“I lost my knob at the Leamington Spa Assembly” - A slightly humorous look at the 2012 Fish Convention and Genesis Revisited album launch party by Alan Hewitt. Photos by Alan Hewitt/Lee Millward.
Okay, so the title of this one might have got you all wondering what kind of antics the editorial staff of TWR get up to - and you would be right to wonder! Worry not dear reader, all might become clearer later, so read on…
The Fish Conventions are something which I had always wanted to attend on previous occasions but something else always seemed to get in the way to prevent me from doing so. Not so this year, tickets were booked as soon as they went on sale and I was thankful when I heard that the invitation which I subsequently received to attend the launch of Steve’s Genesis Revisited II album didn’t clash with the event but fell the day after it!
Travelling down to Leamington Spa with fellow Fish fanatic, Steve Williams we soon met up with a motley crew of reprobates from various parts of the country and further afield for a few libations on the Friday evening before the main event began on Saturday 20th October. Suitably refreshed, the Saturday dawned surprisingly bright and cheery and we soon found ourselves in the queue to enter the Assembly for the day’s entertainment. And what a mix of entertainment it proved to be! An absolutely hilarious Q & A session featuring Fish and several associates was followed by a marvellous hour-long acoustic performance including some classic tracks from Fish’s back catalogue and some hilarious banter between him and keyboards player Mickey Simmonds, whetting the appetite nicely for the main event - a full band show and the reappearance of an old friend in the set. Yes, Fish had confirmed that he was to dust off his old Anglo Saxon mask and perform - Grendel for the first time since 1983! This sent shivers of anticipation down my spine as I have a slightly more intimate acquaintance with that song than most, having been selected to be the member of the audience to be “Grendelled” on two separate occasions! This time Fish opened the show with the beast and what a treat it was to hear it again. I know, Genesis fans disparagingly refer to it as “Supper’s Ready parts twelve and thirteen” but what the hell, it was fun, and Fish was evidently having a great time. The rest of his performance on the Saturday night was equally top notch including the performance of new material from his forthcoming Feast Of Consequences album, and one track in particular; Crucifix Corner ticked all the right boxes for me. This was Fish at his lyrical and emotional best and as a sample of what he is capable of I can’t wait to hear the finished album! Old and not so old tracks mingled equally well and the audience went off satisfied and raring to go for Sunday and round two of the entertainment.
|This commenced with a few pre- event refreshments in what was rapidly becoming our second home; The Jug & Jester pub before things got under way with a screening of the new film which Fish stars in; The Electric Man which I have to admit we missed most of. I did manage to catch artist Mark Wilkinson’s exhibition of artwork and had a good chat with him before we repaired downstairs for an equally hilarious second Q & A session. Fish then took the stage for a further acoustic performance before The Reasoning put in a marvellous set. Oh, for anyone wondering why I haven’t mentioned It Bites’ performance on the Saturday night, that’s because I missed it!||
Alan with Mark Wilkinson
Photo by S Williams
Fish then returned to the stage for the second full band show. Confident and relaxed Fish had the audience in the palm of his hand from the start. It was a real treat to see him relaxed and genuinely happy throughout the event and the rest of his band were evidently enjoying themselves too. Evening over, it was time to retire to a nearby curry house to round of what had been a fantastic three days of music and humour in fine style.
However, for yours truly the fun and frolics were not over as I had the small matter of an album launch to attend. So, as fellow Fish fans said their farewells and went home, I boarded a London bound train to meet up with some equally frightening maniacs among the Hacketteers. Gradually our group coalesced around the nearest watering hole and soon stories and memories were flowing along with the liquid refreshments! It was great to have the chance to have a brief chat with Olivia Sparnen and Bryan Josh from Mostly Autumn again and as we waited outside, several other familiar faces appeared. The Proud Cabaret which was to be the home of tonight’s event is a burlesque club so I was beginning to wonder if Steve was going to turn up suitably attired? Thankfully, he didn’t and soon the place was full of fans, family and friends, plus the usual hangers-on from the world of so-called “music journalism”. Steve; Roger King and John Hackett eventually took the stage for an acoustic ramble through some of the Genesis back catalogue before returning to mingle with the invited members of the crowd. A great evening once again, old acquaintances were remade and new ones established - I was even asked for my autograph on two separate occasions no less!
Things like this don’t happen to me very often so being able to combine two such disparate events in such a short space of time was wonderful. The one thing they had in common was superb music and above all; friendship, and to that end my grateful thanks to the following individuals… Steve and Vanda Williams, Mike, Andy and Helen Wilkinson, Mr Dick and his merry band of musos, Steve and Jo Hackett, the assembled cast of Genesis Revisited II, Steph Kennedy, Petra Leach, Lee Millward, Paul Gibbon and anyone else who I might have shared a pint with - you know who you are, and thank you VERY much!
“So what about the title of the review?” I hear you cry! Well… some things are just better left unexplained, aren’t they?