No One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut by Half Man Half Biscuit

2018

Nearly three quarters of the country is in strict lockdown, Christmas celebrations have been restricted to one day only, daylight is at a minimum, it’s raining hard, BREXIT is looming, another strain of the virus is prevalent, Boris Johnson is Prime Minister, Brighton couldn’t beat ten-man Sheffield United, lorries are queuing at the cross channel docks and Sainsbury’s are warning about food shortages. The only remedy is laughter.

Retrieving this brilliant CD from the shelves has cheered me up this morning. It’s not really possible to appreciate the songs properly without the help of the Half Man Half Biscuit lyrics site because the post-punk nature of the music sometimes makes the lyrics hard to decipher.

No-one Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut (halfmanhalfbiscuit.uk)

“Man Of Constant Sorrow (With A Garage In Constant Use)” is brilliant. Firstly, it’s got a hummable tune worthy of any Sixties hit. Secondly, the words scan like proper poetry. Thirdly, it’s thought provoking. Finally, it’s hysterically funny. I’ve often seen a sign saying “Garage In Constant Use”, but I’ve never thought of the ludicrous nature of the sign. (I was thrilled to discover the above sign on in Brighton last year). Is the owner of the garage constantly driving into and out of his garage? It reminds me of the road sign as you drive out of Gatwick Airport which instructs drivers to “Use Both Lanes” – I’m sure if I drove across both lanes, I’d incur the wrath of other drivers. I think the correct signage would be “Use Either Lane”. If you think I’m a tad pedantic, have a look at the Half Man Half Biscuit lyrics website which is subtitled “205 Pop Songs Picked Over By Pedants”. This song describes someone who has blockaded himself in his house, has put up a sign to stop people parking outside his house but is, underneath it all, a lonely man with a tragic back story. The words that Nigel Blackwell uses to rhyme with sorrow are “borrow”, “Zorro” and “tomorrow” – so simple that it appears effortless – a tell tale sign of a genius.

“Knobheads On Quiz Shows” is equally brilliant. I guess Nigel Blackwell spends a lot of time watching quiz shows on daytime TV and is aghast at the lack of knowledge of some of the contestants. It’s a song in the spirit of “Dumb Britain” in “Private Eye”. Some of the responses include wondering whether Naseby, Jutland and Agincourt are characters in pantomime and guessing that Captain Bligh was the first man into space. Some excuses given for a lack of knowledge include saying that the First World War took place before the contestant was born or that they don’t watch films in black and white. There’s a brilliant description of the humiliation suffered back at work after a contestant has shown how little they know on national TV. “Have you got the file for Mr. ‘Out In Round One’?” The song includes a little truism about truth and beauty and musically, it’s a great rocking song.

“Renfield’s Afoot” is a short song which starts with a spoken announcement about a bat walk where dogs are not invited at which point the song explodes into a furious rant about asking who the hell they think they are, organising everybody’s bat walk. It’s okay, thanks, Nigel Blackwell will go on his own bat walk.

“Every Time A Bell Rings” is one of the best songs that Nigel Blackwell has ever written and that’s quite a high bar, in my opinion. The opening line “Ground Control to Monty Don” is awesome. Nigel Blackwell then goes on to sing about a pretentious couple: she pops into a café for “artisan gossip” while he stays in his car looking through a “high end coffee bean catalogue”. Although they like to talk about their creative hub, they can’t even be bothered to cut their garden hedge. He bought a bike on the “Cycle To Work” scheme and now watches the highlights of the Tour de France and wears Sky replica kit when he goes out on his bike. The start of the last verse is about “It’s A Wonderful Life”. “It’s a wonderful film, but the more I watch it the more I want Potter to succeed. Not least when that lot up the road come out into the street every New Year’s Eve, drunk on Ptolemy’s hock, hugging each other and going ‘Hee-haw, hee-haw’”. The sublime payoff is that every time a bell rings he hates the cyclist some more. In the film, every time a bell rings, an angel gets wings but in Nigel Blackwell’s case, every time a bell rings, it’s a cyclist in Sky replica kit who has just read a coffee bean magazine and can’t even be bothered to cut his garden hedge. Brilliant.

I was also thrilled to find this Creative Hub in Brighton.

So many great songs. So little time to explore them. Thank goodness I’m not working.

Published by wilfulsprinter

Music lover

2 thoughts on “No One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut by Half Man Half Biscuit

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