Singing Angus hairdresser Danny Laverty has promised global fans the mic won’t be completely dropped now the easing of lockdown has allowed him to pick the scissors back up.
During the pandemic, Arbroath’s Danny has raised a remarkable £18,000 to fund equipment for NHS Tayside.
The popular performer staged weekly Facebook Live concerts which were enjoyed by thousands across the world, many of them ex-pat Red Lichties looking to keep in touch with home.
With friends Alan and Val Mowatt staging Friday night Live Fae Oor Living Room shows and Danny taking to Facebook on Saturday evenings, fans at home and abroad had plenty to look forward to each week.
But 49-year-old Danny feels the importance of customers being allowed back through salon doors cannot be understated.
They might even be lucky enough to get an impromptu song from Danny at the piano in his Keptie Street premises.
What he feels is key, however, is being able to talk so someone again.
“I didn’t realise until all this happened just how important our job is,” he said.
“People joked about being here for their hour’s therapy and in general they are always desperate to talk.
“But after the year everyone has had it is more important to them than ever.
“They have someone independent to chat to and it is so important to their mental wellbeing because it has been unbelievably tough for everyone,” he said.
Danny has been thrilled by the reaction to his Facebook shows and the benefit it has brought.
“This all started really early in the first lockdown when I was painting the salon in my old togs one night,” he said.
“It was something to keep me busy because so I thought do a few songs and it all just went from there.
“The response has been amazing.”
Kit for local wards
Grateful fans have sent donations to fund vital pieces of equipment for Tayside hospitals with the £18,000 total.
“The amount of cards and messages we have had from people saying how much it has helped them get through this is just fantastic,” added Danny.
“I think that’s a major positive of this whole situation.
“People have been making connections with each other, even if it’s just online, and realising just how important it is to talk about things which may be getting to you.
“If you’ve got a niggle in your knee, you are quick enough to go to the doctor and get it checked because you know it might get worse.
“We need people to get their mental wellness checked out just as quickly and I think people are realising more how important it is.”
He added: “It will be full on for us now we are back but I’m not doing the hours I did the last time lockdown was lifted.
“We were starting at five in the morning and going on into the night, but I just can’t do that again.
“The clients are there, they are coming back to us and they have said they are willing to wait.
“We’ll keep singing, but just on the first Saturday of every month and I hope folk will still enjoy that.”
Danny’s lockdown performances also included one from the Angus town’s Webster Theatre.
It was organised by Angus Alive to give Danny the full stage to perform on – albeit without an audience – a few months into lockdown.
The Mowatts enjoyed a similarly enthusiastic worldwide response to their music – paused by a dramatic heart attack scare for Alan.
He took unwell during a July performance, but the 61-year-old sang on after a quick break and a glass of water.
A trip to hospital revealed he had suffered a heart attack and Alan underwent a triple bypass.
He and Val were back at the microphone before the end of the year and have continued to keep their Facebook audience entertained since then.