NEWS

September 2012

Well by now, I hope, you have all gone out and bought your copies of ‘Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro’. I know a few of you have left a review on the Forum but could I ask all of you to do so and if you’re feeling generous, one on www.amazon.co.uk as well. The feedback is invaluable firstly to the record company and me because it lets us know if we’re getting things right and if not how something can be improved on the next project. Secondly your review can make all the difference in whether someone else invests in the item, some fans like to read reviews first and see what others have to say so your comments are very important.

I personally am very excited to finally see all of Richards and my hard work pay off. This follow up to ‘The Rare Monro’ is almost six years in the making and it is amazing to think that in 2006 we didn’t have enough tracks to make up a new release but here we are several years on and we were fighting for space to get the sixty tracks on. My favourite of course has to be ‘My Funny Valentine’. Every time I think of how this came about it makes me quite emotional. It looked at one point as if we weren’t even get to get a list of what the company held in their archives and nine months on from the first contact with Mood Media I was still butting my head up against a brick wall. Finally the email came and the track I thought dad had never actually recorded was listed, I was shocked beyond belief and quivering with excitement about the possibility that they might just have it– this was my dad’s song to mum, he used to sing it live to her whenever he could sneak it into a show or when he did an impromptu performance in a club or restaurant -  and the day the email arrived…….. 14 February 2011.

I have to say that my initial feeling of delight at being able to share it with you, the fans, was soured slightly by the tracks suddenly being uploaded onto YouTube. I couldn’t believe that someone had done that on the Monday of release, even before some of you had even received it in the post.  Both Richard and I immediately contacted the person in question and told him to take it down. I couldn’t believe that he had written on the cover page that copyright permission wasn’t needed because the uploads came under the fair usage policy. I wasn’t quite sure how he’d come to that understanding bearing in mind that he had put up nearly all the tracks in their entirety. There are times in the past, the Jukebox is a good example, when my hands have been tied by copyright and so have only been able to use twenty odd seconds worth of a track.

On this occasion we also reported the infringement to both EMI and YouTube as to me the violation was a step too far. Richard and I have worked tirelessly in the past at ensuring you are brought the best products in the best condition they can possibly be – we are policing the quality that is available as there would be disappointment all round if the item was shoddy quality. We have also worked hard at going after forgotten footage or hard to find tracks gaining the right permissions ourselves. In the case of ‘Matt at the BBC’, this actually took 18 years but I think you’ll agree that the results were worth the wait. By bringing something to the public’s door illegally the person’s responsible are actually devaluing Matt Monro as a saleable commodity and prevents me from being able to convince a record company that a project is worth doing. I am very grateful that the content has been removed from the offending website and am also thankful to all of you for backing me up in my quest to keep the Matt Monro name synonymous with quality.

Another way I have of promoting the MM name is by working on the ships. As most of you know I am hoping to work for the next two years sailing the seven seas by doing my presentations/talks to anyone that will listen. I have just come off P&O’s Adonia and had the most marvelous time. I have to say Adonia is probably the smallest ship I’ve been on but I needn’t have worried because she handles just as well as her bigger sisters. Leaving Southampton on 17 August we headed over to Brest, San Sebastian, Bilbao and Honfleur. On all the cruise I’ve done over the years I’ve never been in port the day after sailing, it has usually been two or three days at sea so that was a welcome surprise. The other bonus was that because of the changeable tides we were unable to get into San Sebastian on the morning of the 20th August so we went in at 6.00pm the day before, stayed overnight and then departed as planned at 5.30pm. You don’t usually get an overnight stay on a cruise ship because the company don’t want to lose the bar revenues in the evening. The wonderful thing about this tiny port in Spain is that we were only one of two ships to go in there in the last ten years and the other ship was our sister Azamara the week before. Apparently the local newspaper had printed the news of our pending arrival so we sailed into the tiny habour to the welcome of at least a thousand people lining the cobbled streets waving frantically anything to hand and roaring their appreciation each time the Commodore let off the funnel. It was one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen. The cruise staff also said that the nearest thing that they have seen is when a new build has left the dockyard ready for her inaugural cruise, then the staff who might have worked on her for the last three years come out to pay their respects and wish her well on her future travels.

The town itself was beautiful, a true chocolate box full of tricks with each small house a different shape and colour to the next. The town was crammed full of the most spectacular architecture, both with monuments, churches and buildings, you really didn’t know where to look first and the shops were fabulous, although slightly expensive. The narrow alleyways that wove around the city were full of small tavernas, bars and eateries – there might be a recession going on in Europe but it certainly didn’t affect the amount of clientele going out in San Sebastian.

I digress slightly because our first stop was Brest. I’m not sure what to say about it but it looked as if everyone had evacuated some years ago. There was one main street that was lined with boutiques on both side and the shop fronts we in most cases quite beautiful but they were placed under what looked like prefabs. I know there had been a lot of damage there in the war and certainly they have spent millions renewing the area – for instance they have the most wonderful trams running up and down this long street but there was no one there to ride on it. I was told that in August everyone leaves only to come back the following month but whatever the case it was very strange. The only saving grace was that I found one incredible shop where I literally loved everything hanging up. It certainly had the most unique garments and one off items and with a huge smile on my face I trudged back to the ship with all my purchases. Very very naughty!!

Bilbao was very nice and my girlfriend Carla, who I’d taken with me, walked along the city enjoying the ambience and the people. Mind you we defiantly went about things the wrong way. We decided to walk the new town first and then wander to the old town and finish with a visit to the Guggenheim. It was a twenty minutes shuttle bus from the port to the town and I would think we walked near on a mile looking for the shops. We then headed back to where we started and walked in the other direction. It looked slightly more promising but even the standards like Zara and Benetton had uninteresting stock, which nevertheless was really expensive. We stopped for a coffee break and decided that our quest was a lost cause and we’d once again head back to where we’d started some three hours before. The trouble was that on asking where the old town was we were told to retrace the steps we’d just taken but carry on further down. We looked at each other in disbelief but gritted our teeth and set off yet again. When we eventually arrived and it was markedly evident because a bridge divided the two areas. It was instantly a more interesting area, almost like we’d entered the Forbidden City. Like San Sebastian the town was littered with cobbled streets that all converged on each other and then went off in different directions. Unfortunately by this time it was 2.00pm and siesta time – yep you got it, everything was closed save some street traders selling all manner of fakes. We walked the area to drink in the atmosphere. Across the road there seemed to be some sort of festival happening but it was so heavily congested with hoards of police in evidence that we didn’t bother to risk that particular adventure although our cameras saw plenty of daylight that day.

We headed back to are starting point but sadly it was nearing 4.00pm and we just couldn’t risk a visit to the Guggenheim, even if only to see the outside of the building, which is supposed to be spectacular. The ship was leaving at 5.30pm and we still had to wait for the shuttle bus and then endure another 20-minute journey, it was too tight for time. For anyone that has cruised before you’ll remember the strict departure policy, the Captain waits for no one – the only exception is if you are on one of the ship’s tours and the bus breaks down or the like. They have to wait then, as it is their responsibility and basically their fault. I have seen it all too often that after our gangway is hoisted up and the ropes let go, someone invariably comes running down the quayside but alas our ship has sailed. The passenger is then responsible for catching up with the ship at another port or if the last one of the itinerary they have to try and get special clearance to get on at Southampton or whichever home port they are disembarking from to meet up with their luggage. Not only is the experience highly embarrassing but it is also extremely costly. It usually happens because someone hasn’t bothered to put their watch back when the clocks change or if in the Caribbean or Germany they have ad one too many

.

Our last port was Honfleur and I will readily admit I’d never heard of it, but what have I been missing all these years? It is a delightful itinerary stop that looks as if it has got stuck in time from 100 years ago. Located about two hours from Paris it is an undiscovered paradise from the minute you step on shore to the minute of leaving. It is picture box perfect and the first thing you see as you cross the small foot bridge that connects the dock to the main thoroughfare is a beautifully painted and functional carousel complete with appropriate music. It sits right on the edge of the waterway surrounded by dozens of street artists eager to capture the scenery on canvas. The shops were gorgeous, full of knick-knacks and oddities. Most were only a couple of feel wide and deep but they stocked the area out to capacity. We stopped at a teashop that also sold tea sets and gadgets that all had to do with tea. It was cute, quaint and served a mean pastry. I indulged in a white chocolate offering covered with raspberries followed by and I do mean followed by an almond macaroon filled with praline.  AMAZING. I just couldn’t resist. Carla ordered what she thought was a slice of quiche, which turned out to be a massive lunch; I think she got the whole quiche.
Sated and happy we walked along b the lighthouse to a butterfly farm, which was exquisite, the insects actually landed on different parts of your body and accepted the free passage as we walked the exotic gardens. It was a wonderful way to complete the day.

So that’s the ports. In between, while at sea I did two talks, one ‘The Singer’s Singer’ the main one that talks about dad’s life and uses extracts from the book, the second ‘Who Are You? Which is all about my life with dad. They were both very well attended and I sold out of CDs. The saleslady also told me that I had outsold Marco Pierre White on the book front. Rather nice accolade. I really enjoyed my time on Adonia, she might be small but she is perfectly formed. The staff are fabulous and work very hard at ensuring you have the best holiday possible and the passengers themselves are a heady mixture of people from every walk of life. They were very kind to me, as was everyone, the Commodore even came to my first talk, and I have to stay when I stepped off I was slightly sad that the expedition was over. I’m hopeful there will be another right around the corner.

I got on Fred Olsen the day after getting off Adonia but I do not want to overload you all in one go. I have seven cruises booked so far for next year but I hope to bring that up to twelve. Some cruise lines are not looking at next year’s diaries until the end of this month so by October I should have more to tell you and at that point I will list them all as I do hope you might be able to join me on one.

In the meantime don’t forget to tune into Siren 107.3 FM every Wednesday around 5.50m for another Matt Monro classic. The station has been kind enough to keep inviting me back on so until they kick me out I’m delighted to bring you a track you might not have heard before. If you miss one week don’t forget to listen back to the webcasts that Alex puts on the website each week.

Don’t forget to check out our Spotlight guest this month, I know so many of you enjoy them.

Most importantly please let me know if you have anything related to dad, whether a story, a photo or an old radio show. Or maybe you have some old VHS formats laying in the attic that might have a television show on it. We can always have it transferred for you at our costs. As Richard and I unearth these rarities we are constantly told “but we thought you must have it”. Please don’t be shy; you might have something we are looking for. I repeat this message every month just in case it jogs someone’s memory.

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.

Until October here’s wishing you a wonderful 2012 and may your year be filled with music.

Warmest
Michele Monro

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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