Newsletter September 2010

Posted Sep 17, 2010

Hey everybody!  I’m feeling both pleased and anxious at the same time. Pleased, cos the children’s CD, TOMORROW is finally here, released by Fuse Records AND I LIKE IT! Anxious, cos I’m always so while waiting for the reaction of critics, who in spite of my resolve, can make me feel terrible if they don’t like it. Many performers state with apparent confidence they either don’t read or don’t care what critics write or say. They have a self confidence I don’t have. Maybe after forty and more years of recording, I should be like that but that’s not me! So fingers crossed (I don’t even believe in that silly exercise!) I await reviews. Wish me luck!

However, it looks great. I think David has done a brilliant job with the design. The concept and the colours are wonderful: optimistic and bright.  I like the songs and have played it many times in the house and in the car. Believe it or not, this is unusual for me. I rarely play my own recordings except to remind myself of words. I know, I know why, I hear you ask, do I forget them so easily and fairly often? Guilty as charged. I might add however, that on the rare occasions when I don’t forget any words I’ve had people COMPLAIN! They apparently enjoy the way I deal with memory failure - I can’t win!Moving swiftly on……
Many friends who have listened to it have been really kind and generous and that has confirmed my pleasure. I’ve even had a couple of friends suggest I make a CD of childrens’ poems and stories cos they enjoy My Pet Dragon. I’ve never considered this but maybe I should. I hope to see John Maguire next year so I’ll talk with him about the suggestion. Who knows?

I’ve really cut back on the number of concerts I do. This is not cos I don’t get many invitations, it is more because I can’t rush around the country as I used to. Three or four clubs/gigs a month is about right now. Driving has become horrendous – Hell is other drivers (to update Jean Paul Sartre). The catch of course is that to others, I am among the other drivers!  I do, however, enjoy festivals. One hard drive and I can relax for two or three days. There is a chance to meet people, have a drink and talk, something very difficult if not impossible after a club event. I and they, have to get home and in their case often go to work the next morning. I prefer, wherever reasonably (and often unreasonably) possible to drive home. I would rather drive at midnight than midday – it’s actually easier. I’m ‘high’ on my adrenalin and can make it back home from London before I start to flag and feel too tired. 

This year I’ve had the pleasure of a number of festivals and have enjoyed them all. I was invited to Alcester Folk Festival. This was my first time at this festival and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I would have liked to stay overnight but I had to get to Beverley the following day, by midday, for a sound check and a 1pm start with Tony Benn of The Writing on the Wall. This was the first occasion we had done this since June 2009. I, and I suspect Tony, were a little apprehensive after such long lay-off. We don’t get    the opportunity to rehearse or refresh our memories (he’s 85 and I’m 75 – you get my meaning?) so to go on stage with something neither of us had done for twelve months and more, can be a little anxiety provoking! It was a great success. A crowded hall and a standing ovation confirmed our sense of relevance for the show. With this CONDEM Coalition, I think everyone should have and indeed, needs a dose of Tony Benn as often as we can get it! I’ll OD on him any time!!  I voted for Nick Clegg! He’s my constituency MP – I did so in order to keep the Tory out – can you believe it? I know. There will be those among you who think I shouldn’t have bothered. Indeed, to vote at all is thought by some to be a betrayal. People died for our right to vote so I don’t take that view. 

Another Festival I really enjoyed this year was The Marxism Festival held at The Institute of Education, London University. It’s great to be among people with whom you share a general world view. If you think - what’s to talk about – ‘preaching to the converted’ -everyone agrees with each other – you’d be so wrong. It is precisely because certain basic assumptions are shared that the arguments can be so exciting, intense and rewarding.  Enough of this!

Sidmouth Folk Week introduced a Peace Concert on Hiroshima Day (6th August). I was invited to host it and we invited David Ferrard - a singer/songwriter and activist from Edinburgh, Sandra Kerr - a long time friend, an excellent and established singer/songwriter, and the wonderful Chumbawamba - do I need to add anything - I think not - to contribute. We had a great audience. My thanks to all those who supported us. As I wrote in my last Newsletter, I proposed a Peace Concert to the Sidmouth Trust. I hoped it would be an annual event and certainly not dependent on me or any other single performer. I believe Sidmouth can become the first and only Folk event in the UK or indeed, in the world as far as I know, to promote, as an official event in its programme, an annual Peace Concert. It can become a hugely popular and well supported event which would attract many performers and huge audiences. Indeed, I know some people came to Sidmouth this year to attend this concert. I remember at the National Folk Festival in Australia there was an annual Trade Union Concert, which was for many the highlight of the weekend. It was a moving and inspiring concert – Trade Union choirs as well as guest such as myself – I believe an annual Peace Concert at Sidmouth would be a similar success. My thanks to everyone, to the audience, to Joan Crump (Artistic Director and programmer) and the volunteers who made it such a great and smoothly run event. 

I have decided I must take my autobiography seriously if it is ever to be completed. I’ve already written quite a bit but I need someone to ask me relevant questions about my life to jog my memory. So David Ferrard has agreed to be that person and we’re going to a quiet place with little to distract us in order to work on the project. I’ll be in Scotland for a week at the end of September. When I get back Val and I and a group of friends are going to stay on the Mull of Kintyre for a week. That will be fun. In October I have a few concerts. I’m looking forward to these but I must particularly mention two:  i) The Edinburgh Folk Club has very generously offered to celebrate my 75th birthday with them on Sunday October 15th. I’m really grateful to Paddy and the club for this. I understand we’ll have a couple of special guests, including David Ferrard and more –  I’m excited about that. ii) On Sunday 31st Steve Heap and ‘Mrs Casey Music’ are organising a concert at the Memorial Hall in Sheffield entitled ‘Just Roy Bailey’. I hope to see some of you there. It is, as the title states, just me. Two hours or so. I’ll do my best to make it an enjoyable concert – trust me!

I expect this will be the final Newsletter for this year so I wish you ALL a really happy and peaceful Winter Solstice and New Year.

See you somewhere down the road, I hope……

Roy -  Sheffield,  September 2010