Subject: Fish 2001 - Berlin Diaries
Dear Fishheads, Freaks and the Company!
It has been a long time since I mailed anyone and for this I sincerely apologise for my absence from the website and the Fishheads list. This has been a tough year for me on a personal level and it has been difficult to discuss or write anything without getting involved in what has become a very delicate situation. Shortly after Tammi and I decided to separate for a year I discovered that the situation she was returning to in Berlin was not as clear cut as I was led to believe. Another party had been in the background since the summer of last year and soon after Tammi arrived in Berlin I became aware of the extent of their relationship. I decided that the separation was a pointless exercise and issued divorce proceedings. Tara stayed with me throughout the summer holidays before joining her Mother in Germany. For those of you who know my relationship with my daughter you will understand just how tough this has been. Lawyers and officialdom became involved and even as I write this the situation is still very volatile as Tara is not settling in well in the city environment and her new school. Our marriage had been under a lot of pressure for years due mainly to financial demands which related in the main to the inability to sell the house. Ironically, in the last month I have sold the Main House at Spittalrig and I have converted the studio into a far more comfortable home than I had envisaged when I forwarded the idea to split the property. A deal has been struck with financial institutions which together with the house sale has left me with a managable debt and the possibility of developing a new house at the studio in the coming years. Planning permission was finally granted for the extension in the summer after a long and difficult negotiation with the authorities. I am now building new stable foundations for a new life and furthering my career on a number of fronts. On a personal level I have a new relationship which has greatly influenced my life. I feel happier than I have done for years although Tara is sorely missed. I still see her regularly and she was with me recently in Scotland during her mid term holidays. Again the irony of writing this in Berlin where Tara is asleep on the bus and her Mother is due to arrive later this afternoon to sign off on the house documents is not lost. This city seems to be a major hub of my life having met Tammi here during the recordings of "Misplaced Childhood" that spawned the hit that is always assosiated with my career. Tara was also conceived here during the "Vigil" tour in 1990.
Other items that exploded this year were the legal case against Daghorn and Turrell which was settled a few weeks ago with them paying me £10,000 and signing over all the publishing rights to "Plague of Ghosts". A totally pointless exercise and a waste of energy which could have been avoided if the two of them had acknowledged their responsibilities rather than attempt to delay payment with a maze of legal paperwork and arguments which cost both parties. I have absolutely zero respect for either of them who never once appeared in court.
Add to this the house sale which has meant that my Mum and Dad have had to organise the move while I have been on tour. The new family moves into the Main House on the 27th of this month and I return to the Farm on December the 6th to a studio which has been equipped with shower, kitchen and toilet while I have been on and off the road. The organisation has been intense and without Kim's help in the office would have been impossible. She has been brilliant dealing with all the fan club and business issues while the old office was knocked down around her and the new one was built with all the attendant problems including complete renewal of our communications networks which were taken offline for over two weeks as the gremlins raged.
Also add all of this to a touring schedule which has been haphazard to say the least (and at one point shortly after September 11th about to disappear with heavy losses) and I hope you can understand that it has been a very stressful year. I didn't want to bore you or indulge myself in what could easily have become a blizzard of self-pitying e-mails so I retreated into silence as I got my head round all the above problems and obstacles.
I am now just about through to the other side and the log jam has cleared. The European tour is going well and, apart from mild colds and the usual winter problems, relatively fogless. I still get the heeby jeebies though and it was at this point on the Berlin, Poland, Austria, Italy run that things went horribly wrong in '99. My fingers are crossed and offerings ae made daily to the Gods of the Road!
The South American Tour was hugely successful and has ensured our return there either next Autumn or the spring of 2003. After this tour ends I am taking a break at the beginning of the year although the possibility of film work is strong. I am awaiting a verdict on a recent audition for the part of a Bond baddie which - if it comes off - will mean shooting in the first 4 months of next year. I will still have time to continue organising my new home and developing the garden which has recently become a wee bit of a passion (I get to sleep at nights dreaming of landscaping!) as well as starting the ball rolling on the new album which will be called "Field of Crows". Wes will be joining me together with Jim Haydn and others in the writing teams and we intend to follow the direction offered by "Fellini Days".
April and May will see the writing intensify and I am working on the idea of a Fan Club Convention in Haddington on the Bank Holiday - moved to early June - to unveil the first ideas. The Convention next year will consist of 2 Electric Nights, one a totally Marillion evening where we are planning to perform the entire "Misplaced Childhood" album and other classics with the second night being the "Field of Crows" debut and other solo material. Late June will see the band on the road rehearsing the material live before going into recording in the summer and using open airs and weekends for playing the album in. My experiences with Fellini days has shown me that this is the most advantageous way to work to acheive the best results. As with Fellini days there will be a specific web site covering the development of the project. Mo has been invaluable in setting this up and her work on the site under difficult circumstances (mostly created by my absence) is hugely appreciated. She has covered for me brilliantly and I can't thank her enough for not only the site work but also for being a rock for me in my personal storms.
As with Fellini Days the album will be sold in advance as of May and once again there will be a bonus disc for mail orders. I am sure you will be pleased with the Fellini bonus disc which is heading out this week. The delay has been intolerable for everyone including myself, but Elliot's lengthened stay in Africa caused mayhem with the schedule.
"Field of Crows" will be sold on the tour which is designated around September, October and November and released to retail sometime in November.
"Fellini Nights" will be released on mail order in January and is a full concert from the Amsterdam Paradiso show recorded earlier this year. Elliot has already mixed the album and artwork and production will start as soon as I get back from this tour. More details to follow. I am close to finalising the deal with Roadrunner which will return all the back catalogue to Chocolate Frogs. The entire catalogue will be re-released at mid price in the late spring of next year. The inserts will be changed to a simpler design and only the existing Roadrunner stock which we will be selling on mail order will include the full 20 page colour inserts.
As you can see I am more organised than I have been for years and with the long set up period I am confident that I can achieve more than I have done for a long time.
I appreciate your patience with me in recent months and I can only offer a sincere vote of thanks to all of you who have kept my career on track and on an upward curve during what has been a terribly difficult period for me personally. Your support of "Fellini Days" has been wonderful on all levels.
It's highly apt that this declaration comes from Berlin where so many of my beginnings have sprung. I am highly confident and motivated, and the new energies can be applied in positive and creative channels that can only offer an exciting new set of challenges that I welcome with eager anticipation.
Back from the shadows,
lots of love
Onkel Fish xx
Email 18th November 2001