Another cracking night out as my HMHB gig count hit double figures. After a couple of beers in Preston prior to getting the train (in the knowledge that Blackpool is something of a desert for us CAMRA men) we made our way to the Pump and Truncheon to be greeted by the sight of a Dukla Prague away kit at the pool table. Other fans were also present - they had probably done the same as us and identified the place as the only real ale pub in the central area! As our crowd gathered and I claimed the ticket money the realisation slowly dawned on me that I was missing two tickets. Frantic phone calls home failed to locate them so the evening began with me £36 down, having to return the money already paid. Fortunately the beer in the pub was of good quality and I was comforted by a couple more pints.
We headed off to the Tower Lounge in good time, having rendezvoused with the Wigan contingent attending their first Biccie experience. The place was fairly sparsely populated when we got there but filled up gradually until it was practically heaving by the end. My plan to buy another t-shirt to accompany my apparently discontinued 'lyrics' t-shirt had been scuppered by the financial issue but we browsed the stall with Steve again asking Geoff for some golf tees - "I'll have them next time!" was the reply. The beer choice at the bar was frankly horrendous so only two more pints were consumed.
We watched Calvin Party from the rear until asked to move by 'the men on the 'roids'. They were ok but I was distracted by the lead singer's resemblance to the young villain in The Incredibles. As we watched the rest of it from the balcony Steve tried in vain to spot his mate Dave who was supposed to be there. "I'm looking for a bald, middle-aged man but there's hundreds of them!" was his lament.
Some of us made our way to the front well before the Biccies took the stage and by the time the boys came on it was pretty tightly packed where we were. The HMHB beanie hat only lasted a couple of numbers as it was rather sweaty down there. Kicking off with a storming Restless Legs they treated us to a set of classics (but then again, aren't they all?). Chatteris, Shit Arm, Trad Arr Tune, No Tunes and Evil Gazebo being particular standouts for me, capped off by a great version of Magazine's brilliant 'Song From Under The Floorboards' - a real favourite of mine which had me singing my head off. Apologies to those who had to stand next to me for that. It was a good job we never got round to the Pringles Prediction competition as the unexpected non-appearance of Garage People would have rendered all bets null and void.
The venue itself was good for us at the front but I can imagine that if you were at the back the stage being fairly low would have made it difficult to get a good view. There was a lot of movement during the set and I saw one bloke with a cut head (not sure how it happened though).
It was nice to be able to the train to a gig and not worry about whose turn it is to drive. Roll on Ulverston for the next instalment.