Book Reviews

Published on January 9th, 2015 | by Mike Ainscoe


Steve Hogarth – Invisible Man Diaries 1997-2014

Miwk Publishing

And so to the second volume of the Hogarth diaries in which the Marillion singer brings things right up to date having published the first volume of The Invisible Man Diaries 1991-1997 earlier in 2014

As expected, it’s a case of carry on from where you left off,  in which we see our hero go on to hobnob with the  first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong and be present at the raising of Donald Campbell’s ‘Bluebird’ from the depths of Coniston water as well as singing at his memorial service the day after the 9/11 attacks in New York City (Marillion’s ‘Out Of This World’ song had its roots lyrically in Campbell’s ill fated attempts to break the water speed record).  All in all a most eventful start to the book.

Some years are very sparsely represented – 2002 is covered in 2 short entries while 2003 is the year that seemingly never happened but that’s the nature of the beast which is diary writing. There are other years which  are recalled and recorded in great detail on the other hand, perhaps a case of time in airports and tour buses and the inevitable cafes, so the later years bringing the story right up to date are well documented from North and South American visits which provide a contrast in interest from a lot og ‘home’ based material in the first volume.

Readers of Volume 1 will smile at more tales of lost trousers and keys and drinking endless coffees while sitting in cafes writing the diary. The entries covering shopping trips and the ongoing addiction to buying tasteful yet expensive light fittings continues at a pace. And just how many times can a person forget/lose/misplace a passport? An interesting diversion to the routine of life on tour and the soulless, airless and often windowless dressing rooms which most of the band seem to prefer rather than getting out to explore the world they’re travelling. Plus there’s the constant contrast to life on the road in Europe and in North and South America to ponder. There’s a hilarious and lengthy entry on air rage on a flight to Mexico, coinciding with the widely reported onboard arrest of Cat Stevens and the various frustrations of the regular traveller.

Again, when the Marillion time comes into play, it’s more of the life on tour and the tour bus rather than the work in the studio which gets coverage which is a shame. The onset of the Marillion weekends/fan conventions is also overlooked which would have given an interesting perspective.  There are snippets which will once more prove fascinating to Marillo watchers – Steve Rothery on the Atkins diet, Ian Moseley’s early morning intolerance and Pete Trewavas’ support in the technical aspects of coping with pedal boards at soundchecks (“You press that button and then that button, oh no, maybe it’s that other button”).

At the centre of the diaries though is the marriage break up which in hindsight is in the making all the way through from Volume 1 – inevitably the result of the touring life and constant absences which must be difficult to cope with, yet without wanting to spoil the book, there is a happy outcome for our hero, of which hardcore fans will surely be aware.

Having heard and read some excerpts from the famous diaries as a fan over the years, it’s a nice artefact to have a hold of; more so if you could have got lucky in the scramble to get one of the limited edition signed and numbered hardbacks. It’s a pity that a couple of personally attended gigs and events aren’t always featured as fans will always tend to gravitate towards gigs they’ve attended or particular memories they have but kudos to Miwk for taking a punt on publishing what will be a pair of works of limited widespread interest but be massively valued by the Marillion fans.

By Mike Ainscoe

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About the Author

Mike's mellowed in his old age, discovering the delights of traditional folk and acoustic music and the constant stream of new music coming through his passion as a gig-goer, music photographer and writer. With favourite artists and favourite songs which change daily, even hourly, he adds another spoke to the Sonic Bandwagon wheel of fortune.

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