Return to old haunts is a success

Derek Allan and his daughter Ellie enjoy cricket at Durham
Derek Allan and his daughter Ellie enjoy cricket at Durham

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

April 28

A gig was cancelled for a football match on TV so I posted to see if anyone wanted us to play somewhere as we can afford no days off.

Heidi, of The Blue Bell in Belford, was straight there to save the day and it turned out to be a nice, mellow gig, with a few friends and fans and some new faces.

April 29

The Lampton Arms in Chester-le-Street was a good night. We used to play there a lot when we first got together, but new people take over venues and everything changes. It was nice to be back.

I am really needing to walk now. The 24-hour walk with Shaun for Alzheimer’s is just weeks away. He is walking with Cheryl and Bovril this week in Scotland West Highland Way for charity.

April 30

Sadly, players miss out when others cancel. Some simply do not understand that this is the entertainment business and this is what you do. We realise now that two players out of 10 pull out of pretty much every all-dayer we organise and it is hard to fix on the day.

But today I stepped up and played 30 minutes for Acoustic Magic with my own songs. I love playing most gigs, and this was an easy one.

I need to play more. When Shaggy is performing with his band I do not have to take a day off so I may as well get ready. I would be happy to book and tour 200 dates a year once Ellie and Rebecca are older and off on their own adventures.

It was a good day, a good week, a good month. I hope I have set up a good May.

May 1

I love bank holidays. I can walk all day, and I did, with Ellie.

We were dropped off at Warkworth and walked home along the road and path by the sea. It looks amazing everywhere we walk, but with a river by your side, a castle behind you and a harbour to walk through, it is an amazing half hour.

I meet a lot of people and like to hear from them. When I went to the chip shop I saw old friends Colin and Louise Douglas. I always see the Douglas family as being a part of Amble, in a good way.

I also met a lady named Smart and her friend Mr Armstrong, they knew us from the Gazette Diary, and we talked to them, very nice people. Mr Armstrong was 10 when taken from school to be a fisherman.

I love stories. Be sure you live the best one you can, then you never need lie.

Just before going home I realised I had the stomach virus everyone has.

May 2

Mel and I never nap in the day, we sleep seven hours and live the day – there is no time for everything to start with.

This day I fell asleep and never woke up for 12 hours. I did wake up feeling a little better. Funny how something like a virus can attack you.

I am trying to relax and I am loving reading The Power Of One.

May 3

On paper this day is not exciting – gig bookings, fixing cancelled gigs and so on, but all a part of the life we live. All is set for the We Steal Flyers headline gig at the 02 Academy on September 2.

May 4

The Stokesley pub is over a three-hour round trip, but a nice little bar gig. A few more CDs went out. This is a great part of what I do – write an album, record it, book 180 gigs, and play them all.

It’s nice to be home after the evening’s work and to catch up with the cricket through the night. Ben Stokes, of Durham, is one of the greatest players. I love Durham. I am looking forward to this season.