Half Man Half Biscuit have live Engine Shed date

Half Man Half Biscuit are live at the Engine Shed next month
Half Man Half Biscuit are live at the Engine Shed next month

Cult indie band Half Man Half Biscuit are live at the Engine Shed in Lincoln next month.

If Half Man Half Biscuit did not exist, it would be imperative to invent them.

Since their formation nearly 30 years ago, their presence has been, in essence, the vehicle for the observations, ramblings and creations of frontman Nigel Blackwell.

Throughout changing times they have spanned the decades, released 13 full-length albums and dropped many a pop culture references, from BBC Radio’s Charles Nove to former England cricketer Fred Titmus, to Czech football team Dukla Prague.

Their approach to promoting their music is famously non-existent – a handful of UK gigs each year is normal.

Even rarer are interviews of any kind. Blackwell himself states his biggest achievement, as “creating a situation for myself whereby I can get up of a morning and decide to go and tackle Bwlch Pen Barras on the bike, rather than report to a superior to await orders”.

Their existence is somehow outside of the modern world, yet also a reaction to it.

Merely by continuing to release and perform, Half Man Half Biscuit serve a greater purpose – to rally against the junk that life throws up with a wry smile, and also to take joy in life’s small and simple pleasures.

Back in 1985, Half Man Half Biscuit sat comfortably at the top of the indie album chart.

This may not seem so much of an achievement, unless you take a look back at the other contenders in the chart at that time.

Acts such as Depeche Mode, New Order and The Cult were all on the scene, and you could guarantee that none of them managed to hit the number one spot with an album that had been recorded in just a couple of days and for around £30.

That album was Back In The DHSS and it became an instant success after it was championed by the late John Peel, for whom they did a total of 12 sessions over the years.

As soon as he heard the white label test pressing, he was smitten.

Peel said of the album: “Back In The DHSS came at a time when music in general was starting to get a little bit po-faced.”

With tracks such as I Hate Nerys Hughes and I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves), Half Man Half Biscuit could never be considered as po-faced.

The album went on to sell more than 200,000 copies and since then, they have released a further 12 albums with Nigel Blackwell never taking the music business too seriously.

According to Nigel, the reason he started writing songs, was due to the fact, that when he left school in Birkenhead, the only other option was to become a heroin addict.

With lyrics such as, ‘she’s the main man in the office in the city and she treats me like I’m just another lackey/But I can put a tennis racket up against my face and pretend that I am Kendo Nagasaki’ nobody could dispute he chose the correct career path.

Their latest album Urge for Offal, sees more of Nigel’s surreal observations on everyday life.

A few shining examples are Old Age Killed My Teenage Bride and Baguette Dilemma for the Booker Prize Guy.

Grab your Joy Division oven goves and don your Dukla Prague away kit, The Biscuit are playing live in Lincoln.

Their Engine Shed gig is on October 28 at 7.30pm.

Advance tickets are £20 on 0844 8888766 or www.engineshed.co.uk