Yet again, life imitates art. You know the line in Evening Of Swing where the Satnav is causing a spot of bother. We were driving to Newcastle in Mark's car with the "aid" of aforementioned tool. We got as far as the Tyne Bridge with no trouble. But as things got tricky (roads running overhead) it didn't want to know. Yes I am aware, we should have got the bus. The best plan seems to be to ignore everything it tells you, and all will be well. And besides, we had a Festive Fifty tape to see us through. All roads eventually lead to the Travelodge, where we met up with Tony whose reconnaisance earlier in the day meant that we were led straight to the venue. Queuing for the Blood On The Dancefloor gig (upstairs at the same venue) was, shall we say, considerably heavier than for HMHB. In any case, we were in good time and comfortably fitted a beer in at The Forth Hotel. This gave Tony time to listen in on a conversation about favourite photographers, before he told us about an article he had seen in The Guardian, where there was some quibbling over the term "mathematically safe". Apparently the correct term is "arithmetically safe". Discuss. Oh, and Newcastle is the Greggs capital of the UK. After that we became numbers five, six and seven in the HMHB queue and were let in before the stampede for Blood On The Dancefloor. At least HMHB had a better t-shirt stall.
Lovecraft were the support act once again. They were a bit more chatty than I remember them previously. I remembered the line "Everything keeps sticking to me". The singer thanked the crowd for "a bit of golf applause". When he started going on about his problems, he responded to the "awww" by answering "Don't pity me. Just give me your money." We were invited to go to Geoff's stall where he would "throw a CD" at us. That's worth saving up for another time. I still can't quite make my mind up about Lovecraft. That could be a good thing. Perhaps they are a bit proggy, but not enough to make me turn up late on these evenings.
Holst provided the walk-on music for HMHB. The first thing to observe was Carl's moustache. Maybe it's a permanent feature, or maybe it's part of this Movember charity thing. To be established in due course. There was an early celebrity spot. Julian Worricker. But isn't he usually on the BBC News Channel at this time of day? Nigel talked about the Braintree v Tranmere Cup tie from earlier in the week. "Everyone watches, hoping there is going to be an upset, but when it is obvious that that isn't going to happen, they all turn over to I'm A Celebrity." The final line of Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes was "That's when Neil first said... Dave Lee Travis". DLT had been pulled in for a word down at the station. After a request was shouted for Dean Friedman, Nigel pointed out that Friedman could well be the subject of the song that followed, being Asparagus Next Left. Nigel raised a bottle of water to the recently departed Clive Dunn. This led to him revealing a pair of Dad's Army socks. In the van on the way to the gig, he had repeatedly been showing these to Neil, the distracted driver. He said we can expect to see this on Police Camera Action next week... "Look at this idiot!" while there's a bloke in the passenger seat showing his socks to the driver. We got an inkling of Nigel's opinion of Sports Personality Of The Year. "It's a waste of time. There's going to be ten candidates and none of them will be Frankel." He also said that he's started meditation classes. "It's better than sitting round doing nothing." Attention was diverted to "an incident" where one of the security guys had to "have a word" with a punter. Quality reporting here. I was too far away to tell exactly what it was about. Ken was apparently the first man in Wallasey to eat Monster Munch. I only picked up on a story about half way through, which was about some of Nigel's friends who found a skeleton in their loft wearing a medal saying "Hide And Seek champion, 1922". He then went on about one of his mates (possibly the same one) who tried to arouse himself by fantasising about Colonel Twitchen's wife in one of the episodes of Fawlty Towers. You may need to seek out the Cordon Bleu episode if you can't picture her. Nigel blew Neil a kiss for sorting out the capo on his guitar. Gomez leaned over my shoulder to inform me that he had had Fix It So Thinks Of Me played at his wedding! There was the ritual swapping of guitars for She's In Broadstairs. Hasn't Nigel told the one before about dreaming of eating a giant marshmallow, and then waking up to find that his pillow has disappeared? On the subject, Nigel was wondering whether he he had dreamt about Victory V ice cream, or is it for real? Joy Division Oven Gloves are now available on Stockton market. The mosh pit took some time to wake up, but it was lively by the end of the gig. And at the very end, Neil grabbed his set list and handed it to one of the younger members of the audience, who had spent the evening just about managing to peer over the top of the barrier. The band is all heart. But Neil struggled to clamber back on to the stage. He will have trouble on the HMHB outing to Helvellyn. Twenty-Four Hour Garage People was noticeable by its absence.
8.38 The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
8.41 Fred Titmus
8.44 When The Evening Sun Goes Down
8.48 Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes
8.50 Joy In Leeuwarden
8.53 Asparagus Next Left
8.56 Bob Wilson Anchorman
9.00 Totnes Bickering Fair
9.03 Look Dad No Tunes
9.09 Restless Legs
9.12 Excavating Rita
9.16 Running Order Squabble Fest
9.19 27 Yards Of Dental Floss
9.22 All I Want For Xmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
9.27 National Shite Day
9.35 Fix It So She Thinks Of Me
9.38 Paintball's Coming Home
9.41 For What Is Chatteris?
9.44 She's In Broadstairs
9.49 Little In The Way Of Sunshine
9.52 Vatican Broadside
9.53 I Left My Heart In Papworth General
9.56 We Built This Village
10.00 Rock 'N' Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools
10.07 Joy Division Oven Gloves
Three in the encore
10.16 Everything's AOR
10.20 99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd
From there it was back to The Union Rooms, with Mark, Tony, Tony's mate Denis, and Daz. Daz soon had to leave, as he was getting the 11.45 bus back to London. He was hoping to be back for 6.00 on Friday morning. There's commitment for you! Maybe he's still somewhere on the A1 as I type this. The conversation in the pub turned to Nic Jones, Wittgenstein's theory of language (what is a "stew" and what is "soup"?), Hadrian's Wall (apparently The Academy is built on its route) and Get Carter in no particular order. Denis said that he had been to see Don Giavanni earlier in the week, but he had enjoyed HMHB far more. Well, of course. From there it was back to the Travelodge, and then back down the A1 on the Friday morning. The Festive Fifty tape was 1998. Number one was The Delgados' Pull The Wires From The Wall. Quickish turnaround when I got home. Just enough time for this review, and then straight back out to Halifax to see The Lovely Eggs. Another top turn, but I'm not quite ready to take pen and paper with me just yet.