Blog post


It’s been such a busy week with the 12th annual County Press Amateur Theatre Awards Gala Night. The Shanklin Conservative Club was again the venue and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. There were a few surprises, as expected, and I managed to tempt Melvyn Hayes to be our major surprise guest and he was in brilliant form. Others who presented awards included David Owen, Diane Eames, Keith Newbery, who gave me my very first chance in the media, Roberta Crismass and Viv Russell. It was also fun to present my special red card award to Mike Santer for foul and abusive language in a Shakespeare play, at Budbridge Manor. He was ordered off the stage.

I finally caught up with John Schroeder on Thursday in High Wycombe, at the home of a mutual friend, Island-born singer Les Payne. John worked for EMI in the late 50s and early 60s. He discovered Helen Shapiro and later at Pye Records he unearthed Status Quo, the Rockin’ Berries and the Ivy League. He’s got such a remarkable story and is on John Hannam Meets early next year.

The day had not started well with a near two hour delay at Yarmouth, due to a wind of over 35 mph blowing in Lymington Harbour.Apparently, the new ferries are not allowed in or out until the wind drops below this speed. The actual passage across, despite the rough weather, was no trouble at all.

I travelled to London on Friday to interview Aled Jones, a particular favourite of my late wife, Heather, and my new lady Roberta. He is such a great guy and delightful to interview. It was not an easy journey and we made it with just five minutes to spare. See the news story on my home page.I am so happy with the outcome and it can be heard on John Hannam Meets on Sunday December 5. Another huge name is on my schedule for next week.

I finished such a busy week with the new CD launch at the County Press Shop, Newport, which, quite frankly, was not a success. I was disappointed but those who have heard it rate it a stronger line-up than volume one of Gone But Not Forgotten. My two previous visits to the CP shop, to launch products, had been so successful. There could have been several reasons why business was quiet, including the closure of the road and enough no parking signs to fill a motorway. Newport seemed quiet, anyway. Still met some nice people in the shop and I am hopeful, with the strong line-up of much-missed local characters on this one, it will prove a great Christmas present for those who love local nostalgia. The County Press Shop is the main supplier but other shops around the Island will be stocking the CD, from which a donation is being given to the St Mary’s Applegate Breast Care Nurses unit.

I felt just a little peeved when I read David Newble’s huge piece on the Isle of Wight Amateur Theatre Awards Gala Night in the CP Weekender. David had rung me a few times the following morning to check a few details and he did the night proud.
It just would have been nice just to have had a small mention in his massive coverage. I had seen 48 shows, spent hours travelling all around the Island to see them and compiling my reports on each production. The preparation for the evening took days of work, guest presenters had to be arranged and the evening presented and hosted by yours truly. Quite rightly, the evening was not about me but to pay tribute to all the many talented amateur actors on the Island, particuarly so many brilliant young people. Come on David!!! Just one sentence would have made me feel it was actually worth all the hard work and stress. It would have made an old man very happy!!!!