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Florida, USA, January 1998.

Dear Friends,

So, 98, another new year.
Where do they all come from? It's the same with days. Look at the time, it's 12:01 am, a day has just begun and I'm nowhere near finished with the last one yet. My resolution for 98 is to ignore it. I'll catch up later, maybe when I'm sleeping, but then...there are all those dreams, OK, what the heck. What the Heck?!?! I've never actually heard anyone say 'what the heck' except Bobby Goldsboro just after he had surprised some unfortunate girl with a puppy. You know, the old zip-woof approach.

Well anyway, I hope you all had a good rest. I was lucky enough to have a couple of weeks in Florida Keys with Bron and Grace. As we drove back to Islamorada from Key West on the 24th we listened to the radio (all very Christmassy) and were enthralled with a story from Lake Woebegone (can anyone help me on this, I need to know more). The girls are back home now and I'm scribbling and yodelling in Orlando with Roger for company and a deadline for discipline.

It was good to see old friends and new in Atlanta, Orlando, Pompano Beach, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans and Chicago. I loved the House of Blues tour. Back in November I went to se Joe Satriani with G3 at the Orlando H.O.B. and it felt right. They are dead good venues. We need more, every town should have a place like this.

I meet quite a few vegetarians on my travels. How do I know? Because they make a point of telling me, 'I'm a vegetarian' they say and then they kind of glare down at me in a challenging sort of way. It's a glare born of pity and piety (that sad and sorry couple). You poor meat-eating thing, they glare (in a glaringly tautologist way), and then order a lobster to be boiled alive or a shoal of whitebait.

Slicing into my charcoaled filet steak, I nonchalantly intone...
'I'm a veggie too'
'Non comprende- Que?'
'Look, you are a vegetarian but you eat fish, right?'
Guilty acceptance, or 'what I mean is well, you know, I don't eat MEAT!'
More glaring.

'Ah, I see, you just wear the leftovers of the meat eaters; shoes, jackets, flash car seat covers etc. I know it's all been said before, leather products, they're dead anyway, aren't they for goodness sake; murdered by carnivores like me. Well if one is to consume anything which might have once had parents, and given the choice, I'd rather go for a farmed, renewable resource than something hauled out of its relatively weightless environment by its poor lip (they don't feel a thing, 'no of course they don't') or trawled willy nilly by a factory ship, and has the added, overwhelming disadvantage if tasting like fish.

'Are you going to eat that lobster, you've got reduced butter dripping down your elbow! Oh by the way, I've just ordered a pair of mink jeans'. The glare is now accompanied by a silent scream and I'm ready with the coup de grace. 'I thought they'd go well with my grouper boots and my angelfish briefcase'. My main concern though is the water vole. This is my small contribution to saving them and all those other species disappearing from their riverside home as a direct (absolutely direct, there's no debate there) result of the voraciousness of the mink. This North American creature released into the English wild by those farmers intent upon reducing the profits of the paint industry!!

In the meantime, the lobster's gone cold and he's lost his mind. How careless can you get? (mammalphobia, nasty business).

By the time I get home to England for a short break before the next tour, I will have been away for almost 6 months. I'm used to travelling but somehow it's more difficult when you're not on the move. If you have to be anywhere though, Orlando's as good as it gets, nice people and plenty to do. I go canoeing a lot.

Sometimes I watch TV. It's quite astonishing to see democracy disintegrating right in front of you. I'm probably wrong, but it appears to me that the will of the majority (that's democracy in my dictionary) is being stifled by the inarticulate baying of the more than slightly offended (MTSOW) wannabees, I'm in an acronymous mood, so here are a few examples. All of these based on something I see on TV (well, loosely based)...

In Oklahoma they've just banned this movie 'The Tin Drum' claiming it is pornographic. Just like in the 80's (one of the Carolinas banned 'Splash' (while you could still rent the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it's horrible. So we have a SOD'M (The American Society of Dirty Minds). Then of course, one of my favourites ASSSSSOOO'SSS The American Society of Stutterers, who tried to ban 'A Fish Called Wanda'. Then there is ABBA The American Blind Bastards Association, who mounted an anti-Magoo campaign right here at Disney (or one of the studios) in Orlando. Apparently the ASU (American Society of Unidexters) are hopping mad at some pogo convention, and finally (I'll leave the acronym for you) the American Society of Stupid, Horrendously Obese and Likely to Explode Soon, want to send the hula-hoop the same way as Columbus (who now doesn't exist by the way, because it turns out he was not such a nice chap after all; a bit exploitative, so the story goes) because none of their members (that's arms, legs etc.) can get one on. Perhaps we could have an acronym corner on my web site www.gillan.com.

As my old Granny used to say 'if you look in the mirror you'll see the Devil himself' She was just concerned about my narcissistic ways but, fair nuff who knows where a little self appreciate wil lead, abviously in some cases to full blown nazihood.

Back to lighter things, we had a band meeting just before the H.O.B. tour. These are infrequent and generally useless gatherings that result in just one more futile attempt to exert some influence over our destiny. Things with Purple just happen. The band has a spirit and soul stronger than any individual and leads us pretty well, so long as we put in a bit more than we take out.

Thank you all for the great reaction to Dreamcatcher. Caramba is an unconventional label insofar as the music is not to be forgotten a week or two after release if, by some freak of nature, the record does not make the charts. I learnt a lot from 'Accidentally On Purpose' and you'll be hearing more about 'Catcher. I've just done a deal with Forbidden Records in Orlando to release 'Catcher in the US this coming spring, and the re-mastered version is champing at the bit...

I have to go now and finish off 97, in the wee dark hours.

Love and Peace to you all.
Ian Gillan

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