December 3, 2009

12 Q’s of Christmas - Theo of Pocus Whiteface

Filed under: Uncategorized — pxpl @ 11:06 am

1. Highlight of 2009?
Getting Married 

2. Low point of 2009?
Pocus Splitting up, though the last gig was mucho fun!

3. PopArt moment of 2009?
Watching pxpl perform Girl From Mars and losing track of the end of the guitar solo.

4. Single of 2009?
 Magic & Fur had a single out on the Too Pure 7″ club. I enjoyed that single a lot.

5. Album of 2009? 
Sonic Youth’s The Eternal? That or our own album, REALS. But Sonic Youth’s was pretty damn good.

Theo Pocus Whiteface 

6. Best live band of 2009?

Jesus Lizard I think but maybe Sonic Youth. That gig at the Forum was really quite outstanding.

7. Film of 2009?
Tough choice. I’m going to say Moon, I think.

8. TV show of 2009?
The Thick of It, purely on the basis of Saturday’s episode. Or Generation Kill but I think that’s technically 2008. 

9. Hero of 2009?
John E Stafford from the Campaign for Conservative Democracy for doing more for Labour voting in one 10 minute interview on the Today show than Labour spin doctors have managed in the last 4 years. Seriously, this guy made David Icke look pretty restrained.

10. What do you hope to achieve in 2010?
New website skillz? Not sure. I’ll just see what happens.
11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
I couldn’t possibly say. The Sailplanes are back and have a bassist so that should be good.
12. How will you be spending Christmas?
At home, entertaining the parents.
And the End of the Decade Bonus:
13. The Noughties  - how was it for you?
Pretty good, yeah. Fun decade I guess, though the music sucked, obviously. Ho ho!

December 2, 2009

12 Q’s of Christmas with Thom from Grehsam Flyers

Filed under: Uncategorized — pxpl @ 10:15 am

1. Highlight of 2009?
The Flyers and Pocketbooks joint German tour.  About eight hours sleep over a weekend of utter insanity, and rocking out.  Either that, or our new Christmas song that’s as good as anything we’ve ever done.  In fact, on that note, having James (the drummer) do a lot more singing and writing has been a true bonus.  

2. Low point of 2009?
Having my new bass broken by Ryanair’s baggage handlers wasn’t a high point, for sure.

3. PopArt moment of 2009?
18 Carat Love Affair doing Pink Glove, I reckon. Destined for greatness.

4. Single of 2009?
We’ll never agree on this.  So I won’t even try to answer it.

5. Album of 2009? 
Again, we simply cannot agree on this; there’s nearly always some sort of disagreement when it comes to recently released stuff, though we all liked the new Bruce Springsteen album, some more than others.  Waz would probably put Lily Allen or Florence & The Machine’s album as his favourite.  I would vehemently disagree and offer up The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists.  Or maybe Them Crooked Vultures; I hope it’s not shit cos I’ve bought tickets to see them next month.  Sharon and James both like the new Super Furries album. 

I think we all agree that God Help The Girl was utterly terrible though,

Gresham Flyers 


6. Best live band of 2009?
Blur.  All of us went to at least two of their summer shows.  Southend was the best.  Hyde Park was great, but the whole bottle throwing thing ruined it a bit. 

7. Film of 2009?
Synecdoche, New York.
Inglorious Basterds
But most certainly not He’s Just Not That Into You.

8. TV show of 2009?
Dr. Who The Waters Of Mars, Charlie Brooker’s TV thing, and The Thick Of It.  If only we had Malcolm Tucker as our manager…

9. Hero of 2009?
Hah, probably Malcolm Tucker.

10. What do you hope to achieve in 2010?
We’ve got lots of plans!  Releases aplenty - a new EP, two new albums (one for the RPM Challenge in February, followed by our ‘proper’ second album), plus a couple of compilation tracks.  We also hope to make it back to Indietracks, and maybe a few more festivals if people like us.  And maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally get something on the radio. 
11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
Close to home there’s tELLEY which is a Flyers/Spearmint supergroup, but there’s a ton of great bands we’ve seen or played with this year- the Grave Architects, The Rocky Nest, The Woe Betides, The Millipedes etc etc.

12. How will you be spending Christmas?
We’re all retreating to various family homesteads, trying not to get too wound up by drunken grandmothers and pretending to like the wacky ties we’ll all be given by distant uncles. This time next year, we’ll be spending it in the Bahamas, starting our ‘difficult’ fourth album.
And the End of the Decade Bonus:
13. The Noughties  - how was it for you?
Started off badly - I saw in January 1st 2000 snogging a weeping German - but got lots better, a bit worse, then much much better.  I certainly wouldn’t change any of it.  I doubt the others would either. 

December 1, 2009

The 12 Q’s of Christmas - MJ Hibbett

Filed under: Uncategorized — pxpl @ 10:52 am

1. Highlight of 2009?
 Touring Germany - well, touring Berlin and Dresden, to be precise.
 Three days of free beer and gigs and free beer and being stopped by
 THE POLICE and free beer and Lovely Germans Who Know Really Old Songs Of Mine and free beer and GIGS and free beer and all round good times.

And we had free beer!
  2. Low point of 2009?
 Having to go back to work the day after I got back from Germany.
  3. PopArt moment of 2009?
 Forcing a version of The PopArt Allstars to play “Boom Shake The Room”
 rather than the song we’d agreed, as a tribute to … er… Bruce
  4. Single of 2009?
 I have absolutely no idea. There was so much going on in 2009 that
 involve me DOING it that I didn’t really sit still long enough to
 listen to any music not made by ME.
  5. Album of 2009?
 HOWEVER the one record I did buy that made me go “ZOINKS!” was Frozen
 Trees by First Aid Kit, which is FANTASTIC. It’s two teenage Swedish
 sisters (STOP IT) singing beautiful, light, ANCIENT sounding songs of
 loss and WOE that makes you feel incredibly happy.
Mj Hibbett

  6. Best live band of 2009?
 Art Brut - they ROCKED my WORLD and NO mistake on all three occasions
 I saw them this year, but especially at Indietracks. Just when I was
 thinking “This is the best gig I’ve EVER seen, it can get NO better”
 they dedicated a song to ME! Hibbett heaven!
  7. Film of 2009?
 I haven’t had time to go to the pictures this year, but I did see
 ”Anchorman” for the first time last week, and that was VERY good.
  8. TV show of 2009?
 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. What? It’s the BEST!
  9. Hero of 2009?
 Alan Moore - he’s been independent, good humoured, mind expanding,
 thought provoking and HAIRY for decades now, but I met him (for about
 two minutes, but still) this year and he was LOVELY too.
  10. What do you hope to achieve in 2010?
 I’m putting together my MASTERPIECE - “Dinosaur Planet: THE CONCEPT
 ALBUM” at the moment, so I’d quite like that to work out all right.
 Otherwise I think I’d like to have a bit of a rest!
  11. Who else is worth looking out for in the coming 12 months?
 I’ve heard Chris T-T’s new album and it’s GRATE, and while I’ve not
 heard the forthcoming debut from The School I have no doubt that’ll be
 AMAZING too. I’ve played with all sorts of BRILLO people this year
 that I’d not heard before too, like Superman Revenge Squad, The Grave
 Architects, Gavin Osborne and Jenny Lockyer, and there’s the Usual
 Suspects like Phil Wilson, The Bobby McGees, Being 747, The Pete Green
 Corporate Juggernaut etc etc etc. The world is full of FANTASTIC
  12. How will you be spending Christmas?
 At my Parents’, saying “Is it lunchtime yet? Don’t forget you said we
 could watch Doctor Who!” every five minutes until I or they EXPLODE.
  And the End of the Decade Bonus:
  13. The Noughties - how was it for you?
 BUSY! I fell in love, moved city, put out eight albums, twelve singles
 and goodness knows how many compilation tracks, wrote two shows,
 circumnavigated the planet, played loads of radio shows, nearly wrote
 a book, inherited three cats, and played 397 gigs! It’s been a
 HECKLOAD of fun but I tell you what, I’m bloody knackered!

November 23, 2009

Protected: Bing It On: Free album

Filed under: Uncategorized — scoobydom @ 12:12 pm

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June 12, 2009

Great Bowls of Fire this Sunday!

Filed under: Events, PopArt — scoobydom @ 2:35 pm


Full running times (subject to acts of PopArt):

330 Jonny Cola & The A-Grades

430 Machetes

530 Cursors

630 New Royal Family

730 Last Army

830 Gamages Model Train Club

930 Jailhouse Judd & His Jailbait Juniors

March 31, 2009

PopArt presents the Mr Solo album launch!

Filed under: Events, PopArt — scoobydom @ 11:46 am

March 10, 2009

Free music from PopArt!

Filed under: The label — scoobydom @ 3:59 pm

… just in case you missed this on the main site…

 We’ve made the following singles available as a free download from today:.

 Download ‘em now!

Here is the video for Brontosaurus Chorus’ Love Is The Path…

February 27, 2009

Lexicon of pop: V - venues

Filed under: music, editorial — benramster @ 10:53 pm

“Alright mate, Water Rats is cancelled due to a leak in the roof. Gig’s off.” When the plug is pulled it’s dissapointing for the band, as well as the audience. Some comfort can be taken from irony (a canal-inspired venue flooding) but not much. I found myself with an unexpected evening off which I spent in Barnes.

Be it cheery locals, or entering the ‘live’ room through the gents, each venue adds its own distinct flavour to a night out. Bruce Dickinson knew this when he told the crowd at Long Beach arena that Iron Maiden were in it for the music, not to “shag some bimbo in the car park.”

Riding that sentiment, here are my top five greatest music venues:

1. Madison Square Garden, New York. Led Zeppelin recorded their live album ‘The Song Remains the Same’ here over three nights. The venue was also eaten by Godzilla’s kids (1998) but the Zep link is cooler.

2. Rock in Rio festival. Not strictly a venue, Queen played to 250,000 people in 1985. This clip is great as the presenter greets you with “welcome to the pink palace once again.” Oo-er.

3. Plaza Del Toros, Madrid. The setting for AC/DC’s 1996 video ‘No Bull’. Memorable for the golf cart used by Angus Young to ride from one side of the stage, into the crowd, and back.

4. The Junction, Cambridge. A breeze-block venue in one of East Anglia’s crapper towns, the Junction will always have a place in my heart as I saw Elastica (a good band not yet famous) support Kingmaker (a shit band) there.   

5. Rock in Rio. Yes, no one was more surprised than I to find out that the Maiden have been there as well!

February 10, 2009

My Exciting Life In ROCK: Voon, The Birth Of A Legend

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 6:07 pm

Myself and The Validators recently played a gig at De Montfort University Students’ Union, and were AGHAST at what we saw. Everyone seemed CLEAN, WELL FED and - shockingly - NOT DRUNK. The car park was full of CARS, belonging to STUDENTS, there was an ESTATE AGENT’S within the building itself for students who would rather buy a house than live in the luxuriously appointed (with EN SUITE BATHROOMS) halls of residence and the young people were discussing what JOBS they would accept when they left.

OH HOW DIFFERENT it all was when I was a student there, back in the dog days of Thatcher. The clientele of Leicester Polytechnic Students’ Union wore clothes drained to a uniform GREY through over-wearing and poor laundry, lived on a diet of cheap tinned  food and were DRUNK OUT OF THEIR MINDS on pound a pint “wine”. Nobody had a car, we all lived in run down terraced houses, four to a bathroom, and the idea of there being ANY jobs going when we left was laughable.

But - and I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear this - we were happy, THOUGH WE WERE POOR. I had some of the MOST GRATE times of my young life living in a little terraced house on Paton Street in Leicester with Neil, Cathy and Gaynor, eating own-brand foodstuffs and staying up late drinking (and occasionally attempting to smoke) TEA. We didn’t even have a telly  - eee, tell that to The Kids today and they won’t believe you - so we sat around talking a LOT, and one of the things we talked about most was ROCK MUSIC. When we’d moved in Neil and I had both claimed to have been in PUNK ROCK BANDS. If you’ve read recent entries you’ll know precisely how close to the truth this was in my case, and Neil was being similarly creative with the facts. His gigging career to that point amounted to, in his words, “hitting a tree in the playground and shouting ‘PUNK ROCK’”. Once we’d confessed this to each other it wasn’t long before we decided to form a real band ourselves.

This new band, at that point unnamed, was a major step up the musical ladder for me, as Neil could actually play an instrument. All right, he wasn’t the MOST tutored player of all time but I challenge ANYONE, even now, to play a Bar Chord with as much PUNK COMMITMENT as he could. I’d recently given up entirely on playing electric guitar myself as it was too HARD and asked other friends what instrument I should try. They gave me a choice - if I played Drums I’d never be out of offers for gainful employment, but would need to learn to drive a car, whereas bass was… well, playing the bass was a piece of piss.

Thus we ventured out to the local “second-hand” store and part exchanged the guitar Mileage had played in The Masters Of Nothing for a bass guitar which seemed to be made of two different instruments bolted together. That very afternoon we learnt TWO songs - “Freak Scene” by Dinosaur Junior (a song I loved so much I played the recorded version to my NAN… complete with SWEARS) and “New Year’s Day” by U2.

It later turned out that these were the only two songs Neil knew how to play so we very quickly progressed to writing our own material. Our first songs were from our “previous bands” - Neil had a tune called “Morgue Dancing” and I worked out a proper tune for “Rather Spooky” by The Masters Of Nothing - but we soon started writing songs together. We couldn’t afford to go out that much, and it wasn’t like there was any point studying was there?

The first fruits of our collaboration was a song called “She’s A Spaceman”. We LOVED this song and, I must say, I still do now. It’s all about someone going to see their girlfriend, who is a spaceman, and discovering she’s busy, so spending an afternoon drinking tea and eating biscuits with her mum. The biscuity section of the song takes up a surprisingly large amount of the song, almost as much as the chorus which went:

She’s A Spaceman
She’s A Spaceman
She’s A Spaceman
She’s A Space PERSON

It was very much a song of its time. We played and played and played and, before too long, we were ready to go and do so in front of other people. But where were we to make our debut? There were all sorts of gig venues in Leicester but we had no IDEA how to go about getting gigs at any of them and were far too scared to ask.

If only we knew someone who ran a club - a comedy club, say, where the booking policy involved inviting their friends to come and play…

February 5, 2009

My Exciting Life In ROCK: My Exciting Life In Comedy (part two)

Filed under: Uncategorized, mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 5:20 pm

Now that I had become a Stand-Up Comedian it was time to get some GIGS. There are two ways main ways to get decent comedy gigs. The first is to turn up at open mic nights, doing five minutes here and there until you’ve learnt your craft, hoping that a promoter will notice your improvements and start to book you as a first act, and from there move your way up the bill. Playing open mics can take years, years off struggle and determination, not being put off by audiences who don’t care or lack of payment, as you slowly and dedicatedly get better and better.

The second way is to book a room above a pub, invite all your friends to come and say you’re great, and call it a comedy club. Guess which one I went for? Clue: it was called “The Casbah Club”.

Having your own comedy club is GRATE, but if you do it regularly you do tend to need some material, and luckily i had a PAL to help me. I’d first met Mr Simon Wilkinson to speak to in WHSMiths, Leicester where, at the age of 19, he was buying a copy of “Perfect Homes”. Some 20 years later i have STILL yet to tire of reminding him about this.

Simon was ALSO a member of the Poly Poor Theatre Society, and so we ended up doing a SKETCH together in that year’s Rag Revue, one called “Let’s Do Blues” which was a very VERY “A Bit Of Fry & Laurie” sort of affair. It was meant to be a TV show explaining “The Blues” but it very quickly degenerated it me BELLOWING the Masters Of Nothing’s song “Decapitated Blues”, accompanied by an over-excited Simon on Electrical Guitar.

We had so much fun doing this that we decided to become a DOUBLE ACT, and ended up spending a VERY happy year hosting our comedy club. It really was BRILLIANT fun, especially when we settled on a permanent venue and it became a REGULAR event. This meant we could have CATCHPHRASES and, instead of doing brand new material, we could do the same sketches every month with very tiny re-writes. We were, basically, doing The Fast Show ten years ahead of it’s time and, it must be said, significantly less funnily. This didn’t matter of course, as it was just our friends in the audience who would laugh ANYWAY.

This was all well and good until we FORGOT that they were just laughing because they were our friends and came to believe we were OBJECTIVELY HILARIOUS, and so accepted a PROPER GIG at a proper Comedy Venue. Our friend Rak, now The UK’s Leading Voiceover Artiste, was just starting his glittering career and had booked himself some proper stand-up gigs. He’d got one at the Nottingham Playhouse and when the normal support act dropped out he managed to get us on the bill.

We arrived with BIG DREAMS of a BIG BREAK - a comedy impressario was BOUND to be there, was BOUND to SPOT us, and we’d soon be faced with the DILEMMA of what to do - finish our Polytechnic Degrees or throw it all way for a shot at THE BIG TIME?

We needn’t have worried, as we DIED on our ARSES. Stuff that had seemed funny at The Casbah suddenly WASN’T in front of a real live audience. One of our big BITS was “Shop Cop”, which basically went like this:

ME: I’m just off to the loo (RUNS OFF)
SIMON: Oh, that’s a shame, because now it’s Mark’s favourite part of the show - it’s time for SHOP COP!
(enter ME, with a carrier bag on my head)
SIMON: Hello Shop Cop!
ME: Hello Simon, and Hello Shoppers Everywhere!
SIMON: And what have you been looking into this week, Shop Cop?
ME: I’ve been looking into packets of cornflakes.
ME: They were full of cornflakes.
SIMON: Thanks Shop Cop!
ME: Thank you Simon, and thank you shoppers everywhere! (RUNS OFF)
SIMON: I wonder where Mark has gone?
ME: Hello Simon, I’m back. Now, it’s time for my favourite part of the show - it’s time for SHOP COP!
SIMON: Oh dear, I’m afraid we’ve done it already.
ME: What? (hits Simon)

I’ve just typed that all out in one go, almost as if we did it SO MANY TIMES that it’s still lodged in my memory. And I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing as I am - how on EARTH could that NOT have launched two fabulous comedy careers? I know, we were shocked too.

After about 10 minutes of this we slunk off, and spent the whole journey back to Leicester complaining to each other about the audience being “dead” (despite the fact that they laughed a LOT at every body else). We decided it was THEIR fault, not ours, and resolved to go back to playing only our OWN gigs until The World was ready for us.

This was a REALLY good idea, both for us AND for The World, because while we waited something ELSE started happening that would change my life forever and, perhaps more importantly, allow The World Of Comedy to carry on without me.

The clarion call of ROCK was about to sound, and I would be POWERLESS to stop myself from answering it. For LO! coming over the horizon was the MIGHTY LEGEND that was the band VOON!

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