DEREK’S DIARY: Sharing happiness and music

Derek Allan and Paul Liddell
Derek Allan and Paul Liddell

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.

May 11

It is always nice when a night goes well. Tonight at Dinnington, Monday Magic is picking up better and better. We get to hear the new players playing a few songs and we invite back any players wanting to play. With Ellie and Rebecca having a giant room to play in and the players have an amazing stage with lighting get to feel how nice it is to play a real gig. It is a real good relaxing feeling every month.

May 12

The usual early start and late finish and as always it is never a complaint, just many hours and hoping something

comes from the day of calls and so on. It is always exciting when we do a day like this. Melanie did the many poster writings and posting outs. It is an endless task of weekly hours. She does well. It took many many months, but we now have the 24-hour busking for diabetes night sorted and the only date is in December, but charity is all year round so it will be okay. Last year was very successful and, with Melanie and Sam Gibson, we did the whole thing and were joined by more than 100 people and more than 50 players. It is a great way to raise money and help people.

May 13

Melanie took a rare night away with Caroline into Morpeth. I went for a six-hour walk with Ellie and Rebecca with many stops to take in surroundings. Around the lake and along the dunes, so many animals, a deer and a hare too, which are rarely seen by us on the walks. We have never-ending plans and stories. I love our hours together. They inspire me.

May 14

The charity plans are always good. We set up these times for up to six months and try our best to make it a fun event, the money we ask for from people for people is up to the people, a pound is enough. We can do a lot of fun charity days and give a little so everyone can win. We do all the work and take weekends off work to raise money. I love to raise money for people, but a year is so quick and a week even faster, but we can do what we can. I hate that anyone suffers and I know I have needed help. This is not why I help people. People are us, we are in this life together and someone being kind changes everything. So never worry about how much you add to a pot for

others, a pound is enough. I want to do huge missions for charities and end diabetes along with all of the others raising money and awareness. Making it fun and interesting is the key. The gig with We Steal Flyers in Yarm was quiet and ended up a run-through of songs. Sometimes these gigs happen and no one is to blame. We still had fun and I get to talk to Melanie in the car, not about work or about any problems we have, just a chat and a listen to CDs. Also today I lost two gigs today but gained seven more.

May 15

Clennell Hall folk festival at Alwinton is an amazing time. Friday start and ends Sunday afternoon. Ellie and Rebecca loved today. A few hundred people getting together to share happiness and music. Life and music are here to be shared. I love being a part of these weekends, every single person is pleased to see you, to see everyone. They are also very good gigs to play too as everyone loves to hear the music. I was a little worried when Shaggy turned up in a fever at five to 11pm, then we went straight up and played. He and I do not take gigs lightly and will play through most illnesses. I was proud of him once again as he stood feeling sick with a fever on guitar and sang the last two songs and we did what we do and the place was filled with musical magic.

May 16

Melanie has the barroom to run sound for. She did it last night, she has 11 hours today and five hours tomorrow. She is well liked and people love the sound. She cares about her job so this makes a massive difference. We get to hear some great musicians. These weekends are so amazing and from the thousands and thousands of people I know and have met, I never understand why more people do not go to music festivals. Being surrounded by music and people and happiness. We heard some good players for future Acoustic Magic gigs too. A truly wonderful day and another great day tomorrow. I cannot name everyone, but a few locals were Rod Clements, Paul Liddell, Pete the Poet, Sam Gibson, Hannah Lamb, Bill Read and the amazing organiser and friend Dave Forshaw. Everyone can organise an entire weekend music festival, it is easy right?

May 17

On the way to the last day, the tyre blew. We were stuck at Thropton village shop, luckily with very helpful friendly people. Melanie was taken to the festival by a kind passer-by to do her job and had a fantastic time. Her dad picked her up and caught a little of the music and got to see the amazing job his daughter does. Brilliant. Diane, her mam, took me and the kids home and we tidied the house and did our own in-house festival. The festival weekend was brilliant, the cancelled gigs and tyre blow-out is just part of

life.