Fan Club Event – ‘Fans Reunited’
It was lovely to see so many of you at the Fans Reunited Event again this year. From what I have read on the message board it seems that you all enjoyed it. For those of you who weren’t able to come I thought you would like a little bit of a rundown of what happened back on the 2nd of October at the Beck Theatre in Hayes.
This year we were able to use the foyer area of the Theatre, as we had been a little cramped in the function room last year. This gave us much more flexibility and allowed us to contain ourselves in one area. I arrived early with Richard (who had brought a PA system with him) to arrange everything we needed and to meet the film crew who were covering the event. The Beck staff were a great help to us as always. The one thing missing was the video screen, which finally arrived two hours late! By this time everything else was ready the first guests had started to arrive.
One of the first to arrive was Geraldine Vine and her husband Ian as well as her mother Joan, and friend June White. It was so nice to meet Ian for the first time. Geraldine runs “Friends of Matt Monro” our official Fan Club and had, for the second year running, very generously donated a cake decorated with the faces of both Matt Snr and Matt Jnr. as well as the many balloons that brightened up the area. She does a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes and for that we are all very grateful.
It seems that several of our more ardent members had started arriving in the area on the Monday, notably Angela, John H and Marian, Paul also checked in at 2.00pm having hotfooted himself over from America and promptly departed again making a beeline for HMV and BHS in Uxbridge. The others, more sensibly, headed to the pub across the road. After an afternoon of camaraderie Angela drove everyone to Jack’s Fish and Chips, something the American had set his sights on. It seems the cod, soggy chips and mushy peas, bread and butter (not very appealing according to gossip) went down very well. Paul had never had mushy peas and another new experience was vinegar. Thoroughly sated they headed back to the hotel for Paul’s first pub experience. Three rounds of drinks later (only two for Paul, as “Americans drink slowly” they closed the pub at midnight.
The next morning Mark Knight and Jules arrived and the numbers grew. That afternoon saw them all squeeze into a taxi to take them to The Beck Theatre.
The foyer was awash with familiar faces and a special thanks to those of you who crossed the country to get there. I know that John Highton from Blackpool and Gray who had travelled down from York both headed home again that day. That is certainly an amazing feat. It was wonderful to see our oldest friends, Sue and Mike Parker and Christine, Graham Hampshire and Joan and Ray Jowett and it is such a shame that there wasn’t more time to catch up.
The event started with news of Matt Jnr’s new album “If He Could See Me Now” which was released that very day for the tour only. Matt is negotiating with several record companies and hopes to see it nationally released in March/April of next year. Unfortunately because this was the first night of his new tour, Matt could not be with us, as he was knee deep in rehearsals for his new show, but sent his apologies. That didn’t stop me playing one of the tracks from the album.
We then moved on to “Matt at the Movies” and I passed over to Steve Woof of EMI who had brought along the original artwork for the album as the star prize in our raffle. He explained what we were currently working on and then surprised my mother and I with a wonderful award for 1 Million CD sales of my fathers’ recordings in the United Kingdom. An achievement, he explained, not many artists could match, completely through back catalogue sales. It has taken pride of place in my office and something we are all very proud of. Congratulations to Marian and Peter who won the artwork and have now mounted it in their hallway.
Throughout the afternoon I thought it would be nice for the fans to see and hear some rare music and video footage that they may never otherwise get to experience such as the Camay Ad and dad’s earliest surviving television appearances including Big Night Out and The Late Show. This year I decided to concentrate on recent discoveries and duets. The selection I made seemed to go down well if your comments on the forum are anything to go by. As always I have to thank co-conspirator Richard Moore at this point for putting together the video clip DVD for me and for making some of the earlier clips a bit more ‘watchable’. What most people don’t realise are the hours and days it takes to put something like this together not forgetting his labour of love in cleaning up the sound on many of the clips.
There followed a variety of clips including a great ‘Kenny Everett Skit’, ‘I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love’, two versions of ‘I Love the Little Things’. There were several duets: ‘Fancy Meeting You Here’ with Pet Clark, ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’, ‘I’m Gonna Lock My Heart and Throw Away the Key’ and ‘You Ought to be in Pictures” with Rosemary Squires, ‘Crowther, Monro and Black’ and a wonderful coupling of Don Lane and Matt.
Thanks to several very special people I was able to share a wonderful audio of ‘A Matter of Association” which dad performed at The Talk of the Town, a duet with Joe Brown ‘Swinging on a Star’ and just to prove that dad had the most marvellous sense of humour, a rendition of “Mama Will Bark”.
The day I made contact with Richard was surely one of my luckiest days. The amount of help, hours of research and his dedication to his art is something I can only admire and I am sure you all join me in giving grateful thanks for without Richard a lot of tracks would not have come to light.
Richard was also responsible for ‘Love Story’ making the new album “Matt at the Movies” and it was wonderful to be able to play you that as well as the English version of ‘When I Look into Your Eyes’ as well as the recently unearthed tracks of ‘Oh My Child’ and ‘Time to Go’. Hopefully they will be released on a future compilation.
The afternoon seemed to fly by and soon it was time for a quick break before the “Forum” awards. There were several names that popped up again and I was thrilled to be able to hand out certificates to Paul (JH), John Highton, Robert McCloud, Marian Down and Marian Doyle notching up several thousand postings between them. But the honour of the day went to Lena and Harry Smith who had held their leader position of the previous year with a colossal 3866 hits. Thanks to all of you for your contributions, it is what makes our website so special.
For the first year running we held the much-anticipated quiz. We split the room into tabled, self-named teams, which was in three sections. First a general knowledge picture round. “Who is this Celebrity?” The second round was “Name That Album Cover” where Richard had removed the titles of some of my fathers well known and not so well known album covers.
The third round was far more fiendish! I asked Richard “Can you sort out some sound clips for me – Don’t make them all too easy though” Well he certainly took me at my word and during some of the clips many of your faces were a picture. We used twenty of the twenty-five recordings that he had prepared – the last five we intended to use as tie breakers that were extremely cryptic but ultimately not needed.
The eventual winners were the aptly named “Top Team” They managed to get 18 out of the 20 clips in the final round on top of an already very good score. It would have been interesting to find out what they would have made of the last five!
A message to some of those that didn’t do so well – when I first heard the tracks, shortly after Richard had put them together, I played in the fun together with my brother. I only got 11 correct and Matt only 3!!!
Finally, before the delicious buffet we drew the raffle. Besides the “Matt at The Movies” artwork which was won by Marian & Peter Down, I have to thank Ian Black, who once again donated one of his wonderful canvas portraits of dad. If anyone wishes to commission Ian to paint one of these acrylic canvas paintings then contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org Congratulations to Mark Porter for winning the canvas which I now know is sitting in his office next to a portrait of Matt. I am glad Gray won something, especially after travelling so far to get there. He obtained the 6-disc CD set of the George Martin music collaboration, much to the delight of his children. It contains ‘Jake the Peg’ and Terry Scott singing ‘My Brother’ which they love.
Another year and another goodie bag, I was especially delighted to be able to give everyone who attended a special disc of unreleased songs. I do hope it holds a special place in your hearts.
One of my personal highlights were seeing so many of the faces who came last year, Marianna, Sue & Mike, Marian & Peter, Lena & Harry, Angela, Mark Porter and of course Paul who came the furthest, from the USA. Then of course I had the pleasure of meeting many new faces, Gray, John, Mark & Jules, Kimberley, Len & Freda and Anne & David from the Isle of Wight, John Parvey and Steve Clark, Graham Lawson Graham Porter and Richard Cornfield, Lena and Anna, Joe and Roger Brooks, Stephen Tarry and Beverly Barnes and Elizabeth and Alan, Marie Wencel and Mark Paul. Forgive me for not mentioning everyone but you are all in my thoughts for making our second event so successful.
The day came to an end with my brother’s new show, the first night of Matt’s 21-date British Tour. Matt would have loved to come and see you all as he normally does after the show, but needed to iron out a few technical problems before his show the following evening. One of the major changes that took place shortly after was the absence of the two girl singers who appeared as the opening act. Matt is now opening and closing the entire show himself. That is the trouble with the first night of any tour, there are always hitches and changes get made so anyone going to a later show in the tour will be pleasantly surprised. Matt is sorry to have missed you all, this was the first time he has ever missed coming to the Foyer after a concert but it was unavoidable.
My family and I enjoyed meeting everyone and hope everybody there had as good a time as we did. My son was wonderful and helped with many of the requests from his Uncle Matt and of course a special thanks to Sue & Paul who work incredibly hard, not just that night but every night of a tour. Paul also does a great job with the ‘Tour Blog’, which I know many of you enjoy.
A special thanks to Colin McGinn who took so many wonderful pictures last year. He flew especially into London in order to be there with us and repeat the exercise. Some of his highlights are featured on our slide show and many of our member’s photographs are available in the “Scrapbook”. The event has its own heading ‘Fans Re-united’.
I do hope it is not too long before some of us have a chance to meet up again and in the meanwhile Enjoy The Music
Click below to see photographs of the 2007 Fans Reunited event.
Click below to see photographs of the first hugely successful event.