Keeping traditions going again

Derek Allan and his family at Barter Books at Christmas
Derek Allan and his family at Barter Books at Christmas

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

December 19

We’re getting to the shops a little now – Amble mostly. There is always something to buy. We were in Hadston for the same reason.

Support the things you love otherwise they’re going to go. I am not an online shopper, I will miss shops and music venues when they’re gone.

A lot of gigs are coming in, but I had an amazing walk with Melanie. It is perfect walking if the weather is right. She also likes to visit the places of the past where she grew up. It is all inspirational, just knowing we survived.

I’m making plans with Shaggy for the next two albums for next year.

December 20

Winter’s Kiss has had more than 1,000 plays on Spotify and I am getting hundreds of messages from people around the world, mostly on Twitter, saying what this song means to them.

I always knew it was a good song or why else write and record it? Everything I do has a piece of my heart attached.

We went into Morpeth to buy lots of things from as many shops as possible. I have always loved buying gifts and cards for people.

Sometimes a card is all someone gets. It may take time to write cards, but they mean so much to people. I love getting them from all over the world – magical.

December 21

Shaggy came for his Christmas visit with his wonderful mother, Maria and two daughters. We have known Shaggy for about 10 years from Acoustic Magic, and have done We Steal Flyers for eight years. With Melanie driving to most gigs and running so much with us, we have a lot to talk about – and we do.

It’s good to end gigs for a while and do something away from music. I like sharing nights with people when we have time. I love this night every year.

I had a nice fruit tea at Circa and bought a few extra gifts, including The Munch Bunch album from 1980 for Melanie.

December 22

The Lumineers retweeted my Christmas song on Spotify, taking Twitter views from 16,000 to 44,000 in a day. That is just amazing. Well done them for supporting other musicians because it is, sadly, very rare.

Supporting others comes naturally to me, which means I enjoy music from all over the decades and all over the world.

Darts were on TV today. I love watching with Ellie and Rebecca. Melanie went to see friends.

December 23

We were at Barter Books from 10am. I love being there, I could live and work there. I love seeing friends there too, Daniel Gurney is a great part of the place.

I feel so much magic there. Andrew bought the coffee and we sat by an open fire. We always meet up with my sister, brother-in-law and nieces. It’s a great few relaxing hours.

I have been going there on Christmas Eve for more than 20 years. Today, we had Lionheart Radio so went a day earlier. I have also been doing this around 15 years or so, since the station started, supporting the local world and loving it.

Carl Cape is a great friend, as are Tom Pattinson and Tom Cadwallender, who knows all there is to know about birds. It was a brilliant, fun show, streamed around the world to lots of our fans.

Melanie and I love shopping in Alnwick, nice memories being made and nice ones from long ago.

I love Alnwick, especially at Christmas. I love Northumberland all year, the seasons suit this magical place.

To end the day I had a visit with friends Shaun and Cheryl and we talked of things other than our Coast to Coast walk next year.