Digest...

July 31, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 5/3/2004 - Starka Bar, Motherwell

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:18 pm

This was the first date of my Grand Tour Of Scotland. It was organised FOR me by the band The Hector Collectors who were doing their Farewell Tour and wondered if maybe I’d like to join them. I said “YES PLEASE!”

The trip North was hit by the kinds of disasters which, I am sure, beset ALL touring artistes. First of all I left my BOOK behind at work and secondly there was a delay on the train caused by vandalism. ROCK AND ROLL! Without recourse to personal staff and gophers I was FORCED to nip into WHSMiths MYSELF to solve the first problem, which came in very handy when we had an hour long delay caused by the second.

I still got to Motherwell in good time and had a stroll through the city to the venue. All I knew of Motherwell were vague ideas that it was like Glasgow but slightly ROUGHER and… well, that’s pretty much what it was like. Everyone was very friendly in that Glasgow way of saying “I AM YOUR BEST FRIEND! OR I WILL FITE YOU!” When I got to the venue itself a Mad Loonie bloke came up and INSISTED on talking to me, despite (or probably BECAUSE of) being INCREDIBLY drunk. He first of all pretended to be a RUSSIAN, before calming down and saying it was all right because he wasn’t going to FITE me.

And then he introduced himself. He was the promoter of the gig!

I popped round the corner for some TEA and came back to find The Hector Collectors had arrived. I’d talked to a couple of them on the email in the weeks beforehand but never actually MET any of them, and suddenly realised that I was going to be spending the next several days in their company. If they were HORRID this was going to be difficult… but luckily they were LOVELY and we fell to CHAT and LARFS. I relaxed - this was going to be GOOD.

We went upstairs and I hit the stage with my steadily forming UBERSET… only to be rather THROWN by it FAILING me for the first time. At this time, when introducing “Easily Impressed”, I’d offer the audience a CHOICE - they could either join in with the audience participation and make the evening DELIGHTFUL, or not join in at ALL and make me look like a pillock. On every other occasion audiences went for the FORMER option but this time, to my surprise, they chose the LATTER. I never offered the choice again after that!

“Oh well”, I thought, “I’ll do ‘Boom Shake The Room’ next, THAT’LL get ‘em!” It really DIDN’T. I was confused and surprised - ‘Boom Shake The Room’ almost ALWAYS turns the gig around, but this time everyone looked DEEPLY unimpressed. It was only later on the tour that I discovered that someone ELSE had done a precise cover version of MY version of the song in the same venue to the same audience THREE DAYS before! Everyone thought I was just nicking his idea!

Apart from that it all went pretty well and any down points where UPPED by The Hectors, who came on and were MAGNIFICENTLY ramshackle and GOOD TIMES. The whole audience was very MUCH up for them… except for the aforementioned promoter, who by now had falled into a deep deep sleep, standing at the bar with his head resting on the counter.

Once it was all over I found out that I was going to be staying with Adam’s friend Katie - it turned out like a (very mild) CARRY ON film, as I went to a YOUNG LADY’S HOUSE after the gig to find her ENTIRE FAMILY was up and about and wanting to chat, including a very excited DOG and her Dad who was A VICAR! I am pretty sure this used to happen to ROBIN ASKWITH all the time - that’s what it’s like, ON THE ROAD!

July 29, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: Select-A-B-Side and The Hibbett Archive

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:28 pm

I do love a good clear out - it makes fresh new space on your shelves and in your SOUL, though if taken to far it may wreak HAVOC with both.

Towards the end of 2003 I decided to sort through the massive piles of CASSETTES that lived in a box under my bed. YOUNGER READERS! The Cassette was a form of musical storage that came between Vinyl and CDs and which was, frankly, about a hundred MILLION times as PUNK as both put together. Cassettes were BRILLIANT - almost EVERY cassette PLAYER came with a built in facility to RECORD so that, unlike CDs and especially vinyl, ANYBODY could make their own. Even more so, if you bought a cassette you didn’t like you could tape over it with your OWN music! Take that, so-called Phil Collins!

Thus for many happy years the demo TAPE was the common currency of ALL bands starting out. If you could get your hands on a cassette recorder with two tape decks you could write a song in the morning, record it in the afternoon and have a big pile of copies to try and FLOG at a gig that night. Even better, if you owned (or, in my case, had a FRIEND who owned) a magical four-track cassette recorder (i.e. more technology than The Beatles recorded most of their albums on) you could spend MANY happy evenings ensconced in the ATTIC making CONCEPT ALBUMS GALORE. Every time my friend left the house, and sometimes when he wasn’t, I’d NAB his four-track and head for the attic - between 1991 and 1998 I recorded NINETEEN whole albums on this fantastic bit of KIT!

Unfortunately my own enthusiasm for recording my songs was not matched by other people’s for LISTENING to it so, five years later, I still had about thirty spare copies of various tapes by long defunct bands (sometimes real bands, sometimes just me and a distortion pedal_ and nothing to do with them… until I had a GRATE idea. Me and The Validators were planning to put another CD EP out in the new year, and had been discussing re-recording a song from one of these many MANY old tapes. Looking upon these boxes of SPARES I hit upon a PLAN.

First of all I emailed a few old pals who’d been FORCED to listen to the old tapes and asked them to nominate their favourite songs. Three top choices emerged which I put online, and I then asked members of my mailing list to vote for their favourites. To encourage involvement I offered a PRIZE for EVERYONE who took part - a rare COLLECTORS ITEM! A slice of HISTORY! A “much sought after”, highly prized CASSETTE TAPE!

It worked like a dream, and soon I had a b-side chosen for me AND a whole lot of extra space under the bed. RESULT! Unfortunately I then got a bit carried away and decided that, really, I ought to make efforts to PRESERVE this repository of ROCK HISTORY, and began setting up The Hibbett Archive.

The initial idea of The Hibbett Archive was quite a good one, I thought. I’d convert ALL the old tapes to mp3, then burn them onto CDs which I could share with the other people involved, ensuring that there’d be several copies of everything which we’d all have an interest in looking after, for the HISTORICAL RECORD. The problem was that, in addition to the 19 “albums” there were about a hundred OTHER tapes. I’d had occasional bouts of taping EVERYTHING we ever did, so along with the four-track recordings were loads and loads of GIGS and even PRACTICES which, foolishly, I decided needed to be preserved for posterity.

Even THAT might have been OK if I’d just recorded each side of each tape as a single file, but I decided I’d divide each and every cassette into its individual tracks, with an mp3 for each to allow FUTURE HISTORIANS to listen to the exact section they were interested in. Again, this was FINE for the “albums” as there were clear gaps between songs, but when it got to GIGS I’d have to sit and work out where songs ended and, occasionally, what on earth we were trying to play!

Even THAT would have been OK, if it hadn’t been for the PRACTICES. OH, the PRACTICES! I finally BUCKLED when I’d just finished recording “Unknown Song (Geese?) Take 5″ and was moving on to labelling the next section “Bickering Part 12: Concerning the frequency of string breakage.” It’s bad enough BEING in a room arguing pathetically about who breaks the most strings, but I suddenly realised it was much much MUCH worse sitting in an entirely DIFFERENT room ten years later, trying to work out how to LABEL it.

With dazzling clarity I realised that Jimmy Carter, for instance, probably DIDN’T go through all of HIS old paperwork to organise his Presidential Archive, and that actually it was probably BETTER to leave it for future historians to sort out, without the cluttering bias of personal involvement. Also, it was driving me bloody mad.

And so The Hibbett Archive remains uncompleted, though the box of tapes remains intact. Whenever I have a clear out I like to look at it, to remind myself that some things should just be left as they are.

July 24, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 21/12/2003 - The Windmill, London

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 11:42 am

There are many different sorts of gigs you can do - acoustic gigs, festival gigs, guerrilla gigs (if you are a wanker who thinks doing a gig which ISN’T advertised in the corporate news magazines makes you CHE GUEVARA), “intimate” gigs - but the best of ALL types of gig is CHRISTMAS GIGS.

Christmas Gigs are BRILLIANT, for TWO reasons. Firstly, everyone is SO relieved NOT to be doing their Christmas Shopping that they’re in a FANTASTIC mood, also drunk, and secondly it is the LAW that all bands playing HAVE to do a Christmas Cover Version. Again, there are MANY types of cover versions - faithful covers, complete re-interpretations, ska-punk versions of slow songs (played by people who think it is THE MOST AMAZING IDEA EVER which nobody else has EVER thought of) - but Christmas Covers are the BEST because pretty much ALL Christmas Songs are a) GRATE and b) known by every member of the audience, thus bringing about a CHRISTMAS SINGALONG.

Thus INDISPUTABLE FACT: Christmas Gigs are the BEST, and all the acts performing on this particular evening got very much into the swing of it, especially the band Ormonroyd who did a SPECTACULAR, also very SLOW version of “Stop The Cavalry”, which made me SWELL with Christmas-NESS. I did a couple of my usual REPERTOIRE of Christmas Covers (”Sleigh bells”, “White Christmas”, THE CLASSICS) and spent a LOT of time showing off about the fact that, unlike so many people, I had recently COMPLETED my Christmas Shopping. Some would question whether this was the sort of thing people want to know when attending a ROCKSHOW, I would suggest that, at a CHRISTMAS ROCKSHOW, it very much is.

My performance was slightly distracted by an INTERNAL DEBATE, brought about by someone standing at the front, talking. The DEBATE about whether or not it is OK to talk at gigs has raged as long as their have BEEN gigs, and doubtless always will. When They Who Hit Stones first performed at the Campfire Hippodrome I’m sure She Who Never Shuts Up was SHUSHED dramatically by the rest of the tribe, and come the post apocalyptic performances of Alan Adventure And The Astronauts on Moon Base Theta I do not DOUBT that a delegation from Alpha Centauri will loudly state that, having paid 3,000 Galactic Groats to BE there then they can jolly well Telepathically Communicate as much as they LIKE.

I tend to side with the Alpha Centaurans on this one - if you’ve paid to get into the pub you can do what they like, and if the act on stage isn’t interesting enough to shut you up, well, that’s their fault. I know this argument FAILS on a regular basis when people don’t WANT to listen, but then that’s why the performer is usually ARMED with a MASSIVE PA SYSTEM. What DOES puzzle me, however, is when people decide that they want to have a conversation RIGHT at the front of the stage, as happened on this particular occasion. Stood INCHES from me and, therefore, INCHES from the MASSIVE PA SPEAKERS was a young woman who was DETERMINED to have a conversation with the two gentlemen stood either side of her who, it seemed, would rather not. She was practically SCREAMING at them, and I wondered why IF it was that important THEN she didn’t drag them to the back of the room ELSE she didn’t just wait until the END. In the gaps between songs I GLEANED that she was merely telling them she couldn’t decide what to drink, ALSO, from GLARES, that she was EXTREMELY annoyed with me for being so impertinently louder than her VITALLY IMPORTANT DECISION.

After me was the ever marvellous Chris T-T, who took jovial exception to me doing my song “Bands From London (are shit)”. “Not all bands from London are shit Mark!” he said. “Yes, but then Eminem isn’t actually GAY, is he?” I wittily replied… two hours later, on the tube home. CURSES!

July 22, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 4-9 August 2008, Edinburgh

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 1:17 pm

Just in case anyone that reads my bits here DOESN’T know about it, I’m taking a version of “My Exciting Life In ROCK” up to the Edinburgh Fringe this year. GLAMOROUS, eh?

The original idea to do this came about a few months ago when me and my pal Steve were in the pub comparing Edinburgh Fringe Horror Stories. MINE is thus: In 1991 I decided that, rather than actually do some revision for my degree (English & Politics at Leicester Poly in the early nineties - it’s not as if actually DOING it has ever done me any good!) I’d set up a THEATRE COMPANY and take two shows (a sketch show featuring ME and a musical by ME!) up to the Fringe, along with about 20 people I knew. It was a LOT of work and a LOT of expense - I ran out of money by the third day there and had to BEG for leftovers from everybody else’s plate in order to survive!

Me and my Comedy Double Act Partner Simon got booked to host the Fringe Club the first night we were there - having only played to audiences of our friends we were ill-prepared, and discovered that our dinosaur impersonations weren’t quite enough to avoid getting BOOED OFF. We went back 15 minutes later to the same reaction, and I very bravely said “We must continue!” (the band from the musical were playing last night, and I thought if we ran away then they’d get unbooked) “You go home - I shall carry on alone!”

My BIG BRAVE SPEECH didn’t quite go how I’d hope - EVERYONE we’d come with cleared off home and I spent the next four hours being BOOED off. Some friends turned up about 1am, so I went to sit with them instead, missing introducing the last act, who said “Where’s the compere gone?” “HERE HE IS!” said my friends, who disappeared under an avalanche of chucked beer, damp tissues, beer mats and BOOING.

As if all that wasn’t enough, when we got back we found that the venue had gone “bankrupt” (though it was suspiciously open again the next year…) leaving us without the few ticket sales we’d had. We still owed nearly a GRAND and, as the 20 other people suddenly decided this was MY fault, I was left £1,000 in debt - in 1991, with only a poor degree from Leicester POly to protect me, this was quite a big deal and took me several years to finally pay off. I resolved never to return!

Sharing this with Steve (whose own story involves his entire cast LEAVING, the show being re-written on the way there, sleeping in a PARK, and only just making double figures for attendance over the course of the week) we realised that things had changed in the nearly two decades since we’d last been. For a start, neither of us were STUDENTS anymore, and had accrued significant organisational experience as well as some CA$H in the bank which meant that we would not only be able to book ourselves somewhere leaf-free to stay, but also to pay for it in advance and STILL have enough money leftover for beer!

Our plan began as just a way to AVENGE our terrible experiences, also to get DRUNK, but it all got a bit out of control. We booked “Previews” and a “Press Launch”. I decided to release a single to promote it, and a video to promote THAT. I booked myself busking spots and extra gigs and generally went AT IT like maniacs - the first day I’m there I’ll be playing FIVE gigs, there won’t even be time to get DRUNK!

The other thing I needed to do was work out what the show would BE - I’d originally planned to just do a GIG, but it seems that isn’t quite enough, so, after several pub conflabs, I started sorting through these very entries to find some stories to tell. The final product, ALSO called “My Exciting Life In ROCK” features a few you’ll have read here as well as some we haven’t quite got to yet, and a whole HEAP of songs. If anyone’s around during the Fringe do pop along won’t you? It’d be lovely to see you!

THE FACTS

My Exciting Life In ROCK is on at The Medina & Negociants (venue 205), 45-47 Lothian from August 4-9th inclusive, starting at 6pm. All the details are on the website and you can now buy tickets from the Fringe box office.

And if you’re feeling FLUSH you can also buy the new single, featuring “It Only Works Because You’re Here” and six other songs from the show from our online shop. It should also be on iTunes and Amazon, and you can watch the video on YouTube.

It’s a whole LOT of action!

July 21, 2008

Lexicon of pop: P - photo shoots

Filed under: music — benramster @ 3:52 pm

It was while trying to manage the perfect 1000-yard stare that my thoughts turned to a video of The Police that I had seen earlier this year in France, and Gordon Sumner’s incredible red trousers. It was the end of January and each evening my friends and I would go down to Smithys bar for some well earned pissy lager. Something in the European psyche has elected Sting cool and he was there, every night, on the big screen singing ‘De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da’ [link]. The sight of Stuart Copeland miming playing the drums on a ski slope brought the question continually back to my mind “Is this the worst idea for a music video ever?”

It’s May in North London now, and a lovely photographer called Wendy has just asked me to “Think about your music and put those feelings on your face”. It’s the first photo shoot for my band, Mlini, and we’re all feeling the learning curve. “Shall we try a different back drop?” she patiently suggests. Green wheelie bins is too urban. It was while I tried to do blue steel one more time that I compiled this list of my top five favourite photo shoots.

1. The Breeders. Kim Deal, wearing an Astro Boy t-shirt, hung in my lavatory for the past three years. She looked great in this picture, as cool as she is and not on smack. I couldn’t find the image on the web, so you will have to imagine her at her best. Unfortunately, there are many pictures readily available of her looking like a pudding.

2. Nirvana. There are many great shoots of Kurt Cobain alone, and with the band, dating from the early 1990s. My favourite is when he and Garth from Wayne’s World seemed to intersect. Uncanny. Does you know that Frances Bean has been in Harpers Bazaar?

3. Blondie . Gorgeous and significantly older than The Ting Tings when they broke. A lovely black and white shot of Debbie Harry rests in my en suite. Strangely, the person who put this page together thinks that the Teletubbies are stealing his ideas.

4. The Beatles in Hamburg. Fab Four (then five) member Stuart Sutcliffe enlisted the help of his German-artist girlfriend to provide the mop-top look that added serious style to these early photos. More skiing musicians can be seen on this webpage from the filming of “Help!” How long before Mr Solo is on snow blades?

5. Unknown electronica outfit. I came across a fantastic photo of two knob-twiddlers, each sitting on top of a huge tower of stacked plastic chairs. I couldn’t find them again but Colombian artist Doris Salcedo has kindly stepped in to make up for it.

July 19, 2008

its been An Adventure II

Filed under: mr solo — mrsolo @ 10:37 am

well last night I dusted off my cat suit which had been moth balled for atleast a week and I took to the stage as the solo Mr solo at a small venue in Covent garden called the Arts Theatre. I was one of many burlesque freaks and my cape removal was very much part of the whole clothing taking off vibe. I did< however,  change in the toilet as I have been out of the burlesque loop and on the road with cissy boys in bands for a bit recently. I have to say they look after you far more in theatre darling. It is usually an extended part of my act to try and be a less glam version  of myself (hard I know) as I line check and generally struggle not to topple the tower of dvd players and projectors I have hoarded on one side of the stage. No at SideShow they did all that for me! Amazing and I got to go in the posh dressing room “Pigeon 2″ at the end. the not so posh one “pigeon 1″ was still like a gated community to the leper colony that usually makes do for a place to don make up on the toilet tour. So I think that really was the last solo Mr Solo. And now this blog will be about the trials and tribulations of forming the Mr solo band. My idea right now is to not touch an instrument myself or a projector so please hold me to that Rhodry Dom Rob Richy Bummer (ne Bomber) and Chris et al… The good thing about blogging this process is that we don’t actually have to do much (unlike in a fly on the wall doco.. .er well wrong analergy perhaps)) I will quite happily share my own paranoias joys triumphs all generated from within my head. That is the joy of a band - solo or otherwise - you can think something up and then do it. An when it happens its amazing…Sorry ed - one more line (you’ve had two of mine) - look at us we’ve formed a band.

July 17, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 11/12/2003 - BBC6 Music, London

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 10:42 am

This was a fantastic day in Difficult Circumstances. It had all been booked a few previously when Henry The Producer from 6Music had rung up to ask me if I’d like to be on Steve Lamacq’s 6Music end of year special, “Lamacq’s Almanac”, where he’d be looking back at the year to come.

I’ll just say that again - we’d be looking back (so far so good) at the year to come. Or rather (and now things will hopefully become clear) we’d be PRETENDING to do so, as the show would be filled with Humorous Items gently mocking the world of music and, as part of this, Henry thought maybe I could do something about the forthcoming European cup finals. “Maybe one of those awful football songs?” he suggested. “Awful football songs?” I said. “I’ve GOT one of those!”

This song was, of course, “The Fair Play Trophy” which I have mentioned SEVERAL times… though not yet as many times as I’ve RELEASED it. It first came out on Fortuna Pop! in 1998 for the World Cup, and then again in a brand new version in 2002 as an AAS online single. I’d already re-written the words for that one, so thought nothing of doing so again for this one, and set to thinking about how to PERFORM it. On the recorded versions we’d multi-tracked band members several times to make it sound like a crowd - how on earth could I re-create that LIVE?

AHA! By getting a CROWD! I emailed loads of people I knew and told them all to meet in a PUB near the BBC on the big day (which was a couple of weeks before the end of the year, as we were pre-recording). SEVERAL of them turned up, including my three brothers, although I was not altogether in the best of states to greet them due to the Difficult Circumstances mentioned earlier. The Beer In My Pint Glass had fallen ILL with a kidney infection earlier in the week and, as anyone who’s ever been NEAR a kidney infection can tell you, this is NOT good news. We had three or four days of her being INCREDIBLY hot and MASSIVELY poorly, needing constant looking after day and night. Happily she’d improved enough to be left at home with our lovely Landlady (we’d been taking it in turns), but it’d left ME with quite DRASTIC sleep deprivation, also WORRY.

What I needed was a BEER, and that is what I GOT. In fact we got just the RIGHT quantity of beer so that, as we strolled towards Broadcasting House, most of us were perfectly happy to sing in the street as we walked, BELLOWING out the song’s choruses which we’d all soon be recording.

Once AT the BBC we had quite a wait until they were ready for us, and this was enlivened in several ways - by singing, by visiting the famous BBC Canteen, and by looking at The Broadcaster And Journalist Miranda Sawyer, who happened to wander into the reception while we were there. INSTANTLY a dividing line was drawn on age and gender grounds: Women and young men were seen to think “Hmm, haven’t I seen her off the telly?” while INDIE MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE stood there and OPENLY GAWPED, DRIBBLED, and took several MINUTES before they recovered their composure. MIRANDA SAWYER! YOINKS!

“Who was the other one?” one of us said. “Caitlin Moran!” replied the rest, in joyful nostalgic chorus.

Eventually we were called into the studio with my little crowd by now quite BLASE about being in the BBC. This changed rather quickly when we got into the studio as SUDDENLY it became clear that this was about to ACTUALLY HAPPEN. My brother James got a LITTLE over-excited and decided Phil The Soundman was his BEST MATE EVER. “Are we OK here Phil?” he’d say. “Is this all right Phil? Phil? Can I take some photographs Phil?” He then took photographs of EVERYTHING.

One of these was of me, stood on the other side of the room from everyone else in front of a handy “BBC 6Music sign”. My vantage point meant I was looking across to everyone else grouped around microphones, and so when The Broadcaster And Journalist Steve Lamacq walked in I got a GLORIOUS view of ALL of them going “Blimey! Steve Lamacq! This is REAL!”

He gave me a quick run-down of the General Idea and we were OFF. The idea was that “The Fair Play Trophy” had been a MEGA HIT and as I’d been imagining that MYSELF for several years by now I had VERY little trouble talking about it at quite some length. We then LEAPT into the song, which caused a bit of a SHOCK for the BBC Professionals - we’d briefly soundchecked the crowd sing-along when they’d first been COWED by the site of the studio and Mr Lamacq. Now that they’d had some time to get used to it and we were singing the song properly they gave it FULL VOLUME. It was MAJESTIC, and accompanied by FRENZIED volume knob twiddling.

After that we’d agreed that I’d do the single b-side, and as the 2002 version had featured The Fresh Prince’s classic “Boom Shake The Room” we thought we might as well do that, containing as it does a LOT of scope for audience participation from the crowd. This went VERY well and I got SO excited that, as with my first visit to 6Music, I got the words completely wrong. I could see everyone else FRANTICALLY scanning through the lyrics to work out where we were, and when I suddenly ground to a halt it was all I could do to look across for HELP.

My friend Pauly was the first to realise what was happening, and leaned forward and said “Boom?” Charlie, next to him, caught on and said “Shake?” and my brother Thomas said “the?” after which everyone else cautiously sang “Room?”, I said “OH YES!” and with HUGE relief we all launched into a MASSIVE final chorus. The volume knobs went even FURTHER down to contain it all.

After it was all over we STAGGERED down the road for celebratory PINTS, pausing only to take a LOT of very silly pictures of us pretending to be NINJAS in the corridors of Broadcasting House. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? Best of all I got home to find The Crisps In My Packet sat up in bed for the first time all WEEK, feeling better and wanting to know what had happened. It was BRILLIANT!

July 16, 2008

Heroes & a bit of Dr. Who 2008 review

Filed under: Uncategorized, reviews, PhoeniX Phil, art — pxpl @ 4:38 pm

 

I happened to have enjoyed the second season of Heroes a lot better than i expected to after all the backlash in the States. A lot of Uk fans also dropped it from their viewing schedules. I’m still not sure why it alienated so many previous fans. Sure it had it’s faults (the odd plodding storyline, some characters not getting enough screen time, corny dialog) but these faults were also shared by the popular first series. One of the common complaints about the second season was that it’s pace was too slow… if anything each episode whizzed by like a speedball. But then again after watching four brilliant series of the slow burning yet almighty “The Wire” going back to speedy Heroes for me is a bit like listening to the entire Radiohead back catalogue and then sticking on the Ramones “It’s Alive”Anyhow a cracking finale to Heroes 2 I thought. Although the cliffhanger of Nathan being shot isn’t much of a cliff hanger seeing as he has “the healing blood” in his body now. And having said that, Nathan will survive “healing blood” or not after all didn’t DL and Matt get shot up at the end of series 1. But I enjoyed the final episode possibly because the overall season stories of the virus and the twins of death didn’t interest me on a whole. So I was glad to see it all wrapped up in a fast action, fun packed way. If I had to witness anymore whinging and bad acting from “Tears of Death girl” I would have snapped. Plus the subtle Popeye gag when Sylar got his powers back in the alley was a class touch 

  

Now with season 3, they can start again and build it up from scratch… Sylars back, “the twins of death” storyline is over, Hiro is back with Ando in the present day, Nathan and Peter are re-united with Matt (and thus Mohinder and that little girl who’s name escapes me) giving us a band of “Heroes”, Elle being a bit of emotional head case who often does wrong by trying to do right can implemented as and how the plot dictates. 

  If I was allowed help build back from scratch here’s what I’d recommend for season 3….* Seeing as half the cast now have “healing blood” PLEASE can a virus or defect or for the effects to be temporary to be written into the series for characters who get the blood second hand. Otherwise we’ll soon have a cast of characters who are immortal. I know there’s the highlander esque “you have to shot them in the head” to kill them but that can only go so far tension wise. For example if it is permanent, surely it’d now be expected by Claire and Peter’s friends and family that they get given a quick transfusion “just in case”. And those people then would do the same for their nearest and dearest and so and so.. in the end everyone would be immortal. 

  

I’d make transfused “Healing blood” either temporary (which would contradict the already slightly scientifically dubious “Sylar getting powers by eating brains thus incorporating their dna coding into his”) OR give the the healing blood a side effect if it’s transfused resulting in it’s use being reduced for emergencies. 

* More “Elle Bishop” please! She really sparked some life into the last few episodes (no pun intended). The brief clash between her and Sylar was electrifying (again no pun intended). I’d like to see a fierce rivalry between her and Sylar develop in series 3.* Much more Sylar. Heroes IS Sylar’s show. Keep him evil, keep him alone (please no sidekicks or minions) and keep him a threat. His predatory stalking of the Heroes gives the show it’s edge. In series 2 he was stuck with the sucky “Tears Of Death” twins. Speaking of which….

* Axe Little Miss “Tears Of Death”. Oh how I cheered when firstly she got told her brother was dead and then I cheered even more when Sylar shot her dead. Typically Mohinder brought back to life with “the healing blood” like the idiot do-gooder that he is. I know the makers of Heroes love her but she’s fakking rubbish and annoying. Please kill her.. full on properly leave no room for a comeback. Let her annoy Alejandro in TV Hell.

* Either kill of Nikki in the explosion or make her kick ass again in season 3. She did a whole lot of nothing in season 2. I always figured that her and Nathan would get together down the line and form some sort of power couple.

* Cut out the stoopid “as if” bits like how the corporation (which is supposed to be all powerful and all knowing) put powerful threats Peter and Adam in cells next to each other and let them chat freely through the wall. And also last night Peter takes out Hiro, and Adam who’s vowed revenge against Hiro for 400 years just leaves him unconscious surely he’d kill him while he could… or at least tie him up of something.

* Oh less Claire Bear please. I know FHM readers like her but either turn her into a cheerleader uniform wearing kick ass hero or reduce her role. Her make up / break up sessions with her “daddy” are getting boring now. 

  


I may be the only but I see good things in store for Heroes. F*ck the critics.. it’s still a billion times better than anything else on telly this month…. 

  Well apart from Dr.Who season 4 that started off sh!te but got back up to speed about two thirds in. The “Midnight” episode was one of my favourites. A tale of physiological terror and paranoia, David Tennant was brilliant as the Doctor who for once was a bit out of his league while a mysterious life-force attacked a shuttle train. And the final story arc that carried over the final three episodes was a Saturday night TV heaven….  a tiny bit rushed plus Catherine Tate was ultra annoying but great stuff none the less. It was good see all the seasons and spin off’s cross over …I even gushed like an 8 year old when K-9 scooted out to save the day. Plus Martha Jones is an excellent sidekick and should be in it more often in my opinion.I do wonder what was up with Billie Piper’s mouth / speech. It sounded like she had some bad ass mouth ulcer or something. Plus I do feel that the Billy and the clone Dr. ending could’ve been more romantic …but I suppose it’s hard to be all “sunsets and smooching” if you have to settle for a mad clone of the man you love.

Still, tons of action, a mega weepy bit when the TARDIS was being destroyed, Davros telling off the Dr for being a hypocrite at the end plus a downer ending…. as the man himself would say, “Brilliant”. 

  

I look forward to seeing what David Tennant and the writers do next with Dr.Who. I’m hoping that the scolding he got from Davros has effected him bringing a more sombre tone to the series. Roll on the Christmas special. 

 

 

July 15, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 15/11/2003 - University of Sheffield Students’ Union, Sheffield

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

It was a wild and windy night, ill-lit by moonlight, as young Penny strode across the open moors surrounding the small village of Sheffield. She had defied her master, the evil Lord Sheffield, by staging an all-day indie-pop festival, and had been cast out into the night.

As she walked, shivering, towards the snow-capped peak of Mount Sheffield, past even where the last tram dared to trundle after dark, she noticed a cowled figure at the corner of the road, walking towards her. “Why do you weep so my dear?” asked the figure, which appeared to be an old crone, hunched over a stick.

Penny told her tale, and the old witch (for such she was) said “This shall not stand! Together we may be revenged upon his lordship, for ’tis in my gift to appoint the next Entertainments Manager of Sheffield University Students’ Union. If it be you, girl, would you swear to stage two all day festivals of indie-pop every year, and to name them after me?”

Penny readily agreed, and woke up next day to find herself endowed with a magical walkie-talkie, access to reams and reams of detachable backstage passes, and a special telephone which allowed her to book as many bands as she wanted. Her new bosses were pleased with her work, especially when she named the festival “Fuzztival”, after their regular Fuzz Club event.

Come the day of The Fuzztival, however, shouting was heard outside, as a cowled figure fought herself into the room. “You promised!” she shouted “You promised that you would name it after ME!”

“I’m so sorry, Old Woman Readingandleeds, I completely forgot!” Penny blurted, but it was to no avail. “I CURSE YOU!” screamed the old witch, as she was dragged away by the burly security guards. “Mark my words! From this day hence, EVERY all day festival you organise will feature MJ Hibbett, SUCH is my curse! AHAHAHAAA!”

That’s what I THINK must have happened anyway. I can’t think of any other reason for Penny, formerly of the pop-a-go-go festival and now of Sheffield University, booking me for EVERY all-dayer she puts on. It defies logic but goodness me I’m happy she does it because they are ALWAYS GRATE. This was the first time I’d gone up to play at the University and I had a LOVELY time.

Part of the loveliness is just down to the location. Sheffield is one of my favourite places in the whole wide world, as it’s got JUST the right kind of friendliness about it. Go further South and people become less and less bothered about you until they become practically rude, go further North and everyone’s so determined that you should KNOW how extremely friendly they are that it becomes oppressive, but in Sheffield everything is LOVELY. Also: they have TRAMS!

And also also, it must be said, this particular gig ALWAYS pays a bit of money, always gives you your TEA, and most importantly ALWAYS has a crowd of people WELL up for a bit of SINGING ALONG. This first one was no exception, INDEED it pretty much SET the rule for a twice-yearly gig that I CHERISH.

I got the tram back to the railway station and was so full of happiness, also BEER, that I got off at the wrong stop, at which point THREE natives of Sheffield took it in turns to make sure I got back to the station OK on foot. That’s what it’s like in Sheffield, it’s LOVELY!

July 12, 2008

Its been an adventure

Filed under: editorial, mr solo — mrsolo @ 8:20 am

“we won’t know where we’re going until we get there….” and so sang a vaudevillian character in the film Overlord, a film I saw the night after I effectively killed off the solo version of Mr Solo at a venue in Camden called the Undersolo. A good place to bury that particular incarnation of the solo franchise. Will, I ask myself, Light Speed Champion find a suitable venue to bury the hat (yet)? I had meant to write stuff here more often but things have become frenetic and I have found myself swapping hats at a more frequent rate than the afore mentioned festival main stay. In one particular week I seemed to perform everynight in a different guise ; singer in a david devant tribute band, humble show stealing broken ankled guitarist in keith TOTP’s minor indie celebrity all star band, guitarist and erstwhile side kick to Mr Argos in the last orthodox Glam band on earth (although we are more a cooperative than a group), co lead singer with Ed in the Green, Singer in David devant and his Spirit wife and then rounding the week off with a performance in a gallery as mister Solo the clinically sane painter of men with monkey faces in floating boxes surrounded by celestial fire www.sartorialart.com. Its a list and not a story but some how I had intended it to appear more riveting written down than having to stoically take in the miriad oddities of some on else’s dream. I read somewhere that there is snothing more boring than listening to someone else’s dream - unless you are a paid freudian analyst in which case you will pass the time looking at the clock nodding going “ah ha I see” and stroking your chin. i believe in the power of dreams but I Am an accidental anarchist so refuse every dogma known to man. This preamble is growing into a mountain trek so time to tell you how my blogging leviathan was roused from slumber by the events of yesterday. Glam Chops (the last orthodox glam collective in the solar system) were booked to hit the sheep dip stage of Lounge on the Farm at 7 pm last night. Being the anarchist that I am I duely arrived as advised by the appropriate authorities at 5 pm (the specified 2 hours in advance). Fearing I was behind the pack (school cross country trauma incident) I was swift to telephone the lead singer ed Argos who clearly described his location as near Heathrow. Oh gosh I thought. Come seven twenty I was advising our democratically elected accidental leader, Paul GUided Missile, that we should dig in and wait for Ed at least until they tell us in no uncertain terms to go on. So … I annouce us as two thirds of glam chops and we begin the set with a song I sing about my personal struggle to coralate the optimism of Glam from my childhood with a certain hunted man (ne gad). This is not quite what the festival goers had expected from the last orthodox glam cooperative in the universe… but come the final layered series of rounds combining various glitter band choruses a feeling that the uncomplicated euphoria of child like creative reverie can once agian be restored has descended on atleast two members of the crowd assembled to see the last orthodox glam union in England. Or perhaps they just liked the chance to sing ‘dya wnna be in my gang my gang’ in a safe unreconstructed environment. That song done we now have to play a number ed would normally co-sing but I feel pretty confident taking the lead. People often say to me how extrovert I am on stage but they are mistaking a big wig for showing out - I’m just trying to remember al the chords. To do justice to what happened next I would really have to contact the artist who rendered “tough of the track” in Scorcher comic and ask them to show it in a series of sublimely inked panels. As we approach the second chorus Ed bounds onto the stage and nearly takes out Paul guided missile. It is with explosive elation that we become a fully restored co-op as we flank the front of the stage, arms aloft, for the drum break down “don’t be glum - be glam - be glam - i am”. This moment , as i said to Paul afterwards was an all time classic - its the last panel in the comic strip which was proceeded by intercut pen and ink images of ed hanging out of a movin splitter bus with security stewards diving out the way shaking fists from the hedgerow intercut with close ups of my sweating brow with sideways glances. And then ed bounds on to the stage. During the next song “european festivals” make up is applied to his face! i’ve done a few shows in my time but never one that combines comic book adventure with orthodox glam rock!
people stared at the make up on his face…. I unwittingly killed off the solo mr solo on the eve of the 35 anniversary of the death of Ziggy Star dust. The serendipity of this would be harder to explain in a comic strip. celebrating life’s introverted moments and bringing them out into the open is why I am clinically sane but not content with one persona or hat. did i ever mention how i was once paid with a hat shaped from felt into tatlin’s tower?

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