There was a slightly disappointing start to the day, when I discovered that The Star closes at 2.30 in the afternoon. This pub had been highly recommended, and I had expected slightly more than a bolted door, after an uphill walk with my rucksack on my back. No matter. The ale tasted all the better in The Coeur De Lion ("Bath's smallest pub" which served a fine plate of ham, egg and chips) and The Porter ("Bath's only vegetarian pub", where presumably ham is not on the menu). But I got nowhere near to matching Daz and Gomez's list of twelve pre-gig pubs. They did well to get past security in that state, and a couple of hours down at the front while the band played was admirable.
The support band was the same as at the previous show in Leeds. Roja were keen to point out that there is no "n" at the end of their name. Delighted to be able to clarify these things. I can't add much about them though. The singer was still wearing the same hat, the trumpet gives their music that Spaghetti Western feel, and they do a fine Pixies cover version.
I'm not much cop with my definitions, but there was hint of "ambient" to the music being played prior to HMHB's appearance. It was immediately replaced by Glenn Campbell's Wichita Lineman, as they took to the stage. "Leave it on, it'll only go downhill from here," said Nigel before starting the set. Not sure that everyone would agree with that. There was a spot of heckling during one of the longer gaps between songs. "No rush, Nigel! We've got a train to catch!" Asparagus Next Left was introduced as a cover version of a song by the comedy prog rock act Hall , Stairs And Landing. Carl made sure he got that drum bit in at the end of Asparagus. Nigel mentioned Arnold Ridley, late of this parish. It gave him the opportunity to quote his favourite line in the history of TV comedy, by Captain Mainwaring. "This is war, Godfrey. There is no place for rice pudding." There was more recollection when Nigel harked back to a festival many years ago when HMHB were on the same bill as Steeleye Span and It Bites. The guy at the front standing next to me and Tony made a valid point after Restless Legs, with its line about milk and Sudafed. "I hate to be a pedant, but Sudafed is a stimulant!" Nothing wrong with being a pedant, and you're certainly not out of place at these gigs. At 9.34 Mr Blackwell requested more vocals in the monitor. A good recent run at Prenton Park was discussed. Apparently Tranmere fans have been chanting "We could be safe by October." L'Enfer C'Est Les Autres led to a bit of chat about the nearby Quiet Street. "Is there also a Loud Street, and a Sub Pop street?" The security staff were kept busy. I was ticked off for leaning on a monitor. And there was a spot of "six of one and half a dozen of the other" in the mosh pit, but nothing beyond that. Nigel spotted a Barnstoneworth United top in the crowd, giving him the excuse to rattle through their team sheet. An old favourite joke was brought out. "What do the penguins at Bristol Zoo get for lunch? Half an hour." The crisps at the garage were £1.84. The eight people in the queue behind Nigel were all from The Stoic Society, who had just had Steve Claridge as their guest speaker. (Stoicism was a topic of conversation with Tony as we breakfasted at The Boston Tea Party on the Friday morning. He told me about Zeno Of Citium who was of the stoic persuasion. Apparently he believed that destructive emotions result from errors in judgement, and a person of moral or intellectual perfection would not suffer such emotions. It is virtuous to maintain a will that is in accord with nature. Virtue is sufficient for happiness. So now you know. Or maybe I just wrote it down wrong. And was this Zeno any good at darts?) One of the stoics wanted Haribo Tantastic. We also bore witness to the introduction of Mad Macca. "There's one on every estate. He's got a shaved head and a Scottish surname." Mad Macca asked for malt loaf, merely because that is further away than the Pringles. He also likes the question about why Hull City are unique among teams in the league (you can't colour any of the letters in). And the visual joke about how tall is Adolf Hitler, and where does he live? You had to be at the gig for that one. We also found out a bit more about the guy who works at the garage. He is reading a History Of Castrol GTX, and he bought Fifty Shades Of Grey because he thought it was a history of Humbrol. Not a lot else to report over the remainder of the gig. Neil and Nigel swapped instruments for "Broadstairs". And there was some more Glenn Campbell when they left at the end, this time it was Rhinestone Cowboy. Oh and for the first time I was using a Henning Wehn pen, which I picked up when I went to see him recently. It did the job OK.
9.05 27 Yards Of Dental Floss
9.08 The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
9.11 When The Evening Sun Goes Down
9.15 Fred Titmus
9.19 Asparagus Next Left
9.23 Joy In Leeuwarden
9.27 Turned Up Clocked On Laid Off
9.31 Restless Legs
9.35 Outbreak Of Vitas Gerulaitis
9.39 Totnes Bickering Fest
9.43 Excavating Rita
9.47 Running Order Squabble Fest
9.50 L'Enfer C'Est Les Autres
9.53 Look Dad No Tunes
9.59 Bob Wilson Anchor Man
10.01 National Shite Day
10.09 All I Want For Xmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
10.13 We Built This Village On A Trad Arr Tune
10.18 24 Hour Garage People
10.27 Little In The Way Of Sunshine
10.29 For What Is Chatteris
10.32 Rock 'N' Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools
10.38 Fix It So She Thinks Of Me
10.41 Joy Division Oven Gloves
10.47 She's In Broadstairs
10.55 Vatican Broadside
10.56 Everything's AOR
We didn't want to risk another closure at The Star, so we headed back to The Porter for in-depth analysis of the show. Yeah, pretty good. We'll give it another go in Newcastle and Holmfirth. Without wanting to breach any secrecy clause, the word from Management is that a few dates are already pencilled in for 2013. Details to follow, I suppose.