• Christine Collister

Blogpost No 9 September 2022

I’m always stumped when faced with a blank page each month … where to begin? There’s so much going on!

A momentous decision was reached earlier this month to augment "The Children Of The Sea" project with a book filled with the stories/inspirations around each song as well as the lyrics and … to have it all accompanied with beautiful artwork, with the CD fitting neatly inside the book. Who knew? It was an intuitive thought process but once the idea formulated it seemed the most natural thing to do. The fact that I’ve never thought of such a thing before is a bit daunting but despite that, the possibility has already started to take shape.

I’ve spoken to numerous people in the know about such things and have found some of my collaborators already. A sure sign that this is in deed a good idea! My dear friend and record company collaborator over several decades David Suff, is the Lynch pin in this process for me. He has a wealth of great experience and his expertise in creating music and art books alike gives me confidence that we’ll be able to create something beautiful that compliments the music perfectly. I’m aiming to work with artists on the island and have been in touch with the local college to see if there’s a way to work with some of the animation and art students. I’m exploring all avenues - it’s fun. There’s a huge mountain of learning on my part yet to be climbed but I’m properly excited and eager to get going. Wish me luck!

Talking of The Children Of The Sea, this month’s song snippet “Dear Sister” was co-written with my delightful Australian musical partner Michael Fix who composed the music and produced this beautiful track. On top of that, as if that weren’t enough, my dear friend and wonderful singer Chris While, is an integral part of the recording. She plays my twin sister Fand - she of Goddess of Mann fame - and I am her sister Liban who is an actual and bona fide mermaid. Type casting I know! The story behind this particular song is fairly complicated and begins where a well known tale, written in the Ulster Cycle of mythical history, ends. Basically Fand has fallen in love with Cu Cuchlainn, a warrior hero human who can not live in the Other World … plus they’re both married! However when push comes to shove and they realise the error of their ways, Manannin places his cloak of invisibility between them and a potion of forgetfulness it taken by all concerned.

However, though Fand no longer has the memories of what has happened she is still filled with a deep grief that makes no sense to her. She wanders the Isle of Man tormented by these powerful feelings, in a daze, not knowing why she feels so desperately sad. Her sister, Liban, feels her grief from a distance and comes to be with her till she feels more at ease with herself again. That’s the basis of the song. Have a listen and see what you think:

Mum was offered a week at the local Hospice here on the Island which meant from Tuesday afternoon through to the following Monday morning we were awarded space and time to ourselves. After two and a half years caring for mum - during many lock downs etc it was a minor miracle for Bob and I. For mum it was a special experience where she was given extra attention in luxurious surroundings with lots of kind, friendly people. We totally relaxed and found joy in the simple things … walking, hanging out with friends, going out for meals. We are now refreshed and filled with compassion and calm once more. Mum, bless her, has no recall of the experience at all. We are deeply grateful for the privilege. We can’t thank the Hospice and the Admiral Nurse service who connected us enough.

This month as an added bonus I’ve created a video of a song I demoed for a friend in LA - 6 years ago? “Come Back To Me" is taken from the hugely successful musical The Soldier Of Orange which is written by my good friends Tom Harriman and Pamela Phillips Oland. The song is a duet between Queen Wilhelmina of Holland and the love interest of the soldier of Orange, Erik Hazelhoff. They each sing of their love and concern as he sets off in secret to cross enemy lines bringing the Queen’s orders to her generals … and hopefully return with news directly from them. The musical is already a huge success in Holland and these demos were created in English in the hope a new production would be just as successful in the UK. Unfortunately Covid put paid to the work started to build a purpose-built theatre in London’s Docklands area. I truly hope that in the not-too-distant future that work will be completed. It’s such an exciting show! I sing the Queen’s part and Tom’s wonderfully talented daughter Julia Harriman sings the other. I sometimes keep incredibly brilliant company!

Here’s a little something I enjoyed immensely recently: Neil Oliver’s Love Letters To The British Isles on YT. This week he waxed lyrical about the Isle Of Man! See for yourself:

We’ve had spectacular weather this last month … real warmth and stillness punctuated by a fair few rainy days which means that the potatoes I planted in August are already flowering. It looks like we’ll have a fabulous crop in about a month. The cucumbers have finally given up and some of the tomato plants have done all they can. There are still a number of hard working vines ripening up nicely but the single French bean plant is no more, though its sisters in the grow bag along the shelf, are still producing a handful of beans every couple of days. The courgettes are amazing … they just keep giving. And the numerous peppers I planted from seeds I took from store-bought organic peppers look wonderful, though none of them have ripened yet. I’m not keen on green peppers … they repeat on me. I said … they repeat on me. 😝

I’ve enjoyed dipping early morning at Fenella Beach with mermaid friends weekdays and Sweep loves his walks up the hill or along the beach barking at the waves. All in all I feel incredibly blessed and deeply grateful. I wish the same for you.

As always thanks so much for taking the time to read my wee Blogpost it really matters. See you next month 🙏

Stay well and keep rising above the turbulence.

Much love

Christine x

PS: I’m thinking I might do another FB Live next month … maybe.

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  • Christine Collister

Blogpost No8 August 2022

Where to start? It’s been a full and sometimes dramatic month. The first drama happened a few weeks ago one early Friday morning when walking Sweep up Peel Hill. We were joined by my delightful friend Izzy and her mum’s long-haired Jack Russel, Rufus. So far so good. It was a beautiful morning. The idea was to meet our lovely mermaid pal Christy at 7am for a dip at Fenella Beach.

At 6.50am I text Christy we were on our way down. Sweep and Rufus were getting on great guns chasing one another around and about … over the first brow of the undulating hill … they ran on to the second and final undulation before the last slope down to Fenella. As Izzy and I crested the hump there was no sign of either of them. No problem … we started to call out their names. Rufus appeared from the bracken on the left a few seconds later. No sign of Sweep.

What happened next was an hour and three quarters of frantic calling … walking up and down the hillside, me traipsing along the coastal path ( I stole myself to look over the steep sided quarry … no Sign. Thank goodness!) Izzy going all the way to Corrin’s Folly! Christy joined the search. Our good friend Avril Muller created a FB call-to-arms on the “Lost and found pets on the Isle of Man” page. People were very kind. Izzy had to bring Rufus home. En route we stopped at the Harbour Master’s office and asked if he could let the Coast Guard know in case they were out and about and they spotted Sweep stranded on a ledge somewhere. He was also very kind.

I dropped Izzy home and headed back to Fenella car park to wait for my sister Diane and brother-in-law David … they drove in from Onchan to swell the naturally depleted search party ranks. I was sat in the car talking to Bob: “I don’t know what else to do ...” I glanced out the window and lo-and-behold there was Sweep! I can’t tell you the wave of sheer relief. As I put him in the car Diane and David arrived. Smiles all round. We celebrated with a dip in the sea! Well David got in … Diane videoed the occasion for posterity which I won't be sharing!

We’ve been back to Peel Hill a number of times since … the usual 6.15 walk with a dip at 7am. Sweep is kept safely on the lead.

In news about The Children Of The Sea: I have written the last song on the album - hurrah! There is still a song lurking in the back of my mind but is eluding me. In keeping with my snippets to be shared, here’s this month’s: A Mermaid’s Song. This is inspired by my imagining the back story of “No One Knows His Name” which in turn was inspired by a story about “ … a mysterious man in a curious boat” which features on Daphne’s Flight’s “Knows Time, Knows Change”. So here we have our mysterious man as a young solo fisherman who meets and falls in love with a beautiful Mermaid. I'm hoping it sheds light on the mysteriousness of his much talked about haunting melody ... you'll need to hear the whole song for that revelation. I’ll be writing the story in full to be shared nearer the time but for now here’s a slice of that song:

I promised to share some footage from the second half of the show on July 2nd this Blogpost. Here it is:

I’m delighted to say that CC&Friends have another gig this time at The Centenary Centre in Peel on Saturday November 12th.

This week I started the exciting process of mixing some of the new songs. We have 8 finished tracks to bring up to their sparkling best with the ninth song in Michael Fix’s expert hands. Dave Armstrong (DAM Productions) and I go back a fair few years. He produced several songs on “Into The Light” and also produced “Home” and the DVD CC XX. He knows his stuff! I shared a wee bit of video on FB to mark the occasion:

I’ve harvested all my potatoes and planted a second lot which are already looking fecund (though not in the pic below ... that's immediately after planting). Peppers and chillies are now showing themselves off and the tomatoes are ripening up a treat and totally gorgeous. We’ve had lots of weird and wonderfully shaped cucumbers - each one crisp and delicious. The peas are still producing and the courgettes are out-doing themselves. It really is a time of plenty … and we are totally grateful for it all!

Here's a random selection of images that fill in the gaps of strange happenings this last month: Mum all dolled up ready to have afternoon tea with the Governor at his residence; a dead squid on Fenella Beach (there was a dolphin washed up on the shore too a few days later, very sad to see - no pics of that); an 8 week old Goshawk at Glen Wyllin this week who'd just had a bath in the river; mum mid eye test looking very Steampunk; mum again looking very cool in her sunglasses and finally a courgette that went rogue and turned into a marrow!

Next month we have more mixing and possibly mastering to look forward to and I will reveal my extra special guest vocalist on “Dear Sister” the song cowritten with Michael Fix. Who knows what adventures I’ll get up to with Sweep between now and then?

And finally, I received the very sad news that my dear friend John “Lovely” Martin, died peacefully in the early hours of August 2nd. His sweet, kind, loving partner Liz, reached out to let me know that he spoke of me with love. She and his 3 beautiful daughters and their extended families will be heart broken. John was Gregson&Collister’s manager all those years ago. He was a rock for me. His smile was bright as the sun. His quiet, steadiness a balm. Our friendship, rekindled a few short years ago, remains precious. He will be missed by many. Know you are loved beyond measure sweet man.

As always, thanks for stopping by, it really matters.

Take care and keep rising above the turbulence!

Much love and endless blessings!

Christine x

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  • Christine Collister

Blogpost No7 July 2022

Where to begin? I had a gig … that's a good place to start. On Saturday July 2nd Christine Collister & Friends took to the Erin Arts Centre stage. We were given the honour of closing The Manannan Festival which ran for a whole week. What a fabulous occasion it was. We set up at midday and before the PA was ready, myself, Christy DeHaven and Jo Callister took the opportunity to dip in Port Erin’s gorgeous bay. It was glorious. I then did the sound check in my dad’s Terry towelling robe! There’s pictorial evidence somewhere on FB if you know where to look.

The show itself was a delight. My first in person live performance … in a year! We may do another before too long … fingers crossed but there are a lot of diaries to co-ordinate for that to happen.

Mum was sat on the front row with my brother Colin and his wife Rachel and Aaron (my favourite nephew! I’m allowed to stay that:-). When Pip the promoter (great title for a kids tv show;) was introducing me, mum piped up: “That’s my daughter!” … ripple of laughter from appreciative audience and then … “Is she here?” … made me laugh out loud. She was very much a part of the show and when thanking everyone at the end of the night she said … “What about me?” … to which I replied:”Without you there’d be nothing!” It’s true too.

In other musical news I still haven’t written my last song for “Children Of The Sea” though there are a few ideas bubbling away in the background however song number 7, a collaboration with Michael Fix in Australia, is developing nicely and song No 8 was played on Manx Radio 3 times on the run up to the gig! In keeping with my “sharing songs in development” with you, here’s a snippet of song No5: “One Way Back”. I decided to give you the middle of the song so you get the second verse, a chorus and the middle 8 … no particular reason. The song tells the tale of Timmy who was the smallest moonbeam polisher that ever was … who, in his excitement to try his brother’s much larger moon beam … fell off and found himself on the Isle of Man. I won’t give the whole tale away but I think it’s a sweet and delightful story and I love the way the song’s turned out. Have a listen:

My endeavours with growing veg are really paying off now. Potatoes are ready and absolutely delicious and we’ve enjoyed courgettes, carrots (not a one of them straight!) salad leaves and even a few French beans. The most exciting pick so far was my first cucumber … what a delight that was and totally unexpected. One day there were sweet little yellow flowers and almost overnight a fabulous ridged cucumber which had a wonderful crunch to it and there are plenty more where that came from. There’s still a ways to go before the tomatoes are ready to eat but there are many of them hiding behind a plethora of fabulous smelling greenery. The flowers are also outdoing themselves at the moment and even the calendulas, which I planted ages ago, have finally decided to show themselves. Patience has its visual rewards.

My walks with Sweep continue to amuse me. Recently we’ve been walking half way up Peel Hill at 6.15am and then I dip with friends at Fenella. This morning, after coming out of the sea we spotted this huge Jelly Fish! Note to self … be extra vigilant this month while the Jellies are out in force!

I’ll sign off for this month and hope to have more musical news to share in August, and of course … regale you with the continuing delights of the veg patch.

Till then take very good care of yourselves and remember … keep rising above the turbulence!

Much love

Christine x

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