A  L E T T E R   F R O M
 M a d d y   P r i o r

31st December 1997

Seasonal Greetings,

        Well, here we are at the turn of the year. Another fun-packed Carnival Band tour complete, and only a small blip, by way of a viral throat infection, in the whole proceedings. Daughter Rose came out with us for the last week, and seems to have enjoyed the experience of being in itinerant musician.

        It's been an altogether strange sort of year. It began with hope and optimism for the future of Steeleye, yet here I find myself outside it's conforting glow at the year's end. I embarked, along with Nick and Troy, on a foolhardy idea for a live album. Well it seemed a good idea at the time. Thankfully it turned into a thoroughly satisfying studio project. I even remembering wondering if Nick and Troy would get on!?*

        Alex has finally fulfilled the premonition of the song and left home to live in Cambridge. The house feels bigger, or is it emptier, without him......and his pals. Rose has become a blossoming teenager, and Rick has embarked on his second solo album, with Spud and Charlie, which judging by the rough mixes will be truly inspiring.

        The wider picture has been strange too. The extraordinary response to the death of Diana. The quiet loss of Mother Teresa. Weird movements in the Eastern financial markets. The gentle insistence that we take note of the environmental changes that threaten our weather systems. And yet....I don't know.....there is still a feeling of rejuvanation. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I sense an acceptance of the craziness of these lives we lead. Everyone doing too much. Striving too hard. Not enough time. Not enough money. Too many forms.Too much paper-work. Many have reached breaking point, Some have hit rock bottom and maybe we need to break this hard shell to let the seed inside, both ourselves and our society, grow anew? I want to be able to say '1998 - what a GOOD year'

        As to work, there is lots being planned. I think there was some idea of getting more time at home to write. Or was that next year? Still, we musn't be churlish. It's either feast of famine, and we'd rather eat than not.

        On a personal note, I'm afraid I didn't do at all well on the Christmas card front, so apologies for this, but on the other hand I'm delighted to say that I passed my O.U. music course with unexpectedly flying colours, which, considering at one point I was debating whether to bother taking the exam, has cheered up Christmas no end.

        So here's wishing the best for all ............



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