The MU, Equity and Bectu officials and members gathered this morning outside the offices of the DCMS on Whitehall, to voice their anger at the cuts in arts funding for certain organisations announced this month by Arts Council England.
I spent the late afternoon with Jonathan Stewart and his assistant Charlotte at the Coliseum in Charing Cross Road, interviewing some of the musicians in the English National Opera orchestra who have been affected by the severe cuts in funding for the organisation.
Rab Noakes was a fine singer, songwriter, guitarist, BBC Radio music producer and Union activist. He served superbly representing musicians’ rights on the MU’s Executive Committee for many years.
One of my favourite bars in central London can be found in the Bloomsbury Hotel in Great Russell St, just along from TUC Congress House. The Coral Room serves a fine range of beers, shorts and cocktails, in surroundings inspired by the jazz age of the 1920’s and created in collaboration with Martin Brudnizki.
The MU has today heavily criticised the decision by Arts Council England to make major cuts in public funding to English National Opera and other arts organisations. While the MU supports increased funding for arts organisations outside London, today’s announcement reveals a deliberate decision to do this at a direct cost of London-based companies.
The excellent daily news service for the music industry, Record of the Day (RotD, has just distributed its 1000th issue, which is a considerable milestone for any such service, and I have joined many colleagues in the business in acknowledging this feat.
I attended the memorial service for Brian Blain this afternoon at Golders Green Crematorium. Brian was an influential music promoter, editor, writer and MU Official, with a particular love of live jazz.
The world-renowned Brodsky Quartet have been performing at Kings Place in London this weekend, offering a complete Shostakovich Quartet Cycle to mark their 50th anniversary. The group, who started out in Middlesbrough in 1972 as the ‘Cleveland Quartet’, now feature original members Ian Belton (violin)and Jacqueline Thomas (cello) alongside Krysia Osostowicz (violin) and Paul Cassidy (viola).
The annual London International Guitar Show is being held once again at Kempton Race Course this Sunday and I dropped in this afternoon to deliver lanyards and tote bags for distribution to the 150 exhibitors.
I travelled down from Liverpool to Birmingham on Thursday (29th) in advance of the Conservative Conference and the second stage of our representing musicians at the principal party gatherings.
While in Liverpool, I took the opportunity to visit one or two lesser-known Beatle haunts. In particular, I really enjoyed Ye Cracke in Rice Street, a favourite of John Lennon in his student days and where John took Cynthia on their first date.