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John warms up for virtual gig

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By Donald Turvill
Annan and Eskdale
John warms up for virtual gig
DOUBLE ACT . . . John and Georgia

A SINGING publican from Annan committed to lifting spirits throughout lockdown is preparing to dazzle virtual concertgoers this weekend.

But John Steel, who runs the Commercial Inn, is apprehensive ahead of tomorrow night’s gig after his last Facebook live, streamed at the end of January, was cut short by the social media site’s moderators as he did not hold the copyright for the songs he sang alongside daughter Georgia.

“Apologies for the abrupt ending last night,” a post on the pub’s page said the next day. “Apparently the fact that it takes a lot of work to put a show like that together, the fact that we don’t make a penny from it, the fact that it brought a wee bit pleasure to thousands of people in times when it is hard to smile is not as important as the fact that we don’t own the rights to the music we played (a fact that we announce at the beginning of every show, unlike a lot of posts that play music).”

John — a resident singer at Southerness Holiday Park for 13 years — said earlier this week that their virtual concerts have been watched by up to 10,000 people.

He added: “People have been stuck in their houses and we’ve been doing all this stuff for them, and we’ve been cut-off.

“It came up with a warning saying ‘stop playing this music, you do not have the rights to to this music’. We always say we do not have the rights, but when people are in their houses, bored and locked in and we’re doing all these different things — they go and cut us off.”

John and his daughter, Georgia Clark, have been performing the duets over the past year as part of a wider diligent effort to entertain the local and online community whilst the pandemic continues to hinder social lives.

The pair were also involved with organising a virtual Riding of the Marches last summer, had a piper play in the town’s care homes on Remembrance Day, and have been keeping their regulars scratching heads with a guess-the-baby photo competition. Furthermore, they are in the midst of putting together a family quiz.

The father-daughter duo will return tomorrow night “hopefully for a full show,” John added.

To watch, head to the Commercial Inn’s Facebook page at 8 pm.

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