Fighting off colds to get the gigs

Northumberland musician Derek Allan continues his weekly diary.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 13th January 2018, 3:39 pm
Derek Allan (Photograph by David Gerrard)
Derek Allan (Photograph by David Gerrard)

November 23

There is a man I am now friends with on Twitter who was interviewed on the radio. He went to see the Ashes in Australia by any means for Oddballs charity. He reached his target and a lot more once he got on the Australian press and radio. What a great fella.

I love inspirational people. People care for people and this is important to remember. As I mentioned last year I have a friend from when I played cricket for Alnmouth, his name is Colin Crowe and he lives in Alnwick.

He goes to where England play cricket in the winter to escape the cold north winters and to have an amazing adventure. Best of all he gets to see some cricket. This is an amazing thing to do.

Ellie did so well at the Northumberland trials. It is an hour and a half drive to Newcastle with rush hour traffic and half that getting home. Northumberland should have a training base by now with all of the cricketers in the county.

November 24

I ran through my solo set today. Being ill with the winter colds means I can rarely practice run songs as our voices are not so good when ill, not that people would notice, but we do.

Another great gig with some great friends and fans in Rothbury. Queens Head is a great place to be. I love being in Rothbury. I really want to shop there some time, supporting local shops is a great thing to do. There is a shop I have only ever seen through its window, it sells tiny soldiers. I must get there some time.

November 25

Calling for gigs is a hard part of being a musician and booking tours is tough.

I called a bar eight years ago when I first started setting up dates for We Steal Flyers. Richard answered the phone and gave us three gigs and a room for two weeks. He is so rare and very helpful. This gave us a home from home to book tours.

It changed our lives. We have had eight years of great adventures. It is his 50th birthday so we played and partied tonight. I only drink coffee and water but I party like a drinker and I never forget. I love Yorkshire.

November 26

An afternoon gig for Richard for a different crowd. It was a great mini tour and so many albums are selling and t-shirts. Spotify is doing well with CDs being bought around the UK less and less. We are ready for the digital age and also putting out vinyl as they sell better than CDs at four times the price. People now seem to prefer free music or very expensive. I never got into music to retire from it. This is what I do and as long as I am doing it then it is still alive.

November 27

The never ending autumn cold/flu thing is still ruining our days and nights. Ellie seems to be the worst. Rebecca was OK to do running club at Blyth and we did the Monday shopping for food. It is lush shopping with Christmas up and seeing a few things to buy for people.

November 28

Free tickets from the 02 Academy to see The Darkness. We took Maria and Shaggy this time. It was an amazing show. Shaggy went for a few cheaper drinks in a bar over the road. I like looking for musicians and we certainly found some more. Blackfoot Gypsy, from Nashville, were the support and they were great. The business is tough so I liked that an almost full house watched them play. The Darkness were just amazing from start to finish. They have some amazing hits and obviously their Christmas song was magic. A truly wonderful night and I am looking forward to more live shows there.

I have a photo of the singer of the support band with me after the gig. You need to hear them.