Email 3rd March 1998

Subject: Fish 98 - merchandise list screw up, Lady Let it Lie CD clarification!

Dear Thomas, Rolf and Freakers!
I just want to clear up some confusion that has been going on with the merch list on "Torch Song". After receiving a couple of orders for sweatshirts with price quoted at 6 pounds I went up to the site to check it out and threw a whitey when I noticed that the black, long sleeved sweatshirt with the Soe logo embroidered on the breast was priced the same as a Toile t-shirt. It seems that when the list was put up there's been a typo! A big typo! As I'm currently trying to update I understand how easy it is to make a mistake! I've been at this for 2 days now and am going blind!
I'm revamping all the prices now and the sweatshirt of which there are only 5 left will be available for 25 GBpounds inc p+p. I apologise for all this confusion as I should have checked the site prices earlier.
The video prices have changed recently and that to has led to queries as some people ordered just before the deals were offered. The NTSC videos were always more expensive than the PAL's due to production costs of transfer especially on low number runs. Some of you have omitted to add postage to your calculations - Videos including postage for USA were 18 and 15 pounds on the last official Co.Sco list. (All prices have always been in pounds) inc p+p. The offer to Company members was 20 pounds plus p+p which was 6 pounds making 26 complete. The offer on the list was for 2 free singles with a video order with the prices at 18 electric and 15 acoustic inc p+p! That went up on list on 9th February! At this time I've decided to do away with a two tier system making all offers open to anybody. This means the NTSC video offer will be as per the CO. members offer ie 26 pounds for both inc p+p until stock runs out. This applies from now, 3/3/98. Free singles will still apply to this offer while stock lasts.
Once I have negotiated the current restructuring within the record company and the studio I'll be able to revise the Fanclub deals and organise special offers to members only. At the moment I have to clear the decks! I'm trying to simplify as much as possible in order to provide a fast and effective service as well as great deals that everyone is happy with.
The new merch list will be posted to the web site in the next week and this list will supersede all previous lists. When ordering please put the catalogue number with your order so we know you are aware of these changes and the new prices.
For those of you who think you have been overcharged on the Videos e-mail me here with the date of order, the amount charged to your card, your address including your Surname and details of your Co. membership (if any) to help us trace the problem and I'll get back to you. We can either send a refund or I can send another article you may want to cover the difference at our cost. I apologise for all the confusion over this. I am quite simply trying to clear stock before Dick Bros is put to rest and I switch all production through another record Company. Some of the titles will never be repeated while others are unlikely to feature as merch. items for quite a considerable time. Some of you have already received substantial freebies with your orders and that to has created misunderstandings as you think you've been billed for these items. Anything that arrives that you didn't order is a gift just to say thanks for helping us out! Nothing sinister!:)
I know and understand some of you will feel you've missed out on offers and feel penalised because you bought early on. I'm afraid there's nothing I can do about this as circumstances have been constantly changing and I'm not in a position to retrace prices. Sorry!
On other queries - The single Lady Let it Lie exists on a number of formats- CD1 with Black canal etc. digipak CD2 with Emperors Song etc. jewel case GAS CD1 Digipak as per CD1 but with Emperors Song rather than BCanal (this was released in Germany/Austria and Switzerland (GAS territories) as they preferred Emp song to BC as a potential radio track). There are also rogues out there to complicate matters! Somehow CD2's have ended up in CDI GAS digipaks. I think it was when we were sent the returns always generated by singles and someone put together the units from damaged packaging ie CD from Broken Jewel case of CD2 put in digipak marked as GAS CD1. It's all I can think of! This has resulted in some of you getting sent the Emp Song CD instead of the BC CD! Our fault again! :( As with the vids send it back and we'll replace it with the correct CD.
We're trying our best at the moment and I must admit to missing the staff that would normally do this. This morning I've been trying to sell the van, photographed by a newspaper re the selling of the No. plate F1 SHS, been in the stock room working out the GAS CD problem, dealing with the e's most of which are about merchandise, getting the "bill" script organised as well as talking to the Studio Vendors, the VPL regarding video contracts on old clip placements and somehow trying to get the updated merch list together!:)
And you wonder why I'm changing my life around. I remember when I was just a simple artist!!:)
It will come together....eventually! Patience my tinsel angels!
All the best, Onkel Fish
PS It seems the list and the web site get visited by the Sunday Mail, a paper up here in Scotland. They have included a couple of articles, with mostly negative vibes, about the current situation. The funny thing is the articles are marked as "exclusive"!!:) Maybe I should start to copyright my posts or put in an invoice to the Mail for research!:)
BTW this was the same tabloid who refused to cover SOE and the tour as it "wasn't right for the paper". Hi Alan C.:)
As someone said in a movie once "It's shite being Scottish...."

Subject: Response to letter in Q139

Dear Q,
After years of waiting finally I open my latest issue of Q and come across a letter with a photo of my web site. Wow! I think. At last one of those letters of support asking Q why they never cover my tours / never conduct any interviews other than snippets in retro pieces / always give my new album to someone who hates my music to review and who always resort to the cliched hatchet job. You know the sort of letter the artist always wants to write but refrains from doing so! :) I was therefore surprised to see that you chose to print a letter from someone I had a run-in with a while back on the "Freaks" mailing list (Freaks Mailing List) which is a very successful and well populated Internet domain which deals with both myself and Marillion.
The impression both myself and others on the list who read your magazine perceived was that I couldn't accept criticism and your caption " Fish: he wants to interact in the information age, but only if you promise to be nice to him" added to the misperception.
The gentleman concerned was a subscriber to the list at the time and posted a few articles accusing me of deliberately holding back a Limited edition release of my last album "Sunsets On Empire" in order to maximise sales by letting fans buy the standard release first before realising the existence of the Ltd. edition. He also made a number of assumptions and accusations pertaining to my business and personal activities most of which I considered beyond criticism and verging on libellous.
The thrust of his attack was that I was ripping off genuine fans. I responded firstly on private e-mail but as he continued with his "opinions" on the net I had no option but to deal with him in public explaining amongst other things that the said delay in release of the album was due to production problems rather than anything sinister. I defended myself and my staff.
This argument raged on the "Freaks" list for quite a while and when the "flames" died down he resigned from the list in the huff. A few people on the list had asked him to resign for his comments, not because of the content but the manner in which he conveyed them. I was not one of them and had no problem dealing with his or any other person's opinions of my music. The confrontation in question can be read on the relevant e-mail journal on my new web site "Torch Song" <> which has taken over from the <> site mentioned in Q138!
I was surprised that you used this letter without allowing a response from myself or balancing the comments with some other "witty" editorial comment.
I love the interaction the Internet provides and I love a good argument as some of your journalists can testify to (sadly mostly off record!:) ) I can accept criticism and negative opinions on my work. After a career with Marillion and a well-knifed solo career you get used to it. However the letter you published I consider slightly misleading. After all if I took criticism that badly I would have cancelled my subscription to Q a long time ago!
All the best

PS I missed the review of the re-mastered "Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors" album in the re-release section!:)
PPS do I get a t-shirt!!:)

(Posted to Freaks Mailing List, included by site editor)
Sat, 28th February 1998
Subject: Simon Long's letter to Q

For the benefit of those without access to Q, here's the letter that Simon had published...
"Dear Q, I noted with interest the quote from ex-Marillion vocalist Fish in your issue Q138 claiming he uses the internet to "take care" of his fan base.
His website includes a section entitled Email From Fish, where you can find an archive of his messages to an internet mailing list. One of these consists of a multi-page diatribe directed at a fan who had suggested that his latest album (and the circumstances of its release) was something of a disappointment. The resulting rant was liberally peppered with speculative personal insults and culminated in that person (ie, me) rapidly deciding to become an ex-fan.
The internet allows much closer contact between artist and fans. it is advisable for the artist to consider this as a double edged sword - even in the information age, there is a place for old fashioned diplomacy" (letter ends)

Immediately beneath the text is a screen shot of the 'Wilderness ..' site, with the 'Email from Fish' text ( MENU.HTM on the site) clearly highlighted, as a previously accessed HTML document. The caption with the pic is: "Fish: he wants to interact in the information age, but only if you promise to be nice to him."

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