EDitorial ± 17-Jan-2005

Nothing Happens In This Town

Still numb from the news that Busted had, well, busted, and observing a proper period of mourning before falling at the feet of McFly, a stunned and stupefied Saturday night Steamboat Tavern turnout gradually found its senses working overtime thanks to the arrival of one man and his guitar (and his fiddler): ladies and gentlemen, MJ Hibbett is in the building.

(picture reproduced with permission of VC25)

Playing his most easterly gig yet — a residency at Lowestoft's Claremont Pier is surely his for the asking — the professional and competent MJH warmed the congregation with his tunes of fraternal cares (the Rolf-esque Leave My Brother Alone), showbiz sadness (Eric & Ern, Little & Large in Dino At The Sands) and the almost too close to home I Come From The Fens. Heck, even the bar staff were listening in.

Given the chance to choose or pick
Between despairing of life or taking delight in it
I'll take the latter
Because it makes me happy
And surely that's what it's all about?
— MJ Hibbett, Easily Impressed

Returning after a short but perfectly formed set from the charming Mike Summers & The Doons (thanks for The Last Picture Show-inspired title, chaps), Hibbett introduced ex-Sikorsky Tom, the singleton string section, and launched into his "uber" set. Never Going Back To Aldi's raised smiles while Rock And Roll Mayhem, "written on tour", depicted the full MJH RNR lifeontheroad in Alan Moore graphic detail. Inevitably there was The Hit, apparently big in Norway and popular with Canadian choirs, the viral Hey Hey 16K, immortalising the ORIC-1: listeners should be aware that other home computers are available.

Antepenultimately we had the wonderfully optimistic Easily Impressed with optional audience participation: you can either join in and spread the love, said MJH, or don't and you'll never feel clean again. There followed mid-song madness as the crowd, particularly the Hull and Sheffield contingents, shouted their "you don't really mean that" line. Lyrics were still being voiced at volume, rightly and wrongly, during Boom Shake The Room, a fab and fun finale. Farewell Charlie, James and Matt: thanks to MJH, I think I can make it now, the pain is gone.

Be seeing you!