Half Man Half Biscuit - Edinburgh Attic 22/8/97


Though they might not thank me for saying it, Half Man Half Biscuit are like a dog on a pitch. How does it go again.... they generate a feeling of warmth... that augurs well for mankind. Because, coming into the Attic the band had already made it onstage and all I could see was a bunch of very drunken skinheads who'd made an impromptu moshpit of most of the venue, plus some frightened looking Biscuit fans lining the walls, plus a few students and others who seemed more intent on chatting loudly or smoking enough dope to stun a small elephant than listen to the gig. This was possibly due in part to the Edinburgh Festival being on, though it surprised me that the gig hadn't sold out to casual followers of satire. All it'd need would be a couple of by-lines like "Laughing at the Great British Public, not with them... hilarious" - the Guardian - and they could be selling out a 3-week stint to Australian tourists without any trouble.

However, tonight was a far cry indeed from last month's Glasgow gig which seemed to consist entirely of , well, some might say Biscuit anoraks who were there to listen and learn from the boy's wry views on life, weep at the mere sight of the spokesmen for a disinterested generation, etc. No, the audience tonight (Matthew) were merely out to HAVE A GOOD TIME! Gits.


I braved the edges of the mosh-area, picking my way through the broken glass littering the floor (moshing skins were colliding with tables at high speed) and got a decent vantage point. The band are one of those unusual ones who seem to know their back-catalogue pretty intimately, as they 'd changed the set somewhat from those few weeks ago. There was a new song too (detailed on the webpage) "You're Hard" ("Jenny Eclair - you're funny") plus a very short run through "Charlie Goth", who "writes letters to the NME saying 'why is everybody always picking on me?"

I did note that the fun-loving skins (a good way of shutting out idle chatter I suppose) did seem to know all the words so they must have been real fans, though they were also in the mood for a good bop, so the versions of "Help Me Rhonda" and "Transmission" went down particularly well. Also aired were "Squabblefest', "Venus in Flares", "Fred Titmus" - all your favourites, in fact. As with any HMHB gig, by the end the audience were happy and at peace with the world, with no blood spilled. And that's what life's all about, after all.