1. Cobalt Brass '85
Assured start but ensemble is loose as a Bangladeshi's bowels in places. Impressive musical statements though to lead into the euphonium cadenza, which is delivered with limited panache. Slow movement meanders unmovingly until disaster strikes, as the solo trombone players slide falls out with a real clatter during the subdued timpani rumblings. A decent marker this one, but will struggle to hold its own as the day wears on.
2. Oxton Brass
Hell's teeth this is a bad start. Sloppy ensemble coupled with intonation that would make a boy band blush leads tragically into a lamentably woeful slow movement. Band and conductor look uncomfortable in each other's presence, like they met for the first time this morning. Second baritone player looks to have a cracking pair of tits though, but that's about it. A rancid, vomit-belching showing that has relegation written all over it. Sad.
3. Chubley Invicta
Oh my God, this lot have those frosted silver basses, we never even knew they still existed. It sets off like a train but quickly becomes derailed and the detail is as woolly as a sheep's hat. Euphonium cadenza breaks down and the player is clearly heard to say "for fuck's sake". Audience gasps. Heads go down and this one is now adrift like a Greek ferry with a fucked engine. Closing passages run out of steam and the MD makes a hasty exit, leaving the principal cornet to stand the band up to nothing but a polite ripple of applause with one or two jeers chucked in.
4. Brass Band Bonkikonken Buglekorps
We thought they were Swiss but the bloke next to us has just told us they are Belgian, so we've had to hurriedly re-visit our racialist anecdotes and bin the cracking cuckoo clock gags we had planned. Klaus Reinhardt takes us on an adventure of Tin Tin proportions (was he Belgian, we think so?) This is so beautifully shaped and with immense personal contributions. As sweet as a Belgian bun yet as dark as Poirot having a wank with a pair of Miss Lemon's soiled panties over his head. Outright leader for us so far.
5. Tuppery & Sneedsdale
Sweet mother of Mary, what a huge ice cream cone of sound. Clarity is immense, the tempo is left to tease us like a dangling carrot. This is top drawer playing. Euphonium tackles the cadenza with such a dextrous level of musical tomswoopery and gliss-tastical understatement that the half-packed hall have to catch their breath. The ending is relentless, like a crazed sex fiend repeatedly hitting a prostitute in a dark timber yard. The hall erupts. We have a bit of cum in our pants.
Is there anything more meaningless than making a prediction half way through? All we can say is that all the bands so far are in our top five, but how many will stay there and in what order? We're off for a pint and a piss, will see you for the back half.
6. Staveley Scout Band
The reigning champions have to follow two immense performances and this is a valiant effort. The young girl playing the solo on spoons delivers it with particular aplomb. Portrays a sense of understated glam rock with a slightly melancholy demeanour. One or two individual errors (the repiano cornet player, for example, has just made a right cunt of himself) will cost though. Not quite good enough to retain the title in our humble opinion.
7. Snetterton Silver
Back in the big time after success in May led to promotion, but this lot appear to be as out of place as a child molester at a christening. We think the soprano player has fainted. Second cornet continues playing with one hand whilst using the other to beckon frantically for a paramedic. No, he's okay, his eyes have opened, the crowd gasp. This is painful stuff, like having to shit a three metre length of barbed wire. Right down in the cess pit for us.
8. Emley Potatoe Works Band
It takes a full 17 minutes just for this lot to set up. They swagger with an undeniable arrogance that has the hall in raptures of circumspecture. This is a dark one, sinful and brooding like an old slag. The power is tremendable, like a two foot vibrator powered by its own generator. They are gunning for it, but one or two individual slips could prove costly. We end with yet another 17 minutes of applause, the audience love it but will the judges?
9. Mingthwaite Conquistador
This lot look as frightened as an 8 year old girl as her creepy step uncle slides into bed with her. They are as out of their depth as a midget in the deep end. MD thrashes and flails like he's having a fit, but there is no stopping this runaway steam roller as it trundles towards the inevitability of relegation. We thought they might be shit today, we had no idea it would be this bad. There is a slight smattering of applause as the MD looks to the heavens as if to say "why me?" Truly lamentable.
10. St. Derek's
Last band on and many in the audience are now visibly drunk. There are one or two wolf whistles as big-titted MD Rosemary Chubb takes to the stage, she responds with a knowing wink and a wiggle of that immense busom. We are nursing a semi. It is not half bad, if a little insecure like a Trebor mint balanced on top of a candle. We are captivated by the way Rosemary's tight skirt pulls across her rumbunctious buttocks hinting a faint whiff of visible panty line. In the mix but no winner.
It has been a day of ups and downs, at times the loafers were highly polished but at others there was some dogshit on the sole. We haven't got a fucking clue but we'll have a wild stab in the dark and say that the johnny foreigners have fucked this pig. Closely followed by the two English powerhouses:-
1. Brass Band Bonkikonken Buglekorps
2. Empley Potatoe Works Band
3. Tuppery & Sneedsdale
Could be in the frame if there's a fuck up in the box: St. Derek's
Probably fucked: Mingthwaite Conquistador