December 31, 2007

Allstar Review of 2007

Filed under: music, interviews — scoobydom @ 12:51 pm

Basically, I was bored at work so sent some very unimaginative questions round to the PopArt alumni, and this is what came back. I asked everyone for photos and then decided to use completely different ones. 

Can I just add the whole “The views represented here are not the views of PopArt” thing. Except where they are, obviously. 


John Willshire - Gamages Model Train Club 


1. What was your highlight of the year? Growing Gamages Model Train Club from a simple 5-piece to, at it’s largest incarnation, a 9-piece with two cellos.  And making a 9-piece sound great at the Buffalo Bar.  Oh, and dressing up as the Addams Family for a Halloween show.  Are we allowed to pluralise ‘highlight of the year’? 


2. What was the low point?                 

Co-ordinating band practices with nine people… anyone interested in a non-paying role as a PA? 

3. Who was your hero of 2007?                 

Leceister’s funnyman Dave Reese, of course.  The man’s a hero. 

4. villain?                 

Leceister’s funnyman Dave Reese, of course.  The man’s a villain. 

5. What was your PopArt moment of 2007?                 

The Bond-a-thon that was Rocktopussy, in particular the ‘All The Time In The World’ cover by ‘Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring’ 

6. What do you hope to achieve in 2008?                 

Apart from becoming a 12-piece?  Well, the plan is to corral all the GMTC into one studio for a week for some splendid recording up at Bark Studios in Walthamstow… and then let lots of people listen to GMTC songs that weren’t recorded in our flat. 

7. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?                 

There’s a great Scottish band called ‘We Are The Physics’… part Devo, part Talking Heads, part Futureheads… one of the best live bands I’ve seen this year, well worth checking out.

Tamla Tim - PopArt 

1. What was your highlight of the year? 

Mostly PopArt related stuff, but that’s another question for another time (in about five minutes).  Prince at the O2 was pretty special, his charisma filled the place and Maceo Parker, once of James Brown’s band, was playing saxamaphone which was a real treat for a sad old soul boy. 

2. What was the low point? 

Our good friend, driving force on the PopArt dance floor and one time resident of a tent in our back garden, Nooshie, leaving the country to return to Melbourne .  Our friend Robot Pete’s passing was a true tragedy but he has left us some fantastic music and a spirit of adventure and a love of life that everyone should remember to hold in their hearts. 

3. Who was your hero of 2007? 

My darling girlfriend for being my darling girlfriend.  Team Tooting past and present, Ian from HDIF, my fellow Knights Of PopArt and all the Smart Kids who’ve come to our events for sticking with passion over fashion. 

4. villain? 

Sylar from ‘Heroes’ 

5. What was your PopArt moment of 2007? 

So many!  I think the last minute, secret Saturday Looks Good To Me appearance at our ‘Guitar Wars’ gig just about shades it for pure ‘I can’t believe this is happening’, jumping around like a loon with all my friends joy.  And then they stayed with us in Tooting for a few days.  I don’t think they quite realised that for us it was like watching Eastenders with Elvis.  Either that or the PopArt Records launch party when, tired and emotional (aka drunk) I looked out from the DJ booth across the Metro, packed with laughing, open, beautiful people sharing the joy of the fantastic bands and I ranted something about the redemptive power of music to PhoeniX PhiL.  I just had a feeling of ‘this is what it’s all about, this is what music is for, to bring people together in this spirit’.  I tend to, unwisely, get a bit poetic about everything beyond my 5th Guinness. 

6. What do you hope to achieve in 2008? 

I look forward to moving in with my darling girlfriend.  Apart from that, perhaps a new job that I can feel really passionate about, rather than just paying the bills, and more of the same saving popular culture in my spare time with PopArt. 

7. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months? 

I really hope Black Kids can be the new band that really captures my imagination, but only time will tell.  If the record industry would just wake the fuck up there are literally LOADS of bands who we’ve met through doing PopArt that would set the world alight, but too many industry people fear real talent and real passion.  Still, there are lots of people like us who share the dream and the DIY scene is growing in strength again.  I hope for more promoters who really believe in what they’re doing and the bands they’re putting on so the genius that’s out there (and it really is) can flourish. 

The Indelicates 

1. What was your highlight of the year? 


Julia Indelicate: Writing more three line poems than songs 


Simon Indelicate: Watching Kate (our bassist) having the same experience that Joan Cusack has in the bar that Jack Black takes her to in School Of Rock in a thai Karaoke pub in the middle of the red-light district in Hamburg.      

2. What was the low point?JI: 


Not writing enough (more than 30) songs 


SI: Yesterday 


3. Who was your hero of 2007? 


JI: I don’t really have heroes, but I do think the series ‘Heroes’ was fucking GRAND. Too bad the writers aren’t getting paid enough… won’t get to see it again until late next year Also, though i’m self-aware enough not to take The Sun seriously, it has had some mighty Headlines this year! 


SI: I try not to have heroes, it’s mortifying when you meet them. For the avoidance of smart-aleky-ness though and limiting myself to folks musical - Fruitbat and Jim Bob out of Carter USM. 


4. villain? 


JI: Today, anti-democracy fascists in Pakistan, also including that element of the British left who need a kick in the head for their written and spoken support of said fascists. 


SI: Yahweh, Jesus, The Prophet (not the bear) Mohammed and all their miserable adherents.      

5. What was your PopArt moment of 2007? 

JI: I REALLY loved the covers at christmas album, and am cross i didn’t get to get something together in time 

SI: Jumping through that big painting of Mr Solo’s, probably. 

6. What do you hope to achieve in 2008? 

JI: Managing to actually make it to SXSW in Austin. I’ve wanted to go to America for AGES. I’ve only ever been to Disneyland in Florida and, thanks to my anti-everything parents, didn’t manage to get to go on any rides, nor see anything good. They spent the whole time grumbling :/ 

SI: Solvency 

7. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months? 

JI: The Flesh Happening, Lily Rae, Red Zebra (from Worcester). All amazing, disgusting, beautiful, and scarily exciting to watch. Everyone else is LYING. This is what it is supposed to be like to watch live music. 

SI: Lily Rae, The Flesh Happening, My Name Is Red and Red Zebra.  


PhoeniX PhiL - PopArt 

1. What was your highlight of the year?
Personally: A whole range of romantic adventures with my girlfriend leading to us getting engaged.
Musically: As a “musician” my highlight was the cover of “Love = Mutually Assured Destruction” I did with Metro Corskol for the PopArt covered at Christmas album. As a fanboy it has to be following Saturday Looks Good To Me around on their uk tour and then having them stay in my bedroom. Also getting to see childhood heroes like Prince and Carter USM play resulted in further ticks in the boxes of the checklist I have to fill before I can be fully satisfied and become a proper grown up.
2. What was the low point?
Personally:  Being evicted from one house and then being flooded out of the next before having my bank account emptied by fraudsters. I must have walked over three drains for that flurry of bad luck. Also the passing of “Robot” Pete Stevens was a sad loss to us all.
Musically:  Crikey! Where do I start? Although was some good “underground” stuff, 2007 will be seen as the year that music industry really did just give up and die on it’s safe, sterile, “guaranteed financial return” ass. Not that the underground scene was without it’s faults, there was far, far, far FAR too many bands who seemed formed to fit a certain genre instead of just becoming their own beautiful creation. That T4 unsigned program was very depressing viewing, when Revenue are deemed as the possible saviours of rock n roll you know that the dream is over. Still you cant have a resurrection without a death so hopefully next year will see a rebirth of pop. Something so pure and unplanned that a whole years worth of planned Top Shop stock will have to burned and T4 will have to rethink their logo strategy and presenter choices.
3. Who was your hero of 2007?
Personally: My fiancée for giving me so many beautiful moments in 2007, Dr.T for sticking to his cultural guns and being a grumpy old prog-rock/ gaye disco lover, Ian Watson and the whole Lost Music / Indie MP3 crowd for keeping the pop dream alive and finally, the PopArt lads for busting their chops during a very, very VERY busy year for us.
Musically: Fred Thomas of Saturday Looks Good To Me for bravely following his lo-fi psychedelic pop heart and smartly jumping off the indiepop bandwagon two stops before everyone else jumped on.
4. Villain?
Personally: Lee Persil. He tried to kill PopArt. He failed.
Musically: NME ruiner Connor McNicholas. The man who pushed the first domino that has lead to indie / rock n’ roll / popular culture being in a sorry state of affairs. From The Strokes to Kate Nash in six dreary years.
5. What was your PopArt moment of 2007?
Saturday Looks To Me playing a surprise “all the hits” set at our May show was a career high for me, the BritPop event was a nostalgic joy (especially playing with the Allstars) BUT my favourite moment has to be Mr. Solo serenading ScoobyDom without warning at The Weekender 2. 
6. What do you hope to achieve in 2008?
To hopefully finish writing my first book, finish off all my half written songs and return to full force PXPL blog writing glory. It’d also be nice to get rich very quick (or atleast “comfortable” enough be able to quit the boring dayjob). I tire of being poor.
7. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
Well, AWWBLOT?, Brontosaurus Chorus and anything on PopArt Records naturally. But away from nepotism, The School’s album will be a delight for lovers of twee / indiepop stuff . Other than that? Hmmm although this involves me eating humble pie and I wish I could be saying it about another band, Bloc Party keep getting better and better. As for newbie bands? Black Kids first EP is promising stuff  but then again so was Clap Your Hands Say Yeah a coupla years ago. I think it’s increasingly rare to find a band that’s worth writing their name on your pencil case… please go out and form one for me please. 

Plans & Apologies  

1. What was your highlight of the year?        

It’s been a fairly uneventful year for us in terms of good stuff happening, I guess the highlight was probably either getting slated on Zane Low, or perhaps our little trip down South where we got involved in swinging parties and hung about on beaches and Beachy Head. Oh yeah, and we done a single, that was good. 

2. What was the low point? 

Our drummer quit the band and moved to Spain to escape us. That was bad. 

3. Who was your hero of 2007? 

Noel Edmonds. What a momentous comeback, and what a well-kempt beard. 

4. villain? 


5. What was your PopArt moment of 2007? 

Playing PopArt in 2007 was our PopArt moment of 2007. It was good fun! 

6. What do you hope to achieve in 2008? 

We intend to do better. We’ve got an album coming out, we’re recording it at the moment and it sounds good. So yeah, we hope to make a success of our album and play more gigs for more fun people. 

7. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months? 

Safetyword seem to be getting a lot of buzz at the moment, we played with them a while back and they’re very good. From our neck of the woods, My Pyschoanalyst and the Deirdres are going to do good things in 2008, methinks.

Delia - Schla la las, The Nuns, Actionettes, everyone else etc! 

1. What was your highlight of the year? 

music sometimes. 


2. What was the low point? 

bands breaking up, magazines sacking me, boredom 


3. Who was your hero of 2007? 

too embarrassing 


4. villain? 

would be too indiscreet 


5. What was your PopArt moment of 2007? 

the look on monica queens face when mr solo wanted her to jump through the paper hoop (and when she heard/saw him in general) 


6. What do you hope to achieve in 2008? 

slight happiness 


7. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months? 

baby gravy
hot puppies (gettingbetter andbetter)
it’s a secret!
ginger tom
the wandas 

Dom - PopArt/Brontosaurus Chorus.  

1. What was your highlight of the year? 

Mytrip to Ireland with Brontosaurus Chorus to play Electric Picnic - the gig itself sucked but the weekend was magical. Touring in Abdoujaparov with my indie hero Les Carter. Everytime I set foot in Worcester. Also DJ’ing at Panic! Melbourne, the DomFest gig a night later, and generally my whole Australia jaunt. 

2. What was the low point? 

Without a doubt the passing of my best friend Pete. 

3. Who was your hero of 2007? 

Mr Solo, Les Carter, MJ Hibbett, Theo GB, but particularly the late “Robot” Pete Stevens. 

4. villain? 

Kate Nash. 

5. What was your PopArt moment of 2007? 

Too many to mention… the Quill’s amazing artwork… the PopArt record… performing Lazy Line Painter Jane with the PopArt Allstars, Monica Queen and Mr Solo at Bowl n’ Sebastian 2… 

6. What do you hope to achieve in 2008? 

With PopArt: More records, a few live events and a bigger and better PopArt Weekender.
With Brontosaurus Chorus: An EP, European tour, some festivals, and generally some more crazy adventures.
Personally: Getting married to my wonderful fiance and attempting to earn a decent living doing something I enjoy, oh and watching loads of Kung Fu films. 

7. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months? 

The long-awaited albums from PopArt faves the Laurel Collective & And What Will Be Left Of Them? The new Cure record will be awesome. The School. The Bicycle Thieves (JS Rafaeli is still one of the best song writers of the last decade, but for god’s sake dont tell him I said that). The Indelicates. The Last Band & Telecom from Australia. Anything associated with Chris Chinchilla. Finally, watch out for the PopArt Empire!

December 20, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 18/7/99 - The Bull & Gate

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:51 pm

The Validators second performance was in the traditional home of ALL Indie Band Second Gigs, The Bull & Gate in Kentish Town. Aaah, Bull & Gate, how many BRILLIANT nights have I spent within your slightly unfriendly but ultimately GOOD TIME walls? And how many APPALLING next mornings have I had as I realise, yet again, that even though it says “Bass” on the pumps, it’s actually Delayed Laxative in a pint glass?

We went EN MASSE on the train, a mode of transport chosen for its economical, band psyhological and ecological benefits, but mostly because it meant we could all get VERY DRUNK INDEED and not have to worry about driving back. Once through the hallowed portals of the old St Pancras Station (known by us as “The Midlands Embassy” because it was a glorious Oasis of Midlands friendliness and SAMOSAS in the heart of London Town) we excitedly hopped onto the Underground. I’ve lived in That London for several years now but STILL get a bit excited about using this GROOVIEST of all transport systems - so simple! so efficient! so FUTURISTIC!

Our joy was short-lived, however. When we got the Kentish Town our tickets didn’t work properly and a GRUFF station attendant came to take us away to be TOLD OFF and, probably, JAILED. I was ENRAGED by this - I’d bought our tickets at a ticket window and had specifically asked for the correct ones, so my MIDDLE CLASS SUPER POWERS were activated. I BLATTERED the poor chap with skull-crushing phrases like “I bought these in GOOD FAITH!” and “simply not good enough!” until he could stand NO MORE, and CAVED IN before I started claiming to play GOLF with his line manager. We strode PROUDLY on to the venue, assured of a GRATE time or by golly there’d be a SHIT STORM about it at the next PTA.

We turned up and were HORRIFIED to find that we’d arrived AFTER load-in time - for those who are not, nor have ever been, in a band, “load-in time” is the time venues tell you to turn up with your GEAR so you can get set up and do your soundcheck, leaving plenty of space for all booked bands to complete this duty and still have time for a decent gap before the scheduled hour for doors opening. In millenia of gigs, this has NEVER gone to plan - even back at the very FIRST gig, They Who Bang Many Stones had to send a SMOKE SIGNAL to He Who Puts On Gigs to say that their DINOSAUR had broken down on the M25 and they’d be fifteen minutes late, and I’m sure in the distant future Andrew Adventure And The Space Groovers will be hanging around outside The Bull And Worm-Hole ten minutes after load-in waiting for the Engineer to get back from the kebab shop.

Still, we got set up, sidled out the other bar while the other bands did their bits, and awaited for the arrival of our backing singers. Other bands have glamorous, sexy DIVAs on vocal duties, and in line with that policy we had Mileage and Dave from The Durham Ox Singers. For some reason, when we got to the door and said “These are in the band, they’re our backing singers” the promoters DOUBTED the truth of this. Maybe they were unfamiliar with that particular kind of ARTISTE?

They got in eventually and we had a VERY excitable gig, with me falling foul of the DOOM of ALL Solo Singer-Songwriters THRUST into a band and given the opporunity not to have to play an instrument on all songs: DAD DANCING. There was GYRATING, there was Pointing At Things That Aren’t There, and if there’d been any teenage nephews/nieces in the area they’d have POURED SCORN. Apart from that it all seemed to go pretty well, although our claims to have backing singers were a little undermined by the fact that they spent most of the gig SCAREDY, hiding at the back behind the bass amp.

Afterwards we SWANNED AROUND for a bit in celebrity strewn London. Bloke From Hefner was there (as Bloke From Hefner was BOUND to be in those days - if he wasn’t at the gig then LEGALLY Bloke With A Tail had to turn up or it was CANCELLED) and somebody said “Hey, he looks like YOU!” This made a rather splendid changed from people saying “Hey, you look like him!” and in my ROCK SHAPE THROWING state I felt that this change was the harbringer of FAME and FORTUNE to come.

It wasn’t. Still, we weren’t to know that at the time, and hopped back on the train for a good old fashioned singalong - we had a WHALE of the time, and I’m sure everybody else on the last train to Leicester did too.

December 18, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 29/5/99 - Chris & Sharon’s wedding

Filed under: Uncategorized, editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 1:04 pm

I DO love a good wedding. People often say to me “Ooh” (they’re usually the sort of person who’ll start a sentence that way) “Why don’t you get married yourself then eh?” My answer is simple - I like weddings in the same way i like pubs: a) A LOT but b) I have never felt the need to build a full bar in my spare room, complete with optics and a working temperature controlled CELLAR for the wide range of Ales I would need to STOCK. Also, i can’t be bothered to learn how to make cocktails.

SIDEBAR! Cocktails are really annoying aren’t they? I hate it when you go to the pub and the person in front of you decides to get some RIDICULOUS concoction that is basically FRUITY VODKA and takes five times as long to make as it does to drink. And then pays with it on their debit card. GET OUT OF MY WAY, I NEED BEER!

Anyway, as i say, I do love a good wedding and for some reason I seem to have ended up playing GIGS at some of them. The first time this happened was at the wedding of Chris and Sharon, some old friends from my student days. Part of their COURTSHIP had been attending Voon gigs and so it seemed fitting that they should ask either myself or Neil to play a song after the ceremony. At this point in our complimentary yet divergent solo careers I was mostly singing songs about emerging into full adulthood, the trouble with finding girls to go out with you, and home computers, while Neil was singing about badgers, his Nan’s groin, the evils of the city council, and arse fungus. For once in my life, I was the one with the most suitable songs!

The wedding itself was lovely and the reception was DEAD POSH. It all happened at a vineyard, where the celebrations began with PIMMS on the lawn. Thinking back you might have expected WINE all the way through at a vineyard but really a Summer Wedding without PIMMS is like… well, a wedding without “Come On Eileen” i.e. NOT LEGALLY VALID. And, much like “Come On Eileen”, I think Pimms is pretty much guaranteed to improve ANY social gathering, whether it is a delicately prepared cocktail of high quality fruits, soft drink and BOOZE or whether it is STUDENT PIMMS. I had this once at an all-dayer in Sheffield - to create STUDENT PIMMS simply take one JUG of pre-mixed PIMMS POP and one can of Aldi’s Fruit Salad. MIX WELL.

We moved inside to the posh meal which was SO posh that they’d hired MAGICIANS to wander the tables performimg tricks, and it was here that I had a sudden realisation of Time Moving On. The last batch of weddings I’d been to had been as a teenager, when the women I’d fancied had been scarce more than GURLS and were largely unattainable due to bum fluff-faced boyfriends. Somehow when I’d been looking the other way all the women I’d fancied had become ACTUAL WOMEN, unattainable not just because of HUSBANDS but also CHILDREN. It’s amazing the sort of things other people get up to when you’re in the pub.

After the speeches (which I remember being of The New Style - short, and PANSY-ARSED. The best man practically KISSED the groom and there was NO swearing!) I moved downstairs to discuss things with The Wedding DJ. Wedding DJs, truly, are a breed apart. If you’ve ever wondered why people always seem to choose such dreadful music for their wedding receptions the answer is simple: they DON’T. At nearly all the weddings I’ve ever been to the bride and (most of all) groom have been at PAINS to select a playlist keenly tuned to theirs and their guests’ history together, mixing old favourites and in-jokes with the songs that forged their friendships and personalities… a list which the DJ completely disregards and plays the songs HE likes instead. This is the dark truth of Wedding DJs - the terrible music they play, they ACTUALLY REALLY LIKE IT.

This also means they’re always a bit WEIRD, also TRUCULENT, and tend to affect an air of IGNORANCE about any other sort of musical equipment. They especially like to pretend to have no idea how Live Music works and always seem to think that even a FULL BAND will be adequately catered for with a single crappy microphone that extends three feet from the record player, and even if you tell them a YEAR IN ADVANCE that someone will need a microphone stand they’ll dismiss such KRAZY IDEAS as a DREAM.

THUS I did my set with Neil crouching in front of me, holding up a microphone which he’d DRAGGED, turntable and all, half way across the dancefloor from the PA system and GLOWERING DJ. I did two songs - one I’d written especially and, by request, my cover version of “Boom Shake The Room” - before Neil took over. He’d been DISPLEASED not to be formerly asked but played anyway, and I spent an unusual ten minutes kneeling down on the floor before him, glancing over my shoulder at the bride’s family, all of whom were of a Medical Bent and so took a Professional Interest in why my friend felt the need for such a public outporting of emotion about Badgers and JAM.

When it was all done I employed The First Rule Of Wedding Receptions: always go and talk to the father of the bride. You’ll find him looking KNACKERED, also DRUNK, at one end of the bar, and if you go and tell him how well everything is going and what a MARVELLOUS day it’s been he will sigh MEANINGFULLY, say “Well, it ought to be for the price” and then BUY YOU A BEER.

It NEVER FAILS, and thus the evening drew to a close with dancing, beer, and general loveliness. I wish all gigs could finish up that way!

December 13, 2007

Have I Got Tunes For You

Filed under: music, editorial, authors, Tamla Tim — tamlatim @ 6:19 pm

Tamla Tim’s current affairs based mixtapes.
The story that’s caught my eye recently is the bizarre tale of prison warden John Darwin, who went out to sea in his Canoe in 2002 and disappeared, only to walk in to a Police station on the 1 December claiming to remember nothing since the year 2000.  His wife had claimed thousands of pounds in insurance payouts and Darwin has now been arrested on suspicion of fraud, since a photo of him and his wife together in Panama came to light, helpfully dated 2006.  Rumours are that he might have faked his death to avoid some big debts.
 So, as ever, I put together a mixtape to listen to while I kept abreast of all the latest developments.  Obviously I’ve been listening to “Strangeways, Here We Come”, lots of Dead Or Alive, British Sea Power and The Grateful (missing presumed) Dead.  But as you know I like the lyrics to speak to me, so the final tape was:
Flesh Canoe - Animal Collective
In his hasty attempt to make it look like an accident at sea, Darwin sets out in vessel made from human skin.  A waterproof but not exactly a sturdy vessel.  Would have been the perfect crime had he taken this route.
 Paddle Out - Sublime
Outside Stockton gets hot like a glove,” sing the Sublime lads.  I think they’re talking about surfing in the U.S. of America somewhere, but for our purposes Stockton is in Middleborough, not far from where Darwin ‘paddled out’ and didn’t come back for over four years.  Since he did resurface the heat has definitely been on.
Going Missing - Maximo Park
In “Canoe-gate: The Musical!” this will be the song Darwin sings to his wife before he leaves for the coast with his canoe under his arm - “I’m going missing for a while, I’ve got nothing left to lose.”  The lead role will be cast in a BBC reality show, hosted by Graham Norton – “Can-you Make It In A West End Musical?”
 How To Be Dead – Snow Patrol
If only he’d listened to this before he set off.  Then again you would have thought ‘don’t appear in a photo with your wife, dated after you’re supposed to have died’ would be a given, without any help from an indie band.
How To Disappear Completely – Radiohead
More good advice too late from Thom and the boys.  “Where were you in 2002 when I was hatching this crazy plan?” pleads Darwin.  “We were recording ‘Hail To The Thief’” says Thom. “You’d disappeared as well then,” sneers Darwin “up your own arses.”  He prefers ‘The Bends’.
 Get Myself Arrested – Gomez
I can only imagine this is what Darwin was thinking when he strolled into a police station and said “I think I’m a missing person.”  So when you went to Panama with your missus and bought that apartment, were you missing then?  “Erm … shit I hadn’t thought of that.”
Amnesia – Chumbawuamba
But Darwin has an ace up his sleeve, the old classic excuse “I don’t remember anything for the last seven years.”  I got me some extensions on my college coursework I can tell you.  Apparently he used the lyrics verbatim.  Do you suffer from long term memory loss (altogether) “Oooh I can’t remember.”
 This Photograph Is Proof (I Know You Know) – Taking Back Sunday
The cops tell Darwin to leave all the tall stories about memory loss out of it and explain they have a photo that proves he saw his wife in 2006 by playing him this tune by Long Island’s finest.  The song taunts him “Would you like to forget , would you like to forget, drop everything, start it all over, well, drop everything start it all over (would you like to forget)?”  That must count as cruel and unusual punishment surely?
High Risk Insurance – The Ramones
Darwin tries to pull the Judas Priest/Marlin Manson card and claim listening to the Ramones made him do it.  To be fair that refrain of “high risk insurance, the time is right, high risk insurance, the time is right,2 is hard to resist.  But as the boys say “everybody wants an explanation.”  Do you know if you listen to the Ramones backwards it clearly says “Og Stel, Oh, Yeh,”?  Which doesn’t mean anything.
 You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison – My Chemical Romance
Ex-Prison Warden ends up inside?  I don’t think he’s going to be the most popular person with ‘Gripper’ and the lads in C Block.
So, on that unsavoury note my C90 reaches the end of side two and is filed away.  Stay tuned for more ‘Have I got Tunes For You’ when I get round to doing another one.
 Keep it current affairs x
PS – If there’s any songs I should have put on or you want to do your own current affairs mixtape let me know!


My Exciting Life In ROCK: 13/7/99 - The Victoria Inn, Derby

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 3:28 pm

Bands come together for many different reasons. For some it is INEVITABLE - the members are the misfits, the outsiders, the new thinkers of the tribe who are forced together by the oppression of others, able to find solace only in each other. Sometimes it is a plan of shining genius, developed by a svengali who picks only the perfect members to express his perfect vision. More usually it is an expression of adolescent creativity, as drinking friends get together to go off on a quest for booze, girls, and rock and roll glory.

In our case it was so that we could get into somebody else’s gig for free.

As previously stated, by 1999 our label Artists Against Success was in full swing, and we’d earnt the right to ponce around in pubs saying “I am a record company” by signing two local bands, Stumble and Lazer Guided. I was over in Derby to watch them one night when I got into conversation with Tom Rose, of Reveal Records Fame. Nowadays he is actually a proper bona fide Record Company of some repute, with Joan As Police Woman as his lead act, but back then he was just the bloke who ran the local indie record shop, although even at the point he was trying to branch out. One attempt at this was to have a go at Gig Promotion, and Frankie had discovered that he’d booked one of my favourite bands of all time, Half Man Half Biscuit.

I’d first heard them in sixth form, when every single lunchtime my best friend Mr Paul Myland (”Mileage”) insisted on playing their first album “Back in the DHSS” on the old stereo in the mouldering mobile classroom we used as a “common room”. Roughly once a week we’d walk to Our Price in Peterborough’s Queensgate Shopping Centre just to LOOK at the song titles on the back of their second album, “Back back in the DHSS (again)”, which he was saving up to buy. I still have the tape he did for me, including a Peel Session with John Peel saying over the end “my brother-in-law Alan has peaches on his cereal. And yoghurt.” Twenty years on I can remember the inflection on every word of that statement, yet not what it was I came into the kitchen to get.

THUS I was incredibly excited to find that they were GIGGING somewhere that I’d be able to see them, and it didn’t even OCCUR to me that we could SUPPORT them until Frankie pointed it out, and then shoved me over to Tom so we could ask for the spot. Tom was an old friend of Frankie’s who, crucially, had never seen me play, so it wasn’t too difficult to persuade him to let us do the gig, especially when we told him I had a full band. This wasn’t exactly a fib - in amongst all the people currently recording my debut album there was at LEAST one full band, it’s just that we’d never actually all played together in the same room, let alone at a gig. Still, how hard could it be?

As it turned out, not very hard at all - I knew Tim’d be up for it as he is a MASSIVE Half Man Half Biscuit fan (as demonstrated by his SCORN for my inability to recite ENTIRE SONGS from memory) and Frankie had only made me ask so that he didn’t have to buy a ticket, so all we needed was a bass player. Although I was playing bass on the recordings I would need to entirely RE-WIRE MY BRAIN if I was going to sing AND play bass at the same time (it’s HARD, ask anybody!), but luckily surgery was avoided due to the presence of Young Ollie over at the bar. He was the bass player in Lazer Guided, one of the bands we’d come to sing, so I bought him a drink and told him what a good idea it would be, and he was IN!

We had nearly TWO practices, one without Tim (TOURING COMMITMENTS) and then one altogether, and we got just enough songs learnt to do an entire gig. We got to Derby VERY excited to be seeing Half Man Half Biscuit, with only the slight annoyance of a gig to get through first. The year before Tim and I had been to see them for the first time playing at The Charlotte in Leicester, and got very impatient with the road-crew, who seemed to be taking FOREVER to set things up. “What are they doing NOW?” we asked as the slightly doddery, balding, pot-bellied group of roadies took ages to tune up before plugging things in… and launching into the set. Ah. That wasn’t a bunch of middle-aged roadies, that was THE BAND! It ended up being one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen in my LIFE. After the first encore The Management decided enough was enough and turned the PA system OFF and the lights ON. Nigel (Blackwell, singer and HERO) came back on anyway and sang “All I Want For Christmas (is a Dukla Prague Away Kit)” unplugged, with 200 burly and slightly moist eyed MEN BELLOWING it back at him. Surprisingly, it was beautiful.

Anyway, we waited for The Biscuits to soundcheck, did ours quickly, then went and HID in the pub bit of the venue. We were FAR to scared and awed to try and SPEAK to them, and as it slowly dawned on us that we were going to HAVE to do a gig we got more and more nervous. We were CORRECT to be so - the HMHB audience is not like the audience you get for most bands. For a start, they’re significantly OLDER, and thus less likely to take NONSENSE, and they’ve got a much greater tendency to be season ticket holders than, say, Manic Street Preachers Fans, and season tickets at lower leagues more often than not too, so they do have a tendency to be a little DOUR and hard to impress. Thus our efforts didn’t go down particularly well, with our inability to play any song all the way through without cock ups NOT viewed as “charming” in any way whatsoever, and even our obvious devotion to the main band going unnoticed, partly due to the Ropey PA, mostly due to everybody leaving halfway, just my mid-set attempt at BANTER - “You all had to pay for your tickets, we got in for FREE! HA!”

Once the set had finished we were tactfully ignored as we put our gear away, before settling back into the body of the crowd to watch the mighty Biscuits. Honestly, they are one of the best live bands you’ll ever see, with a HUGE and BRILLIANT back catalogue, a whole LOT of CHARM, and a huge LAKE of goodwill which they draw from GENTLY. They are ACE.

After the gig we went to get our gear, with Tim and I hovering nervously near Nigel, trying to work up the courage to speak to him. We didn’t need to - he came over and offered me a throat lozenge. I was so overcome with hero worship that, for a moment, I didn’t know what to do with it. Should I PALM it, to save for veneration later? Surely I couldn’t just SUCK such a gift from the Gods? I took it as offered and managed to force it into my mouth, simultaneously maintaining a fairly normal conversation, chatting lightly about their plans for a new single. All the while Tim stood next to me, DUMBFOUND. Tim is no shrinking violet nor is he usually short of opinion, but this time he just stood there with glassy eyes, grinning madly until I managed to turn him around and propel him back into the pub, where we both SQUEALED at each other. We were VERY excited.

We got all our gear packed away and bundled into the car, just as The Biscuits were emerging. Nigel waved to us, “See you mates!” he said and we waved nonchalantly back. Emma, Tim’s fiancée, had come to pick us up, and she was just saying “How did it go then?” as she turned the corner, at which point we were fairly sure we were out of earshot. “EEEEEEEE!!!! HE CALLED US MATE!” we screeched, and spent the ENTIRE journey back to Leicester SQUEALING and GIGGLING with GLEE. Nigel from Half Man Half Biscuit called us “Mates”!!!

December 11, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: Birth Of The Validators

Filed under: Uncategorized, editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:45 pm

When I first started my epic journey on the highway of ROCK I travelled with a BAND, as most of us do, but I very soon got FRUSTRATED with the impositions of Collective ROCK. Not everybody thinks it’s a good idea to do a gig in London on a Tuesday night when you have EXAMS on Wednesday morning, and some people seem to think it’s LESS important to see Scratchwood Services than it is to see their CHILDREN, so after a few years of struggling with these issues, I decided to strike out on my own.

My first idea was to grow an extra pair of arms somehow, so I could play bass AND guitar along to a drum machine, but when I got up next morning I realised there were certain practical difficulties that would prevent this plan. For a start, I didn’t actually know HOW to play guitar.

Over time, however, I learnt enough chords from The Complete Beatles Songbook and wrote enough songs USING them to have a gig-able SET, and began several JOYFUL years of playing solo. Playing gigs on your own is BRILLIANT - you only need to persuade YOURSELF that it’s a good idea, you only need to get YOURSELF to gigs, and if it all goes well you get ALL the credit. On the other hand there’s nobody else there to point out that certain gigs are NOT a good idea, you have to turn up all on your own, and if it all goes horrible wrong there’s nobody to sit around with later on COMPLAINING about it with. Every so often this would all get TOO depressing and I’d try and get a band together.

The first attempt to do this was called “Mark’s Electrical”, named after a Hoover Shop I passed every day on the way to work. I asked two members of recently disbanded Leicester Legends The Marmite Sisters to be in the band with me, although the fact that they’d disbanded because none of them wanted to be in a band EVER AGAIN should have been a warning sign. Steve spent our one and only practice saying “I hate doing this, I don’t want to play guitar, why did I turn up?” and Jabba HID from me in a pub round the corner. Jabba, by the way, wasn’t his real name, it was one of those nicknames that get given to people but should never be used when they’re around. It was such a jolly sounding, and fitting, name, however, that everybody always forgot this, and he spent much of his pub time looking ANNOYED. Big and cuddly, but ANNOYED.

Some years after this I decided to try again. Having released a couple of upbeat songs on Proper Vinyl I thought it was time to expand my ARTISTIC REPERTOIRE and release a BALLAD, and chose a song called “Born With The Century” from my extensive Home Taping back catalogue. I still really love that song, I reckon it’s one of the best I’ve ever done, though a song about the ill treatment of the elderly in residential homes was perhaps NOT the ideal way to follow up two songs about getting drunk and going out.

I badgered Mr Frankie Machine into coming to Leicester to record it with me and asked Celebrity Drummer Mr Tim Pattison to join us. I’d been pals with Tim for years, since we both drank in the Pump & Tap and The Magazine, and he’d ended up being in my previous band The Council. He’d kept turning up to our gigs so we’d ask him to join, and unfortunately he’d said yes - unfortunate for us because it meant we’d lost half our audience, unfortunate for him because he now had to turn up to our gigs carrying a drum kit, rather than just his drinking wallet. He used his drinking wallet a LOT in The Council.

Anyway, we recorded the song and it came out sounding pretty good. I went round to Tim’s house to give him a copy of the finished single a few weeks later and he said “That was good - we should record an album”, and then shut the door, to avoid further debate. His was a very busy household in those days - not only was he an International Star Of Indie as a member of Prolapse (”the most important punks in the country” - Melody Maker) but his fiancée Emma was an International Knitwear Spy. On any given day he’d be going off on tour in America while she’d be jetting over to Cologne to case out the latest trends in scarves, it was all VERY glamorous, so when he told me we were going to be recording an album I was powerless to resist.

Over the next six months I got nearly everybody I knew and liked in BANDS to come and play with me, and together we recorded about 26 songs. I had a LOT of back catalogue to get recorded! I’d been worried that playing with Actual Musicians might mean that our SOUND would become to SLICK and LA PROFESSIONAL, so developed a system we called Verbal Eno Cards to counteract this. It was based on Brian Eno Oblique Strategy Cards, which he’d devised to help break through creative SLUMPS. In his system you took a card at random and followed what it said, sometimes something simple like “Take A Break”, sometimes less so , like “Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency”. I thought this was a BRILLIANT idea, so adapted it for our needs to DISTRACT everyone from playing too well. One song was done “with moustaches” whilst another was played “as if we’re The Velvet Underground, but instead of being drug addicts and street poets they’re a staff room of Comprehensive School teachers.”

This worked SURPRISINGLY WELL, and the resulting recordings were anything BUT slick. OK, the fact that we rarely learnt any of the songs more than an hour before we recorded them might have helped, but it added to the sense of FUN that ran through all the sessions, also jollied along by the presence of The Durham Ox Singers on backing vocals. Once the recordings were finished it was clear that we had to whittle down to song count a bit, and we did this with the Focus Group Exercise. I made a tape of all the songs for everybody who’d played on the album and also for a select bunch of regulars from The Durham Ox. I gave them all Questionnaires that I’d devised, one which they GRADED each song, and a few weeks later I was able to feed all this DATA into a mighty database and thus ascertain which songs would be on the album.

If it sounds coldly cynical and automotive, please be reassured that most of the hard work was done shouting ridiculous abuse at each other over pints and pickled eggs, and that the final meeting to discuss running orders was endearingly shambolic. The core of the group met in a pub in Loughborough (halfway between Derby and Leicester) to discuss the final running order. It should have been a very businesslike meeting, if it were not for the presence of two unavoidable distractions - BEER and a Pub Quiz. By ten to eleven we’d come second in the pub quiz but hardly started the running order and also missed our last bus home. It was very swiftly sorted out while I was at the bar for last orders and Tim was ringing Emma to ask very nicely if she’d mind getting out of bed and driving over to pick us up.

We’d finished our first album and, by that time, we’d also become a gigging band… but that’s another story!

December 6, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 25/4/99 - The Bowlie Weekender

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:39 pm

The world of Indie, it was a DIFFERENT place in the closing years of the last century, a more delapidated, unloved, and largely uncared for world than the pork-pie hatted one we enjoy today - you certainly didn’t get Big Brother contestants talking about it back then. OK, you didn’t get Big Brother contestants either, but it wasn’t mentioned on the WIND UP RADIOGRAM or whatever it was we did for entertainment in those dark times before digi-boxes and text messaging.

It wasn’t all emphesema and serfdom of course - the lack of interest in Indie meant there were precisely NONE of the godawful whingeing “piano-led” dreary old Corporate Indie Bollocks bands that we’re deluged by now, but then there weren’t really and GOOD Indie bands either… that is, until Belle & Sebastian came along and shook the whole thing up. It seems strange now that we all got SO VERY EXCITED about such a twee, unassuming band, but EXCITED we certainly DID get, helped along by the sudden appearance of the interweb and especially of the sort of email lists, as discussed in a previous instalment. These lists meant, for the first time, you didn’t HAVE to know people nearby who were into the same bands as you, nor did you need to hunt down fanzines or get pen-pals, you could instantly share the GLEE with likeminded people all over the WORLD, and Belle & Sebastian attracted a HECK LOAD of GLEE.

The first time I ever saw them was in Glasgow, by mistake. I’d gone up with some pals to see the support act, Adventures In Stereo, but we’d all been completely GOBSMACKED by how UTTERLY AMAZING the headline band were. All right, i admit, we HAD been staggering round Glasgow all day getting PROFOUNDLY DRUNK, but still, it was AMAZING . At the venue we all got seperated, and I remember standing STUNNED during the entire gig, dumbstruck by how RIGHT every single note of every single instrument sounded, and being (even more) PROFOUNDLY MOVED by the words and emotion coming towards me. I’d heard music of this genre before but it had always sounded limp and can’t be bothered, never this SOULFULL. Unable to contain myself I turned to the group of people next to me and said “I’m sorry, I don’t know you, but i’ve got to tell somebody - this band is FUCKING AMAZING.” Rather than FLEE they all looked equally astounded, and nodded fervently.

After the gig I spotted Stuart Murdoch wandering around, so I rang over and gave him a MASSIVE HUG. I don’t think he enjoyed it.

In the months that followed I travelled the country to as many of their gigs as I could get to, none of which were ever as good and many of which were FRUSTRATING due to the band’s insistence on playing “unusual” venues with VERY “unusual” sound systems, but they’d always have at least one moment of BEAUTY that reminded you exactly why you’d fallen so KRAZILY in love with them in the first place. THUS, when we heard about The Bowlie Weekender, we BOOKED ourselves tickets, and set off for a weekend of INDIE FUN.

The idea of the weekend was pretty much the same as the old Northern Soul Weekenders - it took place at a holiday camp so all the attendees got to stay in CHALETS, popping out to the central venue(s) to watch bands of a similar ILK. It was a GRATE plan, though it didn’t get off to the best of starts as there was a MASSIVE queue to get in. It took HOURS and HOURS of standing around to get to the ticket desk, goodness knows why, but happily The Indie Nation took it well in their stride. As if by magic, BOOZE appeared and people gradually got more and more sociable. There was chat, there were singalongs, and after a while a SUPER GROUP led by Stevie From Belle & Sebastian came out and busked for us. It was LOVELY.

The whole weekend went on pretty much like that - i can’t really give you a proper review of the bands, as i was REALLY VERY DRUNK for most of the time, so much so that I fell asleep in the middle of the MOSH PIT for Divine Comedy. I know a Divine Comedy moshpit is hardly the same as Metallica’s but it WAS quite loud - earlier that day we’d stood at the front for Teenage Fanclub and nearly got KNOCKED OVER by the SONIC POWER of the bass speakers.

All Festival Bores will tell you It’s Not About The Music, but at this festival it was TRUE. Staying in a CHALET is much much much much MUCH better than in a bloody tent - you have your own fridge full of beer, a SHOWER, a dry bed to sleep in, a KITCHEN, a TELLY, and most importantly a NICE CLEAN TOILET. It was festival HEAVEN, the only slight downside was that I ended up having to share the sofa bed with my friend Mileage, but we HAD known each other since we were eleven so it wasn’t too bad and anyway, we come from Peterborough, where BEDS are considered a MAGICAL DEVICE of THE FUTURE.

The other GRATE thing about it was that everybody was pitched in together for the weekend, including all of the bands. By the end of the weekend one was almost BORED of seeing Jarvis wandering by (almost) and we soon TIRED of shouting abuse at passing disc jockeys. There was one slightly sad moment when Douglas From The BMX Bandits appeared, wearing a Pontin’s Blue Jacket. HE thought “Oho! How amusing of me to pretend to be in charge of fun for all!” WE all thought “How sad, that he should end up having to work in Pontins, ESPECIALLY on a weekend like this.”

Over the course of the weekend MANY relationships, romantic and otherwise, were formed, not least between the indie label types who were there. We agreed to gather at the picnic tables in front of the festival PUB on the Sunday afternoon to set up a record stall, and it was HERE that I had a milestone in My ROCK Career: I spoke to someone who owned and liked one of my records who i’d never actually MET before. This was IMMENSELY exciting, and was even more so shortly afterwards when somebody ELSE came over and revealed themselves to be the similar. It was like being MOBBED, very very slowly.

Bouyed up by this, also by DRINK, when someone appeared with an acoustic guitar I decided it was time for me to do a GIG. Oh yes, Peter Doherty may THINK he is the inventor of The Guerilla Gig, but it was going on long before he even THOUGHT of wearing a silly hat and pretending not to be REALLY POSH. I shoved some records off the picnic tables, clambered up onto my makeshift stage and proceeded to BELLOW my songs, to RAPTUROUS applause. Nobody seemed to mind that I couldn’t remember any of the words, or chords, or how to even PLAY chords, it was all part of the jolly FUN of the festival itself.

Bizarrely this also turned out to be my first Mainstream Review. A couple of months later, when we’d long since geographically (if not emotionally) left the festival, someone showed me a review of the festival printed by Loaded Magazine. There, right in the middle, was a sentence mentioning “some bloke shouting songs about how London bands are shit”!


December 4, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 20/1/99 - The Bull & Gate

Filed under: editorial, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:51 pm

Whenever I go off and do a gig there’s always a little voice in the back of my head saying “HEY! What if there’s A&R Men and REVIEWERS and RADIO PEOPLE there? Eh? This could be THE BIG NIGHT!” This voice then it goes on to stick a crudely drawn picture of me into the bit in every Beatles film ever where Brian Epstein first goes to see them and, if left unaccompanied, will soon have me arguing with myself on the rooftop in Let It Be. My brain, it is a BIG Beatles fan.

The gigs pretty much never work out like that (apart from the arguing with myself bit) but this time it actually DID, for LO! later on that night I met the Broadcaster And Writer Mr Steve Lamacq. He didn’t actually SEE my gig or anything - as usual I’d turned up to find the promoter saying “You don’t mind going on first do you, it’s only you and the guitar isn’t it?” and thus played to my traditional audience of The Other Bands - but that didn’t matter, it was Steve Lamacq! Off the RADIO!

We’d actually been in contact shortly before then. He used to write a column for The Melody Maker and one week was MUSING on gigs with low attendances, claiming with amazement to have recently seen a band playing to “only” twenty people. Twenty people! To me, that would be a STADIUM GIG, but apparently there is a whole LIFESTYLE available which involves only ever going to see gigs with LOADS more people there. The column went on to wonder whether anybody had ever seen a band play to even LESS people…

As we know, I’d recently played to about as few people as you possibly can (i.e. NONE), so wrote in to tell him about it, including a copy of a BOOKLET I’d recently written, detailing some of the exploits of my old band Voon. I’d made about twenty of them, forseeing all our old FANS wanting copies, but had forgotten that me never actually HAD any, so there were plenty spare.

A couple of weeks later I was walking to work reading the music press as I went - there were no real music internet sites back then, so every Wednesday i was SO KEEN to get the VITAL MUSIC NEWS as quickly as possible that i risked TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS by reading as i walked - when i turned to Mr Lamacq’s page and saw a big picture of the band SUEDE. “Oh well,” i thought, “looks like he’s not going to mention me”, then realised it was TWO seperate articles, the SECOND one, unaccompanied by a picture but actually LONGER, was all about ME!

I could hardly believe it, but there it was - big CHUNKS of my booklet quoted in full! This, it seemed, was my big chance, surely NOW Mr Big from Big Records would be on the phone, DEMANDING my signature? Surely THIS would get promoters across the nation excited about my music? It’s a huge article in Melody Maker!

It was DAYS before I realised that while it was indeed a huge article in Melody Maker, it was a huge article about how nobody ever wanted to come and see me. Ah. Maybe that’s not the best way to attract record companies or promoters then? Still, it was a contact with Mr Steve Lamacq, so when I saw him weeks later across the bar of The Bull & Gate I summoned up all my courage and went over to say hello.

My courage lasted approximately three steps, then FEAR set in, and I just sort of WAVED. “Er… Excuse me?” i said - ROCK AND ROLL - “I’ve got a tape here”. He was very polite, thanked me for it, and then i RAN AWAY to the back bar, there to DRINK and prepare for the inevitable offer of a SESSION.

It took him a while, but six years later me and The Validators DID do a session for him, though he never mentioned whether this was because of that tape or not. Now I come to think of it, the next time I saw him he didn’t seem to recall our first meeting AT ALL. It seems ridiculous - i was that drunk, nervous bloke in a pub who gave him a demo tape - how could he possibly not remember me?

Powered by WordPress