Email 1st May 2003

Subject: Fish 2003 - Harlequins and jesters!

Dear Freaks, Fishheads, Fans and the Company,

Recovering from a bender of a weekend and the usual sand in the engine that has become far too common in recent weeks I thought I'd post an update.
Friday night and the birthday bash in Den Bosch with Fred and Jacqueline at the Hotel Terminus - great fun and a short acoustic set with no monitors or preparation was a bundle of fun. No pressure just an intimate gig with 130 or so friends, a bunch of Belhaven and a few voddies! Set was put together on the spur of the occasion and, although no new tracks as hoped, it worked!
I was in bed at 2 and left others to welcome postmen in the morning! :-)
Next day was serious and I slept till 1pm to gather the energies for what was to be a stressful day! Arriving in Eindhoven at around 4 I dallied in the hotel till 7 and the bus to the venue, a tent in a sports centre. Monitors were dubious and various problems kept us on edge and serious! Frank's pedals had been trashed by KLM at Schipol airport and Jim's drums could have been more secure! They kept on moving around the drum riser and he nearly lost all his cymbals at one point! It was an eventful hour on stage but we carried the crowd and were offered at least 2 other shows by the promoter on the performance.
The night was eventful and I had my diplomatic hard hat on as Tammi was there to pick up Tara to drive her to Berlin next day.

Sunday was check in the hangovers and the "nice" people at KLM hit us with excess baggage (again!). Tara had a return ticket which was non refundable and as she wasn't travelling with us they took me for 14 kilos! So they sold the ticket to another traveller and charged me 90 pounds for baggage that would have been covered by my daughter's allowance! To cap it all they lost Frank's guitar which turned up later that night at his home in Innerleithen with over 300 pounds damage to his guitar and over 200 pounds of damage to his pedals and tuner! It is without doubt the worst airline we have ever travelled with. They also managed to lose Irvine's keyboards AGAIN which now gives him a 100% record of baggage gone missing while flying with KLM!
They still haven't responded to the last complaint about missing baggage and overcharging from the Dubai trip!!! Sunday was an unpleasant day!

One thing that has surfaced is a problem with the "Mixed Company" CDs! The company who mastered them missed a glitch on the second CD on "Just Good Friends" at 3 minutes in! It's a one second dropout which has been noticed by some people but is irritating enough to warrant concern and personally unacceptable. Rob Ayling at Voiceprint, our distributors, has moved a mountain and everyone who has bought a CD will be sent a replacement free of charge next week from a brand new manufacturing run. For those of you who bought a CD in Holland this weekend get in touch with the Company Holland and we will replace your copies through Wilco at the fan club. I can only apologise as I should have spotted the problem before the run. In my defence I can only say that the previous master which had been sent to us and rejected did not have the same "drop out". Having checked that disc I'd thought that the remaster only had to be checked for EQing as the problem is not on the "Fools Company" DVD version of the track.

The problem with the "Sunsets on Empire" DVD is still being investigated and the same company who mastered the CD seem to think that the problem is with the programme code being initiated on a computer system that is not compatible with certain players. I am still investigating and I don't think I need to fill in the blanks as to the potential outcome of this search should it prove otherwise. It appears that only the most recent models of DVD players have hassles decoding the programme!
What I find most irritating is that having completely revamped the merchandise set up on the site, thanks to a glorious endeavour by Mo and Pete, 2 out of the 3 projects set up this year have been hindered by third parties who have created a degree of lack of confidence in the service for which I am ultimately accountable for through lack of attention to detail. There is a very big bad bear lurking in Scotland just now!

The Scottish dates are coming together and Fiona Duff who is handling press has done a sterling job raising my profile in the press and media. Judith is putting together the fanzine this month and she will have a cart load of articles to deliver to your doorstep amongst it's hallowed pages!

Finally I am pleased to announce that Marillion and myself have reached a very amicable agreement to release a three double-CD package of pre '88 material in a boxed set which will be available through the Company Scotland merchandise set up in conjunction with their own Front Row Club. More details will be announced as the project comes together but we hope to have it available in late Summer.
We will be working on this in the next months and hopefully this will be the beginning of a number of releases from this period. I hope you will support us here at F.I.S.H. on this and other releases as I get drawn into the warm mud of a "Field of Crows".

more news on gigs and other events in the next week,
next stop Irvine magnum Centre,
travelling Zoo Class! :-))))))
lots of love
Onkel Fish
PS thanks to all who sent birthday greetings and to all the Dutch who loaded my luggage with bottles! I tried to drink them all on Saturday but failed! The bottom drawer is now full of gin!
Thanks also to Wilco and the Co Holland for setting up the party and to the UFF for the "emergency kit" :-))))))

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