Email 9th February 2006

Subject: Fish 2006 - Hello Blue Skies! Convention and other news!

Dear Fishheads, Freaks, Fans and the Company,

Just back from an eventful weekend in London via Manchester and Liverpool where I spent a couple of days with Mike Cockayne in the editing suite watching the footage of the Amsterdam, Paradiso show.
This is without doubt the best DVD footage I have had so far and even surpasses the 'Sunsets on Empire' tour DVD from Poland. It has a very Martin Scorcese "Last Waltz" vibe to it and Mike has done a sterling job. The project will not be released until the end of June/early July and I will be spending some time on finalising all the sections and extras. There will be a one hour plus interview with Jon Hotten from Classic rock magazine which was conducted canal-side at the venue during the afternoon. I am sure you will find this illuminating and to be honest I even found it interesting in replay!
The live album "Return to Childhood" is now completed and some visual elements will be up on the website in the coming weeks. The cover is spectacular and the response from Snapper Music is tremendous.The audio is receiving glowing accolades and everyone who has heard it so far is raving about Calum Malcolm's production. It sounds huge! It's without doubt the best sounding live album I have ever had.
Release date is scheduled for the 17th April and we will be taking orders at the beginning of that month. I am still to be advised on pricing and don't want to fall into the same trap as I did on the 'Bouillabaisse' project. I will let you know more details when I receive them from Snapper.
Mark Wilkinson has again provided a brilliant piece of artwork and sleeve design and new elements created for the sleeve will be incorporated in a new range of merchandise. For those of you in the tattoo fraternity the new Celtic/Fish logo designs are perfect for needling and I am considering one myself!

After the DVD check in Liverpool I headed to Manchester to catch the excellent 'Thunder' show at the Academy. It was great to hook up with Luke Morley and the guys who I knew well in the good old Marquee days when they were working under the name of 'Terraplane'. Their drummer Harry James is also an old mate and he nearly took over after Mark Brzezicki pulled out of the "Field of Crows" tour. His commitment to 'Thunder' got in the way at the time but I am sure somewhere in time we will work together. He is a brilliant musician and our paths have crossed many times before during his reign as 'Magnum' drummer. His connection with Yatta who served as a roadie with 'Magnum' for many years is also strong and it was he that brought Harry to my attention when Mark ducked out after the album sessions. Great gig at the Academy and a full on sold out crowd was a turn on and got my touring juices flowing. It's inspiring to see a band who were nearly written off a few years ago turning it around and performing to big audiences again through concentrated effort and hard work. I didn't get off the tour bus until nearly 2am and it was tempting to take up the offer of an overnight to London where I had to be next day for the 'Will Smith' show at the Soho Theatre.

Will's gig had an extra bonus as I met up with Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley, his wife and Marillo manageress Lucy Jordache and Steve Rothery and his wife Jo. It was the first time we had all been together for years and as usual there was a lot to recount over a few bevvies. The show was slicker than I had ever seen it previously and Will was on top form. I was creased up with laughter despite seeing the performance a couple of times before in Edinburgh. As there weren't the constraints of an Edinburgh Festival time slot the gig was slightly longer. I must admit to feeling rather strange watching it with Mark, Ian and Steve and there were some toe-curling moments. As always the audience loved it and after show the small crowd of fans were as amused at seeing the four of us together and smiling as they were at the footage and comments on stage.
We retired to the bar and then to a club where an ecstatic Will was overjoyed to be with 'the band' at one of his shows.
I discussed the forthcoming Haddington Convention with Will and his manager Hannah Oldman and I am over the moon to announce that Will is bringing his show up as part of the weekend events. He will already be up in Edinburgh with his new festival show and is coming along to Haddington on the Sunday afternoon to perform the "Misplaced Childhood" show for the attendees.

I can now confirm that the Haddington Convention will take place over the Bank Holiday weekend in August.
Details are still being worked out but the plan so far is as follows-

Saturday 26th -

Welcome around 2pm with open air question and answer session.

4-6pm various quizzes and other 'happenings'

St Mary's Church acoustic night with doors around 6pm and the gig 7pm till 9pm.

9pm onward is a party at the Tyneside in the courtyard and the Youth Club with a performance by my first band 'Blewitt' now called 'The Border Boogie Band' featuring performances on stage by myself and others. Frank Usher is their guitarist so a long night for him!

During the day Mark Wilkinson will be conducting a 'live' airbrush re creation of the 'Market Square Heroes' cover artwork as part of his overall artwork exhibition in the Youth Club Centre.

Other bands will be playing in the town at different venues as separate events within the main weekend itinerary.

Sunday 27th

More events around the Tyneside in the early afternoon with acoustic session in the courtyard featuring various musicians.

Around 3pm - Will Smith "Misplaced Childhood" show at an as yet unspecified venue but probably the Corn Exchange

5pm open Soundcheck at the Corn Exchange

7pm doors and then full band gig scheduled for around 8pm - support to be announced - with yours truly on around 9 till as late as we can.

Special guests already confirmed are members of 'Mostly Autumn'. Angela Goldthorpe and Heather Findlay are scheduled to give a performance of their solo project 'Odin Dragonfly' during the weekend and Bryan Josh and Liam Davidson joining me on stage with the girls at some point during the gigs.
Heather and I will be duetting on the acoustic and electric nights with 'Just Good Friends' and 'Incomplete' very much on the cards.

There are a lot of other elements being worked out at the moment and I must point out that this is a plan that is open to changes. The dates are confirmed but I have to wait on OKs from licensing authorities for the Tyneside Courtyard gig and permission to use the Youth Club from the relevant committees. I am confident all will be resolved and when I come back from Egypt we will be able to announce more details and move further with the arrangements. Elspeth is dealing with campsites/accommodation/shower facilities and will be able to give out more information at the end of the month. The main gig dates are confirmed.

I still have to work out pricing as I cannot put together budgets till I know the overall venue arrangements and what I can offer as the overall package of events. Tickets will not go on sale until the first week of April but we will accept advance bookings/orders as I appreciate some of you will want to confirm your places early.

One problem is that St Mary's can only hold 400 people as part of their limits. With that in mind I have also booked the Friday night (25th August) as an 'overspill'. We are expecting to sell out the Saturday night quite quickly and again appreciate that some of you will be unable to attend on the Friday for family or travel reasons. With that in mind orders will be given preference to those of you with valid reasons for the Saturday night show. Friday night's show will not go on sale until Saturday is sold out and surplus tickets (if any) from Friday will be offered for sale as separate briefs above the 'weekend ticket' on the night.

There is a film show planned in the Youth Club for those of you who get tickets for Friday and have a spare two hours on the Saturday night before the party.

This is the cunning plan and I point out that things may change regarding the daily events.

I will let you know more as soon as I have things on a more firm basis.
It's looking good!!!


Other news.

I conducted an interview with Radio 4 on Monday for a programme on the history of Progressive Rock scheduled for transmission in the first weeks of April.
Classic Rock are running an extensive interview next month for the release of the 'Return to Childhood' project.
Details on the 'Hibs Supporters Club' gig will be provided at the end of this month once Yatta has done a recce of the venue and we have met with the officials. We will be able to take orders here at the Studio, again details to follow.
More gigs are being added to the April tour in the coming weeks with gigs in France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain as well as a couple of extra UK dates being currently negotiated.

I will not be playing at the end of May as after a stunning 3-0 Hibs victory in Glasgow against the Rangers at the weekend this just might be the year we break the 100 year plus Hibernian hoodoo in the Scottish Cup. As long as we can beat either Falkirk or Ross County in the quarter finals and hope Hearts either screw up or we beat them in the semis (I couldn't handle the stress of a derby final!!) we could be on the road to glory!!

And with the Scots gubbing France in the rugby it was truly a great weekend! Ever get that feeling the tide is turning!

Off to Egypt with my girlfriend on Monday for a much needed holiday before back into the fray for both of us. After the grim darkness and cold of a Scottish winter I desperately need some sun and R & R!!

Into the blue!!

Until I get back
take care and stay alive
lots of love
Onkel Fish xx
 

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