Plenty of planning for the future

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Northumberland musician Derek Allan continues his weekly diary.

January 20

Some board games, kitchen dancing and TV with Ellie and Rebecca before going off to Berwick for the gig there. This was another great gig and lots of new bookings coming in again. We have bought a new digital sound desk, I am pleased and Shaggy even more so.

January 21

This was supposed to be a day at Whitley Warriors ice hockey with Ellie and my brother-in-law, Andrew, but the snow came down a lot and we could not travel.

With Melanie we went to Druridge to do some walking and sledging. It was a great day and Melanie filmed a lot of it.

Amazing what we can do these days. Looking through the filmed scenes with hot chocolate. Winter should always feel this warm.

January 22

The usual writing out and posting of posters for Melanie. A lot of calls and messages for Sam, Acoustic Magic and We Steal Flyers before I go on a great winter walk with Ellie.

Usually we get picked up at 6.20pm and we go off to running club in Blyth.

Tonight Rebecca got an injury and decided that going shopping and then home was a better plan for today.

January 23

Six more hours of gig calls and emails today and working on the charity events as they are closer now and I want to try to fit in more charity things if possible. We are waiting for Shaggy to send dates for his band gigs and then I can fill those days with my charity dates.

Once the new album is rcorded I am going to write the next album in the same room as Shaggy and see what we come up with when writing together. Usually we write apart and take the songs into the studio. We have written a few on the road too.

When touring for a week or two there is always a spare hour.

January 24

I have been working on running through songs. For when I need them at a solo gig but mostly for the We Steal Flyers gigs. I still find writing albums fun and easy but learning everything you have to learn for what seems like an easy song is not something I like to do. Shaggy loves learning them and can play hundreds.

January 25

We are not allowed to watch the cricket at the county practice nights but luckily we had an Acoustic Magic night at Bar Loco in Newcastle to keep us occupied.

It was a good night. Dave Cowan played and Steve Wilkinson, these are also great friends and always ready to help out if needed for anything, especally charity.

Ellie loved her first cricket session. Things are going well. The hundreds lost from cancelled January gigs are part of doing what we do, it is how much you make through the year that matters.

It is so sad hearing about the venues closing down after having a good or great December. More musicians are struggling too. Dry January is maybe a good idea if you are not drinking and putting the money you spend in charity but it also means a lot of venues struggle.

January 26

We could not record today, as little Olivia was off school not well. This is the daughter of Shaggy. She is an amazing little dancer and wins all kinds of competitions around the North East.

It was a great night in Alnmouth as it always is. Lots of friends from decades ago and lots of new ones.

I love meeting nice people and there are a lot of them out there. We Steal Flyers gigs are a lot of fun.