Thursday, 28 June 2012

Why I don't blog much

Dear those-left-reading,

Yes, as with many things in life, this blog started with gusto and slowly went downhill. There are two reasons for this

1) I decided no-one really wanted to read about me moaning on about all the stuff working/not working
2 (and most importantly)) I just got busier. In a good way.

I'm currently averaging 2 musicians a day and it's building up momentum more and more with each passing month. I'm incredibly confident that this can work, and that I WILL

- form an orchestra from strangers met on the London Underground
- that the orchestra will be of good and diverse quality
- that they will play music (some of which will have never been heard before) scored by myself without me reading a note of music (I am now allowing assistance and collaboration with musicians I meet, but will stand by my boundaries of not letting them teach me a thing!! :)
- that the performance will be completed before 13th December at a big venue in London.

What I'm not 100% about yet is

- who will conduct this orchestra
- where the show will be
- what date it will be on
- who will come and watch it

I am speaking to conductors at the moment, but nothing finalised, and we have a venue pencilled in for 12th December and I'm pretty certain it's the one I want to use. But others are still in the running and people offering alternative options. I can't tell you where we have pencilled in until we sign everything, but here's some facts (I like facts!):

1) It's a great Victorian theatre in central London, that still has all of its art deco features
2) Charlie Chaplin once played there
3) It closed as a theatre for many years, and was also a cinema for a long while.
4) It's 3 times as big as some of the venues I looked at!
5) It's lovely and I really like the people who run it. Very decent folk!

However, we have other stuff to sort out regarding event organising, finding funding, sorting out TV opportunities, sorting press, etc. so we can't book anything until all of this is finalised. And it's taking up a lot of my time.

In fact, if I'm honest, with the exception of one or two people, I'm having to do all this alone. With no official sponsor, no funding, nothing. So, not only am I the challenger, running around for a year of my life trying to form this orchestra, I also am currently the event organiser, assistant with press, sole financial backer, liaison with TFL for filming, the appointed "employer" for insurance purposes & the nominated charity contact. And I'm trying to hold down a full time job and perform and still play music with my band!

I feel this is a tiny bit like what David Frost felt before interviewing Nixon. I need help. And not just financial (although I'd be lying if I said that wasn't the forefront of my mind a lot of the time). But I can't seem to find it. People come and go, lose interest, get bored, frustrated, concerned about risk, etc. And people stop responding to e-mails, texts, calls.

Even some of my own musicians, whilst talking enthusiastically on facebook about performing with me at these upcoming events, stop replying to things (You know, just to do one performance with my own solo band involves 20-30 e-mails/texts, an excel spreadsheet and about half a night organising?).

Everyone thinks "oh, he's got loads of people helping him. Look how it's all coming along. Well, I don't have people helping me (except for my lovely girlfriend who's an absolute godsend, and a couple of friends poking up occasionally) that's because I've sacrificed any life I have, getting only 5 hours sleep every day, to work and work and work, until this thing succeeds.

So, I had a choice - I either spend all my time whining about it on here, telling you the most inane things (what kind of sandwiches I eat, what colour hair people I meet have, etc). I could either spend time writing blogs every day to explain how woefully difficult this is (wouldn't be a "challenge" if it wasn't!!) or I get on and do it. I know I need help but I'm not complaining that I don't have it. I am the only one responsible for the decisions that I make in this life, and I've chosen to do this. I'm quite happy spending a year of my life doing this, because I believe it betters this world and is for good causes.

So, I won't be on here much. I honestly don't have the time and will be working flat out to make this whole thing succeed. Plus, you can read all about up to date action as I put it up here ( and here (www.twitter/com/121212challenge).

And if I keep working like this, putting every moment of my life into these things, maybe, just maybe I'll inspire a couple of people I meet to commit a little time, or help out however possible.

And if not?

Well. It's still better than reading a daily blog about what kind of sandwiches I eat.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Statistics - May

Greetings once more, dear viewers.

Apologies for the delays but I have been sunning myself in the Mediterranean. Anyway, here are some more stats for Jan-May. As at 31 May 2012. This is the new stats! Broken down by section, to show you a little more. Statting to the max!! So....

  • 7% of musicians I have found are carrying brass instruments. 
  • 19% of musicians I have found are carrying woodwind instruments
  • 74% of musicians I have found are carrying string instruments


  • 13% are women
  • 87% are men
  • 63% express interest (yes) or possible interest (maybe)
  • 20% of these interested people respond and are happy to be added to the roster.
  • So, I have a 1% chance when I meet a musician that they will be a brass player who is interested and willing to be added to the roster.


  • 35% are women
  • 65% are men
  • 85% express interest (yes) or possible interest (maybe)
  • 30% of these interested people are happy to be added to the roster.
  • So, I have a 5% chance when I meet a musician that they will be a woodwind player who is interested and willing to be added to the roster.


  • 53% are women
  • 47% are men
  • 80% express interest (yes) or possible interest (maybe)
  • 29% of these interested people are happy to be added to the roster.
  • So, I have a 17% chance when I meet a musician that they will be a string player who is interested and willing to be added to the roster.

 So, at this point in time, I calculate that I need to meet under 500 musicians to make a full 100 piece symphony orchestra.

Just as an indication for you, in May I met an average of 2 musicians a day.....