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Marillion - 1985 Misplaced Childhood



ARTIST: Marillion
ALBUM: Misplaced Childhood
LABEL: EMI
SERIAL: EJ 2403401
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1998, EMI, 7243 4 97034 2 1

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Fish - voice * Steve Rothery - guitars * Mark Kelly - keyboards * Pete Trewavas - bass * Ian Mosley - percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Pseudo Silk Kimono * 02 Kayleigh * 03 Lavender * 04 Bitter Suite * 05 Heart Of Lothian * 06 Waterhole (Expresso Bongo) * 07 Lords Of The Backstage * 08 Blind Curve * 09 Childhoods End? * 10 White Feather>

WEBLINKS: www.marillion.com


Background
This was released in 1985, the same time as I was taking my school exams, before leaving school at the young age of 16. In those days, you had a couple of choices, stay on to do A-Levels in the sixth form or try to get an engineering apprenticeship. I went for the latter, well ś40 pounds in my hand at the end of the week, which after deductions, being rent to my Ma and savings on firm instruction of yes, you guessed it, my Ma, which left me with a tenner, which of course, meant straight to Andy's Records every Friday afternoon to buy as many vinyl albums that I could get with only pennies to spare, even if that meant walking home rather than catching the bus. So you see, this album was released at one of those milestones in my life, even though whatever those teachers say (and still do to this day), those exams are not always going to shape your life forever (in fact you can go to night school later in life, which I did), the other defining moment that summer, was Boris Becker winning Wimbledon at his first attempt. OK, this was the third release from Marillion, certainly a milestone for the members, based in Aylesbury, which it seems has a nice market square. Look rather going into a long history, I would recommend buying issue 54 of the Prog magazine, where this album is featured on the cover, and has an excellent well written piece.


The Songs
Yes, while they are ten individual songs, many of which contain identifiable parts, to me this is an album of one long song, a real suite of music. However in saying that, only after recent listens, did I question whether 'Kayleigh', their number 2 hit (understandably only kept off number 1 by the charity single from The Crowd, with 'You'll Never Walk Alone') possibly seemed out of place?, while other times it fits perfectly, depending on my mood, but whatever its central and crucial to the plot. Agreed an excellent pop song and content wise it's real and mirrors a great description of situations and human feelings that people find themselves in, I would go so far as to say that it just sneaks behind The Undertones, 'Teenage Kicks' in terms of describing human predicaments.

Over the course of the album it seems to be a rolling diary of Fish's emotions and memories, his experiences are unwound, but whom am I to try to translate, but at least I can use my own post it notes identifying to me the crucial moments, be that certain lyrics like 'the driver guzzles another can of lager, lager' (the repeat being so important) and 'it's six o'clock in the tower blocks', pivotal intervals, I'm sure you have you own. These just don't disappear over the last 30 years; they stay with you over a lifetime.

While 'Lavender' success is nothing to be sniffed at either, it reached the lofty heights of the top ten, the following September, even though it contains the most clich‚ phrase in the world of TV East Enders being "penny for your thoughts". I've always preferred the more darker phases of how this album progresses, after the initial singles (which provided the band mortgage payments for life); it reaches the dark eyes of November. 'Bitter Suite' is a trip back to the three day week in the winter of discontent, while 'Heart Of Lothian', another missed date, but lyrical, with all those roundabouts, ring roads, just genius and lights the fuse to push back time, what do they say? Happiness is the road.

Back to Chris Harper's school daze, just as my old English teacher (Mr Kenny, who loved Shakespeare, and never gave up on trying to convince me of his brilliance, but I still remained a total loss) would say, a story needs an opening, a middle and an ending. And with that revision point, we see the more prog elements take centre stage with 'Waterhole', 'Lords Of The Backstage' and the start of 'Blind Curve'. The soaring heartbreak this last track contains is a morbid sense of self reflection, the circumstances no longer matter.

The light finally shines, as 'Childhoods End' begins like a fresh April morning, acceptance, the butterfly wings are unfurled. 'White Feather' is a fitting end, as powerful and redeeming, as the Queen song 'Hero' that appeared at the end of the much maligned 'Flash Gordon' soundtrack, maybe an awkward comparison, but both are great ways to finish a story, whether it be a portrayal of a piece of fiction or non-fiction.


In Summary
While putting the final touches on this article, I played the vinyl copy, only then did I realise the copy I played back when I was young, was in fact borrowed off my friend, and I must have had it for months. As my copy displays the COB Records yellow sticker in the corner, which I only visited years later. I am going to avoid finishing with the playground argument of which version of Marillion I prefer. But just leave the facts, 'Clutching At Straws' would follow, underrated for sure, but that isn't a surprise with what it tried to follow. Fish would take the door marked solo career, while Steve Hogarth entered and released numerous albums, many financially secured by the most loyal of fans, but they never reached the commercial appeal as it did in that 12 month period during the mid 80's.

To me, along with the debut 'Script For A Jesters Tear', (for some unexplained reason I never really cottoned on to 'Fugazi', although it contained my favourite Marillion song, in 'Assassing') plus the likes of Pallas with 'The Sentinel', Twelfth Night's 'Art And Illusion' all hold a special place and influence, and playing these albums I am 16 years old again and you look back and realised that I have never used anything I learnt in those Physics lessons at school, just as I thought at the time.


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on May 14 2015 04:08:36
You're right about it seguing from one song to the next. A suite indeed. Have been listening to this a lot this week, 'Clutching At Straws' is on the playlist next.
#2 | Eric on May 14 2015 17:17:41
Brilliant album and PROG magazine did an excellent background on the album a couple months ago. I never warmed to 'Fugazi' either, but this and 'Script....' are classics.
 
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