Run Run

A friend posted this tune on social media yesterday. I could place the title but not how it went. A lot of Bandulu’s mid 90s techno worked very well at the time but does sound, two decades later, very thump-thump-thump techno. Bandulu were also capable of moments of ambient magic and Run Run is one of them, a righteous piece of ambient dub from their 1994 ep Presence (and 1994 album Antimatters) with a vocal from John O’Connell. The dub swirls and storm clouds gather. A piano fades in and out. Smoke bubbles. Half time, off beat rhythm. Seven minutes where all is good.

Run Run

The picture was taken on a visit the other weekend to Mellor, in the hills above Stockport. I read a reference to an iron age hill fort and burial mound up there, out beyond Marple Bridge but before you get to New Mills (Half Man Half Biscuit once told us ‘No frills, handy for the hills, that’s the way you spell New Mills’ and this caused some excitement when we detoured through it, as you can imagine). The photo was taken within the boundary of the hill fort, partially excavated, looking back towards Manchester. You can see for miles, way beyond the city and out to Cheshire and Merseyside. A 5 minute drive away, down the dip and up again, is the field where the barrow is (sadly on private land so not accessible but visible). We stood on the hillside looking at the same landscape, give or take a large city, that local people 10, 000 years ago would have been looking at.

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There’s No Sense In Trying

Factory Friday, in response to Dirk, The Swede and others and because it could be fun. Crispy Ambulance signed to Factory in 1980. I was going to post Deaf but I’ve done it before (years ago admittedly and it is a great song). Dirk mentioned The Presence so I’ve gone for that, all thirteen minutes of it. At first listen you should be able to spot Martin Hannett’s unmistakeable production. Singer Alan Hempsall intones over a proper post-punk sound- gloomy maybe, grey raincoats possibly but with a brightness too.

The Presence

The Presence was the A-side of Live On A Hot August Night, released on Factory Benelux in June 1981. You can fit all of Crispy Ambulance’s back catalogue onto one compact disc and I think you probably should. After signing Crispy Ambulance and failing to sell them in any decent quantities Tony Wilson declared ‘no more bands with stupid names’. Then he signed Stockholm Monsters. Factory’s failure to sell records in the first half of the 80s by anyone except New Order may have had more to do with their refusal to use pluggers. Or buy advertising. But we wouldn’t have it any other way would we? Crispy Ambulance are also immortalised in Half Man Half Biscuit’s epic account of shit gigs and band rivalries.

Running Order Squabble Fest

Dickie Davies Eyes

I read welcome news at the weekend- Half Man Half Biscuit have a new album out in October. Rejoice.

In 1986 they released the single Dickie Davies Eyes, an absolute HMHB masterclass. Led by organ and building slowly  from the opening line you know you’re in for a good ride- ‘mention the Lord of the Rings just once more and I’ll more than likely kill you’. Nigel Blackwell goes on to marry together Roger Dean posters, snot disposal, Brian Moore’s head and London Planetarium, a wok, Cadbury’s Flake and oral sex, Michael Moorcock (‘Moorcock, Moorcock, Michael Moorcock you fervently moan’) and ‘a Romany bint in a field with her paints suggesting we faint at her beauty’.

But she’s got Dickie Davies Eyes.

Dickie  Davies Eyes

You Call Glastonbury Glasto…

…You’d like to go there someday
When they’ve put up the gun towers
To keep the hippies away.

So said Half Man Half Biscuit’s Nigel Blackwell and judging by the bits I’ve seen on the telly this weekend it looks like it’s happened. Most of the footage made Glastonbury look like a gap year training camp.

I saw a couple of highlights along with some shockers (Metallica- how much could you stand? I managed 93 seconds). I think the girls won.

M.I.A. resplendent in gold and with a whole forward line of rappers and singers blowing it up on Friday night. That sample from Straight To Hell and those gunshots and cash registers clanging out over rural Somerset are hard to beat.

Edit: This video, uploaded by the BBC onto their own Youtube channel, has now been removed by themselves. Apparently someone was wearing a t-shirt with a political slogan they don’t like. No to censorship, yeah? Last night there was still 20 minutes worth of her set at their own website– confusing huh? Paper Planes starts around  13 minutes in.

The day after Warpaint brought their dreamy, bass led groove to the fields. Their album is sounding good again after a month or two away from it. You have to stop looking for the songs and let their sound wash over you.

Goldfrapp, strobe-lit and black clad, a sexy electro-glam stomp.

I also watched Blondie doing Atomic at some point while reading the paper on Saturday morning. I am sorry to report it was dreadful.

 

 

Upon Westminster Bridge

Upon Westminster Bridge is a poem by William Wordsworth. In said poem he did not ponder a difficult decision to be made regarding Motley Crue. Nigel Blackwell did, in the Half Man Half Biscuit song of the same name. In the HMHB song we also get a new version of The Twelve Days Of Christmas sandwiched in…

‘Spoiling Good Friday my ex-love sent to me
Twelve drummers singing
Eleven chairmen dancing
Ten mascots whinging
Nine stewards flapping
Eight christening invites
Seven cows a-barking
Six vicars strumming
Nick fucking Knowles
Four boring words
Carphone Warehouse and Matalan
And a pulled up at Bangor-on-Dee’

Nick fucking Knowles. Merry Christmas.

The song has many, many other delights- dry stone wallcharts, Ken Hom wok sets, iron age hill forts, low cost school trips, Ladbrokes and the return to earth of Jesus Christ and the resulting use of No Need For Nails. It is almost the quintessential Half Man Half Biscuit Song.

Upon Westminster Bridge

The other alternative version of The Twelve Days Of Christmas familiar in this household is The Twelve Days Of Cantona (the only modern footballer that really mattered).

Are you a farmer?

At this time of year, during duller passages of play, a romp through the whole song is always entertaining at the match. ‘On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me an Eric Cantona’ and so on…

‘Five Cantonaaaaaaas
Four Cantonas
Three Cantonas
Two Cantonas
And an Eric Cantona’

Dull is the game that goes all the way up to twelve.

I finish work for the Christmas holidays today. Halle-fucking-lujah.

At Leek Town Hall Tonight

A while back I wrote a post about a Half Man Half Biscuit song which referenced the Staffordshire town of Leek. I said Leek was well known to me as the birthplace of my Dad but that other than the HMHB tune the only other time it had popped up in song was in Joe Strummer’s wonderful reggae tinged At The Border, Guy. Recently a reader Sam Sherratt has left a couple of comments on the post adding further detail and deepening Leek’s rock ‘n’ roll connections. This was too important to be left dwindling as comments below a post and I feel deserved a posting in their own right. Sam wrote…

Can help with the Leek reference in the Strummer song. Joe’s pre-Clash band the 101ers had a couple of members originally from Leek (incidentally Joe at the time was known as Woody). This included drummer Richard Dudanski (aka Nother), who later went on to drum with PiL. The 101ers played in Leek at a club called Samantha’s (not Leek Town Hall) and on another occasion came to a party. I was in touch with Richard a few years’ back and he said he asked Joe about this reference and said that he must have been confused.
Nice to tidy up a little corner of rock trivia!

and added afterwards…

Leek was also responsible for poisoning the Rolling Stones on Christmas Eve 1963, which is mentioned in Bill Wyman’s diaries – I know the man who bought the pies!

Gubba Lookalikes

Tony Gubba, RIP.