The muse of the 'Biscuit' is that of humour and education. The humour spans the range; from fall-down funny to gallows. It depends upon the mood, the song, the day or the intensity of the traffic direction on the way to the gig. Maybe? The educational element is ongoing. The songs encourage you to forage in the haphazard jungle that is, 'Google'.
But, more than that, the experience is an ever-evolving smorgasbord. I am a great fan of the fact that 'Twenty-Four Hour Garage People' is a set-list staple, but that it metamorphoses like a lazy chameleon. Sometimes subtle, but always with that randomness that makes you perk your ears up as the song begins. There are others; a bit of updating and some reinvigoration here and there, plus a bit of sneaky but often clever amelioration.
Anyway, in order to save you reading my seemingly endless homily, here is the set-list: -
Shit Arm, Bad Tattoo
Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes
Fuckin' 'Ell, It's Fred Titmus
It Makes the Room Look Bigger
Irk the Purists
Corgi Registered Friends
Joy Division Oven Gloves
Dead Men Don't Need Season Tickets
The Light at the End of the Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)
Third Track Main Camera Four Minutes
For What is Chatteris...
Look Dad No Tunes
Tending the Wrong Grave for 23 Years
Bob Wilson - Anchorman
San Antonio Foam Party
Vatican Broadside *
Twenty Four Hour Garage People
A Lilac Harry Quinn
We Built This Village on a Trad. Arr. Tune
Them's the Vagaries
The Bastard Son of Dean Friedman (segued into The Best Things in Life)
* Cunningly introduced by the opening chords from 'D'Ye Ken Ted Moult?'
Moving swiftly on to the little things and moments that titillated my predisposition. The venue was marvelous, but steamingly hot as the evening wore on. The wonderful 'Picturedrome' cinema, which could quite easily (at the drop of a chapeau) host a French farce, some bingo, or, even the latest Coen Brothers epic. I half-expected a Wurlitzer to appear. (sorry!).
Nigel was particularly chatty, on this fine evening. Unfortunately, standing on the half-way line meant that I did not catch many of the asides, comments and pseudo-heckles. The sound system did not lend itself well to the aurally-challenged such as me, so I guess that I might have to stand a bit closer next time. The mosh-pit was quite disappointing. It lacked the usual physical energy in my humble opinion. But the banter was fecund and the band seemed in very good spirits. It must have been the Yorkshire tea?
Continuing said theme, Nigel did pay homage to the Kirklees Light Railway, despite the fact that he was having trouble getting the words out. Apparently (I think) they have good tea-rooms; "The first cup is the weakest". Another nice little amendment was during "TTMCFM", with the Italian Conti rejects spending time on the beaches of Cuba with the 'Observer'.
"Mountain Bikes" is a one of my personal favourites and as ever, the changing lyrics of the last verse are eagerly awaited. I'm sure that next time, it will revert to the traditional; for a change. This time, before the gods that made the gods were born; "that was the last time, yes that was the last time; that's the last time that I had a decent bag of chips". The demise of the British deep-fried potato slice. Ho hum, indeed.
The highlight of the evening for me personally was a short soliloquy from Mr. Blackwell, bemoaning the people that claim that they do not watch Reality TV programmes. "What do they do? Stay at home and read Keats?" This was followed by a word perfect recital of the opening quatrain from 'Ode to a Nightingale'. Now, as much I would like to claim the full credit for this literary 'spot', it is a testament to my nearest and dearest that I recognized the revered lines.
I keep up with the plot of modern novels by quizzing her for a few minutes about what she has read, to save me reading the books, which is far too time-consuming. I need to keep primed in case of an emergency Bohemian game. She also reads the classics to me, as a scholar and a Gentle-Lady. In return, I read her the amusing letters from 'Viz' and excerpts from the latest submission to 'Roger's Profanisaurus'. Yes, I know; TMI. But, I remembered the 'Ode'.
Back to the sermon. I am flitting, but during "Vagaries", there was a subtle change from the aisles of Tesco's to those of Sainsbury's. During 'Wrong Grave' Ken was doing his masterly recreation of the warbles of the wild birds of Britain and Nigel was convinced that the tweets were those of a nuthatch. NOT a chaffinch, definitely a nuthatch. Also, he didn't expect Ronnie Renald and his school of dolphins. Neatly harking back to my educational reference, I had to seek and I did find. Ronnie Renald is a Kiwi yodeler/whistler that John Peel went to New Zealand to track down to invite him to record a session.
It was also noted by my companion that I was struck dumb for a moment at the start of the encores, as the realization dawned that the band had begun to play 'Caroline'. It was far from unpleasant and I don't think that I would have guessed it if I had been given 6,387 chances. Mind you, the overall atmosphere of the evening (including a bit of a riff from 'The House of the Rising Sun') meant that it was almost par for the course. Lots of asides from the behind the mike about various golfers, I noted. It was Ryder Cup week, after all.
We were treated to the bones and some flesh of a new song, by the sound of it. A tribute (well, more of a vituperation to be perfectly honest) to the "Blue Badge Abuser". It sounds very promising and I am sure, is the sign of another EP or LP in the not too distant? We are fans that are always greedy for more. Anyway, without giving too much away, two rhyming couplets, not inter-linked, were; "I've got the supermarket sympathy vote, I've got a 10-year old Doctor's note" and "I've pulled up in the pouring rain; the space is empty, so who's to complain?" "'Cos I'm a blue (wooh, ooh, wooh, ooh, ooh), blue badge abuser". Yes, I agree, I deserve to be pelted with some kind of rotten fruit for that last bracketed phonic tragedy.
In fine (debate at your leisure) Cresswellian tradition, I finish with almost legendary "Twenty Four Hour Garage People". In the commodities trading pit, the spread for the day is between £1.04 and 87p. "That will do nicely, thank you. Nice to do business with you; do come again".
Our hapless, Pringle-sweatered shop worker gets the stipulated abuse. He is, again; 'Chief', 'Kidda' 'Sunbeam' 'Fella' 'Ace' or, if he is over 60, 'Captain'. The scowl on his face displays his annoyance, but the point for NB57 is that he has done it unwittingly. Therein lays the beauty of the serendipitous aggravation. "If you don't get on with the public, don't work with them. See also bus drivers. Generally, Lollipop Men are OK". Another glaringly obvious truism or two.
The recent addition of the insight into the story of Leadbelly's life on his ironically shuffling iPod contained some gems. I am no expert when it comes to 1970s and 1980s rock, but here's a stab; Boston's 'More Than a Feeling', Bonnie's 'Holding Out for a Hero', 'Babe' from Styx, 'All Out of Love' from the Air Supply boys, 'Cold as Ice' from Foreigner and ZZ Top's "Gimme all your Loving'. There was a little bit of pointing and that Jimmy Hill chin-scratching thing during the latter tune, directed from the front of the stage towards the guitarist. Hmmm.
The customary Biscuit experience was had and I would like to shamelessly take this opportunity to say a big thanks to my companions for the evening. It was a pleasure and a privilege to spend time in your company. Holmfirth was everything that I remembered it to be and my last visit was in 1991. A nice, relaxed place and I particularly enjoyed the late summer ignis fatuus over the moors on the drive home. I have even managed to write a whole review without mentioning "Last of the Summer Wine". D'Oh!