Two things to get very clear from outset. It was well worth the trip just to hear an excellent (that's awesome, not awful; addressed to the hard of hearing gentleman who kindly requested an immediate post-gig comment from me) version of "A Country Practice". One word - stellar. The second is that I knew that it was going to be a good evening 'pon walking into the BP service station shop to pay for petrol down by the Albert Dock, to be greeted by a cheerful, hirsute Liverpudlian with the words; "Number Six, Chief?"
It was the Biscuit deflowering for Mrs C. and I think that she enjoyed finally getting to the gig. Not out of anticipation mind, but merely because she had been subjected to an intense course of Biscuit-related indoctrination on the journey to Liverpool. However, her retail experience did mean that won a small wager on the price of Pringles. I did explain the usual format of TFHGP and she gamely agreed to a bet, which she won comfortably.
However, Mrs C. did ensure that I fully understood that the standard price of a tube of Pringles is £1.38, but only a mug would pay that and most supermarkets do BOGOFs, special deals or "3 for the price of 2"; hence her stab, after much averaging, at £1.00. For the record, the trading prices on the Biscuit Exchange this week (source: NB57, Liverpool 13/10/05) are £1.02 (offer) and 93p (bid).
An excellent turnout from the Forumistas. Lovely to see many familiar, as well as new faces. You know who you are. I also believe that TOFFS Co. should add Messrs Blackwell, Crossley, Hancock and Henry to their Christmas card list; judging by the number of DPAKs in "Ma Egertons" and at the gig. A big hand to all the forumistas who turned up and a "see you next time" to those that sent their apologies.
Onto the content of the evening, the set-list (as transmitted by SMS to Mrs C., who was standing next to me, nourishing a small vibration every half an hour) is as follows: -
- The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)
- Fuckin' 'Ell It's Fred Titmus
- CORGI Registered Friends
- Running Order Squabble Fest
- If I Had Possession Over Pancake Day
- Restless Legs
- Turned Up Clocked On Laid Off
- For What Is Chatteris...
- Monmore Hare's Running
- Them's the Vagaries
- 99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd
- Hallelujah/Vatican Broadside
- C.A.M.R.A. Man
- Shit Arm, Bad Tattoo
- P.R.S. Yearbook - Quick The Drawbridge
- Paintball's Coming Home
- Wrong Grave for 23 Years
- All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
- Them's The Vagaries
- Letters Sent
- The Len Ganley Stance
- Look Dad No Tunes
- I Think We're Alone Now
- We Built this City on a Trad. Arr. Tune
- Everything's A.O.R.
- Twenty Four Hour Garage People
- A Country Practice
- Venus in Flares
- Joy Division Oven Gloves
- The Trumpton Riots
As usual, my brief is to look for the amusing snippet. This can be quite subjective, given the somewhat eclectic taste of the Biscuiteer, but there is something for everyone, as ever.
I particularly enjoyed the sly nod and wink, coupled with a cheeky grin that Nigel shot over to an unseeing Neil immediately after introducing C.O.R.G.I. Registered Friends. Whether this is an acknowledgement to the inspiration for said song, I could only guess. I have a fondness for God's rejoinder in Footprints, which in concert is "You stupid, stupid, Bastard". An excellent addition to the live portfolio, as is the modernisation of CAMRA Man. Clarkson is wholly more appropriate nowadays and now that Italy are challenging Scotland for the wooden spoon, Six Nations is quite right.
What did Nigel say when he introduced "Vagaries"? It sounded like this in honour of placepots at Uttoxeter? Something along those lines. It works for me. A gentle sardonic nod to the moshpit during "Trad. Arr. Tune"? "It fills me with joy to see joggers out moshing". I have to say that it would surprise me. I did not see a potential Dustin Hoffman in the moshpit last night. Nice trick too; NB57. A genuine album version of "Paintball". No improvisation or addition. Cute. What will the purists make of that?
Penultimately, I must say again that "A Country Practice" was quite splendiferous. People who say "bless" knowingly. What imagery that conjures up in the mind. Not just an aging Auntie in a cardigan, but a whole underclass of frustrated amateur psychologists bursting to sympathise with you in an underhand attempt to spirit out the darkest secrets from the very depths of your soul.
Last word to the now fully initiated Mrs C. I have no idea what Ken does for a day job, but I trust he will forgive the innocent way that she turned to me, during a break between songs and said; "The one on the left; I bet he is an accountant".