DEREK’S DIARY: It’s all eyes on Switzerland now

Derek Allan and his daughters on the stepping stones at Druridge Bay Country Park.
Derek Allan and his daughters on the stepping stones at Druridge Bay Country Park.
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In 2013, the Gazette published excerpts from the diary of Derek Allan, one half of the acoustic duo We Steal Flyers. After taking 2014 off from being a diarist, Derek, from Broomhill, is back again.

february 8

We have sorted a gig in Newbiggin with the amazing Rod Clements of Lindiisfarne with support from Andy Lobb and the fantastic person and poet, Pete The Poet, from Alnwick. I meet thousands of people living the life I live and Pete is very much a stand-out person. You need to buy his poetry book. He is going to be performing at a few Acoustic Magic nights. People will love what he adds to the nights, to our lives. It is all working well again. Life needs love and music needs people, we can bring it all together for each other forever.

february 9

A year will never slow down so I need to speed up a little more to keep up with the time that is life. I can not live for only today when I have to set up such a busy future for We Steal Flyers, Acoustic Magic, Sam Gibson, musicians, music lovers, music venues, bars and coffee shops. I have to take the past and use it for the future and I need to always do this today. The year is looking ok right now and now it is time to fill in the spaces. The Cricket World Cup is on for a few weeks to and then the English season so I have plenty of company outside of music once again.

february 10

The end of the cricket trials for Ellie was another great time and very emotional. This is something that needs to be mentioned and supported more in the world. These girls are special cricketers and they will go a long way. I hope that they are supported by cricket lovers as they will be top class. Ellie got to open the batting with Lizzie, this lass is an inspirational lass.

february 11

So many gigs are coming in now as the hundreds of calls and emails turn to fruition. We have some new and exciting gigs coming up and new counties too. It was great to walk the beach with Rebecca today and collect shells and pebbles. Ellie and Rebecca have many shells now. They are collecting them so that they can draw and colour patterns on them. They are then selling them for a donation to charity. Good kids I have.

february 12

Another brilliant night in Newbiggin Maritime Centre. Great views, nice build-up, nice to meet up with the players before the doors open. These nights just get better as we head towards two years in Newbiggin. You need to go to one of these nights if you like music. Music nights are also the best places to be if you are a musician looking for gigs. It makes sense; at these nights you will meet musicians also in your game, music lovers, promoters and you will be inspired by the whole night also. Music nights are your future.

february 13

This was a good night in Seaham as We Steal Flyers. We were not adored by everyone and a few did not like that we were getting attention, but wanting to fight two pirates is never a great idea. We are there to sing songs, be happy and share it all. It was still a nice enough night as we know how to make the most of nights. The people liking us liked us a lot so it was a canny effort all round.

february 14

It was a nice day with Melanie, Ellie and Rebecca. We watched great TV and we ate nice food. It was like most days that we share but this one had a title. It was nice having a Saturday off. A few new venues came in for the Yorkshire area. Our tours are working out well so far as replies keep coming in.

february 15

Another walk walked in the cold. Winter walks are still my favourite. So many other people walk in the winter. I see more now than in the summer. I have an eye on the Switzerland tour which is coming up fast. I need Ellie and Rebecca time and they need my time. We do as much as we can together. I need many of the gigs sorted before I leave too. Melanie can keep things moving well enough, but I would rather Melanie is able to be mellow when I am away. She only has one gig when I am away. We have been setting up gigs to save some bars from closing and to get players places they would never get to. There is always something exciting to be excited about.

february 16

You can be the sun on a cold frosty day now any time. We have the internet and social media so can always make others feel better about themselves and about life with words and pictures. When I walk or tour I am thanked a lot for the pictures I share. People see the love of my family and where I live and where I travel. I try to end and start every day with smiles. I write, play, sing, tour and put on music events for people. We all need each other. Monday is the perfect day to say this.

february 17

I feel the need to travel more and more. I am thinking of the best way to get around the UK more and see it. See more people and places and share it all with everyone in words and pictures. I want to take my family with me. There must be a way. Today Rebecca joined an Athletics group – Tuesday, one-hour training. After a scary start it was life changing. Tears fell as she was nervous and wanted to leave. Her sister Ellie stepped up and did half of the training with her. So very kind and nice to see. Chris Warnock is a great person and he looked after her. He is also a North East musician. Rebecca kicked in and ran well. She is ready to be an Olympian she said and I believe her.

february 18

I did not go to sleep for a whole night as I need to reverse my sleep pattern which usually sees me going to bed at 5am. I have a tour coming up so for this reason I need to sleep at ‘normal times’. Being as busy as Mel and I get, it does get to you from time to time and I have real trouble switching off. Waiting weeks and months for replies and so many call-backs weekly, all unpaid hours, can worry you a little to a lot. This is never a complaint, it is what we do. We get spend a lot of time as a family so this is a small sacrifice.

february 19

I had my diabetes checks today. Not the best thing to have to do but not the worst. My nurse is great and makes life easier when it is not as easy as it could be. Then a walk around the lake again. Two great bookings for Acoustic Magic today, Johnny Dickinson and we also have Billy Mitchell. These are the two most requested players for Acoustic Magic so hopefully there will be a good crowd to enjoy them. Luke Concannon from Nizlopi made a public statement today about his gig with us and tickets are selling well. The gig for We Steal Flyers this evening was a good one in Yarm. People are coming especially to see us in so many places. All nice feelings.

february 20

As we get to the end of Feb there is enough booked for the whole year to be able to review the calendar and see where else to gig, tour and so on. There are only a few weekends available and we are even taking bookings for 2017 now. Shaggy took some time away in the Lakes this week and found us somewhere new to play and stay, I am looking forward to it all.

february 21

It is all eyes on Switzerland now. The gig in Barnard Castle was a good gig, Four hours round trip. I get to talk with Melanie though so it is good too and we are used to long drives, all part of the music business. Picked a couple of good albums to listen to...road trip!