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Marbles - Introduction

Introduction: Marbles was the thirteen Marillion album, the ninth with Steve Hogarth. The band ran a pre-order campaign somewhat similar to that for Anoraknophobia in 2001, however, the Marbles pre-order was to provide a fund for the band to promote itself rather than to cover recording costs like the previous album.

Released in 2004, the album was soon hailed by many fans as one the band's very best. A two CD version of the album in luxurious hard slipcase form, featuring a book full of the names of those who had pre-ordered.

The album seemed to play to the band's strengths, with a mixture of epics, snappy rock songs, powerful ballads and emotive mid-paced tracks. It is probably a sign of its overall quality that user polls have rarely agreed on the best songs.

The Invisible Man

Introduction: From an interview with the Web France, in September 2004, h said, "Invisible Man takes a bit of explaining, and I don't really want to explain it... Well, just very generally, it's about witnessing without being there, about being conscious of other people's lives, sometimes intimately conscious, without being there and without being able to do anything about it, and about how difficult that is. So the invisible man is a ghost, really, he is somebody who is watching and knowing, and must bear the weight and the pain of that, and the pain of being unable to help. 'When you stumble/ You will stumble through me' is the most important line of the song, and this one line really sums the song up. The attempt to catch someone as they fall and them falling through you because you're actually not there. And to some extent we've all become invisible men.

Marbles I-IV

Introduction: From an out-take from the Marbles on the Road DVD on YouTube, h said, "I wrote this poem. I had this rhythm like an Irish drinking song. It started like that, a goofy little poem about going nuts, but at the same time as that, it was about innocence and harking back to a time when everything was real, when I was a kid and I used to play marbles and how magical they were and the fact that to me they almost represented little spirits frozen in glass. Like a way of capturing ghosts almost, as a kid.


Introduction: From an interview with the Web France, in September 2004, hsaid, "Well, that story is partly true. I met a girl, years ago in Berlin, who told me in all seriousness that she'd lived with me in her previous life, and that I'd been a fisherman on the Normandy coast of France. Which was a really odd thing for someone to tell you, but she told me in total seriousness and she was such that it was very hard to write off what she was saying. She didn't seem like a crazy person, she seemed very matter-of-fact about it.

Fantastic Place

Introduction: From an interview with the Web France, in September 2004, h said, "Well, it's a simple song, really. I mean, it runs very deep, but it is really just a love song. It's about escaping from your own life into a better place, even if it's just for a moment. So, again, I'm reluctant to explain it, because I think I would weaken it. If I went saying why I wrote it; and what it means, and where that place is, then in many ways I would ruin it, because everyone has their own fantastic place and they don't want me to tell them where it is. Because they know where it is.

The Only Unforgivable Thing

Introduction: From an interview with the Web France, in September 2004, h said, "Well, that's just a song about carrying guilt, you know, dragging it around with you from the moment you drift into consciousness in the morning. You know, domestic trouble..."

Ocean Cloud

Introduction: In an interview my wife and I conducted with him for the Web UK magazine, h revealed, "It started being about Tony Bullimore, yeah, and... at what point did we get hold of Don? It was the news story about that old guy being pulled out of his boat and I saw a TV programme with Lenny Henry and he crossed the Atlantic with Tony Bullimore and he's a bit of a character! I'd kind of forgotten about him in a way, you know, they were just hanging around at the back of my head.

The Damage

Introduction: In an interview with Songfacts, h revealed, "The Damage is really about infidelity, and the damage done. The power of beauty. Not only the damage done, but the potential damage waiting in the air, waiting to be done. Be careful what you wish for and all of that."

You're Gone

Introduction: In an interview with Songfacts, h revealed, "You're Gone was about love lost. About desperately missing someone. It was also about my father to some degree - I lost him shortly before I wrote that song."


Introduction: From an interview with the Web France, in September 2004, h said, "I was driving into London one day a couple of years ago, and there was a big poster up on the main road, a picture of a girl in a pair of headphones, a DJ from a London radio station called Capital Radio, and on the poster it said 'Margherita takes requests', and then it said the time, you know, '7.30 to 9.30' or something, 'Capital Radio', and the FM number and everything. And it just made me laugh, because it seemed like an advert more for a prostitute than for a DJ. So then I was driving along, thinking 'Margherita takes requests, everyday at 7 am', or whatever it was, 'if you're down or in a mess... get on to Margherita'.

Drilling Holes

Introduction: In an interview my wife and I conducted with h for the Web UK Magazine, h revealed, "You get to the point where you really feel the need to write something goofy and daft, because it makes such a bloody refreshing change. Which is why I wrote Drilling Holes on Marbles. I just wanted something that was quite the opposite of all that intimate stuff and was just whimsical. And that doesn’t mean to say that it's not true, because it's constructed from real memories, but there’s nothing tragic about it, nothing deep about it; it was just a bit of fun."

At the Marillion Weekend 2015 in Port ZĂ©lande, h told the crowd that the song was inspired by the goings-on during the recording of Seasons End at Hook End Manor in Checkendon, Oxfordshire.


Introduction: From an outtake from the Marbles on the Road DVD on YouTube, h revealed, "I wrote the first part for Dizzy Spell [his nickname for then-wife, Sue - Ed]. It's a way of saying that when someone's given you so much love over such a long time, it sits inside you. It's like a little power plant. It drives you on and it warms you up. The most beautiful thing about being in love or having a long term partner is having somewhere to go when push comes to shove, you know, 'thick or thin', for 'better or for worse', and all that. And that's what love should be about. It should be unconditional. It's its own reward.