WE VALIDATE!

by MJ Hibbett & The Validators

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about

"when it comes to observational pop music few do it better than MJ Hibbett & The Validators".

- Steve Lamacq, Radio One


MJ Hibbett should be a British institution. He's the kind of singer you assume went out with Red Wedge and the Redskins, shuffling somewhere in-between Half Man Half Biscuit, John Cooper Clarke, Carter USM and Billy Bragg, singing songs called "Mental Judo" and "Quality Of Life Enhancement Device" in a broad Peterborough burr. Hibbett's songs are about meagre success ("I went to a gig/And the venue was slightly too big/For the six people who were there/Including the other band"), funny observations ("Flemish is a language I can't chat in/I'll learn it if I'm ever off to Bruges") and politician-bashing ("They say Ronald Reagan was the master of diplomacy... I dunno about you but that's not how I remember it"). Any nonsense is give short shrift, as opening track "Tell Me Something You Do Like" puts it neatly: "A pessimist is never disappointed/But they are disappointing".

The best track here, "The Lesson Of The Smiths", is a paen to how "Morrisey, Marr and Barlow changed my life", cocking its snoot at indie snobbery. Wonkily played and wonkily sung, it's unaffected, unpretentious, funny and stupidly entertaining. I Validate!

- Jude Rogers, Word Magazine


This is less an album, more a manual for life. For all this super-arch, hyped-up artrock, don't be fooled. MJ Hibbett's seen it all before and lived to tell the tale. If you want the secret of how to do the same, look no further than these finely crafted nuggets of pop wisdom. To put them over, the Validators find a new ferocity, they are fierce on 'Tell Me Something You Do Like' and inventive on 'We Only Ever Meet In Church' and are capable of very other nuance on the tracks in between, not least ripping off that Rourke/Joyce sound on 'The Lesson Of The Smiths'. One song, however, marks this album out above the rest. Anti-Thatcher songs are a great tradition in British pop music, but they died out somewhat after 1990. After all, how relevant can they be any more? Hibbett tells you how on 'The Fight For History': just wait for the tide of bullshit and lies proclaiming her Britain's greatest ever politician when she snuffs it. Those who remember the 1980s will want to take issue with it, and the battle-hardened Hibbett strikes the first blow here: he was there and he will not forget, and sets out litany of the damage she did. That David Cameron seems a nice enough bloke, is at least one subtext, but let's not forget the kind of people we're dealing with. That's just the highlight of one of 2006's most worthwhile albums. It is true. It is just. It is valid.

- John Kell, Artrocker


HIBBETT is a sane, reasonable man in an increasingly complicated world. His album with his cheery band The Validators unfurls a world of small victories, of not taking things too seriously - in short, of not letting the bastards get you down.

The fast-paced, acoustic guitar and violin-led songs are akin to Billy Bragg without the politics or grumpiness or Chris T-T without the rage.

He sings in an affecting, faux-naive lilt, of a happy life, of not quite changing the world, preferring to stay in and watch DVDs with his girlfriend, of achieving transcendence by buying, say, a new sieve - "quality of life enhancement device" - and of the little things that make life worth living, such as the new series of Doctor Who and free tea on trains.

But there is anger behind the make-do attitude - album highlight The Fight For History rails against the post-death beatification of right-wing leaders, "Warmongers take credit for a peace they didn't want."

Moving and sweet throughout, without ever becoming too twee or cloying, MJ Hibbett may be a self-confessed everyman, but his songs are a manifesto for living in this occasionally numbing, post-Thatcher "consensus."

- James Walsh, The Morning Star


The terms ‘life affirming’ and ‘inspiring’ have always been over-used in album analysis, so why bother bucking the trend? Luckily MJ is happy to buck it too with an record which would make a coma victim spring up before realising they needed to remember how to stand up, then grinning as they lie in a crumpled mess on the floor. Hideous unnecessary visions aside ‘We Validate!’ is a worthy addition to the Hibbert cult which stems from the type of crazy, informed eloquence that features elsewhere in this mag.

But as I said, this is inspiring. Not necessarily inspiring to make music like it but this acts like a syringe to the brain, his infectious humourous positivity seeping through the listener with unnerving speed. To name names the likes of ‘Tell Me Something You Do Like’ (a fantastic attack of lazy moaning songwriting which resonates nicely with me) and ‘Mental Judo’ (nice little tune embracing nights where no-one turns up) showcase his ability to speed out unfathomably good, upbeat lyrics before you can even digest them. What’s more the heartfelt nature and honesty of these songs, the fact that he clearly will stand and fight against the rose-tinted memory of the politically torrid eighties and does like the Smiths and Take That despite the wankers associated is a damn fine thing. And being able to mention BHS on a record without it sounding out of place is, somehow, a good thing.

The Validators do a fine job in backing him up for high-tempo strum alongs like ‘The Gay Train’ which, I attest, is perfect for swinging round those yellow poles on the tubes to without caring. Life-affirming? This simply inspires life to get better and better.

- Alex Lawson, Sandman

credits

released 10 July 2006

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Track Name: Tell Me Something You Do Like
Here come a herd of haircuts
From the Corporate Indie scene
Sheathed in black and leather jackets
They sound like Primal Scream
Think they're clever, saying everything's
Trash and drab and wrong
Their complaining does my brain in
Makes me want to shout Come On

Tell me something that you do like
Tell me something you think's GRATE
It's so dreary sitting listening
To your vacuous complaints

A pessimist is never disappointed
But they are disappointing
It's the smell of a life long coward
Who'll never stand up for anything
Especially if you're in a band
You don't have to sing about girls
Come on, use your imagination
Stand up, stand tall, and tell the world

Tell me something that you do like
Tell me something you think rules
Have the guts for once in your life
To risk someone thinking you're not cool
'Cos you're not cool

Examples of some topics you might wish to discuss:
The feel of a freshly sealed envelope
The smell of the pavement after rain
A yellow tit in an urban garden
Free tea and coffee on the train
The rolling gait of Scooby Doo
The new series of Dr Who
Euros, Truro, Lego Bricks
Come pucker up and give life a KISS

And tell me something optimistic
Tell me how things really are
It is not being simplistic
To use a bit of wit and charm

To tell me something that you do like
Don't make out your life's a trial
Tell me something bloody brilliant
Tell me something that will make me smile

Come on and make me smile


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: Looking At My Hands
I was looking at my hands
They were the hands of an old man
Somewhere there's a pensioner running round with wrists that are not his
Oh Lord and in the name of love
Return to me the contents of my gloves

I was looking at my face
Looming like the warlike planet deep in deepest space
With martian canal lines, a hint of polar ice
When did the planet go cold?
And when did it get so old?

But, that said, I like being thirty
All right, I like being in my thirties as I'm not quite thirty now
Oh yes, I like
Knowing what my mind is, and knowing that I'm right

I was looking at my clothes
Where did my days as a Dandy go?
I'm dressed as if I'm going to a Parent Teacher Barbecue
I used to cut a rug across the discotheques of Britain
I stood proudly bequiffed but now most of my quiff is missing


But then
I thought about my friends
I've got to say these days, they're all bloody GRATE
I used to hang around with a right bunch of arsey pillocks
I don't see them much nowadays but I can't say I miss them

Oh yes, I like being thirty
I like being in my thirties as I'm not quite thirty now
I feel deeply satisfied
Knowing what my mind is and knowing that I'm right

When I was 24
I was pretty sure that I knew the score
A snappy answer for each eventuality
I thought I had it sorted but actually
I didn't have a clue what to do with my life
I still don't but now I don't mind
I'm feeling good, I'm looking groovy
You dare to doubt it? So sue me

I was looking at my mind
Glistening with fitness from the fountain of my life
Still undergoing training in biography's gymnasium
Every day in every way
I'm becoming more applaudable than even I was yesterday

And that's why
It doesn't really matter if my hairline gets too high
It's only making space for enlargement of the brain
If my back aches it's 'cos I'm carrying
The equipment of a stallion

Oh yes, I like being thirty
I like being in my thirties as I'm not quite thirty now
I feel contented and free
In a mental landscape where I'm happy being me


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: Better Things To Do
I have never learnt to drive a vehicle
I reckon how hard can it be?
And I've never took the time
It takes to learn to fly
I'll work it out if there's ever a need

Flemish is a language I can't chat in
I'll learn it if I'm ever off to Brugges
And similarly I cannot speak Latin
I have had much better things to do

Like walking in the park with you
And talking in the dark with you
These have been much better things to do
Better things to do

Well I've no idea how to route a network
I've got no way to know which routers what
And I've not been on a course
To learn to program C++
I frankly could not give a toss for DOS

And I'll drink whatever wine's put on the table
With vineyards I find I've not got a clue
And I'll rarely even read what's on the label
I have got much better things to do

Like watching DVDs with you
And drinking cups of tea with you
These have been much better things to do
Better things to do

La la la la la
I could not be arsed
To write some words to put into this part
So la la la la la
Better things to do

Day dreaming in another dreary meeting
I caught a glimpse of 2109
Where a grateful nation's wired up for hearing
The final thoughts of their President For Life

Someone said Lord Hibbett, do you have regrets, sir?
I said yes I guess I must have had a few
I'd've liked to ride more trams
But otherwise Je Ne Regrette Riens
I must have had much better things to do

Like waking up at last with you
And making time fly fast with you
These have been much better things to do
Better things to do


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: Girlfriend Alarmed
Girlfriend alarmed
By the power of our post-pub conversation
I simply made a remark
Bringing your reproductive system into question
She's says that I went too far
But we were like this before we even had loins to mention
It's just the way we are
We've been behaving this way since we were both eleven

Look at all the other men in the pub
They'll be talking like us
Talking so loud, that you will never hear

That the words we say
Don't necessarily match the reasons we are saying them
You've simply got to translate
It into beer, then to football, into playground and back again
You don't believe me, but hey
Maybe that's the whole point, like it's a gigantic smokescreen
For us to keep saying the same,
Without an outsider understanding deeper meanings

Look at all the other men in the pub
They'll be talking like us
Telling the stories we've told ten times before

But none of us mind
It's the way you tell it, not how up to date it is
And anyway over time
The stories change and evolve beyond the means of the journalist
Like cave men out for the night
We like to sit by the fire and tell the tales of our tribe and it's
True, listen in and you'll find
You'll be joining in next time when it gets to the good bit

Look at all the other men in the pub
They'll be talking like us
Talking like us, 'cos when you think about it

Men have been this way since the start of time
When hunting mammoth there's no time for affection
We've learnt a language rooted deep in violence
So softer feelings creep in in disguise without detection
It's not just girls we tease to tell them that we like them
Some of my best friends - I've had to fight them
I've got the scars to show how much some of my closer friends like me

So there you go
I wouldn't worry about me calling Neil an idiot
He already knows
I didn't mean it when I said he was feckless and ignorant
You can ask him yourself
But first I'll ring him to tell him it's OK to unmask me
Oh yeah - he'd better, or else
I'll be in trouble like all my forefathers before me

Look at all the other men in the world
They'll be talking like us
To their girlfriends,
Girlfriend alarmed


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: The Gay Train
In Peterborough was where I was raised
And in my bedroom was where I spent most of my days
On a ZX Spectrum, as I've previously mentioned
So I did my 'A' Levels and I moved to Leicester
Well, I met a few people, I made a few friends
And this is the story about one of them
So come with me now on a journey through time
To when he moved to London, near the Northern Line

I was going down to Balham
When somebody said Let's go to Clapham
And see the Gay Pride Festival there
I got on the underground
Didn't really understand
The scene I'd see before me down there

And there were lesbians to the left of me
A gay choir to the right
And two terrified tourists quivering with fright
On the Gay Train
On the Gay Train, in 1994

The carriage guard looked very frightened
He wasn't being quite as enlightened
As I was trying to be
With Liberalism writ on my face
Looking very hetero, just in case
But no-one even tried to get off with me

And there were lesbians to the left of me
A gay choir to the right
And two terrified tourists quivering with fright
On the Gay Train
On the Gay Train, in 1994

Then they let off all these balloons
Each representing someone who
They knew who had died of AIDS
Everybody stopped acting quite so camp
And I remember thinking to myself that that
Was the most moving thing I'd seen all day

And there were lesbians to the left of me
A gay choir to the right
And this terrified tourist suddenly felt all right
On the Gay Train
On the Gay Train, in 1994

As my mate Mileage's Dad would say
It doesn't really matter if you're straight or gay
All that matters is love
And it's all love


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: Dino At The Sands
All that I was doing
Was trying to sing my song
But then I heard applause and I knew that you'd come on
You did Deputy Dog
You told the same old jokes
And I never did get to sing my song

And I thought you were my friend
But now I feel like Sidney at the end

Thought the show was over
So I went and got my coat and cap on
And put my things into a paper bag
But when I came out
I found you dancing with the dancing girls
And yes, it made me sad

Because I thought you were my friend
And now I feel like Eric at the end

On the road to Rio
You and me and Dorothy Lamour
I thought she loved me
But she loved you more

All your pratfalls
All your demands and antics
Drove me to drink and distraction so
When I got the offer
I went with Sam and Francis
To the desert where we played the greatest show

And now it's me who gets to sing and dance
And I feel like Dino at The Sands


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: Breaks In The Journey
You'd never take a map
You'd never think of deviating
From your list of junctions that
Are your means of navigating
With sandwiches and thermos flask
No need to stop at service stations
You've run your life like that
Your confidence and faith's amazing

But will you ever
Start to think
I wish I could have stopped more often
Stopped and looked at wildlife centres
Took a trip round national monuments
Walked along a public footpath

Me, I took the scenic route
Had no idea where I was going
Thatcher'd ripped up all the road signs
And public transport's eyes were closing
And though I'd never win the races
Strolling home on Shanks's pony
I talked to people and saw places
That I'd never dreamt of knowing

But will I ever
Start to think
I wish I hadn't stopped so often
But put myself on firmer footings
Paid my bills, spent more time working
Early nights and forward thinking

Your autobiography
Was written arse to tit
You wrote the final chapter first
And worked backwards from it
I've made mine up going along
No clue what's coming next
I guess my memoirs'll never have a
Definitive accepted text
I was too busy making facts to check
That the whole thing overall made sense
It makes no sense
It makes no sense
At least not yet

My footwell's filled with souvenirs
The paintwork's patched and dated
The seats are ripped and stained with beer
But it's a car that I've created
And anyway our destinations
Have always been the same
And if I find you got there first
You won't hear me complain

And if I ever
Start to think
Should I not have stopped so often?
I'll think of all those wildlife centres
Trips I took round national monuments
Friends I met on public footpaths


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: The Fight For History
They're saying Ronald Reagan was the Master Of Diplomacy
'Cos he ended the Cold War with only Thatcher there to help him
They say he led the world in times that were more optimistic
I don't know about you but that is not how I remember it
The constant crushing certainty of nuclear oblivion
Was ended by East Germans in Berlin not politicians
When warmongers seek credit for a peace they didn't want
They've one eye on the history books, the other's on the clock

Well I was there and I will not forget
The fight for history begins the day that Thatcher is dead

The two-faced slip-on socialists who helped her stay in power
Are riding round in company cars charging a thousand pounds an hour
To reassure the wage slaves who think they're the wage slaves' masters
That they're modern and creative whilst behind the drums beat faster
And we've all got to pretend that we now like Edwina Currie
And that Steven Norris wasn't a corrupt adulterous bully
All the smiling lying psychopaths we finally deposed
Are now creeping into reality TV and phone-in shows

Well I was there and I will not forget
The fight for history begins the day that Thatcher is dead

Down in Soho all the preening pamphlet-headed peacocks
Try to make out it's iconic wearing Council-hair and pop-socks
And paint the Eighties as an age of decadence and glamour
As if the miners' strike, the poll tax and BSE never happened
As if Section 28 was never passed into the law
As if Osama Bin Laden wasn't paid to fight our wars
As if the institutionalised weren't turfed onto the streets
Into a new society they said did not exist

Well I was there and I will not forget
The fight for history begins the day that Thatcher is dead
And if you think it's past and put to bed
You wait until the wave of lies the day that Thatcher is dead

We will fight for history on the day that Thatcher's dead


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: Mental Judo
I did a gig
At a venue that was slightly too big
For the six people who were there
Including the other band
As I said to them
We should cherish being here as friends
It isn't something that we will see again
Said the promoter
I said I do not care
If there's never anybody else there
I'm going to enjoy it for what it is
Not not for what it isn't

Mental Judo
Let's enjoy for what it is
This way we can hang around and chat and get pissed
We might as well have some fun while we're alive
Mental Judo

For my birthday one year
Two of my friends took me out for a beer
They'd invited other people I knew
To come and meet me
I didn't mind
That hardly any of them arrived
But the other two spent the whole night
Going on about it
I said I do not care
If there's never anybody else there
I'm going to enjoy it for what it is
Not not for what it isn't

Mental judo
This way a round'll be cheap
And we'll be sure that we all get a seat
When we go out dancing, 'cos we're going out dancing
Mental judo

Now I know this job
Is not exactly your dream job
But still, it pays the bills
And you can keep looking
And I know you'd like
To be accompanied in bed at night
You'd like to reach out and turn out the light
And find another human being
No, it's not fair
That's there's never anybody else there
But try to enjoy it for what it is
Not not for what it isn't

Mental judo
Without responsibilities
Why not apply to colleges?
Why not jack it all in and do the something that you really want to do?
Mental judo

Go get a new career
Go drink cheap student beer
No mortgage, no boss
No stress no work - no loss and
On campus the chances
Of finding new romances
Are greater than they've been
On the shopfloor, and on the dancefloor
No, it's not fair
That there's never anybody else there
But try to enjoy it for what it is
Not not for what it isn't

Mental judo
Stop yearning
Start learning
The only person stopping you from doing it is you so
Mental judo


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
The flat I used to have had two sockets per room
So I had to juggle the white goods that I'd accrued
My CD listening was spoilt because I'd always know
Afterwards I'd have to reprogram my video
Thus I existed with depleted Music Love
Until I spent two pounds upon a Four Way Plug

it was a
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device (it makes life easy)
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device

I'd queue for hours to buy tickets for the train
Now I can buy online within six working days
I'd scold my hands by draining pasta with the lid
My nightmare ended on the day I bought a sieve
I would spend hours trying to sweep up my flat
With a dustpan and hand brush, then I bought a mini-vac

it was a
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device (it makes life easy)
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device

www.qoled.com

And yes this also functions as a metaphor
For making little changes in life that make life much better or
Appreciating all the smaller simple things in life
That we normally don't appreciate and that is why
I'm setting up a webpage to collect a few e.g.s
E-mail me your suggestions for some QOLEDs

Bring me your
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device (it makes life easy)
Quality Of Life Enhancement Device


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: The Lesson Of The Smiths
Morrisey, Marr and Barlow changed my life
They made the kind of music that I said I didn't like
Then one day I realised that I did
Watching Take That, in fact, performing at The Brits
Hearing Back For Good the first time
I thought From now on, in life, I'll
Like the things I like with an open heart
The Krazy World Of Rock's an easy place to start
From here on in I'll base my judgements not on baggage but on art
And from that day a voice in my head
Has come to me in times of doubt and said

Remember the lesson of Take That
If a pile of pillocks pretend to like it, doesn't mean it's crap
And remember the lesson of The Smiths
Just because a bunch of wankers like it, doesn't mean that it's shit

You see, I didn't have that great a time in my later years at school
I didn't really like anyone, least of all the kids who were cool
I had to hate their music, and therefore
The Smiths became the epitome of all that I abhorred
But in later years, at Indie Discos, with jumper stretched and specs akimbo
All I lacked was a quiff and a pocket of daffs
I could have seen them playing live, but alas
They split before my foolish pride decided not to be so daft
And when I contemplate the great mistake I made
A little voice pipes up to say

Remember the lesson of The Smiths
Just because a bunch of wankers like it, doesn't mean that it's shit
And remember the lesson of Take That
If a pile of pillocks pretend to like it, doesn't mean it's crap

Now, I went out walking on a walk against a war
And I noticed many banners had seen many walks before
The usual cliques of Marxo-Anarchistic sods
Who'll try to kidnap any demonstration, relevant or not
Well I got so peeved I moved to leave when suddenly I heard
A little voice inside me saying Hibbett, don't be such a berk
Look beyond the gits and hippies and you'll see
Two million people marching for something they believe

So what if there's a thousand fuckwits here?
Peace and love is still a bloody good idea

And remember the lesson of Take That
If a pile of pillocks pretend to like it, doesn't mean it's crap
And remember the lesson of The Smiths
Just because a bunch of wankers like it, doesn't mean that it's shit

Oh yes, if you're dismissing things because they're in with some other crowd
You will be the one who's missing out
Don't wait for a retrospective, come on, get into it now
Or you will be the one who's missing out


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing
Track Name: We Only Ever Meet In Church
Here we are again
Sitting in lines and singing the songs
That we used to sing when we saw each other every day

And afterwards we'll say
How're you doing? How's the family?
I didn't know you had another baby on the way

And when did we become the kind of friends
Who only ever meet in Church?
We only ever meet in church

Your Christmas Card arrived
And I must say I'm surprised to find
It's not from the cheapest packet in BHS

It really is quite nice
And inside is an invite to keep the weekend free
At the start of August next

And when did we become the kind of friends
Who only ever meet in Church?
We only ever meet in church

It seems like only yesterday that we were at the christening
Now somehow we're all sitting here again, laughing and listening
To you giving the speech as the father of the bride
In what seems like no time we're coming back
Far Less of us now and now dressed in black
Saying the same things we say every time
Singing the same songs sat in the same lines
And I wonder - when we did we stop asking
Anything new and became trapped in aspic
Friends for no better and for no worse
Friends who only ever
Met in church

So here we are again
Jumpered up in a country pub
Celebrating nothing, except the fact that we're all here

And afterwards we'll say
If you're going don't forget to ring
And let us know the next time you're coming round this way

And don't let us become the kind of friends
Who only ever meet in church


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing