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The Indie Top Ten Songs about Dads

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally supplies the narrative.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs about Dads

Fathers, eh? Where would we be without ‘em? Same place we’d be without mothers, to be fair. The Indie Top Ten Songs About Dads was launched on Fathers’ Day. For the grammar pedants amongst you, I’ve put that apostrophe there on purpose, to represent the day belonging to all fathers, even though I wished my own particular dad a happy father’s day, as the day I was expressing my hopes for referred to him.

I didn’t get my grammar specificity from him; much more likely it was from my English graduate mum. I did suggest to EIO40HQ that we do a Mothers’ Day Top Ten but of course being a man, by the time I got round to suggesting it the moment had gone. Maybe next year. A significant proportion of the EIO40 community appear to be men, but in case you’re reading this and you’re not a man then I promise to try to be less tardy next year.

Anyhow, with all of the above in mind it is only natural that proceedings should commence with Weddings Parties Anything’s song ‘Father’s Day’, as suggested by @chumpski

What makes a father? As anyone who has watched a soap opera for a few weeks will be able to testify, there will always be a difference between the biological and the sociological aspects of fatherhood. Sometimes both roles are carried out by the same person; sometimes they are not. Whichever, this Top Ten is dedicated to the male person in your life who has filled the role you have most desired them to fill. It may indeed also be dedicated to you; as Welsh indie heroes Gorkys Zygotic Mynci noted, ‘Sometimes The Father Is The Son’, which was @tfdefence nomination. This title in itself could quite easily be the seedy storyline to a soap opera. However, I’d like to think it refers to those members of our community who are, like me, both father and son.

My own father was born in Ince, near Wigan, and started his career as a tailor’s cutter. When he retired a few years ago his employment was as an embalmer. There was a quiet satisfaction that he had managed to maintain his sewing skills throughout his working life, even if the things he was sewing together changed a little in between times. This year was the first time in over twenty years I got to wish him a Happy Father’s Day in person. His own dad (and therefore my grandad of course) died climbing down a mountain in the Lake District at the ripe old age of 79 in the early 1990s. It seemed quite old then, less so nowadays.

Anyway, in tribute to my dad’s dad, and all the other dads my own dad helped to look their best once they’d passed into wherever it is they have passed to, here’s the suggestion made by @rs1334 ‘Daddy’s Gone To Heaven Now’ by The Mission.

In a tale I have often bored readers of my writings with, it was down to my dad that I ended up indie. I suppose I may well have ended up there anyway eventually, given my mum’s propensity for the alternative, but it was a chance encounter with The Mighty Lemon Drops on the radio in the car as I travelled home from a Bolton Wanderers match that drew me into the circle of friends and their musical tastes that was to shape my record-buying future.

At the time my dad’s car was a blue Vauxhall Cavalier. I was fifteen, and it was the first car we’d had since I was six when, to help afford the new house my parents had bought, he decided it would be more cost effective to get the train to work and sold our dark turquoise Hillman Avenger.

Luckily for me I didn’t grow up with The Divine Comedy. If I had, then their excellent song ‘Your Daddy’s Car’ – the one put forward for inclusion by @call_me_cynical – might have been about my daddy’s car which would mean it coming to a rather unsavoury end decorating a local Oak or Sycamore.

My own children can also rest assured that it wasn’t written about their father’s car either. I don’t own one; indeed, somewhat controversially, I have not only never owned one but have never even driven one anywhere ever. The closest I have come is revving the engine in the garage to keep the battery ticking over when my dad was laid low with an abscess once.

I have often been asked why this state of affairs has come to be. It is only recently that I realised perhaps the lyrics of Half Man Half Biscuit have been a subliminal influence: “Dad can I have another pear drop/Dad can I have another drink/Dad how deep d’you reckon that is/Dad are we nearly there yet?” is the breathless questioning of a child in the back of a motorway-travelling car in the song ‘M6ster’.

I cannot begin to imagine how distracting that must be for a father who is trying to avoid being squeezed between a horn-blaring petrol tanker on one side and a caravan of caravans on the other. Although ‘M6ster’ does not qualify for this Top Ten, HMHB’s later single ‘Look Dad No Tunes’ most certainly does, so thank you to @bringitonskippy for suggesting it.

Next up in our Top Ten is Pavement, with ‘Father To A Sister Of Thought’, which was the choice of @cjl_73. By way of an aside, this song will forever be the song that made me realise that the pedal steel guitar was not exclusively the remit of those willing to bring the musical world into disrepute. It also made me wonder how it could remotely be relevant to a narrative about my dad. I love my sister dearly, but I am sure she would be the first to agree that she is not one of life’s great thinkers.

She and I are very different; despite sharing the same parents, same family home and same small northern hometown for 20 years we have very different tastes in food, music, humour… we don’t even have the same accent, bizarrely. Then I realised maybe it is I who is the father to a sister of thought.

Nocashette Jr, about to head off into the world of Higher Education to study sociology, is the very same three year old who looked out of the train window as we approached a dank and drizzly Manchester and said unrehearsed “Dad, what does ‘grim’ mean?” (This philosophical outlook wasn’t a one-off. Later in her life, and still before teenage years, she handed me a slip of scrap paper as I worked on school reports amidst the general chaos a houseful of young children brings. “What does ‘exasperated’ mean?” it read. I’ve still got that scrap of paper, lest I ever forget…)

Those of us who have chosen to become fathers will of course be familiar with the trials and tribulations which accompany being a responsible adult. These are often counterbalanced by the simple pleasures that can be brought about by our offspring. Their first word (‘mama’), the emergence of their first tooth (detected upon the edge of an index finger) and of course the first steps. “Come To Daddy” will be the pleading request of the father trying desperately to impress the relatives who have dropped in to say hello.

The reality of course is that the child will make a beeline for mummy. It’s just one of those crosses we men must bear. Conveniently enough, ‘Come To Daddy’ is also the title of a song by Aphex Twin, brought to our attention by @preservation76.


The role of father is often attributed to the presence of authority. The ‘father’ in the Christian church is the ultimate authority for those who believe: there is to be no messing with him, although he is supposed to be quite big on forgiveness if you do transgress.

There is similarly no mucking about with Old Father Time, unless of course you are Marty McFly but even that doesn’t necessarily end well. ‘Time waits for no man’, is the rather gender-specific old saying, and those 1970s working men’s club comedians amongst the readership of this site can insert their own punchline. There is plenty of muck in London’s famous river though, colloquially known as ‘Old Father Thames’. I’m not sure why fathers are always old, but there you go.

Anyway, with the role of authority figure comes the necessity to command attention and respect, usually through a deep, booming vocal presence. ‘Don’t Make Fun Of Daddy’s Voice’, suggests Morrissey in the song offered by @daznixon1989.

My children don’t make fun of my voice, I’m pleased to say. They do however mock my flat northern vowels. “Dad, say rarft” they implore in their southern accents. “RAFT”, I reply to smirks; the fatherly freakshow never fails to amuse.

I referred earlier to my dad’s dad, my grandad, who everyone knew as Billy. We did too, but not to his face. I remember his look of incredulity on seeing I had had my ear pierced whilst in my first year at University. It was still fashionable then, although I had to reassure him that just because I had a bit of metal in my lobe didn’t mean I was going to start throwing bricks through windows.

I did not confess, however, to an earlier life of crime which I am sure would have been an affront to his Methodist sensibilities (not that they ever stopped him enjoying a pint, mind). And whilst my answer to the question – posed in song by Dear Mr. President and nominated by @Clive_Stringer – “Hey Daddy Have You Ever Been Arrested?” would be an honest ‘No’, I still occasionally feel pangs of guilt for my part in the heist of a bag of plastic 5p pieces from the school maths cupboard, the entirety of which was used to fleece the village shop of the contents of its bubble gum machine. The owners sold up not long afterwards; I hope they didn’t go bankrupt.

On that bombshell, it is perhaps time to bring this Top Ten to a close. If I carry on writing who knows what other controversies and outrages might reveal themselves? I’m well aware that we all have skeletons in our closet but rest assured, at least I have never run through fields of wheat. Not knowingly, anyway. So, whether biological or emotional, living or dead, good or bad, there is no escaping we all owe our existence to a father, and what better way to bring proceedings to a close than this titular tribute suggested by @Axels96 and @clanofginger: here’s Stump with ‘Our Fathers’.

John Hartley



After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed


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The Indie Top Ten Songs With Famous People In The Title

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally supplies the narrative.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs With Famous People In The Title

“Fame, fame, fatal fame,” sang some bloke in a band once. “It can play hideous tricks on the brain”. I once met this self-same bloke. I say met, what I mean is that I stood next to him in the long-since defunct Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus. He was looking at CDs in the Bobby Vee section, and I was nosing at what he was looking at. As he said, fame plays hideous tricks on the brain.

Anyway, I became slightly concerned during 2016 that this particular bloke might be the biggest name to croak and I have to say that I am relieved that my prediction of mid-February last year did not come to fruition. That said, it was still alarming to say goodbye to so many of our heroes – musical or otherwise – during the last year, which prompted the suggestion at the back end of the year that the theme for this next Everything Indie Over 40 Top Ten be songs that recognise in name if nothing else those people we see as famous.

Such fleeting brushes with fame as the one described above seem to have peppered my life. I saw Brian May of Queen in the very same branch of Tower Records with his wife Anita Dobson (Angie from ‘EastEnders’, for those who may otherwise not know.) They both looked identical: shoulder length permed hair, long overcoat, matching red clogs: very bizarre. It would also be very bizarre to not include a Half Man Half Biscuit song in this Top 10, given that they have made a career out of their perfectly-chosen name drops.

There were several nominations for HMHB, but let’s start this Top 10 with the one song that celebrates the best way to spot a minor celebrity: in the supermarket. Here’s ‘Fuckin’ ‘Ell, It’s Fred Titmus’ – the famous cricketer in case you don’t know already – as suggested by @GLPNE73.

It became clear that I was destined for a life of mingling with the stars from an early age. One of my earliest memories of school was attending the summer fayre as a junior, one typically grey, humid Saturday afternoon in the North. I was especially excited to learn that the school fayre was being opened by an actor, one from ‘Dad’s Army’, no less. I still possess (somewhere, though Lord knows I can’t put my hand on it right now to prove it) a signed photograph – my very first autograph! – from Colin Bean. You know, Private Sponge; one of the supplementary cast who sometimes got the odd line to utter. Incredible, isn’t it.

Unfortunately, nobody has seen fit to write a song about Colin Bean, but @Wimon has identified Hefner as having written a song called ‘Alan Bean’, so that’ll have to do. Alan may well have been the fourth man to walk on the moon and an accomplished artist, but I bet he never stood in the same room as Arthur Lowe whilst the latter hissed “Stupid boy!”

From that point on my status as celebrity’s ‘plus one’ was cemented. Hardly a childhood trip to Manchester would go by without my mum pointing out Victoria Wood sat in the Royal Exchange café (just over there, behind you, a few seats away, looking down…) as we had a snack. I had no idea who Victoria Wood was at the age of 8, never mind what she looked like. And of course, Jean Alexander – or ‘IldarOgden’ as she was better known – sometimes caught the same train from Wigan as my dad.

And then there were The Houghton Weavers, local boys come good with their own TV show and all, just sat there at the cricket club on a Saturday. I know, I know: ‘Just Like Johnny Marr’, if you close your eyes, replace Westhoughton with Wythenshawe, and listen to Alpaca Sports as @Inalvsmat suggests.

And then of course there were the sports stars. This line of fame-by-association began at secondary school in the athletic form of British Olympic bronze medallist and namesake-by-marriage Donna Hartley, with whom participants in some sponsored event or other were invited to have their photograph taken.

Before too long footballers were also queuing up to make my acquaintance. First, former Bolton Wanderers and England player Peter Reid kicked off the staff v pupils football game in our open day, although the occasion got too much for him and he left before I scored my hat-trick.

And then, future Manchester City and England U-21 manager Peter Reid answered the door as I struggled to deliver his mum’s Saturday copy of the Bolton Evening News. It was summer, so he wasn’t playing. Like Colin Bean, Peter Reid hasn’t had a nominated song written about him either, but he did play in the same Everton team as incognito indiekid Pat Nevin, who stars in The Tractors’ effort ‘Pat Nevin’s Eyes’, as put forward by @PozNoz.

 Actors, sports stars… before too long I was inevitably to be found mixing with pop stars of the modern age too. Not content with seeing Happy Mondays dancer Bez coming out of a pub on the Salford/Manchester border one Wednesday lunchtime (he was wearing a suit, so I guessed he may have been up in court for some misdemeanour or other. I might have been wrong…) I was soon to be found assisting Manchester’s rock royalty in their hour of need. Making a quick getaway from Inspiral Carpets’ support slot with James at Manchester Free Trade Hall, Clint Boon found himself caught in a crossroads as his girlfriend’s Cortina broke down at the most inopportune moment. Lucky for him that my mates and I were in the vicinity to give him a push in the right direction.

This of course pales into significance with the time I turned up far too early for a BOB gig in Bolton and was invited to share a pizza with them. BOB’s debut single was called ‘Brian Wilson’s Bed’; unfortunately none of you suggested this, so you’ll have to make do with @SoxanPance’s nominated ‘Brian Wilson’ by Barenaked Ladies.

 By now, word of my emerging status of ‘person-the-celebs-must-be-seen-with’ was spreading quicker than a rumoured sighting of Lord Lucan, and it did not take long for the stars of the small screen to try and weave their way into my little world. Saturday mornings as an A-level student were spent working in a petrol station; Saturday afternoons were spent reading history books and preparing essays in a petrol station as the morning downpour of customers petered out into the occasional light shower.

One of these light showers sometimes manifested itself in the human form of Crackerjack’s very own Stu Francis, getting his petrol on account while it was quiet and nobody would hassle him for autographs. I had to hassle him for an autograph, but only because he had to sign for the petrol he had just taken. He rarely spoke, other than to say ‘thanks’ or occasionally utter some bizarre coded message, like ‘The Shah Sleeps In Lee Harvey’s Grave’. Perhaps he was a fan of Butthole Surfers like @gigticket.

 I might have made the end of the last paragraph up. Anyway, my afternoons in the petrol station were clearly well spent as I was sufficiently studied to get a ‘B’ in my History (Social and Economic, if you’re wondering) and off I toddled to University in Newcastle. My daily walk into the city from the outskirts took me down back streets in the vicinity of St. James’ Park, and it was along one of these very streets that I would often see the players of struggling Newcastle United drive past on their way to training.

One day, a small, kindly driver stopped to let me cross the road, sacrificing thirty seconds of his team’s training to make sure I could get to my lecture on time. It was Ossie Ardiles, the club’s then manager, with a few players in the back of his car for good measure. Ossie is also famous for being the subject of a Tottingham Hotspur FA Cup Final song, as well as being an Argentinian World Cup winner. @WillieMcAlpine suggested a song by Kinski about one of Ossie’s compatriots, private dancer ‘Argentina Turner’. Ok, so it’s a play on words and not really a proper name, but it’s a good one so I’ve bent the rules slightly this time (only).

 Newcastle was not the most ideal place for sharing my life with the rich and famous, which is just as well as I was able to focus on the job of getting a degree without too much distraction. No thanks to Ant and Dec mind, who filmed ‘Byker Grove’ just up the road from my temporary home in Fenham, and came and gatecrashed my table in the Fox and Hounds for a spot of underage drinking. They were very civilised, though, and kept the noise down to a minimum.

I couldn’t quite work out what they were talking about, on account of me not listening. Perhaps at that precise moment in time they were plotting world domination under the guise of humorous and likeable TV hosts, via a brief pop career. On the subject of brief pop careers, thank you to @niamunna1: here’s Weezer with ‘Buddy Holly’.

 Degree out of the way with, and after a further couple of unemployed years spent convincing myself that a life of pop fame and fortune surely beckoned (given that someone at Rough Trade had quite liked a demo tape before they moved on to writing for Radio Times), I moved to the outskirts of London. Maybe the streets weren’t paved with gold, but they were littered with stars.

For eight years I largely resided in Stanmore. Madonna lived just up the road; so too did Tom Cruise, who was not averse to popping in to the local Blockbusters to rent a video. However, my first flat was in Hatch End, just around the corner from comedian Barry Cryer. His large house had a ‘granny flat’ attached and I used to fantasise that he kept Willie Rushton in there.

Bazza drank in our local, The Railway (although maybe it was us in his local) and one day I was sat next to him on the station platform when an oblivious passenger asked which train went to Willesden Junction. It was with great disappointment that I heard Barry not reply with “I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue”. Mind, if he had I would then have been disappointed that I wasn’t at that point carrying ‘Spike Milligan’s Tape Recorder’, which also happens to be the title of an @BullAntics-proffered song by The Membranes.

These days I am much choosier about which famous people I allow to mix in my company. I would count as both friend and work colleague an actor who played a character in ‘My Mad Fat Diary’ and was recently the face of the Virgin Broadband advertising campaign, for example. And she went to a party once with one-time Celebrity King of the Jungle Foggy. She is equally aware of my spectral past as the artist known as Johny Nocash (the man in blue).

To preserve anonymity I lived under this pseudonym for over 20 years before being ‘outed’ by this self-same website. But that’s ok; I learned to deal with this inadvertent unmasking quickly, a task made much easier by the discovery of a Johny Nocash tribute act. I was, therefore, very pleased that this tribute act had himself been recognised, both by @NorwoodTrash, and by Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine who wrote a song about him. Ladies and gentlemen, your final song in this Top 10 Songs With Famous People In Their Title: ‘Johnny Cash’.

John Hartley



After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed


Listen out on Twitter for further Indie Top Ten themes. We need your help.

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The Indie Top Ten Songs With 10 Or More Words In The Title

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs With Ten Or More Words In The Title

When I was a young child I came across a book of poetry on the bookcase in the kitchen. Three poets, all from Liverpool, contributed to the anthology which was entitled ‘The Mersey Sound’. Amongst the wit and rhyme contained within was a poem whose title was almost as long as the poem itself, written by Adrian Henri:

Song For A Beautiful Girl Petrol-Pump Attendant On The Motorway

I wanted your soft verges
But you gave me the hard shoulder

The art of naming a song is perhaps a bit more challenging than that of a naming a poem; after all, most poetry anthologies contain both a list of titles and an index of first lines. To be remembered effectively a song should have a catchy hook, usually a line of the song that is also the title, and consequently the shorter the better. However, taking the song as an art-form, sometimes a longer title is much more appropriate and representative of the song’s intent.

To that end, here is the Everything Indie Over 40 Top Ten Songs With Ten Or More Words In Their Title (that’s fifteen words in our own title, if you’re counting…)

For the statisticians amongst you, there were 75 different suggestions for songs to fit this category, with an average length of 12.72 words per title. That’s a total of 954 words. The shortest was, of course, only 10 words in length. The longest (by a mile?) was a nomination which clocked in at a mere 53 words, presuming of course that I didn’t lose count along the way.

I am not quite sure how impressed either the record shop counter assistant or those queuing behind @charlie_clown would have been when he asked for a copy of that Sufjan Stevens track ‘The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You’re Going To Have To Leave Now, Or, “I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!”’. I love this title for two reasons: firstly the indecision as to exactly which extremely long title best suits the song and secondly the generosity shown by the contraction of the words ‘You’ and ‘Are’ into ‘You’re’, just in case the title was getting too long for us to remember.

One of the many joys in a long song title is the opportunity for the writer to demonstrate the surrealism of their train of thought. Sufjan Stevens has taken many an opportunity to do this. Los Campesinos! is another act to get carried away with the length of their song titles. Both @Perlalaloca and @MerrieCityMan suggested ‘A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me State; Or Letters From Me To Charlotte’.

Quite what this heat rash looks like (apart from the Show Me State, obviously) is both unclear and intriguing. It also provides more fuel for the imagination than the alternative half of the title.

 Indeed it is probably cheating by having a very long title that is basically just a collection of alternative titles for the same thing. The same would apply to songs containing brackets, especially when the brackets contain an alternative title for that song. Take, for example, The BluetonesAutophilia (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love My Car)’, as nominated by @moztheboston, @bringitonskippy and @MarkMarkRoss.

Neither suggested title is in the lyric, the single word is not exactly one that is in every day use and the bracketed alternative doesn’t give the whole picture either, for as far as I can see the song doesn’t give any indication of worry in the first place. Judge for yourselves, anyway.

No, I reckon The Bluetones would have been far better off being a bit blunter, a bit more honest. Rather than hiding behind a metaphorical approach to their subject matter they could have come straight out and laid any potential anxiety on the line.

That’s what The Brilliant Corners did. Straight to the point, no messing, no need for any alternative title, no need to decipher exactly what the context might be: ‘Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me’, as nominated by @Dalliance68 and @Salient Braves leaves the listener in no doubt.

 That song might well have provided a post-dated musical prequel to Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poetic suggestion that “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. This of course would be of no consolation to Another Sunny Day who did nothing to dispel the Sarah Records stereotype with the title of their track ‘I’m In Love With A Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist’.

Maybe @MaScrieven could have a word with the girl in question for them? Or maybe ten or more words – when there are so many at our disposal it seems churlish to be selective.

 Latter-day indie bands clearly learned from the dismissive approach of their predecessors – fey, twee, navel-gazing, shambling – were all terms used derogatively to label bands writing songs about personal love and emotion as opposed to the mass-market generic ‘love’ songs churned out by many major label artists. And I mean artists in the loosest sense.

The joy of indie was (is) that of independence and as such individuality. These terms certainly became associated with the next act in our Top Ten. Arctic Monkeys took a more self-deprecating approach to a similar subject matter than Another Sunny Day; “And I’m so tense, never tenser/Could all go a bit Frank Spencer?’ is a great line in the wryly-titled ‘You Probably Couldn’t See For The Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me’. Thanks to @RiverboatCaptain, @BullAntics and @Eveshambaggy for this suggestion.

 If it is better to have loved and lost, that does not mean that doing so removes any degree of pain or unhappiness. Indeed, the depth of such agony can rarely be measured, especially when concerning affairs of the heart. On their (ultimately) breakthrough album ‘Gold Mother’ James included a track entitled ‘You Can’t Tell How Much Suffering (On A Face That’s Always Smiling)’. An old adage, and one which doesn’t need the brackets if we’re being perfectly honest. Let’s not hold that against @sharkastic though, if only because it’s a very good song.

 And of course, suffering is not just restricted to love and loss. Sometimes it is a direct consequence of things unrequited, or the so near-yet-so-far: Dean Holdsworth’s open goal miss in extra time of the FA Cup semi-final against Aston Villa in 2000 still brings shivers to my spine.

And there are traumas far worse than that to contend with too. Take for example the long-suffering narrator in the Half Man Half Biscuit track ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit’, nominated by both @GLPNE73 and @Carter_69, as he is handed his unemployment benefit from an old school friend; life could have turned out so, so differently.

 In fact, for some people life does indeed turn out very differently. A few years ago the chippy down the road from where I lived was owned by a family, one of whom was the spitting image of Dudley Moore. Politeness meant that I never had the courage to ask her if she was actually the famous actor, but gender aside it wasn’t inconceivable.

Lots of one-time famous people return to a life of normality. Boy George was seen sweeping the streets (ok, community service was the real reason, but hey…), which makes me wonder whether the character in Kirsty MacColl ‘There’s A Guy Down The Chip Shop Who Swears He’s Elvis’, nominated by @CTootell and @trustthewizards, might just be who he thought he was.

 By the time you get to the end of this final paragraph you will have read 1,381words. I haven’t been counting of course; the computer does it for me. I trust you have enjoyed this snapshot of the many suggestions for inclusion in The Indie Top Ten Songs With Ten Or More Words In Their Title. If you haven’t, well, that’s just tough and my retort to you is this song, appropriately by Johnny Boy and suggested by @maffrj: ‘You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve’. So there!

 John Hartley



After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed


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Gig Night – Half Man Half Biscuit @ Sheffield Leadmill

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Getting Mark Whitworth contributing in some way to the website has been an objective of ours for a long time, such is the esteem in which he is held over here.

So we were chuffed to bits when an email from Mark appeared in our inbox offering to write a gig review for us. Naturally we welcomed this with open arms and was even more delighted with the choice of gig.

Mark’s Twitter moniker is @bringitonskippy and through our regular interactions we have learnt a lot about him. For instance we know he comes from the North, has strong opinions about the proper usage of “barm” to describe a roll, has a penchant for flowery shirts and plays bass in a band. We even know that he appeared in Blockbusters once (although he doesn’t like to talk about it).

Rather strangely what we have never discovered about Mark is why he is called “bringitonskippy” or why his profile pic is Mr Bump. To be fair we’ve never actually bothered to ask. Maybe one day he will tell us.

Anyway, this is what Mark has to say about his night with HMHB at The Leadmill.



“Not long now before lollipop men are called Darren”

A couple of weeks ago I offered to write a gig review for the Everything Indie Over 40 website. Should be pretty easy, I thought – a band and a venue I love, how hard can it be? Writing this a few days after the event, I now realise why I’m not a journalist. They make bringing a gig to life look easy, while I feel like I’m writing through treacle. But anyway…

John Peel once said of Half Man Half Biscuit “when I die, I want them to be buried with me”. Wise words from the great man, and a sentiment shared no doubt by many a die-hard HMHB fan.

In my experience, people seem to be acquainted with Birkenhead’s finest in one of two ways. They have either vaguely heard of the odd tune, maybe The Trumpton Riots or Joy Division Oven Gloves, and perhaps consider them something of a novelty act; or they know every single word of every single song the band have ever released and go to every single gig. The middle ground seemed to be very sparsely occupied.

I’m happy to admit to falling very close to the latter end of this continuum of devotion, although my gig attendance is mainly restricted to just the Yorkshire area and so I had been heartily awaiting HMHB’s return to Sheffield for some months. This year’s roughly annual Sheffield gig sees them continue their travels around the city’s venues since the closure of their regular haunt, The Boardwalk, by pitching up at the legendary Leadmill.

I arrive just as the easy-on-the-ear support duo Rita Payne are finishing their spot, and take a look around for the usual suspects in the crowd.

  • The redoubtable Roger, notepad in hand, who writes the reviews for www.hmhb.co.uk 
  • The King Of Hi-Vis, with his unmissable eponymous bright yellow tabard – OH MY GOD HE’S NOT HERE! Although it’s quite busy which limits my view somewhat. He can’t be far away surely
  • Numerous gentlemen of a certain age, sometimes balding, sometimes bespectacled, often both, who may or may not still live at home with their mums 
  • More people wearing Dukla Prague away kits than (probably) wear Dukla Prague away kits at Dukla Prague away games 

There is a larger female contingent than usual as well which is very pleasing to see. Hopefully the lads’ appeal is expanding, which is no bad thing at all.

They arrive just after 9pm – no pleasantries, no “HELLO SHEFFIELD!”, just straight into the first song, the marvellous The Light At The End Of The Tunnel. With a back catalogue stretching back 30 years, encompassing in the region of 200 songs according to my iPod (other MP3 players are available), and a guaranteed two full hours, you never know what set you are going to get, although you can be sure you will get your money’s worth.

Tonight is certainly no different as they rattle through 29 songs overall. Personally I was hoping to hear two or three more from the latest album, 2014’s splendid Urge For Offal, but I guess you can’t have everything, and Old Age Killed My Teenage Bride, The Bane Of Constance (“Iron Age mums are haunting my cagoule” – how does Nigel come up with these lyrics?!) and Stuck Up A Hornbeam (a song ostensibly about depression, set to the jauntiest tune imaginable) more than hit the spot in any case.

They continue with rare outings for songs such as Christian Rock Concert and 4AD3DCD interspersing live staples like Fuckin ‘Ell It’s Fred Titmus (chorus shouted back by the entire crowd, of course), All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit, We Built This Village On A Trad. Arr. Tune, and the magnificent Vatican Broadside. If you listen to one HMHB song, make it this one (30 seconds long but beware the NSFW lyrics!)

The inter-song lulls are, as always, punctuated by the standard shouts of “What did God give us Neil?” and requests for various songs from the back catalogue. I’ve seen HMHB half a dozen or so times and never heard them play a song from the neglected Some Call It Godcore. However, tonight, a shout goes out for “anything from Godcore” and they duly launch into what seems to be a spontaneous version of Fear My Wraith, which delights the faithful.

Another novelty (for me at least) is witnessing Nigel forget the words to a song, in this case Rock And Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools. Thankfully, pretty much the entire crowd is on hand to fill in the blanks for him. Considering the depth of their back catalogue and the number of spoken word numbers it contains, I’m amazed this doesn’t happen much more often.

The main set comes to a close with National Shite Day (“there’s a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets”) and The Trumpton Riots, and the encore finishes on the stroke of 11pm with the regular closer Everything’s AOR.

We drift off into the Sheffield night fully satiated as always and already looking forward to the next local gig, whenever that may be.

Mark Whitworth


We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Mark’s gig night. We would love to hear about your own gig experiences whether they are recent or in the past. Please contact us if you would like to contribute, via email indieover40@gmail.com or Twitter @IndieOver40

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The Indie Top Ten Songs With Profanities In The Title

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs With Profanities In The Title

“Truth is, I used to think it mattered. I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks. Not compared to how people matter”.

So speaks the legendary British actor Pete Postlethwaite in the film ‘Brassed Off’. And he is right, of course. But sometimes we need the music to help us make the people matter, or to take our minds off the fact that sometimes it would appear that people do not matter. More importantly, however, the above quote demonstrates possibly the finest use of my favourite swear word ever. It’s even better than that album title by The Sex Pistols.

You, dear contributors, of course have different preferences; for swear words, for song titles, for bands. A quite impressive 51 different suggestions, no less, which makes compiling this Top 10 even trickier. You buggers.

1. Flux Of Pink Indians – “Mind Fuckers Fucking Minds”

The prize for the most profanities included in the title is awarded to the @mixless – nominated Flux of Pink Indians. If you were that way inclined you could even afford yourself a childish snigger at the fact that the band name itself includes a word that sounds like it might be rude. However, ‘The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks’ is a remarkable title that surely everybody can relate to in some shape or form. Unfortunately, the title is not a song in itself so cannot count. Fortunately, ‘Mind Fuckers Fucking Minds’ is a song, and it can be found on that album, here:

2. Julian Cope “All The Blowing Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die They Were Suckers)”

In the current climate of religion-induced violence (and yes, I know it’s been going on for centuries, but at the moment it doesn’t look like it’s about to vanish) it seems appropriate that Julian Cope’s ‘All The Blowing Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die They Were Suckers)’ should be included. Nominated by @051Omski this particular track wins the award for longest title amongst the contenders.

3. Future Of The Left “Robocop 4: Fuck Off Robocop”

The most-nominated song in the list is a seven-way tie, so I am going to take the casting votes and go with the suggestion made by both @lucyandamysdad and @charlie_clown. Future of the Left released a track entitled ‘Robocop 4: Fuck Off Robocop’; quite a brave title, as personally I would have named it Robocop 2, so credit for making it through three films before being reduced to swearing, folks.

4. The Sugarcubes “Fucking In Rhythm And Sorrow”

It often appears to be the case that the use of profanity within a song is for shock purposes. Many of our modern day profanities derive from old English terminology for functional activities. Only two of the suggestions actually used the language within this context. Only one of these makes it into the Top 10, however: step forward @Billychief for the nomination of The Sugarcubes. True enough, many of Einaar’s vocal contributions were sufficient to reduce many a listener to swearing but Bjork’s voice generally wins over. Such is the case with ‘Fucking In Rhythm And Sorrow’ from their debut album.

5. Belle and Sebastian  ‘Fuck This Shit’

However, sometimes the joy of the profanity is the simplicity and ease with which it shocks. When the chosen word is used by a band normally viewed as soft, gentle, twee even, that shock can only be magnified. Take Belle and Sebastian, for example: a band often associated with daydreaming, picking flowers in the park, going for a nice walk in the countryside and so on. I was quite shocked when hearing them complain about the referee giving them “fuck all” in ‘Another Sunny Day’, so you can imagine how far my jaw dropped when they named a song ‘Fuck This Shit’. Thanks @Wimon for reminding us:

6. Stereolab “You Little Shits”

The swear word can be used to create offence, to insult, to provoke. However, I reckon it works best when there simply are no other words left in the dictionary to express the unfolding situation. Just picture the scene, as I am sure that – like myself – @BeardedSteven has pictured it: it’s bin night, a grimy, grey London towerblock estate, and the air is heavy with drizzle. Stereolab’s Tim Gane has just sent his singer down four flights of stairs (the lift is broken) to put the last few lettuce leaves into the organic waste bin. As she approaches, Laeitita Sadier sees a gaggle of youths scarper from the bins, and on arriving finds that one of them has only gone and put a plastic bottle into the organic waste bin. Exasperation is an understatement, and ‘You Little Shits’ are the only words she can muster…

7. Nirvana “Territorial Pissings”

The joy of the EIO40 community is that everyone has very different tastes which sometimes overlap, like a massive Venn Diagram. However, those of you with gentler dispositions might choose to approach @mkip_68 with caution, given the number of suggestions offered by this particular member of our community (ie more than anyone else). The best-titled of these nominations is ‘Territorial Pissings’ by little known Seattle band Nirvana. They were tipped for big things at one stage, you know. Maybe their mums took offence at their song titling?

8. Blammo! “Wanky Wayne”

So many vulgarities, so many songs, yet some words are clearly more popular than others. Credit must go to @rojoyblancowizs for finding a song with a profanity in the title that nobody else used. (Or at least chose; what you do in your spare time is none of my business… ). This particular term must have been the bane of folk named similarly to the song’s subject; it has certainly been the bane of supporters of my football team (a Wanderers) and my county (Lancashire). Credit must be also due to finding the most obscure song within those suggested. So obscure in fact that intensive research on the internet failed to locate any record of it.

Notwithstanding that I’m taking @rojoyblancowizs word for it’s existence, because that’s the sort of trusting person I am. However, if anyone out there can enlighten us to Blammo!’s ‘Wanky Wayne’ please point us in the right direction so we can share this with you all.

9. Half Man Half Biscuit “The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman”

I had the pleasure of attending a Babybird gig in the early part of this decade. Not averse to the odd rant or two, Stephen Jones on this occasion decided to rail against radio networks. Taking umbrage at their complete ignorance of his featuring-Johnny-Depp single ‘Unloveable’, Jones bemoaned the lack of radio play his music was getting because “without radio, you’re fucked”. He then proceeded to announce the next song of the evening, the band’s next single: ‘Bastard’. Nobody suggested that particular song, but another of my favourite bands Half Man Half Biscuit were nominated twice, including ‘The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman’ as offered by @timh0bbs

10. Pixies “Oh My Golly!”

Sometimes, however, not even the most vulgar of words suffice to capture the very essence of anger, frustration, exasperation, rage, rebellion and so on. It is at times like these we must scour deep into our souls, flick the pages of our Oxford English Dictionary and pull out the only words left to capture the rawest of emotion. Step forward @Dalliance68, a community member who must have done this several times before, for that surely can be the only reason behind his Pixies nomination ‘Oh My Golly’

So there ends the Everything Indie Over 40 Top 10 songs with profanities in their titles. Thanks to the many, many other community members who offered suggestions for which there was insufficient space. Now go and wash your collective mouths out with soap and water.


After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free, at brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com

Listen out on Facebook & Twitter for further Indie Top Ten themes. We need your help.

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