Archive for the ‘Annie’ Category

Zacron

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

I first heard of Zacron when I was about 8 years old. My favourite album, Led Zeppelin III, had his name and image on it. Later, I found out that Zacron was a friend of Jimmy’s, and I thought, ‘Wow, Jimmy Page is so awesome he has a friend called ‘Zacron!’ Jimmy, of course, is amazingly awesome; and when I got older, I found out Zacron was pretty awesome too.

I got in touch with Zacron in 2008 to ask if he would take part in an exhibit of Led Zeppelin fan memorabilia at Knebworth House. A few days later I picked up the phone and it was Zacron. He offered not only to write an article for the programme, but to loan memorabilia and to give a talk at the reception.

I went to meet him in Cambridge a few weeks later. We had lunch and chatted for a long time. He was larger than life – he got out of his mini van wearing a coat of many colours and a big white hat, with matching big white shades. He gave me a bear hug that lifted me off the ground, and as we talked over lunch he regaled me with tales of his adventures and of how much he admired Jimmy Page. At one point he even gave me his best Hitler impersonation when he found I could speak German – much to the surprise of all the reserved businessmen in the room! You never knew what was coming next with Zacron!

He loaded his memorabilia in my car and I told him I would make a receipt for him, but he said no need, that he knew when he could trust someone. I drove off bewildered with my boot full of really expensive (and in some cases priceless) memorabilia.

Over the next few years, Zacron helped me a lot with creating Memories In Music. He gave me business advice, and refined the MIM logo to be what it is. He also helped me through the ups and downs of dealing with the music industry and the myriads of people who wait in the wings to be mean to you or try and take advantage of you as you try and put together music-related projects. His advice was really helpful, and not only did he give advice, but he was a shoulder to lean on and doled out heaping helpings of love when I found myself in a panic over something or other. He was very generous. We laughed at the antics of certain people and despaired over the blatant meanness and cheek of some, but he called us ‘The Invincibles’ and taught me never to despair but to keep on following my dream no matter what.

We did disagree at times, and once had a falling out; which was mostly down to me over-reacting, but nothing like that lasted with Zacron. He was the forgive and forget type and I am glad he was.

I’ve saved all his letters, all his cards and emails and I know they will continue to be a good guide through the coming years and new projects with which I am involved. I’m very fortunate I got to know the man whose album cover gave me visuals to dream of when I listened to Jimmy play on LZ III. I was only a child then, and never dreamed I would meet him. Being a friend was even more special.

Part of a photo composition given to me by Zacron after the launch of Memories in Music

Part of a photo composition given to me by Zacron after the launch of Memories in Music

Apart from all the lovely stories he told me about my hero Jimmy, one very special thing will always make me smile to remember. As a thank you, I often bake things for people I meet who help me on projects. I baked an apple pie for Zacron and it became a special thing that I would send them in the mail to him. He liked them a lot and would hint around when he wanted another one. He often signed his emails and letters “From Annie’s Pie Fan.” He even created artwork around a photograph of one of my pies! Only Zacron… : )

Sadly, he passed long before any of us found out. I wish I had been able to say farewell. Maybe it was for the best, saying goodbye is so final; and nothing about my time with Zacron will ever be final. Here’s just one of the many great things he wrote to me:

I formed a phrase in the 1960s – ”You have to be where you are!” This means, in all its simplicity, that where ever you find yourself, you are a complete human spirit. You feel from deep within, take deep breaths and exhale slowly, take stock of the simple but great things around you, including water, the sky, needy faces, music, meditation, history, art ……. Use where you are to bounce off ideas, philosophy, strategies. You are your holiday. Every new day is a great gift and it is what we do with it that matters.

Much Love From Annie’s Pie Fan
Z X

Much love to you too Zacron. See you on your star!
Annie x

The Cost of Giving it All

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

I really love to create opportunities for music fans to reach out and help others. Memories in Music has raised thousands of pounds since its first charity event at Knebworth House (visit our past events section to view photos from the events). Together with music fans, we’ve put smiles on the faces of children in need in Brazil, and helped those struggling with cancer here in the UK. It’s a very good feeling to help other people through your love of music, as those who have helped know!

Our new event is benefiting the Outside Edge Theatre Company, who work with people affected by drug and alcohol addiction. As entertainment for the public, we’ve got music by Ric Sanders of Fairport Convention and Vo Fletcher, a drama by the theatre company, a raffle and a music display. All great stuff, and we hope the evening will help the company to continue their work.

Events like these cost money to stage. You can’t get away from it. I’d like to give ALL the money we raise on the night to The Outside Edge. That means I have to find sponsors so that all the ticket and raffle money can go straight to the theatre company to continue their charity work. That’s a big goal. Can you help me achieve it?

Here are some of the costs with which I hope music fans will help:

Stage hire/set-up: £30, $49
Chair hire/set-up: .40p, .65 cents per chair (we need £60, $90 for all the chairs)
*Green room for the performers: £22, $36 *The Green room has now been sponsored.*
Ticket printing: £12.50, $20 per run (we need two runs)
Performing Rights Society license for live music: £35, $57
Venue hire: £60 per hour, $98 per hour. Some hours have already been sponsored, we need 3 more.

100% sponsorship can be done, but it costs someone to give it all. There’s a great expression: Many hands make light work. This applies to our event. The more fans we get to give, the lighter the burden will be on the money for the event. Let’s do it! Even purchasing one chair will help us towards our goal.

Thanks music fans!
Annie x

Pennies from Heaven

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

.20 cents a month - give $1 or £1 and make a difference!

.20 cents a month - give $1 or £1 and make a difference!


For the next five months, can you save just .20 cents a month, roughly one penny per day? If you can, and you are a fan of Led Zeppelin, we are asking you to do just that because five months from July 10th, Memories in Music will be making a donation from Led Zeppelin fans to Guide Dogs for the Blind to help give light to someone in darkness. We’d like to say thanks to the band for their amazing concert on that day that raised so much for charity and brought so much happiness to their fans with a tribute of our own. The money we raise will go to Guide Dogs for The Blind as a gift in honour of the band.

One penny a day is not a lot, but they will truly be pennies from heaven for someone who desperately needs a guide dog. It costs £40,000 to train and maintain a guide dog puppy for life, and we can be part of helping with that cost. Can you spare it? Are you willing? Pennies are powerful with a lot of music fans giving them! You won’t miss it. Go on, do something wonderful with your passion for Led Zeppelin’s music and make a real difference to one person in need.

Visit memoriesinmusic.com/dec10fund.html to donate your pennies.

Annie x

December 10th Fund – In the Light

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

If you feel that you can't go on, in the light you will find the road.  I will share your load.   Led Zeppelin

If you feel that you can't go on, in the light you will find the road. I will share your load. Led Zeppelin

I’ve always loved the song ‘In the Light’ from Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti album. It’s so true that everyone does need light, be it spiritual or emotional, but it occurred to me as I was listening to it that a lot of people will never see any actual light due to blindness. That must be a truly difficult thing.

In honour of a band whose music has brought me so much light and joy, I wanted to sponsor a guide dog puppy for someone who has no light with the money we collect with this fund. I think that is a great gift to give as fans of the band. I hope many of you will agree and decide to contribute. I enjoy spreading the happiness they brought me, and I’m looking for other fans who do as well!

It’s a great feeling to make a difference in the world. I will never affect the large numbers of people that Led Zeppelin’s music did, but I can take the inspiration they were to me and help one person. Will you help as well? The amount doesn’t matter, give what you can and tell other fans. The more we have who are willing to donate a little means The Guide Dogs end up with a lot!

Read about Guide Dogs here: http://www.guidedogsgiving.org.uk/sponsorapuppy/home/
The link for the December 10th Fund is here: http://memoriesinmusic.com/dec10fund.html

Be sure to send me an email when you donate. Tell everyone why you donated, how Led Zeppelin was an inspiration to you. I’ll publish it on the website and have the list printed up to go to the Guide Dogs when we make our donation on December 10th. Who knows, if it is large enough we may be able to name the puppy!

Let’s get busy and spread the light!

Annie x

Super Fans

Monday, June 6th, 2011

superfanI’ve heard this term being used by music fans to describe certain among their number. I’m not entirely sure what criterion are used to gain this status; some labelled “super fans” run websites, write books/articles, go to a lot of concerts, have met musicians, know people who know musicians, own various memorabilia or even write a lot of posts on websites.

Interesting though all the above may be, I’d like to add another definition of super fan to the list, those who are willing to help others in honour of musicians they admire.

I have always found those that are willing to serve a greater good to be truly super. People who meet the needs of others who are struggling are amazing and very deserving of attention. Sadly, they don’t often get it. I’m not sure why. My theory is that we want to feel special and know about the celebrities we admire. Anyone who even appears to be close to them earns the most attention and gets classed as super. On the other hand, people who serve and help others just quietly help. If no one points it out they go unnoticed. I’d like to notice them, and cultivate more of them.

In our society we have a lot of people in desperate need. I am looking for people who want to take their passion for music and musicians and help meet those needs. A large number of these fans could really change things for the better. Now that would make you special to a celebrity (quite apart from the fact that you would be special to those you helped and also feel yourself to be special)! I mean, how would you feel if you found out that people appreciated you so much that they helped someone and made it known that they did it in your honour? If they stood up and said, “I did it for (insert your name here).” I reckon you’d feel wonderful, especially if it was done for no other motive other than as a thanks to you. I guarantee you musicians feel the same. It’s something unique and it takes unique people to do it.

Are you one of those unique people willing to be part of this experiment in creating a new group of super fans? I’ve already found some and I know how super they are – fans who are willing to give to those who have even less. What could be more super than that? In my opinion almost nothing. You can find all their names on my website: Tom, Cynthia, Cathy, Dawn, Kj, Alexandra, Maja, Lucia, Simon, Trev, Jon, Chad… super fans the lot! Plus all the others that have helped at charity events along the way.

Here’s how you can get involved:
1. Get on your music fan websites, FB pages, Twitter and wherever else you go and tell other fans we are here.
2. Sign up to the Fanfare Project, either the one we already have in honour of Jimmy Page, or suggest to us a new one for your favourite musician.
3. Contribute to our book that is going to benefit The Musicians Benevolent Fund.
4. If you are a Led Zeppelin fan, give a donation (no matter how small) to the December 10th Fund. We hope to sponsor a guide dog puppy with the money we raise.
5. Send your suggestions to us. We’re excited to have lots of music fans contributing.

Read the details our website: memoriesinmusic.com

Let’s add a new and deeply meaningful aspect to the term super fan! It’s not for everybody and many will be incapable of doing it. How about you? Do you have what it takes?

Annie x

Step up on The Edge

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

On the evening of the 16th of March I had the privilege of witnessing a very special performance. It was just three people in the middle of a small room in London. No special effects, no music, no props, but these three people created an experience that transcended the need for those things. They were the performers in ‘A High Price to Pay’ by the Outside Edge Theatre Company.
highprice

There wasn’t even a need to dim the lights as the performers stepped up and went to work. The story was about Megan, a girl who had been to rehab and was now going home to visit her alcoholic father for the first time in a long while. The play deals with so many issues, so many just touched upon in the moving scenes, but they leave a huge impact on the audience. I was moved. When the play is over, the audience has the chance to discuss how they feel about the characters’ situations, and even to suggest new endings. The play is re-started and goes along until someone shouts to stop, and then the suggestion that stopped the play is acted out, with the willing audience member going up to act.

I’ve never seen anything like it. In my life, I have been very powerfully moved by music. This play is the first thing that has had a similar effect to the music I love. It brought up my own issues with growing up and made me think about them. But I wasn’t left alone with all my thoughts. With the Outside Edge, if you want help and support, they are there to give it. Issues like the ones that were raised in the play are difficult to deal with: alcoholism, drug misuse, self-harm, violence, manipulative influences, to name a few. Struggling with any of those things can be very painful, but this group of actors (who themselves have dealt with these issues) affords an outlet for you to safely explore these things through them. It’s quite simply stunning. The audience participation, managed skilfully by the company’s Director Phil Fox, was lively and thoughtful. It’s just something you must experience!

I am in the process of organising a fund raiser for them. I would like your help. The event will feature live music and a performance by the company. I guarantee you will find it worthwhile. Drop me an email and get involved. We need donations to help with the costs, volunteers to help create and print a programme, people to help set up… as always with fundraising events there is lots of work! Music fans are passionate people, and I need your passion to make this fundraiser a success.

Visit their website here: http://www.outsidedgetheatre.com

Jimmy Page said of their work, “They demonstrate the very real capacity of live performance to positively transform shattered lives.” Jimmy should know. He knows a thing or two about live performance, and it was his music that helped transform my shattered life. Not only mine, but that of so many others as well.

So music fans, are you ready to step up on The Edge? Come on. Be moved.

Annie x

Life Lessons of Music: Alcoholic Depression to Joy

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

The ‘Music Taught Me to Love’ post has made me think of the many people I’ve known that have learned important life lessons by listening to music. Music can reach people where other influences cannot, and this seems to be a commonly shared experience. The lessons can be really big ones, or just small; music can help you dream of bigger and better things and set you on a particular life path, or it can simply take the sting out of an annoyance and put a smile on your face. Either way, life without music would be much poorer.

I wanted to share the stories of a few of my friends who have been affected by music. I find their stories inspirational, and it’s one of the reasons I set up Memories in Music, so I could come into contact with more music fans. I want to hear their stories and share them, hopefully to inspire others to give to charities in honour of the musicians that have enriched their lives. Because I am a huge Led Zeppelin fan, these stories involve their music, but I would dearly love to hear from the fans of other musicians too!

The first person I ever knew that was deeply affected by music was my friend Merle. Merle grew up in small town USA. He said his life was ‘painfully middle class’ and uneventful. He fell into a depression when he was around 15 because it seemed to him that life was just stretching out in front of him in a long, dull series of events by which he felt no real inspiration. Getting a job, getting married, having kids… it all felt like a trap to Merle. He started drinking with his friends, just a beer in the back of the school yard type stuff, but for Merle this quickly turned into alcoholism. A couple of beers became several six packs and then bottles of Southern Comfort. He dropped out of high school and wasted his days on drinking. Years went by in a haze of drunkenness, but nothing inspired him to really live his life with joy. Merle wasn’t a violent drunk. He didn’t hurt anyone or fall into some dramatic life of crime, he was simply quietly drinking his life away, making no real connections to people. He just drifted in his alcoholic depression. He told me he had no joy and was just numb. He spent his whole life drunk. He lived in his truck, only occasionally doing part time work to eat and buy alcohol.

Merle's inspiration - Jimmy Page playing in 1973

Merle's inspiration - Jimmy Page playing in 1973

Then in 1973 a friend of his got two tickets to see Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden and invited him along. He said that he wasn’t too excited and just went for something to do. He’d packed his bottle of Comfort in his jacket and planned on getting even more drunk. I can still see the massive sparkle in his eyes as he recounted this to me. “That band was incredible, bursting with unbelievable passion, a passion I had never felt, not even once. I was electrified from the first song, but it was Jimmy Page who completely broadsided me. He slapped me upside the head so hard with his playing I saw stars. It was like he’d plugged his guitar into me. That concert changed my whole life. He turned an old drunk into a joy-filled music zealot in under 3 minutes. Somewhere during that concert I put down the bottle of booze and never picked it up again.”

Merle started reading the band’s interviews and learning about their musical inspirations. “I had no money, but I had to have this music, theirs as well as whoever they said influenced them, so for a time the only way to achieve hearing it was to go to the library. I was motivated to get a real job – quick.”

Merle was so in love with music he decided to make a career of it. He somehow persuaded friends and family members to give him money, and with it he rented an empty shop and opened a music store in 1974. “I think they were just amazed at the change in me, so they took the risk.” He told me his Aunt gave him the majority of the cash needed and said to him, “Whoever this Jimmy Page is, he has my undying gratitude.”

My Uncle took me with him when he visited Merle’s shop one day. He told Merle I was a fan of Led Zeppelin. Merle smiled at me and said he was impressed that such a little girl had such great musical taste. Merle said he had a picture to show me. He brought me over to a wall at the side of the shop, and there on the wall was a black and white photo of Jimmy, framed along with his ticket to the Madison Square Garden show. Over the years, that wall grew and grew with photos and tickets, and that shop was where I learned all about music. It was also where I learned to love memorabilia. It was a refuge for me while I grew up.

Merle never set the world on fire. You will not have heard of him unless you happened to live within the area of his shop, but he was an inspiration to me and a lot of other people. He was always handing out jasmine tea and sitting people down to let them listen to tracks and seeking out music for people. He spread a lot of joy, and it all began with one concert. Music changed his life from drunken despair to one that was happy and productive. He died of cancer a few years ago, but I will never forget him or his massive enthusiasm for Led Zeppelin. When anything bad would happen people would often go to his shop because he had this ability to make you feel better. “Yep,” he would say, “it’s all gonna be OK – just drink this tea, turn up The Jimmy and smile!”

Annie x

Music Taught Me to Love

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

A musician friend of mine rang me this morning very excited about a programme he was watching about music. He thought I might find it interesting. Tuning in, I found some music professors having a chat. One of them held the illustrious title, “Professor of Cultural Musicology.” Geeze, fancy stuff! Not something I would ordinarily watch, but just a few sentences later I was hooked when I heard one of them say that music produces very strong responses in us and can have physical as well as deep emotional affects relating to our core needs. It is not all just a bit of fun or purely entertaining.

The programme meandered through various scientific experiments which were interesting. Why do babies from all over the world respond to the singing of a lullaby no matter what language is being used to sing it, or even if singing is absent? Patients with advanced dementia recognise and sing songs that mean a lot to them, and music can even help people to communicate who have lost the ability to speak due to brain injury – they can sing sentences that they cannot speak. Apparently music has a measurable effect on the brains of musicians as well. The areas of their brains where music is processed are noticeably larger and thicker than in non-musicians. Even the universe makes music. Fifty-seven octaves lower than we can hear, you find the vibration of a black hole resonates a B flat when raised to our hearing level. And some believe that a string is found at the centre of all matter that vibrates as the string of a guitar.

Amazing stuff, but by far the segment I found most meaningful was the effect music had on children. Not only does it help them learn things like maths and syntax better, but it helps them interact socially. The celebrated pianist Daniel Barenboim supports music kindergartens, where he has observed that when children are exposed to music (simply through listening not playing an instrument), they learn discipline, sharing and love. Love? They learned to feel love and express love to others because of exposure to music? That struck me forcefully. I don’t have any fancy Professor of Musicology title, but I don’t need one to know that is certainly true because this is my experience of music, that it actually taught me to love. I have never heard anyone confirm this is real, so since it is my experience, it was great to hear. By studying the children, and audience reactions to music, it is seen that music creates unity, and is able to connect you to yourself and others.

Experiencing music in this way is life changing when you have no role models or loving guidance to help you process emotions and teach you how to relate to the world at large. I shut myself off and wouldn’t allow anything to reach me because I feared it would bring more pain. But one day I heard music that changed all that. I had no idea why, but suddenly I felt connected to something, drawn, and the more I listened, the more connected I felt – first to the music, then to the musician, then to myself, and then to others. Those stages of broadening connections were a healing and learning process for me that was real. The musician was able to break through all the barriers I had built around myself, and here was a group of scientists telling me so.

This is how music saved my life. It can sound very ‘fan-like’ and silly to some when you say that, but it is real and powerful. Much of the recovery progress I have made relates back to this experience, and I am forever grateful to the musician that unlocked my prison and helped me take the first tentative steps out. I think perhaps a lot of music fans share this experience, just to differing degrees. Anyone else have similar experiences to share? How was music life-changing to you? A big way? Just a little? I’d love to hear. I’m still thinking all this through. I’m really stunned at what I heard. Music is everywhere, and it lies at the core of life; connected to love. I always knew it!

Annie x

Happy memories of December 10th

Friday, December 10th, 2010

This date has become one of the most memorable and special of my life. When I woke up this morning, absolutely nothing was going to spoil the joy I felt. The alarm came soooo early, it was cold outside, people were in a rush and pretty grumpy, but me? I was smiling no matter what came my way because all I thought about all day long was walking into the 02 Arena 3 years ago, watching my hero step up on the back step of the stage, strap on his guitar, walk towards me, and play. Off he went, and off I went. I think part of my soul is still floating around in the 02 squealing with joy.

Jimmy Page has always brought me a lot of joy, but I never got to see him play until that moment, over 30 years wait from the day I first heard his amazing magical guitar. It was worth the wait, and besides all the joy, watching Jimmy play at last reinforced a saying you hear all the time: Dreams really do come true. The odds against me being in that arena were huge, but I was there. When Jimmy left the stage and I stood there trying to take it all in, one thing was noticeable – I felt very different. I walked out with a new determination to make my life into what I wanted it to be.

When I look back on the last three years, I see a very new me has emerged. I’ve done things that I never thought possible, and I’ve dumped people, places, and situations that make me unhappy and are filled with negative energy. It feels great. There are still many more things to change, and much more I want to do, but I will do them. ‘All this from seeing one concert?’ I hear people asking. Yep. It didn’t really start there, it started in 1972 when I first heard the music that changed my life. It just continues, and as I get older, the changes get bigger and the impact I can have on the world grows.

Thanks (again) Jimmy, and thanks to everyone that has come along on the journey with me. Whenever I feel a little down, all I have to do is remember December 10th 2007. I’ll be smiling about it for the rest of my life. Woo hoo – let’s go make our dreams come true!!!

Annie x

A visit to The Outside Edge

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

EdgepicOn Monday I went to visit Phil Fox, Artistic Director of The Outside Edge Theatre Company. The reason for the visit was the Memories in Music Fanfare Group. With our donations this year, we Jimmy Page fans will be supporting Outside Edge in Jimmy’s honour. As well as the group sessions and the drama productions, they also do one-on-one counselling. They strive to provide all their services free of charge, which, as you can imagine, takes a lot of effort. He was very grateful for our help, and he told me that Memories in Music’s Fanfare is the first group that has ever approached them for regular funding.

I was really looking forward to my chat with Phil, as he started this company from pretty much zero, just his dream. It’s very inspiring to meet someone who has battled with drug addiction, yet come out the other side and is now using his love of dramatic arts to help others. “Drama saved my life,” he told me. He felt that drama could give other addicts exactly what it gave him. You only have to hear of the people he’s helped and the programmes they run to see that is true. His vision has created the only group of this type in the UK.

This all resonates with me. It was music that saved my life, and like Phil, I wanted to find people who felt the same, in my case music fans, and work together with them to help others. It can sometimes feel like the odds are insurmountable when you start something and it’s small and basically unnoticed, misunderstood, and sometimes even scoffed at. Although they have been working for 11 years, Phil says his group is still fairly obscure. “Having Jimmy as a Patron has really helped raise our profile,” he told me. That’s certainly true – it’s why our Fanfare Group is here!

The offices on Munster Road in Fulham were very nice. It’s a beautiful building full of light. They share the space with another programme. Phil showed me the area where they do the group sessions and then the private meeting rooms for the one-on-one counselling. He explained that there is an emphasis on the addicts being clean when they come to the meetings. “When you come to us to participate, you have to be clean that day,” he said.

The area of Fulham where you come to the offices is a very affluent area. It seemed strange walking past all the lovely shops – I suppose because you think of addicts and automatically think of run-down areas. Phil told me that his experience of being located in that area only shows the choice of substance abused is different, the struggles are the same. In the wealthy neighbourhoods the drug of choice is often alcohol, while the poorer neighbourhoods have crack problems. But, they can all come together at the Outside Edge for some very unique and inspirational help.

It was wonderful to be able to surprise Phil with a Christmas gift, £380 from Jimmy’s fans. I wish you could have seen his reaction. It’s just wonderful to be a real blessing to people. Everyone who gives to Fanfare should go smile at themselves in the mirror and say, “I make a difference.” Because I promise you, even if you only give 50p a week, you DO make a difference.

I spent a nice hour and bit chatting to Phil. I am looking forward to learning more about what they do, especially because my own family was ravaged by drug and alcohol abuse. Besides being a help, I am sure I will learn things that will help me too.

We’re going to meet again in January and discuss a fundraising idea I have to benefit them. It would make me very happy to bring more attention and money to their cause. If you want to find out more, check out the website: http://www.outsidedgetheatre.com/index.html

We’d love to have more music fans supporting the Edge. Contact Cathy at fanfare@memoriesinmusic.com and she will fill you in on how you can help.

Annie x