After last time's problems with frozen locks on the car doors, it made a change for the temperature to be slightly above zero for a Holmfirth show. But only slightly. Just right for a late afternoon stroll. I was particularly taken by the Riverside Shopping Centre. Totally deserted. I assume there have been letters in the local paper. I even had time for a haircut at the Old Bridge Barbers. I also noticed how the venue's kudos is on the rise. Showaddywaddy in March is no mean feat.
Sadly Tony was unable to attend, so I was on my own for the cultural references. He texted me to explain the details. It sounded like he was taking part in a re-enactment of the dentist scene from Marathon Man, with Tony taking Dustin Hofmann's role. Tony's place at the front was taken by Elspeth who was taking pictures with some decent-looking gear. I hope they find their way onto the HMHB site somehow. We also discussed the number of ways you can describe these events. "Gig", "show", "event", "performance". Elspeth obviously has the same problem as me. Roja were the support band, again. Just lately you flip a coin and it's either them or Lovecraft. Maybe I was listening more closely than usual, but this was the best set so far from Roja. They mentioned that they have a "record" coming out in the New Year. Hopefully it will be available at all good t-shirt stalls at HMHB happenings.
I didn't have a clue about HMHB's walk-on music. Fortunately I managed to grab Nigel for a couple of minutes as they were clearing out at the end of the night. He identified it as The Watersons' version of The Holmfirth Anthem. The story goes back to when Queen Victoria visited. Instead of singing God Save The Queen, the locals sang this instead.
An early off-with-the-top moment led to problems for Nigel with his guitar strap. Which in turn led to shouts of "You Don't Know What You're Doing!" He introduced Quality Janitor by saying "There's quite an interesting story about this one. But I haven't got time to tell it." Nigel told us about the off licence in Upperthong being robbed of Red Bull. "I don't know how they sleep at night." The lights went up on Carl, so that Elspeth could take some proper pictures. Carl still has his Movember moustache, and Nigel was prompted to point out that, as well as a Santa Dash, there is also a Hitler Dash coming up. Carl is going in for that.
At the end of "Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes", the line was "That's when Neil first said Stuart Hall". Nigel then went on to say that Stuart Hall can expect to get five years. Unless the police play their joker, in which case it will be ten. There was an element of cold logic in the introduction to Joy In Leeuwarden. "This is about korfball." I didn't catch what Nigel was saying about his Christmas present to his brother-in-law... Something about a shy mynah bird. Excavating Rita is about putting the fun back into funerals. The searchlight effect on Carl and the back wall reminded me of the cover of Band On The Run. Anybody else notice that? Nigel said that the band is obviously going up in the world because they went to the Trattoria instead of just to the chip shop. During a conversation with one of the guys of the front row, Nigel noticed that the light was reflecting from his guitar. "Phil Lynott used to do that."
There was a stage invasion by an inflatable sea-gull to coincide with the wading bird reference in National Shite Day. And of course there was discussion over its precise species. Nigel also commented on the size of the gulls at Rhyl. Must go sometime. Tending The Wrong Grave is "another true story, just like all the others." Nigel threw a general query to the audience - does anybody know what MFI stands for? He knows that DNA is the National Dyslexic Association, but MFI remains a puzzle. The line in Vitas Gerulaitis was "Why it's Dick Kryzwicki!" Apologies, I couldn't be bothered looking up the spelling, but I got the Huddersfield connection. Used To Be In Evil Gazebo is about everybody in the band. Nigel apologised for having to double-check the set list all the time, but that's what happens when you write it out in pencil. I could have lent him Pontefract Races, Betfred or Henning Wehn pens, no problem.
I liked the story about Boxing Day at Prenton Park. Because of low crowds, Nigel tends to sit more or less where he likes for most games. But on Boxing Day he takes great pleasure in booting out the once-a-season types who come for a day out, so that he can take his proper place. Heartless, but it means that everything is in order. There wasn't so much talk about being top of the league. They have obviously seen who has sneaked up into second place. For some time Nigel has been an admirer of Jamie Coppinger. I said I would check. He is still on loan at Forest. Towards the end of Cliched At Christmas, the line about the ships was replaced by what sounded like "I saw Kate Bush with the ICF at Mile End tube in the morning." My, how people change.
The post-gig in-depth car park interview also covered the possibility of a new album in 2013. After all, people are already talking about it. Apparently there are five songs which would be best described as work in progress. Maybe you shouldn't bother holding your breath for it. I was also concerned about the apparent sacking of Birkenhead Van Hire. You might expect it to be some contractual disagreement at managerial level. But actually it's because Add Hire do minibuses that accommodate seating and storage space to the required capacity. And everybody gets to travel in luxury. I must say the seats looked like the ones Sir Alex gets at Old Trafford. So now you know. And what's all this about film soundtracks? Apparently top level negotiations took place with the makers of Seven Psychopaths, to a satisfactory conclusion. I had already agreed to see this film with my mate in Sheffield the following day. It's not quite the kind of thing where you would expect to hear HMHB. It's all good stuff, but stay away if you don't like blood and guts. And bear in mind that all you get is about five seconds of the introduction to Trumpton Riots. But it will raise a smile, or maybe an eyebrow, when you see the hit factory of Blackwell, Blackwell, Crossley and Lloyd listed in the credits at the end.
The songs at Holmfirth were (very slack of me to forget to make a note of the times. I had thought about making some up, but couldn't be arsed).
Irk The Purists
When The Evening Sun Goes Down
My Baby Got The Yipps
Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes
99% Of Gargoyles
Joy In Leeuwarden
The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman
The Best Things In Life
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Asparagus Next Left
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
National Shite Day
Tending The Wrong Grave
Bob Wilson Anchor Man
Outbreak Of Vitas Gerulaitis
Used To Be In Evil Gazebo
Monmore Hare's Running
For What Is Chatteris?
Rock 'n' Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools
1966 And All That
We Built This Village On A Trad Arr Tune
Fix It So She Thinks Of Me
And three in the encore:
It's Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas
Joy Division Oven Gloves
So that's it for another year. I suppose we all re-convene in Sheffield in February.