Email 25th May 1998

Subject: Fish 98 - SAS gig, the convention and other news!!

At last back to normal!
The SAS gig in Schorndorf went well and it was nice to get some responsibility for a change. Normally I only sing 3 numbers and then it's bar time!! On Saturday as it was only Chris Thomson and Moi on Vox there was a lot more to do! As I mentioned before on the list (Hi Santi) there were extra songs on my list and I'm glad to say that your boy didn't screw up too much!
Laurie Wisefield and Chris had been there since Tuesday delivering lectures on Guitars and vocals respectively in workshop groups and were the principal artists of the evening. It wasn't really a full SAS gig and as the venue was in a backwater there was a small town vibe to the night with the audience there out of curiosity as much as for the genuine rock show!! That meant they were difficult to loosen up and wanted to watch the show rather than lose themselves in the event. After a variety of numbers from Chris and the band including old Manfred hits like "Davey" and standards played in SAS style rave I took the stage to "Faithhealer". It wasn't as good as previous renditions and was a bit lacking in energy. The groove didn't sit and the audience didn't lift as normal leaving us with a nervous edge. "Hold your Head up" was done in soundcheck and managed to work off the nerves to give us the in and the audience as they responded after much cajoling from yours truly!
"Lavender" was wonderful and majestic, leaving us in pole position.
John Martyr held the reins and the piece sat in the groove with the end power sections rocking out. 2-1 to the boys!! "Lucky" sealed the game.
The crowd were with us now and the more reserved elements out there started to party! I left the stage and headed for the dressing room and some Jack Daniels ever wary that I had to return to perform later.
I'd also agreed to sing "With A Little Help From My Friends" with Chris.
I'd not sung this since Wembley on The Marillo charity gig in 87. The rendition tonight rocked, the end section was a sparring match between Chris and I with the band kicking in to make a very special version. I'm singing the duet part again at Battersea on the 7th June with Tony Hadleigh. Promotion!!!! Finally I had "All the Young Dudes". First time solo and again it hit through. I really like this track and we pulled it off with no problems apart from the jumbled lyric on the 2nd verse which no-one knew! I do now! (thanks Greg) Bv's on the "Voice" (too high for normal human beings - but not Chris T who has an incredible range, I must stop smoking!!) and I was off to the bar! A great night out for one and all.
A pity the hotel we were in had only one mini-bar between 20 rooms!!!! Thank god for duty-frees! :-)

The convention is rocking!! There are already 600 tickets gone to Freaks and fans from the Co's meaning that the after-show party will have to be split between two venues.
The George Hotel holds around 350 people and the Tyneside has access with a late license to the Youth Club next door. Anyone who has a ticket with the green autograph gets admission but choose your pub and get there early after the show as once a venue is full it will close it's doors!!! I'll be moving between the 2 on the night!
On the day I suggest you assemble at the Poldrate, next to the Tyneside at about 11 in the morning where there will be an itinerary posted to help you with planning the day. The artwork exhibition will be on all day upstairs in the Youth Club in the Poldrate centre as will a special Merch stall with a host of T-shirts and other goodies from previous tours including band only gear. Rather than have another MRB sale it's all to go at the convention, first come, first served. There's nothing as expensive as the MRB sale as all the big items have gone but especially for our US friends who missed out on the early solo tours here's your chance to pick up some rare stuff! My Mum and Dad will be operating that stall during the day in the Youth Club with the Merch stall moving to the Corn Exchange later for the evening show!
The Acoustic sets will start at 12 at the 'Waterside Bistro' at the Nungate. All venues are easy to find, Haddington's a small town and the acoustic sets are in venues only 10 minutes walk away from each other.
I'd suggest you pick a venue and get a place as there'll be hundreds of people walking around the town and trying to get in to what are only small pubs.
Second venue scheduled for 12.45 or so is 'The Pheasant' and the last venue is 'The Railway' where we played the warm-up for the Sunsets tour at around 1.30.
Frank Usher will be playing with us on a stripped down set similar to the HMV 94 sets.
Be there early so as not to be disappointed.
Lastly the Big Talk will happen at the Marquee in the Poldrate Gardens which will be open all day. Next to the Tyneside it'll give a meeting place for all and a drinking den as it's outside the Tyneside Tavern!!!!
It holds around 5-600 but the sides go up as well to allow people to fall out!!! :-)
There'll be a small PA there as well for the 'Chat'. The Tyneside will have videos etc all day if you want to chill out or just get blind drunk in front of the TV!!! I repeat - Beware of the 80 bob!!!!
The 'Chat' will be around 3 - 3.30! After that it's a closed soundcheck for the boys at the 'Cornie' as we prepare for the evening show which kicks off at 7pm with the first band on at 7.30. We expect around 850 people on the night! The gig will be recorded with the possibility of a numbered limited edition with special discounts for fan club members as well as a possibility of a 'live' radio broadcast or an Internet broadcast in the future!!
There'll be a lot to do and see on the day as well as old acquaintances to be renewed and new ones to be made in all the pubs and venues. I hope you all enjoy yourselves on what is always a special day in Haddington!!

Other news. As anticipated the Wembley August 15th is cancelled as the Sponsors pulled out! It's to be rescheduled for next June! Don't hold your breath!!!
Another wee problem is that Robin will be on tour in the Summer with Howard Jones for two months leaving the guitar position free. Frank will help out but I think I have to find another guitarist as well! Any young guys out there who think they can handle it get in touch!! Uk preferred as Flights are expensive!!!!!:-) Seriously there could be an opening and this could include album work as well. You know how difficult the gig is from our experiences on the Sunsets tour so only put yourself forward if you are a hidden genius!! :-)
I don't want to sound ageist but I'd prefer to give the opportunity to an unknown rather than a well-seasoned guy. Following the reasoning that gave me Squeeky and Steve it's time to look for another protégé!
Get in contact through my e-mail address.

"Fortunes of War" and "Scotland By Our Side" will be available at the convention but sadly "Tales from the Big Bus" will not be available until the second week of June. I'm sure that all of you who have ordered the titles (apart from about 10 of you who wanted to) have not had these cd's charged to your cards. I do apologise for the delay but the circumstances are out of our control. We'll deal with the orders as soon as we have the product.
Due to Polygram being bought by Seagrams all deals have been put on hold including the Polydor return of the 2 missing albums. I don't see a problem but the delay has meant that we can't do anything with the Video Collection which is next up for release. The Video collection containing all the Solo Clips will be available as soon as clearances are given and, yes, we will have an NTSC version!!!

That's all I can think off just now! I hope the list stays stable for a while. I really missed it!
What I have learned from you guys about cartoons in recent weeks has been incredible and I've decided to make my next album a concept piece paying homage to the great cartoon characters of the 70's!!!!:-)
Anybody out there seen "A Je To" from Czechland?

lots of love
Onkel Fish x

4 sheep till Haddington!!!

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