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February 28, 2008

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 26/10/00 - The Boardwalk, Sheffield

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 5:39 pm

There are many good reasons for going on tour. Usually one does it to “support” a record, in the hope that playing live will persuade someone to buy your merchandise. Sometimes it can be just as a money making exercise, or to try out new material, or as warm-ups for other, bigger, gigs yet to come.

I decided to go on tour to use up some holiday time. ROCK!

To be honest, there was another only slightly more sensible piece of thinking behind it - we’d released our album a few months ago and were a LONG way off even STARTING to record more Validators material, so I worked out that if I could afford to record a SOLO single then THAT would be a perfect excuse to go out and have some ROCK AND ROLL HIJINKS! Astute readers might note the obvious FLAW in this plan - once I’d sent the usual 50 promo copies out, I’d have 450 MORE singles going dusty under my bed - but I’d recently cleared out my loft and was confident I could cope with the storage requirements.

What I wasn’t quite ready for was the soul crushing DESPAIR that would well up whilst trying to book gigs in places where I didn’t have much of a name for myself i.e. EVERYWHERE. After many many days of trying I found myself pondering which was WORSE - leaving reams of messages that never got replied to OR actually talking to people and saying “Er… my name’s MJ Hibbett and… no, no, I suppose you won’t have heard of me, but I HAVE got a single out, honest. Hello?” I think possibly the latter.

EVENTUALLY, however, I DID get a few gigs sorted out, and CORALLED my record company colleague The Whitaker to come with me. As we were preparing to embark on The Road I said to him in a rather cavalier way “Don’t bother using the car Mat - we’ll get the train!” Even in normal circumstances this can be a bit DICEY, but on this occasion it was NAKED FOOLISHNESS, as the Hatfield Rail Crash meant that SUDDENLY there had to be “Emergency” Speed Restrictions the length and breadth of the rail network. It turned out that half the tracks in the country were “unsafe” (i.e. might potentially maybe have deteriorated as much as the track that caused the accident, or might in the future, or knew someone who’d met some once), with the spineless useless greedy bastards who run the railways PANICKING and forcing ALL trains to run at INCREDIBLY slow speeds. This meant complete and utter chaos across the entire country as suddenly public transport became almost completely unusable.

THUS I found that the normal hour’s journey to Sheffield took THREE hours and so I arrived at the venue with only ten minutes to go before I was due on stage. The management had given up on me - this was, as I say, IN THE PAST when hardly anybody had a mobile phone - and were as surprised to see me as I was RELIEVED to finally be off the train. LUCKILY there was precisely NOBODY there to see me so it wouldn’t have mattered either way, and I did my set at high speed to about five people who’d got there early for the next act, and left.

We got the TRAM (remarkably unaffected by the “emergency”) up to the University, where some pals had a DISCOTHEQUE and me and The Whitaker fully immersed ourselves in that GRATE Student Ritual: POUND A PINT. It was like a nostalgia trip combined with… well, loads of beer, and as a direct result we discovered the Great Truth About Disco Dancing: the further away you are from home, the less arsed you have to be about what a tit you make of yourself.

Sheffield, that night, felt a VERY long way away from home!

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