The Wave Pictures @ H&H, Birmingham

Sunday the 15th of February. @cockerss and I are going to our second gig of the year, the first was a likeable Scotsman who goes by the name King Creosote, it was a good set of folky tunes with a couple of stand-out moments; the accordion bit, the whistling bit, and the bit where he sang Are You Dancing (may not be actual song name). He did the old “if Warwick Uni is in Cov, is Coventry Uni in Warwick” gag as performers seem to be obliged when they play Warwick Arts Centre. It was nice. It was sit down, tap your feet good. And there was a complete prick sat on the row behind us who wouldn’t shut his stupid mouth the whole time. I wanted to kill him. I may or not have have been tooled up. (I didn’t actually want to kill him, but I may or may not have been armed). OK…
But that night we were going to see The Wave Pictures. I was excited. I only really get excited when I win horse races or find something rare and unusual in a charity shop or when I’m arguing with cockers about something mundane and I know I have the upper hand. I was excited and I’d drunk four cans of lager before the train journey to New Street. This was going to be fun.
I met cockers at the station and we got cash and I hailed a taxi to take us to The Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath. £12 dribbled from my hand into the greedy palm of Mr Drive. So far so good.
I dragged cockers to the excellently named Big Johns so I could eat a tasty burger before the gig and soak up a bit of that lager. It wasn’t a tasty burger. But it was cheap and it is becoming part of the H&H experience. Call it tradition or just a compulsion to eat shit food purely because I like the name of the place. cockers watched me eat the burger and thanked Cher’s Ghost that she was a vegetarian.
We looted a charity bookshop on the way to Big Johns. Don’t leave literature on the doorstep when we’re in town. I pocketed some shit novel that I’ll never read and will join the rest of the hard-labored insulation that lines the walls of my frankly grim bedroom. cockers palmed one called The Art of Chivalry and left it in Big Johns for the benefit of all and sundry. We had already made Birmingham a better place to live in.
My belly is slightly annoyed at me for filling it with lager and shit food. We head to the venue, we’re still excited, cockers says something about bigbellybins. I check she’s still taking her medication. She is, it’s fine.
There is still time for a pint downstairs. It takes us about 3 minutes to drink them. We get another pint each and go upstairs to the music room, the music area, the place where they play the music.
So far we haven’t freaked any one out, but surely it’s just a matter of time. Turns out we aren’t the only freaks there, an old couple, maybe late fifties/early sixties, takes first prize for ‘jeez, who let them out in public’ simply by being very odd. The man has taken his miserable wife to the gig against her will, She doesn’t even like music. He LOVES music. One of them had fun that night, and one has probably never had fun.
cockers can’t help but engage them in The Art of Conversation. I have a suspicion that she’s only talking to them to gauge how mental they are. The man reminds me a bit of Jim Broadbent if Jim Broadbent had post-traumatic stress disorder from gunning down his family. But I knew this guy would enjoy the killing.
I kept my distance.
The first act came on. A good indie support act by the name of Midnight Bonfires. We had to check the name with Killer Jim. We like him now.
The singer has an interesting vocal style, kind of does that thing where your voice breaks but it sounds okay and really his voice broke all over the place, hard left, break right, CHICANE. It sounded good though, in case I failed to get that point across. Another thing about the singer is that he had the same hair style as cockers – well he didn’t but I’d just finished my 6th pint of the day and even though it wan’t funny or accurate in any way I was going to find it funny despite all those things. Because I’m a dickhead.
The band finished their set and we bought another pint.
We did a bit of a twitter. Someone cockers is in The Mutual Art of Following is at the gig. We don’t really know what they look like. Is it that tall guy in the middle. The one looking at his phone. Or is it that guy that just passed by. Or is it the bald guy being a dick to the girl he’s with? We don’t know.
I’m very excited now. It’s palpable.
David Tattersall gets on the stage.
Then the band join him. The Wave Pictures are ready and the bassist has the most immense shirt I’ve ever witnessed.


I can’t stop thinking how to get my hands on a shirt like that. I’m captivated by it. The music starts and I barely notice. That shirt!

I do notice. It’s impossible not to be grabbed by the fret work of David Tattersall. The inventive poetry of his lyrics. Very playful and full of childlike glee. And that’s just how I feel as I sip the dregs of my pint. cockers has taken to finishing off my pints now. That’s just not leg before wicket.

They introduce a song called I could Hear the Telephone and I let out an infantile whoop. No one else whoops so David has to laugh and comments “well, it looks like somebody already bought the new record”. The blood pumps in my ears. I have to say something. “Soundcloud actually.” I squeeze out of my lips. He laughs. It was a good thing to say.

They start to play the song and I’m dancing now and thinking if David thinks I’m a cheap bastard. I wonder if I should wait for the sweet heavenly guitar licks to die down and assure him that I paid for City of Forgiveness, their last album, on iTunes. I decide that no one gives a shit and went to the bar.

When I return they do a cover of Sinister Purpose by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It is pelvic thrustingly, absurdly good for the ears and whatever else ails you. I thank Oden that my left ear, which had been blocked with wax, was now being penetrated by the full wave lengths of the song At Dusk You Took Down the Blinds – a much slower and moodier work of art. (song of the week? maybe.)

They do another Creedence cover to end the set. By this time I’m dancing like I’m at Woodstock and the drugs are kicking in. I notice there’s a girl dancing at the front who is nearly as snake hipped as me.

The song keeps on going. The solo never ending. I think they did three songs for the encore. It was now something like 11.30pm and there was no way I could stomach any more alcohol. The band left the stage. I wanted to talk to David but we had a train to catch even though in the back of my head I knew we were too late. There was a bit  of a conversation with Killer Jim B about how good the gig was. And how The Wave Pictures were the only reason he stopped killing.
We get a taxi to the station via the cashpoint. An impoverished gentleman has £3 of my hard-earned wage. The taxi waits while I check if there are any trains still running. Of course there isn’t. We’re fucked.
How much is it going to cost us to get back to Leamington and Coventry? Did I read a book on The Art of Bartering? Will this post ever end?

The taxi man told us it would be £60 and cockers looked like she might faint. we paid upfront and were on our way home, wishing that we had some booze for the journey. In the end it cost £80 for the full journey. By the meter it would have been £85. Perhaps I did know how to barter after all.

And cockers held in a wee the WHOLE WAY HOME.


1 Comment

  1. Hold on, when have you ever argued about something mundane with me and had the upper hand. I ALWAYS have the upper hand/am right, you know this.


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