(On Twelfth Night’s Smiling at Grief – Revisted, TN003, 2022)


This Twelfth Night has lasted longer than the usual eight hours.

For over forty years this charged music has resisted trend, luck

And chance – in order to share their own food of love, on which

They first dined as teenagers, these musicians sought to master


Life’s madness and countermand circumstance. For theirs is a Play

Full of song, sense and humour, from an early rise around Reading,

In now reading their tale we see love -for both the future they dreamt

And for the sounds that inspired; their Genesis begat Bibles


Which their sainted Singer touched and embraced through

God’s glove. Geoff Mann, artist, lyricist, and devoted Priest

And believer now stokes resolution as his bandmates survive

His sad loss, to commerate his first collaborations with them


As a digital shift and CD case captures Smiling at Grief’s

Cassette album, and the songs stirred become oceans

That the Shakespearean twins might have crossed.

Both remix and re-make, this song-ship’s manned craft


Has fresh captains; from Prog Pop star Steven Wilson,

To Andy Tillson. Rob Reed, to Tim Bowness, Brian Hulse,

Mark Spencer, Dean Baker,  Karl Groom, Simon Godfrey, 

Each new crew member plays and prods each song’s seed.


Lee Abraham. Stuart Nicholson, Gareth Cole. and Paul Hodson,

Each contemporary and prog colleague adds additional keyboard

And guitar to underline what works best of all in these early

Spells  sourced through music, from East of Eden to Creepshow


They spotlight and split that first star. East of Eden’s stringed

Squall under Wilson’s mix seems to spiral. It shines that more

Sharply within the mix he ‘de-murks,’ and Peter Jones’ This City

Soothes with the swell and shimmer he gives it, while early song


The Honeymoon is Over punk punches, as Mann the pure poet

Becomes boisterous by ripping  both magazine and hair shirt.

Godfreys’ take on Creepshow growls deep as he Taurus taps

And sucks shadows from the surrounding dark like death’s dog;


One of Twelfth Night’s best tales, entirely seminal in its starting,

And revealing how song and drama were successfully staged

Within prog. Mann was his own Gabriel graced by devotion.

His shine and commitment  to warnings on the institutions


Of fear we all face is themed in Puppets intro and take

Courtesy of Rob Reed and Mark Spencer, who continues

His own multi-roled playing in the specific spectacles

This group shaped. The music had and has such a sound,


Protected by Producer Brian Devoil. the band’s drummer

And defacto Director, running as he does site and show,

Alongside band biographer Andrew Wild, their take

On this anniversary album reveals how remix culture


Is not just about dance: now its glow. As the light that

Brned bright is wildly re-focused, heard in Wilson’s brush up

Against grief’s Three Dancers, where rhythms re-shimmer

As he artfully moves music on, while the song Makes No Sense


Is entirely remade by Hulse and Bowness, whose soft voice

Pushes pop to the surface of this caustic call to both reform

And belong. Twelfth Night once promised dreams which would

Endure across daylight. And so it proved in the Eighties,


Before insipient trend saw them trip, along with record label

Betrayal, Mann’s death, and advancing pressure saw their

Seared Second Act shortened and the programme shut

Or part ripped. But since then and thanks to Devoil’s


Graced devotion the name and the music has continued

To play and rehearse with a line of releases like this,

With every album remastered and with the definitive dream

Finding favour among performers and fans, the past’s kissed.


And the music plays on, in this album’s other mixes and versions,

And on the website, and online store, where what young men

Made continues to grow along with them and where, as you listen,

You see their growth and gain all the more. You see a much missed


Singer revived. And after their farewell show, further playing

In the theatre of your mind, or bedroom, headset or, phone,

There’s the line – that the CD booklet quotes, applying itself

To this music where; ‘sat like patience at a monument,

smiling at grief, was not this love indeed?’


                                                  Yes, it was. See it shine.



                                                            David Erdos, May 2nd 2022      



TWELFTH NIGHT’s 1982 Smiling At Grief album was the first music released with new vocalist, Geoff Mann. With the 40th anniversary arriving in 2022, it was decided to celebrate Smiling At Grief by releasing a ‘brand-new’ version, by asking friends and peers to remix the album using the original master tracks.

The response was amazing as contributions were received from Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Peter Jones (Camel), Simon Godfrey (Tinyfish), Tim Bowness & Brian Hulse, Rob Reed (Magenta), Karl Groom (Threshold), Andy Tillison (The Tangent), Lee Abraham & Stu Nicholson, Dean Baker (Galahad), Gareth Cole (Fractal Mirror), Paul Hodson and Mark Spencer. Some are straight remixes, some enhanced with new instrumentation, and some have been radically reworked, to produce an album that will be treasured by all prog rock fans.

“This is easily my favourite period of Twelfth Night, when the band were reaching for some kind of new wave / progressive hybrid – and successfully so, they really captured something of that moment in time, both the past and the future.  Even if these were meant to be quick and dirty demo recordings it’s been great to be given the chance to elevate the sonics a little (hopefully!)” 

Steven Wilson – Feb 2022

Running to over 70 minutes the CD features the same 9 tracks as the LP version as well as 7 bonus tracks, including 2 more mixes by Steven Wilson. The booklet includes all the lyrics as well as original artwork by Geoff Mann.

Brian Devoil: drums, Clive Mitten: bass, keyboards, Geoff Mann: vocals, Andy Revell: guitar, Rick Battersby: keyboards

Track List – Contributing Artists 

East Of Eden – Steven Wilson 

This City – Peter Jones

The Honeymoon Is Over – Karl Groom 

Creepshow – Simon Godfrey 

Puppets (intro) – Mark Spencer 

Puppets – Rob Reed 

Three Dancers – Steven Wilson 

Makes No Sense – Tim Bowness & Brian Hulse 

Für Helene Part II – Dean Baker


Bonus Tracks 

Puppets – Steven Wilson 

The Honeymoon Is Over – Andy Tillison 

Creepshow – Paul Hodson 

Puppets – Rob Reed & Galahad 

Three Dancers – Gareth Cole 

Makes No Sense – Mark Spencer 

East Of Eden extended – Steven Wilson

Smiling At Grief was written, arranged, performed and produced by Twelfth Night. Lyrics: Geoff Mann. Recorded at Woodcray Manor Farm Studios, Berkshire in November 1981 & released on cassette in 1982. TN003.

The CD is available from


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