Listen to the show here. This January was my first ever Celtic Connections in Glasgow – I was there playing with the perennially charming Sam Lee alongside Alice Zawadzki and Josh Green. Our second concert was recorded by Verity Sharp for … Continue reading
by Jon Whitten and Cassandra Posada Continue reading
A couple of months ago, a crowd of music lovers packed the gunnels and stuffed the rafters of an east London annex for the first ever gado gado – a night of new compositions, dance, puppetry and visual art. I … Continue reading
Four years after the blockbuster success of Les Miserables, exiled from France, living on the tiny island of Guernsey and exhausted of national drama and political polemics, Victor Hugo wrote a relatively straightforward love story – Toilers of the Sea. … Continue reading
The first song I learnt to play was the Toploader version of Dancing in the Moonlight on piano. The first song I wrote came about two weeks later, and was very nearly the Toploader version of Dancing in the Moonlight. But despite limited creative input to my Opus 1, I couldn’t believe how much fun it was writing music.
While studying for my undergrad at SOAS in London I decided I wanted to bring an ensemble together to perform some of the things I’d been writing, and so began a grand recruitment tour of every orchestra, choir and ensemble I could find. Conductors, it turns out, are rather protective of their players, and every polite email requesting an audience with a group was less than politely declined. So I went rogue, sneaking into rehearsals during tea breaks to pounce on unsuspecting instrumentalists and accosting anyone carrying a violin case on the tube. At any rate, somehow I wound up with four talented, generous musicians for a rehearsal in a tiny, freezing room with hand-written parts. The sound of four personalities phrasing, shaping and speaking parts I’d written with nuance so completely their own was extraordinary to me. This group became JMT, an ensemble I still run and write for, and convinced to get into composing in a more serious way.
Alongside writing for the concert hall, I’ve had the privilege of variously composing, musical directing, playing and singing across Europe and the Americas with Mercury nominee Sam Lee (accompanist since 2014), Deafinitely Theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe (Love’s Labour’s Lost, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Blind Summit at Soho Theatre (The Heads), Tenor Charles Castronovo at The King’s Head (Dolce Napoli), Night Light Theatre (Lamplighter’s Lament, Rift Zone), Trikhon Theatre (Dreams from a Bombshell), Tin Box (various projects) and many more, and also developing my own theatre piece, Daphnis Rising.
As well as writing and playing music, I operated the head of a 20 meter Voldemort puppet for the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Not strictly relevant, but a lot of fun.
CVs are available on request. If you are interested in a comission or collaboration, plese don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Note to non-Londoners: TfL is the umbrella organisation which runs London subways and busses, but the below applies to any system where fines are used to deter people from doing things which have the potential to save or make them money (fare-dodging, theft, tax evading etc)
1) Some people don’t buy tickets for their travel, effectively attempting to steal a train journey, hoping they don’t get caught and fined. This is called fare-dodging and it costs TfL money
2) Fare dodging isn’t worth it. It costs more than it saves you once you’ve done it enough to get hit by a few of those £60 fines.
So my instinct is that these two statements accurately describes the world. In fact, if statement 1) is true statement 2) must be false, and vice versa.
So let’s take statement 2) and the fare-dodger’s case first: if buying a ticket (T) costs less than the probability of you getting caught (C(p)) times the cost of the fine(C(c)), then fare-dodging is more expensive than being an honest, upstanding citizen and statement 2) is true. Or:
i) if, and only if, T < C(p)*C(c) is true then statement 2) is true
For example, in Jonland, a train ticket costs £5
T = 5
your ticket gets checked, on average, once every ten journeys:
C(p) = 0.1 *
and if you’re checked and haven’t got a valid ticket, the Jonland ticket checker fines you £20
C(c) = 20
If we plug those number in to I) we get
5 < 0.1*20 which is
5 < 2
Which, as you may have noticed, isn’t true. So in Jonland, i) tells us, statement 2) is false and fare-dodging *is* ultimately worth it and saves you money.
Right, back to earth and time for a couple more rules. The total amount of money TfL loses due to fare-dodging every day is the number of people travelling that day (X) times the likelyhood they’re travelling without a ticket (Y)* times what a bought ticket would have cost (T). Or:
ii) X*Y*T = total lost in avoided ticket sales on a given day
The total amount of money TfL makes in a given day from people not buying tickets is the total number of people travelling that day (X) times the likelyhood they’re travelling without a ticket (Y)* times the likelyhood they get caught (C(p)) times the cost of the fine (C(c)). Or:
iii) X*Y*C(p)*C(c) = total made from fined fare-dodgers on a given day
If the money they lose from fare dodgers (ii) is more than the money they make in fines (iii) then they wind up out of pocket. Or:
iv) if, and only if, X*Y*T > X*Y*C(p)*C(c) is true then statement 1) is true
Let’s assume that at least one person travels per day, that X>=1, and that people aren’t perfectly honest, that there’s *some* chance of fare dodging, meaning Y>0. That means X and Y are both positive, and as two positive number multiplied together will always give another positive number, X*Y must be positive too, regardless of how huge or tiny X and Y are. This means we know:
X*Y*5 > X*Y*3 is true because 5>3 is true
X*Y*2 > X*Y*6 is false because 2>6 is false
X*Y*9 > X*Y*9 is false because 9>9 is false
The whole ‘X*Y’ bit of the equation is starting to look a bit obsolete. And it is – we can drop it from our equation**. Thus iv) can be rewritten as:
v) if, and only if, T > C(p)*C(c) is true then statement 1) is true
i) if, and only if, T < C(p)*C(c) is true then statement 2) is true
We see that they statements 1) and 2) cannot be true at the same time – T would have to be both greater and less than C(p)*C(c)
*we’re scaling this from 0 to one, so 0.1=10% chance, 1=100% chance etc
**this is significant beyond just tidying up the math. It means that whether TfL falls into statement 1) or statement 2) depends on the cost of a ticket, the cost of a fine and how likely you are to have your ticket checked (T, C(c) and C(p)). It *does not* depend on the number of people using the service or the percentage of them who are actually attempting to fare dodge. In other words, if statement 1) is true for a given system, you can quadruple the number of travellers and take the percentage of fare dodgers from 99.9% to 0.1% and statement 1) will still be true.
NB – stealing is shitty behaviour and erodes trust in societies. Don’t do it.
And if you are going to do it, steal from something besides a public service.
like maybe tesco