Splash FM Website of the Day, 1st August 2005. Be Impressed.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Half Man Half Biscuit – Monmore Hare’s Running (Peel Session Version)

They are a national treasure… When I die I want to be buried with them. John Peel.

I had been planning to post Half Man Half Biscuit during the John Peel season but, disgracefully, they didn’t appear on the 1997 Festive Fifty. Everyone who was alive in 1997 deserves a hefty punch in the face for that one.

HMHB began the year recording their 7th Peel session featuring four songs that would eventually appear on Voyage to the Bottom of the Road: Monmore Hare’s Running, Tonight Matthew I’m Going To Be With Jesus, PRS Yearbook and He Who Would Valium Take. As you can tell, The Biscuits have a penchant for arresting titles. Their albums include Back In The DHSS and Trouble Over Bridgewater and they have songs called Look Dad No Tunes, Deep House Victims’ Minibus Appeal and Even Men With Steel Hearts Love To See A Dog On The Pitch. As Peel said, “every song a t-shirt.”

This pithy-ness is also evident in their lyrics which are occasionally caustic, occasionally amusing and occasionally banal but usually all three at once. For example, these from 99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd:

Have you ever wondered how you get triangles from a cow?
You need butter, milk and cheese, and an equilateral chainsaw.

Mary had a little lamb, the doctors were astounded,
And everywhere she went gynaecologists surrounded.

Their songs are usually packed with references to d-list celebs (useless pub trivia: the lead singer of Runrig – who are name checked on PRS Showcase - ran for parliament in 1997. He didn’t get in) and mundane observations. Monmore Hare’s Running mentions Paolo Hewitt, Neighbours and has a verse that decries the inadequacy of low quality Sellotape. You can find explanations of all the references on the record here.

1997 almost saw HMHB signing with a major label, V2. Previously, the band had done everything possible to avoid success. They had refused to appear on The Tube, despite the offer of a chopper ride, because they wanted to watch Tranmere Rovers; they had split up in 1987 because they were getting too famous; they had only formed in the first place because it was more interesting than ‘writing on the sole of your slipper with a biro’; they claim that the secret to happiness is lowering your expectations. Unsurprisingly, the deal fell through and the band trudged back to their old label, Probe Plus.

I’ve chosen to upload Monmore Hare’s Running from the session. It is, and I’m being careful not to exaggerate here, a work of genius comparable to the entire output of the Italian Renaissance.

Half Man Half Biscuit – Monmore Hare’s Running (Peel Session).

Buy Journey To The Bottom Of The Road


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