I hope these musings find you keeping well, having survived lockdown #1 & #2 with your health and wellbeing intact.  I’m also hoping you’ve managed to keep hold of your job, even if you’ve been furloughed in the meantime.

I’ve been as busy as ever! I’ve worked from home for 23 years so the transition wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  I’ve spent hours on Zoom and I reckon the new catch word of 2020 must be ‘You’re on mute!’ I’ve certainly missed catching up with many of you either at gigs or sharing a coffee, beer or a drink in the High Street. Let’s hope there are better times ahead for us all. I managed to squeeze in a couple of beers and a haircut.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about music and upcoming events. simply because there haven’t been any. What a challenging year it’s been for those in the hospitality and entertainment industry. I’ve enjoyed several online and livestreamed events which have been good value and a great way to support your favourite artists.

I had to cancel several events and didn’t even try to book artists for the autumn, or even early 2021, as there always seems a knock back of one or another. However, I can tell you that I’ve provisionally booked Lauren Housley for Saturday 13 March at either Saint Mary’s or Emmanuel. Lauren’s a great friend of ours, is always great value and never disappoints.  Expect a new album around that time too.  All subject to COVID19 guidelines at the time of course. I have a few other ‘irons in the fire’ as it were but we’ll have to see if and when we are allowed to do so and whether they are financially viable with reduced numbers in venues.

Can you believe my last gig, and one and only of 2020, was Megan O’Neill back in February.  I’ve certainly missed having many of you in my house and garden and church.  As I write I notice I’d provisionally booked the Essex Symphony Orchestra for a Christmas concert in Emmanuel – now that would have been something!

Many artists have held back releasing new music when they are unable to tour to promote and it’s been a barren year in that sense. However, I’ve managed to find new artists to listen to and I’ll reveal some of these in My Best Songs of 2020 which I’ll post sometime after Christmas.

I’ve been busy writing articles, some of which you might find interesting, alongside some I haven’t, on my website.  Do have a browse if you have some time to spare! You might want to read:

MY CHRISTMAS MESSAGE!  You don’t need me to tell you that our world has faced unprecedented levels of disruption these past several months. At times, it feels like we’re living on the film set of an apocalyptic movie.

AN IMPERFECT CHRISTMAS ON YOUR OWN Revd Dr Sara Batts-Neale has put together an excellent list for people who might be spending Christmas alone. It’s well worth checking out.

A POEM FOR CHRISTMAS This was something I wrote back in December 1985 and was printed in the Billericay Around Town Magazine in December 2016.

BROS: SILENT NIGHT Now I must confess that I’ve never been a Bros fan – honestly!

ADVENT CALENDAR 2020 For a bit of fun I put together an online Advent Calendar – no chocolate I’m afraid. There is something for everyone, young and old alike.  Just click on the picture below – don’t worry if you are late to the party, you can enjoy catching up.

Advent Calendar

Christmas will soon be upon us and we know it’s going to be very different from previous years but it’s still worth celebrating.  More details can be found here Celebrating Christmas At Emmanuel

VIRTUAL CAROL SERVICE We also have a Virtual A virtual Carol Service premieres on YouTube on Sunday 13 December at 7.00 pm, involving members of Emmanuel and the community of Billericay. Fill up a glass and join us for this festive favourite and, because you are watching from the comfort of your own home, you can sing along in full voice. Just click on the link below.

OUTDOOR FAMILY CAROLS This will be one of the few opportunities you’ll have to sing Carols in a public this Christmas.  Be sure to wear your Christmas jumpers and some tinsel to brighten things up.  This event will take place outdoors whatever the weather – so be sure to wrap up warm.

Family Carols 2020

THANK YOU For helping to keep music (and theatre) live in Billericay. Being an independent promoter isn’t easy nowadays, with more and more venues closing down. I really appreciate your future continued support.

Don’t forget I’m always happy to catch up for a coffee/beer/curry – whenever that is allowed!

Be sure to be ‘in touch’ with me, if there is anything  I can do for you at any time. I regularly post on Twitter and Facebook

With my best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful Christmas celebration and blessed New Year.