Hoping to help children smile

Derek Allan.
Derek Allan.

Northumberland musician Derek Allan, one half of We Steal Flyers, continues his weekly diary.

August 11

Lots of sport watched, lots of gigs booked and promotion. There was a little reading by Rebecca and myself. She loves my collection of poetry books and classics and wants to know about two of my inspirations in life – Charlie Chaplin and Oscar Wilde. When someone shares an interest it makes you even more interested in your own interest.

I am setting up more free time to get on with writing more stories, but I need to keep the music running well. I can then add more charity work and make more time for writing again.

August 12

It was cricket and Olympics, and writing on the laptop between events today. Rebecca is so pleased that Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson are competing, she is actually tearful to see the heptathlon starting. It has been an amazing week for sport. Cricket too, as usual.

As always with Rebecca, we have to stop for reading breaks because she wants to read every great book ever written. This means I get more reading done too. I’m still loving the Ben Fogle book and will start the Phil Tufnell book next.

August 13

A day mostly of cricket, Olympics and messaging dozens of new venues in new counties. I hope to get a reply. I packed up the car and wondered how many times I have done this. I need never know the answer to this, but I do not really wish to know. I am hoping to get a reply soon for a hospital for an idea to busk for presents in Alnwick. The Market Place is happy to help again.

I am looking forward to the return of this, busking in the winter for children in hospital over Christmas. Waiting for replies is such a hard part of what I do. I would set up 500 dates and all of next year’s charity work in a few days, but so much changes by the week, with losing venues, staff and food replacing music.

The gig today in Yorkshire was a few hours’ drive and great – most birthday gigs are good fun. The night roadworks added over an hour on to getting home so at 2am I was back. I forgot how bad touring was with at least a day of roadworks travel being added onto every tour. But the gig was a good one.

August 14

We’re trying hard to keep up with the Olympics and are loving it all. There’s another We Steal Flyers gig, this one a local festival at the Oak Inn, with a few days of music and sun. The family like all the music nights they go to and a festival is always a little more exciting for them. We did well on albums again and have plans to take our time, but make a start on our fourth album together.

It is always nice to meet up with people and talk about all kinds of things and hear how others are doing. As always for me, the good stories are the best.

There is a lot more going on in Northumberland now and being a big part of the move is a great feeling. I love music and I love Northumberland, but most of all I love people and being a person.

August 15

A day of no gigs so rushing through phone calls, emails and so on, with Melanie doing her usual poster and CD send offs and lots of envelopes to write out, then a few hours in one of the greatest places to be – in Warkworth at the Hopes’ house with Jonathan, Phil and Margaret.

I love being there and have done since I was little. It is just a happy, calm place. It was nice to see them, as always, and hear about life. Live a life worth sharing, a story worth telling. Jonathan now lives in Australia and does well at being happy. I like knowing that people are happy, it gives others hope, or it should.