Email 30th March 1998

Subject: Fish 98 - memorabilia sale/the half way stage

Dear freaks,
As I said way back the MRB sale is divided into 2 halves.The first bids are registered and as promised here follows the results so far. I must say that the response has been incredible with some items receiving up to 10 bids. I've not included second choice bids and names of bidders are not given. You'll have to trawl through your own bids and check to see if you are on the mark with numbers.
You now have a chance to increase a bid if you're way out or bid for those items as yet bid free. The final session will end on April 30th when everyone will be informed of the result.
I just want to sincerely thank you all for helping out and for getting behind this sale.
(The bids could be seen on the memorabilia sale page, no longer available - Mo)

Subject: Fish 98- Various odds and ends

Dear freaks,
At last I have a PC that works properly thanks to the intervention of Mo Warden and Peter who visited us this weekend to talk site talk and other things.
We had a great time and quaffed barrels of whisky and wine as we plotted the most cunning plans.
Be prepared for a host of new info on the site including scans of original lyrics (inc Grendel), the MC original manuscript that was written in stream of consciousness mode and shows just how out on the limb I was, lots more photos inc teenage and Primary school snaps as well as private stuff and professional shots from all eras of my career.
We're going to town on the site and only width restrictions prevent us from setting up a video department!:(

We're also still looking at the convention being broadcast but after talks with Radio Forth and others it is impossible to set up a live show.
We will have to record and transmit later from the ISDN links at the farm if it goes ahead. Costs are prohibitive and that's what we're looking into now.

Good and bad news. The live double CD will be put back a few weeks and will be out in early May.
The good news and the reason I delayed the "Tales.." is that Calum Malcolm has agreed to master it. I'm overjoyed at this as the concert in question needs a lot of work to eliminate feedback at certain points and to adjust gains and eq's. The gig is great and is the entire Koln concert from November. Sadly Gentleman's Excuse Me and Lavender are missing as the show was 2 hours long and Andy never put in another DAT tape to cover. It's a great vibe and apart from some cringing backing vocals on Credo and a missed guitar pedal during Assassin it works well. Even the jokes work although I'll have to translate the German into English on the sleeve notes. Well it's a cultural experience after all. Calum can only master the album next week just before he goes back into the studio with the Blue Nile. It'll be worth the wait to have his expertise on the project. I wish I'd had more DAT's to choose from but as with all the official bootlegs you're at the mercy of the hall or the club you're in. Sushi was a DAT as was Fishhead Curry so you can get good results. Calum will give it the First Aid it needs.
All the 8mm video sound wasn't good enough to release but I have the Paradiso Amsterdam medley in full which someday I'd like to put up on a site for real time playing. Any offers for a 30 minute slot we could link to on another site?:)
The Paradiso show was probably the best of the tour but the DAT went down 5 minutes in and obviously wasn't being monitored during the heat of performance. Bugger! :( That's why the tapes were few on the ground. Thankfully Koln was a brilliant show and the venue had the right acoustics to create a natural sound recording (Vredenburg in Utrecht is my all time favourite)
We don't use external mikes using only the desk feeds to tape. This means that if there is a feedback howl the engineer dips the gain (volume) so there are drops in sound which can be repaired in the mastering process. Feedback can be gated or compressed but performances are eternal as the tape is 2-track not multi-track. So no overdubs and what you have is the genuine unadulterated performance with all it's energy and realism. Listen to the singer belch in real stereo as he tries to perform after drinking German beer! :)

Fortunes of War goes into production later this week btw.

The alternative World Cup anthem is gathering a lot of interest and there's a chance of a release on a major label. We've already got a slot on either the 13th or the 20th May on Channel 4 TV on the "Under the Moon" show. That looks like being the British premier. The press are already giving it due attention and articles are starting to sprout. Why can't I get this on my own projects? More news soon.

No firm date for the "Bill" yet. Stay tuned.

I loved the thread on the NME reviews. It is so true that the image/perceived credibility of bands can turn a journalists perception of the music itself. I loved the Q review of Fugazi/Holidays in Eden! Typical and I think that may have had something to do with the letters page!:) The chess move worked but as was pointed out I was disappointed that the humorous element was eliminated. Hey! Mark one up for the team! I think my e was also accompanied by a lot of other "outraged" readers which forced their hand on that one. Thanks!
I expect some more abusive mystery E's soon. Last time Bill Clinton sent one from the Whitehouse slagging me off!:)

It was interesting reading an old copy of Mojo when Steve Sutherland editor of Melody Maker(?) referred to Oasis and he said that the Press can't turn down a chance to have them on the front cover as the band means more to the papers sales than the integrity of the journo's themselves. Steve admitted that Journo's were jumping over each other to praise the new album even though it was later to be acclaimed as second rate by none other than the band themselves. Radiohead sell lots of albums so the press praise them and give them front covers to sell papers and advertising space through higher print runs. Marillion and myself sell far fewer units so we are targets for every journalist feeling guilty at having sold out. We allow them to vent their cynicism and boy do some of them vent.
Seriously where has the integrity of most music journalists gone. I find it sad that reviews, the alleged guides from which the masses are supposed to determine what to listen to or buy are coloured by the magazines advertising policy rather than their editorial.
That is how it seems today.
Have any of you ever counted the number of adverts in Q magazine recently or looked at the allocated space. Check it out.

That's it for today. I'm now feeling guilty about lack of physical exercise so I'm off to play some footie! Missing the benefits of stage work already.
Hear you soon and once again thanks for the bids so far and for the replies I received in the last few days to recent posts.

Take care
all the best
Onkel Fish x

Subject: Fish 98 - List fatwa

Dear freaks,
When I was a kid at Kings park primary school (Protestant) in Dalkeith I grew into the habit of every lunch time heading across the park that lay between us and the Catholic school St. Davids and getting involved in running battles which involved lots of bricks (when it got heavy), shouting and abuse, punches thrown at thin air and kickings that grew in infamy as we got back to our own turf.
I fought for years against the Papes/hairybacks/tims, sometimes on the receiving end sometimes on the handout. Most of the time we just ran aimlessly. I hated them.
When I was about 10 or so I can remember playing football in the park, late on. Some guys, about 14 came across the park from St Davids and started to kick my ball between them. we couldn't get it back as they were bigger and better. "Pape bastards" I cried and instantly got a good dull one on the head. More profanity and more stiff ones.
I was on the deck and still game. No chance. Blood was spouting and so was I as they walked away. Fucking papes. I got my ball back. Mates thought I was well hard.

I supported Hibernian Football Club. They play in green and white, were started by priests and were the "acknowledged" Catholic team in Edinburgh. "Heart of Midlothian", the other Edinburgh side were the "Proddies" and next to Glasgow Rangers as an exclamation of faith in the Protestant religion. I loved and still do Hibernian FC and the 3 Hibs supporters in the school had a hard time of it. When the Papes weren't available there was always your own.

When I was 12 I had a friend, Joe Smith who I used to play Subbuteo (A table football game) with 3 days a week. We were mates. He went to school in the City . After a few months we got talking about Religion for some reason. I found out he was Catholic and I already knew he was a "Hibee". I was shocked. The "Hairyback" was my mate and when it came down to it was no different than me. I never ran against St Davids again.

I've been to weddings where it's been a "mixed" marriage ie religion rather than race, and have heard "the Sash" sung against "The Ploughboy" until the room exploded and the bridal party scattered as the tables went over. This was in my family. This was my heritage and I refuse to accept this.
I went to church for years and eventually started to ask too many questions for which there weren't enough answers for my liking. As the years went by I became an atheist then an agnostic and now after all my travels I believe in a God but I have never felt comfortable with an organised Religion. That is my belief. My God is my own.

I have seen" religion " in action in Bosnia, Ireland and Israel to name only the highpoints and I must be honest and say I have seen more wrong done in the name of a God than good.
When I first stood at the entrance to Auschwitz in 87 I felt nothing but fear. Christians had been there on both sides of the wire. It scared me to my soul.

In Bosnia I heard enough stories to scarify me forever.

Muslims, Catholics and Protestant all together in a maelstrom of hatred. Where are we at?
I believe in a God. I have stood on Table mountain in Capetown, on the edge of the Andes, in the Scottish Highlands and many other wondrous places and although I go for Darwin there was something else in their as well. That's why I can't go for the hardline versions. I think many of you out there are also thinking like this.
Most of us would condemn the Fatwa on S. Rushdie and consider it in Western terms as being inhumane and undemocratic. That was free speech incandescent. A lot of you spoke up about the Perception ... lyric. Niggers, Yids etc, same applies.

The high horses on this religion flame etc. are in my honest opinion being rode bareback.
I hate these polarised positions and entrenched philosophies. Nobody said which Bible was allegedly "fantasy". Anybody out there read "the Hiram Key"?

Let's get real here. I spent most of my childhood fighting for a Religion. It's pointless. It gets us nowhere. Your belief is your belief and anyone who is so intimidated by a frivolous comment needs to question themselves rather than others. Your religious strengths and beliefs should not be shaken by anothers perception/opinion/jokes/views.
Your religion is always your own. Be proud of it and feel safe in it, you'll always need it.
I would not like to think that the list will spiral into the thing we most despise, the creation of a new order of political/religious correctness I would deem against free speech and therefore against artistic creation.

I am available for flames should anyone deem it necessary to do so. I just find it really sad that our man is being hounded for what is in my opinion an old joke.
(not that good and definitely not original!)
Can we drop this?

All the best
onkel fish
ps. If you want to, Flame me privately and save bandwidth. Let's get back to basics!

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