Regular readers of my blog will already know about my liking for the greatest band to have hailed from the Wirral since Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

Back with a vengeance, this month’s ‘Not So Perfect Ten’ has decided to whittle down from a list of thousands to ten the best quote from Half Man Half Biscuit’s back catalogue. Each quote has been selected for its surrealness, sincerity and mirth. From the band hailed a national institution by the late great John Peel are what I think are the ten greatest Half Man Half Biscuit quotes.

  1. The almost illegal Elton Welsby dressed as a French maid, licking his lips…” – ‘A Country Practice’ (1997), ‘Four Lads Who Shook the Wirral’;
  2. If God had meant for us to work, then I’m sure he would have given us jobs…” – ‘A Lilac Harry Quinn’ (1991), ‘Macintyre, Treadmore and Davitt’;
  3. I could put a tennis racquet up against my face and pretend that I am Kendo Nagasaki…” – ‘Everything’s AOR’ (1991), ‘Macintyre, Treadmore and Davitt’;
  4. Who the f*****’ Hell are Slipknot?” – ‘Vatican Broadside’ (2001), ‘Editor’s Recommendation EP’;
  5. In the kingdom of bland, it’s nine o’ clock on ITV…” – ‘CORGI Registered Friends’ (2005), ‘Achtung Bono’;
  6. Busk when it’s Christmas…” – ‘S*** Arm, Bad Tattoo’ (2005), ‘Achtung Bono’;
  7. They know where things are in B&Q…” – ‘Paintball’s Coming Home’ (1998), ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Road’;
  8. I could find my way home from Sierra Leone, but I’m lost without an inside pocket…” – ‘Mate of the Bloke’ (2005), ‘Achtung Bono’;
  9. Boom boom boom, let me hear you say ‘hosepipe ban’…” – ‘A Shropshire Lad’ (1998), ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Road’;
  10. ‘Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends’, and they go on for 2 hours because they’ve got a brand new Moog” – ‘Black Tour Jacket With Detachable Sleeves’ (1996) – ‘Some Call It Godcore’.

Every living soul on this planet should have at least one Half Man Half Biscuit album in their collection. The best thing about their works is picking up the obscure references. It is possible to listen to same track three times and pick something different, which you didn’t get before.

S.V., 17 September 2007

18 thoughts on “‘The Not So Perfect 10’: Ten Greatest Half Man Half Biscuit quotes

  1. Hi Chris,

    The inspiration for this entry came about after nearly 10 years of listening to HMHB. You would agree that the Birkenhead band are probably the most erudite racontrears on popular culture, which is why they are up in my top ten bands with Supertramp, The Fall and the Electric Light Orchestra. I must also own up to the fact that I like the odd ABBA tune too. 🙂

    By the way, I wish you the best of luck with the lyrics project.

    Stuart.

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  2. Glad to see my own personal favourite there:

    “I could put a tennis racquet up against my face and pretend that I am Kendo Nagasaki…”

    There are so many to choose from, I bet it was difficult narrowing it down to 10!

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  3. There’s also the classic:

    I know Bono and he knows Ono, she knows Eno’s phone goes thus:
    “Brian’s not home, he’s at the North Pole, but if you’d like to leave a weird noise…”

    Eno Collaboration, Voyage to the Bottom of the Road

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  4. Sorry to spam you here Stuart with 3 replies, but there’s another of my favourite lines that I feel is worthy of celebration:

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

    The Best Things in Life, ACD

    Interestingly, when I was a small child, I actually took great pleasure in writing on the sole of my slipper with a Biro, so this line has a particular significance with me. I thought I was the only person who did this! It just feels great, as the ink comes out in a really thick, clear line and it just feels so… smooth!

    😉

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  5. Noz, Noz, Noz, don’t worry about the spamming issue. These quotes are worthy inclusions anyway. There are literally hundreds of great lines, so much so that I will consider a follow up to this. 🙂

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  6. “Quick,run,hide,here comes Dave Stewart” – Mars Ultras,(Youll never make the station).

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  7. My, I’ve forgotten about that one. That was only ever played on the radio sessions.

    As for my favourite radio session HMHB moment, it has to be the alternate version of ‘Paintball’s Coming Home’ (Andy Kershaw, Radio 3), hence: “They didn’t choose their cat, the cat chose them… and whadya know its got it’s own website!” I also like this version, having heard this at their Manchester Academy gig on the 16 February this year.

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  8. I just loved the line from A Country Practice: “Fifteen Minutes of Mantra Filled Oompah”
    I’m not sure why, it just strikes me as funny. and I used it as the name of my extremely infrequent blog, so I’m a shameless thief.

    Worst of all though, all the other posters here are right too. All those lines are priceless too, without exception.

    Isn’t it scary that it’s 23 years since DHSS came out?

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  9. It is unbelievable to find that it was 22 – 23 years ago when ‘Back in the DHSS’ was inflicted on a unsuspecting public. I would say the music scene would be all the more poorer without HMHB’s deadpan wit. ‘Back in the DHSS’ is truly a modern classic and one of the best début albums to have ever been released. It is also further proof seminal songwriting far outweighs production values and monster budgets (it costed £40 to record HMHB’s début album).

    “Fifteen minutes of mantra filled oompah” is one hell of a line.

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  10. Just thought I’d comment on my favourites from the new album ‘CSS: Ableside’. As well as the immediate classic ‘There’s a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets’ (‘National Sh*te Day’), I really like this one (sung to the tune of ‘Hokey Cokey’):

    I stick my big nose in when I go out,
    Sealed off carpark, what’s it all about?
    I like an altercation with a member of staff,
    That was a ten pound note.
    I ring up Dial-a-Pizza,
    I ring up Dial-a-Pizza,
    I ring up Dial-a-Pizza,
    And say that’s not how I would spell Hawaiian.

    ‘Petty Sessions’

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  11. I rather fond of the poignant..
    I used to catch old Gordon Giltrap, I used to think that it mattered.
    But the long drone of the treadmill, was the sound of my hopes being shattered. (Floreat Inertia)

    and..
    The town hall band CD, it’s a grower (For what is Chatteris).

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  12. Fantastic one, Kade. 🙂

    Another one from the same album: ‘Stromgodset Under 5s did the offy last night’ and ‘Massey Ferguson rubbed me up the wrong way’ (Malayian Jelutong).

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  13. one of my many personal favourites:
    “come on and meet the new genius elect, who’s slumped in the corner for maximum effect”

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    1. Cracking quote there, Gronk.

      I’ve almost forgotten about that one, one of a selection of crackers in ‘£24.99 at Argos’. I also love the cheap keyboard preset rhythms, which are the same as the ones in a portable Realistic one my Dad bought from Tandy several years ago!

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