I am sure this is predictable behaviour for a small town boy from the North, but when the train pulled into Croydon, I heard The Sound Of The Suburbs in my head. I am sure somebody will tell me that Croydon is not technically a suburb at all. And The Members probably weren't from there. I can only report things as they happen.
When I got to Brighton, as usual with unfamiliar places, I suddenly turned into a lost tourist. I like to do a bit of reconnaissance, and suss out the location of the venue in advance, to avoid last minute sprinting (something which has never come easily). I had gone in totally the wrong direction, and was put right by a very pleasant and helpful PCSO. There was a low media profile for the gig. I didn't spot any posters at the venue or around town. But there was a splendid description in The Argus. "English Rock Band" was the rather generic term used. I also need to mention The Regency. Splendid fish and chips, after which Tony and I took the long walk to the show.
Security weren't in a rush to open the doors. That gave us a chance to observe some beach volleyball practice across the road. There wasn't an awful lot else going on at that end of town. We also admired the Steve Ovett statue. Free Man of the city, apparently. When we eventually got in we found quite a decent pub/bar set-up. The music room was quite empty when we arrived, so we were able to take up our usual vantage points straightaway. I found myself standing next to Renny, who was at his first HMHB show since he saw them at Glastonbury in 1986. Imagine that. Twenty-seven years between HMHB gigs! Life shouldn't have to be that hard.
Once again Roja were supporting. I think it was more or less the same set as the night before. Maybe I should start writing theirs down as well. Good luck to them with the CD, as it gets thrown into the jungle of the market place. No doubt the Probe Plus marketing machine will see them through OK.
I didn't have a clue with HMHB's walk-on music. Tony reckoned it was Forty Miles Of Bad Road by Duane Eddy. Nigel's opening comment "...And you get a free Parker Pen with every quote" was from one of those Michael Parkinson insurance/pension adverts. Someone in the crowd was vocal about letting Nigel know that they were from Ellesmere Port. "How come you aren't luminous?" he asked. "Ellesmere Port," he continued, "the place where no one can hear you scream." I was asked if I had been to the Washbrook Museum. Don't know it, never heard of it. Nigel said they only went, to see if there was any connection to Cyril Washbrook. Anyway, it was closed, so they ended up eating baguettes in the park. Nigel said he had written Left Lyrics that afternoon, while waiting for Nick Cave to turn up at Harry Ramsdens. There was a shout for California Uber Alles, which prompted Neil to play the opening of Holidays In Cambodia, with Nigel putting him right. He then went on to say that his daughter had a friend called Caroline Brown. Whenever her name was mentioned, he would say the line about Governor Brown, except with her name inserted. I suppose with things like that, you have to be with Nigel at the time, to fully appreciate it. Sadly she is married now, so it just doesn't work anymore. The transformer in Dukla Prague was "Quite expensive in those days. Quite expensive today." The pandas at Edinburgh zoo are merely Hale And Pace in disguise. While Ken was dealing with a problem with his guitar, Nigel turned to him and said "It's a good job I've got all these anecdotes." Ken was the first man in Wallasey to eat Quinoa. Nigel was the first man to pronounce it correctly. There was a thundering drum solo from Carl in Irk The Purists. Took me back to, er, Cozy Powell. "Fix It" was written in Dorothy Perkins. "Running Order" is another true story. Quinoa is also the name of Pete Wylie's "over enthusiastic new outfit." Following a request, the opening bars of Climie Fisher were played, but Nigel said it wasn't as good as the Pointless theme, which got another play. It struck me just how iconic is the opening bass riff of Time Flies By. Maybe it's just me.
Here is the list:Fuckin' 'Ell It's Fred Titmus
In the encore there was:The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman
And everyone went home happy. Renny said he was priveleged, and would be making an effort to get to the Shephers Bush show in March. Tony, Howie, Daz and I retired to The Pump Room in town to quaff ale and make plans for getting to Northampton next month. Hallelujah.