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  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

April packed a punch!

Updated: Apr 29

Blogpost No 4 April 2024

It’s been a whirlwind month filled mostly with preparations for the launch of Children Of The Sea, which happened last night (Saturday April 27th). What a night it was! The day after such a HUGE event  always feels anticlimactic … after all the hours of learning, practising, arranging, organising, talking, talking, talking … it’s over! But it was as successful as I’d hoped which is a major achievement. Given it’s a one woman show, there are so many people involved, from the IOM Arts Council, Culture Vannin, all the visual Artists, Fled’gling Records, Lighting and projector tech Mick, Sound engineer Dave Armstrong, who also mixed the CD so was amazingly sensitive to all those nuanced vocals that needed a little extra reverb here and there, family, friends and supporters both near and far who sent messages of love and support cheering me on; all immensely appreciated. I definitely feel loved. Thank you!

In between the practising and bumpy technical learning curves, Mum, bless her, needed another Hospital stay. The same symptoms as before reared their ugly heads - water retention being the most obvious culprit of her failing heart condition. She was calm and placid the week she was at Nobles and they looked after her well but these trips to hospital are super-stressful, so it’s been suggested it might be time to consider a Nursing Home instead of the (fabulous!) Dementia unit she’s lived in for the last 8 months. At least in that environment with experienced nurses on hand, her recurring symptoms can be relieved in situ and more promptly than elsewhere. It’s our hope anyway, though I’m sad she will no longer be in the fun-loving environment Reayrt Skyal have provided thus far. To be honest, I didn’t think she’d make it to Christmas. It’s all a process and we’re waiting for assessments and prompts to look at possible places moving forward. Wish us luck! She still has some quality of life, I see these qualities when she jokes or laughs or starts singing random songs for no reason. She can make us laugh and she loves having visitors. Mostly though, she sleeps and who can blame her for that.

I want to fill you in a little more about the preparation required for last night’s (world premiere!) performance: I created 9 videos to go with the 9 songs on COTS, to play behind me while I sang.They include the wonderful artwork for each story, interspersed with scenes of the Island and in particular the Irish Sea. Some of the help and support I received this last month came in the form of other people’s much-needed excellent technical skills. My wonderful merpal Christy DeHaven, whose “day job” is DJ/broadcaster par excellence on Manx Radio (1-3pm weekdays and her wonderful two hour Live Lounge on Saturday evenings) offered to edit the video for Dear Sister so that I could have Chris While on screen for our duet. Chris very kindly videoed her parts and sent them over to me. I’d already edited a video with the gorgeous artwork Claire Ormerod created, with glorious views of the coastline and various sunsets. I then brought this to Christy one evening and she used her film editing skills (take a look at The Watch Maker’s Apprentice on Prime) magic so that now Chris While appears beautifully ethereal over the changing landscape. I’m delighted with the end result, as you can see here:

Other technical assistance came in the form of a run-through at Peel Centenary Centre, several weeks before the actual event. I wanted to know everything worked! We got to play with the new PA I spoke about last month which in this situation became my monitor as the theatre is a 200 hundred seater auditorium and the sound system at the Centre is wonderful. With Dave Armstrong’s diligence and attention to detail he blended the two systems beautifully. Then of course there was the projection of the videos and tracks through my laptop. My thanks to Dave Mclean who is essential to the very existence of the PCC for allowing us to come in and take over the theatre space for 4 hours! Also Dave Armstrong, who has the patience of a saint. Though everything, eventually worked brilliantly, the projected imagery didn’t look as bright and colourful as on my laptop screen and so we scratched our heads for a few weeks then learned the theatre had a wonderful on-stage projector which turned out to be fantastic. When I stepped onto the stage last night I felt as confident as I could, knowing the technical side of things was completely taken care of. Yes, I know I am very lucky!

I made two visits to Manx Radio in April, all in service to the launch of Children Of The Sea; once, to speak to Christy on her Live Lounge show, April 13th and a second time to chat with Howard Caine for his Wednesday evening arts program Spotlight, which was broadcast on April 23rd. I felt honoured by both experiences. Publicity is a major part of a working Muso’s life and having been out of commission for the last few years (5!) It felt wonderful to be given the time and attention to talk about what’s been going on in my (recently revived) creative world. Thank you!

One of the lovely things I was able to provide for the launch show was much of the original artwork along with the artists who very generously gave their time to arrange their work in the Atholl room and were happy to chat to the audience as they mingled between sets. A delightful experience for everyone. I’m thrilled it turned out as well as it did.

Today an article I wrote for who celebrate and support all things about the Island’s world Biosphere status, published the piece online. It was an absolute honour to be invited but it took me three years to make good my promise! Their patience and gentle reminders along the way are very much appreciated. I wrote about Fenella Beach as one of my favourite places:

In other news, the Greenhouse is starting to produce beautiful sprigs of burgeoning broad beans, French beans, peas, cabbage, garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes and chives! Today I planted seeds for marigolds (the flowers not the gloves!), more courgettes, basil and tarragon - I’m feeling very excited by the prospect of edible deliciousness in the not-too-distant future. :-) x

Bob and I leave the island next Monday for a couple of weeks in the UK, visiting family and friends not seen in a very long time. We’re also very excited to be invited to a wedding - hurrah! It will be wonderful to drive around the gorgeous British countryside and take in its spectacular springtime lusciousness once more.

I'm sure many of you will know that the wonderful Gerry Conway died this month. I was fortunate to work with him in Richard THompson's band in 1985 and 1986 and then was honoured to have him play on Blue Aconite and The Dark Gift Of Time. He was always a joy to be around. His delightful sense of humour and deep kindness made him easy to love. I will always be grateful for the time we spent together and for the music we made. Rest in peace now Gerry you've earned your place among the stars!

I’ll remind you once more to please send in photos of yourselves with Children Of The Sea, so that I can “hang” them in our Rogue’s Gallery which is looking rather fabulous.

OK, I think that’s plenty for this month. Thank you as always for dropping by to see how things are for me here on the tiny isle. Next month is fairly open so who knows what news I’ll be able to bring you?

Stay well and keep rising above the turbulence!

Much love

Christine x

PS: There are still a few places left for The Power OF Three next weekend here on the Island:

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