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Fun With Submissions
The promotional campaign for Storm House continues APACE with me gearing up for another push next month. I've got the Amazon page set up for another FREE WINDOW, and I'm looking at various ways of giving it a bit of a SHOVE around then as I attempt to get more people interested in reading it.

I have thus spent a large part of the past couple of days submitting it to FREE BOOKS NEWSLETTERS, and then emailing various review blogs to ask if they could have a read of it. It's basic ADMIN work but I must admit I'm rather enjoying it as it's very similarly to the promo stuff you have to do for an ALBUM, except that this time around I do not have a LONG HISTORY of DISAPPOINTMENT and/or BITTERNESS with most of the people I'm emailing! This means I am full of OPTIMISM and HOPE for the whole affair - so much so that I fully expect to get a call from Conservative Central Office asking if I fancy being Chancellor Of The Executor!

I've also updated the BLURB in the hope that, if people DO come to visit the Amazon page, they will be slightly more ENTICED to actually BUY a copy. As ever, this was significantly added to by my Internal Comms Team!

My personal Writing Guru Mr C Flowers has told me on many occasions that "It's a Marathon, not a sprint" and all the advice on self-publishing says that you need to have at least THREE books out before you can really get anywhere, so at the moment it's EARLY DAYS and thus delightfully pressure free. I've no idea if any of this will actually WORK but at the moment it's all good fun, and at least I'm having a GO. With an attitude like that, maybe I SHOULD be Chancellor!

posted 17/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Digging Digance
Myself and The Songs On My Setlist headed to THE FENS on Saturday, where we met with THE PARENTS and also Mr P Myland for a trip to deepest darkest Rippingale to see Mr Richard Digance.

I must admit I was Quite Excited about this. I'd seen him once before, at the Fringe and THOROUGHLY enjoyed it, but didn't remember much about it - almost as if I'd been drinking heavily for a week beforehand. This time he was playing in a CHURCH as part of a) his golden anniversary tour and b) events to raise money for the church roof, so I thought it would be a little bit different a boozy Fringe show.

As it turns out, it wasn't really. For one thing we went to the nearest PUB first, and for another the venue was very slightly cold and damp. Throw in some students flyering at the door and we could have been in Scotland! The show itself was GRATE, with Mr Digance doing a LOT of GAGS and getting BIG LARFS from the audience, of which we were very definitely the youngest members, He did some LOVELY instrumental numbers, ACE songs, and told some GRATE stories too. Throughout it all he had a DELIGHTFUL stage presence, dealing with the odder aspects of the venue (e.g. he lights taking ten minutes to come on and having DISCO LIGHTS, presumably from the pub, on throughout the first half) really well and generally acting like a PRO with fifty years of experience of This Sort Of Thing behind him. HOORAH!

The only slight downside was that he'd brought a support act with him who was VERY MUCH a Standard Folk Singer who would have been PERFECTLY acceptable if he'd done a bunch of cover songs but instead did Some Of His Own Material which was uniformaly a) cliche riddled b) tune free c) overlong. It's just possible that I MAY have been over-annoyed about it because I thought it should have been ME up there!

Apart from that though it was a FANTASTIC evening, which made me wonder about maybe dragging Mr Digance in for a Totally Acoustic when I finally get round to booking some dates again. We've had OTWAY play, so I guess I could always ask!

posted 16/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Don't Call It A Reboot
Imagine my DELIGHT this morning when I saw a headline in the Guardian that said The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy was in line for a radio reboot. "How interesting!" I thought to myself. "I wonder why? Who will be in it? What changes will there be?"

Then imagine my BOILING FURY when I read the actual article and discovered that it is NOT a reboot but in fact THE ACTUAL OPPOSITE i.e. a CONTINUATION of the ORIGINAL version, in the ORIGINAL format (radio) on the ORIGINAL channel (Radio 4) with the ORIGINAL cast. I sat FUMING with INDIGNANCY about it... then wandered why on earth I was getting so annoyed? I mean, I like Hitchhiker's a LOT, and would be keen to hear a new version, so why were my EYEBALLS popping out of my HEAD with uncontained RAGE?

I have boiled it down to TWO things. Firstly it's the mis-use of the word "reboot". It is usually applied to Science Fiction properties and means that a story, or character, or Fictional Universe, that has already been presented is RE-DONE in a way that completely ignores everything that has gone before, usually in order to bring it up to date and find a new audience. There's different KINDS of reboots, and they often include references to the original version for FUN (e.g. the Star Trek FILMS are reboots in that they have a different cast and the ability to completely ignore the chronology of all the Star Trek TV shows, even though there IS an "in universe" explanation for it which KIND OF ties it all together) but that's the general idea of it. The new series of Hitchhiker's is clearly NOT THIS AT ALL and is in fact THE EXACT OPPOSITE for reasons mentioned above. I can only assume, therefore, that the word "reboot" is used by people who have NO IDEA what they're on about and are only applying it because they think it's what happens whenever there's a new version of something vaguely sci-fi and THEREFORE my RAGE is down to journalists not having a clue what they're on about, and applying this dimness to something I care about.

Secondly, for related reasons, I think I'm annoyed that the term is being used in relation to a series that HAS ACTUALLY been rebooted LOADS of times. The original radio series was "adapted" for the books, but Douglas Adams made LOTS of changes which mean that the two sets of stories don't really tie together at all. THEN it was changed all over again, with a partially different cast, for the TV series, which didn't really follow the same story as the radio OR the TV show. THEN it was made into various computer games, and THEN Douglas Adams tried on a number of occasions to make it into a film, the scripts to which apparently changed it all over again. And then FINALLY the film version came out and that was a DEFINITE ABSOLUTE REBOOT with different cast, production company, format AND story. The only version of it for that has NOT been a reboot is this new bloody series that the newspapers say IS!

If you are now thinking "Fair enough Hibbett, but is it really something to get so wound up about?" I would point you in the direction of the BBC Entertainment twitter account - the people who made the originals and are making the new series and so should surely know better - which says THE SAME FLIPPING THING! ARGH! GRRRR!!!! FURY!

At least this does mean they're going to repeat the original series - my CASSETTE RECORDINGS what I did off the radio got worn out YEARS ago! Perhaps I should listen to them from my sick bed when all my BLOOD VESSELS have gone POP?

posted 12/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Reading At Dina
On Sunday I returned to SHEFFIELD, site of so many ROCK extravaganzas, to do a slightly DIFFERENT gig to what I usually do.

I was due to perform at DINA for Off The Shelf, a month long festival of LITERARY STUFF. I'd been booked by Ms P Blackham and this was her first experience of ARTS bookings, as opposed to ROCK, so I was delighted to find that she was noticing the MANY MANY differences between the two arenas, much as I had done a decade ago when I started doing the shows with Steve. The big thing you tend to notice when you make the transition is that, compared to pretty much ALL other kinds of live performance, ROCK has MANY more SPREADSHEETS - it is NOT what you would expect, but it is a FACT!

In THE ARTS you also get to play in a wider variety of venues such as, on this occasion, a former nightclub with a (sadly defunct) REVOLVING DANCEFLOOR! We met the owner of the club, who very kindly showed us THE WORKSHOP just in case he wasn't around and we needed a CLAMP to fix a light. He'd also shown Penny the PROPS CUPBOARD (not a euphemism) before I'd arrived - I bet you don't get that level of care at the O2!

I wasn't using the PA or anything so had plenty of time before SHOWTIME to pop next door to The Tap And Tankard which was a dead nice Proper Pub for a Cheeky Half. Back at the venue people gently arrived, including several PALS, and then it was SHOWTIME ACTUAL. I'd had a good old THINK about what I was going to do - Penny had asked me to do a couple of songs as well as a reading, so I thought I'd tell the story of how the book came to be written and self-published too. THUS I kicked off with The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B) to get myself SETTLED before launching into the story of how I was commissioned to write my ROCK AUTOBIOGRAPHY, but then the chap who'd asked me to do it lost his job as a result. Next I did I Did A Gig In New York to illustrate the kind of stories that ended up being in My Exciting Life In ROCK, and then told the helpless audience how THAT ended up giving birth to Dinosaur Planet (with the theme tune played for illustrative purposes). THAT led on to doing the MA, and THAT led to the story of how I got an Agent then LOST an Agent, and how I decided to take the advice from a) The Clauses In My Contract and b) the song We Did It Anyway and self-publish. THEN I read a chapter out, and finished with It Only Works Because You're here, just because I like it!

It all seemed to go all right - I always find it a bit difficult to JUDGE reaction when outside my usual environs, but people SMILED at some of my HILARIOUS GAGS, and nobody LEFT, so I think that's good. I enjoyed it anyway, ESPECIALLY doing the reading - last time I did something like this I just read the first chapter, which wasn't all THAT exciting and had rather too much about FILING in it, so this time I read the bit where (MILD SPOILERS) Shaun sees Trafalgar Square for the first time and Doug and Sir Hugo meet The Rrarrag. I would very much like to do it AGANE if anybody fancies having me!

There was a short break and then we moved into another room where Stan Skinny had set up for his show "Captain 'The Butcher' Reality". It turned out to be a one-man show basically about WRESTLING - it was a work in progress but PRETTY GOOD, I think the main piece of feedback I would have given is that he needs to TELL people it is about Wrestling, as people go MAD for that sort of thing and I reckon he would get LOADS of WRESTLE MANIACS going if he did!

And thus the evening came to a very jolly end, also an EARLY one, and I found myself back in My Usual Suite at the IBIS (which for some reason had been painted INDUSTRIAL GREY throughout, I'm not sure why) at 10:30pm, which lead to me having a LOVELY long kip before getting my train next morning. Their adverts at the moment say you can "Sleep Like A Rock Star" in their beds, maybe that's what they meant?

posted 10/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Indie Daze
On Saturday I headed over to Kentish Town and started the day by getting ENTIRELY FREAKED OUT!

For LO! I was due to meet Mr Paul Myland in the pub next door to the Kentish Town Forum ready for our attendance at Indie Daze 4, and all-dayer featuring Indie Bands from Back In The Day. All sounds very NON-FREAKY, until you realise that the pub next door to the Kentish Town Forum is the recently refurbished BULL & GATE, site of MANY MANY GIGS for me. It has now been turned into a GASTRO PUB and so has been a) knocked through b) CLEANED.

Being there again was UTTERLY WEIRD. The main bar area is pretty much the same, except with tables rather than booths, but the back bar and the live room are now all joined up too. The oddest thing is that the TRANSITIONARY TOILETS which you used to walk through to get to the venue have now GONE and there were people sitting there EATING THEIR LUNCH, seemingly unaware of how much CIDER and BASS and DREAMS had been passed away there over the years.

Even walking up to the doors did my HEAD in, as all the many times I had gone there before to SEE gigs or to play them myself flashed through my BRANE. This was the place where I first met The Bands On My Bill! Where I first foisted a DEMO TAPE on Mr S Lamacq! Where I did my first LONDON gig! It says on the pub's website that they recognise their musical heritage by having a COCKTAIL PIANIST play upstairs on Sunday afternoons, but where is the BLUE PLAQUE for Jon Fat Beast eh? At least they had gone to the trouble of having CRAZYHEAD lurking outside, although by the time I'd got my pint they had GONE - they were playing next door as part of the all-dayer, so maybe they were just hanging around for that? If so: COME ON BULL & GATE, pull your finger out, at least employ some members of The Fighting Cocks to charge people to get in!

Anyway, once Mr Myland arrived I calmed down a bit and we began our day in the manner in which we expected to carry it on i.e. by having a bit of a natter while I drank some LAGER and he drank SOFT DRINKS. He is doing Sober October and would be SORELY TEMPTED by the prospect of allowing alcoholic beverages to enter the temple of his body at various points of the day, but I am proud to say he RESISTED throughout!

The original plan for the day had been that I would meet him in distant CHARLTON, where Posh were supposed to be playing that afternoon, but this had been thrown into disarray when it turned out that Charlton had three players called up for International Duty, so the match had to be postponed. This DID mean, however, that we got to see the last song by Salad (who turned out to feature TWO people I knew!) and Thousand Yard Stare, who were GRATE! I had heard of them way back in the late 1980s but had never consciously listened to any of their records. I'd done some REVISION in the week before the gig and had liked them a LOT but they were even better live - I especially liked the way the singer told everybody to be sure to PACE THEMSELVES throughout the day. GOOD ADVICE!

So good was the advice that we TOOK it, going off for a bit of a wander and bumping into Mr P Golder, who I believe shared our intent never to knowingly watch any members of The Wonderstuff if we could help it (NB Miles *unt was on next). Mileage and I strolled down to Camden for a PINT (me) and SOFT DRINK (he), then went to line our stomachs at The Maharani before heading back to Kentish Town in time to catch the last song by Apollo 440. I am pleased to report that they, like most bands, did THEIR HIT last, and had apparently been BRILLIANT. I received this information from Mr D Barnett who we next bumped into. It's almost as if we were at an Indie All-Dayer or something!

There was a definite JACKING UP of PRESTIGE for Voice Of The Beehive, who came on next - they had a ROADIE! Everyone else had been plugging themselves in, and we wondered whether maybe Woody From Madness (who was back on the drums) had bought his DRUM VALET with him? Anyway, they were Quite Good, although it must be said that THE HITS were SEVERAL times better than the NON-HITS. Having said that, I was surprised to find that they had one more hit than I realised, as I'd forgotten about "I Walk The Earth"!

The final act were The House Of Love, who were the main reason we were there at all - we'd originally discovered the gig after talking in the pub about how GRATE they were - and, again, were Quite Good. They are not the CHATTIEST of bands, and it was funny to find that Terry Bickers, who is meant to be the KRAZY ROCKER, was VERY POLITE throughout, with Guy Chadwick not saying much at all. Most of the set was Pretty Good, but unfortunately for the rest of the setlist "Christine", "Shine On" and especially "Destroy The Heart" were SO VERY AMAZING that it put the other songs to shame. COR, they were dead good!

We tottered out and off to the tube, where we went our seperate ways, though not for long. This weekend coming we meet again for even MORE gig ACTION as we're going to a church hall near Peterborough to see Richard Digance! He has a pretty high level of ROCK to live up to, but if anyone can do it I think Digance can!

posted 9/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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His Exciting Life In ROCK
Last night I was due to meet Mr S Hewitt to go to The Roundhouse to see Mr S Lamacq's show Going Deaf For A Living. However, the whole plan was put in DEADLY JEOPARDY before it even began, and could only be saved by a THRILLING CAR CHASE across The Midlands!

For LO! Yesterday Steve was working in BROMSGROVE and MISSED the train he'd booked to get him back in time for the gig, so someone kindly offered to give him a lift to Birmingham International station where he could hop onto another train. It was a RACE AGAINST TIME that involved a lot of SQUEELING TYRES and LIGHTS JUMPED (so I imagine anyway) and ALMOST DEFINITELY a last minute LEAP over turnstiles to make the train, but he managed it and arrived at The Roundhouse with time to spare for a pre-show PINT.

I got the tube there. It was fine.

I was expecting the show to be about an hour long, because I expect ALL shows to be about an hour long, so was surprised to find it was a whole evening's worth of entertainment in two halves. Happily both halves were MORE than adequately filled, as Mr Lamacq has a WHOLE LOT of stories to tell! He'd done an early try out of BITS of the show almost exactly two years ago at Totally Acoustic but this was MUCH HONED. Back then he'd been doing it as a sort of STAND-UP set, but this was much more of a STORY, with him rolling through his career with ANECDOTES, THORTS, and occasional short musical interludes to illustrate a POINT.

One of the most INTERESTING bits, to me at least, was finding out that his cousin had been in the Paralympic GB Basketball team, but there were LOADS of more music-related titbits, also JOKES. The only odd thing about it was that neither of us saw anyone we knew or even recognised - except for Jeremy Hardy in the bar afterwards, who I was DELIGHTED to overhear discussing PALESTINE, because that is EXACTLY what I would expect Jeremy Hardy to be talking about!

We had a quick word with Mr Lamacq afterwards and told him it was GRATE (which it was) and strongly suggested that he take it to Edinburgh. He pointed out that that might not be ENTIRELY practical which, in the cold light of day, I have to accept is true, but hopefully he'll do it some more SOMEWHERE. If you get a chance to go and see it, I would HIGHLY recommend going, it was REALLY good!

posted 6/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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COR what a weekend it has been full of DYNAMIC DOMESTIC ACTION and also SONGS. It was my last weekend fully at home for AGES, so I made the most of it!

Much of this ACTION was of LIMITED INTEREST to people who aren't me (e.g. having a FLU JAB and going and getting some new glasses sorted out - BY HECK they were expensive!!) but some were Pretty Darn Cool. For instance, I went and had a go on the AUTONOMOUS BUS which has been being TRIALLED in the Olympic Park for the past few weeks. The Wheels On My Bus went a little while ago and HIGHLY recommended it, and I must say I was SIMILARLY impressed. It was like being in a super-cool, also SUPER CUTE science fiction film, as a bunch of us trundled along and round corners, stopping whenever somebody walked in front of us, or indeed slightly too close. The only downside I could see to this AUTOMATION is that it required a security guard at the bus stop, a security guard ON the bus, and a Park Volunteer in it too, so there was not much room left for passengers. Otherwise, it was BRILLO!

I also managed to do some ACTUAL SONGWRITING! Now we have a Validators PRACTICE coming up in a few weeks my BRANE has turned to THORTS of HITS, so I decided to finish off and record a couple of songs to send to the Vlads. As usual, I ended up spending most of Saturday afternoon writing an entirely NEW song as well, called "In The Pub, Talking Crap", which wandered off in some VERY unexpected directions. All THREE new songs are now with my colleagues, awaiting JUDGEMENT. Hopefully they will PASS and you, gentle reader, will get to hear them sometime!

posted 2/10/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Local Celebrity
One of the MANY things that all the "How To Promote Your eBook" articles I have been reading ALL say is that you need to use your "networks" to promote the aforesaid eBook. HENCE I have sent press releases and emails to various organisations I have belonged to (e.g. City University Alumni Society) and my old local newspaper. None of these have so far had ANY effect on sales, but still, it's worth a go!

With that in mind The Facts In My Story suggested that I have a look to see if there's any STAFF NEWS at my current employers. I mean, obviously I KNEW ALREADY that there was because i diligently read it and definitely didn't have to GOOGLE it or anything, so I contacted them and they sent me a QUESTIONNAIRE to fill in so I could be in their weekly STAFF SPOTLIGHT.

I thought this wouldn't be out until this Thursday, so imagine my surprise on Tuesday when one of my colleagues said she'd already seen it. "Your face is on the main staff page!" she said. I had a look and it certainly was, with a link to the actual interview into which I manage to casually SHOEHORN a mention of the book.

Again, it doesn't seem to have had ANY effect on SALES as yet, but then the only thing that DOES seems to do that is making it FREE! The big shock is that nobody else in the office has mentioned it to me. It's almost as if nobody apart from the aforesaid colleague - and ME, obviously - reads the staff newsletter. That can't be right, can it?

posted 29/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Acoustic Futures
As well as the NEW COLLABORATIONS mentioned yesterday I am ALSO Moving Forward with my most VENERABLE group of collaborators, The Validators. For LO! We have been laying plans for our FUTURE ACTION!

The advent of Tim's Giant Wooden Testicle (AKA The CAJON) and Frankie's purchase of an Acoustic Bass has meant that this year we have been able to do several Mostly Totally Acoustic gigs which has been, according to me, BRILLIANT. We have never really PRACTICED this way (I'm sure this has not been obvious from our performances!) and so we have arranged TWO (2) practices in this format, one in October and another in November so that - EXCITINGLY - we can have a go at working up some NEW SONGS this way!

The GRATE thing about this CONFIGURATION is that we DON'T have to book into a Rehearsal Studio to do it. So we're NOT! For the October practice we're hoping to play in a PUB, not for frivolous reasons but for Good Professional Practice - as everybody knows, it is best to do EXAM REVISION in a library or suchlike because it is LIKE an Exam Hall, so your brain recalls FACTS more easily in the actual exam because it learnt them in a similar environment. THUS it must surely be ONLY LOGICAL to learn SONGS in a place/mental state similar to where you will be performing them i.e. in a pub, having had a couple of pints. It's just common sense!

The current plan is to have the SECOND practice round at Frankie's house so we can RECORD it, possibly even recording this year's CHRISTMAS SONG too if we get the chance, all in preparation for a COLOSSAL GIG which we have yet to announce. I don't want to go into too many details about it, but suffice to say it is going to make OTHER Village Christmas Fayres in Leicestershire look PRETTY TAWDRY in comparison!

So that's the plan - we've got a BUNCH of songs to have a go at, so who knows, there might even be some new stuff out next year!!

posted 28/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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I Am Marr
Most weeks I have a regular-ish LUNCH appointment with Mr J Dredge where we meet to discuss THORTS, come up with JOKES, and envisage BOLD NEW SCHEMES. The newest of these schemes is an idea John proposed a while ago to CO-WRITE a couple of SONGS. He suggested doing something like Morrissey and Marr, with me sending him some TUNES and then him coming up with some words. This sounded like fun, so we gave it a go.

I have several spare tunes lying around, MOST of which were recorded on my phone on the way to work and go "La la diddly pom la something something-" and then it cuts out. HOWEVER there were a few bits and bobs that had ACTUAL GUITAR on them, so I worked a few up and sent them to John. He then worked out the vocal melody and words for one and used FRIGHTENING levels of futuristic technology to record it i.e. he played it Quite Loud on his computer and sang along with it into a recorder, which he then gave to me to listen to.

It sounded DEAD GOOD - unlike anything I'd ever do myself, which was pretty much the POINT! We decided to do another and so he asked me to send him "the full song" for one of the other ideas I'd sent him. This was slightly tricky as there WASN'T a full song, it was just a RIFF basically, so I went home and tried to work out how a full arrangement might go. This is NOT how I usually write songs - the arrangement of verses, choruses and Middle Bits usually arise as a way of fitting in all the EARTH SHATTERING STATEMENTS I wish to make, so it was a bit of a BRANE STRETCH to do it JUST with the tunes, but also FUN, and the song we got out of it in the end was ALSO dead good.

The next stage will be to record them, and so we have recruited Mr A Harland (aka Andy from the Dredgeland Podcats etc etc) to do DRUMS and we're planning to go to an Actual Studio to LAY THEM DOWN. After THAT the general idea is to do VIDOES and John has various PLANS of ways to promote it. I think it's going to be under the name of DREDGE, possibly with a backing band called The Plinths, but that is all to be worked out. We DID have a PHOTO SESSION the other day with me taking pictures of John in ROCK STAR POSES on my phone though, which was rather jolly. I am investigating options to become a ROCK PHOTOGRAPHER on tour with Thin Lizzy even as we speak!

We're currently trying to work out DATES for the above mentioned recording session, and then it will be HO! for the Studio. I will report back on PROGRESS!

posted 27/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Writing Progress
I reached something of a MILESTONE on Friday, as I completed the second draft of the OUTLINE for "The Utopians", the sequel to Storm House.

The idea of doing an OUTLINE is that you can work out the mechanics of the plot BEFORE you go and do all the exciting dialogue/character/funny bits, as it is a LOT easier to fix any errors that way than it would be when you have already written 10,000 words of HILARIOUS INTERACTIONS that you then have to entirely re-do. It is a methodology what was enforced upon me by Mr A Cartmel when he was my MENTOR on my MA course, and it is a GRATE way of going about it, not least because by the time you finally FINISH all the plotting you are FULL of ideas and GAGGING to get going on the fun bits!

With this story I was very grateful to him all over again, as the ending is QUITE COMPLICATED and thus required a LOT of working out. Hopefully it won't seem too complicated way when people eventually read it, but it has quite a lot of different characters doing different things in different places at the same time, and it's quite difficult to keep track of them all! ALSO I have three seperate Quite Interesting Backstories that all come to a SIMULTANEOUS CLIMAX, and I am very aware that, if I'm not careful, it could all become a lengthy exercise in Characters Explaining Things To Each Other.

I think I've got it all worked out now though - it was RATHER exciting when I was writing the last bit as various LOOSE PLOTS from earlier on in the story put their hands up and said "OOH! PLEASE! Can I be involved in THE FINALE please?" and also I got to DESTROY huge chunks of Peterborough City Centre. The plan is to LEAVE it all for a week or so, then go back and do a THIRD draft of the whole thing, checking for the above mentioned ERRORS and making sure it all makes some kind of vague sense. Then, hopefully sometime before Christmas, I can begin with the Actual Writing!

In the meantime, and as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I've been working hard on the SHORT STORIES. I've now got THREE (3) pretty much finished, with ideas for another two underway, and it's really rather good fun. I must admit that the shadow of THARG THE MIGHTY does hang over a couple of them but I reckon that, like songs, the best bet is to write SEVERAL and then see which ones actually work. It's also nice to ALTERNATE between the PLANNING of THE NOVEL and the much easier KNOCKING UP of short stories!

I'm going to have a go at sending some of the good ones in for COMPETITIONS and the like, and then hopefully publishing them either on my writing pages or - WHO KNOWS - maybe even as a short story collection. Don't hold your breath though - if the ANALOGY of short stories as songs HOLDS then it will be approx THREE YEARS until the "album" is finished!

posted 26/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Harvest Stomping
We had a flipping LOVELY weekend this weekend just gone, especially on Sunday, and we didn't even have to leave our postcode to do it.

For LO! it was the Birthday of The Days In My Year, and this neatly coincided with a) GORGEOUS weather and b) The Harvest Stomp. This latter is SORT OF like a harvest festival that takes place in the Olympic Park, but more like a village FETE sort of thing. There's a stage with CEILIDH dancing, MORRIS dancing and local bands, various food stalls, and a LOAD of tents for things like food recycling, beekeeping, vegetables, JAM and so forth. There's also lots of STILT WALKERS and CHARACTERS i.e. people in odd costumes wandering round and ENGAGING with people. Sometimes this can be a bit annoying (a couple of weeks ago in the park someone pedalled past in a pretend canoe and was UNKIND about my lunch choices) but these ones were basically THRONGED with children looking at them. There were a LOT of children there this year - as The Day Of My Birth said, WORD seems to have got around about the park!

It was all rather delightful, and was made MORE so by the addition of a BEER TENT, which I don't think they've had at this event before. It was a very small beer tent, staffed by two slightly HARASSED looking chaps from the local Five Points Brewing Company, but they dealt with the EXTENSIVE queue fairly quickly, and the PILS was nice.

We topped off the day by going out for DINNER, recreating our evenings out in Belfast by going to the Premier Inn Bar (which, it turns out, has an AMAZING view of where we live) and then to Pizza Express in Westfield. ALAS they didn't have the Vegan Mozarella for the DELICIOUS Vegan Pizza (it actually tastes like a pizza, it's AMAZING) so we went over to STRADA instead, which was also dead nice. We felt quite SWANKY dining out, especially as it meant it only took us ten minutes to get home again, where we could watch a whole HEAP of telly.

It was a pretty flipping lovely way to end a flipping lovely day. Roll on next STOMP!

posted 25/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Studio Wayne McGregor
I left work slightly earlier than normal on Tuesday to head back to The Olympics Where I Live for a TOUR and a TALK as part of their Neighbourhood Engagement STUFF. I wasn't that interested in being engaged with, to be honest, but I always enjoy a bit of a NOSEY ROUND!

It was all happening at Here East the ENORMOUS building that used to contain the WORLD of Broadcasters covering the Olympics and now contains various technology and ARTS companies. I was quite excited about getting there on the Here East Shuttle Bus which I see buzzing around, but when I got on it I was told that I'd probably be quicker walking, as there was a West Ham game on so lots of roads were closed and there was HORRENDOUS traffic. Curses!

I thus set off stomping at HIGH SPEED, which did mean I was able to meet The Steps Of My Stroll on the way, and together we went into The University Of Loughborough's SUPER SNAZZY reception area, where there were DRINKS and SNACKS! We then got taken round the corner to have a look at Studio Wayne McGregor. It's a DANCE studio and is EXTREMELY impressive. Here East is made up of SUPER GINORMOUS great big HANGERS, and inside this one was AN ENTIRE OTHER BUILDING that they'd put there, containing TWO of the biggest dance studios in EUROPE and various other facilities. As ever I was a bit CYNICAL about it to start with, but was won over by how FAB it looked and how ENTHUSIASTIC the guide was. The only worry, as the aforesaid Voices In My Gallery pointed out, was that you could hear EVERYTHING that people were saying EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE in the building. Luckily DANCE and the Arts in general are REKNOWNED for their total lack of gossip and bitchiness, so I'm sure that's FINE!

We went back to the University of Loughborough reception to snaffle some coffee and cake, and then got led into a Lecture Theatre for a Panel Discussion about The Area. We went to one of these back in the Spring (mostly so we could go on the West Ham TOUR) and it had been a similar mix to this one of Fair Enough Questions and Generalised Moaning. The main difference this time was that one of the panelists looked EXACTLY like Phoebe From Friends. It was MOST distracting and I was HIGHLY tempted to ask her to sing "Smelly Cat".

I did NOT do this thing though, which was probably for the best. Apart from that distraction the whole event was HUGE fun, and we were able to walk home through the PARK. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but I really REALLY like living where we do!

posted 22/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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Being Supportive
I had SUCH a lovely time at Gav's gig on Sunday night that it has left me wanting MORE. As regular visitors to this blog may have noticed, my GIG-RATE has declined HUGELY over the past few years. Back in 2011 I did a MASSIVE 79 gigs, but since then that number has (mercifully) shrunk until it looks like this year I'll be doing a much more gentle 25 or so.

In many MANY ways it's much nicer doing fewer gigs. There's a lot less travelling around, a lot MORE being at home on the sofa watching TELLY, a lot less being HUNGOVER, and MUCH less chance of ending up doing one of those occasional gigs where I'd travel for HOURS mid-week to play to approx 3 people who didn't really want to watch me.

However, lots of gigs were LOTS of fun, and I must admit I do miss them a bit, especially the ones that, like Gav's gig, went REALLY WELL. It may surprise you to know that there is a small (very small) part of me that LIKES the applause and getting to show off - no, really, there is - and it made me think that maybe I could do a bit more of it again.

I spoke to The Dates On My Itinerary about these THORTS and she suggested that maybe I should see about getting some SUPPORT SLOTS. As she said, the stressful gigs are usually the ones where I'm HEADLINING and I have to hope that enough people are bothered about ME to turn up. Doing a support gig is a LOT less pressure and, now that I think about it, it's precisely the sort of environment that my ACT, such as it is, was originally HONED for. I used to RELISH the CHALLENGE of having to WIN OVER audiences who had come to see somebody else!

With that in mind I thought I might give it ago, and immediately realised that I no longer have any idea how to go about it. Back in THE DAY I knew all sorts of acts/bands/promoters who were regularly booking gigs, but now pretty much everyone I've ever known who DID it has stopped! Also I used to know what was going on because I used to go TO SEE gigs, but I haven't done that for ages either!

SO, I thought I'd ask you, gentle reader, if you have ANY idea of bands/acts/promoters that I might approach with such a thing in mind? Is there ANYBODY who might appreciate a support act in their late thirties (ALL RIGHT EXTREMELY LATE THIRTIES) who could come and bellow at their audience for 20 minutes or so? I am VERY well behaved and almost certainly wouldn't get drunk and be rude to anybody important, and even if I did, which I probably wouldn't, I would definitely be CHARMING about it and people would find it amusing eventually.

Any ideas are very welcome in the COMMENTS below!

posted 21/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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The Osborn Tour
We got back from Belfast around 4pm on Sunday, at which point I had a quick shower and unpack before heading out again for ISLINGTON where I was supporting Mr G Osborn on his TOUR.

It's a right proper tour he's doing - he's out for a couple of weeks going ALL round the country in a way that I have never really managed. I must admit to feeling a bit jealous of him, but when he told me that he was KNACKERED because he's been sleeping on floors (and the nice people he's staying with keep wanting to stay up after the show to celebrate) I remembered why I stopped doing it so often! It is EXHAUSTING!

The Hewitts were in attendance, which was lovely as I'd not seen them for AGES, and there was a large HAUL of familiar faces, including a delightful clutch of Totally Acoustic regulars. The gig was at The Bill Murray, which is run much like an Edinburgh venue so that shows HAVE to start and end on time, so that's what we did.

First up was Ms J Lockyer who, as ever, was GRATE. The gig had SOLD OUT so she was playing to a PACKED room who were WELL up for it, and she went down so well that I got a bit worried. There was lots of JOKES and SINGALONGS and I was AFEARED that I would be rubbish after all that. My mighty mind RACED through possible sets, and this is what I ended up going onstage and doing:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • I had a BLOOODY FANTASTIC time! Everybody remained UP for it, and my gambit of doing without the microphone meant I was free to DANCE AROUND, which I did! It was one of those gigs where ALL the HILARIOUS GAGS got LARFS and I even managed to say some NEW things without it going horribly wrong. It was really REALLY hard not to play extra songs - I said at the start that I was going to do six songs partly because I think it's GOOD to give that information, but also to make sure I didn't go on too long and eat into Gav's set.

    We had a small break and then there was nearly an hour or Gav, accompanied by Mr J Hare, and they were AMAAAAAZING. They played loads of songs off the wonderful Echo Bridge Album which I would STRONGLY SUGGEST you buy a copy of, then a bunch of old FAVOURITES. They also did a GRATE new song called something like "The World Needs Much More Music And Art And Much Less Arseholes Talking About It" which had a GINORMOUS chorus. I forsee a great future for it!

    With that all done, all in good time, it was time to finish our drinks and head home. I had a LOVELY time i must say, gigs are GRATE!

    posted 20/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    Midi-Break To Belfast
    Myself and The Wheels On My Bus went for a flipping BRILLIANT few days away in BELFAST last week. SPOILERS: It was GRATE!

    The original idea to go there came when when Theresa May made her DEAL with the DUP, and the aforesaid Members In My Party wanted to find out what this place was all about. We set off after work from City Airport which, as on previous occasions, was a LOVELY place to fly from. You just get off the DLR (which leaves from OUR HOUSE), wander through into the reception, and within approx 15 minutes you're sitting waiting in the Departure Lounge. It feels so SOPHISTICATED!

    We ZIPPED over the Irish Sea and landed at George Best airport which is another diddy airport where you just wander through in MINUTES. We hopped on a BUS, walked to The Premier Inn, and it was a mere matter of a few minutes before we were sat in THE BAR. I wish all air travel was this quick and easy!

    As anyone who had ever spoken to me about TRAVEL will know, I feel very strongly that the first priority in a new place is to get on the Open Top Bus Tour, so that is what we did the very next morning. It was here that we heard for the first (though definitely not last) time the Two Jokes Everyone Tells In Belfast. Here they are:
    • (on passing the Titanic Experience) "That Boat was fine when it left here!"
    • (on seeing flags hanging attached halfway up lampposts) "They're not at half mast, that's just how high the ladders go!"

    People in Belfast, we discovered, are PROPERLY friendly i.e. they're dead nice and up for a chat but don't push it on you. Also, they like telling jokes!

    We hopped off the Open Topped Bus at Stormont and had a look round - we do like visiting Regional Parliaments - and were MOVED by the story of how The Peace came about. It felt like something that had all been gotten over, so it was a bit of a shock when we hopped back on the bus and drove past LOADS and LOADS of TERRIFYING murals. "Look at this next one" said our new guide. "If you look down the muzzle of his gun you'll see it follows you along the street!"

    Next day we were booked on a TRIP to Giants Causeway, which was the OTHER big reason for going to Belfast. We were driven to a meeting point where we got on a BIG BUS and were told our guide would be called Troy. "He's a madman" we heard one of the other staff say to another. He seemed quite STABLE but CRUMBS he could talk, and did so for most of the next TEN HOURS!! It was brilliant though, we learnt LOADS about a) The Troubles and b) the shooting locations for 'Game Of Thrones'. Also CRIKEY but The Giants' Causeway is an IMPRESSIVE also KRAZY thing. It felt like a Brutalist Playground from the 1960s, it was REALLY difficult to get it through to my BRANE that it wasn't man-made!

    On our last day we had a WALKING TOUR run by Dead Centre Tours which was about the history of terror in the city centre. It was MIND-BLOWING, going round and seeing where all the horrible things had happened, and also a bit weird when our guide, who'd been a Mediator during and after the peace process, had to keep pausing to say hello to various old blokes waving to him. Several of them turned out to have been prisoners from both sides who had been INVOLVED!

    It was RAINING quite a lot that day too, so when it was over we DASHED to get some warm drinks inside us. We ate and drank HANDSOMELY while we were there I must say - one of the very nice aspects of having an AWAY BREAK inside the UK is that you know how the restaurants and pubs work!

    Our departure day began with me in a bit of a WORRY, as there was a half-marathon going through town which meant CHANGES to bus times. We'd asked a few different people about this but nobody seemed to know what was going on, so we ended up getting to the bus station SUPER early, having to cross the road there in a GAP between runners. It all went fine, and we ended up with over an hour to spare in the departure lounge. We ate chips!

    In conclusion then, it was a RUDDY MARVELLOUS few days away - I would HEARTILY recommend a visit!

    posted 19/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    Plotting Plotting
    Things have been fairly quiet round here just lately. I went to the pictures on Friday to see "War For The Planet Of The Apes" (REVIEW: it was BLOODY GRATE) and on Saturday I went to Peterborough for FOOTBALL (REVIEW: Incident Rich) and CURRY (REVIEW: Very nice) with Mr P Myland, but there's not been a HUGE amount going on, ROCK or LITERATURE-wise.

    THUS I have been taking advantage of the quiet by PLOTTING, specifically plotting the SEQUEL to my BESTSELLING (honest) NOVEL Storm House. Technically this is the second draft of the plot, and technically it's an OUTLINE now, but Outlining The Outline doesn't sound quite so GROOVY. It's actually turning into quite a BIG outline - 15,000 words so far - as I'm having so much fun doing it. This very lunchtime, for instance, I was writing about gigantic games of British Bulldog, an enormous radioactive mushroom, and the destruction of an East Anglian landmark, and it was THOROUGHLY enjoyable.

    The PLAN is to get the outline finished in the next couple of weeks, then go straight back to the start and rewrite the whole thing to make sure it makes some kind of sense. Having fun blowing things up is all well and good, but it does mean I get a bit distracted and end up having characters in two places at once, so I will probably end up doing what I did for the first book and have to draw a big DIAGRAM showing where everyone is as the story goes on. I've also got to make sure I don't contradict anything I said in the FIRST book - I'm beginning to understand why George RR Martin is taking such a long time getting HIS next book finished. It's a flipping minefield!!

    Still, it's a minefield full of things like The Archbishop Of Bodmin, The Ur-Saloon, SPACE CAPSULES and... um... being mildly rude about Peterborough, none of which, as far as I'm aware, George RR Martin has had in "Game Of Thrones" as yet. I guess I'd better hurry up and get this finished before he NICKS them!

    posted 12/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    Trailer Time
    As mentioned the other day, my continuing endeavours to PROMOTE my NOVEL Storm House have involved me reading a LOT of websites called things like "17 Ways To Promote Your EBook". One of the main thing they all suggest is doing a BOOK TRAILER, so that is what I have done, THUS:

    TREMBLE before my multimedia SKILLSET! I have no idea whether this will do any actual GOOD or not, but as ever any retweets/mentions/re-posts about it would be very much appreciated. I reckon the book is QUITE GOOD, and I'd like to get people to read it!

    posted 8/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    Analogies In Action
    The ongoing promotion of Storm House has reached a bit of a LULL for now. The frenzied rush of EXCITEMENT for the RELEASE has faded (as has the sales!) and new THRILLS like my trip to the Off The Shelf Festival are a way off into the future. THUS my mind has turned to devising new ways of persuading people to buy it, and especially NEW people.

    For LO! I am EXTREMELY aware that most of the lovely people who already know of my WORKS and who are likely to EVER get a copy will have already done so - it's a situation much like this year's Indietracks MERCH tent, where we'd already SOLD our wares to most people there who would ever WANT it - so I need to work out how on earth to tell OTHER people about it.

    The only way I can really think about this is if I try to do so in terms of ROCK, as that is all I really know about with regards to this sort of thing. BOOKS, I thought, are the equivalent of ALBUMS, and how do we tell people about THOSE? And LO! my BRANE did answer: "GIGS! And, if you can get them, FESTIVALS!" This is very senisble, and there ARE gigs and festivals for books, but 1) the gigs tend to be SIGNINGS in bookshops, and my book is only available online and 2) the FESTIVALS tend to be for people who are KNOWN (which I'm not) and are run by PUBLISHERS (which I don't have). Neither of these problems are insurmountable, OBVS, and I can always plug the book at Actual Gigs, but they're not the answer for now.

    So it was that I returned to my BRANE and said "How ELSE does one do it, OH BRANE of mine?" and my BRANE did answer: "THE INTERWEB!" You may not know this about me, gentle reader, as I hardly ever mention it, but I did have one of the first ever viral hits with a song called Hey Hey 16K a while ago and since then have done LOADS of videos and wotnots on the futuristic World Wide Web. With this in mind I've being doing stuff like last week's >video interview, chasing interviews and reviews, and have made a TRAILER ready to UNLEASH in the very near future. These are jolly good fun to DO but, as above, with no HISTORY or CONTACTS it's difficult for me to get anyone to PROPOGATE them outside my usual Delightful Circles.

    And so I went back a THIRD time to ask my BRANE if it had any further ideas and LO! it did say unto me, a bit peevishly I thought "For heaven's sake! What about SINGLES and RADIO then? What's the equivalent to that? Also: leave me alone, I'm trying to remember the words for 'To All The Girls I've Ever Loved Before' for some reason."

    Getting played on the radio is of course a BLOODY GRATE thing - not only do you get to show off (A LOT) but it also FORCES new people to hear you AND gig promoters and festival organisers hear it too. It's basically the SEED from which all else may flower. I don't know why my BRANE didn't just tell me that in the first place!

    As for the equivalents in the BOOK world... well, I guess the equivalent of the SINGLE is probably the SHORT STORY, which also comes in STANDALONE and EXCERPT formats. And if that's the case then maybe Short Story Magazines are the RADIO? I would say anthologies, but I guess they're COMPILATIONS. Anyway, the more I thought about this, the more sense it made. If I had some short stories I could send them to magazines, which people (including festival organisers maybe?) READ! I could also send them to COMPETITIONS which, if I got anywhere in them, I could SHOW OFF about! And I could even put them on this here BLOG or similar, to tantalise and THRILL passers-by!

    It seemed like a good plan to me, and so this week I have been trying to write some short stories, and it has been a LOT of fun. Short Stories don't need you to spend MONTHS working out the flipping structure, nor do they require lengthy diagrams so you can make sure you don't have the same character in two places at once. You can just sit and GET TYPING and then worry about errors, idiocy or spelling later!

    So that's what I'm doing - I'm going to wait until I've got a PILE of them before I start showing them to anybody, but in the meantime there'll be the aforementioned trailer soon and, who knows, maybe even an INTERVIEW!

    posted 6/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    An In-Depth Literary Interview
    As mentioned previously, I recently met with Mr J Dredge to undertake a rigorous, in-depth examination of my literary opus Storm House in the form of an INTERVIEW, which you can now view BELOW:.

    I hope you find the discussion illuminating - and if London Weekend Television are reading this then yes, we ARE available if you want somebody to revitalise The South Bank Show - send us a fax!

    posted 1/9/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    Hibbett's Hoover
    Today is NEWSLETTER day - a day which is ALWAYS special but is even MORE so this month for LO! it is the ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH edition!

    When I started the mighty monthly missive that is 'The Last Working Day Of The Month' way back in the quaint olde tymes era 2005 it was basically a wrapping-up of gigs that I'd done, gigs I was going to do, and news on song writing and suchlike. Over the TWELVE YEARS of almost constant publication (I forgot to do one in March 2011) it has evolved to feature LESS of what HAS happened and more VARIETY in what will, growing to include all the shows and books and videos and wotnots that make up the FUTURISTIC MULTIMEDIA OUTPUT that is de rigeur here in the futuristic space year 2017AD.

    Back in 2013, when we reached the one hundredth edition, I marked the occasion by unleashing Like A Braunstone Cowboy - a compilation of cover versions available ONLY to newsletter subscribers. In a similar stylee this time around I'm releasing Hibbett's Hoover, a selection of odds and sods from the past few years which is ALSO available exclusively to newsletter subscribers. I've been listening to the tracks on it this week, and they're definitely "interesting". Some of them are even "good"!

    I always like sending out the newsletter (I do it by HAND, rather than using a mailing program, as PENANCE for bothering people with it) and this is my way of saying THANKS to those delightful people who have stuck with it all this time. If all goes to plan the next milestone will be number 200 in October 2021 - I'm expecting to be doing some dancing that year, so maybe I'd better get planning the compilation now!

    posted 31/8/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    Now For The News Where You Are
    As part of the ongoing PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN for Storm House (still VERY much available as a Kindle ebook or paperback, by the way...) I have been trying to think of EXCUSES to get myself mentioned by various outlets. A couple of weeks ago I had a BRAINWAVE: I could send a press release to my old local newspaper The Peterborough Telegraph and point out that they had spotted my MIGHTY TALENT several (32) years in advance when they had given me an award for Peterborough Young Writer Of The Year!

    I thought that this would be EXACTLY the sort of story local papers like, and my suspicions were proved CORRECT as I ended up doing a WIDE RANGING telephone interview with one of their reporters and then last Tuesday got myself SHAVED and WASHED so that The Ads In My Classified Section could take some PICTURES of me. They'd specifically asked for one of me TYPING so we did that and a couple of other Local-Newspaper-type shots and sent them off, along with a scan of the original story, what I reproduce here for you in full:

    On Thursday morning I got a Facebook message from an old SCHOOL CHUM to say they'd seen it, and then further similar tweets, emails and phone calls came through from various Peterborough Dwellers. It was all very exciting, made even more so a couple of days later when it popped up on their website, which led to FURTHER chums getting in touch and/or swapping SCURRILOUS stories of that time when through NO FAULT OF MY OWN I got really drunk at The Peterborough Beer Festival in 1989.

    It was all HUGE fun, even though it has not given a PARTICULARLY huge boost to sales - I guess I shall just have to find it within myself to enjoy the fact that my GRINNING FACE has once more ILLUMINATED my home town for its own sake. Some people might enjoy this kind of showing off, for me it is just something to be BORNE with BRAVERY.

    I wonder how I can get them to put me in again?

    posted 30/8/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Long Weekend
    You find me today back at work, WONDERING at how long it seems to be since last I was here, for LO! it has been a LONG, also DELIGHTFUL, weekend.

    It probably feels longer than it was because a) it was a Bank Holiday here yesterday b) I worked from home on Friday and c) the EXCITEMENT kicked off even before that on Thursday, when I went to see some more ART with The Pictures In My Gallery. She was having a day IN TOWN looking at STUFF and so I joined her for her final port of call, a series of LIFE-SIZED paintings of endangered species by Omra Sian at The Royal Horticultural Halls. They were HUGE and VERY impressive - there was one of a TIGER which looked like it was breathing - as was the building they were in, the Lawrence Hall. There's two Royal Horticultural Halls, it turns out and this was the newest, built in the 1920s. It looked a bit like the sort of place Sir Roderick Spode might have held his rallies, but has apparently mainly been used for flower shows and horticultural meetings, so that's all right!

    As I say, I was working from home on Friday which meant I got LOADS done, including the tiniest morsel of things that weren't directly work-based hem hem e.g. LAUNDRY and also editing the video that Mr J Dredge and I made last week. It looks good! Saturday found myself and The Events In My Area going to the Living Art Festival in the Olympic Park (it was good!) and then doing GROUNDING, which is basically walking around with bare feet and therefore FLIPPING LOVELY. There's all sorts of IDEAS and THEORIES about it but I mostly found that it was ACE striding around with the grass between your toes, especially somewhere as MOSTLY PET FREE as the Olympic Park, where it's a lot safer to do so without risk of UNPLEASANTNESS!

    We also went out to the PUB on Saturday night, which was a bit KRAZY, but were back to normal behaviours on Sunday, when we did NOT go to the pub. We watched the first half of the first series of "The Trip" instead, which was AS funny as everyone who told me so said it would be! On MONDAY we were back out in the park again, strolling around barefoot some more and also having a look at the East London Waterways Festival, which was FAB. The best bit was seeing the specially created CHOIR down by the re-opened Carpenters Road Lock who were a total mix of ages, backgrounds, shapes, sizes and genders. I think ALL choirs should have a row of ten year olds at the front, it was ACE!

    We also had a good look at the new lock (my family has a HISTORY of lock keeping... not a GOOD one, but still a history!), saw the Old Ford Lock STABLES, and generally had a wonderful time in the GORGEOUS weather. Flipping heck but it was lovely - today at work people have asked me where I've been on holiday, as I have an TAN.

    It was a pretty GRATE weekend all round really. Whose idea was it to force us to go back to WORK after all that fun?

    posted 29/8/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    Promotional Video Activities
    Monday night found me back at Theatre Delicatessen, an organisation I have utilised a LOT for VARIOUS creative endevours, but never in this precise location. I had been there LOADS of times with both Mr S Hewitt and Mr J Dredge when they were based in Farringdon, and then I went once for a rehearsal of 'All In The Same Boat' when they moved to Canary Wharf, but now they've moved again, to an office building near Liverpool Street Station. I was pleased to discover that they'd maintained their commitment to Not Really Signposting Very Much, which meant that John and I had to wander round trying to find an entrance and then taking an unmarked staircase next to a non-functioning lift before sneaking through a cafe to finally find the reception.

    I do like Theatre Delicatessen though, it always feels TEMPORARY and CASUAL and you get to use rooms which have clearly very recently been OFFICES, which is especially good for FILMING things like what John and I were doing. The only downside is that they tend to NOT be very soundproofed, which can cause SOUND issues when you have THEATRICAL TYPES in next door rooms. They do like to PROJECT, these Theatrical Types, especially when they are saying HELLOOOO to each other and LARFING UNCONVINCINGLY, which they do a LOT!

    We were there to film a short sketch which I'm hoping to use to promote Storm House some more. I've read TONNES of guides about How To Promote Your EBook and LOADS say "Do a video interview where you talk about the book." It doesn't sound hugely interesting to me, I must say, but I thought I'd give it a go. I spoke to John about it and we worked out an idea for something that would be a) INFORMATIVE about the book but also b) slightly AMUSING in and of itself.

    The actual filming was PEASY, and we only used 35 of the 120 minutes I had booked for the purpose. We've done quite a few of these now, so we have quite a good routine i.e. do it in small bits, REPEATEDLY until it seems all right then do another take where one or more of us LARFS. It seems to work!

    I was almost disappointed that it had all gone so quickly - I rather LIKE filming these films with John, but now that we know Theatre Deli is back (and also how to find it) who knows, we might do another! Either way, I'm planning to EDIT the video this bank holiday weekend, so it should be with you SOON!

    posted 25/8/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    Still Valid, Validated
    After all our exploits EN FRANCAIS last weekend, part of me would have quite liked a relaxing evening chez nous. That was not to be, however, as there was important business of ROCK to conclude on Sunday night, with the final performance* (*unless we do another one) of Still Valid!

    By COINCIDENCE my PARENTS were in London that evening, ready for heading off on their own trip to LE PARIS next day (we are dead continental in my family) so we picked them up on the way to CAMDEN where the show was due to occur. We were soon joined by The Hewitts and Mr P Baran and, while Steve went upstairs to check in with The Camden Fringe (who were running the GIG), I found myself getting NERVOUS. Maybe it was knowing there was an ACTUAL AUDIENCE, or maybe it was not having really THORT about the show since we last did it, but my stomach was A-WOBBLE!

    This remained the case when we all went upstairs and approx half of the room filled up with people. As I looked round I discovered that nearly ALL of those attending were Totally Acoustic regulars. Clearly they were MISSING us after a week apart!

    I was still feeling a bit AFEARED as we started, but once it all got rolling (and I remembered, again, that Steve has a CLIPBOARD so we can't go too far wrong) I really started to enjoy myself. Highlights included my MOTHER doing HECKLING, nearly everyone doing the Mildly Embarrassed Air Punching, and, funnily enough, four people walking out! When I said "nearly everyone" had done Air Punching I meant everyone apart from these specific four people, who had sat STONY FACED throughout. I don't know what they were expecting - to be honest I don't see why anyone would come and see this particular show if they didn't already know me and/or Steve - but they didn't get it, so left. Maybe they were fellow Fringe participants who had free tickets? Anyway, as mentioned in recent discussions of LILLE, I am fully in favour of WALKING OUT if you don't like something, and hope that this action pleased our audience leavers as much as it did me!

    After the show there was some chat and some BEER and then, as is traditional, we went over the road to Maharani for a BLOOMING BRILLIANT curry. There was WINE and DISCUSSION and LARFS, it was all really rather wonderful!

    Thus ended Still Valid, a show which we didn't do as often as I thought we might (we may have REHEARSED it more than we DID it!!!) but which was always really good fun to do and, who knows, may even inform what we do NEXT!

    posted 24/8/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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    MJ Hibbett on twitter
    The Validators on twitter
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