Sunday, 10 May 2015

Magic and Marillion's Garden Party

I'm going to admit here right out of the gate that I've never been a fan. Marillion were always a bit floppy and fussy for my hardcore punk and industrial leaning tastes. I'm also going to admit that I used to try and wind up a Marillion obsessed ex-colleague by humming 'Kayleigh' whenever he passed and ending random sentences with the words 'Dilly, Dilly'.

Jon, if you're reading, 'Is it too late to say I'm sorry?'

There has though always been one little thing they did that has intrigued me; the slightly malevolent video for the song 'Garden Party', the second single from their debut album 'Script for a Jester's Tear'.

Buy it here -  Script For A Jester's Tear

The song itself is a fairly typical pop prog ditty of the type they made their name doing. The music is jaunty and filled with sharp stabs and busy synths overlaid by lyrics detailing the attendees and their behaviours at the titular party.

Garden party held today
Invites call the debs to play
Social climbers polish ladders
Wayward sons again have fathers
Hello, Dad, hello, dad
Edgy eggs and queueing cumbers
Rudely wakened from their slumbers
Time has come again for slaughter
O on the lawns by still Cam waters
A slaughter, it's a slaughter

Champagne corks are firing at the sun again
Swooping swallows chased by violins again
Strafed by Strauss they sulk in crumbling eaves again
Oh God not again

Aperitifs consumed en masse
Display their owners on the grass
Couples loiter in the cloisters
social leeches quoting Chaucer

Doctor's son a parson's daughter
Where why not and should they oughta
Please don't lie upon the grass
Unless accompanied by a fellow
May I be so bold as to perhaps suggest Othello

Punting on the Cam is jolly fun they say
Beagling on the downs, oh please do come they say
Rugger is the tops, a game for men they say

I'm punting, I'm beagling, I'm wining, reclining, I'm rucking, I'm fucking
So welcome, it's a party

Angie chalks another blue
Mother smiles she did it too
Chitters chat and gossips lash
Posers pose, pressmen flash

Smiles polluted with false charm, locking on to Royal arms
Society columns now ensured, returns to mingle with the crowds
Oh what a crowd

Punting on the Cam, oh please do come they say
Beagling on the downs, oh please so come they say
Garden party held today they say

Obviously the above lyrics are copyright to whoever owns them - the page I copied them from didn't say who that was.
I'm printing them here purely for those who are unfamiliar with the song.
Basically, please don't sue me, I'm poor and friendly to dogs.


The video features the band as a gang of rag tag 'Just William' types, all scruffy school uniforms and grubby knees, discovering the party and deciding to indulge in a spot of mischief. And this is where it gets intriguing as while there's an element of sticky bun pilfering and tying shoelaces together for the most part the mischief takes the form of several displays of sympathetic magic.

They make one Princess Diana looky-likey party goer faint by mimicking her and then holding their breath and another is made to fall from her wheelchair by tossing a bicycle into the river before the video ends with them face painted, stood around a wooden sigil glaring across the river at the party goers whilst the vicar crosses himself repeatedly at the sight and a gale blows up, sweeping both the party and the guests away.

It's all very Hammer, very Dennis Wheatley and very silly. It also seems massively out of character (and please remember I'm saying this as someone whose knowledge of the band is significantly less than minimal) as they always seemed a fairly wholesome bunch; more the types to attend garden parties than the types who would destroy them using supernatural forces but then as I now see it for the first time the singles cover artwork is fairly dark and like I said, what do I know.

Well, what I do know is it's fun. Garden Party was, way back in 1983 / 84, one of the very first music videos I'd seen and even though the music wasn't / isn't to my taste the content of the video absolutely mirrored what I loved (still love) in movies and has stuck in my memory all that time which probably speaks volumes about why I now write a blog called Wyrd Britain.

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