Birthday surprises for Derek

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Northumberland musician Derek Allan continues his weekly diary.

April 9

A daytime gig in Belford at the Golf Club. This too was a great day. So many nice people and Shaggy had some family over. His mother and father are such nice people and come along to many local gigs. It is always good to see friendly faces at gigs. Stevie Stoker played a solo set first and was full of energy and went down really well again.

He has played there solo and as a band, and is well liked and loved around the UK. He is playing the main stage at the 02 with Sam Gibson as support in May, with his band called Twister.

Another week is over and we played to a few hundred more people, made some new friends, enjoyed the company of ones from the past, put more CDs out there and we all move on and do it all again.

April 10

This is five gigs in a row and our voices have held out. Shaggy was ill and voiceless in the days leading up to the gigs, but this show was only an hour. Longplay Cafe in Newcafe is a great venue and sells records too. Chris, the manager, loves Lindisfarne so I talked to Rod Clements, one of the founding members of this band, and booked him in for June 12, so that is something else to look forward to.

He is great and has lived a wonderful life. Brother Joe played a half-hour set before us today and sounds great.

Once again two school friends came along with happiness and smiles too, such a nice feeling being with friends from so long ago. Mark and Sandra are going to be coming to more gigs too.

April 11

Happy Birthday to me day. Thank you to everyone as always. I love so much about life and people doing nice things is my favourite.

We had four hours at cricket with Ellie to start the day. Nice people wrote nice things on social media, more than 600 online. Kind people brought me gifts. Melanie, Ellie and Rebecca set up a day of surprises. They make me smile so much, like having a happy birthday everyday.

A cake, deep breath and back to living through another year.

April 12

Three days of gig bookings and promotions and all is ticking along nicely.

Then the new monthly open mic night to see some of my friends once again. It’s nice to meet up with people we like.

The Trap is a good place for players because we have great sound and the room is a big back room so no one is playing into a bar, which is not always good for everyone.

April 13

A nice day and then Ellie and Rebecca went to stay with Diane and Derrick for the night, Grandma and Grandad to them. Me and Mel went off to Bar Loco in Newcastle for our Acoustic Magic night.

Daniel Laidler and Miserable Les played well, and although it was full of people talking and catching up, it was a nice night.

We were paid an extra £5 each so were canny pleased.

It was a great night until it struck midnight and Mel noticed a parking ticket for £60. Then on the way home filled up with fuel, but used the wrong pump by mistake.

We were stuck for a few hours waiting for the AA to take the petrol out and give us a £280 bill. A few hours sleep and an early morning... these things happen.

April 14

I would live at cricket games, I wish I could be at them all.

Melanie went out with her friends Lucy and Caroline for a couple of hours and I spent the day at day one of the Championship at Durham with Chris the Driver, Ellie and Rebecca. I saw many friends and we shared a great day.