Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Week 28 - Half Man, Half Rock Musician

Okay, so I've been away for a few weeks now. Soz, like.

The thing is, I've had a few technical problems. Technically, I've been pissed since late March. But now I'm back on the reasonably straight and narrow.

I've also wondered what the hell to write about, but, as has been mentioned in previous blogs, it's now a good time to unleash the beast that is Half Man Half Biscuit.

These Wirral lads should be our national musicians. They sing about all things British and their lyrics reflect that. Whether they are singing about "thin men, bin men" or "Zeal Monochorum", Nigel Blackwell's voice presides over all matter of brilliance.

It's hard to contain them to one subject, as I learnt from my first acquaintance with HMHB. It was thanks to Mark and Lard's Cheesily Cheerful Chart Challenge that I got to know and love the Wirral wordsters. Almost every day they'd be featured, mainly because they had a song and a lyric for every subject.

I once got mentioned on the show. They had a subject about Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and how he pretended to be gay to get girls. I suggested a cod-punk song by The Griswolds called Let's Pretend We're Gay. It was on your actual Radio One. Ace.

Anyway, back to HMHB. The first set of Half Man Half Biscuit songs I'm going to use is one about fellow musicians.

I have to admit, it's quite coincidental that the three songs I've chosen are some of my (many) favourites by HMHB.

First up is a parody song (more of those later). Any song that starts with "Give me Love, give me Can, give me Meatloaf" is good by me. The fact its bridge goes "Michael Ball or the Fall, I could listen to them all, in the twilight or the afternoon" only makes it better.

Irk the Purists is a parody of the religious Sing Hosanna and sings about a matter quite close to my heart.

As you will know from previous blogs, I really don't care if songs are cool or not - I like them if I like them! In Irk the Purists HMHB sing the names of random bands (some good, some not so) in the spirit that I have just mentioned. They don't care what the preconceptions are, they just enjoy good music.

The chorus (to the tune of Black Lace's Agadoo) is amazing: "Husker Du, Du, Du, Captain Beefheart, ELO, Chris De Burgh, Sun-Ra, Del Amitri, John Coltrane". Pick the bones out of that!

Next up is one of the first songs to get me into HMHB. It's a song about finding a tape my the Strokes guitarist's dad. Ironically, I quite like this guy's major song. It's a track called It Never Rains in Southern California, and is a lovely country-pop song from the 1970s.

However, HMHB suggest that having a track by this guy is an obsenity. In the song (live in this version), the man comes home to be greeted by his kids on the patio. They are warning him of a tape that's inside his house. It is, of course, an Albert Hammond Bootleg. The curious thing is, is it appears to have been brought in by a man claiming to be a former head of the FA - Stanley Rouse. The HMHB song is great though - no matter how much I love It Never Rains in Southern California (although I remember listening to Hammond's track in my LA hotel room, while it pissed itself outside. The rotter).

Finally, is a folk song about some of the 1980s chart hi-risers. Well, maybe not, but it's Climie Fisher. Oh yes.

This is a stone-cold beautiful track about the (made-up) resentment between the duo. In the track, it is claimed that the latter went on to gain a research job in the BBC and Climie went into the gravel business.

The twist is that Fisher has a hatred of gravel (and shale). The oomph of the track comes when Climie does an interview with a mixed aggregate magazine in which he criticises Fisher for a lack of recognition in their music career.

The fun starts when Fisher reads this article and swears revenge. Enjoy The Ballad of Climie Fisher here.

Anyway, next up is probably more HMHB, although I do have some other irons in fires, so who knows.

Irk the Purists.
Albert Hammond Bootleg
Ballad of Climie Fisher