Sunday, 19 December 2010

Half Man Half Biscuit, Holmfirth Picturedrome

Looking back on 2010, I'm sure people would agree that highlights have been few and far between. A pitiful performance from our national side during this summer's World Cup, the General Election result and the spending review, the career trajectory of Michael Mcintyre, the death of Malcom Mclaren and the second series of True Blood have all been crushing disappointments that us mere mortals have had to contend with this year.

One highlight, however, which in many ways was brought about by people power, was the BBC's decision not to axe the digital radio station 6 Music. From the moment the BBC announced their plans to close down several of their digital radio stations, a groundswell of support for the beleaguered station gathered pace, and grabbed the attention of musicians and music fans from across the globe.

From social network campaigns to questions being raised in the House of Commons, the quest to save 6 Music took the establishment by surprise. Within weeks of their announcement, the BBC's Director General Mark Thompson was appearing on news programmes defending the decision, but doing so without any real conviction.

One of the campaign's masterstrokes was to use Half Man Half Biscuit's Joy Division Oven Gloves as an unofficial anthem for the station.  While somewhat of a throwaway track from the band's 2005 Achtung Bono album, the song seemed a perfect choice for spearheading the campaign, with the line 'talk to the hand, talk to the hand' coming across as an alternative two-fingered salute to the DG.

A rousing rendition of the song closes tonight's set in Holmfirth, which also included HMHB classics such as Dickie Davies Eyes and the timely All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague away kit and new songs Left Lyrics in Practice Room and Tommy Walsh's Eco-House. Add to this a surreal stage invasion, a cover of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's Patio Song and an old cinema full of loyal and devoted fans singing every word as if their life depended on it, and you had all the ingredients for a cracking evening out.

Members of the Velvet Owl Gig Collective - Dukla Prague away kits hidden by their winter coats.

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