When the cogs start a-whirring

19 06 2011

The convinience shops and petrol stations of our septic isles force  British people to notice the muck raking culture of the tabloid press. I don’t think anybody really wants to notice their existence but none of us can help noticing.

One minute you’re sauntering across the forecourt thinking about what you’re having for tea then your reverie is shattered by the contents of the newspaper rack near the front door. None of us ever mean to pay attention as we are happy in our ignorance of “Wor lovely Cheryl” and her latest setback.

These newspaper racks are the Bougeoisie’s latest ruse for diverting the proletariat from their historical mission. All some people need is a millisecond of an opportunity and they’ll buy a tabloid newspaper to save thinking time.

I went through this disturbing reflex action yesterday. I needed a drink in the harsh north Walian sunshine but  I had to wait before I could go in the Happy Shoplifter (other covinience shops are available). Unfortuantely my manners became the unwitting tool of Wapping; during my wait for the elderly person I moved my head slightly. This slight movement was all I needed to become aware of another of  Ryan Giggs’ proclivities. Now I know that he likes people to dress up as a French maid for his amusement.

At first I cursed myself but then all of a sudden I wasn’t think of Giggsy’s peccadiloes, I was thinking of Elton Welsby, the erstwhile ITV football anchor, instead. You must remember Elton “Right after the break” Welsby;

He was very much poetry in action;

I’ll bet you’re wondering how I managed to put the tabloids out of my mind so quickly. Well it’s all about my love for the band “Half Man Half Biscuit”. As soon as I saw the headline I thought of this verse from A Country Practice (from the album; Four Lads that Shook The Wirral).

(All lyrics are taken from this website.)

“Cos on Sunday next at ten to four
I’ve got an invitation for
A trip around Katharine Hamnett’s warehouse
Followed by dinner with David Emanuel
Who I can’t wait to tell about my dream
In which the almost illegal Elton Welsby
Is dressed as a french maid on a moonless byway
Licking his lips as he creeps ever closer
Fast falls the eventide
Fast falls the eventide”

Listen to it here.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Half Man Half Biscuit as rubbish from polite society enrages me in the same way. They also paint fantastically absurd images of minor celebrities. For example football commentators/presenters feature heavily. Take  “Gubba look-a-likes” (from the album“Trouble over Bridgewater”) for instance;

“They come from underneath the stairs
Into my room but no-one cares
They’re on the bus and on the train
They’re knocking on my window pane
Oh Mother telephone the nurse
Can’t you see it’s getting worse
I close my eyes yet still it seems
Everybody in my dreams
Gubba look-a-likes
Gubba look-a-likes”

Listen to it here.

There’s also “Bob Wilson – Anchorman” (from the EP  “Editor’s Recommendation”)

“Lord I’ve tried the best I can
I’ve asked everybody in Kazakhstan
But I still don’t understand
Bob Wilson – anchorman

I’ve been to Kent, Gwent and Senegal
I’ve even been to look for Jim Rosenthal
Found him on his knees at the Wailing Wall
Crying: “Bob Wilson – anchorman”

Well I marvel at the things we find beneath the ground
And that man can go faster than the speed of sound
But I still can’t get my head around
Bob Wilson – anchorman”

Listen to it here.

You don’t even need to hear whole verses snippets, little snippets are often enough for a little mental journey. Take “Uffington Wassail” (from the album “Trouble over Bridegwater”);

“Singing Sealed Knot Society, let’s see you try and do this one:
Luton Town – Millwall, nineteen eighty-five”

Listen to it here.

Or “1966 and all that” (from the album “Back in D.H.S.S.”)

“If only you’d give me my Lev Yashin poster back
Six months ago I returned your brown anorak
But you keep forgetting and it’s far too upsetting
So baby Ferenc Puskas to you, to you
Baby Ferenc Puskas to you” 

And it’s not just the football-tinged songs. For example “Soft Verges” (from the album “Four Lads that Shook the Wirral”); 

“So I’m walking down the road
And heading towards me
Is somebody I know
But not like a brother
He’s seen me, and we both realise
That we’re going to have to put into operation
The tricky manoeuvre that is
Acknowledgement without breaking stride
So I keep my eyes fixed firmly on the ground
‘Til I get within ten or so feet away
With a nod of the head
And a timely hello
I can carry on walking
Don’t wanna get talking
Rule number one – carry on walking
And anyway I don’t know his name
And if I were to guess
I’d guess it all wrong
And I’d be there for a long time”

And there’s “Tyrrolean Knockabout” (from the album “Cammel Laird Social Club“)

“I’ve been goading D-list Paul Ross for a laugh
By unloading outside what he would call his “gaff”
Old fridge-freezers
Doors all removed like we’re told
His face at the window on waking a sight to behold”

 “A Shropshire Lad” (from the album“Voyage to the Bottom of our Road”)

“Second greatest time I had
Was when they asked me and my Dad
To organize a festival
Along the lines of Donington
We took Chirk Airfield as our site
Booked the bands we thought were right
Received the long-range from the Met
They said it could be very wet
With this in mind, we thought it wise
To call the whole caboodle off
The greatest time I ever had
Was when we didn’t tell the bands”

Then there’s “Tending the Wrong grave for 23 years”  or “The Ballad of Climie Fisher”

So, if you would like to follow in my footsteps, if you want the ability to cast the tabloids from your mind without delay, just develop an interest in Half Man Half Biscuit.



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