Email June 3rd 2007

Fish 2007 - The Turtle and the Scorpion

Dear Fishheads, fans, freaks and the Company,

Firstly thanks for all your e mails and messages of support in the last week. It would be a lie to say it's been easy but as the days have gone by everything has become more in focus both from an historical and forward viewpoint. With the events of last weekend firmly locked and bolted behind a door which I have no intention of opening again I am now dusting myself down and breathing a huge sigh of relief.
Articles in the Daily Record and the Edinburgh Evening News raised some eyebrows as to their timing but in this age of electronic news and direct web site access for journalists it wasn't for me an unexpected contact. In Scotland in particular I am still thankfully newsworthy :-)
In my experience you have two choices. Let them print what they want with no comment and risk misinterpretation, or provide additional quotes and rely on a certain amount of integrity and understanding from the journalist in question. I chose the latter. I have never yet done an interview of this nature where I have been totally happy at what appears in print. But such is your lot when you are in the public eye. One would have to be incredibly naive to think that the press would ignore a story of this nature and despite a wish for a certain degree of privacy I have to accept the yin and yang of it all. After printing articles in the past of a positive nature regarding the relationship it is glaringly obvious that the Scottish press would follow up the recent announcement. I didn't go chasing copy as some have suggested.

Monday and Tuesday I was totally useless and was excused from studio duties. My anger started to subside midweek and I had to face up to my responsibilities the first of which was contacting friends some of whom had already booked flights and hotels. I had left the door open on Monday hanging on to the extreme possibility that reason might prevail but on discovering that my ex fiance had already cancelled all her invites the night previously meant there was no prospect of reconciliation. The complete removal of belongings on Monday afternoon and the release on her band web site confirmed that her decision had been considered for quite a long time in the run up to the final confrontation.
I wish she had made it weeks, if not months ago and saved this emotional fallout.

Gavin finished his final drum takes on Wednesday and the domestic situation ironically went back to normal as the kit was cleared from the studio floor and the furniture went back in place. Steve and Calum then began working on bass parts and reviewing the rhythm tracks.
We had already decided on taking a few days off for Calum to tidy up the various drum takes and for us to take a breather after a very intense first couple of weeks. Steve flew back on Thursday to the Midlands for the weekend and Gavin went home the day earlier as he had to begin a weeks gigging with 'Mostly Autumn' on Friday, something he wasn't exactly looking forward to for obvious reasons.
I was supposed to travel to Blairgowrie in the Highlands on Wednesday to have my new kilt measured after Robin Elliot, a fan from Selkirk, had contacted me offering to weave an original tartan for me in his mill in the Borders. I had gone down a few weeks ago to see it being woven on the looms, a fascinating insight and an exciting prospect having my own registered tartan.
I had only discovered recently as we drew up wedding plans that I was not associated with the Macdonald clan, as I had thought for years thanks to some misinformation my Dad was given at a tartan shop in Moffat, but was actually tied to the Keith clan. The Keith tartan has two distinct tartans, one - the modern - is close to the Black Watch tartan, the other - the ancient - is primarily blue and green. Robin being a well known designer offered to create an unique tartan utilising threads of pale gold and off white taken from the colours chosen for the bridal party woven into the ancient Keith tartan. The result is a wonderfully balanced and modern tartan which I intend to have made into a kilt and trews for the forthcoming tour. This week however wasn't an ideal time to be measured for a kilt intended to be worn for the first time at a wedding that now wasn't happening!
On a humorous note and while I am on the subject of Scots, it is still legal in York to kill a Scotsman with a bow and arrow after dusk within the city walls! I expect archery classes in York are now over-subscribed by some of the more fundamentalist 'Mostly Autumn' fans! :-D With the last Jacobite heads of the 45 rebellion stuck on the gibbet of the Micklegate back in the 18th century I don't want to risk tempting fate.
I don't plan any gigs there this tour! :-D
There have been a couple of dour comments as to my plans to throw a party on the day of the intended wedding. In Scotland and in Ireland when people die we throw "wakes". We don't sit around gnashing teeth and wailing while flagellating ourselves with barbed wire rouches. We have wakes which involve drinking, singing, playing music and dancing. In short celebrating life. I can remember years ago when my Uncle Charlie, an Englishman and ex RSM of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, passed away up here. His family from down South came up to Dalkeith for the funeral and the wake and were shocked at the partying that went on in the pub after the ceremony. It took them a few drams to get into the spirit of the occasion but they left with a better understanding of the concept!
Having already laid out deposits on marquees and catering etc it seemed appropriate to carry on tradition and I don't intend to be walling myself up in a tomb on the day. What is done is done. I will be celebrating my life which still carries on flags flying despite huge disappointments and let downs and I will be celebrating with true friends and family who all think it is a fantastic idea! It gives me a chance to thank the people who did so much to support and organise the original wedding plans and who put in a lot of time and energy into the now cancelled proceedings! It also gives me a chance to get rid of one of the tiers of a £250 wedding cake my parents had already bought! :-D
My parents were up all this week, as they have been in the last month, helping out with the garden which had been designated as the venue for the reception. My Dad is going nuts trying to get rid of grass clippings from his wee ride-on lawn mower. The bottom "field" had been levelled, landscaped and re-sown in order to accommodate the huge marquee and is now quite an effort to keep under control with all the recent rain up here. Steve Vantsis wants to turn it into a football pitch like the old days. It's a big swathe of lawn now!
Another thought is to use it as the venue for the convention next year. That is if the neighbours agree! :-D
The garden plans were accelerated by at least a year and new beds were created and planted up in the northern section of the grounds. A hell of a lot of plants were bought and planted and of course this means a hell of a lot of weeding and looking after. It is an amazing garden now and a positive legacy from the negativity of recent weeks.
With the band coming up in numbers in the coming month the salad bed was totally planted up yesterday as I get back to some sort of normality. It's the second seeding as the initial sowing made by my ex had been a failure and all the plants that didn't die were taken by the slug and snail population. There's a metaphor in there somewhere!
The rest of the wedding disassembly has been just about dealt with. Cars and church cancelled, photographer re designated for the "13th Star" press shots, minister re briefed, kilts and dress suits cancelled, hotels informed of the change of plans, flowers cancelled, wedding night hotel cancelled, marquees and catering reassigned etc etc.
Tara has a new dress for the school prom this year and my niece has her new outfit as has my mate Kenny's daughter Georgia who was a flower girl. Luckily my sister Laura phoned to remind me that the other three bridesmaids dresses had to be cancelled as it was just about the only part of the arrangements that had been sorted down in York and no one had bothered to tell them the wedding was off. It's been a bit "kerching" but it won't kill me.
The invites will probably be on E bay soon! :-D
As you can see I am dealing with this in as practical and methodical way as possible and getting back to as normal a state as I can given the circumstances. It is taking less time than it did to set up. There is no point in being morose as I said in the interviews. Worse things happen at sea.
I am already in discussion with the Chepstow festival for a possible gig in August. They contacted me after the news broke and re offered the gig that was cancelled due to the honeymoon plans. Thank God we didn't book one, that would have been a hit!
Losing the backing vocalists for the album is a pain as Anne Marie pulled out as she felt in an awkward position as she is friends to us both. Angela I was particularly sad to lose for similar reasons but I accept and respect their loyalty. I am already in discussion with replacements one of whom could be a real coup ;-)
One thing Anne Marie pointed out was that she would find it difficult singing lyrics that were influenced by the break up and it was strange that she would say that soon after I tidied up the lyric to "Manchmal", German for "sometimes".
This was written a few weeks ago and on reflection seems to be subconsciously affected by what was going on in that time.
It's based on the ancient story I heard in Egypt when I was there last year. It's about the turtle and the scorpion who meet on the river bank. The scorpion wants to cross and asks the turtle to carry it. At first the turtle refuses as he says that the scorpion will kill him. The scorpion points out that if it does they will both die as the scorpion will drown. The turtle then agrees and mid river the scorpion stings the turtle. On asking why the scorpion did it the scorpion replies "It is in my nature". As I typed this a few days ago I found it terribly ironic. I leave this with you as the first disclosed lyric from the "13th Star"


The turtle and the scorpion, the riverbank the deal,
To cross the open water they mutually agreed,
Out there in the distance, the other side in sight,
Banking on forever, holding on for life,
I can see the other side; I can see the other side,
I want to see the other side.

Somewhere in the middle the truth is hard to find,
I'm running round in circles; I find I'm running blind,
Praying for the distance, praying for more time,
Running round in circles, running out of time,

Manchmal, I often think of you,
Manchmal, I want to see it through,
Manchmal, I should feel something more inside,
Manchmal, I want to reach the other side.
I'm swimming, I'm swimming!

The point of grave decision, no turning back this time,
No sense of reluctance, no doubt in my mind,
Except that nagging feeling, the thought that it might fail,
The bullet's in the chamber, the sting is in the tail,

Manchmal, I only think of you,
Manchmal, could we see it through?
Manchmal, there is something left inside?
Manchmal, my nature cannot hide!

I can see where we're going; I can see how you feel,
I can sense you're going to leave me, I know you'll break the deal,
I'll drown in my sorrows and I'll drink at your shrine, manchmal,

Is that the way that you see it, tell me how it should be,
It's time to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea,
Manchmal, Manchmal.

Manchmal, there's something stirring deep inside,
Manchmal, a chance to come alive,
Manchmal, manchmal,
It's time to choose between the open water and your dreams,
Time you faced reality, time you faced your fears,
Manchmal, it's different this time.

c Derek Dick 2007

I'm not dead yet!

lots of love
Onkel Fish

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