Script For A Jester's Tear - Intro

Introduction:  Script for a Jester's Tear was the first Marillion album and the only one to feature Mick Pointer on drums. Many people have commented upon the naivety of the sound and this can be largely traced to the limitations of Pointer's drumming. Rothery's guitar is arguably at its most cutting on this album and Pete Trewavas' bass playing displays a slight reggae feel which disappeared on later albums.

Upon its release, many commentators chose to talk about its 'Genesis-a-like' properties. This is largely untrue or at the very least exaggerated and based on the simple fact that Marillion chose to work with expansive pieces that sometimes had distinct movements, and the folly that is Grendel. The music was near universally much harder and darker than Genesis' and the lyrics were firmly based in present day, despite the first impression that might be given by a lyric such as Script for a Jester's Tear or The Web. Nevertheless, it is still the sound of a band finding its musical feet and the first time that they had had to write songs in the studio.

Script for a Jester's Tear

Introduction: Fish’s relationship with the real Kay soured before the release of the first album. It could be even said that it was because of The Web: Fish had made the decision that trying to make a go of Marillion was more important than anything else, and his personal life suffered. It is however true that Fish’s decision to quit a secure life in the forestry commission, and the lyrics to The Web had been written some while earlier. I often wonder whether the ‘love song with no validity’ in Lords of the Backstage is Script or Kayleigh. Those two songs have an element of similarity in that Fish clearly blames himself for the breakdown of the relationship; 'The fool escaped from paradise' and 'Is it too late to say I’m sorry?'.

He Knows You Know

Introduction: Writing in 1997 for the Script remaster, Fish called it "a song about drug abuse, the lyric originally written while suffering terrible stomach cramps on a desk in the [Unemployment Benefit Office]. My personal excesses and the unwanted advice they attracted from well-meaning people with no experience of the subject were documented and the first version of this song, one we thought was a possible single, was laid on tape."

The Web

Introduction:  In the fourth edition of the Web fanzine, Fish wrote the following article. It comes across as extremely Gabriel-esque, and creates as many new questions as it answers. I had to transcribe this from a gif made from a photocopy and it is very hard to decipher certain parts.

I hope I got it right!

Garden Party

Introduction: Fish (The Funny Farm Interview - July '95, Dick Bros) said: "Diz and I moved down to Cambridge where I had a girl friend who was an archaeology student at the time. So we were actually living in this all female block down in Cambridge; I think it was Newlands College or something, having to sneak during the day through the windows because there were no males supposedly allowed in the college. Funnily enough that was the first place I ever painted my face; we got invited to this party so, seeing as how we were rock and roll people, we decided to be very outrageous. And we got all this Boots #7 stuff etc., I remember Diz did his face up like a cat, and I'd painted my face up as something. We gone down to this little party, and drunk this wonderful wine and being quite outrageous. And that period actually inspired the track Garden Party [...] We couldn't get the band started; we didn't have any money, so we just wandered about being very involved in the Cambridge student scene and punting and all that sort of stuff."

It was Newnham College, Cambridge, not Newlands. 

Former Marillion bassist Diz Minnitt posted on Facebook; "The Garden Party lyrics were written when Fish and I were living in Ettrickbridge [near Selkirk in the Scottish Borders - Ed] in a five bedroom holiday cottage called Hawkshaw . We managed to live there after Fish had convinced the estate agency to open the cottage over the winter and that we were a band called Sirius (cue ‘you can’t be Sirius’ joke here) who needed somewhere to write over the winter. The pre-Marillion version of Garden Party (just bass and vocals and very different to the later Marillion version was, from memory, included on the demo that we sent to the band prior to moving down to Aston Clinton on 1st Jan 1981."

Chelsea Monday

Introduction: During an interview with Radio Forth in Scotland on 14th September 1982, Fish said, "Chelsea Monday was written roundabout January or February this year. The lyric idea was spun by seeing a number of people walking about Chelsea on a very, very early Monday morning. And it was this sort of actors that you don't know their names... And they were going down buying the morning Daily Expresses, it was a ritual, and they were looking at themselves in the window, as if to buy the paper was actually a take, it was part of some formal play they were in.

Forgotten Sons

Introduction: In an interview entitled Fishy Tales published in Melody Maker 27 Nov 1982 Fish said, "Northern Ireland didn't mean a shit to me - that's the same for most people in this country nowadays - but when my cousin went across there for a while, we'd watch the news on TV every night, expecting things like blood to come pouring through the screen, expecting to hear so-and-so had been shot!

"Then, when I went to Aylesbury, I was working in the employment office, and a lot of blokes would come in saying, 'I'm only actually signing on for two months because I'm joining the army soon and going on my first training stint.

Charting The Single

‘sugar daddy’
Brewer’s: "An elderly wealthy man who lavishes gifts on a much younger woman. From US Slang."


‘Moira Anderson eat your heart out’
From Jeroen Schipper’s FAQ: "Moira Anderson is a Scottish middle-of-the-road singer, who sings, among other things, cloyingly sweet versions of Scottish traditional songs. Loch Lomond is exactly the sort of thing she would sing - hence Fish's comment."

Incidentally, the two songs bastardised in Margaret are Loch Lomond and Mairi's Wedding (Pronounced as far as I can tell from my Billy Connolly version, as 'Murray' although it would seem to make more sense if it were a Gaelic spelling of Mary or Marie.) Here they are in full, courtesy of