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 ten cruises, released two new albums and squeezed in 67 broadcasts so much so that my feet have hardly touched the ground. In between I’ve had Website updates, Facebook tweaks, three new scripts to write for the 2014 cruise season. On the home front I’ve been house hunting and shown at least 40 + people Monro Towers. My washing machine flooded the utility room out 6 times, the dishwasher broke and my son’s car leaked water so much so that there was mildew over the upholstery – it has been quite a year.

I pre-recorded 18 shows for Siren 107.3FM as they don’t want me to give up my spot while I am away next year, and next week will see me put up the Christmas tree, dash out to buy yuletide presents and get ready to welcome home the whirlwind that is my gorgeous son.

As most of you know I started working on the cruise lines a few years ago. The long trips need the organisational skills of Colonel Oliver North in preparing the troops for combat.

When I decided, on a whim, to accept my first booking I really didn’t think through the logistics properly. I simply got carried away with the excitement of running away to sea but one cannot simply lock a house up for months on end and think everything will run smoothly. I did manage to implement things well enough but hey, it’s always the ‘others’ who conspire against you.


Losing my mum and Max going off to University in the same year was extremely hard for me and this way to escape the real world for a time proved to be exactly what I needed. To date I have worked Arcadia, Oceana, Azure, Adonia, Independence of the Sea, Balmoral, Celebrity Infinity, Sea Princess, Marco Polo and the QE11, most several times over. My talks were well received and gave me the confidence to expand on my topics and it’s been a wonderful way of ensuring the legacy dad left behind burns brightly.


I’ve met some extraordinary people and made some wonderful friends en route but it’s also the countries that I’ve visited that have made this year so amazing. These were places that I literally thought I’d never see in this lifetime and I’ve lapped up every minute. I have learnt that you need a visa to be allowed in to St Petersburg, the Arctic Circle is in Norway and you always need seasick pills to hand.


Michele with Sam Kane

Coming home at the end of a trip is slightly strange and it came as quite a shock that I had to make my own meals and pick my own towels up off the bathroom floor. I purposely cleared my calendar to have Christmas at home with my son and have for every year, bar one since his death, put the Christmas tree up for my dad’s birthday.

 Rarities Alternate

The highlight of the year in terms of products was the release of ‘’The Rarities Collection’ and ‘The Alternate Monro’.

Sadly with the demise of EMI, I was worried that there might not be another Matt Monro release, or certainly not under my creative control. The first set of problems reared their head when Universal bought the company but were then told by the European Commission that they could not keep the whole entity as that would give them a monopoly of the music industry. They set about selling it to Warners but not before deleting quite a few of the albums in dad’s catalogue including the new release at the time ‘Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro’. No amount of email from either Steve Woof or EMI’s legal department produced a response.

In July/August of 2013 Warners became the new owners and prudently, and I am using this term in the most sarcastic way possible, deleted more of the Matt Monro catalogue without giving me prior notification including these titles:

The Singles Collection
The Greatest
Matt at the Movies
The Rare Monro
Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro

I was gobsmacked because In all cases Capitol’s ownership doesn’t come close to exceeding 50% and in the case of Matt Uncovered our last release under the Universal banner, they only actually own 12.2% of the overall content whereas, I the Estate, own the most at 34.8% (23 tracks out of 64)
‘The Greatest’ – only released in 2010 was an album of all the hits not only remastered but all in stereo. It was in essence brought out to replace ‘The Very Best Of Matt Monro’. This is madness as the latter did not get released in 1992 as per their list but actually came from a vinyl released in 1974. (nearly 40 years ago!!!)

There were only two big artists that had recordings split over Parlophone and Capitol, that being Matt Monro and Shirley Bassey who became a Capitol artist through the purchase of United Artists Records. Why then did Bassey’s stuff stay intact with Parlophone and not dads? Ridiculous.

Because I had to review all the contracts for each album in the catalogue noted that ‘Live in Australia’, ‘Matt Sings, Nelson Swings’ and ‘Words and Music’, all owned by the Matt Monro Estate, had now expired. I then sent in a letter giving Warners 30-day notice against releasing them anymore. It seemed more prudent that I release them on Richard’s own label – Mint Audio - in the near future, which then gives me full creative control.

After a major re-shuffle ‘Live in Australia – Twin Towns 1984 will be released before the end of this month at a retail price of £7.99. I’m not sure what the coming years holds for Matt Monro but suffice to say that I shall be plugging his music at every opportunity.  It is quite a shock to realise that 2015 will be dad’s 30th anniversary and of course that means that Richard and I are looking to bring out something special – do you have any ideas for a new project? I want to hear all your ideas

I am still making an appearance every Wednesday on Siren 107.8FM’s ‘Midweek Drive’ but from the New Year I will be going to a bi-weekly spot. The show 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.

Graham Pass

Talking of radio, producer Graham Pass contacted me about making a special Radio 2 programme for dad’s anniversary in February and spent the day at Monro Towers on Thursday 24 October. The hour special is going out sometime in January/February and will be hosted by Barbara Windsor. The theme of the series is East End Lads. I will let you know more details, as I know them.

Eric Hall, who was the voice of Radio Essex for years, is now holding court at Time Radio 107.5FM. I will be appearing on his show at 4.15pm on Sunday 1st December. It is very fitting as it is dad’s birthday that day and if he was here today he would have celebrated his 83rd birthday.

Matt Monro is also the featured artist on Paul Robey’s show on BBC Radio Nottingham on the same day. He is live on air between midday and 4.00pm.

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 sale of EMI UK I have no idea 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.

I did send a request out on the Forum asking for any Christmas items you wanted to share with us all. Lynda Dolby sent in a fabulous receipt for her Australian Pineapple Cake. I am very grateful especially as she went to so much trouble. After sending in the recipe I asked if she had a photo of same as most people I know like to see what the finished result will look like. Lynda obliged but a few days later wrote to say she wasn’t happy with her original photographic entry and blow me down if she didn’t cook it again just so we could have better visuals. Well-done Lynda for going beyond the call of duty.


From: Lynda Dolby

This is a recipe for a cake I always make at Christmas, as I am not too keen on traditional Christmas cake. The recipe was given to me many years ago when I visited an auntie in Australia.

1 cup of sugar (brown if you prefer)
1/4lb of butter
1lb of mixed fruit including cherries
1 tin of crushed pineapple
1 tsp of Bi-carbonate
1tsp of mixed spice
1cup of plain flour
1 cup of S.R flour
2 eggs


Put sugar, butter, mixed fruit, pineapple, bi-carbonate and mixed spice in a large saucepan and bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes.
Allow mixture to cool and then add plain flour, SR flour and eggs to the mixture. Stir until all mixed well.

Grease a 2lb loaf tin and pour mixture in.

Bake on Gas 3, or Electric 140 for 1.1/2 to 2hours on the 4th shelf down.

I have a fan oven, and find after about 45 minutes on 140 degrees it is actually cooked.

As a change you can add whole almonds to the top of the cake before cooking, it then gives it the appearance of a Dundee cake. This cake will easily keep wrapped in foil for at least a week and also freezes well.

Enjoy x


CAke Cake

My thanks also to Marian Down for sharing some super shots of her family



and the year wouldn’t be complete without a picture of Richard’s best friend Bailey.


Note from Richard: Bailey has been chosen as one of the faces for the Christmas advert for his favourite food 'Natural Instinct' If you spot this advert in any magazine do let me know! (click on the picture to see the advert in full size)

Natural Instinct

So with another year looming fast, I’m looking forward to the 2014 cruising season. As of today, the dates that are in are:


5 January – 16 February - Cruise & Maritime - Marco Polo
16 February -13 March- P&O Oceana            
13 – 24 March – P&O Oceana
20 April – 4 May – P&O Oriana  (Strictly Come Dancing Cruise)
5 – 21 May – P&O – Adonia
2 -8 June – Cruise & Maritime - Marco Polo
29 July – 6 August – Cruise & Maritime - Marco Polo
21 August – 2 September – Cruise & Maritime Marco Polo
21 September – 3 October – Cruise & Maritime – Marco Polo
5 – 16 October – Fred Olsen - Braemar
21 October – 7 November – Cruise & Maritime – Discovery
18-29 November – P&O – Aurora 
30 November – 12 December – Cunard – QM2


8 January – 8 April – P&O Adonia (five back to back cruises)

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 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.
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 Judy Garland and our very own members Maureen & Harry Carruthers.

Check out the ‘Rough Guide to’, 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 21 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.

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

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 albums. If you’d like to give me a present then a review of either product on  or 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:

Warmest to you and yours

Past News - November 2013

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Past News - December 2012

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Past News - December 2011

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