Chocolate Biscuits

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Back To The Edge, Gigs

I am at Katie Fitzgerald’s playing on stage. The lights are on me, and so is all the attention. This has been great. Local music royalty Sam & Dale have specially arranged for me to play on the same night as two old musical friends, Bones and Munch. Bones and Munch are great guys. Great musicians. Great minds. Tonight is special, so I’ve said “yis”. I’ve practiced my set, and even planned a brand new cover! A song to touch the soul! To heal the broken-hearted! To educate under-privileged Albanian children! Something unfamiliar, but instantly recognisable. With claps. Seminal claps. Claps that I’ve nailed.

I arrive at Katie’s to find Bones and Munch already there, with a pic ‘n’ mix selection of friends including Violence Ball host Wall Heath Dan, Natalie the wedding singer, Bones’ Dad Roy and Big Boots; who has just realised that I walked here and that he drove off without offering me a lift.

This could be useful! Very useful!!!

I belly laugh evil-ly. Inside.

He apologises.

I accept his apology.

Oh no!

I go and say hi to Bones who is doing some last minute lyric learning. “I’m doing a new cover” he proudly announces. Wow! This can only be good. I steal a glance at his setlist. It flies into my eyes like a bee that eats brains. He’s picked a song with a PGCE.

In Eastern Europe.

“Bones, Are you doing the Royle Family theme?”

“Yeah, yeah.”


I am royle-y bonesed. I suggest singing it together. Neither of us wants to. I graciously grant Bones (who’s on before me) permission to do it.

He’d better nail the claps.

I need a replacement. An emergency cover! Matty from Stour always has an emergency packet of crisps. I like men that prepare for the probably-never-gonna-happen. Like men who hoard old mobile phones and cardboard cut-outs of 90s celebrities.

Just in case.

I am at the bar with Munch, considering buying a packet of Monster Munch. I’m wondering how they’ll turn Munch into a monster – and also what kind? – when I remember that I left my wallet with all my Craig Cash at home and all I’ve got on me is a photograph of Richard Moss.

Just in case.

Time is running out. I can never think of covers off-the-cuff. I can’t think of any spontaneous covers, but… I can spontaneously cover any think! I decide to whip out my classic Requests Section! I ask the crowd to shout out songs and if I’ve even heard it once, I’ll give it a go. If they shout out a few, I’ve got to blend them!

Blender Says What? – A film I’ve always wanted to make, but I digress.

Even if the requests section fails, I have a new song – ‘Skyblue’. A tasty chilled treat for tonight’s troupe! Tre-men-dous!

Munch is first up, and he shines. His funky-but-metallic-Anberlin-half-time version of ‘God Put A Smile Upon Your Face’ is avant-garde and spectacular. The night’s shaping up well. “This next one is one of mine” he warns.

Oooh! It’s tasty! And chilled.


Oh no!

This is actually happening. My newbie is beginning to look like a shrivelled snack more than a mouth-watering morsel. A single emergency crisp in the hand of a dwarf borrower. Incidentally I saw a sign in the library the other day saying:

‘Please Give to Borrowers’.

Which concerns me a little. I’ve not seen them around, but obviously the librarian has! I might have trodden on one! I might have trodden on loads! Is it wrong to accidentally thwomp a borrower? I have no idea how many tiny people I could have crushed!! Am I a serial killer? Dan the Ripper? Dan the Treader? I shall henceforth endeavour to tread with trepidation at all times.

But I digress.

Munch has finished off his set after unwittingly decimating mine. Bonesy’s up next. We go way back. He remembers my Crestwood Church era, when I’d be asked to sing Happy Birthday every Sunday. Big Boots and I decided one week to do it in the punk style for a laugh and we ended up forced into an impromptu new style each week. Barbershop. Elvis. Cliff Richard. Britpop. Church is at it’s best with a sprinkling of surrealism. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in a waterhouse?

Bones remembers. And he knows a man who recently set up a fake birthday on Facebook as a ruse. “Just before I start,” he says in his very Black Country accent.

“I’d like to wish Munch a happy 17th birthday!”

The crowd is raucous. Just like Bones bribed us to be. Munch is not 17, and hasn’t been for over a year. We sing happy birthday and Munch begins plotting revenge on his skeletal housemate.

Perhaps some kind of ruse.

Bonesy takes us Half The World Away and into the Starlight before coming into land with a Lightning Strikes classic. The crowd’s loving every minute of it, and even moreso because Bones’ Dad Roy has been around making sure everybody has a chocolate biscuit. He attends every one of Bones’ gigs, and has clearly found a brilliant new way of furthering his and everyone else’s enjoyment!

I wish I had a Roy.

This has been great! I’ve been enjoying myself; heckling old friends on stage and clapping uncontrollably like a nutter hermit (or wildman) insistent on pulverising the little person from the library he’d been renting the palm of his hand to for a very low rent in this financial season. This has been a quality night, and I’ve completely forgotten that Bones didn’t nail the claps. The thing is; something bad may or may not have just happened.

Somehow, I have been invited up to the stage to dance.

And I’ve accepted.

Oh no! The Epileptic Spider has done more damage to my love life than all those Birmingham hurricanes put together. I don’t mean the cartoon football team. If only they’d been given Birmingham accents and referenced the Balti Belt constantly. Thing is, I like to dance stupidly, and I’m high.

On chocolate biscuits.

I stand, and tread with trepidation towards the stage.

Half-nervous. Half-excited.

David Hosslehalf.

I pull out the Spider and fuse in some exotic moves from Flight of the Conchords. I’m amazing! I can’t quite gauge people’s reactions, but I’m pretty sure they’re all as impressed as I am. I sit back down to uncertain applause when something hits me.

A worm.

A few minutes later I am back on the stage seeing if I can do the worm.

I can’t.

I sit down and shut up. I’ve hurt myself. It feels like it may be a Caroline Aherne-ia.

Minutes later, I am on stage in my own right. After celebrating Munch’s 15th birthday in the style of Elvis I skilfully weave my way through Eagle-Eye Cherry and Green Day and brazenly reveal ‘Skyblue’. “It’s very chilled” I warn them, “But it’s quite short”. It goes down well. I end up jamming with myself through ‘The Phoenix’ and pull some of my classic ‘feeling it’ facial expressions before finishing off with ‘Pretty Doesn’t Make The Princess’ with me also singing the female backing vocal.

The crowd is in rapture. Possibly because I’ve just stopped playing.

No! It couldn’t be that! These people love me! I’m a celebrity! Who lived in the 90s! I am a cardboard cut-out in the garages of real men throughout England!

I put down my guitar and prepare to embrace the generous gifts of my doting fans.

Roy runs to the stage and offers me a chocolate biscuit.

I accept. And smile.

This is why people dream of fame.

————–I am suddenly filled with pride. The bad kind.———————————-

I decide to immediately show off my fame! To rub it in their faces! I am better than them and they will know it!


I belly laugh evil-ly inside. My smile turns sinister, my eyes creepy.

I put the chocolate biscuit next to my mouth next to the mic.

And munch.


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