Email 22nd September 2003

Subject: Fish 2003 - You say tomato!

Dear Fishheads, Freaks, fans and the Company!
So Autumn has arrived and the polar bears will soon be scouting the lawn in search of cold pizza and summer barbecue left overs!

The album is now ahead of schedule and I have booked mixing time in CaVa studio in Glasgow. This gives us access to a Neave desk and a big toy rack in order to maximise production values on "Field of Crows". The album will be mastered by the 20th November after being mixed by Elliot who has done a brilliant job so far. The vibe in the studio has been the best I can remember and everyone has fed off the positive atmosphere. All tracks are now written (apart from some lyrics!) and we now have eight backing tracks in full flow awaiting vocals which begin tomorrow night. "The Field" was written by Bruce Watson and myself with Tony Turrell co-writing "The Lost Plot" and "Scattering Crows", both well-defined piano pieces awaiting guitar input!
Mark B's work has been outstanding and he returns to lay the drums on the last 3 tracks in 2 weeks. Tony has delivered as expected and everyone has commented on how well his contribution has clipped right in to the overall picture. The album sounds great! :-)

Bruce W, Frank and I performed at a charity dinner in aid of National Children's Homes Scotland last Thursday. We played a short acoustic set (Lucky, Kayleigh and Internal Exile) to 700 people who had bought tables at a "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" take off! The night was a great success and over £85k was raised. The other act on the bill was my old friend Horse who had recorded one of her EMI albums at the Funny Farm Studios, her bass player at the time being Steve Vantsis! Her voice was as great as ever but she, like many of us, had some horror stories about labels and the music business in general. Now without a label, she is also reliant on an Internet presence and a loyal fan base. A terrible waste of a great Scottish talent.
The tables competed in a "name that video/band/song/album cover" type quiz and were identified with name tags of famous bands. We were on the Beatles table and ironically behind us was the Big Country table on which sat Derek Forbes, former bass player with Simple Minds! We hadn't met for years and together with Bruce we washed down some old memories of hedonistic activities with a few Vino Collapsos! A great night.

Bruce is currently on tour with Dead Men Walking, an SAS type band of various musos including Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny - Forbes's new co-conspirator), Mike Peters (The Alarm), Glenn Matlock (Sex Pistols), Slim Jim from the Stray Cats and others. I'm told it's worth seeing and I await the Scottish leg. Bruce is out for only 3 weeks before coming back to the studio with Billy Duffy (The Cult) taking over his position.
The UK tour continues until mid October.

The SAS gigs at Christmas are Chiddingfold 5th, 6th and 7th December with the Brook Southampton on the 9th and 10th. Tickets can be found on the SAS website:
Bulgaria is still in negotiation for the weekend of the 12th, 13th December but as with the other shows I have no further information yet.

I have been informed that "Nine Dead Gay Guys" was released on Friday last week. It can be seen only at a few theatres for one week only in London, Glasgow, Manchester, Brighton and Birmingham. Sorry but I have no info on theatres where it is playing and only got the above info through today. Seems the reviews were so bad that the run is limited. It has fared better in the States! I have been approached by the distributors re selling a future DVD of the movie and am awaiting a response to my reply.
The film isn't that bad and has to be approached in much the same way as "South Park". I was pleased with my contribution and if you go and see the movie you'll get a laugh at that alone! :-)

The garden has suffered from lack of attention due to a bunch of SAS weekends and a recent trip to New York to see my girlfriend who had flown in from LA. Between the studio and 3 hours of long distance calls a day to a different time zone, regular sleep patterns are out of the question and I'll be glad when she visits Scotland for the first time in late October. I head for LA for two weeks in November before the SAS shows and we then get together for Christmas and New Year in Scotland. We first met briefly three years ago at the Troubadour Club in LA when I was on SAS duty during the San Diego Microsoft Show and had kept in irregular contact until a few months ago when we reintroduced ourselves on the phone. We met again in New York just under three weeks ago on top of the Empire State Building and are now planning to spend a lot more time together. It means long hauls just now but we both believe it's worth it! :-)

Tara is over in the middle of October for two weeks during which we have the Scotland European Qualifier with Lithuania in Glasgow and a Four by Four course with Jeep in the Scottish Highlands squeezed in to the last album sessions. Jeep have renewed my endorsement and I'll be getting a new Grand Cherokee next month. It seems likely that they will be involved in some degree in sponsoring next years touring activities which are being finalised as I write this e-mail.

I lost out on presenting the children's TV programme. Although the producers of the show thought that my audition was the best of those they conducted, the network chose to go for someone already known to children's TV rather than a new face. I was slightly disappointed but pleased to get the reaction from the producers that I did. If I had been offered the show we would have lost the time gained on the album recording and put myself under pressure on both projects so nothing was in fact lost from the exercise either way.

The rains now descending firmly and regularly, the temperatures dropping rapidly have nearly driven Elliot indoors from his tent in the garden and I must admit to considering him drowned at sea last night. The veg plot is emptying and a rather successful gardening year draws to a close. My two enormous pumpkins (Fnaar! Fnaar!) await Halloween and only the main crop (tatties) need urgent lifting. The spinach still erupts and the asparagus plants have lasted the summer in their first year. Mum pickled the beetroot and I swapped her a truckload of tomatoes, cabbage and carrots for the quince jam! Only the cauliflower, the rocket and the broccoli failed mainly due to a plague of Cabbage White butterfly. Funnily enough, they never touched the cabbages! BTW On my trip to NYC I discovered that courgettes are called zucchini and that aubergines are called egg plant (or is that the other way around?). All those years eating over there and I never knew that before. I always thought that the spell check didn't recognise the names because I wasn't spelling them right rather than them being non-American terms! Anyone got more info on the reasons why the name change? Just interested - not an obsession btw! :-)

Off to the garden centre tomorrow to choose the Spring bulbs for "Heartbreak Ridge" and to sort out a few spaces in the borders before the start of the vocal sessions.
Wow! The rock and roll lifestyle, eh? :-))))))))

Still a bit depressed at Scotland losing the World Cup Elephant Polo Championships to Germany in India yesterday! Cheating b*******! Bunch of divers! :-))

lots of love
Onkel Fish xx

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