Email 12th January 2006

Subject: Fish 2006 - The return of Haddington Bear!

Dear Fishheads, Freaks, Fans and the Company!

First of all a Happy New Year to one and all and hope those resolutions are holding and that the unit count on alcohol intake was not stratospheric!
I am gym bound and smoke free as of next week and that garden is about to undergo a full scale assault as soon as the ground frost clears!
It will be a "different" first three months or so of this year as I plan to sit down and finally begin the novel amongst dealing with daughter duties and getting the studio into shape. Plans are moving forward on building the new store room / garage which will mean I can empty the control room and clear a mountain of stuff from the Studio. With the control room clear the fengshui should register positive and raise the energy to a level where I can start to think about writing and recording demos for the next studio album which I am optimistic of having ready for the end of this year.
Touring won't resume until April and Yatta will be coming up here in the next couple of weeks to discuss the routing which is intended to carry us through until around September and could possibly end in Haddington as, after much discussion and arm twisting, I have decided to go for another Scottish Convention. I think we have all been inspired by the camaraderie on the last tour and I must say I was reminded so much of the "old days" and the early Haddington conventions. I will try and get dates together as soon as possible in order to allow advance flight booking and hotels/camping reservations. The idea is to go for another acoustic night in St Mary's and a full show the following night at another venue in the town. This will take a couple of weeks to sort out but I will let you know as soon as possible about the date and venues. The favoured option is to go for the "traditional" bank holiday weekend in August.
Elspeth is particularly keen and once we get more details I am sure she would welcome suggestions for other "events" you would like or suggest for the weekend. "Weakest Link"? Showings of "Nine Dead Gay Guys" and "Chasing the Deer"? Domino competition? My football days are over sad to say! :-( It would be great to get an extensive range of "things to do" for the weekend.

This would also be the last performance of the "Misplaced Childhood" album as I intend to carry the project through the release of the live material on Snapper in April and May. The DVD footage is now edited and I will be viewing it in the next couple of weeks once I have the live album artwork together for the double digipak CD.
The recordings are, I have to say, the best live sound I have ever had on an album. Tilburg 013 turned out to be the best of the "audio" shows recorded and Calum Malcolm has done an outstanding job on the mixing and mastering. The DVD is taken from the Paradiso in Amsterdam two nights after the 013.
A full track listing will be on the web site in the near future and a "fish eye view" of the recordings will be in the sleeve notes of the album and elaborated on in an article on the web site.

Rehearsals for the 2006 tour will begin on the 18th of April and I will be changing the "solo set" slightly for those of you who have already seen the previous tour.
First date will be at the Hibernian Supporters Club at Sunnyside in Edinburgh on 20th April. This is a fund raising gig for the "Hibs Kids" and profits will go to the youth development at the football club. The date is yet to be confirmed but as soon as I have details I will let you know.
22nd April is another warm up at the Brook in Southampton, 23rd is Le Forum in Limbourg Belgium (these are both confirmed) 25th is a "to be confirmed" show in Groningen Holland, 26th Hannover Capitol, 27th Kuz in Mainz, 29th Erfurt Staatgarten, and 30th Stuttgart LKA. The German shows are all confirmed. More shows will be added in the coming weeks and as usual all details will be on the web site as soon as we have them.

The SAS shows before Xmas went really well and the "new" venue at Bisley in favour of the Chiddingfold shows seemed to be preferred.
My contribution was "Sledgehammer", "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Big Wedge" the latter switched with "Kayleigh" on a couple of the nights.
I also guested with "Mostly Autumn" at a private gig at the Railway Institute in York on Xmas Eve. I had met Heather Findlay and Bryan Josh at the Classic Rock Society Awards night in Rotherham in early December and presented Heather with 3 awards including best female vocalist, best song and the dubious "Page 3" pin up! I myself was presented with a 25 year contribution award by my co host of the evening, Martin Hudson. Tara was with me for the presentation and I gave her the cut glass plaque on stage for her patience and understanding of having an "on tour" father for large portions of her now 15 year old life!
Heather called me the following week and we arranged to meet up at the York gig to duet on a version of "Just Good Friends" and for me to sing "Kayleigh" with the band. It was a fun night in front of around 40 or so friends and family of the band in a venue that reminded me of early 80's gigs with the Marillos! It went really well and Heather and I raised a few eyebrows in the audience during our performance :-) They are a band worth checking out, especially their last album "Storms Over Still Water". I could easily see some sort of collaboration in the future as they are all talented musicians working in a similar field to yours truly!

Will Smith visited me just after Xmas and we discussed working together sometime this year. Will has his "Misplaced Childhood" show on the road this year and is kicking off with a series of gigs in London on 26th, 27th and 28th January and 2nd, 3rd and 4th of February at the Soho Theatre in Dean Street. He will be on an extensive UK tour in April and May and all details will be on our web site in the very near future. For those of you looking for a Fish fix while I am in mainland Europe this is the show to catch!

Elspeth has been putting her creative hat on together with a local merchandise company and we are looking at expanding our range of shirts and other items in the coming months. Any ideas for designs or items please let us know what you would like. (Tosh - I am looking into dart flights :-)
There is a new "Bouillabaisse" poster available in the shop and the "Return to Childhood" range has increased with mouse mats, fleeces, scarves and hats now available. It appears we have conquered the problems left over from the last regime and from your e mails to Elspeth the current system is working well. As always, your support is sincerely appreciated.

Press has been particularly kind in recent months and the new "Classic Rock" magazine has a great review of my gig in Amsterdam. This is the beginning of a number of articles in that magazine running up to the release of the "Return to Childhood" live album and the DVD. The Waring case also provided a great deal of coverage with articles in The Sun, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail, a full page in the Scottish News of the World and a front cover on the East Lothian Courier. The Courier also runs a full page with colour photos in this week's edition. I have had more coverage in the local papers in recent months than I have had for years. This bodes very well for the convention in the Summer.

Most surprising of all was a discussion in the "Big Brother" house regarding the recent appearance on the "Weakest Link". Apparantly, as I don't watch the programme, a house member - a singer of the band "Goldie Lookin' Chain" - mentioned me in the context that his band mate Eggsy was gutted at being beaten in the final. A short conversation ensued that was allegedly quite complimentary.

I was also a bit part player in John Leslie's new show on BBC3 as I opened the Seahouses Lifeboat day with him last year. John (a fellow Hibby) was filming for his series of programmes on "self discovery" and had taken a crew up to Northumberland to catch him on a public appearance. Needless to say I missed that as well!

So, it's into the New Year with a bang however I felt like I was trying to start an old car that had been left lying in a field for 6 months. Engine is running again and I am glad to be back to work. The next four months should prove interesting as I attempt to get ink onto paper and get this elusive novel started. It scares the hell out of me as it's a whole new experience and discipline. I will let you know how it progresses and maybe get some extracts onto the site in the coming months.

First up though is the seed catalogues and digging deep in the garden.

My holiday break in Egypt in February with my girlfriend can't come quickly enough.

Until next time,
Take care, stay alive and have a great and positive New Year

Onkel Fish xx

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