Email 27th March 2007

Fish 2007 - Return of the magpies!

It couldn't be busier just now! I am having to divide my days up between 13th Star duties, Planet Rock programming, wedding organisation, teenager parenting, garden retrieval, band finding, tour advancing and domestic and business duties in general!
I need some more of me here!

First up! The St Mary's acoustic set is to be released as a double CD on 3 panel digipak in April. The album is called "Communion" and the track listing is as follows; The Field, Jumpsuit City, Favourite Stranger, Shot the Craw, State of Mind, Tilted Cross, Fortunes of War, Just Good Friends, Incomplete, Change of Heart, Lady Let it Lie, A Gentleman's Excuse Me, Rites of Passage, The Lost Plot, Slainthe Mhath, Chelsea Monday, Scattering Crows, Tara, Raw Meat.
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Calum Malcolm and features Angela Gordon on backing vocals and flute, Anne Marie Helder on backing vocals, Heather Findlay on backing vocals and featured vocal on Just Good Friends, Incomplete, Favourite Stranger and Tilted Cross, Dave Haswell on percussion and Tara Dick on backing vocals on Tara :-)
The rest of the band are the usual suspects from the RTC tour; Frank Usher, Steve Vantsis, Tony Turrell, Gavin Griffiths and Andy Trill.
"Communion" debuts a number of tracks in a live set: The Field, Favourite Stranger, Shot the Craw and Tara with Slainthe and Chelsea Monday appearing as recorded acoustic versions for the first time.
It's a very fine album and more than justifies it's place in my catalogue. I am not planning on releasing this to retail until the end of the Summer (if at all) and it will only be available through the web site on mail order. Advance orders will be taken from Monday April 2nd. "Communion" is priced at £11.99 plus VAT (where applicable) plus relevant postage.
I expect to have the album by the middle of the month.

The cover design, another Mark Wilkinson special, and details on the tracks etc are already on the web site.

It's wonderfully ironic that this release precedes our wedding in August as Heather and I decided to get married in St Mary's. The album's release was scheduled for April long before I proposed and it was Heather who suggested the church as the venue. That's a very welcome slice of Fellini cake! :-) Your support on this project is greatly appreciated by both Heather, myself and our families ;-)

It's all very exciting on that front with the church, the reception, the catering, cars etc all nearly organised as I try to get as much of that out the way before I start recording the '13th Star' in the middle of May. I still haven't found the "second" guitarist yet and have been disappointed to find some of the guys on our "wish list" already committed to other projects.
Foss Paterson has settled into our unit and his contributions have been greeted with big smiles all round. He is still the Foss we know and love, nearly knocking over the farmer in a high speed getaway from the studio and coming close to burning down the control room after leaving my giant cuddly panda perched against the rope of star lights at the back of the room. The lights burned out and can be replaced but the panda is scarred for life! :'(

The Planet Rock show has been going well and comments have so far been highly positive on my e mail account There are prizes to be won with my entire solo studio album catalogue being given away to one lucky winner every week and at the end of the series one really lucky winner will be drawn out the hat for a visit to the studio and the playback of '13th Star' as well as a slap up dinner cooked by myself, a big bucket of wine etc! :-D Well worth sticking your email onto the Planet Rock site!
I have had some great reactions to the demos that have been played so far with the title track and 'Arc of the Curve' getting stars!
There's a demo played every week and this week is the first with vocals. Friday 6pm!!
I've been enjoying singing on the demos having been stopped smoking for over a month and definitely feeling the benefits. The album is coming together slowly but surely with April the core month for writing sessions. We are still ahead of the plan.
Rehearsals are scheduled to begin the 1st July with the first show in Reichenbach, Germany on the 13th and a festival on Saturday 14th, the Midnattsrocken Festival, Lakselv, Norway
I don't expect many of you outside the Arctic circle to make it up there :-D
Our journey from Leipzig starts at 4am after the Reichenbach festival and finishes 3 flights and a three hour bus journey later in Lakselv. We can't get out of the area on the Sunday so we have a day off in the most Northerly point on the European/Scandinavian mainland! Definitely one for the t-shirt :-D

As I said before I am planning to set up a show for Planet Rock and this could be before the German date. There will also probably be a warm up for that show the night before but it's still all in the blender yet! It's going to be tight and a very busy time!!
Heather will be singing backing vocals on the album and tour and as she moves into the Studio next week I am going to be glad to have her help out with all the arrangements and take some weight off me.
Thankfully she is into gardening and with the season kicking off big time I have been going nuts trying to keep up with the digging and planting etc.
The early tatties are in as are the 200 onions, 5 Jerusalem artichokes, 4 celery plants, over 200 perennials and shrubs in the new borders and various other plants that all arrived via the Van Meeuren catalogue - all at one time!!
I've had to landscape the lower garden because of drainage and the local green keeper is being a diamond and helping me out with seeding the lawns which have been turned into a Flanders field circa 1916 by hedge-cutting tractors and other plant that have traversed the garden over the winter. I need a "Ted" to sort out the drainage!
But the beds are coming together and most are ready for seeding. Sooner I get stuff up and growing sooner I can get out of buying rip off priced salad bags at Tescos! >:-o
I dive into the garden for at least two hours a day and use the head space for coming up with lyrics! Who says guys can't multi task? :-D

I have sent around 70 Hi8 and MiniDV tapes to a friend in Holland to be digitised and converted over to DVDs that I can use for archive programming for the new "Fish TV" set up. I have found some really interesting stuff including the first Lockerbie gig, safari in Kenya, BIG BUS TV programmes that Robin Boult and I shot in Holland in '93 for the back lounge, full shows from 89/90/93/01 and more, the studio build, recording sessions from Exile and Vigil and a load more stuff that could prove useful for possible DVD releases in future or documentary style projects. A trip down memory lane on a tour bus! :-D

It seems that our Company is celebrating a few new grandparents in recent weeks.
Niamh (pronounced neeve - gaelic) Moira Thomson Macfarlane was born on the 14th March thus making our own Elspeth Laidlaw a very proud grannie. Her daughter Shona is healthy and well unlike Elspeth who had a rather severe hangover for a few days and has been on leave to recover!
Congratulations and best wishes to them all.

I had a rather vicious hangover myself on the 19th March after Hibernian FC Edinburgh lifted the CIS Cup at Hampden after beating Kilmarnock 5-1 in the final. I was there with Heather, my Dad and Steve Vantsis on what was a totally brilliant and memorable day and ended up watching the team bring the cup on an open top bus up Easter Road in Edinburgh later that night. So far I have watched the re-run of the game 5 times on Sky Plus! :-D This was the third time I have seen them lift the League Cup with my Dad at my side, first time in '72, '91 when I flew back from Holland on the Exile tour and now 2007! And we could be up for the double this year!
The semi final of the Scottish Cup against Dunfermline comes up on the 15th April, a cup we haven't won for 105 years!!! I'll be there again and hopefully at the final against either St Johnstone or Celtic on the 26th May.
When we got beat last year in the semi finals against Hearts I saw 4 single magpies on the way to the stadium. "One for sorrow", we were beaten 4 nil.
On the 18th I saw two together and yesterday I saw 5 in the shelter belt on the other side of the greenhouse! 5 for silver!

Just to add to the Fellini, a friend of mine who works for Hearts, current holders of the Scottish Cup, arrived at the studio on his way back from work as a community liaison. He came with another good friend, Hutch, who asked me to step outside, shut my eyes and hold out my hands. I did as he asked and felt the cold metal handles. I opened my eyes to discover I was holding the legendary Scottish Cup!!! My mate gets to take it out to schools and other community projects and had decided to give me a wee surprise. I was blown away and needless to say got my photo taken holding up the Scottish Cup wearing a Hibs strip. It was a tremendous buzz to have this famous and elusive prize not only in the studio but in my hands, a wee boys dream :-D Last time someone will have it wearing a Hibs strip some might say but I have a funny feeling that this year is definitely my year! ;-)

until next time


Onkel Fish xx

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