Email August 30th 2007

FISH 2007 - This is your life!

Dear FishHeads, Freaks, fans and the Company,

Friday - London city airport. Bank. The circle line (how appropriate for this weekend!) to Euston. I'd booked a hotel on the Internet and just after read some reviews of rooms being too hot, too small, too noisy from the main Euston Road and tacky carpets etc. Doh! Should have read that bit first. Only 74 notes and close to the Bloomsbury theatre where I was going to see Will Smith supporting Ricky Gervais. I couldn't complain. Turned out it was a fab wee place and I got a huge room intended for disabled people at the back :-D Result! Sat about and read for a bit. "Armed Action" by Lieutenant Commander James Newton DFC about 847 Naval Air Squadron in the Gulf War in 2003.
"Happy birthday from Mark and Angela" reminded me that you were playing the first of three small gigs and tomorrow you would be in London.
I thought of Brunei. My mobile going off just as we reached the sandy clearing on the top of the hill overlooking the Malaysian jungle. It looked like broccoli. The Ghurkha radio op didn't have to set up the radio antenna. "Welcome to the Malaysian network" registered on the display. The Major was astounded. He called in flight control and the Lynx was on its way to pick us up. We heard the rotors way off, flaring as it came into hover inches off the deck and just over the sheer drop to the jungle below. "Mac", the pilot, was a Hearts supporter and opened up with a volley of friendly abuse as we strapped ourselves in for the journey back to base. We'd been out for only two days, sleeping in the sticks. I was minging and covered in shit. The two navy officers in the rear of the aircraft looked on in disbelief as the 4 of us clambered on board. I'd managed to acclimatize and carry the 30 pound pack the second day after a nightmare entrance into the trees and a sharp climb up the first hill that had me stopping every few steps and grabbing for branches to get myself up. The ants took me apart. This was jungle training and I was with guys from special forces. They made me feel about 60. As we dropped down to the river with our skids close to the water, the crocs dived into the muddy waters and I sang "Ride of the Valykries" through the headsets as part of my payment for the pick up. The leeches were still on my legs under the camo. I don't know how they got in past my boots. If I was younger I would join up tomorrow!

It was a scorching day so I walked about a bit and got something to eat before the show. I found a really happening organic food restaurant and indulged myself in a beetroot, orange and apple juice and a Shepherds pie made from mung beans! It looked disgusting close up. Just as well I was on my own in the room that night. It tasted not too bad and I figured I could do with some healthy stuff in my system in the run up to the weekend. I let the time drift and finished of my book before heading out for a pint or two at the theatre.

Will was only on for around 15 minutes as warm up but was right on the button. The new material was slick and funny and he got a great reaction. It was the first time I had seen Ricky Gervais live and he was good, he was very good. Very edgy stuff that had me wince a couple of times before creasing up. He was warming up his "Fame" set after a few months off shooting the "Extras" Christmas special. This show was a charity gig for cancer research and he came on with no props, dressed in jeans and a t shirt and blew us away.
I'd hoped to see him after the show but he was straight off and home to family as he had Glasgow SEC and Edinburgh Castle Esplanade that weekend. Ricky had told Will that he had met me years ago in the days before he went stellar. To be honest that meeting is lost in the fog of partying in the 80's but it was cool of him to remember. You never know I might get a call for "Extras" if they make a new series :-)
Will and I bounced out of the venue and into the night. The pubs called. Over pints we discussed a writing project we are going to start working on later this year and started throwing ideas around. It's a comedy based on what happens in a venue backstage and the various bands that come through at different stages in their careers. Needless to say I have a lot of experiences and stories to draw on and there will be some serious tongue in cheek stuff going on. I'm looking forward to it as it's about time I started branching out. We moved down through Soho and the Brechtian and Breughel landscape. There were hundreds of people standing in the streets drinking and as such there was an air of tension and aggression in the air. As we sauntered down Dean Street an Asian guy deliberately shouldered Will and asked him for a fight. It was well out of order. The yob was obviously out of it and testosterone levels were sky high. Dangerous and wild eyed I reconsidered my initial response which was to deck him quickly. He wasn't that well built but best plan was to move on. Seen it before when guys are out of it on PCP or whatever and develop super human strength and an ability to withstand tremendous pain. I remembered "Ginger" who worked the Marquee door telling me about a guy who tried to rip the grill from the club door and left three fingers hanging from the wire. Ginger, no soft touch, had put him down four times and he kept on getting up. And Will was no back up if it kicked off here! The cry of "pussies" followed us down the street. We passed two young coppers and let them know they had a problem. I hope they had pepper spray with them. We ended up in a private club off the Strand and had dinner in the cellar restaurant. Discussion moved to recent events in my personal life and the memory clusters that were refusing to go away. It hadn't helped hearing an interview a couple of days previously on Total Rock, the satellite rock station, where I was due to go the next day to hand in the album.-
"It was the first time I'd heard your voice in nearly three months. You sounded nervous and excited and about 20. I imagined that shy cock of the head and the fidgeting you always do when you meet people for the first time. That awkward smile that I always found so beautiful. You didn't say much and sounded unprepared. Then you said you were going to the Far East for two months. I knew right away you were leaving in September just as the album was coming out and we headed to the road. I understood. It was a good move. Alone? I couldn't see it. I remembered how you held onto me in Egypt and the panic and tears in the stables when we tried to find our way into the pyramids and were cornered by a crowd of evil looking widos .My stomach tightened. Maybe you were. Maybe this would be your road to Damascus. Maybe the dark fairy would be lost in the jungle. Just maybe!"
The night was not yet over and Will blagged me into the Comedy Store for a nightcap and to catch the Midnight show. Terry Grover was on and I must say it was the funniest stand up I'd seen for a while. He was absolutely hilarious and I was literally on the floor as was Will. The Ginger midgets material was hilarious. If you get the chance check him out you won't be disappointed. He's a big boy and ex boxer who weighs in at super heavyweight at least. I was amazed when he finished his show with some very fast and agile shadow boxing and a skipping routine. I wouldn't want to mess with that dude. I met him and the other comics backstage and offered congrats. Must go back next time I'm in town. We left around 1am. I now knew the bouncers. They were scary! And they knew it! I liked them and I think they liked me!
Will and I got a taxi back and he dropped me off in Euston. He had been great company. I sat on the hotel steps, smoked a couple of cigarettes and nursed a large brandy with three Australians. We nattered about travelling and music. A Glaswegian girl and obvious junkie stopped to cadge a fag and asked for money. A John was in the streetlights on the other side of the street. He waited on her and then moved on, pissed off as she started up conversation and smoked with us. Caroline had fled from up North and from a violent husband. She swore she didn't do smack. I knew, I'd seen that look before so many times and close to home. I gave her a fiver to get a bed in a hostel for the night. I knew she would sleep in a warm dream. I knew she would never check in anywhere. She realised the John had gone and chased his shadow into the night. We were forgotten. An Asian guy came up to us. He'd locked his keys in the car and couldn't get home. He needed wedge for a rail ticket. "Don't worry I'm not one of them I'm a Hindu, in fact I'm a coconut, I'm brown on the outside and white on the inside, I hate the music man, I'm a DJ and play 80's music, I love it", it was unnecessary and a wee bit embarrassing. We told him to chill out and he invited us to the club he was playing next night. I felt sorry for him and gave him a tenner. He seemed genuine but then again I am easily fooled sometimes. I always want to see the good in people. No matter I felt happy and gave him the benefit of the doubt. We shook hands and he disappeared on his journey home. The night closed in. I hit the sack and slept like a baby on valium. Tomorrow was going to be difficult.

Up at 11 and out to the steps for a smoke and my coffee and an interview with Mix 96Fm Aylesbury. It was short and sweet and I got everything over, the new album, the tour, the web site etc. I am pro and experienced enough in these situations to get all the points across that are needed and don't wait on prompts from journalists. The personal life was kept out as was the Marillo involvement in Sunday's show. I didn't want to be seen to be using it as a promo for the show, that was never the intention. It was always intended to be a "private" affair in as much as a gig in front of an anticipated 4000 punters can be! :-D
I left my bags in the hotel and moved towards Tottenham Court Road and Total Rock and a date with Tony Wilson and Malcolm Dome, two old friends and people who's opinions I greatly respect. I didn't expect them to play the album in the office while I was there. Tony, who I'd known since Tommy Vance days and who produced the first Radio 1 Marillion session back in 81 for the Friday Night Rock Show started to nod and groove with a big smile on his face. I felt like I was back at school and the reports were coming in. He was riffing in the air. Malcolm, a genuine supporter during his days at Kerrang when he was editor was also visibly getting off on the sounds and was grinning. "This is the best album you've ever made!", I felt like hugging them both. "When can we start playing it?" "Now" I laughed. Tony was blown away by the emotion in the voice and was obviously moved. So was I. I felt so proud for all the team who'd brought this project together. I am fast becoming aware I have a potential hit album on my hands. I handed over "Communion" for the late night shows, a double hit. Tony and Malcolm both appreciated the irony of the catalogue number and the dedications. Ouch! 13th Star is cat no. 140207. The Mickelgate. Another message. Deliberate and my choice.

The Norwegians had landed. I left Total Rock literally on air! Across Soho to the "Nellie Dean" in Dean Street and 250 metres from Oxford street and the Barfly...
"You would soon be arriving. I was twitchy. The magnet was glowing. I had a copy of the album for you with me sealed in an envelope to give to Chris at Aylesbury. I'd written a letter. Maybe, maybe , maybe. Such a huge silence since you left. I didn't want to see you but looked for you in every passing car and in every face on the sidewalk. Andreas offered to take the album to the venue. It wasn't right. Unpro. You had a gig to do and I didn't want to fuck you up. I still cared. It was the closest we'd been in months."
Pints and then sushi and saki in Wardour Street -
"We walked arm in arm and soul in soul. Will was performing. Another dream. Was that you?"
Liverpool were two up.
"Angie wore black, so did McKinty. You smiled and did your white fairy on the crew as you always do. Load in"
I wanted to move away from a dream.
"That coy smile, I melted in the heat of the moment"
Planet Rock interview 3pm, we drank the warm saki and laughed, I tried to forget - the memory clusters. I couldn't. I moved to Leicester Square and the Capital Radio building past the old Marquee club, now a chic restaurant with no evidence of one of the most historical rock venues in London where we made our name back in the early 80's.The square was packed and I threaded my through the swirling tourists and street performers to the station.
Nick Abbot, I'd met him when he worked at Virgin Radio and we had done an acoustic set at Waverley Station in Edinburgh around 94.
We were live on air for 40 minutes and played "Dark Star" and "Square Go" his favourite track. He loves the album. "Best album you have made!". Keep it tight. Lead the conversation. Get it all across. I swerved round the history and the circumstances. I didn't want to indulge. Off mike I mentioned the Marillo link but again didn't want it announced. I could feel the excitement of the occasion now. It was starting to sink in.
It turned out Nick came from Lasswade, only a few miles from where I lived. He had gone to Herriots school in Edinburgh and worked as a teenager in the meat factory in Dalkeith in the mid 70's when I was kicking around and going to my first gigs. I was amazed we never bumped into each other back then. A cool guy, we hit it off.
I left close to four and at the top of the square I had a choice. Left to Piccadilly and a taxi up along Oxford Street to Euston to pick up my bags or right and Charing Cross and a journey up Tottenham Court Road.
"I didn't want to risk bumping into you. Seeing you from a cab would have been too painful"
I turned right.
Paddington and the Express train west to be met by Mark Kelly at Didcot 45 minutes later. I was staying with him and his family tonight. Beaming smiles and big hugs and off to his house in the Volvo XC90. Who would have thought that we'd both be driving Volvos in our later years? :-D His was a much needed kiddy transporter though. He has two daughters from his second marriage with another one imminent. I had never met Ange, his wife, before and had missed her the last time I stayed with Mark in Oxford in '99, the first meeting post split with the old band. That night had been wild and I expected nothing less tonight. Mark and I have a certain chemistry which as many know can get pretty dangerous. His driving hadn't changed. Not so much reckless as carefree :-). We ran through histories and recent events on the way. The sun was blinding.
His house is simply stunning. A Gothic rectory of loose and cut limestone it took my breath away. A very pregnant Ange met us on arrival and the kids danced in the garden. Ange's sister and husband were down from Newcastle with their kids and we ended up sitting in the garden for hours emptying the story chest and opening endless bottles of red wine as the sun disappeared over the horizon. Wonderful company and I don't remember losing a smile all night. Around 9 a huge dragonfly flew around our heads and winged over the garden.
"I couldn't but wonder. You were on stage. A familiar sent to spy or remind me of something, to keep me chained to a dream?"
Ange and her sister laid on a Thai curry, everything felt so calm and peaceful. The environment was perfect. Tallulah and Delilah were in bed. It was warming watching Mark deal with the kids. I envied his happiness and the circle of family. I was really pleased for him as like me he had had a rough ride over the years. As the night progressed we sank more wine and Mark and I ended up on our own in the garden sitting on the cover of a 30 foot deep well that he had cleared to reveal sparkling blue water below. We ran through the memories and got more pissed. Yatta texted me to remind me I had a gig next day and not to get too out of it. As I said we had a reputation :-D
Mark took off the cover and told me he wanted to make it into a wine cellar. I pointed out he would have to employ a dwarf as a wine waiter to get down the spiral staircase he planned. We were now elegantly wasted. And that's when "Mad Jack" took over. His earned moniker for doing crazy stuff. "Let's go down the well!" I burst out laughing and convinced him in the following minutes that it wasn't such a great idea as we would never get back up. I remembered the last time at his house in '99 when he revealed a small cellar under a trap door in his living room. The cellar was only about 4 foot deep and was used as a sink for flood water. He went down and it took us about 20 minutes to get him up as we were all weak with laughter. A 30 foot well? It would be Christmas by the time we climbed out! Either that or we would laugh ourselves helpless down there and drown! :-D It was time for bed!
Next day and the sky was azure blue. I could hear the kids early on but I slept through. I was last up and had slept deep, chuckling about Mad Jack. Today was the day. Mark and his brother in law were trying to repair an old washing machine in the garden while Ange, her sister and the kids took in the rays. The sunflowers stood tall and proud in the vegetable garden, another thing we'd grown into in our separate lives. I just wished I lived closer. This was a soul mate. As the guys rolled the machine about and turned it upside down to free some washers I pointed out the electrics were getting drenched. It was a comedy sketch. They decided to try and switch it on and Mark stood with a garden hose in the powder tray filling the machine. As the water spilled out around him and the machine choked into life I noticed he was standing next to the mains extension cable. I had to warn him again. He has never changed in all the years I have known him. Dangerous and lovable rogue that he is! :-) I didn't want to have to tell Foss that he had to learn Market Square Heroes just before the gig as Mark was in Stoke Mandeville hospital. The machine was fugazi and he gave up. I was relieved!
The taxi arrived at midday and I said farewells. I was sad to leave to be honest. They are a great family.

Aylesbury. I still remembered how to get around and was inwardly pleased to remember how to get to the Bell Inn at the bottom of the Market Square even after all the changes that had taken place. The square was already buzzing as a couple of bands ran through their paces. Foss and Frank were already there with Yatta. I dumped my bags in the hotel room serving as the dressing area and noticed the door opposite had a notice saying "Lufthansa Air Terminal" our old pseudonym from a gig at the Marquee way back when.
I launched into the day and headed for my first pint up at the Kings Head which was to be the party and meeting venue. First person I bumped into was Steph, Mick Pointer's ex girlfriend and who had worked for me in the office in the days of the Funny Farm. She was with her sister Leslie and they had a bunch of photos from the first gig in the Red Lion in Bicester. Steph gave me the ticket stamp from the first Hammy Odeon gig. Photos of kids and reminiscing the old days over a beer in the courtyard, perfect. I bumped into old friends and fans I knew everywhere I turned. Diz Minnitt phoned me from Cumbria where he was at a wedding to wish me all the best and that he was gutted he wasn't there. Paul Lewis and his wife Annie had come down from Liverpool to celebrate their wedding anniversary. They didn't know the Marillos were coming on stage. He told me that this was actually the anniversary of the EMI deal back in '82 when we were told in Liverpool the day before the Reading Festival. Mick my old drinking buddy who used to traipse the squares with me in the early hours way back in '81.They kept coming. This was as good as the party on August 4th. It felt like I was on "This is your Life"!
Robin Boult appeared from nowhere just as Pete Trewavas hit town. Hugs and huge smiles. I was walking in my past. The three of us meeting up in the pub we used to drink together in 26 years ago. I couldn't stop smiling.
Steve Vantsis arrived with Helen and Calvin, the Norwegians assembled at the bar, a heavily pregnant Emma who we managed to get deck chairs for in front of stage in case the excitement of the day induced the birth :-), faces spinning out of nowhere and all smiling, smiling, smiling.
I took a stroll and headed up past Kingsbury Square and along to St Mary's church and the graveyard. A wedding was entering the church. The beech trees shaded the headstones and I thought back to when I was with my then girlfriend Izzy in 81 (16th of May as it is written in the old lyric book).We were coming down off a trip and I had my lyric book open as we sat on the grass between the graves. I wrote the first verses of "Market Square" there, then called UB2 million and one, a reference to the unemployment figures at the time. I was glad I never used it! As I wrote and we cuddled together in the early hours of a Sunday morning the square where the graveyard centred filled with uniformed officers. The police were on the hunt for wastrels and druggies. A moment of panic before we gathered our heads and laughed them away. I could smell her hair now. There used to be a pub there, The Derby Arms. It was a well known local musos hangout and dopers meet. We used to get pints and sit in the graveyard smoking sly spliffs. The old pub had long gone, turned back into a house. I let the memories take me over.
"This is not your place"
I wandered back toward the Market Square past the museum, the Queens Head and onto the Lantern tucked away to the side of the square. Old sanctuaries. The Kings Head had filled out. I had to watch my beer intake. It was too easy to get caught up in the party.
Back to the Bell to discover all were present and correct. Chris had just arrived from York, he had the lurgy and wasn't on top form.
I wanted to have a pint in the "White Swan" my principal drinking hole back in the mid 80's when I bought my first house in Albert Street. Just at the back of the Bell. It was where I used to spend drunken Sundays when I used to live on my own and where I was when Kayleigh went mega. Bob used to run it. An RAF guy with token handlebar moustache, beer bellied and jovial and a hard nut. He used to get me out of it on Pussers rum. His daughter Fiona was married to an ex navy guy who was on the first ship to be hit by an Exocet in the Falklands. He was a chef on HMS Sheffield and had just gone off duty. Heading up for a smoke with the other chefs and kitchen crew he realized he'd forgotten his fags and went back to the galley just as the missile hit killing all his mates. He used to get deals on the rum. I remember I was sent by the record company to Champneys health farm in '85 to lose some weight before the promo kicked off on "Kayleigh". I left the pub in a taxi and unbeknown to me the boys had stuffed a family size pork pie and a bottle of Pussers in my bag as supplies for the week. No one was more surprised than me when the uniforms at the farm rumbled me and I was put on a yellow card on arrival! I was very, very drunk :-D
They've long gone now. Bob was taken by Parkinsons and the family split and moved out of Aylesbury. The pub had changed a lot.
It was then I bumped into "Brick". An old leftie and street warrior he was the inspiration behind "Market Square". I'd first met him in a pub ("The Green Man?) which used to be on the right hand side of the square looking up to the Kings Head. We had a few heated discussions there over the time I was there in '81 and he wanted to fight the world. Very charismatic, Brick was always the one to be out in front when things kicked off. Now older, wiser and with a lot less muscle he still had the twinkle in his eye and a raging grin. It was so perfect we should meet today. He joined us for a pint and we reminisced about the riots in '81 and the bad old days :-D
Back up to the square, it was around 3 and the gig was looming. I was still bumping into familiar faces on an endless ride into my past.

"I knew he knew you well. I had to ask him. I had to know.
"How did you find out about the Far East trip?"
"I heard it on the radio! Is she going alone?"
"Please don't ask this!"
"You know I have to"
"Is it a guy?"
"How long?"
He stumbled and was embarrassed "Over four weeks, I'm not sure"
I knew he had covered for you. And then it all fell into place, everything. It all made sense. The silence. A commitment to a two month road trip after 4 weeks? I didn't need to do the math. The week you went home and came back with your darkness to drive us into the wall in the following 5 days? Pushing me to the edge and when I wouldn't break you called it yourself and then tried to blame me?  Was that why the calls on the Sunday were so full of relief? Why there were no tears? Why you smiled as you left on Monday? It didn't matter any more. I didn't need any questions answered. At that moment, at that very moment, you died. The chains around my heart fell away, I let go and I took off. No tears, no anger, no jealousy. Nothing. I knew exactly who and what you were now and you were never mine. I took out the letter from the envelope and tore it up. You can have the album, learn to live with it as I certainly will. It's not about you any more; it's about the Thirteenth Star!"

I walked on stage and announced "This is the first day of the rest of my life!" The roar of the crowd lifted me and then as we kicked into "Slainthe" it exploded. The stage was basically a large trailer with extensions and as it was on a slope awkward to move about on. The monitors were basic and I struggled to hear myself, over-singing to compensate. We were under-rehearsed but everyone in the band was concentrating and we were pulling it off. "Circle Line" is still finding itself but got a great response. "So Fellini" got the crowd moving and set up "Manchmal" perfectly. It's a great live song and tonight I found a great energy from the words that propelled the performance.
Singing in a box isn't the best acoustic environment and as the PA was far from stage it was hard to get that "oomph" to inspire. But we were getting the crowd on our side and they were inspiring. "Hotel Hobbies" launched and into "Warm Wet Circles", the audience came with us and lifted us into "That Time of the Night". The end section was awesome. I shouted at Phil, our monitor guy for the radio mike and leapt from stage, climbing across the security barriers and through the 'fourth wall' into the crowd. "Vigil". I love singing this away from stage and amongst people, it makes perfect sense and the contact for me is magical. It's like being in another world.
"White Russian" with its intro brought out my anger and I let go of the emotions. A great catharsis. "Cliche" and another walk away from stage to the barriers and a quick cigarette and a natter with the crowd (I know, I know :-[) Frank played brilliantly as did the others in what was an exhausting set due to the aforesaid concentration. I popped across to the bar to steal a pint during the solo, I was parched.
"Incommunicado" closed our set down and we exited to a fantastic reception. Not our best gig but the vibe, atmosphere and environment made it very special. 

And then it went stellar. I'd been asked to play "Hobble on the Cobbles" many months ago and immediately went for it. The opportunity was obvious and at the ABC in Glasgow in June I suggested to Mark that it could be cool to do something. Lucy Jordache agreed it could happen and Ian came on board with a positive. I wasn't sure about the others. I knew they were sensitive to suggestions of a reunion and I didn't want to upset Steve Hogarth who I have the utmost respect for. It's his band now. It wasn't about publicity or anything else other than getting together to play the Market Square for one number for old time's sake. We'd always wanted to play it but time and circumstance meant otherwise. As the gig got closer Mark, Ian and I talked on the phone and only a couple of weeks ago Pete said yes! Last week after returning from holiday Steve came on board. I wanted to keep it quiet. No press, no web site talk. It was a private affair.
I told them the key had dropped and thought that they might balk at playing without rehearsals. They were game. We didn't want to make a big deal out of it and stuck to the one number so relevant to the occasion. We met in the afternoon, it was great to see them again, all together. And there we were. The 4 of them arranged on the steps to the stage. We were eager. I let the Marillo crew set up the changeover.
I did the intro, I can't remember much. The YouTube videos reminded me! We were green lighted and I introduced the band. The atmosphere was incredible as they came on one by one to be greeted by a hug from yours truly. I missed Pete as I was so nervous and he went looking for his bass. It was like our first gig at Friars. Ian went for it and I panicked for a bit, it was full on and full speed. Trouble is the breathing between words gets that little bit harder as you try and hit notes and get the melody together at mach 4. The adrenalin levels were peaking. Punk prog! We all watched each other for cues and flew by the seat of our pants. It was all smiles. The drop to the spoken section and the explosion out and to the finishing line. It was over and we hugged again as we left the stage. I don't remember much of the crowd apart from the incredible reaction that took us all by surprise. As I said it was the second dream come true on the day. It was a fantastic, nostalgic and fun event
In the pub I was exhausted and was consumed by congratulating fans. It would have been nice to have had some personal time together but the occasion had overtaken us all. We would have loved to have spent the night together joining the dawn patrol but Ian and Lucy were off to the States early next day to see his family, Pete and Fiona and family had obligations, Mark had his car and Ange was at home, Steve, Jo and kids off for a meal and home. We parted as great friends and on an amazing day. We didn't know what we had detonated.
More hugs, long goodbyes. This won't happen again for a long time, if ever. Five old friends that set out to conquer the world as wide-eyed boys, now family men revisiting old haunts and old memories for a few minutes in our ever changing lives. We did it. I was so proud and pleased we did. It meant a lot, especially today!

And now the night. The glorious arc. The Kings Head. The courtyard. The spirits flowed. "King Rat" was playing. Perfect. A great band who's singer is a genuine star. They asked to support me on tour but it had already gone. (Next year guys ;-) ). Their set was perfect for the after show. "No Quarter" (Zep) was wonderful.
I curved and curved and curved! Andreas played me a Kerouac recording in my ear on his phone as I set off into the night and the new dawn. Wasted, so beautifully wasted.
Next morning was sublime and the hangover velvet. I hit the Kings head at 12 after hanging about drinking coffee in the square till the bar opened. Henk, the Norwegian troops, Gordie, a few others sank the pints and we listened to the Stranglers as the clock ticked and Luton airport beckoned.

Home, and a thousand e mails. I'd lost my wallet on the plane, I didn't care. The phone was clammering for my attention. The news had broken. It didn't matter. One of the most eventful weekends of my life. And a perfect day. :-)

Lots of love
And sincere thanks for those of you who took part in it all! Including Mark, Pete, Steve, Ian and of course Steve V, Frank, Foss, Gavin and Chris whose magnificent contribution has been somewhat over shadowed by events,

Onkel Fish xx

"There will be no roses placed on your tomb, in a few weeks the long grass will hide you from the world and the lichens and mosses will remove your name from living memory in the short course of time. I will visit your grave no more! Your ashes will not be graced by my tears"


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