Seasonal Greetings to you. I’m writing this blog on one of those peaceful Christmas days when friends and family are going about their usual business and I have a few moments to sit down and get online.
I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to all those (family, friends, bands, agents, promoters, Website folk, etc) who have played their part in all the various activities that I have been involved with this past year. I have had such an exciting time fulfilling the various engagements that ‘Cliff As If’ has been booked to do, and travelled well; Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and widely across the UK. I have enjoyed meeting lots of people along the way and I’ve been pleased with the enormous amount of encouragement and enthusiasm that has been expressed by so many.
As you know the ‘Cliff As If’ world has various aspects to its work. So I just want to give a brief overview of each one.
‘Cliff As If’ Solo – I reckon I’ve got this part of the show polished up nicely. The range of music that is on offer is amazing and covers many decades so it’s quite easy to reach a wider audience. Of course I am continuing to develop the solo act with up to date quality backing tracks, new outfits and stage effects. This year I have had audience sizes ranging from thirty to three thousand and the events have been many from private functions to music festivals. As well as the Cliff songs I’ve been including tracks from some great rock n roll artist like Bill Haley, Eddie Cochran and Elvis, also some modern pop songs by Barry Manilow, David Cassidy and the Bee Gees. I’ve been inspired to add these in the shows by listening and watching Cliff Richard’s many recordings and performances of covers. They always seem to go down well and it’s been such fun to do them as I imagine Cliff would do them. I’ve feel so blessed to be able to have similar looks to Sir Cliff, the same height and build too, which makes getting costumes not so arduous. I’ve acquired some great outfits this year and it’s amazing how I can get stuff from charity shops at a small cost. I’m a regular visitor to the charity shop world. How did I ever manage without them! If I was to nail down the best solo show I’ve done this year then I think it would have to be the Motorhome Show Finale at the Lincolnshire Showground in September. I was the first act on being followed by Chas n Dave and then Alvin Stardust who as you know very sadly passed away recently, in fact three weeks after this particular event. We shard a dressing room so it was good to meet him briefly. So why the best? It could have been that there were so many people in the audience I could hardly see where the crowds stopped, it could have been the enthusiastic ovation (standing from some) at the end of each song and when I finished my hour set, it could have been the amazing venue, literally the biggest marquee I’ve ever seen. I really did enjoy working with Alvin and Chas n Dave but the best thing about the gig was the sound. I don’t think I have ever had the opportunity to have my sound engineered so well in my whole singing career. It was amazing to me. There were engineers backs stage and front of stage. I really could not believe how clear and wonderful it all sounded. I didn’t get the name of any of those working on the pa as the sound checking schedule was tight but if I could thank them personally I would. I’ve been continuing to work with the fantastic Jukebox Legends and our Elvis/Cliff shows have been as popular as ever. The shows have now been brought to the UK from Spain and we have been working with some great acts such as Scott Dee who is amazing as Engelbert Humperdink and also Tony Lee who is superb as Roy Orbison and Gene Pitney. The whole JBL’s team have become very good friends, which is wonderful as they are all such lovely people.
‘Cliff As If’ Bands – 2014 has presented me with the opportunity to work with some amazing and fantastic musicians such as Nick McNulty, John Montague, Alex Warwick and Keith Brookes, also Paul and Brian from the Shaduows. I can’t tell you just how much I have enjoyed working with great musicians and doing it all live. We have done some theatre shows and clubs, and I believe that 2015 will bring us some new horizons to reach out to. The wonderful thing about these guys I work with is they are serious about their craft but also very relaxed and chilled about working together. This makes for a great atmosphere when we work and it rubs off on those watching. Also they are able to pull any song out of the bag I could present them with and that makes it all much easier for me. I know I’ll be getting the chance to work with some other great musicians in the new year… bring it on!
‘Cliff As If’ CLIFFAGRAMS – I never ceased to be amazed at the wonderful outcomes of doing these. I can only report great fun and laughter from such events. If I could ever only do one thing it would be CLIFFAGRAMS. The usual types of bookings have come in this year; Birthday parties, Anniversary dos, Hen parties, weddings, office based surprises and retirement functions.
‘Cliff As If’ Lookalike – Please believe me when I tell you that I am constantly flabbergasted by the amount of ‘lookalike’ work that comes my way, and being told on a regular basis the following statement, “You look more like Cliff than Cliff” always makes me feel overwhelmed. But it happens often so I’m trying to get used to it. So the work comes in and I play my part but always with great fun of course taking it all very lightly indeed. There has been some TV work come of it and this will be completed in January so hopefully at some point in 2015 you’ll see me having fun as Cliff on telly!
I’m optimistic that 2015 will be a good year for ‘Cliff As If’ and things will continue to improve on a personal level. You are fully aware of the awful and ridiculous allegations against Cliff in August, which caused me some discomfort in various ways. I can’t imagine how poor Cliff Richard is feeling about the whole thing, but hopefully this will all be cleared up soon for Cliff and everyone associated with him. On another level I’ve been settling in at my new home in North Norfolk. It causes me extra travel time but it is worth it. The beauty of my surroundings and being with Claire and my new family and friends makes up for the extra few hours I have to spend on the road each time I set off on my travels. I have been accepted so well into my local community and get called ‘Cliff’ by most people. But that’s okay and quite amusing really. My biggest regret of 2014 has been the decline of church shows. I’m not really sure what to put this down to as they are always well received and the churches where I have performed have always come back to me with positive words and news that the events have resulted in new church attendees. It is something that I’m going to look deeper into very soon and hopefully find a way forward. The charity work continues to flourish. We are still raising money for the East Anglia Children’s Hospice as our nominated charity but also helping to raise lots of funds for other causes.
Finally, on behalf of all those involved with the work of ‘Cliff As If’ I’d like to wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year in 2015. My prayer is that you will grow in faith, peace and love, grasping all the opportunities that come your way.
‘Cliff As If’