MARILLION FAN TAKES TO THE STREETS

Marillion fanatic Andrew Lock has taken to the streets of Leamington to promote his favourite band.

Mr Lock, 40, has devoted his life to the group, who formed in 1979 and were one of the most famous bands of the 1980s, though they have since drifted into obscurity.

Along with other devoted fans, Mr Lock has joined the Marillion Street Team, who the band uses to publicise their music instead of using a record company.

He said: "I bought the very first single in Leamington in 1983, but it was ten years ago that I really started to go completely over the top. It was going to see them live. Certain bands' music hits you.

"This isn't exploitation. All you have to do is put one flyer in a shop window and you've done your job, but it's cost me quite a lot of my own money, which I don't resent in any way.

"My wife thinks I'm far too keen. Marillion does take up a large amount of my time these days. They've released 13 albums but my collection is 50 and none of those are bootlegs."

Fans often harbour secret desires to play with their favourite band, something Marillion fans can do at the group's conventions.

Mr Lock said: "I bought a guitar about seven or eight years ago but I spend so much time listening to music I don't have time to learn it. We have drunken singalongs at the conventions."

Since spending time in the rock wilderness, the band have lavished attention on their hardcore fans as a reward for keeping them afloat.

Mr Lock said: "My face is on one of the albums, Marillion.com. It's like a collage of passport photos. Our pictures are on the album cover forever. We also have our names included in the album cover for making the album possible."

Most people remember Marillion for the antics of Fish, their lead singer, and assume they split up after he left, but Mr Lock feels the quality has never wavered, and they will soon return to the big time.

He said: "Basically they're very good and that's why they're going to do well. The latest single is the biggest and will definitely get the band in the top 20 for at least two weeks."

"My help is completely voluntary, but worth all the time and effort because of the joy their music gives me."