I was taking a meander along the Marine Drive on a cold, blustery late afternoon a week or so ago with my dogs when I came across a couple walking in the opposite direction with their dog.
It’s about this time of year that the really keen Parish Walkers start to get miles in their legs and the man in particular looked to be striding out at very good pace. I recognised the couple and greetings were exchanged.
They are gregarious and outgoing and clearly fighting fit.
I will watch with interest to see if an entry is made to the annual sporting and fundraising celebration that is the Parish Walk.
It would certainly be a feather in the hat of both and I would expect a credible performance if it happens!
How about you, are you in training with your entry in yet?
Thanks for the feedback and reaction to my first piece about Manx characters in last week’s Examiner.
Derry Kissack, as we already knew, has influenced lots of lives in many ways and has made many friends along the way.
I followed it up with a Facebook post inviting suggestions of others who would fit in this category and be of interest and have received a number of suggestions, thanks!
For those of you not on Facebook I extend the same invitation.
Drop me a line at 12 Manor Drive, Douglas IM2 2PA; text or phone 333974; or email [email protected].
I’m pleased to say the next ‘victim’ has agreed to a conversation and the story, which I’m sure you will all find illuminating will be in next week’s paper.
As I’ve said here many times music is a real passion for me.
I had the opportunity over Christmas to cohost two shows on Manx Radio with Christy De Haven and Chris Williams both of which featured some of my favourite music of the 1970s.
I hope to have the opportunity to do more this year.
Both were well received by listeners even though they were over the holiday period.
I think the decade was special for a number of reasons such as the variation in musical genre from singer songwriter, rock, disco, soul, punk, pop and so much more. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all great by any means though much of it was in my opinion.
I try to take every opportunity to see artists live and, although it’s hard to contemplate that the decade I love was 50 years ago, many artists from that era still give outstanding performances.
For me there is no greater musical disappointment than attending a gig when really someone should have advised the artist to spend more time with their family.
There haven’t been many, but they remain in the memory when really what should be celebrated is their work at their peak.
I think there have been three shows in particular which I wish I hadn’t bothered with.
I’m not naming the singers but one forgot his words and is no longer with us due to alcohol and other abuse but he was a teenage idol, particularly for girls in the 1970s.
One, still performing, who I have seen twice – once 40 years ago and once more recently – had a legitimate excuse for his more recent performance due to ill health. One again currently advertised was a real heroine in the late 1960s early 1970s protest movements. It was so sad that, having waited so long, she disappointed.
I’m pleased to say the reverse does apply.
I didn’t see Donovan, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), Paul Simon or Dionne Warwick at their height but did so relatively recently.
In the case of the latter twice, once at the Villa Marina and once in Birmingham more recently. All were well worth the wait.
I’ve been many times to see James Taylor, America, Alice Cooper and Tony Christie.
I was once sat next to a Manchester Evening News reporter at a Tony Christie gig following on from his relaunch after the Children in Need version of Amarillo. The young reporter had clearly not heard of him prior to this so I jokingly suggested to him that Tony Christie was the man who made Peter Kay famous and this humorous ‘one liner’ appeared in his glowing review in the paper the next day.
The reality is that we are all getting older and, as long as they keep performing at the level they are, I will always look out for tickets.
The Covid pandemic in particular stopped the whole industry for two years but in particular artists from the USA visiting the UK. What got me thinking about this was the death on January 10 of Jeff Beck.
I did get to see him a few years ago but he didn’t feature Hi Ho Silver Lining in his set, which was a disappointment. However, his guitar playing put him at the top of the tree.
In the last few months a number of 1970s music icons have passed – Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters; Fred White, drummer with Earth Wind and Fire; Maxi Jazz from Faithless, not 1970s but a real class act whose show i enjoyed; Terry Hall of the Specials and Fun Boy Three; Jet Black from the Stranglers; Christine McVie, legendary member of Fleetwood Mac; solo artist Irene Cara of Fame; Wilko Johnson of Dr Feelgood who appeared on a number of occasions on the island; Keith Levine of the Clash and Public Image Ltd; Nik Turner of Hawkwind; Garry Roberts of the Boomtown; Dan McCafferty of Nazareth and that’s just back to November last year! So the moral of the story is ‘pack as much fun in as you can, this isn’t a practice!’
Looking back, I’m sometimes asked why, as long serving member of the House of the Keys, I decided to allow my name to go forward for one term as an MLC. My decision was quite simple but not my best ever.
The 2016 General Election was going to see a number of new members elected partly because a number of long-standing MHKs were retiring and others were clearly at risk of losing their seats.
I thought I may be able to support some of the new members as they learned about the job.
However, this was successful only to a limited extent. In retrospect the best use of my time was without doubt the independent scrutiny role.
In my case that was best demonstrated as chair of the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee.
We undertook work in the areas of preschool provision and undertook at my request important work in relation to mental health, which had long been lagging far behind physical health in order of priority.
We followed on to raise the issues around suicide on the island a subject, which had been long close to my heart.
Finally, at the request of Tim Baker and opposed by several ministers, we held our inquiry in to historic sex abuse at Knottfield.
This matter is due to return after over two years to Tynwald as it was put on hold due to high court proceedings which ultimately led to some justice for victims at last.
The most important thing we did was to believe the victims. Tragically some are no longer here to witness this outcome.
This feature was first published in the Isle of Man Examiner of January 17.