Another incredibly slow month when it comes to Matt Monro news. People are still using the pandemic as an excuse to be less productive. Slow is an understatement and the paint I was watching dry is still wet, lol. I have never and will never understand how record companies make any money. They have even less excuses as working from home should have freed up more time in their day, not less. Richard and I have been waiting to release uploads of all the albums that haven’t been available before. 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, has been paid for them, and they are still sitting in cyberspace literally waiting for someone to push a button which would make them live. It is absolutely crazy. 18 months and counting.
Another MM product Richard has worked on is also ready to go, but he has been waiting for the track list to be approved. Not only are the record companies losing money but they are also losing me money which has an impact of what I can work on next. Looking back, EMI and especially Steve Woof were such a joy to work with and I am immensely proud of what we managed to produce over our 20-year relationship. In fact, it really all started with EMI when they gave me the green light to produce a dedicated website for dad. We released some fabulous albums, all in stereo and not just the standard ‘Best Of’ or ‘Greatest Hits’ titles. I was immensely chuffed with ‘The Rare Monro’ and ‘The Rarer Monro’ and it was good to finally expel the belief that if an album didn’t have ‘Born Free’ on it then it wouldn’t sell. It was fabulous to finish off with using the EMI building for the book launch in tandem with Titan Publishing. I have to say I was devastated when EMI closed its doors as I knew it would be an end to the freedom I’d enjoyed over those years but I am at least grateful that I managed to release everything on my wish list save ‘The Lost New York Sessions’.
I went to Warners with the idea, as they had bought EMI’s back catalogue and was upset to learn they were not interested, In fact they have done nothing with the catalogue since assuming ownership. Steve Woof used to tell me how important the back catalogues were to the industry so I simply don’t understand why Warners has sat on the goldmine. I have no idea how many artists’ work they have in the vault but it probably totals hundreds. Richard has offered several companies his expertise at looking in the vaults and putting forward suggestions for future releases, and not just MM, but they are simply not interested. I find this very sad especially as there are thousands of music lovers who are missing out.
One positive piece of news is that “An Evening With Matt Monro” is now available to view, in Europe at least, on Netflix.
For those of you who follow Matt Jnr, 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 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 kicks off on 3rd May 2022 at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley so grab your tickets now.
As you will know we launched the official MM YouTube site to coincide with dad’s 90th anniversary last December so we could offer you ‘The Boy From Shoreditch’ a 4-part audio documentary to celebrate the occasion. Because of all our staunch followers it was important to us that we give this for free and every two weeks Aviator and the MM Estate are adding a MM video, some of which haven’t been available before. This collaboration is important as it takes off all the unofficial content on dubious sites, especially those of bad quality. Aviator is in the middle or organising something very special for dad’s birthday, which is fast approaching so don’t forget to subscribe to the channel (which is totally free) as they will advise you every time something new is added.
Have I even mentioned I hate technology, lol. I have now added Apple to my list of loathsome companies. I have been championing them for years and I cannot knock their innovative product launches over the years but like all companies they get greedy. First, they took away the CD rom from my Apple Mac, then the earphone connector on my phone so one is forced to buy add-ons, which of course means spending more money. When setting up my new desktop I found that both Apple and HP don’t support the software anymore so I have been forced to buy another machine. Then my iPhone kept telling me I had no memory because the compulsive updates were huge so I had to buy a newer phone. No wonder people are hooked on Valium.
The latest annoyance is the removal of iTunes and iPhoto’s. WHY? I don’t like change being a technical dinosaur and it wouldn’t be so bad if the new software was better but it isn’t. I spent years cataloguing over 127,000 photos, all in their own files, named, dated and with added notes. They have now changed it for ‘Photos’ and whilst my pictures might be in there it is impossible to know as all the folders have been removed including the information. I have four iPhoto back-up files but Photos cannot implement a merge so I can’t see them all when I open the Photos program.
Richard found a program called Power Photos which apparently enables a merge and so we started to use the free trial. It took days to run the preview but it showed that all 127, 000 photos, 615 videos and 4,500 doubles, were in there. Great, but when I pressed the button to start the merge up popped a message saying I had to buy the full version. That was fine but I then had to start from scratch. I finally started the merge again and after two days the program crashed while running. Over the course of two weeks, I ran the merge 6 times, each time it crashed and the files were sent to the company to ascertain what the problem was. I couldn’t believe it turned out to be that because I had formatted the external drive to ex-FAT it wasn’t compatible. Why don’t they tell you these things beforehand? I’d just invested in a 4TB external hard drive so I could back up everything on my desktop and it took near on a week. I’ve always formatted to ex-FAT as it allows the drive to be viewed on both Apple and Microsoft. Power Photos suggestion was to wipe the drive, reformat it and start the merge again. I think not. So, yet another £80.00 on another external drive but at least it has finally worked. Now I just have to find some software that is as good or even better then iPhoto’s was. If any of you have any suggestions, please let me know. The great things about iPhoto was there was no limit to the amount of photos you could upload and you could edit the pictures within the program. You could create folders and catalogue everything, name the folders and the individual photo if wanted. I tell you I’m almost tempted to go back to Microsoft.
Several months ago, Richard received an email from Kaleidoscope asking if we wanted to buy a MM show from 1968. This is not a guest appearance but dad’s own 45-minute show from Talk of the Town that we didn’t know had been taped. The tape was received and sent out for transfer or so I was told but this turned out to be untrue. The company weren’t upfront with the way they do things and after nearly two months I found out that my film reels were nowhere near being transferred because of lack of funds on the company’s part. I was desperate to arrange a courier pick up so that I could send it to a transfer house that would deal with it immediately but that also caused problems. It would seem that although I officially and legally owned the footage, having paid a huge sum of money for it, the company didn’t want to let it go. After several false starts, it was finally sent to John Pegg at FilmFinity who had stepped in to save the day. He knew how anxious I was to see the footage so he put it on a print run straight away. That was on a Friday and he said he’d ring me later that night. He didn’t and alarm bells started ringing, and not for the first time since the purchase. John in fact didn’t ring me until the Sunday with the opening statement that he didn’t want to ruin my weekend. The footage wasn’t dad at all and neither was the secondary reel of what was supposed to be the Petula Clark Show. It was a scam and I couldn’t believe that the buyer hadn’t checked the footage when he picked it up. Because the email had come in from a reputable archive company, I had stupidly assumed that they would check the tapes as a matter of course. Not only am I gutted but I am out of pocket and the company have not refunded my money so sadly I am in the middle of taking legal action.
Because of the pandemic I haven’t been on the cruise ships for the last 18 months and because of that my new book ‘The Autonomous Cruiser: The Complete Guide to Cruising For and With Disabled Travellers’ has been sitting at the publishers the last 18 months as the timing wasn’t right. Now that the majority of cruise ships have returned to the seas, I was looking at releasing it in the autumn but was told that the publisher couldn’t make the deadline so it now looks to being January or February. This is a big blow as I had hoped it would be included in a few people’s Christmas stockings.
Once again, I am faced with watching paint dry. Authoright are so slow and fob me off with excuses of my not knowing how long these things take but they forget I have already had a book published. I sent back the manuscript with the necessary changes that had to be made on 3rd September to be told it would be ready two weeks later and I am still waiting. The latest message was “Making small changes in typeset is much more time-consuming than doing them in Word, it’s the natures of typesetting. But we are progressing”. Anyway, I will persevere and give you an update when I know it myself. If anyone is interested in previews and updates on the book’s release just drop me an email so that you can be kept in the loop. I’m sure you know the address by now but just in case it’s email@example.com.
I am looking forward to going back to work when I join Fred Olsen on 7th December. Can’t believe it will have been 27 months since I’ve been on stage but I’m looking forward to the challenge especially as it is their newest ship, which they bought off Holland America, now named Borealis.
Richard has spent nearly a year updating the official MM website – www.mattmonro.com – and the discography is now complete. It is much more comprehensive than the old website, and is fully illustrated and contains track lists and links to ‘making of’ articles and other relevant links. This doesn’t include every single release as this would take hundreds of pages to achieve, but includes all original and important releases and covers the original release of every track.
Any new visitors to the site please feel free to look around and if you would like to join the forum, please drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org rather than me as I’m not exactly a technical whizz kid.
Until next month, keep well, keep spreading the word about everything Matt Monro and keep dancing.