A return to solo gigs beckons

Derek and Melanie Allan at an Acoustic Magic day in Warkworth.
Derek and Melanie Allan at an Acoustic Magic day in Warkworth.

Musician Derek Allan, of We Steal Flyers, continues his weekly diary.

August 19

We added a few pieces to the Christmas jigsaw. We want to finish and frame it for Christmas, but it is not looking easy. Who would cut a picture into 1,000 pieces?

Melanie had four Acoustic Magic players – Gary Spalding, Steve Wilkinson, Dave Cowan and Sam Bosworth – at a festival at The Sun Inn in Warkworth, a lush place to be and a lush place to live.

It worked well, but the sun was up against a lot of wind and rain, as were the players. Outdoor gigs in Northumberland are not always easy.

August 20

I walk Druridge a lot with Ellie. Today it was filled with people at the end of the Coquet Festival.

Craig Charles kicked it off. I met a lot of friends, as I always do at gigs, especially festivals. Our set was great – and I had not played my guitar in two weeks. We sold a lot more 02 Academy tickets and albums.

I stayed with Ellie to watch Growing Robots. I never get to see them as I am usually playing myself. I love festivals and I am asked to play in a lot of bands. When watching a band, it does run through me.

Melanie had a nice time in Belford with an Acoustic Magic team – Dave Cowan and Sam Bosworth.

We are back to gigs again, but I really miss the 100-mile walk with Ellie.

August 21

The dentist is never a good place to go, but is usually a good please to leave, unless you have bad news. Mel, Ellie and Rebecca had a visit today with no bad news.

We then drove to Ingram Valley to catch fish, eat food and play cricket. Rebecca did a little running too. We drove through Glanton to look at the place I lived when I was Rebecca’s age.

It was a great visit. They no longer need me to help catch fish, they are experts with a net and a jar. I can read a little and do nothing.

August 22

Work is mostly popping online to make sure all is ok and there are no cancellations. The posters, written by Mel, have been posted. Things are steady. We have to make sure the first three months are fully booked for next year, but I am doing ok.

There was another two hours for Ellie for the under 11s at Durham. It’s a shame the traffic adds an hour, but it’s all worth it.

August 23

Shaggy is off to Scotland for four days on Monday and Mel needs a player at Belford. I have decided it’s time to fill in the gaps and do some solo sets.

We are not rich and I need to save for Christmas so I worked out a set. I will record the songs on an EP and get into solo gigging once again. I have played more than 140 solo dates, but never really liked it. I will this time. I have to.

August 24

Cricket matches at Morpeth for Ellie and Rebecca were sadly cancelled so they stayed with Diane and Derrick, their grandparents, and really enjoyed it.

I played a gig with We Steal Flyers. Marty Emerson, of BBC cricket, goes to a bar called Speak Easy in Sunderland and I wanted to surprise him. Sadly, he had taken a holiday, but never mind. The gig was brilliant. I’m sure he will hear the stories from his friends.

August 25

We had a nice drive to Yorkshire for a two-day tour.

I’ve been catching up with Shaggy. A new house move is on the way so we can record and play some online shows. Our new album is going to do well and there is so much to prepare.

The gig was fun and we drove 50 minutes to our room where we were kept awake up all night by a wedding party.