Sign on, you crazy diamond.

I left work about five, only to realise that I still hadn't put the secret code into the radio since everything was disconnected to put the new speedo in in . . . April? The code never used to be what my dad was told when he bought the car - fortunately some considerate person had left the sticker on the back with the right code written on it, so the first time we needed to know it, we found out pretty quickly. As far as I know that sticker's still there. Security? We've heard of it.

So it was back to the house to find that out, and then back on the road and headed northwest out of town by the silly route that avoids jams. Happily this also allowed me to spend the several minutes I would have saved sitting at a level crossing, which is one of my greatest hobbies. In due course, though, I was onto the A14 headed in the general direction of Away. This road has the crematorium on it, and I was interested in the noticeable police presence as I went past. They had an unpopular client due in about an hour later. The traffic was its usual relaxed and sparse self until after Huntingdon, when it eased up gradually until after the A1 junction. It really was quiet after that, and about 45 minuteslater I hit the M1 and found that it was hardly more than 70 miles to Sheffield. As I was nearly an hour behind when I'd hoped to be at that point, this was a relief. Soundtrack : the new Ballboy album, of course.

Getting into Sheffield was fun. The venue's directions were good, right up to the point where they say to turn right onto the road with the "Buses and taxis only" sign. I didn't have the stones to do this, so I took the next left and tried to work my way round. This is where I learned an important lesson : It's not possible to avoid accidentally ending up on one of those roads in Sheffield city centre. When I managed to get back to that junction, though, I swung into a handy multi-storey, parked and walked back. A few minutes of wandering aimlessly and dodging playful trams, though, had me getting lost in a generally downhill direction and discovering a medium-sized pub with no apparent sign, but people hanging around outside making feeble "Sold out? We've come seventy miles . . ."-type comments. The Place, I guess. My interestingly hand-written ticket does, it seems, indeed get me entrance (I'm not the victim of an elaborate practical joke after all), and . . . it's a bit crowded in there. There's stall to the right as I go in, and I have a brief peek as I go past - the usual sorts of stuff. I know that wendles and flooks are going to be there, so I move gradually forward, rubbernecking in the approved manner. I only actually make it a small way before spotting Wendi off to the right, so I slop over dump my stuff and make a very quick exit toiletwards. After that, and grabbing my pint for the evening, I get back.

The support band were on. I don't know what they were called, but they sounded fine. Under other circumstances I'd have gone forward to have a listen, but instead I sat down and had a chat. I slip off to the stall to pick up an "Editor's Recommendation" shirt and a copy of the Eno Collaboration CD also.Just before HMHB came on, Peel was mentioned - Wendi asking whether the audience didn't look a bit like a Peel-listening bunch. I mentioned the Guardian interview with Nigel, which describes a typical HMHB audience as being largely male, between 30 and 35, and knowing all the words. Unfortunately, mere moments later, a 33-year-old male biologist is singing along merrily to Prag Vec At The Melkweg. Oh well. That can't have made too good an impression. The set wanders by over the next hour or so and is wonderful. The cover tonight is New Rose. There are various songs old and new - the old ones also including Lark Descending and Vatican Broadside off Editor's Recommendation, 24-Hour Garage People (apparently written about someone who works in a Shell garage in Birkenhead. Red jumper. You know the guy. Nigel rambles a bit during this one - it's especially fantastic), Time Flies By, The Trumpton Riots . . . do we want a full setlist? Errr . . . Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes (you know the one - "There is surely nothing worse than washing sieves" to the tune of "She'll be coming round the mountain". This time it ended with The Strokes), Look Dad No Tunes, Bob Wilson - Anchorman, Secret Gig, Turn a Blind Eye (slightly abbreviated, I thought), and Turned Up Clocked On Laid Off. Tunes off Camell-Laird Social club included (but were not necessarily limited to) The Light At The End Of The Tunnel, Them's The Vagaries, If I Had Possession Over Pancake Day, She's In Broadstairs, 27 Yards Of Dental Floss, and Paradise Lost. 19 songs? That's probably somehere near the right number. I've no real idea about the order, apart from that starting one. The authoritative but apparently unoffficial website looks like it might have stuff up about this gig soon. I think there was at least one other song I didn't recognise.

Best bit of patter?

[pause . . . ]

"So . . . you're Shania Twain?"

And that was really it. I said goodbye to Wendi and Flook, wandered back up the hill, and trundled back down the M1, pausing only to curse the faulty power adaptor that stopped me listening to Firewater on the way back.
  • Current Mood: nostalgic already
  • Current Music: Firewater - Drunkard's lament
It has been decided that a common factor is slightly dishevelled clothing, possibly from army surplus.

And that's Flook as in flooks
Re: Peelites
Excellent. I checked "flook" but that seems to be someone else.