There's a first time for everything. I've never driven to a gig before with a shovel and a supply of rock salt in the boot. Holmfirth. Middle of December. You can never be too sure. And I took my mum's advice, and threw a jumper in there as well. But all went well up hill and down dale. There was no snow, but it was mighty chilly. It's not a fast route at the best of times, and took just over an hour to cover the 25 miles or so from home. But Mark and I were there in time to find Tony polishing off his fish and chips outside the venue. From there to the pub, and from there back to the venue.
We were in time to see most of the set from the guy who used to front The Calvin Party along with a couple of friends. I was glad to hear a version of the perennial favourite Northern Song included in there.
HMHB were on stage around the usual 9 o'clock start time. First up, Nigel let rip with the Thames TV theme (maybe Yorkshire TV would have been more apt). There were alleged spottings of Dick Kryzwicki and Trevor Cherry in the crowd. There was some rambling about Upstairs Downstairs coming back to TV. We were advised that if anyone tells us that it is good to see the BBC bringing this programme back to life, then we should counter by saying forcefully that the original series was actually on ITV. Nigel also told the story of an old school friend. Nigel had bought this friend a birthday present, but on his own birthday he received nothing in return. Evidently it's not easy to let go of these issues, but you might reasonably expect this to be the subject of a song itself, rather than a tale relayed between tunes. The venue is an old cinema. The quaint, theatrical appearance of the place led Nigel to say that it was "like being in the end of The 39 Steps". We were also treated to some quite lengthy thoughts on show jumping, and how coverage would often appear ahead of Match Of The Day. John Whittaker, Dorian Williams, Raymond Brooks-Ward, Lucinda Green. They all got a mention. As did my "Barnsley twang". Barnsley? Close, but no cigar. Victoria the brass section put in an appearance, guesting on "Gubba" and "Cynical". It should also be noted that this was a "wristband" gig. They must have printed too many for the Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel show on New Years Eve, if mine is anything to go by. Also, Tony and I wondered about the possibility of the Sealed Knot people wanting to update their efforts, with a go at Birmingham-Villa 2010. And there was an interesting interlude after "Uffington". Nigel responded to a shout of "You're a dead man, Fisher!" with an impromptu stab at "Climie Fisher". It quickly fell to pieces, but hopefully it will get a fuller hearing in the future. No "Garage People" either. Bit of a shocker, that.
The tunes were
Shit Arm Bad Tattoo
The Trumpton Riots
Monmore / Hare's Running
Dickie Davies Eyes
Left Lyrics In Practice Room
Bad Losers On Yahoo Chess
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Foot Up In Europe
Running Order Squabble Fest
1966 And All That
Bob Wilson Anchor Man
San Antonio Foam Party
Vatican Broadside (preceded by much of Gorky Zygotic Mynci's "Patio Song")
National Shite Day (featuring a very brief stage invasion which was over as soon as it had begun)
For What Is Chatteris?
Tommy Walsh's Eco House
All I Want Is For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
We Built This Village On A Trad Arr Tune
Joy Division Oven Gloves
And they came back for the encore, which looked like it was going to begin with Joy Division's "New Dawn Fades" but then took a more familiar course. Plenty of balloons on stage. Some fairy lights, and a strip of tinsel draped over Nigel's microphone. You would have thought it was Christmas.
Evening Of Swing
It's Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas
99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd
Mr Sincere Showbiz even wished us all a safe journey home before leaving the stage. Likewise to the band. The trip back over the tops can't have been a lot of fun. A hearty thanks to them for another year of top class nights out. Bilston took some beating for me with Deano putting in an appearance. Ta also to Tony for yet more CDs. And to Mark for dealing with the frozen locks on the motor. It always helps when you can actually get into the thing in the first place. Only nine weeks to Sheffield!