Errors and omissions. For the previous night's show in Worthing, I had been under the impression that there had been no publicity whatsoever. However I had been unaware of the effort by Here And Now ("stuff that matters in Worthing"). Nice half-page feature including a photo insert of Nigel bellowing into a microphone. Although it was just a standard cut-and-paste job from a press release. It was the one that says "If Half Man Half Biscuit did not exist, it would be imperative to invent them... So grab your Joy Division Oven Gloves and don your Dukla Prague away kit..." Thanks nonetheless to Tony's mate Dick for supplying this. Unless some other free supplement comes to light, there was also minimal exposure for tonight's show. They just managed to squeeze HMHB into the What's On page in the Oxford Mail.
Nigel must also have seen the reference in the Oxford Mail, as during the show he mentioned plenty of other goings-on from the paper's Events guide. Just before Joy In Leeuwarden he said that on Monday at 6.30 there is a Beginners Korfball Session at Rye St Anthony School in Headington. Free for the first four sessions, apparently. He also picked up on a talk at Hailey Village Hall by Martin Green on The Wonders Of Westonbirt Arboretum. Nigel said he hoped that the prices would be mentioned, as they are definitely one of the wonders of the place. And there was also an event run by Bicester And Kidlington Ramblers. They were meeting at Annie's Tea Shop in Thrupp, ahead of a three and a half mile walk through the Cherwell valley. Nigel wondered what would happen if the tea shop was closed. Nigel said it would be nice to think that someone at the gig actually went to one of these events. Not me or Karen sadly, as we would be heading back in a northerly direction.
We had stayed in Worthing after the previous night's gig. We walked from our seafront hotel (without the sea view) back to the train station, from where we travelled to Southampton and then on to Oxford. Paul took the same journey and on arrival at Oxford we compared notes on the paucity of places to stay that were near the venue. We did our usual afternoon stroll to check out the location of the Academy and met Howie and Daz. Howie, understandably bearing in mind his favourite football team, was on the way to sample the offerings at The Chester pub on Chester Road.
We were ahead of schedule for the doors opening at 6.30. Nevertheless there was a queue. Jordan and Sally were at the front as usual, with Tony soon joining us. Once inside we caught up again with John, Jay and Matt to discuss the merits of the Worthing gig. Nigel and Jo came to say Hello, celebrating his 50th birthday. Howie and Daz were also in place in time for JD Meatyard's appearance. On stage at 7.10. These things get earlier and earlier.
I'm not quite familiar with all the Meatyard song titles, but I reckon their set was as follows.Green Flags
They had a fourth member of the group adding some bodhran on a couple of the songs. And John said something about a possible Probe Plus celebration event some time. No further information concerning places or dates at present, but it could be worth keeping an eye out for more details.
There was no walk on music for HMHB tonight. Nigel said that was supposed to have been Out Of Step by Minor Threat. He had to adjust the mike stand. "That's because of Little John," he observed. "That would have been a good thing to say at a gig in Nottingham."
"This is another true story, so I'm told," Nigel said, ahead of Tending The Wrong Grave. During the "nymph" section, he turned to Ken and said "I didn't expect the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, worshipping at the altar of Delia Derbyshire." A pod of dolphins also appeared. And Nigel wondered out loud if Victoria Derbyshire is a relative of Delia. (Our preliminary enquiries proved inconclusive.)
Neil and Ken swapped instruments for Twenty-Seven Yards Of Dental Floss, King Of Hi Vis and Bane Of Constance. Nigel said he could hear someone singing Black Sabbath. The response was a shout of "Hail Satan". Nigel's reply was "I suppose that is better than raining cats and dogs."
Nigel said that Ken had told him something about Wilfred Pickles which he didn't believe. He left the story at that for a few songs, but then continued with Ken's theory that Wilfred used to be on the books at Oxford United. This was rubbished by Tony, as in those days they would have been known as Headington United. Post-gig enquiries on this subject also proved inconclusive.
There was a shout for Old Tige, which met with a positive response. "Don't know how far I'm going to get with this," said Nigel. Not very far as it turned out. He got through the first verse before giving up. "Sad song is that," he said. "About as sad as this," he added before the band played Turned Up Clocked On Laid Off.
We got a bit of the Pointless theme. In Paintball's Coming Home, during the line about knowing where things are at B And Q, Nigel nodded towards Neil. Nigel was asked what is the most commonly used swear word. There was no direct answer to this, but he did suggest that the most commonly used term in Britain is "Green man", as in what parents say to their children when the image appears before crossing the road. "That'll be on QI soon," he added.
I tapped my foot along to the Wreckless Eric cover version in the encore.
Had a chat with Mike as the hall was being cleared at the end of the night. I also saw Graham who volunteered the information that he had been to see Rick Astley in Halifax the night before. We saw Ian and Mariana in the lengthy cloakroom queue, and had to turn down the offer from Nigel and Jo of a beer afterwards because Tony was giving us a lift. All complicated stuff.
HMHB played the following:Fuckin' 'Ell It's Fred Titmus
And three in the encore...The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman
On the Sunday morning we were back at Oxford station. We saw Matt who was making his way back to Lancing. We all agreed that of these two gigs, Oxford got our vote. Better sound, better venue. But of course it's all good all round. It's just a shame that it is nearly five months to the next show.