For instance, "The Boys" would not have worked AT ALL if it had come out fifteen years ago (i.e. not long after the comic itself came out) when non-comics people weren't familiar with how superhero stories function. Nowadays we have all seen 98 Million Billion Marvel films so GET it completely, but to get there 98 Million Billion Marvel films had to be made in the first place.

Similarly, a really good film like "Mystery Men" did not work AT ALL when it came out because it was based on a comic RIFFING on superhero stories that existed in comics but not really in movies. Even more so, the original "Watchmen" film was lots of fun for people like me going "OOH LOOK that is ISSUE 10 PAGE 4 PANEL 4 how very clever!" but possibly not for everybody else who had no frame of reference for the core idea i.e. "Hey, What If Superheroes Were Real?" If they hadn't remade it AGANE on the telly a new "Watchmen" film would probably be a really good idea!

My enormous hope is that we're only at the START of Supehero Movies - Actual or otherwise - as a genre. Now that everyone understands how they work there's TONNES of space for different sorts of movies, or TV shows, or OTHER media that can start creating whole new stories or even adapting some more of the old ones that similarly comment on superhero stories (COME ON, Hollywood, do Zenith!). All it needs is for organisations like Marvel to keep pumping out Actual Superhero Movies (hopefully featuring Doctor Doom), and for people like me and Steve HEROICALLY keep going to see them. I'm ready to do my part!

posted 3/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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A World Exclusive
I am DELIGHTED to announce that you can now have a first listen to one of the new tracks from "The Unearthly Beauty Of MJ Hibbett" (i.e. my new solo album what is out in October). International Radio Disc Jockey Mr J Kell played the song "Stick To The Agenda" as a **WORLD EXCLUSIVE** on his radio show "John Kell VS Satan" which you can Listen Again to BELOW:



It is always a good show with PLENTY of good stuff on it and I am VERY happy to be in such excellent company. The song itself is a fairly good indicator of what the album itself is like in that it features my MIDI MASTERY (it's got a piano! it speeds up a little bit as it goes along!) and also is about Workplace Issues - something which I have been covering for nigh on a QUARTER OF A CENTURY now! I very much hope you enjoy it, as there is plenty more where that came from!

posted 1/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett
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