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OK – back on line after a week destressing. As you saw I spent last weekend in Karlsruhe visiting my girlfriend and her family just chilling out and away from the writing which to be honest started to overwhelm me a bit. Snarling bears are not good to be around and don’t come up with good lyrics 🙂
Flew back to London on Tuesday to spend a night with my great friend Jon Crawley, his wife Liz and his son James. His new house is in Rivendell it seems. Beautiful position and within walking distance across the fields to some great real ale pubs which we had to take advantage of :-)Woke up next morning to head into London for the Prog awards and the forum held in the afternoon at Kew gardens.Checked into the Columbia hotel and then taxi to EMI to meet up with Hugh Gilmour for lunch and a natter with the guys there. I’d phoned up to say I’d be late for the proposed meet at 12 and was worried I’d get nothing to eat before the activities began.
Everyone was quite cool and relaxed when I got there and there seemed no rush for the Kew meetings. Long chat with Nigel Reeve who together with Hugh have been my main liason re all the Marillion reissues. I always feel like I am visiting the old family home despite the company having moved to just off Kensington High Street via Hammersmith from the legendary Manchester Square headquarters I used to frequent.
I hardly know any faces these days but those I do always make me feel welcome. It’s a strange time just now as it looks like Universal are taking them over. I say that but it comes across more like asset stripping as rumour has it that they are taking the Beatles catalogue, Virgin Records (including the Genesis catalogue amongst others), Robbie Williams and some other acts but leaving EMI music with the remaining catalogue as a stand alone company that will be susceptible to a take over from another marauding corporate.
I must admit to feeling rather sad to see what is the last great British record company potentially disappear. I’ve had my wranglings with them in the past but I still have a fond affection for the company. I’d love to see EMI survive as an independent but in these ever changing times it seems unlikely.
I also feel for the employees who are all wondering if they will have jobs once the takeover happens. It’s rough and tough days in the music industry just now and there are a lot of people falling victim to the great chase for profits.
It was obvious from the stacks of repackaged albums in the offices that a lot of focus is placed on the back catalogues these days and I took advantage of my visit to blag a bunch of CD’s including Kevin Ayers, Gentle Giant, Frankie Miller, Tangerine Dream and Barclay James Harvest box sets.
I was getting nervous about the time but seemed the only one who was. Lunch in the EMI canteen which was quite a happening wee restaurant and again no rush. It seemed way too relaxed as I checked my watch to see that we were close to the Kew schedule.
A taxi down there with Hugh and again despite me thinking everything was getting tight I was told we had time for a pint in a local pub. I went with the flow.
It wouldn’t be until after the forum itself as I rushed to get suited and booted thinking I had only 15mins until the doors opened for the champagne reception that I discovered that I hadn’t put my watch back from European time and that I had spent the last 24 hours running about like a stressed white rabbit thinking I was an hour late for everything!!
I’ll back track on the Forum and the awards tomorrow in another post.
At the moment I’m stealing time in the control room as I’ve been working with Foss on “Crucifix Corner the last 2 days. The shape is pretty much done and I am overjoyed that Frank will finally be appearing tomorrow morning to join in the writing for the first time.
We have really missed him and with Steve arriving tomorrow afternoon I will finally have a full writing team together if just for a day.
Frankie and Steve and I will be working together this week and up until I head for Bulgaria a week on Wednesday.
There are 12 track titles written up on the studio board and only 3 are in a state to let a band loose on them. This week will be a double shift every day to get at least 5 ready for playing in rehearsals before the convention.
It is oh so tight and I admit to moments of panic at the workload.
There is still a hell of a lot to do but listening to “C Corner” as I type this reminds me that we are creating something special and different and it’s well worth all the headaches and effort.
Now back to writing those missing verses.