The last concert I went to before all the Covid madness was in Castleton to see Half Man Half Biscuit.
I stayed at the Swallowholme campsite.
My first concert back after all the Covid madness was in Castleton to see Half Man Half Biscuit.
I would be staying at the Swallowholme campsite.
I’m a creature of habit!
I had the same plan as I did back in 2019, pitch the tent (this time I’d be taking the MSR), walk, dinner, gig, sleep, walk. At least this time around the weather forecast was good.
The campsite doesn’t officially take tents, but the friendly owners were happy for me to pitch up in a lovely little spot. My own picnic bench was an unexpected luxury.
After a quick cuppa, I headed out of the campsite and up the road towards Water Lane, from here the route to the Lady Bower reservoir was very easy to follow along the Thornhill Trail. I took the turn off towards Sheffield Bridge so I could cross over the dam and hopefully get some good photos of the reservoir and it’s famous plug holes. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of dry, hot weather recently and the water levels were low. No plug hole action. There was still plenty of interest for us AvGeeks though, this area was used to train up the Dambuster Lancaster bomber pilots.
I bimbled around the woods a little before heading back.
It was still fairly early so extended the walk to take a peek at Bamford itself. I was surprised to find a busy road filled with impatient drivers who enjoyed the sound of their own horns a little too much. A footpath took me away from the village and up to Bamford Filters. This sounded more interesting/romantic than the water treatment works that it actually is.
I’ve uploaded the route (along with an extension to the petrol station!) to OutdoorActive
So, on with the show!
As I did last time, I walked up to Castleton.
I gave myself plenty of time for the walk which Google said would take around 90 minutes.
Despite being alongside the road, the views were nice. I also managed to get some childish giggles from the road signs!
I arrived just after 7. It was rather quiet in Castleton and there weren’t too many people around the entrance to the Devil’s Arse Cave either. I grabbed a bottle of water and made my way right to the front to the side of the stage. People already ‘claimed’ front and centre and there was an odd collection of chairs further along, but I was happy with my spot for the evening.
By 7.30, nothing much was happening. At around 7.45, bassist Neil popped on the stage. Perhaps we weren’t getting a support act. I really should have paid more attention to the schedules!
At 8pm a bloke at the side of the stage uses his phone to signal with three flashes, then comes a cry of “Hello Speedwell”
Since the last gig, Half Man Half Biscuit brought out what I think is their best album yet, The Voltarol Years. The album ends the greatest song ever written, ‘Oblong of Dreams’ (no comments please, I won’t be argued with 😉 ) There’s not too many songs about Wirral, fewer still about the estate I grew up on.
I always get a bit of dust in my eye, “Over the Fender and under the bridge. Estate memories all good, sunbeams on my childhood” Tonight was no different!
The set list was something along the lines of:
Joy in Leeuwarden
Fred Titmus – which had become Fred Flintstone this evening
Vitas Gerulaitis – with a snippet from The Best Things in Life
Bob Wilson, Anchor Man
Light at the end of the the tunnel – very appropriate given the many Peak District references.
In a Suffolk ditch
Rock and roll is full of bad wools
99% of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd
Little in the way of sunshine
Big Man Up Front – another fave off the new album.
Part-Time Punks – a new one for me, I later discovered it’s a Television Personalities cover.
San Antonio foam party
When I Look at My Baby – yet another new one and great live
Left Lyrics in the practice toom
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
PRS Yearbook – has this ever been played live before? A bit of a rarity!
National S**** Day
For what is Chatteris
Trad Arr Tune
Midnight Mass Murder – another new one which works well live
Every time a bell rings
Oblong of dreams
20th Century Boy (another cover)
Joy Division oven gloves.
We also got a little bit of Lan Ganley stance, or should I say, John Ganley. A chap in the audience who may have had one shandy too many, shouted for it several times. It was later concluded that John was the brother who “did the table tennis”.
The walk back only took an hour, I was tempted to get the last bus but it was a lovely, starry evening and my head was full of tonight’s tunes. Such a shame I made the school girl error of leaving the head torch in the tent.
It’s impossible to have a bad Biscuits gig but this venue is special, I’m already looking forward to a return visit. First though is Biscuits in Birmingham!