Northumberland musician Derek Allan, of We Steal Flyers, continues his weekly diary.
December is days away. I have 14 gigs to play in 16 days, then 10 days off from all work, be it bookings, promotions or performing.
Today was a great gig in Norton. Chris drove me there, and he brought along his partner Emma. It is a brilliant Monday gig, full of music lovers. Having Chris drive means I can do more gigs next year, he is saving the day.
I went shopping for gifts in the Metro Centre with Melanie today. Not everyone loves shopping where other people are, but we do.
It was a busy day and then a lush winter walk with Ellie, then Christmas TV.
The walk was perfect, cold enough to feel December is on the way and warm enough to stop for tea. Ellie loves this – walking and seeing bits of people’s Christmas joy going up, adding to the winter magic.
Real cold winter does not start until January, but it just seems better to have December as a winter month.
Melanie cooked lots of food, like she does, and we watched Christmas TV. It is nice to do many great things in life, but these nights are wonderful.
I have been able to cook since around 10 years old, but it is not something I enjoy, whereas Melanie loves to.
Sadly, today’s gig was cancelled and the reason was that We Steal Flyers look too much like American rock stars and it is “not what the people of Corbridge like”, so the fella says. That is two cancelled gigs again this week so sad times.
I had another four-hour walk along the beach with Ellie as we keep up our training for next year. We think it will take 10 days so we need to be able to afford to take time off and we are saving for this now.
My first Christmas memory as a boy is walking with my dad on Christmas Eve. I do not remember much about it, just that I have always remembered the walk and do it still every year.
New festival offers are coming in around Europe for my duo We Steal Flyers. It is hard packing up a year with gig dates because lots of offers come in and we do around 100 to 180.
We have a new plan to be able to play more gigs and get a few more pounds in to make up for the thousands we lost this year. We would like to release another album next year.
Our new driver Chris is going to drive us to 20 to 40 gigs so we can play more shows, amazing.
I have a whole new drive and a driver now, and I can book many more shows and get some money in the pot for more adventures.
The Sun Inn in Morpeth used to be a monthly Acoustic Magic date, but now it is once a year, usually in December.
It was another easy gig and we were joined by Mike Slaughter.
The Butchers in Chester le Street gig is always a good one, and this was even better.
Our albums have moved on so fast around the UK and Europe that we will need more gigs to reach more people. When things go well, they really do go well.
I am quickly getting charity work and gigs in place. I will be booking over 600 gigs next year for We Steal Flyers, Acoustic Magic and Sam Gibson.
I will be helping as many people as I can, as usual, and am hoping to raise more money than ever with my charity work. Everything is almost set up and I can let Christmas come with all of its warmth and magic.
I am ready for a whole new push.