Many thanks for all the support,kind words and best wishes I've received. Please give me a little time to answer all the emails, I'm extremely busy at the moment. Many of you have been asking why I've left The Fortunes, so, as there is some confusion, I think an explanation is due. I point out this is from my point of view naturally. Then can we have closure on the subject as I've moved on.
Firstly, lets make one thing perfectly clear.. It was never my wish or desire to leave the Fortunes…..but in the end I had very little choice if I was to retain any sense of self respect. My remarks in an earlier post may have appeared a little harsh and with a bitter twist, but they were driven by a considerable amount of frustration and disappointment, not to say anger on my part. To put it in a nut shell, I had almost always to do a 500 mile round trip (I live in the NE of England and have done for 20 years now) in order to do most gigs with the band, and, more importantly, at my cost..A feat not many would want to do for so long without complaint.
Times and circumstances change. Gone are the days when The Fortunes would work 4 days a week and fuel costs were much much lower . Much easier to absorb lower costs back then. It was time to find a way to get help with my growing expenses as I could see they were having a big impact on my potential earnings which had begun falling dramatically. Rod's passing was very unexpected and very sad. However it seemed a natural time to take stock and begin a new era with new conditions. It was an obvious opportunity to address the issue of my travel costs and no longer be expected
to do the job without any help whatsoever expenses wise. An agreement was reached whereby I was in a position to expect to have help in this matter. However, it soon became evident that, due to lack of cash flow, the arrangement, with my full co-operation, was put on hold until such time as it could be reviewed. However, despite having the understanding that I was to receive help when it was possible, I ended up having to still absorb the costs myself this last 18 months. I firmly believe it has been possible to address this issue on occasions when I've seen monies spent in other areas (for the good of the band). Yet it never happened. I fully realise it's been tough for everyone, and it's getting tougher despite everyone's best efforts. Yet I doubt anyone would take the job on under the conditions I was expected to keep doing it under. I was hoping ways could be made to accommodate my costs, but unfortunately, for reasons I still remain very unclear about and find questionable, it wasn't to be. I can't accept the premise that the band would collapse with the impact of my expenses.
Two years ago I reluctantly gave up my partnership status with the band in order to get my expenses covered (as part of a very frustrating negotiation…which turned out to be very one-sided and that I had no control over.) The result being that I now don't expect to get any help and often get back home after 10-12 hours travelling, having done the gig meantime, with less than £40.00 net for my troubles. I am I a mug or what? I was told by one member of the band that they wouldn’t/couldn't do the job given my circumstances. I tend to agree....who in their right mind would? I was advised by another to "leave if I was unhappy"…hardly what you call encouragement to stay. Difficult to get motivated with those words ringing in your ears..This has been dragging on for almost two years now..enough is enough. I'm sure the others feel the same. I repeat, I have been very committed and given a lot to the band over the last 26 years, more than most, so you can imagine how very disappointed I am at not getting any kind of resolution to this festering matter. So when I was told recently that there was no way I could expect to get any help with my expenses, despite a deal we made….(added together with the declining work) I felt I had no alternative but to say goodbye to it all. I felt all along it was a reasonable thing to expect and that anyone doing the long distances that I do would expect the same. It's not as if I recently moved up north. I've been here for twenty years and I fully expected it to have been taken into account and dealt with sensibly.
I certainly never deserted the ship. I was given no incentive to stay….there was a simple remedy if they wanted me.
There is no doubt I had other issues with the band since Rod's passing. I was very frustrated at the lack of rehearsing, so much so that, in my opinion, the show still isn't as good as it could have been, but we were getting there and progress was finally being made.. Also I felt we'd let our stage appearance and presentation suffer, but again, nothing that couldn't be worked on. If I had my criticisms it was in the best interests of the band. Nevertheless the overriding reason I left was the expenses issue. If that had been dealt with I would have been quite content to carry on despite all those motorway miles.
I hope this may help some of you take a much more informed view of the situation..
My remarks about the caravan site in a previous post were undoubtably ill judged, and fuelled by emotion, So I'm sorry if I have upset anyone..I'm very thankful for and appreciative of everyones support over the many years...
Anyway, what's done is done. Now at least I have the time to concentrate my efforts in finding alternative ways of making a living, and hopefully keep playing music in some form or another. Naturally I wish the band well in their future endevours.