So Friday evening and the first of a double gig weekend. Add into the mix Chelsea versus Liverpool and The Ryder Cup weekend Europe versus The U S of A it was going to be a great weekend crowned off each night with the Half Man Half Biscuit versus Henry Priestman. I officially declare the music, sport and beer games open.
So Friday night and first up The Half Man Half Biscuit (HMHB) gig at the O2 in Liverpool. We headed out quite late for us at 7.45 and sneaked a couple of pre gig beers in at Ma E’s. Had it been 25 years years ago it might have been pre club E’s instead of Ma E’s but we are firmly in 2018 now. We got into a very busy O2 around 8.45 and I was reminded of how expensive the gaff is for a bevvy. Maybe we should have “pre loaded” before we went out. Isn’t that what the youth of today do ? Just after 9pm and we had our speck in a sweaty and very busy O2 and the boys that shook The Wirral came on. I first heard HMHB back in 1985 when some of the student who were helping out with the summer play scheme we went to played us “Fuckin Ell It’s Fred Titmus” it more stuck in my mind that I had the chance to swear and sing. Luckily swearing so early didn’t have an effect on my life. Quite lucky really as when I was singing the song as a young child I didn’t have a fucking clue who bastard Fred Titmus was at the time (A former England Test Match cricketer for the record) What surprised me about HMHB was their musical talents. With the current count of albums at 14 and counting I have only ever delved into a few albums. With what some would say the magic of HMHB is the lyrics if you don’t know the songs it can be quite hard to decipher what some lyrics are live and not helped being half pissed so I had a feeling on some songs I was missing out as I was not in the HMHB gang knowing each song word for word like some HMHB groupies in the crowd. But the short nature of some of the songs reminded me of punk music at times. We ended up moving up to the balcony at the O2 as it was that busy and would be too much hassle to get to the bar and we got a good speck up there for my vertically challenged father in law and if anything the sound was better as well. On the way up there coming out of the crowd in the darkness I got a hug of a lad who said “Alright Fay” and we both went in opposite directions. I could not see who it was but had a feeling it was an old friend from when I worked at Liverpool City Council so included him in a tweet after the gig. Was it him or dad I have a secret male admirer. Turned out it was the lad from the council.
The band rattled through many songs in a set just under two hours including the famous “All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague away kit” and “Joy Division Oven Gloves” but the highlight for me was “99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd which eased seamlessly at the end into “Maincrest car and van hire seven double three three two oh one” As the gig ended it was an enjoyable night but just came out with the feeling that a trick was missed not being a super nerd fan of HMHB. We ended up in Wetherspoons for some post gig beers and like three auld bastards (45, 60 and 66) sipped our Moretti and Tyskie’s. The place was surprisingly full of youngsters who instead of paying the equivalent price to O2 gig prices at where they would end up were pre loading with jugs of “stuff” counting each other down to neck them and most probably saving a fortune on the night. We left Weatherspoons into a chilly autumnal feeling Liverpool night and gig one was over and out.
Saturday and the second gig of the double header weekend and a trip over to West Kirby to see Henry Priestman at The West Kirby Arts Centre. We headed out early from Liverpool at just after 4pm to get the train over to West Kirby and hoped that we would make it in time for the last train home. We landed in West Kirby and it was a pleasant day weather wise but we swerved the beach. First up was to find a boozer to watch the Liverpool match in. Wow I never knew West Kirby had such a lack of boozers. Trendy wine bars a plenty but with Wetherspoons (again) being the only pub we could see but they famously down have TV’s. We asked a random person who said Hickory’s might have it on. Enter the age of technology and Apple Maps which got us to our destination about a mile away and luckily the match was on. We watched the first half with the waft of lovely food going past us and it seemed like a nice gaff to go and have a scran in but we were on the ale so strictly no food as “Eating is cheating” We left at half time to get nearer to the venue for the gig and found a back way into West Kirby and with a lack of pubs ended up in Wetherpoons and I banged the match on my iPhone 8s and we got some funny looks as there three of us cheered at Liverpools late equaliser in the very quiet Wetherspoons pub. Time to head up to the gig itself and by now felt like we had covered most of West Kirby on foot and played a game of Anneka Rice’s Channel four’s hit show treasure hunt in the process I imagined Anneka’s tight jump suit in yellow in front of me as I chased her trying to find the final clue and the venue for the gig. In reality the father was in front of me in jeans and I had to erase the image of him in a jump suit in front of me that was now etched in my mind.
So we arrived at The West Kirby Arts Centre and if you did not know it was there you would never stumble across it. A lovely small hall tucked away on an suburban street with its own pop up bar. I was fumbling on my phone to get the email conformation up and just happy the gig hadn’t started as we weren’t quite sure what time proceedings would be kicking off. On walking into the gig I was met with “Its Ok these are no trouble” to was it we are trouble ha ha from non other than Mr Henry Priestman. In hindsight I should have said a proper hello and introduced my father in law and mate Alan but I will be brutally honest and say I still get a bit starstruck when I see him despite having met him now on several occasions. We got our drinks and a speck in what seemed to be a small converted chapel ? it was 10 years ago since the release of Henry’s debut album “The Chronicles Of Modern Life” (Do have a listen to it) and to celebrate this he was playing it from back to front (As you do) At the time the lyric ” Im the same age as my father was when I first thought he was old” Being 34 at the time that lyric hit me like a hammer. 10 years later and it is the song “Greys the new blonde” that hits home even more as what hair I have left is greying as well as my beard ! Henry was joined on the stage by Les Glover and the “Patter” (I am never using the swearword Banter) is at times funnier than some comedians I have watched. With backing vocals from Sarah Wright and strings from Dr Nick the album was performed as promised in reverse and was great.
Part two was to be songs from Henry’s other albums and songs from his previous bands including It’s Immaterial and the Christians with Les giving us a few of his great songs as well. Highlights from part two included The Christians hit “Ideal World” being changed into an advert and the secret of chords used in the songs “Suffice To Say”, “Driving Away From Home” and “When The Fingers Point” being suspiciously similar. Oh and not forgetting us all turning into foxes for “Rockferry Fox” by Les. A toilet break was needed and the toilet was front right to the stage but luckily there was a long way outside the venue you could use to avoid the walk of shame. With the rousing “Not in my name” as the night neared the end of the evening it showed an interesting political demographic split (See that Human Geography I completed 25 years ago wasn’t quite wasted clubbing in Liverpool) and shall we say the more non socialist members of the crowd were not clapping along ha ha.
So that was that gig two over and whist outside the venue I bumped into Henry again and this time had a chat with him and even bestowed him an honour that only one person in my 45 year life has been awarded. I asked him if I could pose in a photograph with him. The only previous winner of this award was Jan Molby in 2012. We headed off into a slightly warmer than Friday night West Kirby evening and hit the chippy on the way home and made the last train to Liverpool with plenty of time to spare.
So Sunday was recovery day from two nights on the ale and despite a wobble mid afternoon Europe won the Ryder Cup back from America and this evening is spent with a few last Desperados for the weekend deciding the final results of the weekend in a vinyl play off.
Here are the classified results from the weekend 28/29/30 September.
Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1
Europe 17 1/2 USA 10 1/2
Half Man Half Biscuit 7/10 Henry Priestman 9/10
With one draw the pools dividend is expected to be low and there is a late kick off in the beers versus waistline match with waistline expected to expand by about two inches this weekend !!
Still mad to think that as a 13 year old I would get to know the popstar on the front of the “Forgotten Town” 7inch single I was buying. As I have said before Henry is the nicest person in pop and you can read about it HERE Apologies to Les who I never got to chat to in the rush home for the train. Together they are the nicest men in pop as posted HERE.
Fay x x x x x x x x x x