Tuesday, 16 October 2012

London Eye, #1 music venues & why I can't do the final show on 12.12.12

Wow, so the usual regular blogs turned into a 3 month hiatus. I really was busy.

but I guess I also decided that, as much as it's nice to write about things, it's better to just do them. I think if anyone was really interested in what I was writing, they could just ask me for an update.

Anyway, these past three months have been pretty incredible. I have :

- Performed on the London Eye on 11th September, with 8 musicians, some of which were found on the London Underground
- Performed at Union Chapel on 14th September (a beautiful venue voted # 1 live music venue in London by Time Out) with a 21 piece ensemble, including musicians from the Underground, as well as a mini-flashmob of musicians during one song
- Quit my job, to pursue this challenge full time. Now, this is probably the most life-changing decision that I've made but more later...
- Got turned down by Guinness as an official world record. Apparently, "The method of recruitment is simply not relevant to the activity itself". Whatevs.
- Had a lovely article in the Evening Standard
- Had a nice feature on BBC news (See it here)
- Had radio interviews with BBC, Break London, Swindon 105.5, Heart FM, The Ladder Factory and UCB UK.
- Had features in national magazine publications (which I can't mention because they're going to print now!)
- Got refused funding by the Arts Council. Apparently, it's high risk and relies to heavily on external contributors. (i.e, we don't believe musicians will agree to such a ridiculous proposal)
- Met with some people about the documentary that is being made
- Had talks with a great venue in London about doing the show on 12.12.12, but.....

....most importantly, I realised it was not possible to do the final event, screening the documentary of the whole challenge, and the final performance on 12th December.

This last piece of news the thing that took me the longest to admit, because I was so insistent on getting the entire challenge and the event all wrapped up by 12.12.12. However, three important factors changed things drastically.

1) Funding. When I started this, I believed that we had external contributors who were taking on all of the organisation for the venue and event on 12th Dec, leaving me to focus on the challenge of finding and creating an orchestra ready to perform on the night. I was going to do the challenge, and then deliver them my "goods" on 12th Dec. This didn't happen. No-one to blame. I just didn't realise this wasn't in place as it had been before on any challenge, and crossed wires left me being the venue finder, event organiser, booker, promoter and backer. So...I set about these tasks on top of my other ones. I found a venue (actually got one from the the list!). I started to organise the event. I started to book the show, pencilling in the date with the venue. I got the promotion ready. But...crucially, I could not find the financial backing in time. I believe to do a show, and a show with justice that could raise funds for the charities, we would need at least 3 months lead time. And I wanted to announce the venue we had at Union Chapel on 14th September. But I couldn't find anyone committed and willing enough to take a punt on a crazy idea. Saddened as I am by it, the main reason the main event won't go ahead on 12th Dec was due to lack of money. And I'd just quit my job to concentrate on this too.....

2) Logistics of the date. When I started, 12th Dec was set up because it was a catchy date. 12.12.12. It gave me something to go for. But let's face facts. It's a Wednesday in December, the Christmas season. And the challenge stated that I had to form an entire orchestra by 12th Dec then perform at a venue in London. But how can I screen a documentary of the challenge first when it will have only finished 1 hour earlier?

3) The musicians. An important point. There was the orchestra to think of. Of the hundreds of musicians I had met, I was finding myself with a 10% reply rate. People just weren't responding. This is the last I will speak of regarding the success/failure to complete this challenge (other than to say that at the time of writing I am still working on it), but I have on occasions, been left to wonder whether anyone was interested at all.

So it was with a heavy heart that I admitted defeat. I went to throw in the towel. No show, and no orchestra on 12th Dec.

I went to write the blog, telling you all how sorry I was to let you down, and that I wouldn't even be able to put on an event to show you how I had done. You know, witness the 3 people that had been kind enough to turn up! But seriously, it's a hard thing writing this. For most people involved, it's just maybe one show. But for me it's my life. I have been repeatedly told time and time again by the wonderful press officer for the challenge that failure is not a word people like reading. So I procrastinated telling you that I had failed. No-one wants to fail at life.

Then something miraculous happened......

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