Autumn Newsletter from Hazel
We’re just coming into September and I’m on my way to France for a month of D.I.Y. or maybe I’ll just relax – I find it hard to do nothing for long though but this has been a particularly tough, harrowing but also very enriching. In December my Mum, Joyce, was told she had a terminal cancer and given a prognosis of 3-6 months to live. The first month was so frightening with time short, expecting death to knock at the door at any moment.
My brother Neil came over from Montreal, Quebec and it was wonderful to see him as, we’ve not been able to visit each other for about four years. It was Neil who helped me in the beginning of music career – Neil and his band “The Flys” recorded my first demos; he guided me through the song writing process – he has always been there for me – my big brother. He was a member of Megahype, my post Breaking Glass band and we’ve made much music together over the last thirty years – sadly both of us have ripped of by the corporate music industry which has left us living the life of bards, who travel lots and
continue to make music but don’t have much money to live on – let alone fly from one continent to another when our Mum is sick. Anyway the point is I have been privileged to travel some of this cancer journey with Mum and her strength and tenacity continue to inspire me. I am learning the greatest lesson a parent can impart right now – how to leave this world with grace, dignity and humour – and in a strange way – hope. So please excuse my rambling on like this but this is my life right now. We are living with cancer not dying of it. She will die sooner or later. So far its been nine months since being told she’s
terminal so lets hope this world is a launching pad back to the source – the creator.
Because of Mum’s illness, I’ve lived mostly in Coventry, England this year and got together with old pal saxophonist Clare Hirst. Clare and I have been pals and musical mates since 1984. We used to do a light Jazz trio with Nickie Holland (ex-Fun Boy Three and Tears for Fears) in the mid-80s. I
enjoyed the music we made so much and wanted to do some of that kind of music again so we joined up with ex-Eurythmics singer and piano player Sarah Fisher and got on with it – I always feel it best to just get on with it – do it while you can otherwise we end up regretting we didn’t try. We collectively called ourselves The BluJa Project and have done quite a few low key gigs this year in the UK, France and Ireland with great success. You’ll hear more about
that next year but if you are within spitting distance of Hertford, you can catch us at the Corn Exchange on September 26 when we are joined by Andrea Trillo on percussion.
HAZEL O'CONNOR and THE BLUJA PROJECT @ Hertford CORN EXCHANGE,
39 Fore Street - HERTFORD SG14 1AL .
Doors 7pm. Admission: £12 in advance. Ticket hotline...01992 584 322 ./ Box Office 07904 333 923
DIVIDED OPINIONS will be opening the evening
Below the Beyond Breaking Glass dates, there is some part of the press release about an exciting exhibition that I have contributed to and it opens at the Herbert in Coventry on October 3
After I played the my gig at the Here and Now Nottingham Arena, the cast and crew brought in a chocolate cake (which Daniel the fab, fab, fab chef of our caterers Eat To The Beat had baked) – it had loads of candles and I felt so happy – like a child. They all sang Happy Birthday – it was wonderful and Clare Grogen dedicated her song ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. Thanks Clare! Thanks Danny for the yummy chocs and card – in fact thanks to Tony and everyone on the Here and Now tour, it was very well organised.
Thanks must also go to those who came to the Here and Now tour. When we did our final show at Wembley Arena it was such a trill. I was last there in 1983 with George Michael as members of the audience to see David Bowie. George and I hitch hiked home afterwards – it was such fun doing the Wham dance thumbing a lift!
Sorry that my autobiography is not out yet – I had to leave it alone for now as Mum takes precedence over all.
Anyway must go now but I just want to say thank you to all the people who’ve sent messages of goodwill to Mum and thank you to all my friends, my wonderful friends who’ve loved and supported me through these harrowing times. Thank you to Maureen Simpson, my manager, who keep the wheels turning and is so thoughtful and helpful. And thank you to Snow Patrol for giving me a song to live in and lean on with Chasing Cars
When I get back from France, my other dear musical mate, Harp player extraordinaire, Cormac De Barra and myself embark on our final tour of BEYOND BREAKING GLASS – please try to catch this show as I think that unless it moves to a London theatre for a proper run, it will be put to bed after this tour. But, of course, we can always wake it up again in a few years’ time - who knows?
All the BEYOND BREAKING GLASS tour dates are below – Coventry, Stroud, Crawley, Poole, Bath, Tunbridge Wells, Barnstaple, Gateshead, Pocklington,
Milton Keynes, Manchester, and Newark.
Coventry City gave me an award of a star with my name on it embedded in the pavement along with Selector, Clive Owen and loads of others. The Specials got one last year. I am so grateful to everyone who voted for me – thank you – what a wonderful birthday present. this is mine and Mum’s song “I need your grace to remind me to find my own...”
God Bless all and see you in October or November for the Beyond Breaking Glass tour.
FRI 9 COVENTRY
Belgrade Theatre – CV1 1GS – 8pm
Tel: 02476 553 055 www.belgrade.co.uk
SAT 10 STROUD
The Space – GL5 1BN – 8pm
Further Info Tel: CTM 01453 757376 www.the-space.org
In person from Kanes Records, Stroud
Tel: 08444 77 1000 www.ticketweb.co.uk
TUE 13 CRAWLEY
The Hawth – RH10 6YZ – 8.15pm
Tel: 01293 553 636 www.hawth.co.uk
WED 14 POOLE
Lighthouse – BH15 1UG – 7.30pm
Tel: 0844 406 8666 www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
THU 15 BATH
Komedia – BA1 1EP – Doors 7pm Show 8.30pm
Tel: 0845 293 8480 www.komedia.co.uk/bath
FRI 16 TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Trinity Theatre – TN1 1JP – 8pm
Tel: 01892 678 678 www.trinitytheatre.net
SAT 17 BARNSTAPLE
Queens Theatre – EX31 1SY – 7.45pm
Tel: 01271 324242 www.northdevontheatres.org
TUE 10 GATESHEAD
The Sage Gateshead – NE8 2JR – 8pm
Tel: 0191 443 4661 www.thesagegateshead.org
WED 11 POCKLINGTON
Arts Centre – YO42 2AR – 8pm
Tel: 01759 301 547**
THU 12 MILTON KEYNES
The Stables – MK17 8LU – 8pm
Tel: 01908 280 800 www.stables.org
FRI 13 MANCHESTER
Green Room – M1 5WW – 8pm
Tel: 0161 615 0500 www.greenroomarts.org
SAT 14 NEWARK
Palace Theatre – NG24 1JY – 7.30pm
Tel: 01636 655 755 www.palacenewark.com
More Than Two Tones
A new and exciting exhibition about the music and cultural heritage of Coventry will be at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum from 3 October until 3 January. More Than Two Tones brings together artefacts from around the city to be displayed alongside items donated by some of Coventry’s most well-known and beloved artists. The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum has bought together for the first time a fantastic selection of memorabilia from Coventarian artists to highlight the vibrancy and creativity of Coventry music. These include a instruments, hand-written lyrics, clothing worn on stage, albums and posters from artists such as The Primitives, Hazel O’Connor and Stereo Nation. A highlight of the exhibition is the rare opportunity to see interviews with the artists in newly-made film footage which gives a fascinating glimpse into the history of Coventry music and sheds some light on the break-ups, bust-ups and tours.
For many people the pinnacle of the city’s musical success came with 2 Tone, when The Specials and The Selector created a distinctive sound which reached an international audience. Yet Coventry has produced many other talented and successful artists, from The Zodiacs, Frank Ifield and Vince Hill, through The Sorrows, the Mighty Avengers and Lieutenant Pigeon, to Hazel O’Connor, King, Panjabi MC, Stereo Nation and current chart successes, The Enemy.
P.S. Provided all goes to plan, Hazel should have a VINYL, yes an LP, of Beyond Breaking Glass available to buy direct. Anyone got the time to check to see if this is a first – an LP released 9 years after the original CD release?
Posted on 20 Sep 2009 by seedy