i'm a bit worried about nigel from half man half biscuit. several things have been troubling me; specifically, the track 'depressed beyond tablets'.
i've only seen two copies of 'achtung bono' for sale anywhere, both in fopp stores at various points in the country. so i ended up buying it a considerable time after it came out. this isn't unusual for me; i often wait for the golden moment before going out and buying a cd i really really want. after the related peel and kershaw sessions, i was looking forward to the album with some trepedation; three tracks were classic biscuit (For What Is Chatteris?, Epiphany, Joy Division Oven Gloves), while the other three were so-so (ok, so 'hanging out in dixons with your corgi registered friends' elevates 'corgi registered friends' some way, but it's let down by 'when i hear your wife's silly giggling at anne summers parties' - what's he even doing at anee summers parties?), plus some great covers. on reading the tracklisting, and realising epiphany had been left off (presumably because the session version was perfect and everyone had already downloaded it), i began to wonder what could possibly be on the album.
in short, it's not that good and i've not listened to it all the way through. one track contains the lyrics 'is your kid hyperactive, or is he just a twat?.. i had tantric sex last week and it was shit'; the classic tactic of making up for a lack of humour with swearing didn't work then, and doesn't work now. 'shit arm, bad tattoo' just pulls out of this category by being about the libertines' second album; but generally there is a lack of humour over the whole record, the songs feel more like silly novelty songs (i mean, does anyone actually find 'i'm walking backwards this christmas' funny? in fact, that song is referenced with the witty 'i'm driving backwards at peak hour') than the typical hmhb schtick - tunes that make you laugh when you first hear them, and continue to entertain over time. those laughs are missing. and why is he taking lyrical swipes at motley crue? are they even still going? 'i'll shout gouranga and be happy when you're arrested for defacing the bridge' is a good line, but it's hardly news.
still, we've got 'for what is chatteris?', possibly the most tender break-up song they've yet recorded.. ah. is that it? or is it the fact that they're playing more than ever (always one off gigs, never a tour), something nigel admits he hates doing in a kershaw interview? whatever it is, nigel has lost some of his sheen, and i don't think 'depressed beyond tablets' is a joke.
so that song. firstly, that's a quote of ted maul in brass eye; it's not even an original plea. secondly the chorus: 'depressed beyond tablets, i've gone beyond pills' is entirely bereft of any kind of humour, despite being jaunted over an upbeat backing. and there isn't anything funny about the rest of the song either. not that it fails at being funny; it just doesn't try. it's just a slightly silly song about severe depression. bear in mind the temprement of most comedians, and it's understandable that everyone has their off-days, their long dark nights, their gloamings. i'm not saying nigel's lost it; i just think he should take some time off, get back in touch with himself, and be more funny.