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.
Originally Fish had wanted to open the album with a spoken-word piece but the band were not happy with this and the piece later became the basis of Incubus on the next album Fugazi.
All the songs on this album have explanations.
Cover notes: The cover for Script was painted by Mark Wilkinson. It features many elements that would go on to help define the band's Fish-era image. According to Clive Gifford's The Script, the famous Fish-era logo was not designed by Wilkinson, but by the designer and graphic artist Jo Mirowski who was responsible for the art direction and design of the early covers. Wilkinson and Mirowski both receive credits in the cover art. If you look under the table there is a washing up liquid bottle with a lurid green 'Jo' upon it. Upon a can in the style of the classic 'Coke' logo, the name 'Mark' scripts elegantly up the can. Mick Wall's Market Square Heroes erroneously states that it is the Marillion logo across the can.
The records on the floor are Pink Floyd's Saucerful of Secrets (Not Meddle as claimed by Gifford), Bill Nelson's Do You Dream In Colour and of course the band's two singles; Market Square Heroes and He Knows, You Know. Promo posters for the Marillion singles are also on the rear wall. In the violin case are some lyrics from the Beatles' Yesterday.
In the cupboard behind the jester is a theatre mask which has echoes of the mask from Market Square Heroes. The papers on the bed are Sounds (a now defunct bi-weekly paper in the same vein as NME and Melody Maker), Kerrang!, the hard rock/ metal weekly magazine that is still around and the Daily Mirror (a left wing tabloid).
The music which the jester is trying to write is not a Marillion song, or indeed a song at all. The EMI lawyers apparently hired someone to try and play the piece to ensure they were not infringing anyone's copyright!
Above the empty fire place is a picture of a flame-haired girl in the style of the Pre-Raphaelite school, Sir John Milias' The Bridesmaid and is meant to represent Ophelia, who appears in Chelsea Monday. Wall's book quotes Fish saying, 'We wanted the original Ophelia painting in there first of all but we couldn't get permission to reproduce it. She's a real girl; she was the model for the original Ophelia painting.' Sadly, Fish is incorrect in this last claim. The model for The Bridesmaid seems to be a Miss McDowell, whereas Ophelia was the famous Pre-Raphaelite model and muse Elizabeth Siddal. The Bridesmaid is on show in the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge.
This is the famous Ophelia, by Sir John Millias, one of the foremost painters in the Victorian Pre-Raphaelite tradition.
Finally, there is a chameleon on the back of the chair and a Punch character on the television. These refer to song lyrics that were already written but didn't surface until the next album, Fugazi.
Where to get this album: