Email 13th June 2005

Subject: Fish 2005 - The other story!

Dear FishHeads, fans, Freaks and the Company!

I arrived back home to be handed a letter from Kim offering her resignation. It was out the blue and took me completely by surprise. Kim has had to move back down South for family reasons. She is obviously extremely disappointed but circumstances dictate that only one decision could be made. She has played a very important part of both the office set up and my personal life as she joined soon after I separated from my wife in 2001 and had to make the move into the studio from my previous house. I will miss her not just as my PA and office manageress but also as a close friend who has helped and advised me through some very difficult moments of my life and career.
She is working with me until the end of June when her replacement will take over to deal with the office and fan club.

The new recruit is Elspeth who also happens to be my dentist's wife and someone I have known for a while. Elspeth will be taking over on a part time basis and the new set-up involves Mo and Pete working with her at regular intervals.
The ordering system will be changing as credit cards will no longer be debited automatically, instead money will be taken for goods on the day of actual processing and notification will be sent out on receipt of order and on the shipping day. This will substantially reduce any confusion and will keep customers more informed of their orders.
I have discussed this with Kim, Mo and Pete and they all feel that the mail order system can be handled on a part time basis with an accountant taking a more hands-on approach to the bookkeeping. Part time assistants can be brought in to help with the packing during heavy ordering periods such as with new releases.
I feel confident that the new operation will be beneficial to all concerned.

Other news which has also played a part in the above decisions is that I am in the process of signing a deal with "major" independent label "Snapper Records". This will give me a far more effective distribution world wide and both press and promotion that has been sadly missing in recent years. The new deal will kick off in the Autumn with a release of a double "Best of" album.
This is not really aimed at existing fanbase but at the many fans who are obviously being brought back to the fold by the "Return to Childhood" tour and who are unaware of my recent solo material. I would welcome any suggestions for a track listing as the best source of advice on what are my best tracks is from the people who have been with me over my 17 year solo career.
I have a working title of "Bouillabaisse" (Provencal fish soup :-) but again would welcome suggestions from the fans!
Mark will be taking on yet another air brush cover and there is an accompanying idea for the working title which involves a French Cafe setting with artwork on the wall behind my position in residence at a table!
The airbrush cover for the "Return to Childhood" project is nearly complete and the finished work will be on the web site in July. Reactions from fans who have seen it so far on Mark's travels to Norway is extremely positive and he will be in Florence, Italy this week exhibiting the new work and other pieces as well as delivering a lecture on sleeve artwork. Details can be found at Mark Wilkinson's site

Snapper records will be distributing both the live album and DVD of the "Return to Childhood" tour in Spring 2006 and following those with the release of the entire back catalogue throughout the rest of the year.
We will still be dealing with the mail order through the F.I.S.H. set up and the web site and will be trying to set up a chart eligible sales system. The "Best of" and the "Childhood" project will not be sold in advance so as to maximize on a chart entry. We are also looking at the possibility of releasing a single at least to radio in the Autumn. Snapper have a great reputation for dealing with the rock media and I am positive that with their expertise I can move my music profile to another level.

I auditioned on Friday for a major Hollywood movie and am now once again waiting on a result. The audition was well received and, if successful, will mean shutting down most of the touring operation apart from the already booked Norwegian dates in September (details on the web site) for three months from the beginning of August. The role is a prominent supporting part and is my biggest potential role so far in my acting career. I don't want to say any more about the film as it is far too early and I already know to my disappointment that great auditions don't necessarily mean being chosen for the part! However if I am successful this will push the European tour back to November and the new approach of "week on" "week off" will take me through until December and the SAS Xmas shows; 9th December the Brook Southampton, 15th -18th Chiddingfold.
I leave on Wednesday for Cyprus and an SAS show there which has been unofficially tagged to the Live 8 gigs. I did try to get on the Scottish show at Murrayfield but had no response. Disappointed is not the word! :-(
The SAS Cyprus on Thursday show features Midge Ure, Roger Taylor and Paul Young amongst others.
I will also be playing Ahaus in Germany with the SAS band on July 9th. I don't have any more information on this gig at present.

On June 20th and 21st I have a meeting with comedian Will Smith (the Will Smith from Jersey rather than the well known actor :-) )
He is putting together a show for the Edinburgh Festival called "Misplaced Childhood" and he has asked me to contribute to the performance with an appearance on his slide show/video show that is the backdrop to his "discussions". I saw his last programme in Glasgow a few months back and it was a side splitter. A very clever comedian who has turned out to be a huge Marillion fan hence the subject of his new stage project. For more info, see his web site
Check him out. The "Misplaced Childhood" show will be the headline show at the Assembly Rooms in George Street. Further details will be given out when we get them re tickets etc. It is sure to be a sold out series of shows!

I have also had an offer to work with the Venezuelan National Orchestra in Caracas next year. The idea is to record a live performance in front of an audience across two night and filmed for TV. The set list will make up around a 90 minute show of songs from throughout my singing career. It is in working idea stage at the moment but all parties concerned are enthusiastic about the project especially after the recent successful shows there.

With Snapper records giving me an effective South American distribution for the first time in a very long time in my career it seems I will be spending a lot more time down there and I will be discussing a possible return in January next year with my promoter who was especially pleased at the response to the recent tour.

On a personal level my life has been turned around as Tara arrived back from Berlin a week ago to start school in Scotland. The house is a mess as the usual delays from tradesmen have meant that Tara's room wasn't ready and we have been busy trying to get painters and carpets, carpenters and electricians all in a semblance of order so she can settle into her new room.
It is strange getting up at 7.30 every day to get her to school :-) Discovering mornings is a bright new experience! :-)
The garden is a major battle just now and I am finding the new raised beds a struggle to keep in order. I have enough peppers, onions and garlic to feed a battalion! Watering alone takes around 45 mins a day and I keep on reminding myself to get an irrigation system!
I thought that Tara being here would give me another set of hands but trying to get a teenager to weed is proving very difficult even with bribes! :-)
Mo and Pete were down at the studio to experience the first asparagus spears of the season! I have waited for 3 years to harvest the plants and believe me it has been worth it! :-)

So a lot of major changes but all are proving positive and beneficial on a number of levels, not only on a personal but also in a professional sense. The studio is humming and I have a big stupid grin on my face. But that is another story :-)

Lots of love
Onkel Fish X
 

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