Welcome to my GORR, or Grumpy Old Rick's Ramblings to give it it's full title!
At the beginning of each month I'll be looking back over the previous month's escapades and looking forward to what's hopefully going to happen in the current month… (hence the looking back to see exactly how much turned out as expected and the unexpected that did happen)!
The December GORR is slightly different though as I'll be looking mainly at what's happening in December and also an overall look into 2010.
December is a month that has changed much for me over the years. In my early days as a semi-pro musician back in the mid sixties, Xmas was my busiest and most lucrative time of the year. In various bands I would work constantly from the beginning of December through to New Years Eve, which was always the highest paid gig of the year. Certainly what I earned in December kept my 1957 Vauxhall Victor Super Estate taxed, insured and running for most of the following year.
Nowadays it's a period where there's little call for my kind of music and so it's a time when I help put together the RWCC Xmas shows and party in Marlborough, which seems to have established itself on the RWCC calendar over the years.
December is a busy month though as looking at the diary, I seem to be "otherwise engaged" right up until Xmas Eve. Here is a small selection of my travels throughout this month…
Thursday 3rd December, at 8pm I shall be at Waterstones in Windsor where I will be doing a 45 minute ludicrous anecdotal ramble about the new book The Further Adventures of a Grumpy Old Rockstar, followed by a 25 minute question and answer session followed by a book signing which is totally dependant upon how many nice people buy the book that night!
The next day, (the 4th), I will be at The Old Granary in Beccles where I will be doing a piano concert accompanied by lots of silly stories. This seems to have become an annual event now and I'm pleased to say, sold out more than two months ago.
On Sunday the 6th I will be live on the Sunday Show on Radio 2 with Aled Jones and then scoot up to St. Albans to the Arena where I am taking part in a charity evening in aid of Brain Cancer. Joining me on the bill that evening will be Bobby Davro and Richard Digeance.
On Wednesday the 9th I will be doing another book evening at Toppings in Ely. Very similar to the event in Windsor.
On Thursday the 10th I will be in London as part of the Blue Cross Carol concert at St. Peter's Church in Eaton Square. And on December 15th in Odiham for a carol concert for the Cystic Fibrosis Charity.
On Thursday the 17th I have been "booked", (no money, just booked) for a repeat performance on the Simon Mayo show on Radio 5. A great way to herald in the festive season it is too!
On Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th I'll be in Marlborough for 2 concerts at the college and also the RWCC Xmas Party lunch on the Sunday. Joining me on stage will be three of my children, Oliver, Adam and Jemma plus Gordon Giltrap and the English Chamber Choir.
On the 21st I have my final "weigh-in" at BBC Radio Norfolk. I have been on a charity diet in order to lose weight and so far it's going very well. My Rick Wakeman Just Giving site already has more than £1,000 pledged for the Tins and Toys Xmas appeal for the Salvation Army and I'm hoping it may get close to £2,000 by the time I've dumped my targeted one and a half stone! (The diet will continue in order to lose a further three stone by my birthday next May… (You'll be kept informed in the monthly GORR I can assure you of how progress is going!)
And so to Xmas… a very private and relatively quiet time for us. Midnight church service on Xmas Eve, Xmas lunch with my future in-laws, silly games in the afternoon and a phone round the familyhellip; and New Year's Eve is very similar. Neither Rachel or I drink and so we bring in the New Year with a Horlicks and cuddle with our three rescue cats!!!
…Yes ..that's what happens to 60 year old rock musicians!!
As for 2010, well the recession certainly bit the music industry throughout 2009 and I don't see much improvement for at least 18 months but that doesn't mean to say I don't have plans and dreams. After Hampton Court no year would seem to be complete for me without another "biggie" happening somewhere in the world and so that is one of the aims.
I hope to do more piano and orchestra performances around the world and an album with Jon Anderson plus a few selected acoustic shows with him in the UK later in the year.
Looking at the diary, which is already filling up, I really will need to make space for more of the musical dreams I have, so sod the recession… I may be 60, but I've only just started!
Happy a wonderful Xmas and a very joyous New Year… Rick