NEWS

July

I had been away for nearly a six week spell and boy was I ready for my own bed.  The early part of June saw me on Fred Olsen’s Balmoral to the Baltic. I’d been on Balmoral before in April of this year and she is a wonderful ship with a great complement of crew.  Sadly my thoughts of Spring in Europe would be fine weather-wise was wide of the mark and I found myself dreaming of thermals and hot water bottles. Cold was not a word that described it and for someone like me that doesn’t do winter weather it was a trial. The ports of call were wonderful and I only wish I’d been dressed warmly enough to get the most out of it.

Balmoral

I always receive a warm welcome on Balmoral and not just from the crew. The audiences were wonderful and it is a joy to know that Matt Monro’s music is still a powerful influence in the market. I have to say for any of you who have never cruised before it is a wonderful experience. I love the fact that the countries come to you and if you have a specific hobby most ships have themed cruises that cater to your needs. P&O came up with a winner this year by bringing on members of the talented Strictly Come Dancing dancers and they have proved so popular that there are more to come in 2014. I have to admit to it being one of my favourite shows and I have my fingers crossed that I get on one of these soon. But that is just the tip of the iceberg because there are gardening cruises, classical, cookery, golf and even pin-trading in the States.

Cruising has seen some drastic changes in the last decade and certainly the age group has come down as well as the prices. Fred Olsen are offering up their 2014 word cruise for under £7,000. That is some incentive. Marco Polo recently advertised a 32 night trip to the Caribbean on a two for one, that means a cost of a £1,000 each, not bad when you consider that all your food and entertainment is thrown in. My advice to you is never ever look at the brochure prices, there is always a deal to grab. In this period of triple recession the ships have over-extended and there are plenty of bargains around. A lot of the big boys ordered new ships five years ago when the market was booming and they are due for delivery in the next year so there should be even more offers to entice you. One thing that puts a fair-few off is the lack of smoking facilities but some ships are now catering to those of us deemed lepers. Royal Caribbean has an inside smoking bar as does Holland America. P&O only have cigar lounges, which I feel is bigoted.  Why should the pipe and cigar smokers get to smoke in the warm while the others are shivering on the decks outside? I’ll tell you why…. Money. They sell very expensive cigars! When booking a cruise, whatever your needs make sure you do your research and you’ll end up with the perfect holiday that suits you.

I have to say that after cruising for nearly 32 years, I actually caught the Noro virus the day before getting off Balmoral and I had to spend six days of my off time in bed. I don’t even know how I caught it as I am very careful not to kiss everyone in sight, just bad luck I suppose. I am hoping that is the last I see of this nasty bug but it pays to be careful. As some of you know I have had a lot of problems with my knees in the last year so I finally plucked up the courage to see a specialist. He confirmed arthritis (age-related he says – bloody cheek) and I am having the operation on 3rd September. I’d actually forgotten that I saw the same specialist in 1997 for the same thing and the arthroscopy cleared the problem up so I am confident that this will have the same outcome although it is a little scary having both knees dome together but I didn’t want to lose too much time. Apparently I have to take it easy for two weeks although I’m sure a cruise won’t get in the way of the healing process! At the moment I am off until the 1st and then I go to Iceland, another cold destination. The good thing is that the Ocean Princess is a new ship for me and that is always exciting. Let’s hope M&S get a supply of thermals in before I leave.

Apart from my books and MM CD’s my photographs have been doing really well, so much so that there is a possibility that I will be having an exhibition in September. It is a big step but very exciting and if anyone would like to come then please let me know. All my shots are taken from a ship at nighttime and exploits the light available. My first project which is on the website is ‘Lights of the Caribbean. My new shots focus on the Middle East and the Fiords.  Next month should see more details on the forthcoming event.

I would love to hear your feedback on my shots even if you hate them.. As a special launch price all members of the forum will be entitled to a 25% discount on any standard unsigned order and 15% for a collector’s limited edition. All enquiries should be sent to richard@mint-audio-restoration.co.uk

While I was away Matt got together with our friend Joe Francis, a really gifted artist that hails from New York. They have recorded ‘Well Did You Ever’ for Joe’s new album and the shoot went so well that it looks like the single will be released for Christmas. The video is excellent and while we speak they are putting the finishing touches to the creativity side. Hopefully I might be able to give you all a preview next month. Watch this space.

I finally placed my house on the market in April but although I have had quite a few viewings I have not received an offer yet so am not moving this week! It I difficult trying to slot in viewing in-between my trips but I had hoped for something positive by now. No wonder they say moving is among the three most stressful things in life. I’m already stressed and haven’t got past the front door yet. I just need to win the lottery this week and so many problems would disappear. They say money doesn’t buy happiness but I wouldn’t mind being unhappy with 140 million in the bank!

We’re still waiting to hear official news on EMI UK but I can tell you their official title is now PLG (Parlophone Label Group) and the merger with Warner’s will be completed by 1 October. The bad news is that all the new titles including The Rare Monro, Rarer Monro, Matt at the Movies, The Complete Singles Collection and The Greatest have been taken by Universal and deleted from EMI’s catalogue list. This is disastrous for us and if I’d had any inkling that this could happen I wouldn’t have released the new one when I did. I only hope you all bought your copies because I’m not sure whether they can ever be resurrected. Steve Woof and I have appealed Universal’s  decision based on the fact that there is only about 20% of Capitol material on the albums so in reality they should have stayed under the ownership of PLG and a royalty paid to Universal.

Parlophone

The solution – I have persuaded Parlophone to release a ‘Rarities Collection’ and if all goes well it will be available on 7 October. This will take the form of a three CD set and include the best of the ‘Rare Monro’ and ‘Matt Uncovered” plus a few new tidbits to add extra interest. By taking away all the Capitol tracks, it will give us something exciting to offer the British market.

All that aside Richard and I are still forging ahead with ‘The Alternate Monro’ which now has a release date of 9 September. It promises to be a wonderful addition to the Matt Monro catalogue and all being equal we will let you know the running order in August.

I am still holding out hope that someone somewhere has a taped show of dad on video. I say it every month but 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.

There are a few new additions to my cruise calendar for this year, 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!!!! As of today, the dates that are in are:

1-15 July –Princess Cruises - Ocean Princess
27 July – 10 August – Royal Caribbean - Independence of the Seas

6 October – 20 October – Cruise & Maritime - Marco Polo                                   

15 – 25 November – P&O Arcadia

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 this year although I shall be around to do plenty of live shows so that should be fun.
Don’t forget to check out our Spotlight feature this month, I know so many of you enjoy them. This time round we look in at Frankie Vaugjan

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.

Don’t forget to recommend the website to all your friends. If any of you have Facebook pages it would be great if you could put the website link on there. If you’d like to do me a tremendous favour then a review of either my book or dad’s new album on www.amazon.co.uk or www.amazon.com would be fabulous. You don’t even have to have bought the item there and your words could very well influence someone else investing their hard-earned money so it really could make a big difference.

I’ll see you next month and in the meantime here’s hoping that your lives are always filled with music.

Warmest to you and yours
Michele

Past News - June 2013

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