Oblong of Dreams
is our winner!

The Final

545 votes
Oblong of Dreams27951.2%
Everything’s AOR26648.8%

Two first-time finalists, but they couldn’t have been more different. Perennial contender Everything’s AOR from 1991, against Oblong of Dreams, the closing song from the band’s most recent album, in its first tournament. Both are massive gig favourites. “A song I have loved and listened to without losing the joy of it since my early 20s”, wrote Audrey S Euphemisms, “or a song that I have loved for the last 18 months of my mid-50s and listened to and sung along with many many times in that short period of time?” Cream Cheese & Chives added: “The genius of (Neil’s) rumbling opening (to AOR) is obvious, but live it sounds even better.” And yet: “(Oblong) celebrates the normal, the local and the mundane and their brilliance. I have some knowledge of the Wirral but this song is about everyone’s everywhere.” Sid perhaps summarised many people’s thoughts when he wrote: “Really, though, these are both great songs and I don’t think there will be any tears no matter who wins.”

In the end, it was a win for the new kid on the block by one of the narrowest margins of the whole tournament. Both songs can hold their heads up high, and let’s hope both get many, many more live runouts. Discuss the final and the whole tournament here.

The 4 Skinny Indie Kids Round

Match 1459 votes
Every Time a Bell Rings18641%
Everything’s AOR27359%
Match 2446 votes
Joy Division Oven Gloves19043%
Oblong of Dreams25657%

Two comfortable results had our in-house analyst Two Fat Feet and in-house bookie Lux Inferior both nodding sagely. Still, the choices had been tough. Chris Perry wrote: “I am not sure I have the strength in my fingers to vote. I’ve got incredibly nervous at having to choose now. They’ve gone to jelly, like Roger Osborne’s legs after scoring in the FA Cup final for Ipswich Town.” The choice of determining the draw using the results from British Crown Green Bowling Association’s World Club Championship was the talk of the terraces. Discussion here.

The 8 Christening Invites Round

Match 1459 votes
We Built This Village On A Trad. Arr. Tune22749.5%
Every Time a Bell Rings23250.5%
Match 2455 votes
Everything’s AOR32171%
When The Evening Sun Goes Down13429%
Match 3457 votes
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit18140%
Joy Division Oven Gloves27660%
Match 4467 votes
The Light at the End of the Tunnel (is the Light of an Oncoming Train)21446%
Oblong of Dreams25354%

Out went our reigning champion and two-time finalist, The Light at the End of the Tunnel, as this tournament continued to pay no respect to history. We also had one of the closest match results ever, one which could have gone either way up to the last day of voting. “Match four a tough one for me”, wrote Johnny Kwango, “but getting goosebumps up both arms as the first clouds parted tipped me over to OOD. Didn’t really need to listen to all eight songs again, but why not, eh?” Discussion here.

The 16 Camps Of Hope Round

Match 1455 votes
Tending The Wrong Grave For 23 Years17438%
We Built This Village On A Trad. Arr. Tune28162%
Match 2420 votes
Everything’s AOR26363%
The Trumpton Riots15737%
Match 3424 votes
When The Evening Sun Goes Down25259%
Restless Legs17241%
Match 4438 votes
Rock And Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools17339%
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit26561%
Match 5435 votes
Joy Division Oven Gloves22251%
National Shite Day21349%
Match 6435 votes
Every Time a Bell Rings26060%
Bob Wilson – Anchorman17540%
Match 7438 votes
The Light at the End of the Tunnel (is the Light of an Oncoming Train)33376%
Evening Of Swing (Has Been Cancelled)10524%
Match 8439 votes
For What Is Chatteris…19544%
Oblong of Dreams24456%

Some big wins and some mighty fallers. Most eyes, of course, were on matches 5 and 8, two massive matchups which would inevitably see two mighty casualties, and it was goodbye to 2011 finalist For What Is Chatteris, and 2015 winner and 2019 finalist National Shite Day. Dick Quax’ Running Shoes wrote: “I can’t believe ‘National Shite Day’ is gone. It’s not my very favourite song, but I just expect it to be there, like atmospheric pressure. One thing this tournament shows me is that, in a lot of instances, I think I’m a neutral, objective observer — until something upends my expectations and it’s revealed that I’m emotionally invested after all. I bet a lot of us are like that.” Both our analyst and bookie were concerned about their tip Oblong of Dreams. “Despite the outright odds predicting 7 of 8 winners”, wrote Lux Inferior, “I’ve been left a little flummoxed by a couple of the results. I said on here the other day that I couldn’t envisage any scenario where NSD didn’t comfortably see off JDOG. Still struggling to get my head around that one. And I was expecting Oblong to wallop Chatteris by a far greater margin, so I’m now far from convinced it’s the odds-on tournament shoo-in that I’ve always had it down as.” Two Fat Feet shared the sentiment: “Oblong is still the favourite on my revised 95% accurate ratings, but it’s much closer than it was.” Discussion here.

The Page 32 It’s A Bad Review Round

Match 1399 votes
Everything’s AOR27669%
Midnight Mass Murder12331%
Match 2384 votes
Eno Collaboration10026%
We Built This Village On A Trad. Arr. Tune28474%
Match 3378 votes
The Trumpton Riots21757%
Match 4375 votes
For What Is Chatteris…23964%
Twenty Four Hour Garage People13636%
Match 5368 votes
Them’s The Vagaries12033%
Oblong of Dreams24867%
Match 6368 votes
Irk The Purists16745%
Restless Legs20155%
Match 7383 votes
National Shite Day27572%
Outbreak of Vitas Gerulaitis10828%
Match 8379 votes
Dickie Davies Eyes17145%
Tending The Wrong Grave For 23 Years20855%
Match 9380 votes
Rock And Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools19952%
Bottleneck at Capel Curig18148%
Match 10389 votes
99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd7219%
Joy Division Oven Gloves31781%
Match 11375 votes
When The Evening Sun Goes Down22460%
She’s In Broadstairs15140%
Match 12369 votes
Look Dad No Tunes13637%
Bob Wilson – Anchorman23363%
Match 13371 votes
Evening Of Swing (Has Been Cancelled)21357%
Time Flies By (When You’re A Driver Of A Train)15843%
Match 14376 votes
Fuckin’ ‘Ell It’s Fred Titmus14338%
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit23362%
Match 15378 votes
Every Time a Bell Rings26670%
Paintball’s Coming Home11230%
Match 16384 votes
Knobheads on Quiz Shows9023%
The Light at the End of the Tunnel (is the Light of an Oncoming Train)29477%

A one-off seeding element meant that the result of most matches in this round was fairly convincing, although Bad Wools only beat Bottleneck by a slim margin. Restless Legs and Wrong Grave also only had fairly narrow victories. 2019 semi-finalist Garage People was a notable casualty, as was 2019 quarter-finalist Them’s The Vagaries. In terms of ‘eras’, from the 1985–1993 era, 3 out of 8 got through; from 1995–2000 a disappointing 0 out of 6; from the mighty 2001–2008 an impressive 10 out of 12; and from 2011–2022, 3 out of 6. It was nice to see 10 different albums/EPs represented in the last 16. Just Another Lackey expressed a common sentiment when he wrote: “Terminus out already? Really? I always thought of this as a place of sanctuary among like-minded folk. Tough draw though, would have been a different result on another day.” JD O’Gloves added: “I can’t believe Terminus has an early exit again! Will maybe do better in 2027 when it’s considered a ‘classic’.” Discussion here.

The Baguette Dilemma Round

Our group stage: for four weeks to 11 June 2023, anyone could vote on any number of random ‘Song A vs Song B’ matchups, so that we could eventually order the songs based on the percentage of matchups that they won. Hundreds of people took part, voting from over 2000 different IP addresses and generating 484,618 matches. During the first evening of voting, the votes were coming in at 7 votes per second! There were 24,090 possible matchups between 220 songs; all of them came up at least 5 times. One further rule was to guarantee that at least six songs would qualify for the final 32 from each of these ‘eras’ in the band’s history: 1985–1993, 1995–2000, 2001–2008, and 2011–2022 – those 24 songs would be joined by the 8 highest ranked songs not otherwise qualifying. In the end, this meant that the songs that ranked 28, 30 and 31 did not qualify, instead being replaced by the songs ranked 37, 39 and 50. Discussion here.

1The Light at the End of the Tunnel (is the Light of an Oncoming Train)344964430584.3%
2Joy Division Oven Gloves331171726182.2%
3For What Is Chatteris…319082637279.4%
4National Shite Day330188126278.9%
5We Built This Village On A Trad. Arr. Tune315384635678.8%
6Twenty Four Hour Garage People325888130378.7%
7Everything’s AOR313785952878.5%
8All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit311794526976.7%
9Oblong of Dreams306393151476.7%
10Bob Wilson – Anchorman299994644076.0%
11The Trumpton Riots307599929075.5%
12Every Time a Bell Rings3023101935774.8%
13When The Evening Sun Goes Down2822109652672.0%
14Evening Of Swing (Has Been Cancelled)2847113046971.6%
15Tending The Wrong Grave For 23 Years2629114651869.6%
16Them’s The Vagaries2719118852469.6%
17Fuckin’ ‘Ell It’s Fred Titmus2912127737069.5%
18Outbreak of Vitas Gerulaitis2658118860869.1%
19Knobheads on Quiz Shows2714124044968.6%
20Paintball’s Coming Home2764126445568.6%
21Irk The Purists2710124346868.6%
22Dickie Davies Eyes2628120637668.5%
23Restless Legs2659124247768.2%
24Midnight Mass Murder2558121862267.7%
25Time Flies By (When You’re A Driver Of A Train)2703131737667.2%
2699% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd2614127745767.2%
27She’s In Broadstairs2506127857666.2%
28The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman2611133848966.1%
30Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess2601134445765.9%
31Westward Ho! – Massive Letdown2521130548765.9%
32Rock And Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools2559133153965.8%
33Joy In Leeuwarden (We Are Ready)2522132258065.6%
34Running Order Squabble Fest2399131166664.7%
35Swerving the Checkatrade2448137454764.1%
36I’m Getting Buried In The Morning2476139056164.0%
37Eno Collaboration2368133462064.0%
38Man of Constant Sorrow (With a Garage in Constant Use)2458140442163.6%
39Look Dad No Tunes2260131070363.3%
40Asparagus Next Left2425141760863.1%
41Depressed Beyond Tablets2347137762563.0%
42Descent Of The Stiperstones2332138565262.7%
43Took Problem Chimp To Ideal Home Show2453146851462.6%
44Surging out of Convalescence2262135872862.5%
45The Referee’s Alphabet2462148849562.3%
46Vatican Broadside2404146050662.2%
47Slipping The Escort2326142472062.0%
48Lord Hereford’s Knob2408147847662.0%
49Turned Up Clocked On Laid Off2216136473461.9%
50Bottleneck at Capel Curig2338145553761.6%
51The Unfortunate Gwatkin2328145170761.6%
52Tommy Walsh’s Eco House2363148862261.4%
53Dead Men Don’t Need Season Tickets2315146265661.3%
54Renfield’s Afoot2302146260761.2%
55A Country Practice2230142976560.9%
56If I Had Possession Over Pancake Day2287147373660.8%
5727 Yards Of Dental Floss2330152462060.5%
58Awkward Sean2261150657560.0%
59Shit Arm, Bad Tattoo2356158049459.9%
60In a Suffolk Ditch2271153760659.6%
61What Made Colombia Famous…2342159654859.5%
62Tess of the Dormobiles2221153463559.1%
63A Lilac Harry Quinn2057143589658.9%
64Alehouse Futsal2256157556058.9%
65I was a teenage armchair Honved fan2320162962758.7%
66Upon Westminster Bridge2059145773958.6%
67Monmore, Hare’s Running2090148285258.5%
68God Gave Us Life2235159861358.3%
69Harsh Times in Umberstone Covert2145153974458.2%
70CORGI Registered Friends2185156958858.2%
71Hedley Verityesque2028145987758.2%
72Grafting Haddock In The George2164155763658.2%
73Keeping Two Chevrons Apart2168161558157.3%
74Totnes Bickering Fair2114161165356.8%
75The Len Ganley Stance2217169449256.7%
76Fix It So She Dreams Of Me2064163678255.8%
77Bad Review2070164266955.8%
79Thy Damnation Slumbereth Not1970158384755.4%
80Four Skinny Indie Kids1997165662054.7%
81San Antonio Foam Party1984165285554.6%
82Little In The Way Of Sunshine1960163378154.6%
83Old Age Killed My Teenage Bride2008168873054.3%
84Paradise Lost (You’re The Reason Why)2016173068253.8%
85The Bane Of Constance1897163683753.7%
86It Makes The Room Look Bigger2020174976553.6%
87Rogation Sunday1988173158753.5%
88Adam Boyle Has Cast Lad Rock Aside1939169172453.4%
90Left Lyrics In The Practice Room1899171473852.6%
91Friday Night And The Gates Are Low1898171681952.5%
92Mate of the Bloke1847170071352.1%
93Uffington Wassail1845170778151.9%
94When I Look At My Baby1912177271751.9%
95Gubba Look-a-likes1861172674251.9%
96Used To Be In Evil Gazebo1837170681551.8%
97Tonight Matthew, I’m Going To Be With Jesus1882175076651.8%
98Even Men With Steel Hearts1856172774751.8%
99King of Hi-Vis2023192670251.2%
100Improv Workshop Mimeshow Gobshite1725164787251.2%
101I Left My Heart In Papworth General1857180466250.7%
102Prag Vec at the Melkweg1812176186150.7%
103Urge For Offal1903185068250.7%
104Breaking News1908186272750.6%
105Something’s Rotten In The Back Of Iceland1805177271950.5%
106It’s Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas1869183760650.4%
107L’Enfer C’Est Les Autres1795177983150.2%
108Ode To Joyce1868185674650.2%
109Mathematically Safe1830183869349.9%
110Tour Jacket with Detachable Sleeves1762181175249.3%
111Persian Rug Sale At The URC1850190578149.3%
112Ordinary to Enschede1702176984549.0%
113Mod. Diff. Vdiff. Hard Severe1773186074748.8%
114I Hate Nerys Hughes (From The Heart) 1807191556948.5%
115Blue Badge Abuser1732186865048.1%
116This Leaden Pall1709187186947.7%
117P.R.S. Yearbook – Quick, The Drawbridge1615177595747.6%
118Stuck Up A Hornbeam1683185386147.6%
119Floreat Inertia1676185398847.5%
120Bladderwrack Allowance1664185679047.3%
121The Best Things In Life1685188380947.2%
122A Shropshire Lad1694189785247.2%
123Secret Gig1611181089947.1%
124The Coroner’s Footnote1620184881746.7%
125Albert Hammond Bootleg1682191976646.7%
126Blood on the Quad1629185988646.7%
127CAMRA Man1692193576346.7%
128The Ballad of Climie Fisher1731200276346.4%
129Reflections in A Flat1640189879046.4%
130Yipps (My Baby Got The)1639190987246.2%
131Fun Day in the Park1643192385646.1%
132Rod Hull Is Alive – Why?1696201171545.8%
133The Announcement1697202277145.6%
1341966 And All That1597191484445.5%
135I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves)1666200380145.4%
136My Outstretched Arms1585191082845.4%
137Give Us Bubblewrap1602194871945.1%
138Baguette Dilemma For The Booker Prize Guy1643200380045.1%
139Big Man Up Front1596196176744.9%
140With Goth On Our Side1575196875144.5%
141Beneath This Broken Headstone (There Lies A Broken Heart)1597201174444.3%
142David Wainwright’s Feet1470187198044.0%
143Petty Sessions1522195490643.8%
144Deep House Victims Minibus Appeal1487191985943.7%
145Twydale’s Lament1475191287143.5%
146Lark Descending1527198990443.4%
147Mileage Chart1492199989742.7%
148Venus in Flares1572214590742.3%
149Sensitive Outsider1487206997841.8%
150You’re Hard1481207075941.7%
151Turn A Blind Eye1405200395741.2%
153Whit Week Malarkey13631964103341.0%
154Excavating Rita1434208096740.8%
155Letters Sent1414205597640.8%
156Sponsoring the Moshpits1396203591040.7%
157D’ye Ken Ted Moult?1519222577740.6%
158On The ‘Roids1502222376840.3%
159Fear My Wraith13001934103240.2%
160Reasons To Be Miserable (Part 10)1414215580839.6%
161Bogus Official1398216183839.3%
162Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes1304202292539.2%
163Let’s Not13222070100939.0%
164I Went To A Wedding…1345212194738.8%
165Token Covid Song1444228374438.7%
166Emerging From Gorse13272114104038.6%
167Jarg Armani1339215189138.4%
168See That My Bike’s Kept Clean1278211491337.7%
169He Who Would Valium Take1300217293037.4%
170Tyrolean Knockabout1275216194737.1%
171On Passing Lilac Urine1267215198337.1%
172Quality Janitor12442117103037.0%
173Arthur’s Farm1261214697937.0%
174Architecture and Morality Ted and Alice1317224493237.0%
175Fretwork Homework1222211195636.7%
176Our Tune12092100105536.5%
179Mars Ultras, You’ll Never Make The Station11512071104435.7%
180Girlfriend’s Finished With Him11582120105135.3%
181Hair Like Brian May Blues1195230893534.1%
182Nove on the Sly11502230105734.0%
183Whiteness Thy Name Is Meltonian11052143108134.0%
184Emergency Locksmith11692300101633.7%
185This One’s For Now10712250106432.2%
186Styx Gig (Seen By My Mates Coming Out Of A)1098234595431.9%
187Soft Verges10422238109831.8%
188Third Track Main Camera Four Minutes10052159114731.8%
189Ecclesiastical Perks10722324108131.6%
190Busy Little Market Town1086239690231.2%
191Song of Encouragement for the Orme Ascent10212261102131.1%
192Moody Chops1060239691130.7%
193On Finding The Studio Banjo1089247090830.6%
194Ready Steady Goa10132304104830.5%
195Worried Man Blues10732441101230.5%
197I, Trog9822268112930.2%
198Numanoid Hang-glide9342277109429.1%
200On Reaching The Wensum9472431102228.0%
201£24.99 From Argos9442438104027.9%
202Malayan Jelutong9142376116327.8%
203Christian Rock Concert9242451101827.4%
205New York Skiffle9212512103026.8%
206Carry On Cremating8382469106625.3%
208False Grit7902356112925.1%
209Frequent Electric Trains7752334127524.9%
210Mr Cave’s A Window Cleaner Now8062459115024.7%
211Split Single With Happy Lounge Labelmates8402574121824.6%
212Children of Apocalyptic Techstep7392513112722.7%
213Get Kramer7532592118022.5%
21413 Eurogoths Floating In The Dead Sea7012535101721.7%
215Song For Europe7092571103121.6%
216Theme Tune For Something Or Other6022610109618.7%
217Stavanger Töestub6432963104217.8%
219Slight Reprise3362918115010.3%
220Visitor for Mr Edmonds30832899088.6%

If you’ve pored over the whole tournament, you’ll have realised that the Baguette Dilemma Round, which might be considered a pure way of selecting a winner from a large field of candidates and voters, was not reflected that faithfully in the knockout stages. Our eventual finalists were only 7th and 9th, for example. Why the two methods generated differing results is a matter for conjecture, but several people noted that in such a quickfire format as the Baguette Dilemma Round, it’s sometimes hard for people to match a song title to its lyrics. As Irish Niall wrote: “Songs where the hook isn’t immediate from the title may hobble songs like Multitude and Malayan Jelutong.

Overall, the Baguette Dilemma Round really did remind us of the sheer quality of the band’s songbook. Transit Full of Keith said: “If nothing else, this is a chance to reflect that the unforgettable lyric ‘the high-pitched lamentations of an unbalanced Lincoln woman, who nurses injured buzzards back to health inside her dead child’s wardrobe’ appears in their 213th-rated song – eighth from the bottom. Absolute unique quality, running from top to bottom of the list, like letters through a stick of rock.”

Discussion here.