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Blog: Toe Cramp/Cold Thumbs

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I wish I'd taken my gloves, yesterday it was COLD and i was about to spend a lot of time LURKING AROUND outside. For LO! it was HO! for NOTTINGHAM, for the long awaited (by us, possibly by nobody else) Half Man Half Biscuit support. HOOPLA!

Due to the rum ticket I'd bought I had to change at Loughborough - we'd previously arranged that, if in the area, Tim might come and pick me up at Nottingham station, so i ZAPPED him to alert him to my POSITION, and he came and GOT me from Loughborough instead. This was all good, EXCEPT that it was really cold, I didn't have my gloves, but DID have a guitar to hang on to, so got REALLY COLD THUMBS. Is it just me that this happens to, or is it a common yet unheralded phenomenon? My thumbs, MAN they were cold!

So, we got to Nottingham pretty sharpish and caught our first glimpse of EXTRAORDINARILY and ACTUALLY long-awaited Nottingham TRAM! Ooooooh! What a sight to see they were, sleek, modern, exciting - what on EARTH were they doing in Nottingham when such a wondrous thing should, BY RIGHTS, have been in LEICESTER?!? Bah! You can take the Hibbett out of LE3, but a part of me will FOREVER be Midlands, and thus look ASKANCE at the claims of that fair part of the country's SHOW OFF city. Boo!

Anyway, we got unloaded, everyone (apart from Emma) arrived in quick succession, and we were STUNNED to find that the Biscuits were ALSO there. They are legendary for their usual LATENESS (usually because they've got lost, or someone's got out of work late), and we were as surprised to see them as they seemed to be to be there. Nigel arrived halfway through, having been doing an INTERVIEw on the radio, and it was all done QUICK. Also done QUICK was OUR soundcheck, it all sounded OK, even though we were doing our best to be Quick, Easy, No Trouble Support Band.

After this i had a quick chat with Nigel - what a LOVELY man he is, he was very enthusiastic about "A Mighty Wind", so i recommended he go and see "School of Rock" ALSO, as it's not SIMILAR except for the fact it gets band stuff RIGHT. I then headed off in search of CHIPS, discovered Nottingham's Street Of Food, and then dashed back because we were ON.

Not that I needed to worry - TIM was in charge last night, so i felt no FEAR, and was almost JOLLY when we were tuning up, with "Preposterous Tales" being played in the background. OFFBEAT were DJing, which was GRATE as I've never been able to make it to Sheffield when they've had one of their nights, and they played the new Charlotte Hatherly single later (her new album, by the way, is BLOODY GRATE), which made me think i actually would probably LIKE it there. It also gave me the excuse to say "We're The Support Band" at the start, which I thought was quite clever... er... as it's the title of an I,Ludicrous song and, well, we were the support band.

I tell you what, our bit was DEAD GOOD. Wary of going over our half an hour, and also of the fact that Biscuit Audiences can be a little grumpy with support bands (i know this because i am usually IN the audience, BEING grumpy) we played a nice SWIFT set, with me being VERY conscious of keeping banter levels LOW. For this reason i DIDN'T introduce the band between songs, even though it was hard not to. I have LONG been aware of how MIGHTY our rhythm section is (and they, by the way, seem to be engaging in a TEENAGE COURTSHIP and appear to be making compilation tapes for each other - last night Rob arrived with a Bogshed Boxset for Tim. It is called, I think, BONDING) but it's only when we get GOOD SOUND, as we did AGAIN last night, that i really appreciate how GRATE Tom and Emma are. This happens ESPECIALLY when we do the new songs and I get to hear their BITS, indeed it is a bit DISTRACTING and I have to concentrate on what I'm doing. I did this so much that i got TOE CRAMP! It felt like the toes on my left foot had wrapped themselves around each other, due to the fact that I'd leant so hard on one foot for half an hour, BOUNCING NERVOUSLY.

If i have one criticism of the gig it would be that certain members of the band really should try and learn the last verse of "Symbol Of Our Nation" properly, as once AGAIN it came derailed. Sorry. Other than that all was beauty - there were people down the front who knew the words, the people down the front who were there to get a good spot for the main act were SMILING by the end, and what was a DESULTORY couple of claps at the start turned into PROPER APPLAUSE by the end. OH! We were HAPPY, and when we came off stage NUMEROUS people grabbed me to say they liked it, several CDs were sold, and joy and beauty shone around. HOOPLA!

Especially for Tom - for some reason THE KIDS really DUG his violin. Obviously, everyone SHOULD do - what i mean is that last night they TOLD him so, quite a lot. Well done, TIGER! Anyway, The Biscuits came on then, and they were GRATE, especially a new bit about The Book Of Revelation, not Revalations ("see also Mary Hopkin - she must despair"). It was UTTERLY PACKED, and I spent a rather dodgy first 20 minutes stood right at the back CRAMMED IN amongst the people who spend the entire gig shouting "WHAT DID GOD GIVE US NEIL?" which does get a bit annoying after a while, so i went upstairs where the People A Bit Too Old/Knackered For The Moshpit were, also a bunch of THE KIDS. It's really good these days, you see YOUNG PEOPLE in increasing numbers at Half Man Half Biscuit gigs, obviously the albums are STILL being passed around the sixth form common room, yay verily, just as they were a million years ago in Peterborough.

It was BRILL, and when it finished i hung around outside in case anybody leaving wanted to buy a CD - and someone did! ZANG! We then got packed up and stood around CHATTING WITH THE BAND. What a LOVELY bunch of people they are, Neil even put up with me, for some reason, telling him a lengthy pointless story explaining why Mr Paul Myland hadn't been able to come (he was poorly), and how this was a shame as it was HIM who forced upon me my first tape copy of one of their Peel sessions. We said goodbye, shared a Validators Group Hug, and sped off into the night.

And that was the end of this SPATE of gigs for us - I've got quite a few solo ones coming up, but nothing really BOOKED for the band. We'll probably go back and do some more New Song Learning now then, and also PRACTICING because i have to say IT WORKS! I see now why other bands DO it (although not why so many do it so MUCH instead of actual GIGS), through this sequence of outings we've actually got QUITE GOOD! Yes! I came back to London on the train this morning thinking not only am i in a band of ABSOLUTELY GRATE PEOPLE, but I'm ALSO in a band that are GOOD!

This thought made me happy. HOORAH!

posted 11/2/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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