half man half biscuit: classic or dud

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One of my favourite bands of all time, and possibly one of the few times humour has worked in music. what do you think?

cabbage, Thursday, 19 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I'd insert "rock" before "music" there, Chris. Humour has worked in music in general lots of times. Certain genres lend themselves to humour more than others.

The HMHB singer shares his name with the big cheese in my company.....

MarkH, Thursday, 19 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I like Half Man Half Biscuit a lot. They are far smarter and funnier than most comedy doing the rounds on telly. But I'm afraid I rarely think to actually put on one of their records.

Nick, Thursday, 19 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

i think HMHB are a good band, and they disprove the 'no humour in music' role. this may be because they aren't really a humourous band at all, but have a core of resignation at the general crapness of britain. i think it was mjhibbet who said they tell it how it is far more than, say, radiohead. i think there is some truth in this

gareth, Thursday, 19 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

he is as they say "on the money" a song such as turned up, clocked on, laid off can say as much about Thatcher's Britain as any so called protest song can.

and songs like 4 skinny indie kids and Evil Gazebo are so spot on in their obsevations on indie music.

cabbage, Friday, 20 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Not half as good as the uber-magnificent I, Ludicrous. Songs like Man's Man, Approaching 40 (Who's THAT about?), and Support Band are much funnier, warmer and sadder than anything HMHB did. Fine people too, AND they're still gigging!

Dr. C, Friday, 20 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I Ludicrous are often mentioned in the same breath as hmhb, particularly on the mailing list, unfortunately I can't say I've ever heard anything by them.

HMHB are gigging too, in fact they're in London tonight, for some reason I'm not going. and they only play down here once a year, when it doesn't clash with Tranmere games, contrary gits.

cabbage, Friday, 20 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I, Ludicrous are OK, but they've never really moved me or made me LARF quite so much as HMHB do. Or should i say, as "The Biscuit" (as nobody AT ALL apart from the Guardian this weekend calls them) do.

I've said this about 10,000,000 times whenever i've had the opportunity and many times when i haven't, but i think it's a sad inditement of the music media and general "scene" that a band as literate, moving, and GENUINELY uncompromising as HMHB get written off as a "comedy band" by fcukwits everywhere. "Visitor for Mr Edmonds" off of the last album, for instance, is both 10 times more radical and 3000 times funnier than anything Radiohead have ever done.

MJ Hibbett, Monday, 23 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I picked up an early album of theirs by accident, and thought it was very funny indeed, even if I did not understand a quarter of the UK pop culture references. The sheer disgust they manage to pack into the list of small time celebs in "God Gave Us Life" still makes me smile. But then, I guess I'm a fairly sick puppy. Cough, choke. Very glad to hear they are still around.

pauls00, Tuesday, 24 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Was it I Ludicrous who did "C2s in Vans"? If it was, then they supported The Fall at Trent Poly in 1990 and they made me chuckle.

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 24 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link


Dr. C, Tuesday, 24 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Nigel Blackwell is one of the greatest living lyricists in the English language. There is no such thing as a bad HMHB record, but "Trouble Over Bridgwater" is my favourite album. I usually have at least one of his couplets floating around in my mind at any given moment.

Today I am dodging men in ill-advised summer shorts, so it's:

"Opinionated weather forecasters telling me it's going to be a miserable day. Miserable to who? I quite like a bit of drizzle, so stick to the facts."

Dickon Edwards, Saturday, 4 August 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Wednesday, 18 June 2003 12:21 (sixteen years ago) link

five months pass...

mark grout (mark grout), Friday, 28 November 2003 16:34 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...
I can't think of any band who has written more songs about bands and the music biz:

Tour Jacket With Detachable Sleeves
Styx Gig (Seen By Mates Coming Out Of)
Sponsering the Moshpit
Song For Europe
Split Single With Happy Lounge Labelmates
Secret Gig
Children of Apocalyptic Techstep
Four Skinny Indie Kids
Joy Division Oven Gloves
Eno Collaboration
Bad Review
Used To Be In Evil Gazebo
Deep House Victims Minibus Appeal
With Goth On Our Side
On Finding The Studio Banjo (title only)

plus others.

everything, Wednesday, 1 June 2005 07:22 (fourteen years ago) link

The running order squabble fest songs is aces.

mzui (mzui), Wednesday, 1 June 2005 07:30 (fourteen years ago) link

"You're going on after Crispy Ambulance!"

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Wednesday, 1 June 2005 09:36 (fourteen years ago) link

You're going home IN A Crispy Ambulance

I Know Better, Wednesday, 8 June 2005 07:45 (fourteen years ago) link

one month passes...
revive. this is one of those bands i'd always meant to get into and as "dickie davis eyes" plays underneath this posting i finally think it's time.

cost fucked madonna (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 30 July 2005 10:59 (fourteen years ago) link

o fuck a great lost band in my memory. so me too jody. someone make me a comp. (btw new face in hell peel sessions fall playing so i must be in the mood)

mullygrubbr (bulbs), Saturday, 30 July 2005 11:07 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Just listening to "The Len Ganley Stance", which strikes me as appropriate since the snooker world championship is on.

Anyway classic, but a little goes a long way.

Neil S, Friday, 4 May 2007 14:26 (twelve years ago) link

six months pass...

am absolutely bingeing on these guys at the moment. it is such wonderful music, especially when you've just been rogered at football. just listening to album after album is a joy. "It's Clichéd To Be Cynical At Christmas" actually gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. one of the very, very finest christmas songs, surely.

Just got offed, Sunday, 4 November 2007 20:18 (eleven years ago) link

four months pass...

new album, CSI: Ambleside, drops April 28

Gukbe, Tuesday, 18 March 2008 20:21 (eleven years ago) link

They've done a couple of songs live which will presumably be on CSI: Ambleside - I'll try to get these on my Half Man half Biscuit lyrics site as soon as I can decipher them.

Cherry Hinton Blue, Wednesday, 19 March 2008 07:58 (eleven years ago) link

Oh d'uh - I meant my My Half Man Half Biscuit lyrics site - apologies for my idiocy.

Cherry Hinton Blue, Wednesday, 19 March 2008 08:00 (eleven years ago) link

The Cornbury Festival this year features, on one day, on one stage, HMHB, Nick Lowe, and Toots and the Maytals. That's some impressive work.

Dom Passantino, Wednesday, 19 March 2008 10:22 (eleven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

So fucking stoked.

Dom Passantino, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 09:54 (eleven years ago) link


Mark G, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 10:01 (eleven years ago) link

This has made my fucking night.

Are they CAMRA men on t' cover

Fer Ark, Sunday, 13 April 2008 22:26 (eleven years ago) link

TS: HMHB's 'Blue Badge Abuser' vs Goldie Lookin Chain's 'Bad Boy Limp'

Straight up though this is pretty great so far

DJ Mencap, Friday, 25 April 2008 17:49 (eleven years ago) link

Anybody have any thoughts on the new album? I'm still waiting to get it.

Gukbe, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 21:21 (eleven years ago) link

My DiS review goes up tomorrow I think, I approve of it.

Dom Passantino, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 21:22 (eleven years ago) link

Better than Achtung Bono. Took problem chimp to Ideal Home Show is just plain weird - I'm trying to think what it reminds me of sounds-wise and I can't figure it out.

Bocken Social Scene, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 23:32 (eleven years ago) link

This is what I had to say: http://www.drownedinsound.com/release/view/13300

Dom Passantino, Friday, 2 May 2008 14:27 (eleven years ago) link

Pam Ayres - 'orses = lol

looking forward to hearing the new one- achtung bono was pretty good.

Jack Battery-Pack, Friday, 2 May 2008 14:52 (eleven years ago) link

I liked 'Achtung Bono' better, but it's just after the first listening. 'National Shite Day' is a classic though.

zeus, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 17:23 (eleven years ago) link

two months pass...

RFI: micro-item in this week's NME about David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson watching HMHB perform at the Cornbury Festival, whatever that is

DJ Mencap, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:04 (eleven years ago) link

Cornbury festival: ultimate Range Rover and picnic hamper festival, held in a country estate near the village where I grew up. God only knows what HMHB were doing playing there.

Neil S, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:07 (eleven years ago) link

new material for "Paintball's Coming Home (Take Three)"

Just got offed, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:12 (eleven years ago) link

I've never heard of this band. I also thought I was in ILE and went, "oOH GOD NO WHO IS THIS POOR POOR MAN-BISCUIT", expecting to click and see another "tree man".

Whew. And now I get to check out a band I've never heard.

RabiesAngentleman, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:13 (eleven years ago) link

They're really good too!

Neil S, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:16 (eleven years ago) link

Cornbury festival: ultimate Range Rover and picnic hamper festival, held in a country estate near the village where I grew up. God only knows what HMHB were doing playing there.

-- Neil S, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 17:07 (9 minutes ago) Bookmark Link


The stickman from the hilarious "xkcd" comics, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:17 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, that.

Neil S, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:23 (eleven years ago) link

these AMG clips are pretty pleasing and "Used To Be In Evil Gazebo" is a pretty funny song title (providing that Evil Gazebo is another band I haven't heard of, otherwise I don't get it).

RabiesAngentleman, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:28 (eleven years ago) link

I've always wondered about this band. I always link them to Steel Pole Bath Tub and Terminal Cheesecake in terms of wacky band names.

gnarly sceptre, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 17:30 (eleven years ago) link

two months pass...

National Shite Day = new favourite song

I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE UP TO (Colonel Poo), Thursday, 18 September 2008 09:52 (ten years ago) link

Complete and utter classic. Barely a day goes by when I don't inwardly chuckle at some HMHB lyric or other which has randomly popped into my head.

Sven Hassel Schmuck, Thursday, 18 September 2008 16:02 (ten years ago) link

National Shite Day is clearly the best song on this album. I wouldn't mind if it had been twice as long as now.

zeus, Thursday, 18 September 2008 16:06 (ten years ago) link

first four tracks are great, rest falls off a cliff, last two sorta pull it back but too little too late

imago, Tuesday, 11 November 2014 12:18 (four years ago) link

'my outstretched arms' is the keeper. we discussed this on the OPO-line thread

imago, Tuesday, 11 November 2014 12:19 (four years ago) link

I need to listen to it a bit more, but "Old Age Killed my Teenage Bride" was the stand-out first time round.

Ratt in Mi Kitchen (Neil S), Tuesday, 11 November 2014 12:20 (four years ago) link

2. This One’s For Now
4. My Outstretched Arms
9. Urge For Offal
11. Adam Boyle Has Cast Lad Rock Aside

^all these are solid performers but... there don't really seem to be many funny lines, nor darkness/trenchant social commentary with which to plug the void

well-behaved wingmen really hate Mystery (DJ Mencap), Tuesday, 11 November 2014 14:48 (four years ago) link


Fizzles, Tuesday, 11 November 2014 14:50 (four years ago) link

one year passes...


imagine all of these sung consecutively in the voice of nigel blackwell to the sound of robust folk-rock


(cheers tt for the heads-up)

three weeks pass...

that's brilliant stuff, wow

there's a guy in the comments is who is not so impressed

I remember when the crowd were just regular folk. Football lads and the like. I've no time for these characters dressing up and writing every little incident down. King of Hi Vis, you could of saved yourself seven years study and a pile of cash by aquring the reflective coat on your first day of work and to this clown geoff " Get back on the railway platforms where you really belong " If the Big Issue want another slant on what it was like watching the band in the days of Fuji caps coming back from germany 88 then root out Brian Sheddy. Great band with shite fans

I saw them live once, around 10 years ago, in Liverpool. I remember the audience as being almost entirely male, quite blokey, mostly mid 30s to late 40s and that I looked quite out of place as a floppy haired student.

soref, Thursday, 9 June 2016 18:52 (three years ago) link

ten months pass...

just discovered 'fear my wraith'

imago, Sunday, 30 April 2017 19:09 (two years ago) link

ten months pass...

• Alehouse Futsal
• Man of Constant Sorrow (With A Garage In Constant Use)
• Knobheads on Quiz Shows
• Bladderwrack Allowance
• Renfield’s Afoot
• Terminus
• The Announcement
• What Made Colombia Famous
• Harsh Times in Umberstone Covert
• Every Time a Bell Rings
• Emergency Locksmith
• Mod Diff V Diff Hard Severe
• Swerving the Checkatrade

i'm surprised to see your screwface at the door (NickB), Tuesday, 13 March 2018 15:09 (one year ago) link

hahahaha so he HAS addressed Tranmere's non-league purgatory

imago, Tuesday, 13 March 2018 16:03 (one year ago) link

This has done wonders for my mood. A shame to see Ken left though, hope his health improves.

devvvine, Tuesday, 13 March 2018 16:20 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

Was wondering 'have they mellowed?' - then got to Knobheads On Quiz Shows. They have not :D

imago, Friday, 18 May 2018 09:34 (one year ago) link

hmm, it is the best track by miles though

imago, Friday, 18 May 2018 13:08 (one year ago) link

bell + maybe terminus also good

imago, Friday, 18 May 2018 13:21 (one year ago) link

is it just me or have the last 2 HMHB albums been a bit of disappointment? "CSI Ambleside" was great

well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Friday, 18 May 2018 13:35 (one year ago) link

yeah they've lost much of the magic. they're trying fewer risks and all the songs really do sound the same now, a kind of hard-rock whinge predominating

imago, Friday, 18 May 2018 13:38 (one year ago) link

thought urge a bit disappointing but 90 bisodol is front to back their best

devvvine, Friday, 18 May 2018 13:43 (one year ago) link

I didn't think Urge To Offal was that good either. 90 Bisodol was OK, CSI: Ambleside a classic of our times.

Colonel Poo, Friday, 18 May 2018 13:58 (one year ago) link

90 Bisodol is great, Urge was where they fell off. CSI obviously amazing

imago, Friday, 18 May 2018 14:09 (one year ago) link

bono > csi > 90 bisodol is maybe the greatest three album run

devvvine, Friday, 18 May 2018 14:13 (one year ago) link

Inspirational album title though. Too many hubs in my life

woof, Friday, 18 May 2018 14:18 (one year ago) link

Every album from maybe Godcore, certainly Voyage -> Bisodol is an unparalleled run tbh

imago, Friday, 18 May 2018 14:30 (one year ago) link

I cant remember any songs from Bisodol except for "Tommy Walsh's Eco house" and "Excavating Rita"

well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Friday, 18 May 2018 14:31 (one year ago) link

"Trouble Over Bridgewater" and "Cammell Laird Social Club" were career highpoints imo

well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Friday, 18 May 2018 14:32 (one year ago) link

Trouble Over Bridgwater is the high mark among high marks imo

imago, Friday, 18 May 2018 14:33 (one year ago) link

You'll get nothing like The Ballad Of Climie Fisher or Gubba Look-a-Likes on the new album, is all I'll say

imago, Friday, 18 May 2018 14:34 (one year ago) link

Maybe this is a concept album about becoming a crotchety old git?

imago, Friday, 18 May 2018 16:16 (one year ago) link

an anti-cocaine song strikes me as a little gauche by their standards

no legit lols yet

some of the songs on the first half sound like fairly standard chuggy early 90s Amerindie

I'll prob grow to like it

Pardew to Megson: "you've stolen my New Orleans bounce" (DJ Mencap), Saturday, 19 May 2018 21:06 (one year ago) link

it has grown on me slightly - certainly better than Offal

imago, Sunday, 20 May 2018 19:40 (one year ago) link

it IS a concept album about becoming a crotchety old git - but I think deliberately

imago, Sunday, 20 May 2018 19:44 (one year ago) link

i couldn't get with Offal at all, but although this is pretty underwhelming compared to the album you've all been entirely correctly listing here, i've been enjoying it. moderately. the chugging is hard to avoid. Harsh Times in Umberstone Covert is a favourite i think. quite touching.

Geraldine [continuing a good line in touching HMHB women's names)

...don't be so self-conscious.
what became of the carefree you?
the one that would whistle to
throbbing gristle through
harsh times in Umberstone covert,
scoffing at the notion of a shoulder to cry on,
the very thought of a rock to rely on.
astonishing therefore to look at you now,
bitter with the gall,
reaching for the mainland (?).
i will mend you,
and i will tend to you,
take it as read,
with a needle and thread,
when you are falling apart at the seams,
i will make at that stitch in time."

and i must admit dad laughs at

[i]sour-faced, she picked up the gherkins,
saw christ in Dorothy Perkins,
oh geraldine we were so laissez-faire,
every other day was a non-sequitur:
hadron collider,
who's there?
knock knock.

the initial riff for every time a bell rings is v attractive as well, and again, though it doesn't quite hit the mark - i mean stuff like 'artisan gossip' brings its own embarrassment (the gaucheness DJ Mencap was talking about) - it's hard to argue with 'get your hedge cut, get your fucking hedge cut, stop meeting friends and cut your hedge'.

i mean in these pied times, i'll take what i'm given. almost wondering about going back to Offal, so to speak.

lol i was reading Barthes while listening to this on the tube, and felt this was very Nigel Blackwell:

but, underneath this discourse whose argument and whose approach I just presented, it seems to me that today i hear, in fleeting moments, another music.

Fizzles, Monday, 21 May 2018 19:14 (one year ago) link

have come around to the first 10 tracks of this album tbh - it's less funny or varied than previous albums but it has an elegiac heft

should end with 'every time a bell rings' though - the last three tracks are entirely superfluous, rising to irritating

imago, Monday, 21 May 2018 20:14 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

a better HMHB song than anything theyve released in the last few years imo (ok it doesnt sound like them really but the lyrics express a similar suburban disdain)


Dark Mavis (Michael B), Thursday, 28 June 2018 08:38 (one year ago) link

That is closer to The Pre-New's vibe tbh - you must hear their two albums if you haven't

imago, Thursday, 28 June 2018 09:09 (one year ago) link

ooh featuring ex-members of Earl Brutus

Dark Mavis (Michael B), Thursday, 28 June 2018 09:38 (one year ago) link

The Pre New is good. I never saw Earl Brutus but did catch the Pre New at a festival about 8 years ago

Colonel Poo, Thursday, 28 June 2018 10:09 (one year ago) link

seven months pass...

Just discovered 'National Shite Day', truly a work whose time has come.

Dan Worsley, Sunday, 3 February 2019 21:05 (six months ago) link

//////////////shawty got poll poll poll poll poll poll poll (part I: 2008 TRAX)\\\\\\\

this actually happened :)

imago, Sunday, 3 February 2019 21:08 (six months ago) link

back when it was 25 points for a #1, etc etc

imago, Sunday, 3 February 2019 21:08 (six months ago) link

anyway, pour one out for Stringy Bob

imago, Sunday, 3 February 2019 21:09 (six months ago) link

Great stuff, probably only time HMHB has featured on an ILM poll. If Coldwar Steve isn't a fan I'd be amazed.

Dan Worsley, Sunday, 3 February 2019 21:10 (six months ago) link

The Doors/Floyd advert is icing on the cake for me.

Dan Worsley, Sunday, 3 February 2019 21:12 (six months ago) link

the Stringy Bob verse is probably my pick for best verse of lyrics since the turn of the millennium tbh, it is literature

imago, Sunday, 3 February 2019 21:15 (six months ago) link

embrace the margin

Sam Weller, Monday, 4 February 2019 15:15 (six months ago) link

Btw I'm from the US but I lived in Liverpool for 7 years -- some of it good, some of it bad, but it was probably worth it to be able to understand HMHB lyrics about northwest UK television broadcasting.

Sam Weller, Tuesday, 5 February 2019 11:29 (six months ago) link

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