For a while now, we’ve had an irregular Friday Quiz on Chris Rand’s HMHB Lyrics Project Site. Many themes have been chosen, from “moons in HMHB” to “the abums of 1973 in HMHB”. There is still endless potential – feel free to post your own questions for us one Friday. But I wanted to do a HMHB picture quiz for Christmas, so came back here to this old disused blog page of mine to host it – the first time I’d been here since I first set it up and wrote a couple of things on here five years ago, in fact. Then the quiz eventually evolved into this monstrosity – a hundred questions related to our favourite band, with the odd excursion into extraneous Xmas entertainments. Some questions are absolute gifts, worth twenty points each, and some others are worthless. Sorry I mean they are worth less – unless stated, they earn you five points each, and many of them require two things for the five points – for example a name/place/fact and a song title.
Round 1- The Xmas Cards Round
HMHB get sacks full of Christmas cards of course, not just from us fans but from the various lonely celebrities, neglected groups and companies who are grateful to Mr. Blackwell for remembering them so fondly in his lyrics – they realise that without Mr. B, they would be struggling. Geoff keeps the cards at Probe Towers, and here I can exclusively bring you pictures of just a few of the cards received and on display there this month.
Round 2 – The Radio Times Quiz of the year
Round 3 – What’s on Telly this Xmas?
Q. 29 Which film on BBC2 on Monday 30th December stars a HMHB reference, one which Nigel Blackwell has since shown that he regrets? TWENTY POINTS
Q.30 ITV3 are showing 15 films from one series over the Xmas period, most of them including another HMHB reference that Mr. B has said he now regrets. TWENTY POINTS
Q.31 Sky 1 are showing a HMHB-referenced film on Boxing Day that should see a little sunshine come our way. TWENTY POINTS.
Q.32 Channel 5 are showing which film with a HMHB-referenced title character on New Year’s Day? TWENTY POINTS.
Round 4 – This is Your Life
I see that a new nostalgia (cheap repeats) channel called “60s-70s-80s”* are showing re-runs of old episodes of This is your Life over the next fortnight. the following episodes are all about stars name-checked (or in one case obviously referenced) in HMHB.
Q. 33 Whose episode of This is your Life ends with a story of how he was knighted in an unusual way, followed by the reading of a personal letter from the Queen Mum and a band marching down through the audience?
Q.34 Whose This is your Life ends with him being told he has the gratitude of the Ethiopian people? Surprisingly, however, no thanks from the Austrian Tourist Board. TWENTY POINTS.
Q.35 Whose This is your Life begins on an open-top bus ride, with Jill Dando saying how good he is at his role? Later he is told by Brian Moore that “You were the star of the World Cup … a few of the critics don’t quite get how good you are, but we do.”
Q.36 Which 74 year-old Scouser was lifted up by a 76 year-old woman from Rochdale when they were re-united on his This is your Life? “She has flown in from her Italian villa to be with us tonight…“
Q.37 Whose This is your Life features mutual admiration between the star of the show and Eric Morley, heaps of praise from Big Daddy and Frank Bruno (the latter in full panto costume), and a speech from one of the organisations the star supported, saying very knowingly “most celebrities just give money, but you keep coming back and checking on your investment.” TWENTY POINT QUESTION.
*I suspect that my mince pies may have been spiked, so that I may have imagined the existence of this channel. In fact what I claim to see in my Xmas Radio Times from now on may not necessarily be there at all …
Round 5 – Anagrams for All
These are just straightforward, achievable anagrams of celebs, all name-checked very memorably in HMHB lyrics, with clues. They’re probably all getting repeat fees and royalties somewhere in the Xmas TV schedule (though some more than others, and with the exception of the dead one). Five of the seven are anagrams of the full names (first name and surname) as given in the lyrics. In two cases the anagram includes a first name which is not in the lyrics, as well as the surname, which is.
Q38. Kirk’s USA bias – CLUE: not much of a record breaker before he went on telly. TWENTY POINTER
Q39. Sad Lennon did – CLUE: Imagine Archer reading a tribute at your funeral!
Q40. Hang by rat man – CLUE: that’s life when you eat filth.
Q41. Online annex – CLUE: in the song, zero except utter admiration. TWENTY POINTER
Q42. Les’ sat-nav fez – CLUE: brings endless suffering in the song. TWENTY POINTER
Q43. A jelly mass – CLUE: in the song, her volume in pieces? TWENTY POINTER
Q44. Sack I, I’ve died – CLUE: I haven’t died, I’m 87. Not many people realise I’m from the Wirral, but I was last seen in public opening a shop down south, my famous vision still going strong. TWENTY POINTS
Round 6 – So-called ‘comedy’
Q. 45 & 46 Name any two sitcom characters referred to specifically in HMHB lyrics (the actors are not mentioned). Not just generic first names (so “Thelma”, for example, would not do). TWENTY POINTS… EACH!!
Q. 47 Which HMHB-referenced sitcom actor appeared in Dr. Who as an officer on an expedition to scout out planets for potential future colonisation by earth?
Q.48 Which utterly appalling, depressingly long-running so-called ‘comedy’ show of our youth, containing not one single even remotely funny moment in all its many tedious series, was brought to its end by which HMHB-referenced star suffering a heart attack? I’m not celebrating anyone’s tragic death, but there can be silver linings.
Q. 49 Who was apparently known in the business for often being drunk and stoned while working in his minor but regular roles on the comedy shows with which he was most associated? TWENTY POINTS.
Q. 50 Other than Nerys Hughes in The Liver Birds, name someone else mentioned in HMHB lyrics who has appeared in any Carla Lane sitcom.
Q.51 Which Carla Lane sitcom was set in beautiful, sparkling, healthy Bath spa? (That’s surely enough about Carla Lane now – ed.)
Q. 52 & 53 Live at the Apollo – this show has been referenced in HMHB lyrics and several of its performers have been slagged off in live performances. But nobody referenced in HMHB recordings has appeared on it for over 9 years now, So name the only two people referenced in the recordings who have ever appeared on it. TWENTY POINTS…. EACH!!
Round 7 – Knobheads on Quiz Shows
Q. 54 Which far-from-outstanding game-show performer mentioned by HMHB survived the sinking of the Titanic?
Q. 55 Which Welsh presenter, a former afternoon TV gameshow person, got their first break into the business thanks to being in a band with someone who would later become a celebrity HMHB fan, which led in turn to them being recommended for the job (which gave them their break) by another (related) celebrity who would also be a prominent HMHB fan?
Q.56 Which totally amazing HMHB-referenced excuse for a frickin’ ‘celebrity’ scored just 1 point – one single ruddy point – on general knowledge on Celebrity Mastermind five Christmases ago? Now I know we’re always told that “it’s not so easy once you’re in that chair,” and I know they do it for charity and I know it’s Christmas – fair play, etc … but don’t you think the Beeb should bloody sack them if they are that embarrassingly poor? Should have organised an online petition at the time, really. Would have done if I’d known how the day-time schedule change a year ago would come to blight our lives…
Round 8 – Miserable to Who?
These less straightforward anagrams are not for the faint-hearted and there are no clues. On the plus side, these are only worth 5 points each. Here each one features a HMHB-referenced celebrity mixed up with one of the TV programmes they are associated with, and in one or two cases it’s not even their most famous programme. The first one is actually just the programme title, as that includes the celeb’s first name, so that’s the shortest and easiest. If you don’t get that first one, you probably won’t want to bother with the rest, as the remainder are all anagrams of first name + surname + programme title, and in the final one (Q.62) another essential word from the lyrics has been added to the mix.
57. Hooray! Sleet puns!
58. Bleak tosh curbs sun.
59. How rectums randomly fog.
60. At Pubs. Frost. Aih! Leg breaks.
61. Coma glossing more chill rain.
62. Sick Ken licks fungoidy snow.
Round 9 – Bitter ex-soap stars, who thought they could go on and do …
63. Which HMHB-referenced buffoon appeared on Coronation Street as a mulleted rock star, featuring in twelve episodes about six years ago?
64. When Andy Kershaw asked who she was, Mr. B replied that this ex-soap star was probably on the cover of the Radio Times that week, because she was in pretty much everything.
65. Who is the soap character named in an HMHB song, who was played by an actor who was name-checked on stage in London a few years back in a version of A Country Practice? Five bonus points if you can tell me exactly which outstanding pub Nigel claimed to have met the actor at.
66. In Descent of the Stiperstones, what proportion of the lyrics (when you don’t count the two most often-repeated phrases) does the Lynette McMurrough/Crossroads saga occupy?
(a) 24% (b) 34% (c) 44% (d) 54%
[No, I have no idea myself why I wanted to work that out, but once I had, I had to ask you really, didn’t I?]
67. … and what is the link between the Cant conformism of this clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YCBE4I1gZo&list=PLzz6UMiPpUb6xccA2vgnk5-AUq2B1ZTIv&index=88 and the soapiness of Descent of the Stiperstones?
Round 10. Other Things Besides.
This round is a bit more random. Just generally some TV, film & music gubbins that mostly we’re pretty glad we don’t have to watch this Xmas, and some other stuff that we might stream instead if we get bored. I’d have called it the ‘quick-fire round’ or something, if only that were true.
68. Might watch this one – a film released within the last decade about someone mentioned in a HMHB song, which the blurb tells me has “a dynamic soundtrack by Philip Glass”.
69. But this one’s a swerve – Sex and the City on BBC2, followed by highlights from Glastonbury – but what’s the obscure and tenuous connection between the two? They’re both HMHB-referenced but it’s not a HMHB-related connection.
70. Ooh look – Star Trek‘s on – the first movie from 1979 – they even give us a link to the trailer (you may need to copy and paste the URL if it doesn’t work as a link, and may need to watch a Netflix ad before the trailer)
But what links that film (and the trailer) with what many believe to be HMHB’s greatest song?
71. Ooh look – a film with a John Barry soundtrack, which I haven’t seen since it first came out (when I saw it at the old Phoenix cinema in Wallasey village). HMHB haven’t mentioned the title specifically, but not too long ago they used the theme as their entrance music. Be miffed if I miss that one. Which film?
72. For which film, beloved of HMHB, was the soundtrack not released till 29 years after the movie?
73. I see they’re showing the musical which provides part of the tune for HMHB classic Four Skinny Indie Kids. But what is the original song in the musical called? YES, IT’S ANOTHER GIFT OF A QUESTION, SO YES, IT’S A TWENTY POINT QUESTION.
74. And another massive Hollywood musical here, this one released (as a long-running stage show that was then made into a movie) 13 years after Q.73 … and another one that won the Oscar for ‘best score,’ so inevitable that Nigel Blackwell will have nicked a line or two from the best-known tune. Which lines from which musical did Mr. B adapt?
75. Which rousing patriotic song is featured famously in two separate classic films, one film very prominently referenced in one of Mr. B’s spoken-word tracks, and one kind-of-referenced in another song, in the person of one of its historical characters? The song itself, which the two films have in common, is not referenced by HMHB.
76. Looks like another ‘swerve’ this one – an obscure TV horror film released this year, but based on a 1970’s TV programme, one element of which was referenced by HMHB in 2014.
77. Excellent – I can’t believe they are repeating this after all these years! The classic episode where a ten-year-old competitor fell into a ditch, and then, repeatedly, so did those who went to help. Unmissable entertainment! But what was the HMHB-referenced TV series? And (question 78) the name of the presenter who couldn’t stop laughing.
The Final Round – Blockbusters!
H – is for the h_____ d______ that Nigel Blackwell found so useful. I’ve asked for one of these devices for Xmas, as I don’t feel secure on the roads in winter.
M – not HMHB-related, but this singer was born on Xmas Day – the ‘M’ surname please of one of two singers responsible for one of the great Xmas tunes of all time, though always overplayed to death on the wireless of course.
H² – football club nickname – will this ‘H’ (these ‘H’?) sting the Rovers in the FA Cup after Xmas?
B * – Striker who scored nine times one Boxing Day. Died on Christmas Day. I just ‘street-viewed’ his old house in Woodchurch Road, and amazingly there’s no plaque.
J * – Which ‘J’ is the artistic pseudonym of the brilliant HMHB sleeve designer, who was reportedly very influential on Nigel Blackwell’s musical tastes?
U – This ‘U’ is the smallest town HMHB are scheduled to play in 2020.
M² * – This ‘m’ was attempted by Nigel’s brother in the early 80’s. Good job he never succeeded!
B² * – This ‘B’ is ace guitarist Karl Benson’s highly accomplished punk covers band.
O – This ‘O’ was the last HMHB gig of 2019 – it even had a quiz all of its own to celebrate!
X * – “The X in Xmas is a substitute crucifix for Christ” is the opening line of my own personal favourite jolly Christmas song, by the Fall of course, but here the ‘X’ is a substitute crucifix for the Portuguese defender (not HMHB-referenced) who crossed the city, played in eight countries, found faith, lost all his money, and this year lost his job managing the country of his birth.
M³ * – this ‘M’ is the birthplace, on Christmas day 1957, of an average footballer & well below average pundit (not HMHB-referenced), who has just released a way, way below average album of Christmas songs.
A – Another singer born on Xmas Day – she will become eligible for her state pension on that day in 2020 – and they can’t say a thing, except utter admiration. Yes OK, she’s already been the answer to another question in the quiz.
S – Charlie is clichéd to be cynical at Xmas but his wife’s just a touch s……..
Q – in corners of your mind they lurk, even when the answers are obvious.
U² * – Nothing to do with HMHB really (though they have both covered the same song), but last year this ‘U’ played “vintage yuletide favourites” for a BBC 4 special, filmed at an ornate Victorian-period town hall, decorated in vintage Xmas style.
I * – We have often been told at HMHB gigs that this ‘I’ are to be seen with Kate Bush, but not on Christmas Day in the morning
Z – Name either of the Olympians mentioned in The Referee’s Alphabet. And for the only ten-point bonus in the whole quiz, what longed-for Christmas present would one of them not have needed, and why?
2 * (this is the amended Q.96) – The ‘2’ stands for the 2 gig venues that were new to HMHB in 2019. It was the actual venues that were new, not necessarily the town/city, but what do the two town/city names have in common?
0 – This zero is football … without whom?
1 – “Give me one please, Bob.” But where does one man in one HMHB song feel “the oneness”?
9 * – is for the 9 HMHB gigs scheduled so far in 2020 – but (Q.99*) how many different songs – whole HMHB tracks, not including covers – were played at the eleven HMHB gigs in 2019? Was it a grand total of (a) 55-69 songs? (b) 70-74 songs? (c) 75-89 songs? (d) 90 or more songs?
… and (this is Q.100*) how many songs were played at every single gig in 2019? (a) 5 songs, (b) 7 songs, (c) 9 songs, (d) 11 songs, or (e) 13 songs?
And that, folks, is the business that they call show.
Well played if you’ve made it to the end of the quiz with a fair few points in the bag. We’ll leave it about ten days, then on 30th December or thereabouts, you can let me how many points you got … if you like. Don’t post the answers, but send me what you think is your approximate points total as a comment to this blog, and then I’ll ask the leading contenders to send me their answers, which will not be published. Some time after the deadline of Thursday 2nd January at 12 noon I’ll give you the official answers (EDIT – it will now be early evening Saturday 4th). You might even become (probably) the first person to ever score a thousand points in a HMHB quiz! Like the BBC these days, it’s no prizes but plenty of glory to be had.
Enjoy the holidays and I hope to see you all at one of those gigs in 2020.