Tobusaurus Wrecks

We all say stupid things. Well, I do anyway, particularly when talking to beautiful women, people I admire and clever children.

There are a few examples in Words and Music of people struggling to say anything other than a few garbled, idiotic words when confronted with their rock heroes. (I am always interested in these kinds of stories, so, please, do feel free to share!)

One incident I didn’t report was a conversation with Marillion bass player Pete Trewavas (pre-show at the London Astoria on the Marbles tour 2004)  who I took to task for breaking a ‘promise’.

“I’ve got a bone to pick with you, Pete,” I said.   “You told me you’d never stop playing ‘Forgotten Sons.'” (‘Forgotten Sons’ is an emotive track from Marillion’s debut album Script for a Jester’s Tear, 1983.)

Sensing, perhaps, that he might have a slightly troubled stalker on his hands, he responded calmly and earnestly: “Well, we wrote it a long time ago … there’s been lots of new music since then … things move on … etc. etc.”

It had, indeed, been a long time, not only since the band had written the song, but since I’d last spoken to him. It had been about 20 years, in fact,  post-show at a TV studio in Bath.

“You won’t stop playing ‘Forgotten Sons’, will you?” I’d asked.

“No, we won’t,” he’d replied.

“Do you promise?” I’d asked again, sounding like a desperate lover in fear of being jilted.

“Yes,” he nodded, signing my ticket and handing it back to me.

Hmmm … that was the promise. And of course, in the intervening years he will have had thousands of similarly brief conversations with thousands of other fans. Many will have presented themselves far more creditably than I did, but there are probably others who, like me, feel that in retrospect the conversation didn’t go quite as well as planned.

And now, over 2o years later on the Marbles tour, it was me who sensed it was time to change the subject.

“I’m only joking,” I said smiling (and I was, honestly), and we spent a few lighter moments discussing the virtues of the more recent Anoraknophobia album with its mighty stand-out bass lines. Much safer ground.

As for clever children, while it’s no fun being outwitted by your two year old daughter at meal times and TV flash points, most of all I remember my days as a student in Swansea, when, along with the other lodgers, I was intellectually challenged and ritually humiliated by the landlord’s young son, Toby (then a pre-teen with a love of animals).

The following is typical:

Toby: “Mike, guess what? Of all the animals in the world, ants make up the biggest land mass.”

Me: “Really? There’s millions of them are there?”

Toby: “No, there’s only six, but they’re very, very big.”

Pete Trewavas and ‘admirer’, London Astoria, Marbles tour (2004)

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