NEWS PAGE & BLOG


Hello one and all and welcome to my news page. Here you can see me as my two alter egos the ever efficient secretary Prudie Jones, Evette the Spivette and plain old little me as you catch up with all that is current in my world. Regrettably unlike Prudie my spelling is quite frightful at the best of times due to my dyslexia so I shall apologise now for anything which might be shamefully mis-spelt. In the mean time I hope you find this page fun, entertaining and informative and become a regular visitor to my site.

Chat soon & keep reading
Fiona Harrison
A Voice in a Million


Keep Calm, Carry On, Paul’s New Album & The Best of British!

Paul Marsden Sings Sinatra!

Walking at Potchester Castle!

I confess a week last Monday I was in shock when the news came through the UK would be going into lock down over coronavirus. Since then the reality of the situation has weighed heavily and it’s now a case of making the best of it. It’s true I’ve lost my livelihood for the next couple of months at least, or until things start to return to normal, but then so too have many people. It’s particularly hit hard those of us who are self employed as there is very little assistance and trying to claim for “Universal Credit” or “Employment Support Allowance” isn’t easy when computer systems crash under the sheer volume of people all trying to claim at once. Today the chancellor announced there would be something for self employed people starting around June.  “Don’t call us we’ll call you” which isn’t very helpful when financial assistance for many is needed now not three months down the line!

The world really is in a state of emergency as old war time posters seem to have relevance again, relating slogans such as, “Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases”, “Keep Calm and Carry On” and

Paul Out Walking With Poppy!

“Your Country Needs You”. I confess I was extremely stressed the beginning of this week what with one thing and another but now I’ve sorted a few problems, I’m in a better place and ready to face the duration even though my future financially looks very uncertain.

I’m pleased to say I’ve been able to reschedule 95% of my Spring season to the Autumn and nearly all my the larger shows have paid 50% retainers and rescheduled to 2021. It’s been hard work trying to coordinate everything but just like the rest of the world I’m looking forward to the day we can see the end of COVID-19 and getting back to normal. I think in reality the world is going to be in look down for at least 3 months and today I saw the first of my June shows reschedule to 2021.

It’s important to keep busy and on a brighter note I’m thrilled

Poppy Looking Up at Paul!

to announce Paul will be launching his debut album “Paul Marsden sings Sinatra” in the the late Spring. This week I’ve been working with Karen my web-designer on a couple of promotional flicker book music videos of two of Paul’s songs. “Have you Meet Miss Jones” and “Fly me to the Moon”. We released “Fly me to the Moon” today and created a new You Tube channel for Paul which is a step in the right direction. Check out his You Tube channel below by clicking the link.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC65GEqWyzd-_9MLup–0GOA

Paul at St Mary’s Church, Porchester!

I’m a creative person and it’s good to be busy. I’ve been thinking a lot about Paul’s album cover while working on his flicker videos which has been very inspirational. Branding is very important and I’m keen to get his album look just right while still maintaining a little of the original Sinatra design in his new album cover.

I too am keen to move forward and before the corona lock down I was trying to arrange time in the theater where I could film my songs from the 1970s and 80s. The time line of where vintage falls is moving forward all the time but at the moment it is difficult to make plans. This week

Inside April’s Best of British Magazine!

April’s Best of British magazine came out which lists all the 1940s events for the year. I usually like to include my public events in my half page advertisement  but sadly many aren’t taking place due to the lock down. However despite this 2021 is looking very healthy due to all the rescheduling and I hope it wont be too long before I can get back into the recording studio and start filming again.

Sadly I’m not very bright when it comes to computers and technological. I really wish I knew how to stream and how to take videos on my phone. I guess I just need to take one day at a time and start work on tiding up my office first which always gets put to one side.

That’s all my news for now and I shall leave you with a few shots of me down in Porchester with Paul and Poppy. Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for now! 😉


Back from Tour, Singing Novello, Voluptuous Vintage & The Coronavirus Impact!

Danny House!

Setting Up in the Great Hall!

When it comes to writing my blog this week I hardly know where to begin. I’ve just returned from my south cost tour which began at Husrtpierpoint and finished in Chichester, although I confess with the Coronavirus threat it was a bit touch and go. Before leaving I received the terrible news that Paul’s mother had sadly passed away  which was devastating. Thank-you every-one for your condolences and kind wishes it’s been much appreciated. Paul and I had planned to be on holiday in Edinburgh this week, but instead we have a funeral to attend and so much to organize which is overwhelming.

A bereavement is never easy at the best of times especially when you are looking to have your spirits lifted. Instead the country is going into lock down along with the rest of the world over  Coronavirus which is really depressing. My shows for next week and much of April have been put on hold and none of us know what the future will bring which is all extremely worrying. However I refuses to be depressed and I’d like to tell you about my South Coast tour.

Last Monday evening I was on stage at Danny House performing “The Magic of the Musicals”.

WAAF Wrapped Up Warmly in Westergate!

It’s always a pleasure to sing at Danny. They mostly stage classical recitals so it’s a great honor to be invited. Last year I played there for the first time with my “My Fair Lady” show. It went down so well I was invited back this year to sing a selection of songs from the shows which included favorites from Chess, South Pacific, Grease and Mamma Mia.

The Following day I was in Brighton performing “The Great American song book”, two shows back to back which tied in with the Jewish festival of Purm before heading onto Emsworth. It wasn’t until the Thursday I got turned away from one of

Rehearsing with Danny Mills!

my venues as the organizers thought the Coronavirus payed too great a risk for the show to go ahead. On Friday I sang in Westergate just out-side of Chichester. I had been asked to perform “Those Magnificent Men” my 1940s WAAF show which was enjoyed by all and was rounded off by a sumptuous cream tea.

I love to travel, although sometimes when I’m away my internet signal can be intermittent and I’m not always up to date with the news. Now I’m back the situation concerning Coronavirus  is paramount and it’s frighting to see the Spring season slipping away.  Venues are closing and

Danny Mills at Piano!

today I’ve been working hard to selvage and reschedule as many as I can.

Due to the Scottish cancellation I received a call at short notice last week to sing for a Musical Tea on Monday as friends and relations remembered Dorothy Hunt. A lovely lady who use to sing and put on musical teas in the Brighton and Hove area back in the day. For this special celebration I had the pleasure of working with London pianist Danny Mills. We were both given a list of songs which Dorothy enjoyed singing. On the list were a number of Ivor Novello tunes I had not sung in a long while.

Dorothy’s Musical Tea!

Usually I like to make sure I’ve had a note bash through with a pianist first before I sing with dots. On this occasion I didn’t get back until the day before so I had very little time to prepare. However Danny and I pulled it off as we worked together and I sang “My Dearest Dear”, “Love is my Reason” and “We’ll Gather Lilacs” amongst other popular musical theater classics. It was good to go over my Novello repertoire again and refresh numbers I’d not sung in a while which I found inspiring.

Quite where the next few weeks are going to lead to I don’t know. I feel like I’m hanging on a

Shopping at Voluptuous Vintage, Alvestoke!

tenterhook and pray this Coronavirus will quickly come to it’s end although I have a nasty feeling it’s going to get a lot worst before it gets better.

While I was away Paul and I made a trip over to Alvestoke near Gosport  and visited “Voluptuous Vintage”. A wonderful shop which sells fabulous vintage inspired dresses. If ever you are in the area I would definitely recommend a visit as it’s a shop which delivers excellent service.

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!

 

 


Off to West Sussex, Singing for Purim & Getting Set for Edinburgh!

Seated at the Piano, Shuttleworth House

I don’t mind admitting I’ve had something of a difficult week this week. Last Sunday the pipes burst under my mothers bath room which resulted in flooding part of the house, our telephoned dyed requiring a quick replacement and we have also had workmen laying new gas pipes contributing to all sorts of banging and disruption out-side on the estate. None of these inconveniences on there own are insurmountable but when you put them all together it’s made life extremely stressful having to be very British about the whole thing and carrying on as if nothing has happened trying to deal with business as usual.

Edwardian Elegance!

In between shows, office work, on and off heating and all the banging I managed to get my electrical equipment PATS tested on Monday in time for the start of the season, and in truth I can’t wait to get away. This Monday I head off down to Hurstpierpoint in West Sussex to begin my South cost tour. I’m opening with “The Magic of the Musicals” at Danny House which was once home to Lloyd George back in the day before I make my way along the coast line to Brighton, Chichester, Emsworth and Hayling Island.

Tuesday 10th March marks Shushan Purim a Jewish holiday that celebrates the saving of the

Dressed In the 1940s Style!

Jewish people from Haman, an Achaemenid Persian Empire official who was planning to kill all the Jews, as recounted in the Book of Esther, dated to around the 5th century.

Bringing things a little more up to date I’ve been engaged to perform in Brighton popular songs from “The Great American Song Book” to celebrate this holiday. I’ve been requested to sing Bei Mir Bist du Schon and other popular Jewish songs from the 1930s, 40s & 50s and perhaps not surprisingly this is a show I’m looking forward to performing very much. I love this period in music.

Enjoying the Gardens in Fashions of the 1890s

You can’t really go wrong with Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, after all need I say any more!

I think the change of air will do me good as I’ve spent far too much time in the office working to the early hours most nights just trying to get everything done before going away. Even now I’m struggling with my e-mails. My screen has gone blank which is concerning me so I hope it’s just a BT thing and all will return to normal come tomorrow.

I get back late after my show on Friday and then

The British Raj!

Paul and I are straight off up to Edinburgh the week after, but more on that later. That’s all my news for now other than I’ve had a couple of my photos up dated on my shows page so do click across to my shows page and take a look. I’ve been so focused on other things this week I haven’t had time to take any out and about photos so I shall leave you with a few of my library costume shots taken at Shuttleworth House. I’m thrilled to announce I  shall be returning to perform at Shuttleworth in the Autumn for the Vintage Air Show on the 6th September.

Enjoy the photos, Toodle Pip and Thank-you for Following!

 

 

Once you hit March it’s important your season is in place and now I’m done.


Remembering Italy with Ferocious February into Manic March!

The Italian Job!

I’d like to begin my blog tonight by wishing all our Italian friends living in the Lombardy area well as they continue to self isolate in an attempt to stop the Corona Virus from spreading. It’s hard to believe that only a few months ago last year Paul and I had the pleasure of visiting  Milan while we were engaged to perform for Graffignana’s vintage festival. Much of the surrounding area has completely shut down along with the center of Milan. All our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very difficult time and hope it wont be too long before life return to normal.

Paul Sight Seeing in Beautiful Lodi!

In fact the world does seem to be going through a very unsettled patch at the moment. Only a couple of months ago Australia was burning with all those terrible bush fires and now the UK is being battered with endless floods and high winds. I don’t think there are many fences still standing in Leighton Buzzard and we still haven’t been able to get ours fixed!

Paul too has suffered fence damage and the water line has been creeping up in Portchester. Fortunately no flooding yet but not every-one has been quite so fortunate when you see the news. I can’t think of anything worst than loosing your home and I have so much empathy for all those people who are struggling through at this very difficult time.

Despite all this terrible doom and gloom I’ve been bracing the high winds and I’ve been out running every day while working

Beautiful Milan!

hard in the office, between shows. I’m a little late with my blog only because I’ve been making the most of my last proper office week, tying up all those loose ends before I hit the road and begin my season properly. I’ve had a number of meetings this week and I’m looking forward to having a run of shows with an action packed March planned. This will also include a South Coast tour and a trip to Scotland.

I’ve been thinking a lot about design and earlier this week I had a meeting with Karen my web-designer as we disused Paul’s cover design for his

Paul In Graffignana With All Our Italian Friends!

new album. I’m also going to be up dating this web-site with a few new photos in places just to keep things fresh and as ever songs keep spinning around my head as I think about my new musical arrangements for the year.

With all this high wind I felt I was about to take off the other day just like “Mary Poppins”. It was very inspirational and inspiring especially as “The Wizard of Oz” has been very much on my mind of late too.

That’s all my news for the moment and I shall leave you with a few of our happy photos from Italy

last year.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉


Partying in Leeds, Paul’s New Album & The Wizard of Oz!

Meet the Gang, Rachel, Ray, Diddy, Big Dave & Me!

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday and I haven’t published my blog yet. I wouldn’t have said I’ve been that busy this week but then when I look again I actually have,  performing shows everyday. I’ve been up to Leeds and back, down in the recording studio getting Paul started on his album not to mention thinking about my own musical arrangements, plus phoning clients and catching up with the endless stream of paperwork.

It’s been a busy and interesting week. Saturday was a quick dash up to Leeds after performing the last of my Valentine shows of the week to attend Diddy Dave’s 50th Birthday Party. I was so keen to get to the party I didn’t even have time to change. Diddy and I

Diddy Cutting His Red Coat Cake!

were Red Coats together at The Metropole Hotel in Blackpool back in 1991 and it was great to get the old gang back together as I met up with friends and Red coats I’d not seen in years.

Diddy was part of a comedy double act called Kirkham and Knill and I was so thrilled to meet up with Big Dave who made up the other half of the act, my flat mate Rachel and organist Ray Willets who taught all us reds so much about music when we worked together on the late night sing-alongs! I learnt so much as a red coat which really gave me a good grounding and the spring board I needed to move from amateur into the professional world. This was where I learnt about show patter, how to use a sound system and also about lighting. All very valuable tools.

Meet Big Dave – It Was a Very Good Party!

Although it had been years it was like we’d never left the Metropole as we all descended on Shaw cross Rugby Club in Dewsbury and boogied the night away.  The two Dave’s were always the life and soles of the party and it was great to see every-one enjoying themselves. Both Diddy and Big Dave had worked as Red coats at Skegness before and I enjoyed meeting up with the other Red coat team and swapping stories.

It’s hardly surprising that Diddy’s cake was made to look like his Red Coat and all around the room

Kirkham & Knill!

there were photos of the Dave’s career although I never quite got to the bottom of Speedo  Dave and the story behind the flowery swimming cap! Rachel and I had checked into the same hotel and next morning we had so much to catch up on before we all met up for Sunday lunch at Dolce Vita. Sadly Big Dave didn’t make it as it had been a very good party indeed and he needed to recover from the nights festivities. Such a shame as I would have loved to have seen him again and spoken some more.

It was necessary for me to get back to Bedfordshire as Paul was booked to record his first album on Monday. I met Paul at the studio and he managed to record the bulk of his album in three hours which is an incredible achievement. There is still a little bit of mastering to do but I know it’s going to sound fantastic when it’s finished. Richard is such a wiz and so easy to work with so I knew Paul would get on with him well.

Sunday Lunch at Dolce Vita!

After Paul’s session I too had some time with Richard as I set out my songs and discussed the numbers I’m putting into production for this year. With the 75th VE and VJ Commemorations it’s important to step out with something new. I’ve lots of fresh wonderful musical arrangements and ideas I can’t wait to sing which will include numbers from “The Wizard of Oz”  and “Mr Henderson Presents”. Part of my job is finding those forgotten gems and having music arranged so it sounds fresh and new.

I had a very interesting conversation with an events organizer the other day who was like a

Paul Recording with Richard!

breath of fresh air.  She too has realized there are far too many girly groups and singers all performing the same ten songs and needless to say it’s time for a change.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉


Love is in the Air & Off Up to Leeds!

Love is in the Air for Valentines Week!

It’s been good to get out the office and back on the road this week performing romantic Valentines Shows. This season I’ve been going through my back catalogue and I’ve enjoyed singing songs I’ve not sung in a while in particular “The Closest thing to Crazy” which I featured in my “Craziest Dream” album back in 2006. I’ve also been singing from Oklahoma “People will say we’re in Love” which is perfect for a Valentine Serenade show and other favorites such as “It’s Delovely” and “La Vie en Rose”.

With the changing seasons come a change in my repertoire and I’m always thinking ahead. On Monday Paul and I will be in the recording studio as Paul records his first album. It’s a very exciting moment laying down your first album and I hope Paul enjoys the experience as he is constantly being asked for an album.

I too have a lot of music whirling around in my head as I think about the sort of arrangements I want to put into production. On Friday I’ve arranged to meet up with a pianist friend of mine to

Dressed for a Valentine Serenade!

note bash through some new songs before seeing Richard in the studio. Due to all the V.E. Day and 40s events taking place this year I thought it would be nice to have something new to add to my 40s repertoire.

Other shows I’ve been working on include “Enchantment” which will also double up well for Hanukkah and the Festival of Light. Last week I was booked to play for the Jewish festival of Purum with my “Great American Song Book show”. This falls on the 10th March and will make up part of my South Coast tour. I will be traveling through from Hurstpierpoint, Brighton  to Chichester. Both my tours are full now and I’m looking forward to them very much.

This Saturday I shall be heading up to Leeds after my show in Abingdon to see my old red coating friend Diddy Dave. Diddy is celebrating his 50th Birthday and I can’t wait to see him again after all these years. It will be a wonderful opportunity to catch up with all my old Red Coating pals as we swap stories about our days working at the Metropole Hotel in Blackpool.

That’s all my news for now. Keep Following and Toodle Pip!


The British Motor Museum & Shopping for Vintage at Stoneleigh!

Paul & I at The British Motor Museum!

Early Motoring in the 20s!

Every so often it’s good to get away from work and to enjoy some valuable time out. I have been working extremely hard, and I’m thrilled to have booked and contracted 190 shows for this year so far. It’s been hard graft but very fulfilling to see all my hard work taking shape and perhaps not surprisingly Paul and I are looking forward to a wonderful 2020 season.

Last weekend we decided to go away and stay in Warwick as I was keen to visit the Militaria Show which is held every year at Stoneleigh Park. Paul and I traveled up on the Friday after my show so on the Saturday we decided to visit the British Motor Museum at Gaydon. I’ve often seen the signs on the motor way and for years wondered what it would be like to visit. The museum certainly didn’t disappoint as it has a wonderful collection of motor vehicles spanning the years and one or two looked very familiar. I found out later that some of the cars go out to events and a couple had taken part in the Wings and Wheels event at Bicester Heritage. I believe while I was performing there I may well have had my picture taken by one or two of the earlier examples.

Paul’s Old Sports Car!

It’s incredible to see all the different designs and to come across cars I remembered my parents driving back in the day. The early cars are design marvels as they chart the history of motoring. Paul even found examples of cars he drove as a young man including a yellow one up high on a gantry. The name of which I can’t remember now but was a design classic when it was new.

The museum even had novelty cars such as Del Boys three wheeler van from the TV series “Only Fools and Horses” and Lady Penelope’s car from the film Thunderbirds. Although a complete fantasy I’ve never seen such an enormous car

Lady Penelope’s Car!

and certainly wouldn’t do for today’s urban life style. I’d love to see how Parker would get on trying to park this incredible pink sci-fi creation in a tight London street!

The next day I made my way over to Stoneleigh. Paul had to return home early sadly, so he wasn’t able to make the fair. Which was a shame as It’s a great place to meet up with friends and to feel the buzz on the street. 2020 is going to be an exciting year with the 75th VE Day and 80th Battle of Britain anniversaries. I went with a shopping list as I have a number of events this year where I will

Trying Out the 1938 Rover Speed 14!

be needing new out-fits.

On this occasion I was seeking hats in particular 1940s Halo hats which are perfect for wearing on stage. The beauty of a halo hat is it sits on the back of the head and frames the face which is perfect for singing. I was only able to find one at the show thanks to my friends Yvonne and Theresa. However I did purchased a beautiful 40s Lilli Ann original suit which was on Therese’s stall and one or two other things from some of the other dealers. These included a pretty vintage scarf and a brown every day hat which I shall wear when I’m off duty dashing around Leighton

Trying on the Jacket to a Lilli Ann 40’s Original!

Buzzard.

Theresa and Yvonne have beautiful clothes and it’s always a delight to see them at events especially when they choose to have a stall. I too should really have a sale but my clothes are like old friends and I hate to part with any of them. Tomorrow I shall be picking up my hat from Yvonne and this weekend I need to set some time aside to have a good tidy up at home. I still haven’t properly unpacked from Christmas as I was straight into the office.

New scarf!

On Sunday I start on my Valentine show season which will be carrying me through all week and then on Saturday I’m heading up to Leeds straight after my show in Abingdon. I’ve been invited to a friends 50th Birthday Party, Diddy Dave. Diddy and I were Red Coats together back in the early 90’s and I’m looking forward to catching up with friends I’ve not seen since my Red Coating days.

That’s all my news for now, Toodle Pip and thank-you for following! 😉

Shopping for Vintage at Stoneleigh!

Tea with Brian between stalls!


Booking 2020 and Off to Stoneleigh Militaria Fair!

Off to Colchester!

Hello every-one and as you can see I’m back at my desk cracking on with 2020. In fact I’ve been working extremely hard selling shows for 2020 and it’s exciting to see the year taking shape.  I confess I feel a little overwrought with it all and I desperately need a change of air. I can’t wait to get away  from the office and this weekend Paul and I are heading up to the Stoneleigh Militaria Fair which will be just the ticket.

I have a shopping list and I could do with a few new hats for this season, although trying to find the right 40s shape is getting harder and harder. With the 75th V.E. and V.J. anniversaries there’s

Setting the 1940s Style for 2020!

quite a buzz in the air. Needless to say I’m completely sold out for V.E. Week and it seems like every day I receive another e-mail for someone desperately looking for a singer for the 8th May. I sold my V.E. and V.J. weekends back in July and so much of my year has already been booked and contracted which is very encouraging.

With a new year come new opportunities. This year Paul and I will be singing at The Liberation Ball at Bretteville l’ Orgueilleuse  which was

Show-time!

liberated by the Canadians during the D-Day campaign. It falls within the Normandy Juno Beach sector  and a new area for us. So far I’ve had the privilege of singing at Utah, Gold and Sword so I’m looking forward to this opportunity very much. We shall also be in Yorkshire singing at Pickering’s War Weekend in October and in July I shall be performing at Bletchley Park as part of their concert season.

Apart from dealing with contracts I have a lot of musical ideas buzzing around in my head and I can’t wait to get back in the recording studio

Stepping Out!

with Richard and to start work on some new musical arrangements. Is there anything more exciting than a new musical arrangement! Music just gets better and better and with the latest sound samples anything is possible. It’s wonderful being able to commission music and having my own orchestral sound. I love going through old sheet music and finding those forgotten little gems I can put into production!

That’s about all my news for now. Usually I like to illustrate my blogs with current photos but as I’ve been in the office all week with the occasional

See You Soon!

visit to the gym I’m afraid I haven’t taken any photos this week. Instead I shall leave you with a few photos from the East Anglian Railway Museum. These shots were taken by photographer Angela Adams who is fantastic to work with. Paul and I will be returning to Colchester to sing for the Museum’s 1940s weekend this July with more news to follow on my events very soon.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉


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