NEWS

December 2012

Ho Ho Ho

Well it’s that time of the year again where we all run around like idiots, buying too much food, spending money we don’t have and expending so much energy that we are exhausted by the time the Big day comes. We slave away in the kitchen for hours on end and entertain relatives we only see once a year, mainly because we don’t like them that much in the first place. Stuffing ourselves to the gills everyone clambers round the television set to hear the Queen’s speech but fall asleep before the Lady begins and where are you – in the kitchen clearing up.

Once Christmas (oops politically incorrect) is over we are eating leftovers for the next week and planning our resolutions for New Year’s Eve. I want to look young again after I looked in the mirror and saw my wrinkles were vying for a place in the Natural History Museum.  They still have not invented a Botox powerful enough to pull my arse up towards where it used to be in 1997 although through modern science you can see the newest mosque from the moon !!! Whoever invented the word orange peel to describe these potholes on my derrière were certainly being unkind to the visual appeal of the fruit.

I have been so busy this year and have done no less than eight cruises, released the new album and squeezed in 63 broadcasts so much so that my feet have hardly touched the ground. In between I’ve have Website updates, Facebook tweaks and four new scripts to write for my upcoming cruise presentations. On the home front my gorgeous son got engaged and went off for the second year of University – it has been quite a year.

I suffered a clip to my car from someone who obviously couldn’t drive, who submitted photos of damage that I didn’t cause and has now conveniently got whiplash (do me a favour). I have a Kia Picanto and he a People Mover. I must have been doing 2/3 mph whilst reversing into a car space. If I’d caused a whiplash I wouldn’t have had a back end anymore. Anyway be warned, if you are involved in any incident don’t just take photos of the damage but take pictures of the entire area including one of the other driver to prove his brain wasn’t pierced or brain matter wasn’t littering the area.

I pre-recorded 9 shows for Siren 107.3FM as they don’t want me to give up my spot while I am away in January, and next week will see me put up the Christmas tree, dash out to buy yuletide presents and get ready to put my house on the market in February.

As most of you know I left in January of this year on a world trip, which needed the organisational skills of Colonel Oliver North in preparing the troops for combat. When I decided, on a whim, to book my trip I really didn’t think through the logistics properly. I simply got carried away with the excitement of running away for a time but one cannot simply lock a house up for six months and think everything will run smoothly. I did manage to implement things well enough but hey, it’s always the outside element that has to worm its way into your carefully thought out plans and ruin them – in this case Nat West.

I have three different credit cards, all registered with Nat West and before I left England I made sure that all the cards had at least a year to run on them before expiring. I also set up Direct Debits so that each would be paid on time. I have always been worried about using Internet banking but I wouldn’t even consider using it at sea because you are on open lines. I then wrote three separate letters to each credit card explaining that I would be away.  In short they decided to leave me almost stranded at sea.

They replaced my main two cards without permission even though I had opted out of an upgrade. They lowered my credit limit without telling me, which in turn affected my credit rating. I was charged all manner of fees for late payment, over limit penalties and interest, none of which were of my making. By deleting my main cards it stopped any refunds being able to be processed back to me and of course no one rang me back. It was an absolute nightmare so I would say to anyone travelling for any length of time to make sure they have several different cards with them. One other point to note is that no one and I mean no one would take my traveler’s cheques in Australia because of money laundering. I was always under the illusion that a traveler’s cheque was the equivalent to cash but even with the back up of a company like American Express, it isn’t enough if something goes wrong. If you enter somewhere like Australia for any length of time Passport Control insist you show you have enough funds for the duration of your trip. It’s simply not good enough to tell them you have credit cards with you. All in all, a nightmare – you have been warned.

My time on P&O’s Arcadia was wonderful and I made some wonderful new friends. My talks were well received and gave me the confidence to expand my topics. I had about 700 people in, which was rather daunting but I needn’t have worried, they all loved it giving me that all-important cruise score, which was then relayed back to Head Office. It took eight weeks to reach Melbourne but I enjoyed every day of the cruise and made me even more determined to get more work on the ships for next year.

I loved visiting Australia, dad toured there 16 times but I had never been. I hadn’t seen any of the family I had there in more than 40 years so that was very special. While over there I did as much PR as possible and met up with Philip Brady who was a good friend of dads. He had me on the show twice and even took me sightseeing to the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. It was great hearing stories from days of old. In fact Philip came over here for the Olympics so we met for lunch. I’m confident that if there is anything left to find over in Aussie then Philip will find it, he has the most impressive contact list I’ve even seen. I also managed to supply him with several of dad’s discs that he was missing from his collection so they should gain quite a few plugs on Australian radio for months to come.

I also tracked Lionel Yorke down, he’s given up the music business and become a marriage celebrant in Brisbane and was hoping to find Michael & Lieta Geole who used to own Romanos, a club that dad worked at on each visit down under. I’m thrilled to report that I have now spoken to the couple and they have
sent me several precious photographs they took while dad was working in the club.

Talking of publicity, I met up with Daniel Denholm, a representative of Goalpost Films in Australia and he is certainly very interested in making a movie-based on the book. Nothing has been officially agreed to date although I have received a film concept treatment. Now it’s just a matter of finance so keep all your fingers crossed.

I flew to Adelaide to meet Ross Hood of Care Radio Australia and do a special interview. He was so excited to meet me and had about 20 books and as many CDs waiting for me to sign. The only glitch in that section of the trip was me missing Ayres Rock. Virgin Australia refused me on the plane because my hand luggage was heavier than allowed. Even though I explained it was because I was carrying my parent’s ashes they wouldn’t back down and the upshot was that I missed my flight to Alice Springs. There wasn’t another that would get me there in time to make my train connection so I missed getting on The Ghan, considered to be one of the great train journeys of the world.

The Sea Princess was equally as good as P&O’s Arcadia, mind you it was the countries that I visited en-route that made it so wonderful. These were places that I literally thought I’d never see in this lifetime and I lapped up every fragment of time. I did five talks on the ship and was confident that I’d done enough to secure some future bookings. Docking in San Francisco I spent a few days there, nearly losing my hand luggage into the bargain before flying over to Las Vegas.

Marian Spence flew over to join me. She was my mum’s best friend and of course her late husband Johnnie, was dad’s best friend as well as his musical director for many years. This was an important part of the journey for me because I had decided to scatter mum and dad’s ashes at The Little Chapel of the West, the place they renewed their vows in. I lamented for many months as to where the right place was. In the early 80’s we moved to America on a permanent basis and dad started doing the circuit on the Vegas strip after an absence of some 14 years. The shows were so successful that the powers that be rang shortly after to offer him a six-month residency topping the bill at The Sands Hotel the following year. This was indeed the icing on the cake for a performer such as my dad and he was ecstatic that he had managed to claw his way back to the top of the ladder and cement a future that looked fabulous. Unfortunately he passed away before it could become a reality.
 
Dad’s will made note that he was to be cremated and his ashes kept at home until such time when my mother could join him. In March 2010, their ashes were intermingled and had sat at the house in Harrow since mum’s funeral. In September I held a Fans Reunited Gathering and the fans were asked to bring a candle. They weren’t told why and it wasn’t compulsory, it was a leap of faith but everyone turned up with one. Those candles came with me to Las Vegas and were lit just before the release of the ashes. I felt the chapel a fitting place to make their final journey from. Those candles give the fans a chance to be there as Matt Monro took his final bow with the person he loved the most at his side, where my mother stood throughout his life.

The trouble was that although I knew it wasn’t technically allowed, I didn’t realise it was a prisonable offence. Of course that didn’t stop me but it meant that Marion and  I had to sneak in there at 11.00pm at night. I had just laid out the candles in the gazebo when a car drove in prompting the security lights to come on. I froze but figured that up to that minute I hadn’t actually done anything illegal. Minutes passed and the car just sat there with their lights off. My heart was pounding so much I thought it might burst out through my chest. Suddenly two youths sprinted from across the road and got in the car. It would seem to have been an unmarked taxi collecting a fare but it certainly put the wind up my sails. I decided that it might be prudent not to dally and as with everything in life the quicker you try to be the lower you become. Because of the breeze it was impossible to get all the candles to stay alight at the same time but the important thing is that they were there and after saying a prayer that I thought fitting I scattered the ashes over the rose garden. It was probably not the most dignified ending to their journey but suffice to know it was the right place to leave them.

I stayed with Marion for the last four weeks of my trip. It was quite challenging as her husband George was suffering from Alzheimer’s and one had to be alert as he would constantly try and get out of bed even though he didn’t have the strength to stand. I noticed deterioration while I was there and an incident on the 14the June saw George taken into hospital the same day I left for New York. It would be too long to explain but suffice to say that sadly George lost his battle and passed away on 14 July. I am so upset that I wasn’t there to help Marion through the process because although it wasn’t unexpected it is always a shock when reality kicks in.

LA was quite a place and I was fortunate enough to have lunch with Joe Mantegna. He’s the lead actor from Criminal Minds and is probably one of the most down-to-earth people I met there. He was a real sweetheart and to boot is a big fan of dads.

I also appeared on a television show on channel 35 called ‘Connie Martinson Talks Books, which aired on Tuesday 26th June. It has now been put on YouTube so here it is for anyone interested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsh8t15r1S8

Connie is probably the most ill prepared person who has ever interviewed me and she certainly hadn’t read much of the book before the taping. She got the song title wrong, my mum’s name wrong and didn’t really ask the right questions – but what do they say – all publicity is good publicity.

I did several radios while in LA and one thing that was wonderful was an invitation from David Iscove to visit him at Capitol Records on Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles. It was a great thrill to stand in the same hallways that dad would have stood, see the studio and go through the archives. I can now definitely confirm that they hold no extra notes on the session that dad did in New York. They let me have access to their database and it would seem there is a whole section missing. The trip was more fortuitous that I could know for only a few weeks ago it was sold to Universal so the opportunity to visit might never come again.

LA was quite a place and I was fortunate enough to be taken to Spagos for lunch and the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge for soufflé. Sidney Poitier was sitting at the next table to me, as was Larry King on the other side. I saw many celebrity faces over the weeks I was there, spoke to Shecky Greene and Jack Jones (Marian will be jealous) and had lunch with Joe Mantegna. He is the lad actor from Criminal Minds and is probably one of the most down-to-earth people I met there. He was a real sweetheart and to boot is a big fan of dads. He has kindly said he would put news of the new album on his website to help it along.

I flew to New York, another place I’d never been to and it was really exciting. In the two days I was there my feet never touched the ground as I played tourist to the hilt. I’d been invited onto the Queen Mary 11 and it was an invitation not to turn down. I did one talk, which went down extremely well and everyone treated me handsomely. The ship was gorgeous but to be honest I’m more comfortable on a lower class vessel as I don’t like dressing up every night but it is an experience you should try once if you should get the chance.

Being home was slightly strange and it came as quite a shock that I had to make my own meals and serve myself drinks (lol). It soon got real when five days later my gorgeous son arrived back from University for the summer holidays. Because it was the end of his year in dorms he had to bring everything home, which amounted to about 16 loads of washing. I think he ‘d worked out just what he needed to make do until he got back to good old mum. I am obviously getting old because he kept telling me I was special but I soon found out it wasn’t a compliment.

I was only home until 17th August and then boarded P&O’s Adonia. The same day my son and his girlfriend Justine boarded Aurora and as they sailed out of Southampton he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend of five years. It was very romantic and as I sailed passed their ship he rang me to say she’d said yes. Very emotional and the tears that were streaming down my face were put down to the emotion of sailing out of Southampton to the strains of “We Are Sailing’.

I loved working Adonia, it was a much smaller ship that I’d been on before but it was intimate and everyone stopped me on a daily basis to give some such compliment. The cruise director was very nice and said I was welcome back at any time. I also had the added bonus of having my girlfriend of some 45 years on board with me. Carla and I went to school together bit as per real life we rarely get the time to spend any quality time together. This put remedy to that and we had a great week visiting some very nice ports I’d not been to before.

Next was a back-to-back on Fred Olsen. Although I’d agreed to work it, I did the company a big injustice in that I thought it was probably ‘Pontin’s at sea’. I couldn’t have been more wrong and I hope I have the chance to work Balmoral again very soon. She’s a super ship and I was lucky enough to visit Belgium first and then Norway. It had never appealed before but again I was so wrong, it was beautiful and I think the only way you can fully appreciate the beauty of the fjords is from a ship.

Working on a ship, you become family and I have to say I’ve met some wonderful people on all my travels, many of whom I hope to see on some of my future travels.

Next came Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas and gosh she was a monster holding 4000 passengers and 1800 crew. I was delighted to have one of our regular Forum members on board in the form of Angela Whittaker, who adopted the role of second roadie and went around the ship recruiting people for my talks. Bless her if she wasn’t at every one of the seven presentations I did, each time commanding the front row. We had a blast. I took my girlfriend Lucia with me, someone I’d only met in January on the world cruise but our friendship was made even stronger by the time we spent together and I have finally persuaded her to come on Holland and America with me in November. It wasn’t such a difficult decision for her as this was a long one, 32 nights to the Caribbean and back.

Every ship has its bad points but they also have their special enticements. The Rotterdam had a wonderful outdoor screen, which meant that Lucia and I could snuggle up on the loungers in the blankets provided and watch one of the latest film offerings while being served popcorn by the crew. Great fun. The Rotterdam is a five star vessel and the extra touches are noticeable especially the food. What can I say about the Caribbean, I have always loved it; it has a certain ambience that cannot be replicated and oh how I love the sound of steel drums, mind you not in Brixton. It doesn’t have the same allure outside of its home country.

One of the reasons for taking this cruise was the chance of visiting Aruba again and it didn’t disappoint, mind you I find every island has its own charm and the less touristic the better. I booked a photographic trip in Trinidad, which gave me a rarer insight into the island’s beauty as the photographer took me to places not normally seen by tourists. The downside of getting off in Trinidad and going into the depths of the island meant a Yellow Fever jab. It wasn’t compulsory exactly but there is a threat of another country not letting you in for a year after your visit so I thought it best not to take the chance. Funnily enough its sister island Tobago doesn’t carry any threat. I went to my doctors a few weeks before travelling and they recommended nearly everything on the planet and I do mean everything but when you boil it down to what was compulsory – the answer was nothing. It is such a con. It wasn’t that many years ago that certain shots were mandatory because of extreme risk, modern medicines have cured a lot of the foreign outbreaks but that means that the travel clinics are out of pocket. I requested a Tetanus shot as I thought it wise after an absence of 35 years but there is no such thing as a solo vaccination, I had to endure Diphtheria and Polio as well in order to get the Tetanus. Go figure.

I purposely cleared my calendar to have Christmas at home with my son, in fact this year is the first that I didn’t get the tree up in time for dad’s birthday but I don’t actually get back to England for another few days but it will be up before the end of the week. I didn’t want to delay the December update so have put it together whilst I am away.

Rarer Monro

The highlight of the year in terms of products was the release, albeit late, of ‘Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro’. It has been six years since ‘The Rare Monro’ graced the shops and at the time I didn’t even foresee a follow-up but it is amazing just how much material Richard and I uncovered in our continual search for material. If I was more business-minded I would have put 30 great tracks on leaving room for a third edition in a few years time but I’m afraid I am always ruled by my heart when it comes to dad. With the eminent threat of the sale of EMI, I was worried that there might not be another Matt Monro release, or certainly not under my creative control. As the sale loomed ominous I thought it prudent to get as much out as possible before the hammer came down. As it happens the CD came out days before Universal took over the mantle although we had no idea at the time that EMI UK would not be included. What does upset me is that they have bought Capitol which means the next project that had been on the cards ‘The New York Sessions’ probably won’t come to pass because it would mean having to license every track and I don’t think the new owners of EMI UK would be too thrilled with that. At the time of writing I have no idea what is going to happen to dad’s UK catalogue except for the fact that the contract specifies it has to be sold within the industry. That leaves out Sony as they also control too much of the record industry and that only leaves Warner as a contention. Of course it could be sold to a music publisher but suffice to say it is very sad that one of the original greats have fallen and lost Abbey Road into the bargain.

This year has seen dad sing in a series of Siemens Kitchen adverts, appear in Coronation Street for the heart-breaking death scene of Bill Tarmey who played Jack Duckworth and yes it was dad who appeared on the Foxy Bingo advert. It was hardly on a par with Siemens but it is promotion. The only thing is that Capitol had given permission to alter the track and it had been made faster using time compression, which makes dad’s vibrato sound a bit odd!

 

 

I’m not sure what the coming year holds for Matt Monro but suffice to say that I shall be plugging his music at every opportunity.  I was lucky enough to win contracts, as special interest speaker, with P&O, Fred Olsen, Princess, Saga, Marco Polo and Royal Caribbean for 2013. If my health allows I will also spread the word through 2014 but one can never tell. For that reason I am hoping to hold a Fans Reunited on board one of my sailings. Whilst I realise it might be out of a lot of people’s pockets it is much cheaper than one might imagine especially in the price wars between cruise lines. At the time of going to print I haven’t had confirmation of my dates from P&O or Royal Caribbean as their diaries are being put to bed late. I have also had to turn cruises down with Thompson and Saga because they overlapped what was already in but I am confident that Saga will also come in with another date and I will update this list as they come in.

As of today, the dates that are in are:

2 January – 6 February – P&O Oceana
4 April – 27 April – Fred Olsen Balmoral
5 May – 17 May – Cruise & Maritime Marco Polo
27 May – 10 June – Fred Olsen Balmoral
22 June – 12 July – Sea Princess
14 July – 26 July – Cruise & Maritime Marco Polo
6 October – 20 October – Cruise & Maritime Marco Polo

Of course while I am away it will be business as usual. The wonderful thing about email, Skype and mobile phones is that you are never really out of touch. If any of you need anything in my absence I am still available on email but you can also contact Richard on
richard@mint-audio-restoration.co.uk. Don’t forget that if any of you have an attic full of old tapes that you want rescued or reel-to-reels that you want transferred then Richard would be happy to oblige. It’s amazing what we stuff into our attics and I am still hoping that some of you have a Matt Monro television show or radio that you taped years ago that you have forgotten about. You never know you might just be harboring one of dad’s jingles without knowing it.

Not sure how many of you caught it but BBC Radio 2 re-broadcast one of dad’s shows on the 24th June this year. It dates back to 31.07.82 and was featured in their show Friday Night is Music Night. It was actually a concert that Richard and I had been looking for several years, which the Beeb said they didn’t have!!! It included Born Free, From Russia With Love and On Days Like These.

I am still making an appearance every Wednesday on Siren 107.8FM’s ‘Midweek Drive’. The weekly slot allows me to select some of the lesser-known tracks of dad and that is wonderful as it gives me a chance to play a broader range. Siren have actually asked me to pre-record shows for the dates I am not here next year although we are hoping to do a few live phone-ins so that should be both fun and challenging.

Don’t forget to check out our double Spotlight feature this month, I know so many of you enjoy them. This time round we look in at Jim Reeves and one of our very own members Mick Finn.

One other thing, which I feel is quite important. As well as welcoming all the new members I do hope some of our regulars come back to the fold. With the imminent sale of EMI UK I have no idea of how long we will keep our Forum because the record company has always hosted it. Whilst I am hoping that we will be informed if the sites are to go dark one never knows. Richard and I would obviously want to take the area over and transfer it to another host but it might not be an option so lets take advantage of it now. Some of you have been with me since launch, all those years ago and I would like to think that, worse case scenario, you will all be with me at the end.

Check out the ‘Rough Guide to mattmonro.com’, which is available towards the bottom of the Homepage. A few of you have mentioned that you don’t know how to access certain areas of the site or in fact are unaware of new areas, this guide will explain how easy this website is to get around, once you know how.

There is also another information box “How to Use the Forum’. I know a lot of people have been tempted to join in on some of our conversations but are slightly nervous of doing so. For that reason I have printed step-by-step instructions of how to access it. It really does only take a few minutes.


Well that’s about it, Max is coming home from University in eight days and I can’t wait to spend some quality time with him over the holidays. I can’t believe he is 20 now, it didn’t seem that long ago when I was changing nappies but time is a wretched thing. We are all getting old, have acquired middle age spread, a loss of memory, painful joints and vision and hearing that is slightly impaired.


In finishing bear one thing in mind.....

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.


We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small characters, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ' I love you ' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Have a wonderful Christmas, a Happy and healthy New Year and don’t forget to buy my book for all your friends.

Remember we don’t do an update in January because everyone needs some time off to recharge their batteries so until February here’s wishing you a wonderful Christmas, a memorable festive season and a brilliant New Year and don’t forget to buy copies of my book for all your friends together with a copy of the new album. If you’d like to give me a present then a review of either product on www.amazon.co.uk  or www.amazon.com would be fabulous. You don’t even have had to have bought the item there

Richard and I have opted for a special electronic Christmas card, which is linked here:
http://www.mattmonro.com/Christmas2011.html

Warmest to you and yours
Michele
 

Dear all,

Just a quick note from me to wish you all a fabulous Christmas and a wonderful New Year.  As always it has been a honor for me to work on the fabulous recordings of Mr Matt Monro and hope that you have all gone out and purchased our latest release ‘Matt Uncovered:- The Rarer Monro”. If not, why not? (and no I’m not on commission!) get it here!

Of course it goes without saying that it will also make an ideal Chritsmas gift, but i'll say it anyway.

And if by any chance someone from Universal or one of its affiliate labels happens to stop by and read this, Michele and I have a few good ideas about what could be done with Matt’s Capitol catalogue (well you can’t blame me for trying!)

All the best

Richard

Past News - November 2012

Past News - October 2012

Past News - September 2012

Past News - August 2012

Past News - July 2012

Past News - June 2012

Past News - May 2012

Past News - April 2012

Past News - March 2012

Past News - February 2012

Past News - December 2011

Past News - November 2011

Past News - October 2011

Past News - September 2011

Past News - August 2011

Past News - July 2011

 

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