NEWS

August 2015

I feel as if I’m living in some sort of surreal bubble. Ever since I moved home my life hasn’t been my own. I have had so many issues with the house it has gone beyond a joke. It would seem that my electricity bill from January to June of this year is nearly £3,000 despite the fact I was away for three months of that time period. I have waited in for British Gas on five separate occasions and they just haven’t bothered to turn up. The trouble is that no one has a phone that you can ring them back on. I have to ring the main number, try and get someone who understands English and they then have to email the case advocate asking them to ring me!!!!

After what felt like a long tennis match they finally agreed that they needed to send someone out to do an accuracy test. Several more days spent waiting for someone to turn up a lad arrived and guess what??? He didn’t have the equipment with him. Then another arrived a few weeks later who said he wasn’t qualified to do a meter accuracy test. Three months on and I insisted that British Gas put a capon my bill as it was by then about £53.00 per day. I was told that I was using the equivalent of a 2-½ year bill on a household of four.

I have just had a new meter fitted and now have to wait for them to evaluate what my true spend is every day at which point I hope to be presented with a more reasonable bill but one never knows.

Throughout all this work the electricity had to be turned off which is when I found that the battery back-up for the electric garage doors didn’t work. I’m very lucky it was still under guarantee because it was obviously already faulty when installed. I was never asked to turn the supply off to see if the back up worked and I assumed he had tested it. Never mind that is now working with an upgraded system that is all singing and dancing.

Did I mention the leak in the new radiator in my en-suite radiator? That is when I found out that there is no access to the attic over the two new rooms Originally there had been access in the garage as I know the electrician was one of the last people to sign off on the house but it would seem that the builder plastered it all up when he finished insulating the back of the garage wall which is on the other side of my dressing room. The builder failed to answer any of my three urgent emails asking where the access hole had gone. I had no choice but to book the plumber to come back and create the access area and to connect a pipe that would enable me to have an outside tap by the garage and then finally he was able to fix the leak. It could have been a disaster if anything had happened with any of the bigger pipes or anything electrical as no one could attend to a potential problem. I can’t physically get into the attic so I had no idea there was a breezeblock wall where the original house ended and no access to the two new areas that was part of my extension.

You might remember me talking about a company called Loosemores Transport, whose driver hit my front garden wall in December of last year. I came back off Adonia in April to find the wall as I left it and there followed months of emails back and forth to the managing director. He put in writing that I could demolish the wall and he would pay for the damage and subsequent repair. But once the wall came down the company decided that the damage was caused by frost and he wanted to come and visit the site but over the months no one came and he started ignoring my emails. I had no other recourse but to take the matter to small claims court but all these things are such a bugbear. What annoys me the most is that he had the best part of four months in which to visit the site or indeed to fix the wall themselves. Of course at first they tried to say that the driver hadn’t hit the wall, then he seemed to get his memory back. They asked for a quote and I sent photos and they said that would be sufficient but then they suddenly asked for witness statements. Then although they admitted the driver had hit the wall that I was using the claim as an excuse to get the whole wall done. They were told in December that you cannot source the brick anymore, it hasn’t been made in more than eight years and I couldn’t even find any on EBay and I didn’t want a wall with two different bricks in it. They just didn’t get it. Watch this space.

I have finally had the garage roof fixed, that only took 7 months the same amount of time it took to get my new front door changed and guess what? Yes you got it the new door came and the glass was damaged. They have had to fir the door until they can get another one made. I’ve been told that it won’t take as long as the damage is evident but it was on the original door so I’m still waiting.

The weather has been pants and so I didn’t manage to get the garden done before I left the country. There was a massive issue with the laying of the slabs and then one of the builders thought it a good idea to use brick acid to bring them back to their original state when they were delivered. It didn’t, in fact they looked awful. Instead of dark grey slate it looked like pale grey concrete and I was advised to get a stain and sealant. This has to be put on by hand, one slab at a time and it has taken me ages to do half the area but they at least looked good for a time. My gorgeous dog DJ decided the wheelchair ramp was the perfect place to wee and guess what? I have a stained trickle all down the ramp. Not only didn’t the sealant work but there is no way of me getting rid of the marks as it seems to have etched itself in. The sealant is a permanent process. I hate the look but I have to seal the other half of the garden as it looks awful having two colours across the patio. I so wish I could put the clock back and start again. I should have put an insurance claim in against the builder who used the brick acid, as he obviously didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t dilute the batches equally and there are large watermarks where he has obviously thrown what was left in the bucket across the path but didn’t sweep it through.

I’m not here much over the summer period so I’d be very surprised if I get it finished or get a chance to actually sit in the garden. I’d like to rip the whole lot up but it would be just too costly. The other problem is that the builder who laid the slabs didn’t allow enough for drainage so every time to rains the path floods in certain areas.

The container is still here, as I haven’t had time to hold my ‘yard sale’ although a lot of you have added to your music collections. It would be impossible to list everything that I am selling but suffice to say if you have anything missing, whether vinyl, CD, cassette or song sheet, then drop me a line. I am selling each item at £5.00 plus postage, as after costs, the money will go to the Macmillan Society in memory of mum and dad.

I have heard absolutely nothing from Warner regarding the 2 on 1 that they advised me they wanted to release, which saw Shirley Bassey and my father pitted together.
I did tell them that in principal I have no objection but that was on 11 June and I am still awaiting a reply.

Time is often my enemy and I’ve had to leave several things as is until I return. The 18th July saw me fly out to Venice to catch up with Celebrity Constellation. Even though the ship didn’t arrive until the 19th July there was only one flight a day and it would have got me on at eleven at night and that was too late. I had no alternative but to fly the day before but there was only one flight a day on the Saturday as well and that was at 6.35am. Of course I couldn’t check into the Marriott until 2.00pm so I had to lag about quite a bit but eventually I just dumped my bags at the hotel and went off to take some photographs. The one advantage of leaving a day early is that I had a whole night in this enchanting city. It is definitely one of my favourites.

I hadn’t been on the ship affectionately known as "Connie" by its fans but I’m enjoying it very much. The 2,034-­passenger Celebrity Constellation debuted in 2002 as the fourth and final ship in Celebrity Cruises' Millennium Class. Over the years, the ship has developed a host of repeat cruisers who are drawn to its intriguing itineraries.

In 2013, the ship went into dry dock for a major makeover. The 66 staterooms added include popular Aqua Class cabins and their companion Blu restaurant featuring healthy "clean cuisine." Other new features include the addition of private verandahs for the eight Celebrity Suites, an upgraded basketball court, an iLounge with Apple workstations and a retail store, and new meeting and conference spaces. Also upgraded was the Wi-Fi throughout the ship with a new easier-to-manage log-on system. Some common areas and staterooms were redecorated with new color schemes, carpeting and upholstery reflective of the newer Solstice Class.

Click on picture for full size pdf

Constellation, and the Celebrity line as a whole, attract older experienced savvy cruisers looking for an experience that offers value and a bit of luxury In both price, quality of food and service, and general ambience, Connie strives to balance the intimacy offered by smaller ships and the leisure, entertainment and dining perks offered by bigger ships. Passengers have access to nine bars and lounges; French, Italian and bistro alternative restaurants; a large casino and nightly Vegas-styled entertainment not forgetting the ice-frosted martini bar.

The staff is friendly and helpful, and senior officers, including the captain, are very visible and accessible. All go out of their way to chat with passengers on their frequent walks through the ship and at shipboard events unlike some other cruise lines I could mention.

The itinerary takes in some of my favourite ports from Santorini, Mykonos and Kusadasi but I think I’ll leave all the juicy bits until the next ‘News’ in September, as I’m still mid-cruise as I’m writing this.

In case you didn’t log in last month check out the David Nixon footage that has now turned up online. Freddie Davis sent me a copy some years ago but it didn’t contain the whole show. This is not the best quality but as well at dad’s skit with David Nixon and Freddie Davis it also has dad’s solo version of "Sarah's Coming Home" which I thought you might like to see.


 

Richard and I have now had permission from Warner to take over dad’s Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/mattmonro

The new CD ‘Operation Santa’ is doing very well and if you haven’t got your copy yet then don’t dilly-dally. Richard has once again done the most amazing job at remastering the material and I am thrilled that it has now joined our new release list.

In December 1962 Matt was invited to sing at a special charity concert in Hong Kong where he had previously been stationed in the Army. This was part of the annual 'Operation Santa Claus' fund raising event organised by Radio Hong Kong. He was involved in many events across 5 days culminating in the concert at City Hall which was broadcast live on Radio Hong Kong but not archived by them. Thankfully Matt was given a recording as a souvenir, which was rediscovered a few years ago and this is presented here for the first time anywhere since its original broadcast.

Also included is an interview recorded with Ted Thomas from the same trip. Two bonus tracks are included from previously lost radio broadcasts. It comes with a 12-page booklet containing notes by Matt's daughter and biographer Michele Monro along with rare or previously unpublished photographs from the Monro estate archives. The initial 500 copies of the set come with an extra 4-page booklet celebrating the work of Mickie & Michele Monro in the years since Matt's passing.

1. All Of You 2. Without A Song 3. Portrait Of My Love 4. My Kind Of Girl 5. What Kind Of Fool Am I? 6. My Love And Devotion 7. (Won't You Come Home) Bill Bailey 8. I Guess It Was You All the Time 9. What Now My Love? 10. When The Saints Go Marching In 11 - 22. Matt Speaks To Ted Thomas Bonus Tracks 23. Look For A Star 24. Christmas Magic

Odeon Entertainment’s new DVD of dad’s television performances. “Around the World’ was almost nine months in the making and the frustration of dealing with foreign television archivists was enough for one to give up the will to live. In the early years dad’s television appearances also saw him perform in skits and finding Red Skelton’s “Let’s face the Music and Dance’ was a joy. Every time I watch the footage I fall about laughing, it is just too fabulous.

Unfortunately there were quite a few problems that occurred before the master pressing and with Alan Byron away the mistakes were put through un-noticed so just for clarity here is what is actually on the DVD. Please also note the running time is 65 minutes plus extras.

The Show listing on the disc runs:

Saturday Night at the Mill:

Portrait/Walk Away/ Born Free Medley

Harty:
You Bring Out the Best in Me
Interview

The Mike Walsh Show:
Georgia
If I Never Sing Another Song

Miss England 1975:
The Second Time Around
My Kind of Girl
You and Me Against the World

The Reg Varney Revue:
Chattanooga Choo Choo

Nana Mouskouri (Show of the Week):
Curiouser and Curiouser
When You Wish Upon a Star

The Rolf Harris Show:
We’re Gonna Change the World
Walk Away

The Des O’Connor Show (The Kraft Music Hall Show):

That Old Black Magic (Duet with Des O’Connor)

The Novello Awards 1969/1970:
You Made Me Feel So Very Happy
My Way

The Big Show (Export Title: Showtime)
Rain Sometimes
Just in Time
I Have Dreamed

The Red Skelton Hour:
Let’s Face the Music and Dance

 
Extra Tracks:

Saturday Night at the Mill
:
If I Never Sing Another Song

The Mike Walsh Show:
The Second Time Around

Please don’t forget to leave your own reviews either on the Matt Monro Forum or Amazon. They are so important and one never knows whether the record companies are looking in. It could well make the difference between releasing something soon or not. The power of the written word is all-powerful

 

Matt Monro Jnr might be visiting a theatre near you in the latter part of the year when he goes back on the road with the 30th anniversary tour. If your ‘local’ isn’t on the list then ring the theatre and ask why they are not bringing it in. If they know there is an interest they might very well add it to their schedule. The Matt Monro Story is already booked in to over 24 venues with more being added all the time. Make sure you grab your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

 

Cruise Calendar 2015/2016

19 July – 2 August – Celebrity Constellation
30 August – 13 September – Celebrity Eclipse
13 September – 27 September – Celebrity Eclipse
10 October– 21 October – Celebrity Eclipse
21 October – 1 November – Celebrity Eclipse
5 January – 16 February – Cruise & Maritime Magellan

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 on The Seekers.

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 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!!!!

Until next month
Warmest to you and yours

Michele

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Amazon
  - Press this link to see the Amazon Listing for The Singers Singer by Michele Monro

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