DEREK’S DIARY: Tough times for bars and music

Derek Allan
Derek Allan

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.

January 5

It is the first of the Acoustic Magic nights and it felt really good that it worked. It was a year in the making and the usual work, promotion and hope as we enter a new venue. We came here to Dinnington last year when we put on a 24-hour busking for charity night, this was very successful. We also booked in a Monday gig with Rod Clements of Lindisfarne, Paul Liddell and Sam Gibson and this was good too. With most of the venues in the UK closing down and turning to food, this is a way of trying to keep it all alive. Putting on players in back rooms and charging on the door. There is not a living than can be made from this, but it keeps the music alive. The night ran well and the people are loving the idea and are enjoying and supporting the whole night. Once-a-month Magic Mondays, four players and much happiness. I like to be able to share the nights with Melanie, she is a top sound engineer now and I run the door and shop and smiles with little Ellie and Rebecca. They love to be involved and let me know which players they want to hear more of.

January 6

The kids are back in school today so it is full speed ahead for Mel and I. We call, email and promote every day for We Steal Flyers, Acoustic Magic and we book full-time for Sam Gibson. There is a lot of work to do, but it is always nice work with hope in the future always. We have always been asked to help with charity everythings and we still do all we can and more. Setting up some all-day music events also helps musicians and music now as they now need more help than ever. Some good songs are being written by the Acoustic Magic players and we help them not just onstage, but offstage and keep them believing. We need music and people make music.

January 7

A day recording the new We Steal Flyers album. It was great fun and the album is going to be the best I have ever been a part of. Now that albums are selling thousands each time it means it only grows and grows which means more touring as we take the music where it is most wanted. Buying in the new guitar leads, mic leads and all the other things that break day to day, but new year feels like more new stuff is needed.

January 8

The first week of a year is a relaxing and exciting time as everyone in the business is up for trying that little bit harder. Dry January does not help the bars and more shut down for good as the bills are not reached. It is hard when we know this is happening and when you know the people involved and the hours they do for free. To see it all end the way it does is so sad.

January 9

I am loving the walks with Ellie. Last year was a great year for walking and now we have all the walking gear from Karrimor we are set for even more adventures. Having interests makes life so much more interesting. Rebecca still loves to run and wants to be an Olympian. Mel and I are happy to do all we can for them. She ran well last year, but at six there was not a lot we could involve her with.

January 10

It is a real nice gig at Belford Golf Club. The people there are now mostly friends. A lot of the gigs home and away are like trips to see friends and play some songs. We are back there in the summer and looking forward to it.

January 11

Illness took over for Mel and Rebecca. Everyone has this bug, I am hoping I can have it and get rid of it before the busier times. A lot of venues to be called this week and players for the Acoustic Magic gigs. The posters being written out and posted off to gigland...this job never ends for Melanie. The winds are very strong as I write tonight. Acoustic Magic have just booked Nizlopi who had a number one with JCB. Such a good feeling. A big deal sorting an event like this. We are still trying to bring in some more of the UK’s top players.

Read the next installment of Derek’s Diary