I’m sorry to report that there is very little to report. Talk about watching paint dry. While Richard and I keep ploughing away, it seems everyone else is using the pandemic as an excuse not to do anything with any great speed. The record companies have always been slow, especially in the legal department, but the current world news has seemed to give them an extra excuse for being even slower, if that is at all possible.
Richard, my very own Sherlock Holmes, has managed to recover several important items over the past two years including an audio of the Dave Allen Show with dad’s sketch of the Power Game, The Art Linkletter Show, the Joe Loss Show and a Des O’Connor Show from 1970 – which has dad singing a solo, a duet and appearing in two comedy sketches. With dad gone for 36 years, you would think that nothing more will pop up, but it just shows you, never give up the search. It is amazing that even though I have begged for material over the years, people are reluctant to come forward.
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 a Talk of the Town that we didn’t know had been filmed (or telerecorded as it was called). The film 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 from 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 would check the films 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 it legal.
Richard came over last month for a couple of days so we could get the archive up-to-date. It was amazing how far behind it had become, but since moving seven years ago there were boxes all over the place and I kept saying I would get around to sorting it all out and the time just slipped away. Richard is my rock and I couldn’t do these things without him. MY computer crashed in January just before I was taken ill, and I finally bought another and Richard spent the best part of a day trying to set it up. I actually hate Apple at the minute. Although their technology is great, they keep deleting things off their hardware. Last time I bought a new desk top they had taken away the CD rom, then on the phone you have to now buy an add-on to be able to charge it and the latest I have just found out they have taken away 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 27,000 photos, all in their own files, named, dated and with added notes. They have now changed it for ‘Photos’ and all my pictures are in there willy-nilly, all the files have been removed including the information. The worst thing about it is that Photos won’t allow you to merge the three iPhoto files. Poor Richard has spent weeks trying to find a software program that can read the three files as one. The trouble is that I wouldn’t be able to re-catalogue the photos again in my lifetime, so I’m hoping he finds a solution. Oh, and did I mention my printer? Because Richard had come to archive dad’s stuff, I had bought 4 new double-cartridges in preparation for a large print job, at a cost of nearly £200. Once the new computer was up and running – the printer was not. Both Apple and HP say they no longer support it. One could really spit. I told Richard I would look for a new printer that took the same cartridges but no, once again none of the new machines support the older cartridges anymore. Give me more Valium, please.
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 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 week 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 of organising something very special for dad’s birthday this year, so don’t forget to subscribe to the channel (which is totally free) as they will advise you every time something new is added. New videos will start appearing fortnightly very soon.
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. Updating the site is a mammoth job, but he, as always, will win in the end. We are purposely paring it down as it would seem that a lot of areas aren’t looked at, so we are condensing it to just MM content.
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 publisher the last year as the timing wasn’t right. Now the cruise ships are returning to the seas, I was looking at releasing this in the autumn but have now found out that the publisher can’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.
I turned down an offer to join Celebrity Cruises on 6th September on Silhouette as I wanted to build my strength up before going back to work, but I am joining 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.
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.
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’m very excited that Strictly Come Dancing has come back to us this year, and it certainly gives me some escapism every week. If you are also a fan – enjoy.
Until next month, keep well and keep spreading the word about everything Matt Monro