December 2016

It has been so nice spending some time at home but the weeks have already sped by and I’m half way through my time off. Boo Hoo. The first week was manic, just unpacking 11 pieces of luggage was hard enough but just when I cleared the decks The Baggage Company delivered the other six! While I was away I was so pleased with myself for getting all my Christmas shopping done but not so happy when I had to find places for everything.

The washing machine was on overload and it took 5 days to work my way through the mail. No sooner did I gain a small space to breath Matt Jnr arrived for the first of two nights. I hadn’t seen my brother for months on months and as well as playing catch up we had a lot of work to do on the new script.

“One Voice’ The Matt Monro Story’ opens on 4th February at Richmond Theatre and this time round we’re updating the songs and script to include even more. Apart from working with me Matt had a photographic shoot booked in Birmingham with Jodi Cunningham, which had been arranged by Andi Churchill, his lighting and sound production manager.

The shoot took all day and what I loved about Jodi’s work was the fact she has a quirky side and her choice of locations were brilliant. Matt hasn’t had any new promotional shots done in years so it was important to capture him as he looks now. I always have a little laugh when I see the artiste’s photos on the theater board only to realize when they go on stage that the pictures are ten years old!

The other reason for the shoot was so we could pick an image for Matt’s new album, which is coming out to coincide with the tour. “A Father’s Legacy’ is the first album since “If He Could See Me Now” which was in 2007 and “Dancing With His Father’ in 2010.

Matt’s doing the album in the style of dad in terms of arrangements and although I don’t have the final running order I have managed to get the track listing.

Fourth Blue Monday
Didn’t We
For Once in My Life
Georgia on My Mind
Let Me Sing
One Morning in May
Gonna Build a Mountain
One Voice
You’ve Got Possibilities
So Little Time
This is the Life
Wonderful World
On Days Like These
You Made Me So Very Happy
Yesterday When I Was Young

Several other pieces of news on the Matt Monro front:

Warners recently wrote to me to let me know that Ste Softly, Terry Wogan’s producer has compiled a new album keeping in mind the much-loved disc jockey’s favourite tracks and musical moments over the years. “Terry Wogan – A Celebration of Music” was released on 18th December in aid of Children in Need and includes dad’s track, “Portrait of My Love”.

I am a massive fan of Strictly Come Dancing so it was nice to see ‘Len Goodman’s Crooners & Swooners’ in the shop charts this week. Following on from the huge success of Ballroom Bonanza, Len returns with a brand new compilation in 2016, to feature his all-time favourite Crooners, Swooners and Big Band classics!

This hand-picked compilation of songs is set to make anyone’s heart strings tingle and get toes tapping with the inclusion of tracks from Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Bette Midler, Etta James and Barry Manilow, being sure to get more than a ‘seven!’.

Known to millions as the Head Judge of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Len has sashayed his way to the top of the dance world. Beginning his dance life at the age of 21, he has gained years of vast knowledge and experience in Ballroom and Latin American dancing through teaching, competing and judging, making him a four-time British Champion.

Len’s passion for dance and the music associated with it has been demonstrated in programmes made for BBC4 including Len Goodman’s Dance Band Days, Len Goodman’s Big Band Bonanza, Dancing Cheek to Cheek with Lucy Worsley and Dancing in the Blitz with Jools Holland and Lucy Worsley. Len has also appeared on BBC Radio 2 presenting his favourite music including some of the music featured in Strictly, those that influenced his life and include a variety of styles from Jazz to American Songbook to Pop.

This 3 CD set, ranked No 20 in Amazon’s Bestseller’s list also includes dad’s rendition of Spanish Eyes, which makes a nice change and proves Mr Godwin has good taste when it comes to music!

Just so you know Jasmine records are issuing an erroneously titled "Complete Recordings 1955 - 1962" set by dad on 9th December. This in all likelihood steals all Richard Moore’s remasters, as this record company doesn’t have the rights to any of the original masters. Certainly they don’t have the masters from Decca, Love is the Same Anywhere or The Complete Singles Collection.

This is either a substandard release or they have taken our masters for their own gain. There is never any finesse or research taken. Thy have listed the Parade of the Pops LP tracks as BBC Transcriptions. Where they pulled that from I don’t know as they are EMI tracks recorded at Abbey Road and have nothing to do with the BBC apart from being the same name as the radio show.

Strange Lady took us years to get hold of and Richard lovingly worked on the disc to give it its best possible treatment. Jasmine can’t have got the masters anywhere else so I urge you not to buy this product. I’m so fed up with these fly-by-night companies coming out of the woodwork to make a buck off other people’s work.

My dear friend show business journalist and broadcaster John Hannam has a new book out, The John Hannam Interviews features the stories behind nearly 100 interviews with pop stars of the '50, '60 and '70s, and is now available online. The book’s Forward is written by Marty Wilde and the tome contains chapters on names like Matt Monro, Duane Eddy, Neil Sedaka, Justin Hayward, Cliff Richard, PJ Proby, Al Martino, Gerry Marsden, Bobby Vee and The Bevs.

It's available online. There are direct links to John’s website:  Just click on the 'In Print' page Nights of Shanklin.
The price is £12 including post and pack.
Or you can get it via Amazon for £12 plus £2-80 postage and packing.

Matt Jnr is not the only Monro to have had a photo shoot recently. I love black/white photography so I took advantage of a special deal Celebrity Eclipse was promoting. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to travel to any other location but considering I don’t like any pictures of myself, the results weren’t too bad.

As well as needing new promotional pictures for the ships I work on I’ve been working on a new project for the last 18 months so I’m sure the images will come in handy. All being equal the book will be ready to go to print in April or May so I have it ready for the Celebrity cruise season.  The working title is ‘The Port Guide for Mere Mortals’ and includes a ‘Mobility Challenged’ section which is something sadly missing from other guides.

With Alex Reid on Celebrity

The first edition includes Norway and Europe and I’m relying on all of you to let me have any recommendations of shops, eateries, tours and the places that have impressed you Even if you have a valuable tip I want to hear it , you might know the best places for duty free and if anyone has issues with their mobility please share your stories with me. It could be that you need to tell me a place to avoid and that is equally important. This project is important so if you have any suggestions of things to include please email me at Maybe you have a great title for the book then please don’t be shy, everything is valuable and you’ll be helping future travelers.

As I’m writing this I realize there are not that many days until Christmas and if you’re anything like me then you’ll be frantically racing around trying to get everything ready for the silly season. My son Max adores Christmas, it’s his favourite time of the year and it’s the one holiday that we are all together, Matt included. You would think I was expecting a barrage of people rather than three but it always gets frantic especially when taking the menu orders.

When Max was first born I made the decision not to cook the ‘big sit-down-and-behave-yourself-at-the-table roast that I’d suffered growing up. I say suffered but mum spent two days in the kitchen in the lead-up and of course I was always in her way and shoed out of the room. The big day dawned and all Matt and I wanted to do was play with our new toys, that’s of course if the relative concerned had remembered that batteries weren’t included in their gift! Having allowed us to open our presents under the tree we then had to leave them there and sit at the table dressed up in the most uncomfortable clothes while the relatives made small talk. We were never excused until the very last crumb had been eaten and coffee was served. I wouldn’t have minded so much if we had not have seen granny for months on end but she lived with us!

Finally we were reunited with our wish lists but then all the elatives descended on the lounge and then we had to keep the noise down. That is probably the only reason I liked the Queen’s Speech because by 3.00pm most of the invitees were fast asleep in front of the television having gorged themselves on mums’ food and drunk too much.

For that reason I made the executive decision in my new role as ‘mother’ that we would have a buffet on Christmas Day. I spent Christmas Eve preparing everything and then at midday ob the 25th everything went on the table for all and sundry to help themselves to whatever they wanted whenever they wanted and my son could blissfully play to his heart’s content. As evening descends the buffet is topped up and after the mad rush in the lead up to Christmas Day, it gives me a chance to chill out somewhat and enjoy the look of contentment on my son’s face when I carried him up to bed clutching his prized gift of the day. It’s a tradition that still carries on today and the big roast is made on Boxing Day when everyone is more chilled out. It works for us.

This time next year my son will be a married man and on his way to starting his own family, oh where has the time gone?

I’m not sure what your Christmas wishes are but in this digital age I thought you might like this little ditty.

An Internet Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Net,
There were hacker's a surfing. Nerds? Yeah, you bet.
The e-mails were stacked by the modem with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The newbies were nestled all snug by their screens,
While visions of Java danced in their dreams.
My wife on the sofa and me with a snack,
We just settled down at my rig (it's a Mac).

When out in the Web there arose such a clatter,
I jumped to the site to see what was the matter.
To a new page my Mac flew like a flash,
Then made a slight gurgle. It started to crash!!

I gasped at the thought and started to grouse,
Then turned my head sideways and clicked on my mouse.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
My Mac jumped to a page that wasn't quite clear.

When the image resolved, so bright and so quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick!
More rapid than mainframes, more graphics they came,
Then Nick glanced toward my screen, my Mac called them by name;

"Now Compaq! Now Acer!", my speaker did reel;
"On Apple! On Gateway!" Santa started to squeal!
"Jump onto the circuits! And into the chip!
Now speed it up! Speed it up! Make this thing hip!"

The screen gave a flicker, he was into my "Ram",
Then into my room rose a full hologram!
He was dressed in all red, from his head to his shoes,
Which were black (the white socks he really should lose).

He pulled out some discs he had stored in his backpack.
Santa looked like a dude who was raring to hack!
His eyes, how they twinkled! His glasses, how techno!
This isn’t the same Santa that I used to know!

With a wink of his eye and a nod of his head,
Santa soon let me know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, gave my Mac a quick poke,
And accessed my C drive with only a stroke.

He defragged my hard drive, and added a "Dimm",
Then threw in some cool games, just on a whim!
He worked without noise, his fingers they flew!
He distorted some pictures with Kai's Power Goo!

He updated Office, Excel and Quicken,
Then added a screensaver with a red clucking chicken!
My eyes widened a bit, my mouth stood agape,
As he added the latest version of Netscape.

The drive gave a whirl, as if it were pleased,
St. Nick coyly smiled, the computer appeased.
Then placing his finger on the bridge of his nose,
Santa turned into nothing but ones and zeros!

He flew back into my screen and through my uplink,
Back into the net with barely a blink.
But I heard his sweet voice as he flew from my sight,
"Happy surfing to all, and to all a good byte!" 

My new dates for next year have been confirmed as follows.

Cruise Dates 2017
5 January – 5 May - Cruise & Maritime Magellan World Cruise
18 June -2 July - Celebrity Eclipse
2 July-16 July - Celebrity Eclipse
16 July            -30 July - Celebrity Eclipse
30 July            -13 August - Celebrity Eclipse
13 August-26 August            - Celebrity Eclipse
26 August-3 September - Celebrity Eclipse
3 September-17 September - Celebrity Eclipse
17 September-21 September - Celebrity Eclipse
28 September -8 October - Celebrity Eclipse
8 October-18 October - Celebrity Eclipse
18 October-28 October - Celebrity Eclipse

I’m looking forward to the World Cruise on Magellan as it will give me a chance to check out a few places I’ve not been before. My intention is to write a travel blog like I did in 2012 and upload some pictures and video footage onto my Facebook page every time I’m in a port with an Internet connection.

Don’t forget to check out our Spotlight feature this month, I know so many of you enjoy them. This month we look in on the ever popular group The Searchers.

Check out the ‘Rough Guide to’, which is available towards the bottom of the Homepage. If 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.

Whatever the coming year holds, suffice to say that I shall be plugging Matt Monro’s music at every opportunity.  That is the wonderful thing about working the ships, it gives me a brand new audience each time and if then, a small percentage go home a fan, then it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the Bay of Biscay!!!!

Here’s wishing each and every one of you a very happy Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017. Enjoy every minute of the festive season with your loved ones and I’ll see you all again in February.

Warmest to you and yours


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