Musical Instrument Amnesty

The idea is to persuade those members of the public who have finally abandoned their dreams of becoming the next Jacqueline du Pré to send in their cellos or flutes or bassoons and, if they have finally given up on the mouth organ, they can become organ donors.

A man’s got to know his limitations, says Clint Eastwood in Magnum Force, although, for most of us, the struggle with reality is very hard. It is only now, after half a lifetime of consistent failure, that I am on the verge of recognising that I was not born to be a musician.

I suppose I should have seen the signs at the age of eight, when my sister and I attended Princess Road Primary School, Camden. Like most of our generation, we were issued with Dolmetsch descant recorders. She could play a tune called Hurry, Hurry, Down The Street, while my own instrument emitted nothing but a shrill peep and a worrying quantity of warm spit.

The recorder, I decided, was a girly instrument so, by the age of 11, I was grappling with the trombone – just the job to express my musical personality, I thought; and yet if anything, the trombone seemed less easy to control than the recorder.

Sometimes, you could blow so hard into the mouthpiece that you saw stars and nothing would come out except a soft windy afflatus. Sometimes, it would give vent to a horrible parp. There was simply no predicting it.

After a while, I laid the trombone aside, consoling myself with the thought that it was all a matter of practice, and it was not until I was 17 that I decided to make my final assault on the summit of Parnassus. By this stage, I was smarting from being fired from a rock band on the not unreasonable grounds that I was the only would-be bass guitarist in history who could not play the opening bars of Smoke on the Water. I knew that this had been a potentially life-changing moment. I knew it could mark the death of my hopes to be the Mick Jagger of my generation. So I decided to acquire the fundamentals. I took up the piano.

After months of brow-beading effort, in which I drove my housemaster half-insane by practising next to his study (and substantially delaying his otherwise brilliant translation of Homer), I was ready to take grade one. I had the scales off pat, more or less. With a bit of effort I could read the notes. The tricky bit was the actual tune, which was a nice little number by Bach called Lord, Do With Me What Thou Will.

Confident young plonker though I was, I remember my heart pounding with nerves as I began, and I remember my horror as the Lord began to do what he wanted with my fingers.

After three minutes, I had so massacred Bach that I became one of the first pupils in years to fail grade one piano; and still I persevered, in spite of the gentle whispering campaign mounted by my piano teacher to persuade me to give up.

To this day, if you are so unlucky as to pass our house on a Saturday afternoon, you will hear strange clanking versions of On Top Of Old Smokey and When The Saints Go Marching In, left-hand and right-hand version. Because there is still part of me that believes that with just a little more effort, and a little more practice, I could unlock the pent-up Mozart within; and yet there is another part of me that has come to the reluctant conclusion that I am useless.

The truth is that I have had abundant opportunity; I have been exposed to all manner of beautiful musical instruments, and in my hands they might as well have been sledgehammers for all the music they produced. And so it seems to me to be a sin that there are so many young people for whom the ratio is the other way around. Their hands and brains and ears are properly wired up, and yet they don’t have the opportunity – enough teaching, enough enthusiasm, enough instruments – to discover and develop their talents.

If the schools have the instruments (and many schools don’t), they are often locked away. If they have a ukulele, they may, these days, lack a teacher confident enough to play it (exactly why many prefer the online learning route!). And though the kids literally have music coming out of their ears, shishy-shishy-shishy, and though they will often have access to computers for dubbing and other modern wonders, they don’t have the basic training in reading music and musicianship to play the traditional instruments that are still the bedrock of our culture and of success in music.

That is why I want to draw the attention of readers to the many good schemes to encourage music in schools, an area where government has become commendably active, but where there is far more to do. In particular, I would like to push the cause of Julian Lloyd Webber, and his In Harmony project to teach children to play in an orchestra, and, without any shame whatsoever, I want to advertise the brilliant musical instrument amnesty called “No Strings Attached”, being run by Time Out magazine and the Greater London Authority. The idea is to persuade those members of the public who have finally abandoned their dreams of becoming the next Jacqueline du Pré to send in their cellos or flutes or bassoons and, if they have finally given up on the mouth organ, they can become organ donors. We have had a fantastic response so far, with more than 150 serviceable instruments, including a didgeridoo left on the Tube and a guitar donated by Sting.

But the need still far outstrips the supply. Some people say we should promote music in schools because it might divert kids from worse things, as though London’s street gangs will reform themselves as string quartets; some say it is all about boosting the creative economy, and encouraging nurseries of talent, like the Brit School in Croydon. Those are both excellent arguments, but as someone who has fought for so long against his own ineptitude, and who has a primitive reverence for those who can play, I believe that music is a joy and an end in itself.

So if you have a musical instrument on the shelf, and you have reluctantly concluded that some child somewhere might play it better than you, please get on our website and send it in. A good home will be found for it.

[First published in the Daily Telegraph 20 January 2009 under the heading:
‘Give me your cellos, your flutes, your abandoned didgeridoos’]

62 thoughts on “Musical Instrument Amnesty”

  1. Aww bless, I know exactly what you mean.

    So if you have a musical instrument on the shelf, and you have reluctantly concluded that some child somewhere might play it better than you, please get on our website and send it in. A good home will be found for it.

    What a good cause but sadly my daughter is taking lessons to play mine and though a friend offered me a harpsichord I think it ended up down the tip 🙁 So good call, Boris. So many people chuck out stuff others could use or benefit from. In fact there should be a sort of warehouse in every council for such things.

  2. I haven’t had time to read the above article yet, because you have to concentrate and have your dictionary handy for Boris’s articles.

    However, I am so happy at how many film quotes he uses these day. I thought he was too academic to go to the cinema.

    Mrs. Johnson, you know how hard your husband works, so as a treat I suggest you take him to the new Woody Allen film, (out soon) called VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA. I confidently predict that this will become his favourite film of all time.

  3. Regarding Boris’s article, there is one film quote that fits it perfectly.


    M. to Bond: “Glad to hear that there is one subject you’re not an expert on”.

  4. Sorry Boris, but I refuse to give up my dream. I will one day appear on top of the pops! (Once it’s back on air obviously). I’m no Jimmy Page but I’m getting there!

  5. “The recorder, I decided, was a girly instrument ”

    Maybe the tuba would be a good instrument for the Mayor. It is such a great idea for people to donate their instruments for kids to play and to encourage all the good schemes for music in schools, I wonder how many instruments have been donated so far?

  6. This idea of donating musical instruments is an absolutely brilliant idea and only Boris would think of something like that. Music is life enhancing, it refreshes the soul and all kids would benefit from playing.

    Like Angela, I would love to know how many instruments have been donated. I might advertise locally to help the scheme, COME ON PEOPLE, GET BEHIND THIS IDEA AND ASK AROUND YOUR FRIENDS.

    Mel or Gill, where should the instruments be sent and can they be delivered by hand?

  7. Oh God, it is really being revealed how I skim through things without reading them properly sometimes. Boris says how many instruments they have in the article. (150) SORRY ABOUT THAT.


    Getting hold of the musical instruments is a very worthwhile cause. Probably the Mayor’s staff have thought of this already, but there are a lot of free local papers given out in London. If someone from Boris’s office rang them up, they could ask if a free ad. could be published asking for musical instruments and they could stress that this would help schools, London kids and London in general. They are probably doing this already, but if not, it would be worth a try.

  9. I’m going to put some ads. for the instruments in my local newsagents. Once again, if everyone did this, it would boost donations.

  10. I am putting out some local ads. in the Hampstead area. COME ON PEOPLE! THIS IS TO HELP KIDS!

  11. Catherine said: “This idea of donating musical instruments is an absolutely brilliant idea” – YES!

    and only Boris would think of something like that.” – NO.

    Lots of people have good ideas. Unfortunately the establishment has to choose whether or not to listen to them and then implement them. Boris is in the fortunate position of being able to implement his good ideas. Sadly for the rest of us our good ideas enither have to be presented to local council or member of Parliament. We are in the position of only being allowed to elect the MP that is presented to us by the relevant political party. And part of that vote is mindful of the political party as a whole and not just the individual. Just as the individuals vote in parliament has to be mindful of the party supporting him/her and their job/income.

    The filtration good ideas have to go through is significant for ordinary people. The good ideas that Boris has and those he chooses to implement simply highlight what a good politician and peoples representative he is. The general view by everone seems to be that he has surprised many into silence by the very good job he is doing as Mayor of London. Sadly the same success is not an homogenous one across the political spectrum. So I say again..

    Boris for PM!

  12. I agree with you, it would be a good idea to donate instruments. My brother kindly lent the flute to me for playing, I play occassionally and enjoy the sound (when it sounds right!) It is after a long process of practising that makes it work and an ear for music/tunes.
    I too, play the piano, but I did not take any exams (my teacher says I’m a grade 4 standard – I can play the tunes)

    Absolutely fantastic idea.

    Best wishes


  13. An ad. describing the scheme (with a pic. of Boris that I cut out and copied) is in every Hampstead newsagent round here. They were nearly all really sweet and when I said “It’s to help London kids,” they refused any payment.

    Two other shopkeepers and the guy who sells organic veggies also agreed to display the scheme. (When he said to me “Have you seen the new film, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL) I was stood there there chatting for the next sixty five minutes.

    The local Conservative agent, Johnny, (rugby player) also offered to display the scheme and is featuring it on his website. IT’S A START.

  14. I think this is always a very good idea- encouraging and helping children learn how to play musical instruments. The sad fact that nowsaday lots of children spend nearly 6 hours per day looking at the screen; TV, computer, games consoles. And lots of them don’t even go outside playing sports; preferring to stay indoors looking at the screens.

    Well done, Angela for taking the trouble to walk around your town’s neighbourhood distributing leaflets to the local shops! It’s a start, as you said!

    I can’t play any musical instruments at all, although my brother’s excellent with his guitar; you should see he sits outside in the back garden playing ” Serenade ” under the moonlight! But I’m a dab hand at trumpet-blowing but this has nothing to do with musical instruments or music at all, if you can catch my drift.

    At 24, I tried to learn to play a great-grand cello. Being 4 foot 5 tall, I almost crashed down trying to hold on to the monster, so I quit. And I wish I could play a piano, imagining I make a grand entrance into The London Dorchester Hotel in my full length sequinned evening dress and on my 8 inch Manolo’s killer heels, adjusting my pant lines like Dustin Hoffman in that film Tootsie before I sit down in front of a grand piano in the Grand Hall. Everyone is looking at me and admiring my elegance. My favourite piece de resistance would be Mozart’s piano no.21. How wonderful!

  15. THANKS BEE. I also got my local paper to do a feature. I am showing off mentioning it, but I am happy because it is such a worthwhile cause and should receive as much publicity as possible. I wonder if other local papers would talk about this cause….. as well as the national press, local press are always worth cultivating.

  16. If all the bloggers who live in London put a couple of ads. for old musical instruments for Boris’s scheme round where they live, quite a lot of different areas would be covered.

  17. We all say how upset we are at knife crime, how dreadful the loss of young lives is, and we all genuinely, from the bottom of our hearts mean that. This is something we can do to help, as well as the aesthetic reason that music is life enhancing and food for our souls, this is a positive thing ordinary people can do. If we don’t have any instruments to donate, we can help to publicise the issue.

    I do think this is an extremely worthwhile cause and if any other bloggers would just put one ad. in their local library, newsagent, anywhere, WE WILL BE HELPING LONDON KIDS.

  18. Do you know that you can register your car at a different genuine address i.e a friend’s, a company’s or even a second home’s abroad… to avoid paying your parking penalty ticket, congestion charges or in case involved in a traffic accident ? Your friend only has to forward you the annual car tax reminder letter from the DVLA to their house and he has the right not to reveal your real address to the authorities.

    This rule was first applied to the Gypsies but now hundreds of thousands have caught on and followed suit. The cops said now 80% car accidents are caused by drink-driving Poles and other Eastern European immigrants living in UK and they all registered their cars at addresses in their homeland, they also don’t have to pay parking penalty tickets using the same trick.

    The cops and local councils can’t bother to chase them up. It’s easier for them to pick on law abiding citizens- us !!!


  19. Boris, you look like a musician – it’s the hair.I can imagine you conducting an orcherstra,or playing a passionate piece on the fiddle,with your hair flying wildly in all directions.

  20. You meant a WILD orchestral conductor, Ol’ Tom the Gardener?!

    And it also goes with his thick-set frame and scruffy clothes nicely !

    I can imagine Boris standing on top of the Table Mountain, holding a twig in his hand waving his arms wildly, his long blond hair flying in all directions in strong wind, part of his shirt comes out of his trousers showing his hairy big tum and belly button, conducting this Born Free piece and wild animals running around him- just like that scene in the Escape To Madagascar animated film !!!

  21. 22/1/09 Gordon Brown’s Government wildly claimed that they could see light at the end of the tunnel, they could see the green shoots of economic recovery coming nicely… Then… Sainsbury’s axed 250 jobs after wildly claimed that they were going to recruit 5,000 peole. Nissan axed 2,100 jobs. Jaguar is going to axe a lot more. Marks & Spencer axed 2,210 jobs after wildly claimed that they were in a strong position and had no worries.

    I think Gordon Brown’s Government meant that they could feel an almighty fart was going to come out of their fat arses together with all the stupid lies they have been feeding the public with.


  22. If I hear Gordon Brown say “it’s global” once more….

    Anyway, if we are the same as the US, as he keeps insisting, George W. Jr. did the same manic, irresponsible spending that GB did. And they both embarked on a shameful, illegal war that nobody wanted. In those respects, they are the same.

  23. Nice post, Borris. But do we get a chance to comment on the state of the British economy ?

    I find it nonsensical that no-one saw it coming. I, and many others, had been asking for years where all the money was coming from – we were told that we didn’t understand the new economic paradigm and that everything would be OK.

    Well whaddya know ? Turns out we were right and the politicians were wrong after all ! Some are admitting that they didn’t see it coming – well they can’t very well say otherwise now, can they !

    I have another prediction – Britain WILL go bankrupt.

    Furthermore – ‘hardworking familees’ have noted the kindly treatment that criminals, thugs, cheats … the idle have been getting from the political class (both sides of the House) and now they are losing their jobs and homes they want their crack of the whip. 42″ plasmas, fags, mobile phones – the whole chebang.

    What’s that ? There’s not enough money in the pot ???

    Oh dear. Well the other thing that’s been noted is how soft you lot are on criminals: for example, a fine for driving without insurance – if you’re a chav – is less than the cost of the insurance itself, would you believe !

    Well now that we’re being robbed of our final salary pensions, being scammed for council tax when our houses are worth eff all blah-de-blah, we – the people – would be right in asking what the point of it all is. What disincentive is there for a mass refusal to pay council tax, TV licence etc ?

    You’ve relied on our sense of duty and goodness for too long and what have we got for it ? Ignored or slapped in the face.

    The Tories know full well what ‘the people want’. They won’t deliver the landslide manifesto – which I won’t bother to detail here because you already know it – because the Tories are part of a cross-party political establishment and ‘diversity’ is the excuse for doing nothing and preserving the status quo which, in turn, perpetuates the whole political class for its own benefit.

    What is at stake here is not just the British economy. It’s our very civilisation.

    Please don’t underestimate the courage it has taken for me to deliver this message in my real name. And please don’t shoot the messenger.

  24. If anyone wants to help get hold of musical instruments for Boris’s scheme, they could go to the Time Out page, (Melissa gives the link abot) photocopy that, and put a copy in their local library, and any newsagents that will help. If you say to them “This is to help London kids, it is a hugely good cause” nine times out of ten they won’t charge you anything.

  25. Great work Angela.

    Kevin Peat – good to see your comment, Sir. But your comments seems to have the whiff of resentment towards those on benefits. I feel compelled to remind you that Thatchers massacre of the mining industry put entire communities on the dole. They weren’t feckless layabouts refusing to work. And with no control over our borders and lax restrictions on immigrations per se then people who have worked hard feel an understandable resentment towards those who have been in the country exactly 5 mins yet entitled to every benefit going it seems. But I do agree with your frustration over a largely useless police force and criminal justice system. Completely agree there. Trouble is that Boris has restricted poweres. That little problem is down to the Home Office.

    What we all have to do is to ensure that Labout don’t get in a third term!

  26. Thank you Jaq! Jaq, will you try to stick an ad. for the instruments scheme near where you live? Even if people do not send in their instruments, it is making them aware of what a great idea this scheme is, and that is going to put out Boris’s message that he supports the Arts, he believes in the value of studying music and he wants to help London kids.

    When I put the ads. around, everyone was so lovely to me and practically all insisted on displaying the ads. free because people do warm to this message.

  27. Angela I don’t live in the kind of area where anything that can be sold isn’t if no longer needed. It’s an area punctuated by modern ‘pawn’ shops where you sell everything you can for a few shillings. But I’ll do it. For you. However people might wonder why they are helping London and not the children in their own area? Which is why I suggested the initiative be extended to all areas (I don’t live in London. Not even close)

  28. If you don’t live in London, that is different, although there still might be people with an old flute or violin lurking in the cupboard. The Mayor’s staff are probably starting with Lambeth and if it really took off, they could extend it to other areas, and it is such a lovely idea, that would be absolutely fantastic.

    However, thank you for answering me and thinking about doing something, that is so nice.

  29. Don’t be fooled by the BBC’s refusal to broadcast Gaza appeal and the reason is because the BBC is funded by the licence payers’ money so they have to be impartial !!! Really?!!

    A week after the Ross and Brand scandal, a full list of salaries of the BBC top jobs was printed in the newspapers i.e Mark Thompson, BBC general director, pockets £865,000 per year alone. One financial director, a Mrs. Patel trousers nearly £650,000 per year. Even some unknown directors are paid over £500,000 per year. The reason they pay Ross £6M per year is to justify their own salaries, that’s all. Then people started to call for an end to the TV licence and that the BBC has been led mostly by the left-wing staff. That’s when the BBC top dogs got scared for their own jobs. And 2 days ago, back at work, Ross was foul-mouthed again joking on his radio show about sex with an 80 years old woman with dementia Alzheimer illness. That’s why straight away, the BBC top dogs had to do something to show that they are doing their jobs right to earn their money and that under their management the BBC is impartial. But it somehow backfired this time. Yet the BBC is still really led by the lefties and socialists and you know that.

    Have you seen Boris’s fancy pictures in yesterday’s Sunday supplement mag?!
    Oh my, he looks lush, fit and drop-dead gorgeous ! But I hear that his lunch-box had to be airbrushed to make it look less prominent ( the pic where he is holding the rails ). I don’t know if anything else was airbrushed or digitally enhanced or pulled or stretched i.e legs to look longer than Kate Winslet’s on Vogue, face to look less wide, hair to look thicker and fuller or acnies to disappear… But one thing I’m sure is if they hadn’t airbrushed Boris’s lunch-box, it would have looked too much ” in-your-face ” ! Even now, his lunch-box in that pic still looks huge !

    Anyway, I just loved his photos and I’m going to frame the one he’s holding the rails. BORIS JOHNSON FOREVER…


    and see for yourself !!! ( Sorry for lowering the tone around here…you know me- I just can’t stop talking about sex for one second… and I think maybe Jaq’s just the same… innit, Jaq? Jaq?!!! )

  30. It just amuses me that the Beeb has probably got more mileage – deliberately? – for Gaza by standing on its moral highground than it would have done by just simply sticking out an advert.

    As for musical instruments for all: Jaq, I agree with you. It should be nationwide and, to go further, it should take into account the availability of teachers.

    Please, everyone, do hand on instruments but – even more important – if you can get a tune out of it, teach someone else. Grade 8 and a CRB-passed certificate are nowhere near as essential as just passing on the love of music and the ability to play.

  31. Maybe if lots of instruments are handed in, the scheme can be extended, first to other London areas and then nationwide. IT’S A GREAT IDEA.

    Gill, in Boris’s article he mentions a didgeridoo was donated that was left on the tube…. have all the lost property offices been contacted to see if they will donate any instruments they have in Lost Property?

  32. Bee – I hate to disappoint you but I gave that sort of thing up a very long tme ago. I just have a good sense of humour and like a giggle. I did see the pictures though and was delighted to see Boris featured. I now would rather have bought the Sunday Times given the expose of the 4 Labour peers. It was interesting to see the old Labour peer seemingly confused that he’d done anything wrong! I suppose we must wait for the investigation.

    Incidentally I don’t think I’ll EVER buy a chicken from Tesco, the supermarket that happily misleads it’s customers. I may launch a campaign for buying from farm shops and growing your own. Perhaps Boris should look into allotments provision in London? As one solution to the recession. We all grew our own in the war!

  33. Jaq Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall is running a campaign for a happier life for chickens. (Lately though, he has said he ate a giraffe. Well, not a whole one, but my admiration for him has ebbed slightly since this admission. He didn’t each a whole giraffe obviously, just part of one, but I hate the thought of that. Giraffes are such beautiful animals).

    Bee, the thing with Jonathan Ross is, in fairness we have to admit, there is an audience for his sort of humour. However, surely he should not be on the BBC? There is an audience for Russell Brand’s humour as well, and if you buy a ticket to his shows that is your choice.

    People are angry at Ross because we pay the licence fee for the BBC, so why should we have to miss out on entertainment on a prime time slot just because we can’t stand his smut and cruelty? Jonathan Ross is a triple Scorpio. ON A LOW LEVEL, because there are three levels of Scorpio, Scorpios can be obsessed with sex, cruelty and revenge. (Higher Scorpios are healers and warriors for truth). He can’t do his act in any other way. His act IS him. He just shouldn’t be a mainstream entertainer, he should be himself in clubs and on cult radio shows.

  34. Angela – Herefords are beautiful creatures too, as are deer and pheasant. Doesn’t stop me tucking into one 🙂 Do you eat lamb? lovely little white woolly baa-lambs?

    So Scorpios can be obsessed with cruelty and revenge eh? Now why doesn’t that surprise me.


    and read an article in the SUN 26/1/2009 including the pic of Ross with his hand over his mouth as he ignored reporters’ questions. His wife Jane denied any wrongdoing at their £3M London mansion whilst their 17 yrs old daughter Betty Kitten (!!!) jumped about in front of cameras waving her arms. She’s clearly brought up well by her parents’ standards !

    The article traces down the 86 yrs old Spanish woman with Alzheimer’s who is Ross’s radio producer who has a villa in Spain and this old lady is his neighbour. Her son told the paper: ” How dare Ross insult my mum? “.


    In US, some TV channels now don’t broadcast 24 hours a day, they stop at midnight to save money as they are not making enough money from commercial adverts. Over here, ITV, C4, C5 are thinking of doing the same.
    This makes people argue about having to pay for the BBC TV licence again. Surely the BBC has the money, the technology and the time to set up their business like SKY TV where you have to pay to watch. No pay, no watching. Simple. But the BBC top dogs don’t want to do that as they know very few people actually watch BBC programmes; they would collect less money which means less money to pay their own outrageously over- the -top salaries. T hat’s why the BBC are getting scared for their own jobs, they were just pretending they are doing their jobs just right being impartial by refusing to screen the Gaza appeal !!!


    25/1/09 Steel giant Corus, formerly British Steel, is set to axe 2,500 jobs in UK this week. Next, it will axe another 1,000 jobs worldwide as demand from construction firms and car makers have plunged deeply. And guess what???

    On 26/1/09 Gordon Brown moaned that newspaper cartoonists always draw him as a fat man. He said: ” They draw me far too fat. I’m not that fat. Why do they draw me so fat? ”

    Royal Bank of Scotland, bailed out by the taxpayers, still pay £10,000 per MONTH for a taxi firm to chauffeur their staff just 400 yards to and from their car park even though the bank’s bosses are expected to announce record £28Billion losses this week. All their staff park their cars in a car park, then a hired taxi whiskes them to their office. Somestimes only 1 banker on board for the 36 second trip. The taxi stands by from 8AM to 6PM, even though staff could walk the distance in 2 1/2 minutes !!! Most people in the neighbouring offices walk to the door.

    Mmmm… viagra, Jaaaaaaaaaq !!!!

  36. Bee – I agree the country needs an overhaul but I don’t use Viagra. I’m female. I don’t think the country needs Viagra either. Already too many feckless fathers and single mothers. I do agree with your point about the banks though. Bailing them out with tax payers money the way they did and continue to do is disgusting. So sad about Corus but I’m not shocked to hear the news.

  37. Bee I think Jonathan Ross is going through a mid life crisis. He’s 49, isn’t he? He obviously fears getting old, and is projecting that onto older people. He is forever slagging off Bruce Forsythe for his age, and making unkind jokes about other older people. Add to that his juvenile language “It was my bad…..” and his juvenile way of dressing and his juvenile choice of friends…. Grow up Jonathan.

  38. Jaaaaaaaaaaq, women do take Viagra too, ya know !

    Heard about some non-fruiting ladies who took Viagra and had twins?! Anyway, I’m not saying you need these blue pills !

    Angela, I’m all for chopping the floppy-haired’s huge salary of £6Million per YEAR. Is he that good that worth his £6Million/ YEAR contract ? People don’t think so.

  39. Bee – thank you for that information I didn’t know that ladies took viagra. Does it make things a little less unpleasant? Well no matter, thank you for your consideration. Incidentally I believe you can purchase little vacuum cleaners quite cheaply that would solve that problem you seem to have have with your keyboard.

    I also agree that £6M is far too much.

  40. Passed a copy of the Time Out ad. for Boris’s scheme to several professional musicians in Hampstead. They were extremely impressed with the scheme and are going to see what they can do.

  41. I play the violin through my school and I love it. I think more should be done to give pupils the chance to learn an instrument. An amnesty would be a great idea to reduce the cost of this. If something like this happens, maybe british musicians will be the backbone of many international orchestras.

  42. Thanks: you people simply have to get some consistency in your nicknomenclature! I thought Jonathan Ross was that balding guy with the car show? You all look alike to me!

  43. The scheme to donate musical instruments does not close until 31st March. There is still time to drum up (JOKE) some interest, and get more instruments for schools.

    Putting an ad. in your local newsagent does work, and if you have kind public spirited newsagents around you, as I have, they will do it for free.

    You can also e-mail your local paper and ask for coverage. If you explain the scheme, they will give at least a short paragraph.

    I know that both of these methods gets results, because instruments have been donated in my area, hopefully some direct to the TIME OUT. One wonderful lady has given a pair of congo drums. She could have sold them on E-Bay for over £500, but was inspired by the Mayor’s scheme to give them to City Hall for kids.


  44. Hi everybody.

    Whilst I may not generally be a fan of Boris, this is one idea which I think is actually viable. I’d just like to represent the young musicians when I say that the number of people who can play instruments is diabolical.

    I play both the bassoon and the oboe to a high standard, and also coming on a treat on the bagpipes, and I urge anyone who wants to play an instrument to do so, and quickly!

    In light of the fact that the ‘credit crunch’ is largely ficticious, there has never been a better time than to buy a clarinet or a euphonium!

    Good luck!

  45. I like this Musical Instrument Amnesty idea. However can we move it into another stage. Here is a further idea, hopefully a practical suggestion, built on the idea of a thousand flowers blooming. Can you help develop this creative venture Boris, perhaps with Lord Lloyd Webber and partners within London’s diverse communities?

    The first venture, the creation of an ensemble of a 100 acoustic guitar players! The receivers of guitars from the amnesty will be auditioned by Londoners via a ‘You Tube’ venture in conjunction with the GLA. The ensemble will work together and develop a concert of a hundred guitars for performance prior to the Olympics in 2012. This will be an integral part of the Cultural Olympiads.

    Further ventures in parallel would involve an ensemble of a hundred drummers/percussionists, again using musical instrument amnesty donations. Also I envisage a similar venture with reed instruments, another based on vocals/choirs, and lastly brass. Five ventures representing the five continents of the world and the five rings of the Olympic flag.

    The final venture – a mix of them all – a performance of the five ensembles, maybe as part of the opening or the closing ceremony of London 2012.

    Jeffrey Morris –

  46. Music Instrument Amnesty – Music at the 2012 Games

    Comment by Jeffrey Morris 17th April, 2009

    I like the Musical Instrument Amnesty idea. However, can we move it on to another stage? Here is a further idea, hopefully a practical suggestion.

    The first element would involve the creation of an ensemble of a 100 acoustic guitar players! The receivers of guitars from the music instrument amnesty and other non-professional musicians will be auditioned by Londoners via a ‘You Tube’ or a broadcast television venture. The ensemble would work together and develop a concert of a hundred guitars for performance prior to the Olympics in 2012. This will be an integral part of the Cultural Olympiads.

    Further ventures – in parallel with the above – would involve an ensemble of a hundred drummers/percussionists, again using musical instrument amnesty donations. Also, I envisage a similar venture with reed instruments, another based on vocals/choirs, and lastly brass. Five ventures representing the five continents of the world and the five rings of the Olympic flag.

    Building on the ‘Music Instrument Amnesty’, this venture could reveal talent within London in the same way that ITV’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ did for 47 Year old Susan Boyle!

    The final venture – a mix of them all – a performance of the five ensembles could form part of the opening or closing ceremony at the London 2012 Games.

    Are you interested in taking a lead on developing this creative venture Mayor Johnson? Perhaps Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber and other creative partners within London’s diverse communities could work together?

    This venture should reflect 21st century London! The music composed could see Andrew Lloyd Webber working with the likes of Goldie, Nitin Sawney and others. It could draw on the ancient and modern traditions of our current diverse music masters.

    London has a unique multi-faceted cultural resonance, so let it be expressed through music across the world in 2012. It would certainly be unlike the ‘Best of British’ farce at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Games.
    This People’s Ensemble would be the unique music of international London – a city that will need in 2012 to prove that it is truly world class.


  47. I know the Time Out competition finished at the end of March but is it still possible to donate an instrument? I have a sadly neglected flute languishing in a cupboard and would love someone to have it. Apologies if this info has already been posted, but I didn’t have time to read all the messages!

  48. name is david oneill..i have for some time organised and run a musical instrument amnesty in corby northants..being a music instructor in key stage 3&4..11 to 19 year olds i am forever comeing across very keen students that realy want to be able to play the instrument of their choice but cant afford one..i have re homed several guitars and often pianos to very greatfull young people that now are able to realise a dream…hats off to you for trying to do the same good deed

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