Email 12th December 2009

Fish 2009 - Shadows and Ghosts of Christmas past

Dear FishHeads, freaks, fans and the Company,

I'm finding the onslaught of Christmas quite frightening this year as it has appeared seemingly out of the blue!

As always Christmas cards are frantically being scrawled and with the Nearfest DVD arriving today (8th) it's all hands on board to get the packages on Santa's sleigh!

One package that arrived this week was Mark Wilkinson's new book, "Shadowplay".
And I have to say it's a highly impressive slab of artwork, beautifully assembled and presented in a way Mark is famed for.

Obviously I am well aware of the Marillion and Fish designs and had seen elements of what he had created outside our sphere over the years.
"Shadowplay" brings his artistic career together in one well defined curve and I sat with a coffee in front of the fire and read it from cover to cover immediately after opening it.

It's a fascinating book and even I was surprised at the extent of his imagery and the kaleidoscope of projects he has worked on over the years.

The Red Dwarf and Judge Dredd material I had seen snippets before, but gathered together it's an impressive collection.

I hadn't seen the Glyder sleeves nor the extended stamp designs so there were quite a few surprises! :-)
My favourite is the unused sleeve for Justin Hawkin's solo album after he left the Darkness.
Comical brief that is executed brilliantly! :-D

As well as the artwork, which is superbly printed in the book, there is Mark's commentary on all the projects and his own take on his career path over the years.

All in all it's a great book and great value for money overall.
If you're looking for a Christmas present for a Fishhead friend or for anyone who appreciates airbrushing and album artwork then "Shadowplay" is guaranteed to deliver the "brownie points". ;-)

On my home front the main "Peter pan" pond was finished at the weekend and I am waiting on the water to clear before I add the LED underwater lighting. There are over 25 fish in there including a couple of bottom dwelling green tench and a pair of golden tench.
There was only one casualty in all the movement between the ponds (a long white tailed tetra I called "Ghost" and one of my favourites) but the additional population from my friend Jen means that the stocking levels are perfect for the new filters and the overall size of the pond.
I am now moving into the "Japanese garden" pond which, weather permitting, I will have sorted by the weekend.

The East Coast FM how has been fun putting together and although it's not as slick as the Planet Rock environment it's a laugh dealing with "community stories" and transmitting live has a different edge.

My voice is pretty ragged as some of you may have heard but news came through today that I am in the hospital on the 22nd of the month for the operation to sort everything out.
My throat sounds really painful but actually it isn't.

The scar tissue on my chords has built up rather like a callous and although not sore is making its presence felt.
I think I did far too much in the Summer before I was fully ready to return.
It feels as if I have a pea on my chords that keeps on instigating me to clear my throat. Thus the hoarseness.
It's frustrating, annoying, uncomfortable and sometimes depressing as any excessive talking wears my voice out very quickly.
It can all be sorted out with this operation which will "shave" the scar tissue from the chords and doesn't necessitate cutting into the chords as they did on the operation last year to remove the cyst.

It will be a quiet Christmas for me this year!

Apart from all that Life moves on and although it's pretty quiet on the music front plans are beginning to take shape for events later next year that will more than make up for this enforced silence just now. ;-)

Enjoy the memories on the Nearfest DVD ;-)

lots of love
Onkel Fish x

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