Monday, August 27, 2012


It's  been 27 days since my last entry about Marillion, and to be honest, that's a bit long...At that time I had just experienced them live for the first time in my life, and I was probably rambling more than I was making sense. I'll try to be a bit more kept together today, as this will be one of those entries that practically writes itself.
On my way to Uni this morning I started thinking... bombshell ;-) "I let the Genie Out Of The Box", literally ;-) (and you should totally check out the live version of the title I just mentioned, it's a little pearl with references to Charlotte Brontë's, Jane Eyre and Edgar Allan Poe's, The Fall Of The House Of Usher... or at least I choose to believe so).

What is it really about Marillion that makes them so incredibly incredible?
How come I feel so different listening to their music than I ever did with any other music I encountered? These are actually big questions, but I think I found the answers. The answers won't, at this point, be empiric (promised a friend I'd use that word more in conversation). It will be my personal view, a view I'm proud of, and yeah... I'm just totally right :-)
All the bands I mention has at one point been important in my life, some of them still are. And this is a significant part of my answer. 
When you listen to Separated Out, from have to be deaf, dead even, not to get the reference to The Doors with the song's brilliant keyboard solo... Go! Mark Kelly. When I was in High School I fell in love with the mysterious Jim Morrison. I went on a journey of Indian culture, mysteries, poetry and (being young and naïve, I was appalled by) drugs.  
The live version of No One Can (from Tumbling Down The Years)... Makes me think of The Police, only this song is a proper lovesong and not a song about stalking. To be honest, when I first heard this song, I thought it was about the love you feel for your children the moment they come into this for me this will always be a voicing of the deep emotions I have for my son. And that is OK. But if I do get married again... I will sing this in our wedding :-) OK, It's a bit creepy... "No one can take you away from me now..." But it's really a beautiful song. And with the Voice Of Light singing it, it's love personified. "Soppy and Romantic!"
All the lengthy progressive songs sometimes makes me think about Pink Floyd.

Now, Pink Floyd are brilliant. And I've even been to a Pink Floyd concert. The feeling I had when they played Run Like Hell, I'll never forget. The concert experience is right up there, top two... But they have no chance against Marillion. And when Marillion played Neverland time stopped. It felt so, so close, so honest, so brilliant. And... Well they are the only Marillion :-)
I also have lent my ears to Muse. Top three concerts... And I can see a link to Marillion through their pure musicality, their strong lyrics and them being marvelous musicians. But again, Marillion wins. Because, where Muse are introvert... Marillion just keeps coming and sharing, loving and performing. And Marillion's songs are stronger. True Story!

Hogarth uses his voice as a true rocker, and could easily sing Foo Fighters to the ground. He showed me this at the Oslo concert. He was feeling a bit under the weather, and still he rocked on. They rocked on with plenty of feel good music, stadium anthem quality... 
Their social commitment equals that of U2 and The Boss... Only they have the sense to remain true rockers, use the word "fuck" every now and then, and manage to bring a song to the table that will make fans weep with joy, just because it is sooo bloody cool.
The original version of Cover My Eyes is a homage or quote or a "Yeah, they can do it, but we do it better" - kind of version of U2's Where The Streets Have No Name. The guitar in the beginning, anyway.
And Power from their new album Sounds That Can't Be Made is just that. That song is a display of Power and musicality, and listening makes me weep and cry... Sounds That Can't Be Made? A pretentious and quite daring title... But they pull it off. The title song, Sounds That Can't Be Made is magnificent. But my favorite songs are Gaza and Sky Above The Rain. Gaza because it speaks the truth, it's practically an album in itself, and The Sky Above The Rain because it's just heartbreakingly beautiful.
No one else can :-)
So what is it really about Marillion that makes them so incredibly incredible?
Well, they have incorporated everything I love about music and poetry, and made a concept that reaches beyond any of the music I ever listened to. In short... they have it all.
To allow music of this quality to penetrate the shield of closed down emotions, is like finding religion.
The photos I've used, are at the courtesy of my dear friend, Sue Hippychick Phillips. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Late night poetry...

Hammering, pounding, beating
Loosing control
Make it stop
Make it calm down
Make it stop…
Redemption in words
Redemption in creativity
Throbbing in every vein
Entering the insane
Too much
Too many demands
Many demands…
Make them stop
Where is it?
"I’m perfectly sane"
Calming down through words
Calming down through creativity
Dead calm

Needless to say, this was a bad night... Suffering from migraine I'm surprised I even managed to write this... But... It helped :) 
An entry about Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is on its way :) I am back in business :) 
Have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Black Adder...

"Percy, who's Queen?"
I can't have been in my teens yet when I first encountered Black Adder on the national channel here in Norway. And from a child's point of view it may lack the flashing colours and comprehensible action... but I remember liking it right away. It might have something to do with my parents liking it, and laughing, and like any child I wanted to be included in the fun. At the time I didn't speak English, but I understood this was something special. According to my mother, not everyone cared for this "stupid" comedy from England... I'm glad my parents did.
"- Is her nose as pretty as mine? - Oh, no no no Mam... - Good, because otherwise I would have to cut it off..."
So in all fairness, and I will make good on the other source of inspiration I'm about to mention as well, I think I have to say that my fascination for anything and everything English started with Blackadder and Monty Python (an entry to come).
This entry will mostly deal with the second series (1986), as I think that is my favorite of the four. And, I dedicate this entry to a good Blackadder-loving friend of mine :)

"I've got a plan, and it's as hot as my pants!"
 Rick Mayall as Lord Flash Heart

The first series takes place in the middle ages, The Edmund Blackadder we get to know here is a very snake like character, slippery and schemingly crawling around, quite dim witted though (which is practically an oxymoron...), in the back trying his best to get to the throne...emerging as King Edmund foretold by three almost Macbethian witches...dressed in tight orange or green thighs, looking rather slimy and disgusting. His father never remembers his name, he only ever expresses love and pride to Edmund's bigger brother, Henry. This creates a lot of funny and rather disturbing scenes. And in the first series, Baldrick is actually the voice of reason.
I like the first series, but I think Rowan Atkinson found the true spirit of Lord Edmund Blackadder in the second series where he is a nobleman at the court of Queen Elizabeth 1.
Here he emerges as a man with the most cunning of intellect, the sharpest of tongues and what's more, he's surprisingly hot as well...dressed in black leather  and all ;) Here he emerges as The King of sarcasm, a character he keeps and develops over the next three series.
"- Do you do requests, Baldrick? - What, kinky stuff, yeah, I'm game!"
In fact, he seems to be the only one with a clear view of what's going on.
The supporting character of Baldrick, which is the only "side kick" with the same name through all four series, also emerges as the dim witted simpleton we completely adore...a character he remains until 1917... To Baldrick the renaissance was something that only happened to other people... two beans plus two beans becomes a very small casserole in the mind of Balders (Tony Robbinson).
Queenie is just all powerful, and showing off her pointy nose at any given moment...stark raving mad with Nursie by her side... Nursie (Patsy Byrne), or Bernhard as she's called (her sisters were named Donald, Eric and Basil), is one stop away from mad city center, sitting next to her queen always completely misreading the situation, creating great comedy.
"You almost were a boy. Out you popped of you mummy's tummy, and everyone shouted 'it's a boy, it's a boy'. But then someone pointed out that you didn't have a winkle... a boy without a winkle, it's a miracle... "
Queenie can't always hide the fact that she likes the nasty Edmund. Through the whole six episodes we get a feeling that if they were left alone long enough things might happen, but then she remembers she's queen and has the power to cut off heads, and he goes back to being... well all Blackadder about the situation. Queenie is brilliantly interpreted by Miranda Richardson
"Percy, it's green..."
Lord Percy (Tim McInnery) is probably Lord Blackadder's best friend in the whole world, but he would never ever in a million years, even if the world depended on him to say so, admit the fact.
Percy is always up for a challenge... during the six episodes, he's everything from best man, to co- high executioner, to burlesque prostitute, to sailor, to the Queen's right hand man... but my favorite Percy moment is when he's an alchemist... He manages to create "Pure Green"... Brilliant :)
"Woops, I've trod on an Edmund!"
Stephen Fry is probably one of the brilliantest men in the world. And he's giving life to Lord Melchett, the Queen's right hand. When I was younger I didn't quite get his part in the whole thing... I certainly do now. And when his character shows up at Edmund's place, wearing golden breasts, ready to have a serious drinking competition, I laugh my ass off :)
"When you call for ale, I pass water."
And the drinking competition crashes completely when not only Lord and Lady Whiteadder comes to have raw turnip and sit on spikes... but Queenie as well.
"- I may have the body of a week and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a concrete elephant. - Prove it. - I certainly will. First I'm gonna have a little drinkie, then I'm gonna execute the whole belly lot of you."
But of all the six episodes in series two, I think I like the last one the most. Hugh Laurie has an important role, which is never wrong... and the black comedy is visible when it ends in tragedy.
"- Oh, Edmund, you're so naughty. - Well, I try, Madam. And then ten minutes later when I catch my breath, I try again..."
Lord Melchett and Lord Blackadder are kidnapped by the evil German Ludvig, master of disguise. And everyone has had dealings with him at one point in their lives....
"Lord Percy, it's up to you... Either you can shut up, or you can have your hear cut off!"
Lord Percy ends up as the companion of Queenie, and Baldrick gets a new name; Lassie.

But being Lord Blackadder means you manage to escape the German claws that has you captive...They do indeed.
"He always loved parties, and he always always wore very very tight tights."
And at the end, one can clearly see that Hugh Laurie has big problems keeping his face from cracking up in laughter... which obviously makes me laugh even more, every single time.
"- Madam, Life without you is like a broken pencil. - Explain? - Pointless."
They do escape their jail and returns to kill the evil disguised as Nursie. And everything ends in fabulous death and comedy and just... fantastically sarcastic, and brilliantly intelligent, morbid and funny, and describing everything I love about British humour.
The last quote is from Blackadder third, and will function as a cliffhanger for my next entry ;)
"Am I jumping the gun, Baldrick, or are the words, 'I have a cunning plan' marching with ill-severed confidence in the direction of this conversation?"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's just a concert...

In February I bought tickets for the concert I've just experienced. Back then it all seemed so far away, so distant, and so like a dream to be had...Now it's real. I have been to the concert I've dreamt about for months.
It's so incredibly big!!!
My brother tried to lower my expectations by telling me it was just a concert, because he didn't want me to get disappointed, but the only thing that could have disappointed me was if they cancelled. And they didn't, even though Hogarth had a cold... or so he told us... but when he was demonstrating which notes he couldn't reach, he reached them without trouble. So, Steve, just trust that incredible voice of yours, and know that a bad day for you is a brilliant day for ordinary singers... you're no ordinary singer! You are so, so much more!

I brought my ancient camera, and left it in the care of my friend... Taking pictures without the flash, with a camera made for objects standing still...yeah, the pictures dosen't do the guys justice. But if you are a fan you know where to find the good images...

"Sing for me, for God's sake!"

So, how do you write a blog entry about the concert that will make all concerts to come, unless they are from the same band, fade?
I can't, that's the truth. And to be quite honest, this is one of the hardest entries I've ever written. Because no matter how many words I put to this, I end up finding the wrong ones, or too few, or not good enough compared to how this concert really made me feel. I had been seriously worked up for weeks before this, and I considered not going at all. But I went, I managed to get the best place in the room, and what changed everything was when the support band played their last song. I looked to the right, and there stood a chap in a red shirt... And I thought, I know that man. And would you know, it was Steve Hogarth. I think I smiled my widest smile, so he had no choice...he smiled back. And then I thought, well, this can't become anything else than a success. I decided to have fun, and did I ever.
I couldn't wait for them all to come on stage and start making magic... and I'm hopelessly in love with them all... ;)
Now, I don't remember the set list, because to me yesterday was all about being in the moment (I'll download the gig later, and will probably end up beating myself up for my horrible memory... but there you go). I didn't wait in line to get the props they threw out to the audience at the end of the concert...the set list being one of those items, because those things didn't matter. I'm not closer to Marillion if I have their set list (though I can see that a guitar pick that Rothery used is of some value). However, I am closer to them if I listen to their music, if I remember how being there made me feel...

I was lucky enough to get a place at the front, in the middle... I was right in front of Mr. H, I had a clear view to Steve, to Mark (who is seriously hot by the way), to Pete... Ian hid behind his drums, but I certainly saw him as well.
And then they started.
yeah, that is my hair...

Limping onto the stage with a cane...Hogarth had the audience, read me...mesmerized. For those of you who have seen Marillion before, you know that glasses, limping, cane: The show started with Invisible Man. A sort of grown up, old Peter Pan who has become invisible to the world...dead, but still alive, invisible. The metaphor is quite something.

The following I'm certain are not presented in the right order.
Cover My Eyes certainly rocked the place good, and I'm assuming that was the intention. Paaaaaaaaiiiiiin! Heaaaaaaaaaaaaaaven!
Is there a more tender and heart felt song than Fantastic Place? I don't think so. I was amazed at how powerful that song is.
"You can screw a man down, until he takes to drinking. He'll give you all of his money, you still won't know what he's thinking"
It's powerful on the album, but live it's positively massive. Hogarth's voice with a cold made that song completely sublime.
You're gone was one of the first songs I learned by heart. And it is a truly amazing song.
I think Slainte Mhath is best when Steve sings it. And the way he has the energy to jump around and be...well, just awesome.
King is such a powerful song, and live it was even more powerful. One of those songs that builds up, builds up, builds up, until you don't think they have another level, but they do. And then it just stops...Magic. He dedicated the song to Bruce Springsteen, asking to get their audience back. Well, I'll never look to Bruce, that's a promise!
I have a problem with Fish, and I know that's almost like swearing in church, but I don't quite get I've avoided getting to know the old stuff. But Kayleigh is hard not to know. I don't know the words, but I promise I will next time :) And I will remember ;)
"We know something that you don't!" This is how a true musician builds up the anticipation to the upcoming album, and then they played Power.
The Great Escape/ The Last of You/ Falling from the moon.
For a long time this has been powerful in my life, and for no reason, or maybe was it for every reason I know, I was suddenly crying.
And then... Neverland. Neverland is one of their greatest accomplishments. But towards the end, because his throat was (as I've mentioned...) a bit sore, he "Lost his will to live, and fucked off"( to use his words) for a few minutes, only to return with a smile on his face and the will to continue his life, I certainly hope! :)

Before the last song Hogarth sat down with his piano and started rhyming and singing there and then... just like that.
I mean, anyone can invent a tune on command, but to sit there playing, singing and rhyming, and we're talking poetry here, funny as such, and making complete sense, now that's musicality on a level to which we should be in awe. Trust me on this one. The rest of the band joined in, until he ran out of rhyme and ended it with a suiting "Fuck it".
The last song was supposed to be Three Minute Boy... And my friend, who was there in the capacity of my company, and didn't know the lyrics to Three Minute Boy, or any other song for that matter, experienced to be "slightly bullied" by the good Mr. H. But to be "slightly bullied" she considered an honour, or at least I did on her behalf. So, Three Minuet Boy were closing to an end, but then, because they are Marillion, and had a good day, they took requests, and ended the show with an energetic and brilliant on the spot version of Between You And Me.

So, brother dear, this was not "just a concert".
This was hope, happiness, joy, excitement, and the best musical and entertaining experience in my life. I think it's like a drug, because it's one fix and you're hooked.
I know I will see them again soon.