A public apology to Fish

Album artwork for Field of Crows, by Fish. Showing fish walking through a field.
The album cover for Fish’s latest album, Field of Crows.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to make a public apology to Fish. Sorry for accosting you in Borders book store this evening. I was the one who approached you quite boldly exclaiming “Mister Fish!” while you were trying to pay for whatever-it-was you were buying.

What an amazing week I’ve had so far, and it just gets better and better. First I get a job, then we find somewhere to live, then Scotland beats England 18-12 at Murrayfield, and then I see one of my all-time musical heroes standing in the queue in front of me at my local Borders book store. I couldn’t possibly not say hello.

“Mister Fish!” I exclaim offering my hand to shake his.

Fish (real name Derek W. Dick) turns and looks at me, with an expression of “Should I know you?” written across his face, while taking my hand and shaking it.

“I just wanted to say hello,” I said. “… I’m a big fan,” I went on to ‘explain’.

And that was it. That was my encounter with the mighty Fish.

You know, I don’t really go in for the whole celebrity game — people are people, as Depeche Mode once sang — and I count among my friends a handfull of people that you might class as famous. I don’t get awestruck by the supposed wonder of ‘celebrity’; just because someone is on telly, or radio, or has written a book, or an album doesn’t make them a demi-god in my book.

That said, there are some people that I truly admire for their talent, their longevity, their inspiration. Fish is one of those people that I admire. I love his music, his lyrics and his concerts are legendary. My favourite review appears on his website front page:

“…being at one of his gigs is like being entertained by a boisterous host at a particularly loud private party.”
(Graeme Smith, S1play)

And then there is his sheer determination, struggling through the collapse of parts of his business and his relationships, and his vulnerability and honesty in sharing some of what he’s gone through in the lyrics of his songs. I’ve personally found him quite inspiring, helping me through numerous dark days and fellini nights.

I could hardly sign the receipt slip for my book (I’ve still not got a Chip and Pin card) I was still shaking. The last person that I saw that made me shake because I was so excited to see them was Doddie Weir, the former Scotland No. 8 (and legend!).

Anyway, my name is on the official Fish website. Fish used to work on the Bowhill Estate, near my home town of Selkirk. In June 2003 the Selkirk Weekend Advertiser ran an article about Fish’s connection with that area of the country, which I scanned and submitted to the Fish website. There is now a copy of that article along with a kind thanks to me on Fish’s biography page.

Back to the apology: Fish, sorry for randomly accosting you at the checkout but please know that you made my day.

Toner Tuesday

Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 1000W
Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 1000W.

You’ve heard of Ash Wednesday, well for me today has been Toner Tuesday.

Tomorrow morning, at 09:30, I have an Ash Wednesday service with the imposition of ashes at St Ninian’s, Comely Bank. Because the Wednesday morning service follows the same liturgy as the previous Sunday tomorrow we’re using the 1970 Scottish Liturgy. I already have a copy on hard disk of an Ash Wednesday service that is incorporated into the 1970 Scottish Liturgy that I put together a couple of years ago for the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield.

The problem

All I needed to do was print it out. But would it print out alright? Would it expletive!! It would print a few copies okay, and then the next few were smudged, the next few okay, the next few smudged, and so on.

I have a Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 1000 personal printer, which has been thoroughly reliable since I bought it in 2002. This was the first time that I’ve really had any bother with it.

The problem began a few days ago — while I was preparing for my job interview — and at the time I suspected that it was something to do with the paper I was using. A dodgy batch, I put it down to. It was fine with better quality paper, and a change of toner cartridge and a software-initiated clean didn’t seem to fix it. I ripped open a new packet of A4 and that seemed to do the trick. Until today.

The solution

Reading around on the HP support site I discovered this page about HP LaserJet 1000 Product Family – Print Quality Issues, which suggested that I give the insides of the printer a thoroughly good clean.

So about an hour ago I began to purge the sins of four years’ worth of printing, using a combination of penitential tools: vacuum cleaner for the dust, a clean lint-free cloth and multi-purpose PC wipes for the toner.

May the Almighty and merciful lint-free cloth
grant unto you pardon and remission
of all your staining, smudges, and gray shading,
time for true repentance, amendment of print,
and the grace and comfort of the Hewlett-Packard. Amen.

And it appears to have done the trick. For now. The moral of the story then is always clean your printer every few months.