In honour of the band’s recently-announced summer gig in London (their first visit for almost three years), and the fact that I’d eerily been listening to a bunch of tracks with a view to putting a blog post like this together before said gig was announced, have a list of thirty reasons why Half Man Half Biscuit songwriter Nigel Blackwell is, to my mind, this country’s greatest living poet and satirist. Grouped into three loose categories, with ten in each, I’m sure I could come up with thirty different ones on another day, but here are the first batch to occur to me here and now. Enjoy.

If you want to browse more Blackwell excellence, there’s now – finally – a pretty much complete archive online, courtesy of this excellent site (a far cry from the days when searching for “…Dukla Prague Away Kit” lyrics would give you reference to something called “Sub-U-Dome”). And if you’ve never listened to HMHB, in the Spotify age there’s really no excuse not to start.

It’s funny ‘cos it’s true
Observational comedy at its finest. McIntyre, take notes. Actually, don’t.

Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch
(Even Men with Steel Hearts)

When you’re holding tea and toast
And there’s no-one else around
Do you switch the kitchen light off with your chin?

(Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes)

Not long now before lollipop men are called Darren
(Totnes Bickering Fair)

Darts in soap operas: oh so wrong, oh so wrong
No-one’s scoring, and there’s too much chat between each throw
Worse than this, though, is when cheers are raised for the bull
Granted, bull’s a double and an out – but I know that they don’t know

(Surging out of Convalescence)

Opinionated weather forecasters who tell me it’s going to be a “miserable day”
Miserable to who? I quite like a bit of drizzle, so stick to the facts!
(A Country Practice)

She stayed with me until she moved to Notting Hill
She said it was the place she needs to be
Where the cocaine is fair trade, and frequently displayed
Is the Buena Vista Social Club’s CD

(The Light At The End of the Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train))

A woman who described herself as “A little bit Bridget, a little bit Ally, a little bit Sex And The City” and chose to call her baby boy Fred as a childishly rebellious attempt at a clever reaction to those who might have expected her to call him Julian or Rupert. Bit of advice: call him Rupert, it fits, and besides it’s a good name. Don’t be calling him Fred or Archie, with all its cheeky but lovable working class scamp connotations, unless you really do have plans for him to spend his life in William Hill’s waiting for them to weigh in at Newton Abbot.
(Breaking News)

I want to perch myself halfway up a metal staircase with the Polydor girls and talk about meerkats
And come out with statements like:
“Well of course music these days is the slave of mammon, and as a result has become corrupt and shallow
Its real essence is industry
Its moral purpose is the acquisition of money
Its aesthetic pretext is the entertainment of those who are bored
Though yes, we’re really excited about going back into the studio
Hotly tipped, highly anticipated and slated for release”
(Thy Damnation Slumbereth Not)

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
(Soft Verges)

Neil Morrisey’s a knobhead
(Bottleneck at Capel Curig)

Poetry & wordplay
Blackwell has two particular skills as a wordsmith – first off, although not displayed as often as his humour, he can have a brilliant way with metaphor and phrasing. And he’s also a fan of making puns that wouldn’t even have occurred to anyone else…

They say “Plenty more fish”
I say “Amoco Cadiz”
(Keeping Two Chevrons Apart)

There’s a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets
(National Shite Day)

Nero fiddles while Gordon Burns
(Joy Division Oven Gloves)

Who’s afraid of Virginia Wade?
(Outbreak of Vitas Gerulaitis)

You never hear of folk getting knocked on the bonce
Although there was a drive-by shouting once
(For What Is Chatteris…)

Did you play in the Garden of Eden?
Were the goalkeeper’s gloves to you tossed?
‘Cos it seems to me you’re the reason
You’re the reason why Paradise lost
(Paradise Lost (You’re The Reason Why))

Your optimism strikes me like junk mail addressed to the dead
(Depressed Beyond Tablets)

On touching the trig point, I found my thrill
To the east Brokeback Mountain, to the west Benny Hill
I’ll give you the grid ref, you might like to go
Could this be heaven, would that be the Severn
Twmpa, Twmpa, you’re gonna need a jumper
(Lord Hereford’s Knob)

I didn’t take much time convincing her:
“Baby, I’m from the Wirral Peninsula”
(A Lilac Harry Quinn)

Following a commendable stab at “Sylvia”, Helen shouted at the guitarist:
“Are you knackered, man?”
To which he replied, “No, I’m Jan Akkerman!”
(Tour Jacket With Detachable Sleeves)

Just downright funny
Sometimes the lines are just uncategorisably, indefinably, laugh-out-loud hilarious. Such as…

I’m gonna feed our children non-organic food
And with the money saved, take them to the zoo
(Totnes Bickering Fair)

I tried to put everything into perspective, set it against the scale of human suffering. And I thought of the Mugabe government, and the children of the Calcutta Railways. This worked for a while, but then I encountered Primark FM.
(National Shite Day)

U is for the Umpire, which I wish I’d been instead. You never hear a cricket crowd chanting “Who’s the bastard in the hat?”
(The Referee’s Alphabet)

Aleister Crowley knew my father
Or rather:
Business once took Dad up into the Glens
Where in a small hotel bar Crowley asked,
“Have you got change for the fruit machine, chief? I’m all out…”
(Get Kramer)

But I could put a tennis racket up against my face
And pretend that I’m Kendo Nagasaki
(Everything’s AOR)

I ring up Dial-A-Pizza
And say “That’s not how I would spell Hawaiian”
(Petty Sessions)

His paranoia is absurd:
“Are you thinkin’ ‘bout my bird?!?”
(On the ‘Roids)

I should have just got a job on the bins
The pay’s better and I’d know some hard blokes
And I wouldn’t have to pretend
That I know what “rhetorical” means
I could have been like Lou Barlow
But I’m more like Ken Barlow
(Lark Descending)

Oh help me Mrs Medlicott
I don’t know what to do
I’ve only got three bullets
And there’s four of Motley Crue
(Upon Westminster Bridge)

Curse those in charge of plots, curse these forget-me-nots
I’ve been sharing my innermost thoughts with an Edward Macrae
I’m inconsolable, and at times uncontrollable
Ah, but she wouldn’t know, ‘cos she’s two hundred metres away…
(Tending The Wrong Grave For 23 Years)

Have I missed your favourite? Drop it in the comments!

9 responses to “Thirty Great Half Man Half Biscuit Lyrics”

  1. Bruiser McHuge says:

    I shout all my obscenities from steeples, but please don’t label me a madman
    I’m off to see The Bootleg Beatles as the bootleg Mark Chapman.

  2. Eddie Hart says:

    “Frank was going thru a state of depression in his bedroom, when he reached out for a jar. He swallowed every last pill and he lay back on the duvet, a halib orange overdoes is perhaps not the right way, to kill yourself”

    Love that line from Sealclubbing

  3. Billy Blagg says:

    But she’d read the timetable like I’d read her mind, And when she was late to arrive, My outstretched arms were at quarter to three, And hers were at five forty-five.

  4. Dave says:

    There is nothing better in life than writing on the sole of your slipper with a biro.

  5. John says:

    A doyen of topiary once told me
    That one day he would like to grow a maze
    It seemed quite logical that this should be his wish
    And with that we both went our separate ways

  6. John says:

    My uncle Charlie is a cynical man
    And his wife’s a touch sceptical too
    They’ve got one of those stickers on the back of their van
    It says ‘We’ve seen the prices at the zoo’

  7. John says:

    Half way up the Wrekin with an empty flask of tea
    A fog descends to take away my visibility
    Yet in this Helen Keller state I’d still quite like to know
    Why is Rod Hull alive… and getting paid aswell !

  8. John says:

    A writhing mass of calcium went shopping in the superstore
    Careering down the aisles like one big psychopathic carnivore
    A shelf stacker’s work of art in ecstasy crashed to the floor
    And meanwhile the same was going crazy at the fire door

  9. Jimmy says:

    Give a philosophy student a glass of limeade
    And he will say “Is this a glass of limeade?”
    And “If so, why is it a glass of limeade?”
    And after a while, he’ll die of thirst

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