For this year’s seasonal, musical feast, and Richard’s first live tour since November 2019, Richard will be joined on stage by his sons Django and Felix, musician Brian Gulland and Christmas tour regular, the singer Amy Kakoura.
Dates include Richard’s home venue Shoreham’s Ropetackle on December 5 and December 11 (01273 464440) and December 21 at St Mary & St Peter’s Church, The Street, Arlington, Wilmington, Polegate – two shows a day in each venue, matinee and evening. Tickets from richarddurrant.com.
“I’m cautiously, cautiously confident it will go ahead,” Richard says. “I want my band and me to be so incredibly careful before we go out on tour. I know so many people that have gone down with Covid. We are the basket case of Europe. Our rates are so high and we are absolutely not out of it yet but I’m really hoping that this can go ahead.
“We did four Christmas shows at Ropetackle last year. They were weird atomised socially-distanced-audience events with people coming in masks and sitting eight foot apart.
“When you look back at last year, you realise how much effort we all put in to try to keep going and try to keep chipper and try to put a smile on your face but really none of it was great fun.
“From a personal point of view I did try to do some live streaming but there is just no response. You are recording surrounded by black curtains with three cameras looking at you. It’s great to get back to live gigging. I packed the cameras up in their bags and I took them to the gear shed and slung them in and I nearly jumped up and down on them! But actually live streaming is so easy now. It is not the technological headache that it used to be before.”
Richard is happy to admit he has been changed by the pandemic: “One of the things we did as a family was we opened a cosy little horsebox cafe at the bottom of our garden by the sea in Shoreham, the Pollinator Café by the old fort in Shoreham. I spend hours and hours and hours in my studio writing and recording, but now I can wander down the garden and just instantly be in the wonderful society of people. I’m wanting human company much more than I ever did!
“We opened it in July and we did it because we were broke after no gigs. But it has remained. Now I have got so many friends at the bottom of my garden! We take turns to staff it, Louise and I and the kids. I wander down there and I take the guitar and I just chat. It is lovely. It has made me feel so much more relaxed and just seeing another side of life. There’s no way that I would ever have thought about running a coffee shop if it hadn’t been for the pandemic! If someone had told me that I would have a cafe I would have just said ‘Oh come on!’
“This is the first Christmas tour that we’ve gone on since the Christmas tour of 2019 and that’s a proper two-year gap. The last one was the most wonderful joyous tour that I have ever done. I took Django my eldest boy along for the first time and he did percussion and sang. He is 19 now and this year his brother Felix who has just turned 17 is coming along to do bass and a little bit of keyboards. I’m touring with my two boys and it is just wonderful!
“The music for the tour will be a real mix. It will be just as confusing as Christmas is. Christmas is different to every different person. It is very complex festival and I hope the night is going to reflect that. There is early music but we’re also doing Greg Lake’s I Believe in Father Christmas and Fairytale of New York and the Wexford Carol and a lot of originals, carols that I have written. It will just be such a joyous evocation of Christmas.”