SDEtv / Marillion: Clutching at Straws / watch the unboxing video

SDE takes a look at the new Marillion reissue, a five-disc edition of their 1987 album Clutching at Straws which features a 5.1 surround mix, demos, a new stereo mix, an hour-long documentary and much more…

Clutching at Straws is reissued on 23 November 2018.

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Clutching at Straws - 4CD+blu-ray deluxe


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Clutching at Straws - 5LP vinyl box


Clutching at Straws / 4CD + blu-ray deluxe edition

Disc One: 2018 Andy Bradfield & Avril Mackintosh Re-mix

  1. “Hotel Hobbies”
  2. “Warm Wet Circles”
  3. “That Time of the Night (The Short Straw)”
  4. “Going Under” (Alternate Version)
  5. “Just or the Record”
  6. “White Russian”
  7. “Incommunicado”
  8. “Torch Song”
  9. “Slàinte Mhath”
  10. “Sugar Mice”
  11. “The Last Straw”
  12. “Happy Ending”

Disc Two: Live at the Edinburgh Playhouse 1987 (2018 Michael Hunter Mix)

  1. “La Gazza Ladra”
  2. “Slàinte Mhath”
  3. “Assassing”
  4. “White Russian”
  5. “Incubus”
  6. “Sugar Mice”
  7. “Fugazi”
  8. “Hotel Hobbies”
  9. “Warm Wet Circles”
  10. “That Time of the Night (The Short Straw)”

Disc Three: Live at the Edinburgh Playhouse 1987 (2018 Michael Hunter Mix)

  1. “Pseudo Silk Kimono” (Intro)
  2. “Kayleigh”
  3. “Lavender”
  4. “Bitter Suite”
  5. “Heart of Lothian”
  6. “The Last Straw”
  7. “Incommunicado”
  8. “Garden Party”
  9. “Market Square Heroes” (incomplete, featuring “My Generation,” “Margaret,” and “Let’s Twist Again”)

Disc Four: 1999 Remaster Demos           

  1. “Beaujolais Day” (Demo)
  2. “Story From A Thin Wall” (Demo)
  3. “Shadows On The Barley” (Demo)
  4. “Exile On Princes Street” (Demo)
  5. “Sunset Hill” (Demo)
  6. “Tic-Tac-Toe” (Demo)
  7. “Voice In The Crowd” (Demo)
  8. “White Russians” (Demo)
  9. “Sugar Mice In The Rain” (Demo)
  10. “Hotel Hobbies/ Warm Wet Circles” (The Mosaic Demos) *
  11. “Just for the Record” (Demo) *
  12. “Torch Song” (Demo) *
  13. “Slàinte Mhath” (Demo) *

Blu-ray Content

Clutching At Straws (2018 Andy Bradfield & Avril Mackintosh Re-mix)

  • 48/24 PCM Stereo Remix48/24 LPCM Master Audio 5.1 Mix
  • 48/24 DTS Master Audio 5.1 Mix

“The Last Straw” Clutching At Straws: Interviews with Fish and band

Promo Films (SD Content)

  • “Incommunicado”
  • “Sugar Mice”
  • “Warm Wet Circles”

Audio Extras          

Clutching At Straws (Original 1987 Album Mix)

Bonus Tracks (Audio Only)

  • “Incommunicado” (Alternative Version)
  • “Tux On”
  • “Going Under” (Extended Version) 

Clutching at Straws 5LP vinyl box set

Clutching At Straws (2018 Andy Bradfield & Avril Mackintosh Re-Mix)    

Side One

  1. Hotel Hobbies
  2. Warm Wet Circles
  3. That Time of the Night (The Short Straw)

Side Two

  1. Going Under (track only included on original CD version)
  2. Just for the Record
  3. White Russian

Side Three

  1. Incommunicado
  2. Torch Song
  3. Slàinte Mhath

Side Four

  1. Sugar Mice
  2. The Last Straw
  3. Happy Ending

Live at the Edinburgh Playhouse (19/12/1987) (2018 Michael Hunter Remix)

Side Five

  1. La Gazza Ladra
  2. Slàinte Mhath
  3. Assassing
  4. White Russian (Previously released on Thieving Magpie)

Side Six

  1. 1. Incubus
  2. Sugar Mice

Side Seven

  1. Fugazi

Side Eight

  1. Hotel Hobbies
  2. Warm Wet Circles
  3. That Time of the Night (The Short Straw)

Side Nine

  1. Pseudo Silk Kimono (instrumental)
  2. Kayleigh
  3. Lavender
  4. Bitter Suite
  5. Heart of Lothian

Side Ten

  1. The Last Straw
  2. Incommunicado (Previously released on Thieving Magpie)
  3. Garden Party


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I just received my 4CD+BR set from Marillion and I am currently waiting for the LP set from Fish.
I love that they decided to keep the lovely canvas texture already used for Misplace Childhood. But I have to say the written essay is quite a let down in this context, used as we are to the liner notes of Fish which tend to be as his lyrics: long, well-written and always full of interesting memories. Sound-wise it seems to me impossible to improve an album recorded at a time when technology was already quite advanced and even the way it sounded forms part of the original feeling of the music, perhaps a more vocal-oriented mix may seem more attractive for the occasional listener but clearly misses the point on an album which has some darkness inherent to it; even more so if we know this was the closing chapter for the original incarnation of the band.


I am wondering, is the original album mix on the Blu-ray also in 24bit ? That is, is it the 24bit remaster from 1999, which was of course downsampled to 16bit for the CD, in its full resolution?

Julian H

Apparently, it is in 16 bit.


I’m in two minds over this set. On the plus side, you get the 5.1 mix in hi-res and you get the gig discs.

On the downside, there are missing bonus tracks and the booklet is a bit ‘thin’ (as was the case with the MC set).

Jethro Tull still clearly remains the high watermark for this kind of release.

elliott buckingham

just played the 5.1 mix it is very good easily on par with steven wilsons misplaced mix. I also enjoyed the new stereo mix would have preferred if they were remixing it to add the sugar mice 12″ and the alt version of incommunicado to the running list

CJ Feeney

I’ve just got my copy and put on disc 1. Now re-listening to the 1999 disc to confirm my thoughts.
The new mix seems to have the vocals turned up and the music turned down on some tracks – especially White Russians and Incommunicado – in fact it sounds like they’ve used different vocal takes on White Russians. Any vocal echoes are loud rather than fading away – especially noticeable on The Last Straw. The Last Straw fade out doesn’t work – it stays louder then cuts out.

I’ve yet to look through the book, but now I know I’ll be hanging on to my 1999 set, just for the balanced mix.


I think both the new stereo and the new “surround” mix are disasters. The new stereo mix is a mess, full of mistakes (like the missing fade outs) and it completely misses the point about the mood of the album.
The original mix is giving the priority to the keyboards and guitars, Fish’s voices sounding as if he were at the end of the bar, singing to the mahogany counter where his empty glass stands.
The new mix sounds like he’s drunk, stumbling through the tables and screaming his personal issues to the company, or the empty bar, backed up by an amateur band who can not play in unisson.
As for the 5.1 mix, it is a disgrace. These people are amateurs. They basically put the vocals on the center channel, echoed the vocals in the front channels, put “stuff” in the front channel (randomly to the sound of it when listening to the tracks), echoed the front channel in the back channel and added a little layer of something to make us believe it is a discrete mix. It ruins the music, and it surely was done using some kind of automated upmixer to be that bad. It manages to be even worse than the stereo mix, and believe me it was a hard task..
As for the live cds, the sound is equally bad, everything that is in the “official bootleg vol1” is 200% better than that.
I felt like crying when I finished listening to the unreleased stuff in that deluxe edition. My favorite fish Era album has been fed to pigs and what we have on these discs is what came out a few hours later, on the ground in the mud ditch near the waste.

CJ Feeney

I have to say the book is far from exceptional. The best thing about it is the huge amount of alternative artwork.
The written content is a bit thin. One essay by Mick Wall that really only sketches the period.
Credits for the album tracks but no info on the various demos.
Compare again to the 1999 2CD. That had a long essay by Fish and shorter essays by Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley, Mark Wilkinson and sound engineer Avril McIntosh.
In those essays they discussed the period in detail, the events that led to the split, where the various demos were recorded and why the demo was such poor quality. Similar content to a Jethro Tull deluxe edition. Clearly a more deluxe content than the new package.

As someone who pointed out, Going Under has been replaced on the CD by the alternative mix. This is the same mix that is the “bonus track on the blu ray. The original CD mix (7” mix?) is on the 1987 album mix on the blu Ray.

Simon Long

I agree about the book being poor. Much as I like Mick Wall’s writing – I still own a copy of his 1987 “Market Square Heroes” book – this is pretty thin stuff. It tells you next to nothing that you couldn’t gather just by listening to the album – “MC” and “Brave” had proper notes on the making of the albums from the band members, which were far more interesting to read than one ageing hack’s opinion about the album…

The remix is pretty meh – doesn’t add much other than some alternate vocal takes (which presumably were the ones not chosen for the actual album due to being worse…) and a few odd bits of extra synth here and there. I don’t think I’ll be listening to it again; give me the ’87 original every time.

But the Edinburgh Playhouse show is worth the price of admission on its own – probably the best CaS tour recording I’ve heard; knocks Early Stages and Curtain Call into a cocked hat.

CJ Feeney

I was at the Wembley Arena show on Early Stages, and recorded the subsequent Radio 1 broadcast. I’d be interested if any recordings exist of the follow on UK tour that went to smaller venues with a different set list to Wembley and Edinburgh.

I recall (at Hammersmith Odeon) they played side 2 of Misplaced Childhhod in the main set and did the singles from side 1 in the encores.

Rob Puricelli

I have to say that the packaging from Fish’s own store is pretty weak and has resulted in what one might call “premature ageing” to the package. It was basically sent in one of those Amazon-style cardboard envelopes and the item itself, which had been removed from its cellophane wrapping so that Fish could sign it, had been placed inside with no other forms of protection.

This means that all four corners on the front cover and back cover have rubbed the black coating away, revealing the white underneath.

I’m in two minds whether to send it back or request a replacement. I always buy from Fish’s store as I prefer to support him directly, but am regretting doing so now :-(

Aside from that, the contents are intact and suitably exceptional.

tom m hans

Thanks for sharing – the same happened to the MC deluxe which I ordered from Fish as well – it looks almost vintage now –


I have just received my copy, I have to say I am initially disappointed by the white corners. Wasn’t sure if it was done on purpose to make it look old. I assume not given other comments here. I also ordered my copy from the Fish website and will always support the great man, so reluctant to complain.

Richard S

Just got mine today, and I make the same comments. Essentially, no packaging at all, just an oversized brown cardboard mailer, so the black has rubbed off all around. I really hope that the vinyl boxes are packaged much better…. I have sent a nice note to Fish Sales to alert them to the problem……


The packaging from Amazon was the same. Mine had a dinged corner and the black had worn off on the corners to reveal white. Sent it back and the replacement (in the same packaging again!) was fine, luckily. I tried to post a review on Amazon lambasting them for their poor packaging, but got an email, back saying they couldn’t print it as it didn’t follow their guidelines!


Dear Rob, same here. I received it this morning. I tried to get in touch with the store but received a mail delivery error. Did you get a replacement and if, how did you get in touch with the folks at the fish store?

Kind regards from Munich

peter chrisp

A massive surprise directly from Marillion web page a signed poster & box set posted out on the 7th of November and received on the 15th of November in Australia not a bad effort i’ll take it!

tom m hans

I owned all vinyls back in the days (attended the Loreley Show as well) – and repurchased almost everything of the Fish Area Marillion – however – to me the Sound of CAS vinyl could not be replicated yet – I doubt that the box set will get this done – waiting to be shipped from the man himself. Peace.

Stuart Allen

I do like the look of this, but worried that another “Misplaced Childhood” glitch might be present on this set, which wasn’t reissued with the error fixed.

Inge Kjetil Bratset

No b-sides, no interest from me. I think a lot of people agree with this. I didn’t buy Brave for the same reason. It’s incredible that artist don’t understand that lack of b-sides usually will reduce sales. Why haven’t you made more of a point about it Paul, seing the treatment Paul McCartney got for Flowers in the dirt.

Inge Kjetil Bratset

Fair enough. You would’t think that adding the b-sides would take that much extra effort. Misplaced Childhood was perfect, and I was hoping the others would be made the same way. Ah well, money saved. Now onto Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway.


The Deluxe Editions are the first Marillion I own so that argument is refuted.
I was not enamoured by them when they started but have given them another look with the Wilson Remixes.
I now own quite a bit more than the three Deluxe versions and can only blame myself for being late to the game.


Where is the 12” mix of sugar mice and the sloppy three audio tracks on Blu Ray is annoying. Hacked off that they missed the medley off the vinyl set. The people who create these sets e record company wants is the cash.


There was no room to include the 3 b’sides that are on the BR but not on the 1999 remasters. The Demo CD has 12 minutes left which isn’t enough for the 3 tracks.
So I’m keeping the 2 CD anyways as most fans will do.
I’m not a fan of the clips that hold the CDs. Need to really push in the center to release the CDs.
I actually would of liked if the CDs were like how the BR is stored.
But yes, they should standardize on the releases. CD 1 is the original album as a remix [or whatever], CD 2 & 3 are live, CD 4 is demos and B’sides. If not enough room, I’d tack on the B’sides/demos to the end of the second live CD.
The BR should have the new mix, the old mix [why not – there is room] and the 5.1 mixes plus videos and documentary plus anything else.

Simon Long

“There was no room to include the 3 b’sides that are on the BR but not on the 1999 remasters.”

The B-sides in question *are* on the 1999 remasters!

Alan B

Paul it looks like your copy had a disagreement with the postman judging by the corner dings on it!

Simon Long

Much as I am a huge Marillion fan, and have preordered this to sit alongside my deluxe versions of “Misplaced Childhood” and “Brave”, this reissue campaign is massively irritating for the collector!

“Misplaced” was done properly – it included all the material from the 1999 remaster, including a remaster of the original mix of the album.

“Brave” went a bit awry, in that the inclusion of an unnecessary stereo remix of the album took up one of the discs, meaning that the bonus material in the 1999 remaster was relegated to the Blu-ray. But at least the original mix of the album was included on CD.

And now “Clutching” gets even worse. We get a stereo remix – again, surely not something any real fan of the original actually wants – and the original mix isn’t even included on CD at all! Yes, we get some of the bonus content from the 1999 remaster (the demos), but the album b-sides from that remaster, like the original mix of the album itself, are languishing as afterthoughts on the Blu-ray.

Surely I’m not the only fan who thinks a basic requirement of any “deluxe” edition is that it contains *all* the content from previous editions – and who has no interest whatsoever in a stereo remix of the original album?

At this rate, by the time we get to the deluxe releases of the likes of “Script” and “Afraid of Sunlight”, I fear that they will actually be taken from completely different albums by different bands…


I agree with Simon. I bought the Misplaced Childhood reissue but have since sold it and given up with this campaign.


Simon, I think the reason is that the 2cds remastered edition of “Misplaced” is out of print, BUT the 2cds remastered editions of “Brave” and “Clutching” are still available :)

Everybody here are Marillion records’ collectors, I guess, and… well, I have got all of their singles, so I don’t mind. ;)

Simon Long

But the 2CD remasters are only still available until the stock runs out; they aren’t being reprinted and kept available. Come to that, the same is true of the deluxe sets – once they are sold out, there won’t be any more made…

I’d be amazed if there is anyone buying any of these deluxe editions who doesn’t already own the 2CD versions, but this is the first case I can think of, with any artist, where the “ultimate” edition of an album is missing significant chunks of the content in previous editions – and in particular, in this case, where the actual original album itself isn’t included!


I avoided Brave for the same reason as you. I did like Childhood though and have watched the documentary twice. I’ve heard the Straws documentary is worth the admission price alone (Fish alluded to band disagreements during filming on his Twitter feed!).

I agree with your moan about the single b-sides to an extent but Going Under is on the album disc as it was on the original 1987 CD issue so it’s only Tux On and the extended versions that are missing.

My biggest complaint with Childhood was the booklet. Huge type used throughout to disguise the fact that there was not much content. Compared with the minute details in the Tull sets it was pretty light on detail.

Simon Long

“I agree with your moan about the single b-sides to an extent but Going Under is on the album disc as it was on the original 1987 CD issue so it’s only Tux On and the extended versions that are missing.”

The B-side version of Going Under is significantly different from the album version – it has a completely new guitar solo over the second half of the song that wasn’t included on the album version. I understand that the remixed version of the album in the deluxe set has added this guitar solo to the album version…

Julian H

“that the bonus material in the 1999 remaster was relegated to the Blu-ray” If only :(

There was exactly ONE track from the 1999 bonuses that made it onto the Brave bookset.


Thanks for the video, Paul. Any particular reason the reissue of Brave in a similar format from earlier this year isn’t mentioned. It isn’t either in your article announcing this release, both stating this is following the 2017 reissue of Misplaced Childhood.

Julian H

So when Afraid of Sunlight is out, you’ll have to refer to it as the follow-up to Brave, right!