Digest...

November 27, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 30/10/2004 - University of Sheffield Students’ Union, Sheffield

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 2:30 pm

Now this, THIS, was the sort of gig you DREAM about playing. It was GRATE!

The Fuzztival is ALWAYS a GRATE gig, because it’s all done so PROPERLY - I’m sure some bands are used to having ARMBANDS to allow them access to the BACKSTAGE AREA where there is BEER and FOOD, but to me it was GLAMOUR CITY. I had PRIVILEGED ACCESS to some BISCUITS! I AM TOMMY LEE!

Maybe that was why things went to my head a little and I caused a RUCKUS about the rider. I said “Is there anything apart from Stella and Cider please?” ROCK MONSTER! Excitingly Penny, who runs these gigs, got on her WALKIE TALKIE and sent a LACKEY down to the corner shop to buy me some GUINNESS!! I AM AXL ROSE!

Also in attendance was the journalist and broadcaster Mr Steve Lamacq who was DJing later but had come along early to see my set. As I stood there sipping my FREE STOUT in the DJ BOX, chatting about Current Issues, I thought “Drinking free beer backstage before a gig talking to people off the radio ? I AM … er… HUMPHREY LITTLETON!”

Usually, for me, it would be at THAT point that the venue caught fire, or the manager came over and said “Hang on, there’s been a terrible mistake, that beer was for Craig David not you” but things CARRIED ON being brilliant, and I had a FAB gig. The Fuzztival is always GRATE for the gig bit too, as whatever time you’re on it’s always full of STUDENTS and they’re ALWAYS drunk, but this one went especially well with a HUGE wave of audience participation. I think it helped that lots of them had seen me when I’d played the year before and knew the words - I’ve since played FOUR more Fuzztivals and FOUR summer all-dayers too so that these days annual attendance at MY GIGS counts as a module in most Sheffield University exam courses.

When I came off I was MANHANDLED by Mr Steve Lamacq, who’d never seen me play before and had so enjoyed it (or, possibly, was so RELIEVED I hadn’t been RUBBISH) that he came over for a BIG MANLY HUGE. A manly hug from one of the most respected broadcasters in Britain? What could be better?

How about having a MASSIVE CROWD OF YOUNG WOMEN pounce on you, TEAR one of the most respected broadcasters in Britain OFF you, and form an orderly QUEUE to give you MONEY? For LO! THAT is what happened - a genuine actual QUEUE of young LADIES (OK and several blokes too, but GURLS counts double) who wanted to buy records off me. It was AMAZING!

The AMAZINGNESS continued for the rest of the day, as after wandering around the venue for a bit, just in case any OTHER young people wished to a) tell me I was GRATE b) buy some records (I’m SO helpful) I got the last train home and arrived chez moi JUST in time for CURRY. RESULT!

I told the story that night as we ate and thought that that was as good as it could get… until a few weeks later when The Bands On My Bill and I went out for a drink in Islington, and noticed the aforesaid Steve Lamacq on the other side of the pub. “Should I go over and say hello?” I asked her, not wanting to disturb the great man in his quiet time, but I didn’t have to. He saw us and STORMED OVER, said to The Beer In My Barrel “You’ll never guess what happened the last time I saw Mark” and proceeded to tell the whole story ALL OVER AGAIN, with added ACTIONS to describe how he was THROWN, DISCARDED, across the room by a MASSIVE CROWD OF GURLS!

If gigs can get any better than THAT, I want to know about it. Also, play them!

November 25, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 2/10/2004 - Sanctuary Café, Brighton

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 5:55 pm

Every so often somebody will say to me “You don’t LOOK like a Vegetarian”, and I try my best to take this as a compliment, that I’m not a kaftan clad hippy or something, rather than admitting that what they really mean is “I thought vegetarians were all THIN”.

I’ve been veggie for about 17 years now, and it has change a LOT in that time. When I took THE PLEDGE getting stuff to eat was a HASSLE, because the only place you could BUY stuff was in HEALTH FOOD SHOPS, and the ONLY things available (NB may contain exaggeration) were SIZZLES (bright red powder you added water to and fried which smelt vaguely like very cheap bacon) or VEGGIE MIX (light brown powder you added water to and fried which tasted vaguely of sand) or some kind of CASSEROLE made out of DRIED BEANS which needed soaking overnight or else they would be POISONOUS, making every meal a life or death tussle of FORWARD PLANNING.

I ended up eating a LOT of chips. Nowadays, of course, veggieNESS is a piece of piss, with every supermarket having its own range of GRUB ready for my gaping maw, alongside Linda McCartney, Quorn and a hundred other TASTY TREATS. It’s EASY, but it does lead me now and again to pine wistfully for the days when ETHICAL was EFFORTFUL, and when the only chance for a meal out would involve going to a WORKERS COOPERATIVE where “ethnic” hat wearing beardies would charge you A MILLION QUID for an organic mung bean BAKE and a peppermint tea in a room BEDECKED with pictures of people SUFFERING. Where did they all go, those hippies with their difficult cook books and cork-board community noticeboards?

BRIGHTON. That’s where.

As soon as I arrived at this cafe I was ELATED to find a HUGE pile of newsletters and leaflets advertising workshops, community schemes and campaigns, as well as a wide range of KNITTED TROUSER on the customers. I should have guessed from the gig - a BENEFIT ALL-DAYER for a CHICKEN SANCTUARY - that it would be a trip back in time, but nothing could have prepared me for the full-on 1992 Experience that I was suddenly dropped into.

As I settled down to a slice of QUICHE with HUMMUS - both HOME MADE of course - I perused the BEER LIST and was excited to see a wide range of delicious BEERS. I was less excited to see the prices - five pounds for a bottle of beer?!? “It’s Organic!” protested the parachute-booted proprietor when I remonstrated. “It’s organic in Sainsbury’s as well, but they only charge TWO quid” I thought, QUITE LOUDLY, as I shuffled back to my seat.

This being a 1992-themed afternoon there were several ALTERNATIVE POETS on the bill as well as SPEECHES and some rather angry folk songs. I tried to fit in by doing “The Fight For History”, my song about the death of THATCHER, but almost spoiled it by doing “Boom Shake The Room” - it didn’t come out until 1993 - but they were a forgiving bunch and joined in manfully.

I had to dash off to catch my train back home, and LEGGED it so fast back to the station where I popped into Marks and Spencer’s to sample their HUGE rain of vegetarian friendly TASTY FOODSTUFFS. It was nice visiting 1992, but I wouldn’t want to have to live their again.

November 24, 2008

Diary of a record label #2

Filed under: music, editorial, The label — scoobydom @ 7:02 pm

Dear Diary,

Today we are number one in the Play.com Indie downloads - see for yourself.

Our bar codes arrived over the weekend and I scanned them in. The Quill has added them to the Brontosaurus Chorus album sleeve and it looks like an actual Proper Album. Exciting times!

Today, I’ve been drafting contracts for our 2 upcoming releases. These are licensing contracts. The copyright in a sound recording is held by whoever pays for the recording, which the bands did, and they license the tracks to us for an agreed time. The contract sets out the terms and time period by which we, um, own their asses. The idea did occur to me to draft a clause that forbids band members from endorsing the Tory Party in interviews. However, this idea was quickly abandoned as being a wee bit too Stalinist. We do actually have a 5 year plan, but that was an idea we nicked from the Wu-Tang Clan.

Toodle-pip! x

November 20, 2008

Diary of a record label. #1.

Filed under: music, editorial, The label — scoobydom @ 7:02 pm

So, the idea came to me to write the diary of a record label. The reason is 3-fold.

  1. it’s meant to make good reading. Which is doubtful.I am no writer, as you’ll find out.
  2. it could provide a good resource for anyone out there who might want to start their own label. You can learn from our mistakes.
  3. and this is the major reason, I’m keeping a log of everything we do so I remember how to do it next time around. I wish I’d done this from the beginning of the Subliminal Girls single process, but it’s a bit late now. All that’s happening with that now is sitting on our butts waiting for people to buy it. Oh, and asking people to buy it. Hey, have you bought it? Nope? Buy it now then. Thanks. I’ll wait whilst you complete the transaction.

Welcome back. So yes, as you’ll already be aware, due to the fact it’s been rammed down your throat, we released a single by Subliminal Girls on Monday. As we’re pros now (yeah right), our attention turned a few weeks ago to our next releases. Lots of debate ensued - there is no shortage of great music in our lives due to the amazing quality of bands we’ve put on over the last few years. So eventually we decided on albums by the 2 bands that comprised our first ever release, the split 7″ with And What Will Be Left Of Them? and Brontosaurus Chorus. How brave of us.

These are both records that have been in the pipeline for ages - well over a year. In fact, looking back over my answers to the PopArt Review of 2007, both are listed as expected during 2008. As it happens, they wont see the light of day until March ‘09. But that’s the record business for you, folks. AWWBLOT? have recorded their album from scratch at least twice, and the 8-piece BC have taken since April to complete the mammoth task of recording and mixing such a huge band. AWWBLOT? finished the album a couple of months ago and sent it to a load of labels to see who was interested. I told them we’d release it if they didn’t get any better offers. Which they didn’t. The Chorus album is being mastered on December the 4th. Releasing it on PopArt was always a foregone conclusion, for some reason.

So anyway, we decided to release albums by these 2 bands. What then? I phoned our distributor, Cargo, to let them know. Fine, they said. Oh right, it’s that easy to put out a record. Well, no, as we shall find out. But them being such nice blokes doesn’t half help. Now, generally it takes 2-3 months for a decent PR campaign, and we didn’t want this to cross over Christmas. Which means the soonest the records could come out is March. So there we go. Cargo asked for a few copies of each album around 6 weeks in advance of the release date, along with a sales sheet detailing essential info and press quotes. Then they’ll gauge interest and come back to us a couple of weeks ahead of release with orders for a million copies. Easy.

So now we have some deadlines for our PR promo copies and finished albums. They’re going to the pressing plant on December 5th. Best get the artwork finished, and that includes barcodes, legal copyright info, CD labels, catalogue numbers… this is all being overseen by PopArt’s resident Graphics Guru The Quill. This means I had better tell Pete Adams that we need their finished sleeve art by this time next week… Pete!

November 18, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 23/9/2004 - The 12 Bar Club, London

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 1:21 pm

The final day of the TOUR took some time to get started, partly because we’d all been on the BOOZE until late the night before, and partly because we were LOCKED IN at Mrs Machine’s house. Once we’d woken her up and been let out Adam and I made our way to the train station and thence to LONDON where I gave him my traditional GUIDED TOUR. “That’s Dickens’ house” I said, pointing vaguely in the direction of some old looking buildings. I like to think of my tours as more PERSONAL than conventional ones, so we stopped off at such fascinating spots as my work, the shop where I buy my lunch, and the nearest tube station before we went our separate ways. Adam headed to the British Museum and I headed HOME.

HOME! I know I’d only been On The Road a few days but by heck it felt more than long enough. I’d missed my housemates, I’d missed the cats and I’d ESPECIALLY missed proper cups of tea and a BATH, both of which I had almost IMMEDIATELY. It was only when I sat down at the kitchen table that I realised quite how KNACKERED I was - it might have been only three nights away from home but they’d all been LATE nights and after a bath all I really wanted to do was go to bed.

But The Call Of THE ROAD still needed answering and so I dragged myself back to the 12 Bar Club where Team Frankie were listening to Adam explain The Rosetta Stone to them through the medium of the TEA TOWEL he had bought in The British Museum. I say this a lot but that is because it is TRUE: people who get bored doing gigs are IDIOTS, especially in this country where pretty much every town or city has at least ONE fascinating place to go and visit. If there’s time it’s ALWAYS brilliant to go to a museum, especially if you do it properly and identify ONE thing to see, SEE it, and then FLEE before you have to start pacing around looking intelligent.

The gig itself was GRATE, with loads of people turning up, some of whom we didn’t even know. That hardly ever happens so when it DOES I have to stop myself from BADGERING them. If you’ve turned up at a gig out of curiosity I don’t suppose that some drunk bloke going “What on EARTH are YOU doing here?” is going to persuade you to come again.

Once again the joy of “headlining”/going on last was made clear to me, as by the time I got on stage the whole building was full of DRUNK people who wanted to sing along. This was especially clear what I introduced “Hey Hey 16K” as “my hit”. Someone politely semi-heckled by saying “Well, sort of” which the REST of the audience appeared to take as an INSULT and reacted by VERY LOUDLY singing along with the whole thing. Better yet was “Payday Is The Best Day”, when I got to do that GRATE ROCK THING of stepping back from the microphone at the chorus so that the whole audience could sing it for me.

It was MENTAL! I even nearly got a SECOND encore when I came back onstage a bit too quickly after the first one to pack my gear up. There were still a couple of errant CLAPS going on and when everybody else saw me come back onstage they thought they ought to be polite, but I was too HONEST to go along with it. Also, I wanted to go to bed.

And that was that - Adam slept all the way back to my house on the tube, and next morning was on the HORRIFICALLY EARLY train back to Scotland. I waved him off full of admiration - it turned out he’d hardly been out of Scotland before, and so was being MASSIVELY BRAVE to come and do this tour with a bunch of people he’d only met, at best, once or twice before.

I then went to meet Frankie, who was staying in a hotel in town, to get one last hug… and also to pick up the bag which we’d left in the venue and which Mrs Machine had picked up for us. I went home and sat around feeling a bit disorientated, constantly getting up thinking “Surely I have to BE somewhere now?” and it was several days before I stopped waking up thinking “Where am I today?”

Being on tour is FANTASTIC fun, as hopefully you’ve noticed from these reports of it, but blimey, it is a YOUNG MAN’S GAME. Never mind disorientation, it took me a WEEK to stop feeling hungover, and it was a FORTNIGHT before I could stay awake past 10pm!

November 17, 2008

Single Out Today!

Filed under: music, Tamla Tim, PopArt — digest @ 11:14 am

 Buy from HMV | Buy from Play

Exciting news everyone! The latest release from everyone’s favourite indie-pop pranksters PopArt London is afoot!

The new Subliminal Girls single is available on November 17th for download (links below) and as a VERY limited edition vinyl. Tracklisting is:

1. Self Obsession is an Artform 2. Posh Girls Names 3. Electronic Hearts

Following our adventures with the And What Will Be Left Of Them/Brontosaurus Chorus split 7” pink vinyl and the charity download album ‘Covered At Christmas’, both of which we sold from our website, we’re going to play the big boys at their own game, but by our rules. Our rules are; there ain’t no rules.

So for our third release we’ve hooked up with one of our favourite bands who’ve played our club nights - bubblegum cynics Subliminal Girls - and between us we’re shaking things up.

British artist Stuart Semple, a huge fan of the band, volunteered to create a very special limited edition artwork. Inside a silver screenprinted box, art collectors and music connoisseurs can expect to uncover; a special fold out print, a photographic book by Semple, a hand silk-screened t-shirt, a laser cut acrylic disk and one-off signed negatives of the band. Of which only a very few will be available.

The limited edition vinyl package will mainly be for sale in galleries in such salubrious locations as Milan, New York and Honk Kong BUT the three tracks will also be available to download from iTunes, HMV Digital and all good online music stores and also come with digital artwork by Semple.

Sub Girls have already released one double-A side, indie top 20 smash “Burn Koko/Mirror” and a cover of one of the biggest pop bands of all time, Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.” The synth-pop quintet’s latest single contains 2 b-sides and through its three tracks, show off their sweet yet venomously bitter sound. The band reckon it’s the best they’ve ever done and we’re inclined to agree.

We’re all in this for the love of it and because we think the songs deserve to be heard, none of us are going to make our fortune on this. So as well as getting three of the year’s best tunes for your listening pleasure, you’d also be striking a blow for the good guys in this business we call show, and it would mean we might be able to put out more records by other deserving, talented people the majors are too blinkered by the latest fad to notice.

Keep a little PopArt in your heart x

Buy from HMV | Buy from Play

Please also check out the Facebook group here - Invite your friends and spread the word!

November 13, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 22/9/2004 - The Portland Works, Sheffield

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 2:58 pm

By this stage of the game we were fully into the SWING of Being On Tour, so tiny little details like venues CLOSING didn’t bother us. It especially didn’t bother ME because I’ve had it had SO VERY OFTEN in the past. In my experience, the venue almost always re-opens the next day after the gig should have been, as if nothing has happened. What?

At Hull Station me and Adam were accosted by a BESUITED OFFICE WORKER who saw our guitars and, sneering as he did so, said “Oh, on tour are we boys?” “YES!” we replied, excitedly, and he slunk off DEFEATED. Take that, THE MAN!

When we got to Sheffield we met with Frankie and Gary and did what ALL proper ROCK outfits do on the road: we went to ASDA. The Big Asda in Sheffield is AMAZING, it has TWO floors and a huge escalator that you can take trolleys on. Despite the signs saying “Do Not Run Backwards Down The Escalator Like A Tit” we DID run backwards down the escalator. HA! Another blow against STRAIGHT SOCIETY!

Eventually we tired of defying mainstream orthodoxy and headed over the venue, which we discovered to be a former factory which had been converted into rehearsal rooms. It was brilliant - it took about ten minutes of wandering up and down stairs and along corridors to find the room we were using, which itself had several sub-rooms including a BALCONY area with sofas which could only reached using a step-ladder. COOL!

Even cooler was the fact that, as it was only a rehearsal room and not a proper venue, everyone had to bring their own beer - yes, THAT is why we’d gone to Asda - and it was thus the most REAL ALE TASTIC place we played all week. My excitement at this was somewhat tempered when I realised that, as I was once again headlining/going on last, I’d have to be really careful and NOT drink all my BEER before going on, and so had to be very very SENSIBLE while sitting watching everyone else play. Being the headline act is TOUGH.

On the other hand, going on last also means that by the time you get on everyone else in the room will be ABSOLUTELY HAMMERED, and this was very much the case when I eventually got to do my set to a room which, slightly alarmingly, was PACKED with drunk people. My first song went BADLY - the PA was a bit ropey, the guitar was clanging, the vocals were muffled and I became CONVINCED that everybody HATED me, especially the SCALLY LADS sitting up on the balcony who, I was CONVINCED were LARFING at me.

Paranoia plus crappy sound could easily have made the evening GHASTLY, but I took up arms against this puddle of trouble and ABANDONED the PA, choosing once again to BELLOW, and gradually it turned into the best gig I’d ever done in my LIFE. There was cheering, there was JOINING IN (a LOT), there was MUCH good natured heckling/banter, “Boom Shake The Room” made the FLOOR vibrate and my second encore - SECOND ENCORE - was DEMANDED by the very bunch of scallies who, half an hour before, I’d been sure were going to ROUGH ME UP.

It was AMAZING - gigs like that come round EXTREMELY rarely and when they do all you can do is sit back and enjoy them, and we enjoyed it SO much that none of us wanted the evening to end. The only DANCING available IN Sheffield that night was an ELECTROCLASH night, which is where we went and found ourselves VOGUEING with the cast of TV’s “Coupling”. Oh yes, it was that kind of evening, and when Adam started balancing bottles of beer on his head we knew we were on a very special TRIP.

When we eventually got chucked out we went back to Mrs Machine’s for more BOOZE. I popped to the loo and passed the spare room, where Gary was due to be sleeping. “That bed looks comfy”, I thought and lay down for a moment. “Yes, it is” I said to myself then IMMEDIATELY got up to go back downstairs where I found everybody else ready to call it a night. It was only the next day that I found that I’d actually PASSED OUT for two hours, during which time a range of HILARIOUS photographs had been taking of me and a NAKED MAN’S BOTTOM.

ROCK AND ROLL MAYHEM!

November 11, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 21/9/2004 - The Adelphi, Hull

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 3:30 pm

It’s a long long way from Edinburgh to Hull, but it has NEVER been longer than the extraordinarily hungover trip we made the morning after our first night on tour. As well as playing cards and making REMARKS, as is traditional when On The Road, we all had shifty looks at Adam’s Doctor Who Magazine. Though it still had a FASCINATION for those of us who’d grown up with it, at that time Doctor Who was only really of interest to a very tiny minority of rather intense gentlemen. “Wasn’t there something about it coming back?” I asked. “Yes, with Christopher Ecclestone” said Adam. “Sounds interesting”, I thought, “But I bet it’ll be RUBBISH.”

In my defence, I was VERY hungover.

Somewhere near Berwick I got a call from Mr Eddy Bewsher, our promoter in Hull, to tell me not to agree to ANYTHING if we got to the venue before him. Hearing that Jeffrey Lewis had a day free on his UK Tour Paul, the owner of The Adelphi, had unilaterally added him to our bill - not a problem at ALL until he suggested to Eddy that we start the gig at 7.30pm, get all FOUR of the bands Eddy had originally booked (me, Frankie, Adam and locals Cracktown) offstage by 8.45pm, and then leave two hours spare for Mr Lewis. He was a MASSIVE Jeffrey Lewis fan!

“Don’t agree to anything” repeated Eddy, “I’ve got a UNASSAILABLE way of sorting it out.”

When we arrived at The Adelphi Gary, who was along with us as second guitarist for Frankie, thought we were MESSING WITH HIS MIND. “There’s not a venue down here” he said, as we drove in a taxi down a long long row of ordinary terraced and semi-detached houses. From the outside The Adelphi looks like just one more semi-detached house, albeit one with a HUGE muddy car park in its front garden. Surely THIS couldn’t be The Adelphi, LEGEND of the Indie Toilet Circuit?

As we stepped inside and he discovered EXACTLY why The Toilet Circuit is so called: The Adelphi is a brilliant venue, but goodness me, it doesn’t half pong a bit. There’s the heady mix of toilet cleaner, stale cigarettes (still), body odour and urine that characterises ALL Toilet Circuit establishments, but with an extra slice of acrid TANG that makes The Adelphi UNIQUE. I was round Tim’s house once when he opened up his drum cases, having last used them at The Adelphi several months before - the STENCH that engulfed us was still as POTENT as it had been when he’d sealed it in, and small children had to be taken outside to be revived.

After soundchecks we popped out for the traditional Hull Tea: CHIPS. Hull has the LOVELIEST chips in the world, sold in GRATE chip shops where the opening hours are given as “DINNER 12-2, TEA 5-7″, which is THE CORRECT WAY. The chip shop, like all shops in Hull, was also very directly named, being called THE CHIPPY. It was next door to a corner shop called THE CORNER SHOP and opposite a pub called THE BEVY, where people go for a bevy.

When we got back we saw Jeffrey Lewis had arrived, in his Tour Vauxhall (”I didn’t know they HAD Vauxhalls in America”, said Adam, before we gently explained how hire cars work) as indeed had Mr Bewsher, bringing with him his unassailable solution to the problem of far too early stage times - a TYPED running order. “Nobody can argue with a typed running order!” he said and, indeed, as soon as he’d shown it to Paul he completely agreed that that was a very sensible way of doing things. Typed running orders - UNASSAILABLE!

After that the evening was GRATE, everyone had a good gig and Jeffrey Lewis was AMAZING, also very BRAVE. He had a song about the History Of Punk which, like so many American histories of punk, claims that it was an AMERICAN invention. This sort of nonsense is all well and good on a television documentary, but it takes a man with BALLS OF STEELS to stand up before about fifty Ageing PUNKS and CRUSTIES and try to persuade them of it with oversize comic books.

He also turned out to be a LOVELY man, and a great champion of the MANLY HUG, which we shared before leaving. Frankie and Gary headed off to Sheffield, ready for the next stage of the tour, while Adam and I went back to Eddy’s, both clutching the comic books we’d swapped with Mr Lewis for our CDs. Being on Tour: FANTASTIC!

November 6, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 20/9/2004 - Tchai Ovna Teahouse, Glasgow

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 12:14 pm

I do like a good veggie cafe, and Tchai Ovna IS a good veggie cafe, the sort of place with a Community Corkboard and where “V” on the menu doesn’t mean vegetarian, it means VEGAN. I always get a bit confused in places like this - one handy thing about vegetarianism is that it makes it a LOT easier to decide what to have for tea when you’re out (i.e. The Vegetarian Option) so my occasional forays into Proper Vegetarian Restaurants tend to start with me PANICKING at the sudden CHOICE EXPLOSION.

Tchai Ovna made this even more difficult by offering a HUGE range of TEAS. I mean, come on, TEA! The only choice I usually have to make with TEA is whether there’s time for another one (LIFE COACHING: there’s always time for another cup of tea), so to find REAMS of them left me so perplexed I ended up drinking something with RICE in it, unsure of whether to eat the BITS or not. So I did.

The gig was lovely - I’d agreed to go on last and had PANICKED about whether I’d be too drunk to play, before EVENTUALLY realising that, no, in a venue that only served TEA, I’d probably be OK. A sensible group of TOUR BUDDIES would have thought “It’s the start of the tour, we’ve had a jolly nice evening, let’s all go home and get a good night’s sleep so we don’t have to do the long journey to HULL in the morning with a hangover.

We, however, did NOT think that, and set out on an EPIC pub crawl, including one place that was decorated with Horror Memorabilia and where the toilets GROWLED at you. We finally ended up in a Working Men’s Club which Adam described as his SANCTUM SANCTORUM. I couldn’t find The Eye Of Agamotto anyway, but DID meet The Landlord at the bar, who advised me NOT to drink his bitter, as it was “BAD”.

You can probably guess how I took this advice. Three or four times.

THUS I got back to my hotel, The Holiday Inn Express, exceedingly happy and MONUMENTALLY drunk. I threw off all my clothes, scattering them around the room, and COLLAPSED onto the bed, passing into unconsciousness almost immediately

I woke up three hours later DESPERATE for the toilet. I’ve always had a bit of trouble with sleeping alone in unfamiliar dark rooms when DRUNK - my parents now leave the door WIDE OPEN in their spare room when I stay after The Peterborough Beer Festival to make sure I do not WRECK the place as, confused and glasses-free, I PANIC about where the door is - and so it took me a while to make it over to the other side of the room and to step through the door into the bathroom.

As soon as I was through the door I knew something was wrong. This was an awfully BIG bathroom, with an awful lot of doors. Had it been like this when I checked in?

Eventually I realised that I’d gone through the wrong door, and was standing in the corridor. HOW HILARIOUS! I smiled to myself, thinking how like a Situation Comedy this was - except, of course, in a situation comedy the hapless hero who’d ended up stark naked in a hotel corridor would turn round to find he’d locked himself out of his hotel room.

I turned round to find I’d locked myself out of my hotel room. SHIT.

DESPERATE for a wee and absolutely stark naked - without even my glasses on, which is as naked as you can GET - I ran up and down the corridor searching for a toilet. Eventually I found a conference room with a Kitchen Area and… well, suffice to say, if you’ve ever had to piss in a stainless steel sink at 4am when you REALLY shouldn’t be doing so, you too will know it is the loudest noise on GOD’S EARTH.

Back to the corridor and I decided I needed to find the lift to the reception, so crept along PEERING at door handles to see if any led to said lift. Without my glasses I was handing to bend to look VERY closely at each door, so if anybody had emerged from a room OPPOSITE me they would have got a SEXY SURPRISE they would NEVER forget.

Eventually I found the lift and, discovering it was one of those lifts that have huge mirrors on three walls, DID A LITTLE DANCE. I then discovered it was also one of those lifts with a CCTV camera in the corner, so stopped.

I ERUPTED into reception at high speed where I was dealt with swiftly and professionally by a receptionist who only shouted “FUCKING HELL!” the once before hastily making me a new key card, so that I could FLY back to the lift and back to the safety of my room, GIGGLING myself to sleep as DRUNKENNESS once more asserted itself over PANIC.

Next morning I awoke thinking “My, what a vivid and KRAZY dream that was!” before looking over to the bedside table where, like Mr Benn, I saw a memento of my midnight adventures: two identical keycards for the one room.

I checked out as quickly as I possibly could next morning and RAN to the railway station. I’ve been to Glasgow MANY times since then, but NEVER back to the Holiday Inn Express.

November 4, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: The Hibbett/Machine/Plimpton Tour - PROLOGUE

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

Now we come to one of the MOST GRATE weeks of ROCK I have ever embarked upon: The Hibbett/Machine/Plimpton Tour.

And when I say “tour” I MEAN a tour. Many many times in the past I had been a little profligate in using that word - Voon playing the Princess Charlotte AND The Magazine in Leicester within a fortnight of each other? TOUR! - but this was the actual real thing, four gigs in four days in four different cities, HECK, one of them even in a completely different COUNTRY!

All right, that country was Scotland, but still, IT COUNTS. The idea for doing a tour came about partly through talking in a pub to Mr F A Machine about how GRATE it would be, and partly through a desire to go back and play in Scotland again. I contacted Adam, previously of The Hector Collectors (whose farewell TOUR I had played some months before) and rather than just asking him if he could book us again I thought I’d see if he fancied coming along for the whole week. He said YES, booked us a date in Glasgow, and suddenly we were GO!

Other dates fell into place pretty easily - the marvelous Mr Eddy Bewsher was able to get us the date we wanted in Hull (although, as we shall see later, the booking of this didn’t quite go to plan) and I managed to persuade Mr Nick Stockman to book a night for us at The 12 Bar in That London. Getting these dates into the correct order worked out pretty easily, and in the end all we needed was a date in The Midlands.

You’d've thought this would be PEASY, as I lived IN The Midlands for so long, but actually the REVERSE is true. People who run venues in The Midlands KNOW me, and thus know the sort of crowds I tend to pull… and so mysteriously find other events which will get bigger crowds in. Like “just opening the pub”, for instance.

We went through various places in Leicester, Derby and Nottingham until eventually finding a promoter in Sheffield who I’d been in correspondence with but who’d not put us on before, and so was willing to give it a go. His foolhardiness was rewarded by the venue closing for “refurbishment” (AMAZING how often that happens when I’m booked to play), but in the end he found a rehearsal studio we could use as a temporary venue, and we were SORTED.

After spending DAYS struggling to work out how on EARTH I was going to get around the country on the trains WITHOUT spending a MILLION QUID I eventually realised that I could cut out a LOT of expense, trouble and money by doing the first bit by PLANE! THUS my great journey started with me feeling VERY pleased with myself at Stansted, hand luggage guitar in hand, waiting for the plane that would get me to Glasgow about SIX HOURS before the train would have.

I waited, and waited, and waited. The plane got later and later, and the Easyjet staff got less and less responsive. “Please sit down and wait announcements” they repeated, robot like, as people got more and more annoyed. This wasn’t a tannoy announcement or anything, they just stared straight ahead, THROUGH people stood inches from them, glassy eyed and intoning the mantra of non-responsiveness.

Eventually we got ourselves queued up and slowly began to file along the gangway onto the plane. “How foolish of me to think I’d get there SO early” I MUSED to myself. “I’ll only be there FOUR hours ahead of everyone else now!”

It was at that point that people started coming back in the other direction, and we were all herded back. HALF AN HOUR LATER someone told us that there was a crack in the fuselage! More waiting, a BUS trip across the airport, yet more waiting, and FINALLY we were put onto another plane. As we took off I thought “Oh well, at least now we’re in the air. Nothing can go wrong now!”

Half an hour later the pilot came over the tannoy. “I’ve got some bad news”, he said. “The landing gear is malfunctioning.” PANIC! “Don’t worry, we’ll be able to land” he added hastily, “But we’ll have to go back to Stansted, as we don’t have any engineers to fix the problem in Glasgow.”

AAAAAAAAAAARGGHH!!!! When we FINALLY got back, YET AGAIN, to Stansted I rang The Wings On My Plane who LEAPT into action trying to find alternate routes to Glasgow for me. Luckily there was another plane available - and this was Easyjet, so there was every chance that by now they’d have run OUT - so after yet MORE waiting around we were in the air again.

Nobody was taking anything for granted, but we finally arrived in Glasgow and I got to my hotel room (CLASSY) about an HOUR after I would have done if I’d taken the train. I sorted myself out, got my bits together, and hopped onto the Glasgow Underground, safe in the knowledge that the tour had already HAD its most bizarre episode.

I was completely wrong - the aeroplane disaster wasn’t even the most bizarre thing that would happen that NIGHT!

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