17 June 2003
Summer Came Early
Band Member Journal : 
Cooped up inside a recording studio, even one as glamorous as the Racket Club (Not!) isn’t really where you want to be. We don’t have air conditioning but that isn’t usually a problem as we don’t get much sunlight in to warm the place up, as Ian always goes around drawing the big heavy curtains to make it as dark as possible inside. They are not really even curtains, but the cut down remains of the painted backdrop we used on the Holidays in Eden tour. Go and have a look and you’ll see what I mean. As we are now into the backing track stage our working day tends to start around 1pm and go on until 9 or 10 in the evening. This means that, assuming we don’t have too much homework, we can get some sunlight in the morning. As it’s been fantastic weather these last few weeks, don’t tell Dave, but I’ve been spending some time out amongst the lupins and delphiniums having a go at constructing a dry stone wall across the bottom of our garden. I managed to do it without crushing any of my fingers, a miracle as I am a bit accident prone. It was about this time last year that I blew myself up trying to light a bonfire with a can of petrol.
If you’ve followed Marillion for a number of years you may know that I have managed to dislocate my shoulder on a number of occasions, usually on tour, horsin’ around. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, at least ten years. I must admit that recently I’ve been wondering if I still deserve the nickname "Mad Jack". Building a dry stone wall, at the end of your well tended garden on a summer day, doesn’t exactly qualify as dangerous. What really convinced me that I’d had my day as "Mad Jack" was when Lucy leant me the movie "Jackass". While arguably in very poor taste - and in parts quite sick - I found it extremely funny. Johnny Knoxville really does deserve the name Mad Jack. I wanted to have a go at the "rent-a-car crash-up derby" or the "alligator tightrope".
This Sunday, while having a barbeque at a friend’s house, after a few drinks, Mad Jack came out to play. Our friends have a very long steep garden, with a miniature rail track going down one side. Instead of a train, an oversized "skateboard" is used to ride down to the bottom where you go crashing into the undergrowth. Pretending I was starring in "Jackass 2, The Sequel", I went down standing up. I managed to keep my balance until about three quarters of the way down when the track came apart under me and the skateboard stopped dead. I was hurled onto the remains of the track where I did a few summersaults and finally came to a stop gasping for breath, feeling like I’d been hit over the head with an iron bar. Apart from a few superficial cuts and a cracked rib I was OK. I’ve been really sore for the last few days but luckily my hands weren’t hurt so I can still play. I think I’ll head for the darkness and safety of the Racket Club and forget about being Mad Jack for another year.