Music / Half Man Half Biscuit

"Andy Kershaw: Can you make a living being Half Man Half Biscuit?"
"Nigel Blackwell: Just about. But then again I'm not that materialistic, I can't drive, so I haven't got a car. I've never been on a plane so I don't go on foreign holidays, so as long as I've got enough money for a season ticket every season [for Tranmere Rovers] that's good enough for me really"

Half Man Half Biscuit are a folk band, with a big smattering of parody thrown in, from Birkenhead near Liverpool. Active since 1986, they have released 12 albums and a number of singles / EPs.

They have a pretty large cult following, but saying which of their songs is most famous is difficult, although the only one to chart is Joy Division Oven Gloves, which reached #56 after a Facebook campaign.

Legendary DJ John Peel was a fan, and they recorded a number of sessions for his radio show. Andy Kershaw once called them "The most authentic English folk group since The Clash".

Tropes include:

  • Affectionate Parody - Often. The one that comes to mind is With Goth On Our Side, a parody of Bob Dylan's With God On Our Side.
  • Christmas Songs - All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit, It's Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas.
  • Folk Music - Is not a perfect description, but it will do, and they have covered folk songs in the past.
  • List Song - Quite a few.
  • Literary Allusion Title - The song Thy Damnation Slumbereth Not (A reference to Tess of the d'Urbervilles), among others.
  • Long Title - All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit, We Built This Village On A Trad. Arr. Tune, 99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd, I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves), Took Problem Chimp To Ideal Home Show, Tending The Wrong Grave For 23 Years, and so on.
  • Pun-Based Title - Most of their albums, and a good number of their songs.
  • Reference Overdosed - Good luck catching everything they mention, and not just lyrics either but sometimes tunes. A lot of them are explained on their website:
  • Take That! - Just as often as Affectionate Parody.
  • Wham Line - At the end of Paintball's Coming Home:
    And if I'd known that they were coming, I'd have slashed my wrists.