September 2018

Gosh another season has come to a close and I am now safely back home albeit with a mountain of stuff to do. Packing up after 3 months away was quite a feat and I’m only grateful that I took some stuff home when I went back for the Graduation and that Rose took three large boxes off with her on my behalf.

The trouble with me is my ‘memory’. It has slowly regenerated over the last few years to the point where whole fragments are missing (it’s an age thing). I have been going to the car park site every two weeks that I was back in Southampton and although my car is off site at a compound, the lads who work for EzeParking gladly take my bags and take them to my car for me. I had completely forgotten about 5 large lounge cushions I’d bought in Norway or the 4foot long breadboard I’d picked up in Blankenberge. When I got to the car I was aghast to find it fairly full and the two porters I’d picked up in the terminal looked on in dismay. Bless them. I don’t know how they did it but they managed to pack my car and get everything in save a lone space for me to drive. Let’s put it this way there was no point me stopping en route for groceries because trust me there wasn’t even space for a loaf of bread, lol.



The car chugged the three hours home to Monro Towers and I now have the unenviable task of finding room for it all. The trouble with writing a tourist book is that I had picked up books, brochures and leaflets at every place I went to and then wrote copious amount of notes on that destination. It didn’t help that Celebrity had added two virgin ports to their itinerary, which I then had to add. It mean there were 7 large boxes filled with research and the contents are now all over the dining room, and I mean on the table, settees, chairs and floor. I kid you not, there is only a slim walkway for entering and exiting but it doesn’t matter for the moment as I don’t use the room much except for guests and Christmas.

Rose and her gorgeous husband Andy came over two days later with my boxes and luckily the weather was nice and we ate I the garden. Ditto for the following day when my mate Lynn & Lee Carroll came over for lunch. Time flies and it was frightening to realise it had been four years since we were all together last on Fred Olsen

Mind you it is only 16 weeks until Christmas and normally that wouldn’t bother me but I have a host of things to do before I leave again on 3 January. My main priority is to get the new book out. I have to say it is now nearly three years ago when I started this project and I had no idea it would take the amount of time it has. A lot of my holdups have been the fact that I cannot use the laptop at sea as I constantly need Wi-Fi to check the spellings of foreign names and double check that the information I have isn’t now out-of-date. Because this new project is a series of books, I have been writing several destinations at the same time, but by hand and I have filled huge numbers of pads with my scribble, which I now have to decipher.

Having the idea for two market firsts I have spent nearly every waking hour writing and doing research and 6 weeks ago, after a stop in Southampton, I picked up the new cruise magazines. There in the Lonely Planet periodical was a full-page advert for ‘Cruise Port Guides’. I very nearly had a hissy fit and wanted to through all my research over the side of the ship. I suppose that is the danger of putting your plans on the Internet; anyone can see your ideas, which is why I kept it under wraps for so long. Not only that but I am a one-man band and they had 40 contributors.
Two weeks later when we were back in Southampton, I bought a copy of their book and I have to say I am not as unhappy as I first was when I saw the advert. Mine is a completely different concept and I found theirs to be lacking in a lot of areas. Lonely Planet is a huge company and a lone individual cannot match the money they have behind each project. My main problem is distribution but I am confident that word of mouth will help my sales. Spending so long on ships each year has given me the added bonus of speaking to cruisers and getting their take on what is lacking in the market. People don’t necessarily want to know the history of the Trevi Fountain months before visiting; they want to know whether they can get there by themselves or what options they have other than using the ship’s tours.

The bottom line is the first book is going to come out this year and all being equal the next in the series will follow it a few months later. I will then see if it is worth continuing the series, if not, onto other things.

I hope by now, most of you will have caught the new Cow & Gate advert, with daddy singing Born Free. Interestingly the company have bought most of their slots between midnight and 2.00am. I have seen it most night on Universal but suffice to say it is still visible. Richard and I have been negotiating with Universal about a new Matt Monro project and all being equal I hope to have something exciting to report in the next two months. When EMI closed its doors for the last time I don’t think any of us had any idea that Matt Monro would be laid to one side but a massive mistake was made in that dad’s catalogue got split between Universal and Warner and it has made things slightly messy. I suppose the relationship that was ongoing with myself and Steve Woof was unique and it was a massive shock to find that no one else had the same passion of promoting dad’s catalogue but time marches on and things change but fingers crossed there will be something new in the pipeline very soon.

 

As most of you know by now The Matt Monro Story is touring for the last time this year before my brother retires. After thirty years in the business, the dates in September, October, and November will see him hang up his show business hat. Having just got married to a wonderful lady he doesn't want to spend months on the road anymore, he figures it's time to try something new…. but he hasn’t made his mind up yet on what that will be.

Matt’s last album, which came out last year to coincide with the tour will also be available. “A Father’s Legacy’ was the first album since his 2007 “If He Could See Me Now” and his 2010 “Dancing With His Father’. Matt has done the album in the style of dad in terms of arrangements and although the final running order is different, these are the tracks included.

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

This is the first time that come September my dates have not come in for next year yet. Celebrity Cruises have had a change of personnel and they have apologized for dates being offered late but of course it might be they won’t offer anything at all. That is the nature of this business; it is very much a wait-and-see system. Fred Olsen have changed their criteria and Princess have now off-loaded their booking to agents but I will update my diary each month..

Cruise Dates 2018

8-18 October – Fred Olsen

Cruise Dates 2019

3 January – 27 February – P&O

Cruise Dates 2020

6 January – 24 March – Cruise & Maritime

 

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 The Swinging Blue Jeans.

Check out the ‘Rough Guide to mattmonro.com’, 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 about doing so. For that reason, I have printed step-by-step instructions on 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 dad’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 goes home a fan, then it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the Bay of Biscay!!!!

Until next month take care of yourselves and I’ll see you all again in October with more tales from Monro Towers.

Warmest to you and yours

Michele

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