Email 1st June 2000

Subject: Fish 2000 - Dragging My Eels! The SAS album, the Ruin and being positive!

Dear Freaks, Fishheads, Fans and the Company,

Strange things happen in the ether and every now and then you get a cry for help from a complete stranger, someone whom you feel desperately needs your support and yet you are without the power or knowledge to assist!

I got this spam a couple of days ago!

"I recently bought a Zebra Eel. I was wondering if you could tell me what they eat. I was told crustation (crabs, shrimp and stuff like that). If this is true can I feed it thawed out frozen shrimp and crab meat or should it be shrimp and crab?
Thanks in advance,
Bryan"

I resisted as Zebra eels may just be an endangered species and a suggested diet of crunchy Stick Insects may not have been good for my Karma! :-)

And again, this time from China

"Nanjing Tanaka Leisure Articles CO.,LTD was in the Nanjing city of china, with six years history and 200 staff members. It established in 1995 and introduced Japan advanced equipment. It has been devoted to the development and manufacturing of Floats, Lures, Fishing hooks, etc. Our products are mainly sold to the Asia. Floats are appraised as "exempt from examination product exported to Japan". Now we hope to establish business cooperation with more trade. If you would like to order the more and lower price products, we will do the best to provide excellent service. We also shall be glad to deal in any products against buyers" special design or process with buyers" material.
Main products$B!'(J
Float Series Unit Price$B!'(J$1.0~1.2/Pcs
$B!|(J Floats of various kinds suited to sea, pool, brook, river, lake.
$B!|(J Rock Fishing Floats Series
$B!|(J High Class Balsa Float Series
$B!|(J Reed float Series
Lure Series
$B!|(J Wooden Lures Unit Price$B!'(J$1.0~1.2/Pcs
$B!|(J PU foam Lures Unit Price$B!'(J$1.0~1.2/Pcs
$B!|(J Plastic Lures Unit Price$B!'(J$0.3~0.5/Pcs
$B!|(J Lead Lures Unit Price$B!'(J$0.4~0.8/Pcs
Fishing hook Series
$B!|(J Marking to the order of the customer Unit Price$B!'(J$0.2/suit
$B!|(J With customer supplying material or sample Unit Price$B!'(J$0.1/suit
Accessories Series
$B!|(J Rubbish float stopper Unit Price$B!'(J$0.06/suit
$B!|(J Line yarn float stopper Unit Price$B!'(J$0.06/suit
$B!|(J Float seat Unit Price$B!'(J$0.06/suit
Others
$B!|(J Fish skin Unit Price$B!'(J$1.5/page
$B!|(J Wooden Boxes Unit Price$B!'(J$0.4~1/Pcs
$B!|(J Fish Pen Unit Price$B!'(J$0.3/Pcs
$B!|(J Bead (natural color, fluorescent, nocturnal lucent, aurora. etc)
Unit Price$B!'(J$0.06/Pcs
Aim of the company$B!'(J
Prestige and quality is the foundation. We have trusted by domestic and foreign businessmen and received favorable comments. Domestic and foreign businessmen are sincerely welcomed to carry out cooperation and development with us or to be agent of selling the fishing tackle range products of our company.
If you interest in our products and price, please tell us, and we will send you some samples or pictures by FAX. Even if you have ordered our products, but you do not enjoy our products, you can return it back."

I love the European keys being used to form an approximation of the Chinese lettering!
The jury is out! Do we bring these items to the merch list?
I fancied getting a Fish Skin unit faxed over! :-)

My luck has been holding it's own recently! I borrowed a Honda strimmer/brushcutter from my friend last week just before the Geneva trip. He is also my estate agent and was willing to loan his recently acquired gift from his Father-in-law to me for a few days in order that I could cut the grass on the "football pitch", a small field where the beer tent was pitched on the last convention, as well as generally tidy up the area round the house. I buzzed my way around the treeline at the drive and with the strimmer string disintegrating quickly amongst the nettles and ferns elected to go for the heavy duty blade to finish the Football pitch where the grass was a foot high. After half an hour toppling the jungle my Dad came out and as I turned to acknowledge him and let the revs die the blade spun off into the long grass together with a bunch of screws and bolts! Bugger!! My Dad and I were on hands and knees for an hour savaging the field with hand shears trying to find the last elusive washer. The bright idea of reassembling the cutting head from the string strimmer and using that attachment to level the grass in order to make the search easier seemed a good one. No sooner than the strimmer hit high revs than that head disintegrated and the main spring ejected itself into the surrounding grass! Double bugger!
At that moment Tammi arrived on the scene to tell me that as I was going to Geneva my friend wanted the machine back to work on his garden at the weekend! Triple bugger!

Three hours later with 3 people on hands and knees and with my Dad on a metal detector we found the spring. Next day when we were away Tammi's uncle who is staying with us found the washer after 5 hours scanning the field!
My friend is not answering his phone at the moment and I now have borrowed a scythe to finish the job.
Don't say anything! Murphy's Luck and all.........

As you know I had a meeting with the Council Planners at the ruin on Tuesday! I'd love to report that all was sorted but the result is yet another meeting with a more senior Planner. The problem is that as the Ruin is a "real" ruin the Council planners could determine that the renovation is in fact a "new" build and as planning policy is strict in this County may refuse permission. It's difficult to accept that a 300 year old property which although roofless and in some places wall-less but which has an easily defined structure with 5 sound gable ends and substantial stone work still in place is deemed a "new" build should we have to drop and rebuild certain elements. Even though we can trace the history of the place as an important little community back in the late 1700's with it's own Blacksmiths, coaching Inn and schoolhouse and mentioned in the list of Scottish Historical Monuments it's not seen as being deemed worthy of renovating. The alternative is to let the existing stonework self-demolish through time. I could never imagine that happening to a 300 year old property in the States! So much for taking care of your heritage. I live in hope however and I feel that I have a good argument as we are planning to renovate the building using as much of the existing stonework together with "robbed" stone from the demolition of the old sheds here at Spittalrig and keeping to the original layout and design. If it's meant to be, it will happen!

The SAS band will be releasing an album in September from the last Shepherds Bush Empire shows.This will contain 15 or so tracks from various artists including a stunning version of "Just Good Friends" featuring Liz "Troy" Antwi.
Also performing - Arthur Brown - "Fire", Roger Taylor "Radio Ga Ga", Leo Sayer "My Generation", Richard O Brien "Timewarp", Mark Shaw "Big Area", Paul Young "Every Day Hurts" , Tony Hadleigh and others. More details coming soon but this album will be heavily worked as it is a charity record to aid the Mercury Phoenix trust. We will be selling these albums on the merchandise list for the Trust and as the weeks approach to release various tracks will be able to be found on SAS artists web sites as well as the Main SAS Web Site. There will also be a competition to come up with a title for this album the winning title chosen by Spike and the band and the winner getting a VIP weekend with the band in December at the annual Chiddingfold show. I will be sending a copy of JGF to Mo for our web site next week. A video of the evening will also be released at the same time and with the considerable talents of a vast array of reputed artists displayed on the album it is sure to gain a lot of media support at a number of levels. I hope you will all support this album as it's not only a great cause but also it is a statement regarding quality artists still playing quality music in the new Millennium!
I'll give you all the news as I get it from Spike!

Talking of the SAS band Malta is confirmed for the 22nd July.

Did anyone catch my "favourite" bass player David Paton performing with his reformed Pilot on the BBC Live Music Day? It was one of a few clips on the theme of Music in the Workplace. Pilot performed "January" in a salmon cleaning hall in a Fish Farm near Inverness. It was interesting to see a baseball hatted Mr Paton try and preserve some dignity while the camera cut to various happy people gutting fish and singing along with the words. The song was cut short and presenter Jackie Bird (of backing vocal fame on Songs from The Mirror) blushed as her colleague Dougie Vipond (ex-drummer of Deacon Blue and Ewan Vernal's "other half") pointed out that she said she fancied Mr Paton. She answered "only because of the hat!". It seems the stress of recent years has taken it's toll on our Davy!
Final trivia - Squeeky is playing with Pilot at weekends. Squeeks has declared his availability for a short tour in December should I get it together as planned.
Please, please do not e-mail with questions about touring or the Convention. As soon as something is concrete I will let you know! I promise!!

Candlelight In Fog is off to Calum Malcolm for editing and mastering. I will be using the Clutching medley and probably Lucky from the New York mini disc. Only half this show was available as the disc shut down before Tumbledown. Calum has been incredibly busy this last month and with the delay in getting the mini disc from Andy Williamson - who is out with Jethro Tull - time has lapsed badly. I am aiming for release last week of June/first week of July!

Finally -

I saw the review from Luca Benporath on the Freaks list and after the second dousing of water on this Fish's back I thought I'd point out a couple of things. Most people have different views and perspectives on things. Accepted! I find it sad that someone can provide such a negative slant or lean to a review which to be honest is to my mind just plain nit picking and resentful.

"Fish's set was good fun. A Gentleman's... was a good come back (last time I listened to that was back in '90...) and the band who played with him was ok, considering the short rehearsals. But Fish's vocals was the weakest point once again. Those who say that his voice was great have never seen Fish live with Marillion or on the first solo tour. THAT was a voice." etc etc

Yes! My voice has changed over the years.I don't deny it. In the Marillos especially in '84 there was a lot of damage done due to singing unnaturally in keys that were too high etc. Many Germans will wish they had Beckenbauer and Muller in Holland this Summer and Scotland seriously wish we had Dalgleish and Law at Wembley. The aging process is wicked and unreversable. Kayleigh and Lavender were taken down a tone in Geneva. I along with a lot of other people thought the performance was more than "passable". I'm older - face it! I do! I can't scale the heights as I used to. But what is the point of coming to gigs to be constantly disappointed if all you hear is never going to better what you hear in your memories ear? I can remember shite gigs in '84 and on the first solo tour. I can also have people testify to great nights on the last tour! It depends on what the dice throw at you on the night as an audience member as well as an artist. I've seen and performed what I thought were great shows and on listening to a bootleg or recording wondered how I made that assumption as well as the other way around! You obviously rolled Craps that night!
I certainly didn't!
Many artist change keys etc on older songs! Amongst others - Phil Collins, Elton John and on the night in question Roger Hodgson who now sings the older Supertramp songs in lower registers! It goes with the territory!

"Nowadays Fish's vocals can barely be average...but we know it and we don't care"
- why go on about it then?

"I'm sure Tara has had a great time a Switzerland, but on stage she was bored and wanted to go to sleep!!!"
- Tara was certainly not bored. This 9 year old girl was playing basketball and running around for 3 hours backstage and at 1 in the morning I think tiredness is a natural phenomenon. She went to bed at 4! Also my daughter was sitting on the stage with a full view of the audience for the first time in her life and watching her Dad sing. The expression was not one of boredom - it was wonderment as she had never seen an audience that big (4000 capacity allowed in the Hall). Kids tend to go like that! Your comment on Tara's demeanour is wrongly used to illustrate or back up your disappointment.

Santi Prats pointed out that I had to adjust my trousers a few times and that my underpants were showing. I forgot my belt on the night and hadn't realised that I had lost some weight since the USA. Bugger! I thought that was a positive thing! :-) Sorry to disappoint you. I'll take better care of my choice of stage clothes and my underwear from now on! (I thought Calvin Klein boxers were cool! :-))))))))
With all the above taken on board I'd suggest in order to avoid future disappointment at my gigs that Luca should start to follow Charlotte Church! Great singer, hits all the notes and then some, still young with no kids to distract you and - as far as I hear - a good taste in underwear should it reveal itself from beneath her sexy starchy dresses. Then in around 2015 you can e-mail her and tell her that her voice has gone and that she's barely average and will never be as good as that ripping night at the Eisteddfod in 2001!!
:-))))))))
Lighten up Luca! Have yourself a Fellini moment! :-))) You said at the beginning of your review that you had good fun. Find out why and concentrate on that. Believe me, follow that approach and your life will dramatically change! ;-))))))
Ok that's it! I'm off to London tomorrow for a romantic weekend and Tony Hadleigh's 40th Birthday bash!
The MP3 etc argument can wait till next time! :-0

lots of love
Onkel Fish x

extra kiss and a hug for Luca - X :-)
 

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