Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pheaturing Marillion

Hey there, it's Sunday and it's another entry of the Phile. I am your host, Jason Peverett, star of the new movie Phantastic Phile.  Let's talk about the sad story of the droid that relied on human kindness to hitchhike Europe & Canada and was promptly murdered in Philly. For over a year, HitchBot travelled the world without working arms, legs, or wheels. It relied solely on human kindness to transport it and to keep its batteries charged, powering the smiling LED face, limited speech capabilities, and GPS tracker that reported to Twitter and the robot's creators where it was. It brought joy to thousands of people all over the world for a year. Then, a few weeks ago, it came to America, where it brought joy to some people on the East Coast before imparting some final satisfaction to whatever depraved individuals smashed it to pieces, decapitated it, and left it for dead in a trash-strewn Philadelphia alley. It is the Cecil the Lion of the robot world. Its trip across Canada, and later Germany and the Netherlands, was an inspiration to the 50,000 people following it on Twitter and hundreds of thousands more who read about it online or heard about it on the news. Then, it got to Philadelphia. The city that pelted a visiting football team with snowballs, threw ice balls at Santa Claus, threw "D" batteries at a guy who asked the Phillies for too much money, required a court in Veterans Stadium, cheered for a guy's neck injury, booed an Irish Tenor for singing a verse of "God Bless America" that normally gets left out, and of course, firebombed their own citizens with napalm. You know, the city whose name in Greek translates to Brotherly Love. The place America was founded. That Philadelphia. Anyway, HitchBot dead now, turning the hashtag #hitchBOTinUSA into a place of mourning and wondering what the hell is wrong with us. Sorry, Canada and the world. I don't know why you trusted us with your life affirming toys. That was dumb of you.  Yeah, Kim and Kanye's son has a name, and it's slightly less of a pun than North. Good news for anyone who thought they were going to take the Prince approach with him. A close family friend (not that close, apparently) gave the "Daily Mail" the secret intel: "Easton is the chosen name. It's confirmed that the baby boy will be called Easton." There you have it! Easton West. In the past, the couple gave multiple hints that they weren't going in a direction direction for this baby, but it seems like they've gone 180° since then. And the direction they wound up going is… due Easton. The "-on" suffix is a nice touch, though. It makes his name sound more like a name. What does this mean for baby #3? Will he/she be called Westley? Or Southington? Probably not. Kim has gone on record saying: "I don't like South West, though, because that's like, you know, North will always, you know, be better and be more... she has a better direction." That's weird reasoning. Does everyone feel that North is a superior direction to South? Don't tell that to South America.  This is the face of a man who will never live down the reason he was arrested.

In what will go down as the most questionable decision of his life, 34 year old Michael Migani put his finger in his mouth and then stuck it in the ear of a 4 year old child. This action is known to grade-school children and emotionally arrested adults as a wet willy. His assault on the child's personal space occurred in a business's waiting room in Shelton, Connecticut. Truthfully, we've all been there before. Waiting rooms are painfully boring and can bring out the petulant inner child in all of us. Yet, unlike Migani, we understand that god invented smartphones so that we may occupy ourselves instead of rubbing our drool on strangers. Shelton police have charged Michael Migani with second-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree breach of peace, which is a relatively minor offense. Yet, Migani will always live with the shame of being that weird old guy in the news for inappropriately touching a young boy's ear. Perhaps his decision to give an innocent boy a wet willy was motivated by years of bullying. Perhaps it was because of the alternative or rock or rap or heavy metal music he listens to... or violent video games... all I know is that culture is to blame! In all likelihood, it's because Michael Migani is a total creep who never learned to keep his hands to himself. Good luck getting a job after that one, freakazoid. Next time, have some impulse control.  Oh baby, Justin Bieber got served papers through an elaborate trick using a dog. If you need to trick Justin Bieber in person, say because you're a vampire trying to get him to invite you inside, selling him magic beans, or serving him with legal papers, all you need is a dog. A lawyer who wanted to serve Bieber papers just happened to be on the same beach walking a dog. No big deal, purely a coincidence. It is known that Bieber loves dogs, and they are much simpler agents with which to lure the Biebs than sports cars or prostitutes. When he kneeled down to pet the dog, the lawyer presented the papers. All too easy. The lawyer represents a home owner who is suing Meek Mill. Bieber had been a guest at Meek's blowout Grammy party, which was held in a giant glass house. That's right, someone rented their giant glass house to Meek Mill for a party. What could go wrong? Here are the keys to my glass house you're using for a party where all the guests are hip hop stars. Help yourself to popsicles in the freezer and here's the number for poison control. Only time will tell if Bieber can ever trust another strange dog.  "Donald Trump said another horrible thing to get attention, and it worked." This is a sentence we will probably repeat a lot over the next year. Last week, Donald Trump, a person who wants to be president of the United States, during a debate with a series of competitors who also want to be president of the United States, called a female comedian a fat pig. And everyone laughed uproariously because it was super cool and appropriate. They loved how he wasn't "politically correct," a term that apparently means not bullying an innocent person in front of millions of viewers. Now Trump went for those same laughs when he talked to CNN about debate moderator Megyn Kelly: "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever." Ohhhh, the mean lady was on her period, so that's why she was being so emotional. One vote for Donald Trump, please. Trump is now both dismissing criticism of what he said as "political correctness" and backtracking on his remarks. Those excuses kind of contradict each other. Were you not saying she was on her period or is it really chill and professional to say she was on her period? Help us out. Pick a method of gaslighting, Trump! You're all over the place. Speaking of the debate, I thought I was watching it but I might have been watching something else...

One thing that I love that I don't think I have ever shared before is movie posters. I love movie posters! Anyway, ever wondered what a certain movie posters would look like if they used stock photos? I do.

I've never seen Halloween. I don't like scary movies.  It's summer and all through summer I am showing you different bathing suits or bikinis you might find at a beach or by your local community pool. Like this one for instance...

It's like a Vera Bradley bag came to life and was also an idiot. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is this week's...

Top Phive Startling Similarities And Differences Between Subway's Jared Fogle And HitchBot
5. His career came to an abrupt and ugly end.
4. Is surprisingly lovable, despite his inhumanity.
3. Has a strange and unsettling body type.
2. Will soon be featured in Subway's advertising.
And the number one thing similar and different between Jared and HitchBot is...
1. Deserves to get his ass beat in a Philadelphia alley.

This is a real hard one. I think it's the hardest one yet. If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, real quick, before I forget.... Happy birthday to my little sister, Leila. I wanted to make sure I said that today.

Snood! Remember Snood?

The 38th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

David will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

This is so cool! Today's guests are known as the most successful band to emerge from the United Kingdom's 1980s neo-progressive rock scene, and have sold more than 15 million albums. There latest album "Brave Live 2013" and the studio album "Sounds That Can't Be Made" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas, Ian Mosley, and Steve Hogarth from... Marillion!

Me: Hey, guys, welcome to the Phile. How are you guys?

Ian: We're good.

Me: I have to ask you about the band's name. I am sure die-hard Marillion fans know the answer, but there's probably a lot of my American readers that don't know. Where does the name Marillion come from and what does it mean?

Pete: It was after a book by Tolkein called "The Silmarillion"... we took it and dropped the Sil.

Me: Let's talk about your fans, they call themselves Freaks or something like that, right? I love it when fans of bands have a name, like Dead Heads and Parrot Heads. Hey, even Phile fans have a name. Phile Phans. original, eh? Where did the Marillion fans name originate and why do they call themselves that?

Pete: We did a B-side to a song in the early 80s called "Freaks." I guess it resonated with some people! Especially the line "all the best freaks are here."

Me: There's also fan conventions hosted yearly, right? Are they put on by the band themselves? Does the band show up to them and perform?

Steve R.: They are every two years. We hire out a holiday park in Holland complete with accommodation for 3000 people and fill it with Marillion fans so it becomes MarillionLand for 3 days and nights. The staff spend about 6 months organising it and we spend about 3 months rehearsing for it as we play a different set each night. They are hard work but such great fun. In Holland this year we had people fly in from 42 different countries! We then took the shows out this year and did the shows in Montreal and in the U.K. No accommodation or anything in the ticket price... just three nights of music.

Me: How many conventions have they been and where are they usually held?

Steve R.: This is the 6th one we have done.

Me: You guys are also known to be one of the bands that use the Internet for more than just a webpage. Tell the readers about Web Cottage Industry, and how you guys reach out to the fans through the web?

Ian: That's really not a short answer! I suppose the most important part is the album pre-orders which we started in 2001. In what was considered an unprecedented venture in the music industry, Marillion fans financed the making of the our 2001 album, "Anoraknophobia," after an Internet whip-round raised over £100,000… a staggering 8 months BEFORE the album was even recorded. We used our email database, consisting of over 30,000 dedicated followers, (which is now over 150,000) to approach their fans as an alternative to taking up the deals we were being offered from established record companies. The response was overwhelmingly positive: within 3 weeks fans offered to pre-pay for the album, to the tune of 5% of total world-wide expected sales, providing enough money to cover the costs of making our album. In doing so, a record company advance was rendered redundant and we retained the rights to our new music.

Me: The band is from England, right? What part? And are you all English?

Mark: I am Irish but the rest of them are from mid - North England but we all now reside near our studio in Aylesbury.

Me: Let's talk about who is in the band. Tell the readers who you are. Are you all original members? 

Ian: Mark Kelly keyboards, Steve Hogarth vocals, myself on drums, Pete Trewavas bass, Steve Rothery guitar.  Me and Steve H. are not original members. I joined in 1984 and Steve in 1989.

Me: One member I know of who is not in the band is Fish. I didn't know until just recently he wasn't in the band anymore and you have a new singer Steve Hogarth, who is brilliant by the way. When did Fish leave the band?

Steve R.: In 1988!

Me: Oh, 27 years ago. Was it on good terms, or the opposite? I had to check to make sure he was still alive. That would of sucked if he passed away, and I didn't know.

Mark: That's all been well documented... at the time it was difficult but 27 years later enough time has passed that have a drink together occasionally if we are all in the same part of town.

Me: Anyway, Steve like I said, is brilliant. Did he audition for the band, or did you guys know right away you wanted him?

Ian: We were sent a tape and asked him to audition and we knew there and then.

Me: I listened to a lot of Marillion music before I did this interview and I was surprised that the music style has changed over the years, kinda like U2 did. Is that a conscious thing, or did it just happen that way?

Steve H.: Our music just evolves.

Me: How would you guys describe your music?

Steve R.: Soulful, powerful, and often deeply-moving music.

Me: I first knew about Marillion with the "Misplaced Childhood" album which had some huge hits on it. Would you consider that to be the peak of the band's success?

Pete: In terms of the media I would say yes but we have much more creative and financial freedom now and I would call that a success.

Me: Let's talk about your more recent releases... one of your latest releases is "Less Is More," which was an acoustic album. I downloaded it from iTunes and was surprised to see two songs on it... "Runaway" and "Fake Plastic Trees". First off, is that a cover of Bon Jovi's "Runaway"?

Ian: Then you haven't listened to it! "Runaway" is a song from our 1994 album "Brave."

Me: Good point. Second, that's a cover of Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees," am I right on this one? Are you guys a big Radiohead fan?

Mark: We like some of what they are do but all love that song especially.

Me: I also downloaded the new album "Brave Live 2013," and really enjoyed it. It's not just available on CD, but there's a Blu-ray and DVD version as well, right?

Steve H.: Correct, though the Blu-ray is not available in the U.S.

Me: Do you guys get to tour America at all?

Steve H.: We haven't been since 2004 but plans are afoot to return in 2016 which we are really looking forward to. Watch this space.

Me: I mentioned the album "Misplaced Childhood," which had some big hits on it, and was surprised they weren't on your other past albums. Do you guys still perform "Lavender Blue" and "Kayleigh"?

Steve R.: No, we don't really perform "Lavender Blue" and "Kayleigh" much anymore... we have done 15 albums since then.

Me: On the latest studio album "Sounds That Can't Be Made" there's a 17 minute song that opens the album called "Gaza." What is that song about, it's a political song, right?

Steve H.: This is a song for the people... especially the children... of Gaza. It was written after many conversations with ordinary Palestinians living in the refugee camps of Gaza and the West Bank. I spoke also to Israelis, to NGO workers, to a diplomat unofficially working in Jerusalem, and took their perspectives into account whilst writing the lyric. It is not my/our intention to smear the Jewish faith or people... we know many Jews are deeply critical of the current situation... and nothing here is intended to show sympathy for acts of violence, whatever the motivation, but simply to ponder upon where desperation inevitably leads. Many Gazan children are now the grandchildren of Palestinians BORN in the refugee camps... so called "temporary" shelters. Temporary for over 50 years now. Gaza is today, effectively, a city imprisoned without trial.

Me: So, what's next for you guys? Will you be working on a new studio album?

Pete: Yes, back in the studio all summer to write a new album.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, it really is a big thrill for me more than it was for you I am sure. Go ahead and mention your website, and I hope you guys will come back to the Phile soon. Will you do that?

Ian: Thanks very much to you... tell people to come to where they can get a free download or CD and see what we've been up to all these years.

There, that does it for this entry of the Phile. It was cool that I had Marillion on the Phile but I think they thought I was an idiot and I doubt they'll ever come back. I'll they again though. Haha. Anyway, thanks to the guys from Marillion. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with Bill Majoros from The Foreign Films. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Happy birthday, Leila!

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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