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A Mirror Of Dreams

For  A Mirror of Dreams I interviewed over 85 musicians and other participants in the 1980s progressive scene. These took place between March and December 2023.

From Marillion: Steve Rothery, Diz Minnitt, Mick Pointer, Brian Jelleyman, Ian Moseley, Mark Kelly, Neil Cockle, Pete Trewavas
From IQ: Martin Orford, Mike Holmes, Peter Nicholls, John Jowitt, Paul Cook, Paul Menel, Tim Esau
From Pallas: Euan Lowson, Graeme Murray, Mike Stobbie, Alan Reed, Niall Mathewson, Ronnie Brown
From Pendragon: Nick Barrett, Clive Nolan, Peter Gee, Fudge Smith, John Barnfield, James Colah, Julian Baker, Mat Anderson, Nigel Harris, Rik Carter
From Solstice: Andy Glass, Martin Wright, Ken Bowley, Marc Elton, Mark Hawkins
From Twelfth Night: Andy Revell, Brian Devoil, Andy Sears, Clive Mitten


Peter Nicholls: ‘There was no Manchester date on the Trick Of The Tail tour, so I'd gone to Stafford by myself, on the train. I arrived at Bingley Hall early afternoon and sat down outside with everyone else, waiting for the doors to open. Mike Holmes was slightly ahead of me in the queue, close enough for me to see that the copy of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway he had with him seemed to have scribbles on it. Somehow I edged closer and we started talking.’


Nick Barrett: ‘I was told that there was Gibson Les Paul copy going for £40 in the Stroud Music Centre. I just could not stop thinking about this guitar. I can remember being in a biology lesson and the teacher saying, ‘Now the penis enters the vagina at this point and ejaculates into the vagina…’ And I was just thinking, ‘How do I raise £40 for that guitar?’’


Mick Pointer: ‘There was a pub next door and we spent quite a lot of time in there. We had had a very late night and we were sleeping in the next day. And out of the blue there was this guy knocking on the door at like 11 o’clock in the morning. ‘Oh, who the fuck is that? What? What do you want?’. It was a guy called Steve Rothery who told us he’d phoned and left a message to tell us he was coming. Someone took the phone call and of course didn’t write it down or tell us.’


Andy Glass: ‘I met Marc Elton on a park bench in Aylesbury. It was a place for, you know, socialising and smoking pot, basically. Marc was a classically trained violinist, a really exceptionally good musician. He worked at Chappell’s, the music shop. He came along and we jammed together. He had only played stuff from sheet music before, so although he had this incredible technical ability, he had never improvised. This was a new world for him. But he realised that he could express himself through it, and it was incredible.’


Andy Revell: ‘The opening is a D shape at different places up and down the neck with a bouncy rhythm behind it, and a little finger twiddle. The ‘sergeant major’ bit was a classic rhythm section and I had the chord sequence of the ‘on the station platform’ part: Em, G, D, B7. I had all these bits lying around and we thought, ‘How can we make these work together?’’


Euan Lowson: ‘I wasn’t the most confident person in the world. I hid behind other characters, so if the audience didn’t like it, well… it wasn’t me they weren’t liking, it was this other part of me… a different character. I found myself zoning into the more dangerous aspects of my personality in certain songs.’



As well as covering the formative years of these band, especially in 1978, 1979 and 1980, the book covers the years 1981 to 1983 in great detail, almost day by day. It includes a long chapter about the Reading festival in 1983 at which all six of these bands performed or attended as punters. There are chapters covering home demos, fanzines and a history of The Marquee club: the venue where all of these bands made such an impact.


To fill out the story, I have also spoken to members of Abel Ganz, Airbridge, Comedy Of Errors, Electric Gypsy, Galahad, Haze, It Bites, Jadis, Janysium, Lahost, The Lens, Liaison, Multi Story, No-Man, Pride Of Passion, Quasar, Tamarisk, Trilogy and Twice Bitten as well as key non-musical players such as veteran Aylesbury Friars promoter David Stopps, former Marillion manager John Arnison, and Nigel Hutchings, the former manager of the legendary Marquee Club in London.


The book features over 200 photographs and illustrations, many of which have either been previously unpublished or are very rare.


A Mirror Of Dreams will be published by Kingmaker Publishing, run by Big Big Train founder Gregory Spawton and Prog magazine journalist/Big Big Train manager Nick Shilton. The book has been edited by Greg Spawton and includes a 2,000 word foreword by Prog magazine founder and editor Jerry Ewing. 

A second volume, due for publication by Kingmaker in 2025, will cover the years 1984 to 1989.


A Mirror Of Dreams – The Progressive Rock Revival 1981 To 1983 is available for pre-order now from Burning Shed. All pre-orders received by 31 May will be signed by myself and Gregory Spawton and will make the purchaser eligible to attend a free book launch / Q&A event to be held in London later this year attended by myself, Greg and some of the musicians interviewed in the book.

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