What a month it has been with the fruition of the official unveiling of dad’s Blue Heritage Plaque. London’s famous Blue Plaques link the people of the past with the buildings of the present. Now run by English Heritage, the London Blue Plaques scheme was started in 1866 and is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world.
Sue Merchant has worked tirelessly to get a Blue Heritage Plaque unveiled but because of Covid-19, the ceremony had to be delayed several times, which was quite stressful. Finally, I was thrilled when we received news the award would be granted on 17 May 2022 at our old house at 14 Ruxley Lane in Ewell. We chose this date to coincide with my brother gigging at the Epsom Playhouse that night as part of his tour so that he could be there to represent the family. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t possible for me to attend as the journey time was too much because of my M.S. I was quite sad as this was something I’d been waiting on for years but sadly it just wasn’t viable.
The ceremony took place at 12.30 pm at the house, which is now owned by Mr & Mrs Sheriff, and a good number of loyal fans turned up as did the Epsom Choir which was a complete surprise to everyone. They sang several of dad’s songs and pulled Matt Jnr up to help them out. The official said some really nice words and Matt Jnr officially thanked everyone that was there and spent time talking to everyone.
Before people moved on to the Queen Adelaide pub on Ewell Bypass for refreshments, the owners invited Matt Jnr in to look around the house. Not only was that extremely generous of them but an emotional journey for my brother as he had been born there.
I had asked that people sent their photos in but to date, only a few have done that, but I am very grateful to Sue Merchant, Anthony E Catherall, Fiona Hetherington, Gail Oxley-Crawford and Jeremy who have all given me permission to let you share in them.
Talking of my brother, you will know that he officially retired a few years ago but like all artists, who take time away from the tread boards, he got itchy feet and was set to tour last year. Of course, the whole industry was affected by the pandemic and everyone was forced to suspend their plans until the theatres opened again and citizens were given the freedom to venture out again. The Matt Monro Story which includes video clips, home movies and even a sequence where Matt Jnr duets with dad, all play a part in this celebration of the life and legacy of Matt Monro. The tour kicked off on 3rd May 2022 at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley and the last date played at Glasgow New Auditorium on 29th May. It was better than we could have all hoped for and even when the theatre wasn’t completely full, you wouldn’t have known it because the audiences were fantastic and, in most cases, a standing ovation was given and you can’t ask for more than that.
It seems Matt Jnr has caught the bug and he has asked me to work on a brand-new tour. No dates yet but I would imagine either late 2023 or early 2024. It depends on how quickly I can write, lol
Talking of writing, my new book, “The Autonomous Cruiser: The Complete Guide to Cruising For and with Disabled Travellers”, finally came out on 7 March and made No4 in Amazon’s Disability & Travel section.
This is the first book to specifically address the needs of the disabled cruiser and their carers so they can ensure a stress-free holiday. Having spent more than 40 years cruising the world and also working as a specialist speaker on a number of cruise lines including Celebrity, P&O, Fred. Olsen and Royal Caribbean, I was shocked to find there was nothing on the marking to address the needs of a disadvantaged traveller and that made me very cross.
In the 1990s I was diagnosed with MS. It was then I began to fully appreciate the absence of advice and information about cruise travel with a special need. I felt strongly that whilst living with a disability presents a lot of obstacles, a cruise holiday shouldn’t have to be one of them and I began what was to become 3 years of painstaking research covering all the possible details a disabled cruise traveller needs to know. Because of the pandemic, the book was put on hold for a further two years and I then had to update it twice, one for Brexit and again for the effects of Covid on the industry. At one point I nearly pulled it but when the industry started going back to sea I decided to persevere.
The Autonomous Cruiser is the result. The most up to date and comprehensive guide available, advising on the whole process of cruising, including: –
Cruise and port choices, and the accessibility of cruise terminals. A comprehensive section on fly-cruises including airport guides, car park assistance, wheelchair advice, checked luggage, lounges, and delayed and missed departures
Critical pre-planning information including holiday administration, vaccinations, medication, cabin selection, upgrades, pier transfers, luggage services, drinks packages, specialty dining and online check-in
Life on board incorporates embarkation, cruise ship etiquette, dining, entertainment, meetings, bridge visits, swimming pools, spa facilities shopping and duty-free, photo gallery, onboard savings, ship visits, port calls, tendering, safety, technology at sea and the travel scams to watch out for
Caregivers, chaperones and service dogs
A directory outlining the most important disability resources, including accessible shore excursions, dedicated apps, cruise specialists and accessible travel agents
This market first book covers the most common areas of special needs – from those travelling with pre-existing conditions, special dietary considerations, prescriptions and medication, epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities, compromised immune systems, breathing disorders, kidney disease, and visual and hearing impairments to make this the most comprehensive guide to cruising available.
I was actually cruising on P&O when the book was released but I did 18 radio interviews before I left and a whole bunch while on board. I got a full page in the Sunday Times, which I’m very proud about, and was reviewed in Best of British last month. World of Cruising released my article a few days ago and the piece I wrote for Cruise International is due out on 1st June. I have also done several blog articles and dozens of BBC and Hospital radios since I got home but the book is only as good as its publicity so if any of you have a social media site, I would be grateful if you could post a copy of the book cover there as this is a subject, I am very passionate about.
The Autonomous Cruiser by Michele Monro is published by Clink Street Publishing and both the paperback and eBook are available to buy online from all good retailers including Amazon.co.uk
If you’d like to read my article that was featured on wheelchairtravel.org I’ve put the link below.
and here’s the one that came out on the World of Cruising website
I also have a new Author’s website – michelemonro.com and as well as the information on both of my books it will be used in the future for any updates to the book and news of the port guide sequels.
I was amazed to find over the last few months while doing the radio promotion on the new book that several people were not aware of dad’s brand-new album that we brought on in 2020 especially as Stranger in Paradise: The Lost New York Sessions went straight to the No8 spot in the official album charts and stayed in the charts for six months. The first CD is brand new material recorded with just a five piece band but `I decided to combine it was a second disc with all of dad’s more familiar titles, remastered of course by the fabulous Richard Moore, for any new fans of dad’s music. If you didn’t grab a copy head to Amazon and pick it up for the ludicrously low price of £4.24 as there are only two left in stock.
I was upset to learn nearly two years ago that a few albums available to upload were inferior in quality compared to what is available in sound today so after airing my complaints Universal gave the go-ahead. Richard mastered them within weeks, and now at least someone has finally pushed a button which has made them live.
The remastered downloads of 8 of his 9 original Capitol albums now appear on all good download and streaming sites as of 8th April. The last album “We’re Gonna Change The World” and three brand-new compilations gathering together the rest of Matt’s Capitol catalogue will be made available at a later date.
This is The Life (1966) – Available in Stereo for the first time digitally. Brand new re-master from original US master tape.
This is the Life –
I’m Glad There Is You
This Is The Life
You’re Gonna Hear From Me
I’ll Take Romance
Strangers In The Night
On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)
My Best Girl
On A Wonderful Day Like Today
Honey On The Vine
Here’s To My Lady (1966) – Available in Stereo for the first time digitally. Brand new re-master from original US master tape.
When Joanna Loved Me
Real Live Girl
When Sunny Gets Blue
Here’s To My Lady
The Good Life
You’ve Got Possibilities
Sweet Talkin’ Hannah
Nina Never Knew
Invitation To The Movies (1967) – Brand new remaster from UK and US Stereo master tapes
Theme From “The Sand Pebbles”
A Time For Love
I Will Wait For You
Moment To Moment
In The Arms Of Love
A Man And A Woman
Strangers In The Night
These Years (1967) – Brand new remaster from Stereo US master tapes
There’s A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)
Don’t Sleep In The Subway
What To Do?
You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
Music To Watch Girls By
Here, There And Everywhere
Nobody Cares For Me
Invitation to Broadway (1968) – Brand new remaster from Stereo US master tapes
Look For Small Pleasures
Stranger In Paradise
The Impossible Dream
The Apple Tree
I’ll Only Miss Her When I Think Of Her
Come Back To Me
If She Walked Into My Life
Put On A Happy Face
The Late Late Show (1968) – Brand new remaster from Stereo US master tapes
If She Should Come To You
When I Fall In Love
Hello Young Lovers
Time After Time
This Is All I Ask
I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face
Days Of Wine And Roses
The Shadow Of Your Smile
Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes)
The Party’s Over
Todo Pasara (1968) – Brand new remaster taken from the 1st generation mixdown masters for the first time ever.
Alguien Canto (The Music Played)
Que Tiempo Tan Feliz (Those Were The Days)
Lo Que Quedo (All That Remains)
No Puedo Quitar Mis Ojos De Ti (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)
Todo Pasara (Everything Will Happen)
Vete Por Favor (Walk Away)
Nacida Libre (Born Free)
No Me Dejes (If You Go Away)
Amandote Otra Vez (Lovin’ You Again)
Si Tu Te Vas (If You Go)
La Perla Y El Rubi (The Ruby And The Pearl)
En Espana (1970) – Brand new remaster taken from the 1st generation mixdown masters for the first time ever. La Estrella Del Sur Mixed to Stereo for the first time and Dónde Hallarse? Has been re-mixed due to damage to the master tape. Newly added bonus track ”Ven Mi Amor” also receives it’s first time Stereo mixes
Sueño Imposible (The Impossible Dream)
No Me Pesa, Es Mi Hermano (He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother)
Te Esperaré (I Will Wait For You)
Si Yo Fuera Carpintero (If I Were A Carpenter)
La Sombra De Tu Sonrisa (The Shadow Of Your Smile)
Dónde Hallarse? (Where In The World)
En Días Como Estos (On Days Like These)
Los Dos (Two People)
Puedo Ser Feliz (You’ve Made Me So Very Happy)
Qué Tonto Fui
La Estrella Del Sur (The Southern Star)