News Update: August 2002

On the eve of our departure for another US summer tour, I should start by apologising to our European and other world-wide followers for giving most of our attention to the Americans this year.

Ne worry pas! I have just agreed European tour dates for next June/July (2003) in Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland with Italian shows to be added.

Discussions continue for South America. Eastern Europe is always a possibility.

A one-off concert weekend in the UK is planned for early in the year 2003.

This year I have solo dates in Italy with Andrea Griminelli and Orchestra in September, a solo acoustic tour of 11 shows in the eastern parts of the USA in October, a solo concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London in December and more solo and orchestral shows planned for next year in the USA. See elsewhere on this website for confirmed shows with tickets now available.

In fact, since we last spoke, much of my time has been spent in organising the next years events including the provision of writing, rehearsal and recording times for new material towards the end of this year.

We take this moment to express our sympathy and sadness at the passing of Mahnaz Hammond, wife to long-standing pal and ex-bass-player Jeffrey, who finally lost her battle with cancer three weeks ago. I am sure Tull fans everywhere will join us in expressing condolences to Jeffrey and their son, Edward. At the funeral were John Evan, Barrie Barlow, friends and relatives from Tehran and other parts of the world. The sun was shining and we remembered her, as we will continue to do, with great affection and admiration for her unselfish bravery right to the end.

Shona lost her father, David Learoyd, a few weeks ago while the rest of us were on tour in the US but was able to be with him every day for the last three weeks. He will be greatly missed by family and friends – especially his two daughters and four grandchildren.

I had a couple of shows three weeks ago with The Bochumer Symphoniker in Germany. 4300 brave souls turned up to see and hear me and my new pals rattle through some Tull songs and solo bits and pieces, as well as a couple of classical things. The rain stayed away and both nights were enjoyed – particularly by the orchestra – who stamped their feet in approval and got free T-shirts. Many thanks go to Steven Sloane, conductor and musical director, as well as the administration team led by Marina Grochowski. All went without a hitch, apart from a couple of technical glitches – almost unavoidable with the number of open mikes and instrument channels pressed into use for such a large ensemble.

Our DVD and CD, both titled Living With The Past have been well received. Germany and the USA lead the way with sales and chart positions. Hopefully, both recordings will continue to reach out to the less-committed, wider public for some time to come. If you have a problem with supply, Amazon.com will always oblige. Or you can simply send me, Ian Anderson, a cheque for a ridiculously large amount of money and I will personally deliver an autographed copy to your door within three days of receipt. I mean, ridiculously.

Last week, Shona and I took four days away from the hustle and bustle of pre-tour madness to revisit the lovely Swiss town of Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. We had not been there for 25 years and happily, not too much seems to have changed.

A morning on the lake conveyed by a 1903-built paddle steamer was followed by a trip up the highest local mountain by cogwheel train.

We met up with our old friend, Claude Nobs (whose voice is heard introducing us on the Bursting Out live album). Claude runs the famous two week July annual event, The Montreux Jazz Festival – something of a misnomer, since it also features Rock, Blues and World Music performances by all the great and the good. Maybe even featuring Jethro Tull next year since there is an available date to slot in to our European tour. Claude has the most enormous collection of model trains, audio and video gadgets, and the biggest assemblage of records and tapes imaginable as a result of 36 years of the Festival’s recordings.

STOP PRESS 

During the last two days, a journalist and photographer from the UK’s most famous and scurrilous tabloid newspaper, The News Of The World, have been staking us out here at Flutey Towers.

Apparently they had got wind of my penchant for habitual and historical cross-dressing and my new-found intention to seek surgical nirvana as a transsexual. In short – to be a real woman!

So, grasping her by the shoulders, I said to the lady journalist, “I want you to look closely at me while I tell you that if I was to undertake this course of action  – I would make one hell of an ugly woman.” She clearly wanted to agree but rather than offend me, muttered placating and embarrassed noises.

“Then, you deny all this completely,” she asked.

I began to consider the position. I haven’t really much thought about hormonally presenting a united front to my kid sister, Pamela, nor have I probed the inner recesses of my psyche regarding the prospect of waving goodbye to Willy Wobbler and hanging the beef curtains, but……

I became a little testy at the thought of denying anything. “You know, I’m just going to have to take the side of the cross-dressers and transit-passengers for the time being and feel nothing to apologise for or to deny – as if there was something furtive, regrettable or simply not nice about such things. None of your business, nor that of your readers, young lady.”

“Then you are not changing your name to Dee?” she queried.

No, sirrie-bobberoonie  – I shall remain truly-yours, hung like an aging stallion, knife-free, keen eye for the sultry, enticing female form – so long as it answers to the name Shona-honey – and getting no closer to the scanty-pantie than the mail-order catalogue. Whoops – there’s a give-away.

Funny old world – innit?

See you soon. In cod-piece and in tights – for ever and ever – amen.

Forget the tights, OK?

IA

August 2nd 2002