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about

Back in 2005 I was told about a tape being put together called "How To Bling On A Shoestring", which would be a compilation of hip hop tunes done by indie types. It was being put together by the American cassette label Popgun Recordings so I got in touch to see if they'd be interested in using my version of "Boom Shake The Room" or "Stan". I got a very enthusiastic email back from Raoul who runs the label, saying he'd bought my very first single, and he asked if maybe I'd like to re-release one of my old cassettes on his label some time?

I got quite excited about this, especially when I realised I could go one step further and record a whole new tape full of songs. There were several that had never quite worked properly when we'd tried them with The Validators but which I still liked, and this could be a nice way of getting them out into the open air. Raoul was keen on the idea so I chose the batch of songs I wanted to do and headed home to record them.

This coincided nicely with The Tape On My Spool and The Landlady (i.e. the people I share a house with) going off on holiday together, leaving me alone in the house. Well, I say "alone" but actually I was there with three cats who needed feeding and as I was thus honour bound to be home at a reasonable hour every evening I decided to use the time well by getting a home studio set up on my computer.

I'd never used music software before, preferring to stick to an old four track cassette machine, but I decided that the time was now ripe to make the move to digital, especially as my old four track had recently gone senile and decided to play everything back at random speeds. It took me quite a while to get used to this new way of working but when I did get it going on - oh baby! You'll probably notice that there's really rather a lot of loops and backwards things and samples, as I gleefully discovered that - hey! - you only needed to play each thing correctly once or twice and it'd work for the whole song! I was also extremely happy to discover that this also meant I could chop up and rearrange songs at any time I liked, so did that quite a lot too.

The two songs this crops up on most are "Sod It, Let's Get Pissed" and "Zipcodes". At the end of "Sod It, Let's Get Pissed" you can hear a "choir" fading away at high speed. Originally this was meant to go right in the middle of the song and I spent a whole afternoon recording all the different voices and harmonies for it. Unfortunately it came out sounding utterly crap, so I was able to shift it from it's central position to the end. Mind you, since then I've been singing the song live and have done that whole bit back in the middle again, so you never know, it might return one day as a full band recording. At the time though it was a mighty relief to realise I could just move it around, rather than have to re-do the whole song.

"Zipcodes" was built up in a much more technical way. As you can hear from the Validators' version on this CD, we'd originally intended the song to sound very different indeed, in a sort of Jazz Style. However this turned out to not just be impossible to play but also a bit boring to have to listen to, which is why that version breaks down after the middle bit, so I thought I'd try and do it a bit differently. It's a very long song and it's pretty much the same all the way through so I had to mix up the sounds all the way through to make it a bit more interesting to listen to... that was the plan anyway. There's about six different types of acoustical guitar rhythm on it, all double-tracked, as well as all sorts of other weird noises and tones. My favourite bit to do was the slight buzzing sound you can hear occasionally throughout. If you concentrate really hard you can just about tell them it changes tone, panning, and volume all the way through - I spent ages doing that!

In fact, the main thing I learnt from the whole process was not to sneer so openly at Dance Artistes. I'd previously been agog at the idea that anyone could spend so long recording something as simple sounding as dance tunes, but after spending the best part of a morning trying out different reverbs for my own finger clicks I learnt to be a bit more sympathetic!

Anyway, I recorded the tape, sent it off to Raoul, and then heard nothing back. I see from his webpage that he's busy, so didn't want to disturb him, but was still a bit sad about my songs not coming out. Tim suggested using a couple of the songs on the new single, but when I tried it out they didn't really fit in, so instead we decided to put them on all together in the multimedia section. I'm extremely glad to have done it, I must say, as I rather like these songs. Hey kids, I hope you do too!

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released June 26, 2006

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MJ Hibbett & The Validators UK

MJ Hibbett & The Validators have performed live on Radio One, had a Record Of The Year in Rolling Stone, an Album Of The Day on 6Music, released one of the first ever viral videos, toured the UK and Europe, featured in an Edinburgh Fringe Festival show, and recorded a science fiction rock opera, all while maintaining their complete independence from outside record labels. ... more

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Track Name: Sod It, Let's Get Pissed
I've got a meeting tomorrow, I should be alert
I should try getting in early, I should iron a shirt
But I'm having such a good time talking to you
I flatter myself, but maybe you are too
And we've been working for most of our adult lives
They can take away our daytime, they're not having the night
It's unanimous - that's it
Sod it, let's get pissed

Let's get lathered, bladdered, hammered and trashed
Let's get tanked up, tipsy, sozzled and smashed
Let our livers know they've lived
Sod it, let's get pissed

I know I'll be hungover, it'll probably hurt
But there's more to life that what you do at work
You see, tonight could be the night
When we set the world to rights
It would be selfish to go home and get a good night's sleep
When we could be preventing World War III
We owe it to The Kids
Sod it, let's get pissed

Let's get lathered, bladdered, hammered and trashed
Let's get tanked up, tipsy, sozzled and smashed
Let our livers know they've lived
Sod it, let's get pissed

And it would be unpatriotic if we were to ignore
The fact that Government's relaxed the late night licencing laws
The whole economy depends
On you getting them in again
I'm getting blotto for blighty, let the nation applaud
When I'm pie-eyed, pickled, merry and as drunk as a Lord
By now you'll've got the gist
Sod it, let's get pissed

Let's get lathered, bladdered, hammered and trashed
Let's get tanked up, tipsy, sozzled and smashed
Let our livers know they've lived
Sod it, let's get pissed
Track Name: Closer To You
I got into cars and trains
And trams and buses and aeroplanes but
None of them brought me closer to you

I walked down lanes and country tracks
Down boulevards, round cul-de-sacs but
None of them brought me closer to you

But sat up in bed with our tea for two
The Saturday Guardian and Radio 2
These are the things that bring me closer to -
These things bring me closer to you
Closer to you

During the summer of '93
I thought it was a good idea to sport a small goatee and
That didn't bring me closer to you

I learnt to talk about organic beer
And went to the pub for two years and
That didn't bring me closer to you

But watching my watch at the foot of the stairs
When we should be long gone but you're still drying your hair
These are the things that bring me closer to -
These things bring me closer to you
Closer to you

Closer to you
Closer to you
These are the things that bring me closer to you

Getting all drunk when I'm out on my own
Trying to be quiet coming in, and knowing you know
These are the things that bring me closer to -
These things bring me closer to you
Closer to you

Closer to you
Closer to you
These are the things that bring me closer to you
Track Name: Born Yesterday
I live every day as if it's my last
A bloke on the bus said but I think that's daft
I said Then why did you iron that shirt?
If it was my last day on earth I'm pretty sure I wouldn't go to work

Come on then - tell me, where is the love
If the only thing you're thinking of
Is the pleasures you can contain in a day?
I'd rather try and live my life as if was born yesterday

I was born yesterday
With my heart on my sleeve
At least that's what I believe
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah
I was born yesterday

If I can only look one way I'm not gonna look back
If have lose one tense I'll dispense with the past
Cast off the shackles of doubt, and say I want it, yes,
I want to find out how it ends, I want to see what's gonna happen next

And though there may be no future, it's a pretty good bet
That there's plenty to come that hasn't happened yet
It's not exactly existential - what I mean to say
Is that I'm gonna try and live my life like I was born yesterday

I was born yesterday
With my heart on my sleeve
At least that's what I believe
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah
I was born yesterday

How would we ever know
If 10 seconds ago
The whole world began for us, halfway through that chorus
And everything we knew was wrong
Our memories never existed and I've spent
My whole life singing this song

I was born yesterday
Track Name: Hey William
Hey William don't worry
About the things you haven't done today
You'll have all that time again tomorrow
And tomorrow's just a close your eyes away

There'll be thirty thousand mornings more
That'll you'll have to explore
The dreams that you might start to dream tonight
So William don't worry
It's way past time for turning out the lights

Hey William imagine
The wonders of the world you'll grow into
Who knows what will happen
In all the time you've got coming to you

You'll see things we've never seen
In places we have never been
And do things no-one's even thought of yet
So William imagine
It could happen if you get back into bed

Maybe you'll live on the moon
And fly to work on Mars
Play songs beyond the Milky Way
On alien guitars
Take taxis to Atlantis
And then stranger still by far
Find out not all girls are boring
And hand over your heart

Hey William remember
To take with you and keep for all your life
On all your adventures
A little of the way you feel tonight

As time passes you'll find that it's
Easier to act as if it's
All been done and all been seen before
But William remember
There's always time to try and find out more

Hey William please wake up
My mind's alive with loads of things to do
And William I hope that
I get to share a few of them with you
Track Name: If You Need Loving
If you are lonely I'll hang around
If you are worried I will calm you down
If you have problems I'll try and sort them out
And if you're thirsty it's always my shout

And if you need loving like I know you do
And if you need loving like I know you do
And if you need loving I can do that too

If you are guilty I'll be your alibi
If you are tired of walking then I will learn to drive
If you are blinded I'll describe everything
And if you're tired of talking I will learn to sing

And if you need loving like I know you do
And if you need loving like I know you do
And if you need loving I can do that too

If you can't climb the stile I will open the gate
And if we're going out I'll pretend that we're not late
And if you're wondering why I'd do these things for you
It's simply because I know that you'd do them for me too

And if you need loving like you know I do
And if you need loving like you know I do
I can do that too
Track Name: Zipcodes
Here is a picture of me that I drew when I was nine
It's my plan to be a superhero
I think I thought my power to fight the fiends of Peterborough
Was to wear some X-Ray Specs 'cos I'd seen an Advert which said
They see through clothes and skin
But you couldn't ever get them in this country
You had to send off a coupon From Marvel Two-In-One
Featuring Ben Grimm, the ever lovin' blue-eyed Thing

But there's one thing for which they asked
That was something I never had
A Zip Code
Never had a Zip Code
And I don't know what one is

I wanted to deliver Grit to my friends and neighbours
And raise Sea Monkeys as pets
I wanted a hundred and four model soldiers from the Civil War to collect
Though they never looked like Cavaliers or Roundheads to me
And oh the cartoons advertised for Saturday mornings used to drive
Me wild with jealousy for I was stuck with Beeb and ITV
Charles Atlas said he's make a man of me in 28
But it turned out he still had nine years to wait

But like a Hostess cupcake or a twinkie
One thing continued to elude me
A Zip Code
Never had a Zip Code
And I don't know what one is

But then the sad day came when I
Retired from the comics life
To spend my money getting pissed
No more the panelologist
Until in 1999
A new thought fluttered through my mind
So I spent three pounds ninety five
At the newsagent, just to find
Out what they'd call 2000AD
When it actually was 2000AD
Turned out they called it
2000AD
But, reunited with Judge Dredd
I went to my attic and read
The complete works of Alan Moore
And John Byrne's run on Fantastic Four
The Crisis On Infinite Earths
Hellblazer, the Dark Knight Returns
Squadron Supreme, Nexus and Groo
And soon I found myself drawn to
My local comic shop, where I
Found that those comics that I'd liked
Had had a sharp increase in Price
And then I heard myself, aged nine
Solemnly telling my step-dad
Comics are an investment that
Will be worth an awful lot one day
So I rushed home, and to EBay
But my attempts to register
Were almost instantly deterred
I staggered, stumbled and I reeled
When I saw a required field
Was an enemy I knew so well
I fell back from the keyboard and shouted - what the hell
Is a Zipcode?
Never had a Zip Code
And I don't know what one is

Here is a picture of me aged thirty hunched over a screen
Where my American pen pal had told me what a zipcode means
The internet was young and hardly anyone online
So transatlantic translation of colloquialisms took up quite a lot of our time
I sold those comics and then bought more, by Grant Morrison and Alan Moore
Now, I love comics and I'm really glad that I've got my hobby back
But still things have changed, no more hand-lettered panels and the colour's better
And all the adverts are full page

I wonder is some of the mystery eroded
Will young imaginations be so fired up now that
It's a postcode
That is what a zipcode is
Yeah, I know
I do know what one is