DEREK’S DIARY: Acoustic nights start to pick up

Derek Allan with his daughters.
Derek Allan with his daughters.

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.


The cold or flu that people are sharing at the moment is taking some beating. It is digging deep and enjoying its attack. I can hardly talk and my energy is weak. I have a lot of emails and online work to do which is lucky as I am able to do it from the comfort of home. Today, I am trying for some support slots and setting up gigs in music venues as always. Mel and I work well as a team and we have a great understanding. We are back with Acoustic Magic now that this is her main job. We have decided to take a few more risks with venues and players.


We have been looking forward to cricket trials tonight with Ellie. She did an amazing run-out today, Melanie totally shed a tear. It is a great feeling seeing someone doing well at something they try so hard at, but when it is your daughter, it is beyond explanation.


A lot of gigs are coming in now and the tour dates are setting up nicely. Still a few gaps to fill but they should be done within a month. The cold/flu thing is at its peak and this is the last mellow time together this week so we have some film and out-loud reading time. Rebecca can read all day and night and pretty much does. We all like to share a good story.


Obviously, illness affects us all, but Mel is a big part of the whole music scene and the house so we hope when she must be ill it is at the right time. Sadly this time she is ill and we are at the beginning of five nights of music. Tonight the Newbiggin Acoustic Magic night was well loved and so calm. Not a lot of people watching, but as always the ones there were real music lovers. Andrew Lobb, Tinny Bennett and Hugh Dunford were the players. A great place and night as always.


The Elk’s Head Acoustic Magic in Whitfield near Hexham was a good night. A bar gig with Kitchy Retro, Gary Spalding and Katie Wedgwood. A nice night and lots of snow. Ellie and Rebecca made some mini table-top snowmen. Phil of the venue is a great person and makes our life easier, because he loves music and tries hard for his venue. He also loves cricket so is twice a goody in my world.


The Marlborough in Seaham for Acoustic Magic and Mel was about to leave alone, but last minute was joined by my sister and niece. These nights are good to share. No one ever leaves a gig thinking it was bad and always wants more. More is what we do best. Daniel Laidler of The Lake Poets, Tinny Bennett and Gary Spalding played out this one and it went well. Most in attendance yet. The nights are filling up as more and more people want to see what the music nights are like. We are getting in more offers to run these nights in the North East. As January is almost over, a lot of venues fancy a change and Acoustic Magic can add a lot to a night or a day.


The cold/flu was not too bad for me as I returned to see Shaggy for another We Steal Flyers gig in Stokesley. It was a nice enough gig. Not a full gig but plenty of nice people. A few friends of Shaggy’s were over from Ireland, Fluff and Mike. It is nice to share life with good people. More albums went out there. We will be back to the new album soon. A lot of miles this week for Mel once again. One more gig to go. I am missing walking. Mel is wanting to do more walking too so we are planning some new routes. A plan of a walk around the UK is in my head. I will see if I can train Melanie up without her noticing.

Read the previous installment of Derek’s Diary, if you missed it.