Email 27th February 2001

Subject: Fish 2001 - Dancing in Fog

Dear Fishheads, Freaks, Fans and the Company,

The snow lies six inches deep outside marked only by Tara's footprints and endless dog trails. I got back from London to discover that the gales had driven a major storm in from the North Sea straight through East Lothian. The road out of the farm had just been opened before I arrived in Edinburgh allowing Tammi to get the van free and pick me up. My flight was the first one from Heathrow that had been able to land today. The power lines had gone down at 3am and Elliot had only just managed to switch the computers off after noticing a brief flicker on the studio lights. With the power went the heating and the security alarms had kicked off. Tammi and Tara had spent the night huddled round a mag light listening to the trees crack under the weight of ice and snow while the blizzard raged around the house. It was hard to believe what I saw or heard having woken up only a few hours before in a cold clear London. If I was surprised think of this!
I'd met an old couple on the airport transit bus who had just got back from watching the cricket in Sri Lanka and were heading to their farm in Jedburgh in the Borders where most of the main roads were impassable and the storm was signed up for another night! Extreme Yin and Yang of Felliniesque proportions!

There's been a lot of it about recently and my recent absence can be explained by having to deal with a lot of fallout from major disturbances of this nature which have had positive and negative effects.
As you know we are splitting the house from the studio and selling the residential sections in order to finally restore financial order for the first in a very long time. We couldn't sell the property as a whole as their was zero interest in the studio section in the 2 years it has been on the market. However there was serious interest in the house and together with my need for the studio and offices etc the idea emerged to split the property and rather than living as we do now with 9 bedrooms and enough space for a swirling herd of Wilderbeest we would build an extension on the studio that was ideal for the living space for 3 people. The studio would remain intact, I would retain all the phone numbers, the address and everything else to do with my career and the Information Service and the missing office space lost in the separation of the buildings could be accommodated in studio space we had gained from switching to computer based recording which had freed up the tape machine room. This was a cunning plan everyone concerned with our finances agreed worked.
Plans were drawn and submitted and then there was the sound of an incoming spanner thrown from the direction of the East Lothian Council's Planning Department. I am allowed to separate the property and sell the house independently. But! I am not allowed to build an extension without utilising most of the soundrooms for domestic use and I have been told to work within the "footprint" of the existing buildings. This would destroy the integrity of the existing soundproofing and thus the studio itself as it would mean completely altering the acoustic design that makes the studio worth saving. To add the extension contravenes all Council Policy regarding building in the Countryside and even though I have been told there are no objections from neighbours the planners have decided to turn the proposal down. Part of their argument is that I should "commute" and could easily live elsewhere and use the studio and offices without living on the premises. Next week I have a meeting with the principal opponent to the scheme to put forward my case again for the need to retain the studio and the need to "live on on the premises". On the current vibe I am not hopeful. This decision has a number of consequences. I do have to live here as my career and work requirements are not in anyone's imagination based around a 9-5 basis. The studio work alone requires a near 24 hour availability as I alone make final decisions on what goes and what stays on the recordings. For example I was only in the studio for around 20% of the time that JY laid tracks but I was around in the office or relaxing next door in my house, available for decisions or direction, nearly 24 hours a day.To have to jump in a car and travel in the dead of morning because I need to OK a synth pad or need to see the gig contract from the 97 US tour to work out figures etc is not condusive to a healthy lifestyle even in my line of work. With the Internet and the Internationalism of my work especially where I manage myself I need the paperwork and the environment which makes my existence easier and allows me the flexibility to operate.
The Planners decision to refuse the permission has created a dilemma. As I need to stay on site I have decided to move a mobile home onto the acre or so surrounding the studio and I will live there while fighting for planning permission for the extension in which to create a home. I could rent a property nearby but that is not a long term solution and would only add to the Planners argument. After a few months I would either be wrapped round a tree somewhere or I would not be in business. To live in a mobile home is the only answer.

The effect of this decision brings me on to ground I am not particularly comfortable with but which requires an explanation before rumours poison the air. I would never ask Tammi to live in a mobile home and we both honestly feel that it would not only be impractical but detrimental to our relationship which for over a year has been strained. We both realise that we could not survive the enforced lack of space and further stress on our marriage. With all the factors taken into consideration we have decided to separate for a year and Tammi is returning to Berlin with Tara in July when she completes her last year at her present school. We both need time away from each other if we are to survive as individuals and the stress of recent years has taken it's toll on both of us. Tara is going to an English school in Berlin while Tammi is looking for work in the Berlin music business. The break is extremely amicable and there is no question of others involved in this decision.. We are not entertaining the idea of a divorce and we both love each other dearly enough to realise that we need to separate if we are each going to find each other again. For those of you out there who are close friends the understanding is already there. For those of you who don't and know us as a couple or as individuals, don't worry! What is meant to be happens! There is no hurt or anger in the decision. Just a deflection on the curve.

Tammi's decision to return to Berlin means that the whole infrastructure of the office will change. First arrival is Mo Warden who is coming up to help for a couple of months and is helping with the new communications set up as well as bringing the Fellini Days site into focus as the album moves towards conclusion. She will also be working with Tammi on the merchandise and Company set up as well as helping us to discover the person who will be coming in and taking the position as new office manager.
With the split of the buildings I need to completely re-organise the existing office space as well as set up the Fellini Days album. It's a lot of pressure especially as I am now recording vocals but as you know fog is everywhere! I've developed a great sense of direction since I first got lost way back when. I am bright, positive and loaded with cunning plans. There is an energy around at the moment and I am using it to good effect.

More tomorrow including the "special guests" , the new/old drummer, the tours (SAS and Fish) and other mundane news.

lots of love
Onkel Fish x

ps Sashimi mastered by Calum Malcolm went to production today! It is rather good dare I say !!! |:-)))))

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