Yes! . . . . . . . It's cold now in Eastern Europe, and to be exact ,in Brno-Czech Republic where I find myself strolling a Christmas market on my day off.

I've just started a Symphony Tour with Smokie, which will take in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Latvia.
I'll arrive back home mid December when do doubt everyone will be in that lead up to Christmas - happy bubble.


So it's -7 here in Brno, but I do enjoy the cold weather, I like the seasons, but of course over this neck of the woods, I'm thinking I could do with my "Willy Warmer"
Usually when I pack to come away, I try to travel light, although I did make sure I had my scarf and gloves on this occasion . . . . and I'm glad I did!

So what's been happening? First and foremost Leeds are still up the top of the league . . . . . the wheels are still on the bus as they say!

It seems like the summer went into winter without taking a breath and before I knew it, I'd missed Bonfire night in the UK, I'd shopped online on Black Friday as well as Cyber Monday, and I'm now considering Christmas presents. Of course this all creeps up on the touring musician, but I'm fairly well organised, so no great Shakes!

It's been a tough few weeks in the Smokie calendar and for the first time in ages, I feel a little battle weary . . . . It's all the flying, I never seem to have my feet on terra firma for more than two days, before I'm checking in again.

I'm going to see Professor Brian Cox in the New Year, can you believe that a Professor is doing dates in the big Arena's in the UK, telling his followers about the world we live in and how the far reaches of our Cosmos will possibly effect us in years to come? . . . . . I'm really looking forward to that, I can well imagine that the graphics on stage will be amazing! . . . . . I've also got my eyes on the Steely Dan Tour . . . . I have a feeling it may be their last?
I must get on a get my tickets booked . . . . what was I saying about being organised????

On one of my first tours of Europe in 1983, I met a guy who would become a lifelong friend. Brian was working for the American Navy in Sicily when we first hooked up, I was a young crazy dude with not a care in the world, Brian maybe a little more sensible?  Myself and Brian became inseparable cats and we became best buddies.
Our worlds would take different paths, but we always stayed in touch and we hooked up a couple of times in the States, when I was over there touring or recording.
Sadly a few years ago Brian was given the news that he had developed Colon Cancer, but his treatment was, for a good few years effective. When it was my 50th Birthday, I met up Brian and another great friend Tom and once again the Three Stooges from Sicily had good times!
We hit BB King's Blues Club in New York and I had my 50 chicken wings in Hooters!
I knew Brian wasn't getting any better and I said to Tom that I felt it might be the last time we are all together? . . . . . I was right.
Sadly, Brian passed away a couple of weeks ago in Arizona, at the tender age of just 55.

Brian once promised me that if I stick around with him long enough? He would find me the most gorgeous Italian babe, who would cook me pasta till I get into my old age! . . . . I always reminded him he was wrong and he never succeeded in his promise!
Brian, RIP Buddy!

I am deeply saddened that in the space of just a few weeks, I've had two of my best buddies leave this world.

I continue to ask myself why can't we beat this disease? . . . . we've just sent a rover to Mars for God's sake, surely one day we can beat the big C that seems to effect us all, in one way or another at some point in our lives.
Of course these sad chapters in one's life makes you re-evaluate your own well being . . . . . I need to count my blessings from time to time!

It seems that every record store is now stocking vinyl and there seems to be a box set of some description released every other day, especially in the Rock genre! I'm pretty clued up when it comes to tech and despite my initial reservations a few years back, I really do enjoy the way I can listen to digital music on the go, at home, at the beach wherever I may be I can log into my premium music account and listen online or offline to any album of my choosing . . . . I never thought i would embrace this way of listening to music . . . . so there you have it . . . . "You can shove your vinyl up yer arse" . . . . My old Rotel deck can stay in the loft collecting dust!
The only real decision I had to make was . . . . .  Bose or Sonos?

I hope you will enjoy the run up to the festive period folks

Stay safe!