Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Rock memorabilia #2 - Marillion (part a)

"The Web" - Marillion fanzine - issues 1-3 (from 1982)

I'm guessing most people who know me now won't be aware of just how much of a Marillion fan I was when I was a lad. You see, you have to understand... I was already a Genesis fan and it was, oh, ages (well, a few years) since Peter Gabriel left them for better things and he was definitely the Factor X, the magic ingredient in the band as far as I was concerned. Then up popped this weird band of loon-pant wearing young musos, with a giant Scotsman as their frontman and motormouth, "behind a greasepaint mask". And he was called Fish (for an obvious alcohol-related reason). And he was from my part of the world, well Dalkeith which was just up the road, and then he moved down to East Lothian where I grew up, which was just the coolest thing for us. Still in school, pretty well reviled as hopeless progrock heads by most of the new romantic or punk fans in our year at school and here was a new band which played music like the music I already loved - progressive rock, with very theatrical live performances from Fish, backed by an ever-so musically tight band. We LOVED it. I loved their music so much, it ACHED. They were OUR band - me, Pete, Simon, Dougie, John M, Mun and a few others from school. I was a fan of Marillion before they had a record deal, when they were just playing live, living on tour out of a wee van and selling their own tapes.

We first heard their music on a late night Radio Forth show called "Forth Bridges" (Lonesone Kate, where are you now?). I can't remember if Chris John was still the DJ or if it had moved on to Dave Stewart by the time Marillion appeared but I still have a treasured cassette recording of an interview by Dave Stewart of Fish and bass player Pete Trewavas in which a pre-release version of their first single, Market Square Heroes was played. We were SO excited at the prospect of the first single and then the album to come, I can barely tell you!

Anyway, to memorabilia - more Marillion memories another time. I find I still have the first six copies of Marillion's fan club magazine "The Web"(did the word fanzine exist in 1982? I have no idea), produced by Tim and Stef in Aylesbury, the band's home base (that's home base, not Homebase). When I sent off my Stamped Addressed Envelope, I was hoping (so it seems, from the reply letter I received) to obtain a load of tour posters and tapes, all of which were sold out. Instead, I got these six copies of The Web, plus a "Christmas 1982 Special", plus this great signed photo of Fish in full "greasepaint mask" and wearing a horned Viking helmet which I can only imagine he used to wear during their live version of the 18-minute song "Grendel" (yes, 18 minutes); if so, it was replaced later by a helmet that looked like a replica of the famous one from the Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard at Sutton Hoo! Much more authentic (as you can see below!).

If I could make my scanner produce pdf documents instead of just photos, I would post these fanzines up in full on a side page for fanboys and fangirls to enjoy!

"The Web" - Marillion fanzine - issues 4-6 (from 1982)

Happy hippy days!!! Prog rocks!


  1. Great Fan of Marillion and Mr Dick. Seen them many times and have tossed the odd bun as required.

    Cheers man, happy memories.


  2. Al - you weren't someone who used to meet up at Albert, the One Tree, in Princes Street Gardens of a Saturday afternoon with the rest of the rock loons, were you? Geezabun!

  3. I missed so much of the FUN of popular culture. Although I was familiar with the music and liked it, I was just so outside the loop of going to stuff. Much too sheltered an upbringing. Drat.

  4. Kate - take heart - you can do anything you want now (within reason and the law). And believe me when I say, it was way uncool to like Marillion at my school but sod them all, it seems I was right after all...

  5. Thanks Story - that's very kind. I have more Marillion stuff to post up in due course!

  6. Albert was getting a bit threadbare, good job the white hart was available. Last I heard (30 years ago) lonesome kate went to nottingham to do nursing.

    1. I'd love to know who left this anonymous comment! You are clearly in the know!


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