Progress has been slow and steady over the summer with much research and a handful of interviews happening. I had been waiting for information from some other media ventures before moving forward on the book but now that I have that squared away, I am charging ahead with the project. I’ve scheduled a two week trip to the UK at the end of October to conduct research and to interview as many people as possible who were involved with the studio or lived in Montserrat during its time of operations. Many ex-patriot Montserratians moved to the UK in the years after the volcano started ravishing the island in the mid-1990s. Couple that with AIR Studios home base of operations being in London with many staffers still residing in the UK, I expect to have a fruitful trip to England. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to meet with some of them to get some firsthand accounts of what it was like to live and work in Montserrat while the studio was in full swing. I already have many interviews lined up and hope to add to that list as I get closer to the trip. If you know anyone who was involved with the studio or who moved to the UK that may be interested in contributing to the book, please contact me using the “Contact” link at the top of this page. More news as it comes in…
I would like to thank the people of Montserrat for their kindness and hospitality. The outpouring of support for my book has been terrific. The day that I arrived, Discover Montserrat posted an article on their Facebook page announcing that I would be on the island. Almost instantly, locals and ex-pats started contacting me, giving advice on who to talk to, providing contact information for people I wanted to interview, and inviting me to social events on the island. The response was almost overwhelming. I spent almost every waking hour running from interview to interview and responding to the avalanche of email that was coming in. It was definitely a working trip. I could have probably spent another several days speaking to locals about the studio. Special thanks to Deonne and Julian from the local Rotary club who introduced me to Rotary members and additional sources of information invaluable to my book about AIR Studios. Additional thank yous go to David and Maureen, Susan, Errol, Danny, Lloyd, Franklyn, Michelle, John, Steve and Jan, Minetta, Dwain, Rose and anyone else who took the time to talk to me, point me in the right direction, or provide me with information that helped me with my research. I really appreciate the help and support. It is clear that people care about the history of AIR Studios and Montserrat and I promise to do it justice in the book. I hope to get back to Montserrat soon. I never got to do any sightseeing! ;-)
In mid-January, I will heading to Antigua and then on to Montserrat in order to interview locals and studio staffers. A friend of mine who is a travel writer told me that I could not do the story of AIR Studios Montserrat proper justice until I put my boots on the island to learn what it is like to live there. I have to agree. It is truly unique among the islands in the Caribbean. Small, isolated, but with the friendliest people you could ever wish to meet. I can only hope that there are official records that still exist of the studio’s construction and operation somewhere on the island. Since the capital city Plymouth was destroyed by volcanic activity in the late 1990s, there may be nothing left of those records but I will not know until I start banging on doors and digging through boxes. There are some great locals on the island with lots of stories to tell, pictures to see, and studio memorabilia. I will even be taking a trip to the studio ruins with a local tour guide.
I can not wait to get to Montserrat to meet the people, taste the food, and have some great conversations about the old AIR Studios Montserrat. See you soon!