Email 21st April 1998

Subject: Fish 98 - NFC!!!

Dear Freaks,
I wish to object to the lack of Fish content in the freaks list. I'm tired of reading about something called TSE and endless lists of non-Fish related songs. The remixes and other Racket releases do not interest me and the meaning of "Brave" is to me inconsequential. Who is this H person and what has Ice cream got to do with singing? :-)
I like the list. I don't want to see it split or censored. I, like others, have found interesting topics and been introduced to web sites I'd never have found otherwise. Robert W Chambers for one was a writer I'd never come across and lo and behold I found an artist that provided a few ideas on a web site indicated by a Freak.
I do get terminally bored reading lists of sad songs, favourite tracks, bands from the 80's etc but I scroll down a lot. I have a well developed callous on the middle finger of my right hand!
When it comes down to it we (me included) are all music fans and the thing I always love is when I'm introduced to other bands I'd never have found on my own. If we only talk religously about Fish or Marillion then how do we discover other bands that may interest us?
Also we're all involved in the Music Business as artists/fans or consumers and I personally am interested as we all should be in the current state of affairs of the industry that supplies us all with the reason for being here in the first place.
What about value for money at gigs/ticket prices/state of venues/difference in retail prices/quality of reviews (the NME thread died out too soon for my liking)/standard of packaging/sound quality and other topics. On the Hibs list at the moment there's a discussion on ticket allocations and overcrowding at matches which is moving into seating proposals planned by the EEC and FIFA and the effect that will have on the future of domestic gates!
The list was proud (and rightly so) with the tour fund and the impact on the media of such a pressure group. There's a lot of potential with this list which will not be acheived through this current snowstorm of "NMC" mailing. The industry is looking for guidance from genuine fans on where it's going wrong and where it should be going. We have an ability on the freaks list to supply such a think tank and I know exactly where these thoughts should be directed through my contacts at the ILMC (International Live Music Conference).
Someone made a comment about lurkers and that they need to be heard. I totally agree. Like most of you who came to this list I was put off by the fanaticism at first and didn't want to get involved less I screw up and offend someone. ( I did that anyway).
If the list is to operate as organically as we all would like it to then we need more opinions and more ingredients to make the soup interesting.
I personally don't have a problem with reading about other bands on the list as long as it doesn't dominate the posts. If someone is going to write about the "Tea party" (which I like) then fine. Just edit yourself and be concise. It's all music after all.
I enjoy being on the list in order to hear other people's views on a number of topics after all I know all there is to know about Fish and his lyrics (although I do have some blank spaces round about 1987 :-) I like the contact and I like the new inputs and discovering more about how fans react and perceive music, to not only my own creations. I think it's important to be open minded to other groups and styles and I actually found the 80's thread that was started of by the Duran Duran mention in the Spice Girls review really interesting. A lot of people seemed to come out the closet on that one! :-)
All in all I like it how it is and the restructuring that some have been suggesting I think would be detrimental to the ideal of open communication. I don't want to shuffle off to side rooms to talk and I think a lot of interesting discussion points would go missing in action.
I considered starting my own mail list a long time ago and quickly jettisoned the idea as the freaks list provides enough entertainment on a number of levels as it is! I enjoy the participation and if others weren't so put of at the thought of being put down then so would they.
As the Fish / Marillion interests and demand for information brought everyone here in the first place there will always be a related content that will settle in the posts and dominate the list. I don't know what we worry about! :-)
Ok! I'm a new guy when it comes right down to it, and like the rest of us I'm probably just bored today!! Thought I'd throw in a penny for your thoughts - my dears (does that give my message enough MC? :-)

lots of love
Onkel Fish x

Subject: Re: Fish - 98 The Cancelled Krakow Show

Beata Rojek wrote:
> This made me remember something... In October 97 I was in Krakow,
> where Fish cancelled the gig because he was ill. Saying goodbye he
> promised he would be back to give a special show (he even encouraged
> the audience to keep the tickets, they would be valid for this
> special event). Personally, I didn't go to Krakow because of the
> concert, for me it was just a blown-up show. But as I was waiting for my taxi, I looked at
> the disappointed and sad faces of the - mostly - young people, for
> whom it seemed to mean so much, just like for Marta. It made me think
> - will he keep his promise? (No flame, I'm not questionning Fish's
> sincere intentions, but reality is far more complicated than we wish
> or plan). Of course, there are all the financial implications of
> such a project, but a promise is a promise. As for the costs, another
> thought: I have also seen the acoustic set in Krakow in 1995 and
> believe me, it was great (small room, almost private atmosphere,
> great contact). That's what Fish is good at and maybe playing it
> acoustic would make it cheaper (less stuff and staff)?

Dear Beata,
Thanks for your e and for reminding me of the Krakow situation. I'd seen your post to Freaks and completely forgotten about responding. I'd sent a post to the Polish Fish Web site explaining things but obviously you've not been on their site yet. Their e address is at the top of the page!
Re the show,
The Krakow show on the last tour was cancelled due to a viral infection picked up after the Przsemyl (?) show and though I tried to fight it off the detrimental effect it had on my voice forced me to cancel the show 3 songs into the set. If I had carried on then the fans would not have qualified for a refund on their tickets as I was contracted to play 1 hour (standard contract although as you know I always play longer). I announced on stage that I promised I'd be back next year sometime and I'm still trying to stick to that promise. I found out later that the promoter hadn't informed the fans about refunds on the tickets and that everyone thought the replay was imminent. That was never the case. The money should have been refunded and another show set up separately in the future. There in lies the initial confusion.
At the time the tour wasn't altogether healthy financially but by the time we'd gone through Germany and become smacked in France it was obvious that further touring in early 98 was impossible to contemplate. I'd been offered a chance to play an Open Air in Poland in the Summer and the original idea was to revolve a Krakow show around that period thus cutting down on attendant costs and splitting the production and travel budgets.
The open air has not materialised and I cannot afford to come into Poland for one show.
Our fee for the Krakow show, which we were never paid, was 2595 dollars or UKP1526. Our running costs on tour were UKP2000 per day. We were already incurring losses with all the equipment ,crew, Pa and band already assembled and operational on the road. We don't expect to make money in Poland due to obvious reasons and play there mainly because we love the country and the fans there. The cancellation of the Krakow show was extremely disappointing to all concerned in the band and crew. No-one likes to blow out shows least of all me. Losing the fee that day was bad enough.
The cost of coming back to play one show would be astronomical compared to the income.
Flights alone would be in the region of UKP3000 for a minimum band and crew and then we have to think about PA and Lighting hire charges, hotels, food, internal transport and transportation of backline (instruments and personal equipment) most of which cannot be duplicated in Poland. That doesn't even take into account wages for the personnel and the Polish promoters charges and costs for putting on the show.
I therefore cannot even consider a one off show in Poland unless there are contingency plans to spread the costs. I have no intention of embarking on even a small tour as we are still wounded from the last epic. I'm sincerely sorry that the situation is as it is but there's nothing I can do about it.
The statement made on stage in Krakow was genuine and well intentioned but circumstances are such that I can't entertain a return at present or in the immediate future.
I apologise to any Polish fans who feel let down by this decision and all I can say is that I'll do my best to make amends . I've always looked after Poland when on tour and my commitment both in time and finances through economically testing tours has been proven beyond doubt.
I hope you understand my decision. As you said " Reality is far more difficult than we wish or plan"

Yours sincerely

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