Summer’s Gone

Well there’s no question any more, summer has gone, and autumn has arrived with storms, wind and rain. It was only last week I tried to pop down to the beach as often as possible to make the most of the warm sunshine. I even managed to top up my tan…what a difference a week makes.

So I’m trying my best to look for the silver lining they say always comes with the clouds.

I think the best thing so far has been the local primary school ‘Halloween’ disco I went to this week.  I’m not a big fan of the festival itself as I’m terrified of ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night, but it was hard not to see the delight the kids had dressing up this week.  Delight shared and maybe even surpassed by ‘DJ Stirling’ the man behind the mic with all the moves.

Former Mal Pope & The Jacks Roadie ‘DJ Stirling’.

I went to the disco with a Skeleton, a Pumpkin and Superman.  When I got there I was greeted by a dinosaur, and teachers dressed as witches and phantoms.  Now it must be acknowledged that attending this type of event can be quite an overwhelming experience for a kid particularly if this is your first disco. 

The Skeleton and Superman made themselves right at home joining in with all of the dance moves while the Pumpkin was a little clingy at first.  We were just making some headway, swaying to ‘Baby Shark’. Suddenly he saw a werewolf heading towards him and after that he never left my side again all afternoon, which to be honest I quite enjoyed as with my knees a disco can be quite a painful affair.

The official season of ‘turning off the lights and not answering the doorbell when the trick or treaters come’ is still some way off. The now nearly forgotten and ignored Bonfire Night will quickly follow but wherever you go you can see that the big one is coming fast…Christmas!

If you’ve been to the supermarket over the past few weeks its been hard to ignore the arrival of unseasonal foods.  With the sun shining outside and with middle aged men still walking around the aisles in long shorts you could often hear the huffing and puffing and sighs of disbelief when people saw stacked boxes of mince pies.

If you happen to have satellite TV you will have already noticed that a whole series of new channels has started appearing all dedicated to showing Christmas films.  Most of the films are obviously made on a budget.  The typical plot involves someone from the city having to return to their small home town. 

Firstly they have an argument or fight with the only single person in town before falling madly in love with said person.  This results in them leaving their job and life behind in the metropolis and moving back home having found the true meaning of life and Christmas.  In the background the long awaited snow finally starts to fall on Christmas Eve with the whole town gathered around their tree singing carols. 

I know I sound like an old cynic and I’ll try to resist these channels for as long as possible but come a rainy afternoon in December when I’ve done all my jobs, you can safely bet I’ll turn on the central heating and watch one or two Christmas romcoms as well.

What the tinsel and lights in the shops are helping to do is concentrate my mind on the next few months making sure I have everything in place because you need to get things in the diary before everyone is booked up.


Packing Hampers for Everyone Deserves A Christmas with Carolyn Harris MP.

One of the major projects for December is the ‘Everyone Deserves A Christmas’ Hamper campaign. Its been a bust week for Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, as she has been front and centre of Parliamentary celebration for World Menopause Day.  As Chair of the Menopause All Party Parliamentary Group Carolyn hosted some of her biggest supporters from the world of business and entertainment at a special event on Wednesday. 

Carolyn and her supporters in Parliament for World Menopause Day.

The thing is I know Carolyn.  While I’m not saying she got big business and people like Mariella Frostrop there on false pretences at all,  I’m pretty sure while she had them there she will have bent their ears a bit with requests for support for our Christmas Appeal.

For the past few years I’ve been given the job of putting together a record to help raise funds and awareness for the charity.  2 years ago we managed to bring together the likes of Michael Sheen, Bonnie Tyler, Max Boyce and Catherine Zeta Jones for a video for my duet with Steve Balsamo of   ‘Little Town of Bethlehem’.  

Last year Bronwen Lewis and The Valley Rock Voices Choir joined me on a new version of ‘Away In A Manger’.

By this year I had learnt my lesson.  Christmas might have been 12 months away but as sure as turkeys hate sleigh bells I knew sometime during the summer I’d get a call from Carolyn’s office wondering what we were doing this year.  Last January I thought I’d get ahead of the game.  I actually wrote this year’s song before our Christmas Tree had gone bald and I started recording it before the end of the Six Nations.

Recording the City of Prague Orchestra in July, t shirts,sunglasses & Santa hats!

The thing is you always need a video to go with a record release these days and by the time the record was finished we were well into shorts and t shirts weather.

So over the next few weeks, as the nights get dark early, I have dates in the diary which will hopefully mean we are all ready to go just in time for the launch of the campaign at Swansea Market on Friday 1st December.

As the weeks pass I’ll share some pictures from the photo shoot or the odd performance here and there which we will film for the official video but maybe you’d like to get involved as well.

We would also love as many different people and groups to film themselves singing the chorus, maybe in costume with fairy lights and tinsel, maybe schools or choirs and we’ll try to include them all in the official video.

So keep your eyes and ears peeled for the launch of the ‘Chorus’ and how you can be in this year’s ‘Everyone Deserves A Christmas’ video.

Merry Christmas!!!

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