My 2 cents on writing music and everything that goes on around it.

Smarties, Bows and Conducting at Hammersmith Apollo 12 Oct 2015 Last night I took a bow and conducted in front of an audience of over 2000 people at Hammersmith Apollo for Stand Up For the Comedy School, a charity show to raise awareness of knife crime. Thanks to the “alchemist of rap” Chozenofficial for having me on the team right from the start. We've come a long way since weighing up potential lineups and writing the first arrangements in 2013!

One of the things I like best about our project is that everyone on the team is valued as a human being, regardless of where they're from, what their role is and how long they've been on board. That's really the future of the entertainment business for me: one where caring about integrity, honesty and respect is not just something we say in interviews and on social media to come across as likeable people, but something we practice behind closed doors with those working with us.

Being involved in a charity fundraiser event of this scale was a privilege, and the event as a whole was a great success. Comedians included Sir Lenny Henry, Sean Lock, Francesca Martinez, Paul Whitehouse, Harry Enfield and Andy Osho. Producer, recent MBE awardee and previous assistant director of the 2012 Olympics Opening ceremony, Paulette Randall, was a tour de force masterminding our late addition to the lineup and a huge inspiration to anyone who likes to see great events run well with a minimum of fuss.

It's just a little shame that the words with which the compere, Curtis Walker, chose to introduce me, the conductor, to the audience before our second appearance of the night were: “This is Robin, the skinniest guy I have ever met.” He paused and looked at me as if to invite a reaction, but as he was holding the only microphone in sight to his mouth, I had no way of answering or giving back. So I did what a professional does in this kind of situation: I smiled, bowed to the paying audience and went back to the podium to lead a smashing performance from our players.

Does it stop here? No, it doesn't. Why does a man presenting a charity event working towards reducing violence among teenagers model body-shape bullying? Imagine for a second that he had introduced me like this: “This is Robin, the fattest guy I have ever met.” Surely even the most forgiving comedy audience would have whinced at that, and even complained afterwards.

I am very comfortable in my body these days - I dance every week, I easily swim over 1k or cycle 70 miles in a day, and I enjoy being present and solid in front of a room (or concert hall) full of people. But this wasn't always like that. As it happens, I come from two proud lines of tall dark handsome men (one English/Welsh, one German), and with this comes a certain wiry physique that my genes have perfected to a T. I was once laughed out of a gym as a teenager (and that's not because I thought “dumbells” was the name for the people working there) and experienced negative comments on my appearance throughout my teens and even twenties.

There is huge pressure on men to conform to a broad-shouldered, thick-chested body image. A huge industry in bulking products, training regimes and various forms of hormone treatment has arisen to meet the need to conform to this pressure. To me this is like saying that all smarties should be blue. Anyone who has stopped to look at the bodies of a range of real men of different ages as they are, be it in a swimming pool, on a beach or in a steam room, will know what I mean. There is an incredibly amount of beauty in our diversity, and I always find that the differences between our bodies somehow cease to matter so much once we don't have our clothes accentuating them.

So what I have to say to the Curtis Walkers of our world is this: Come meet me down at Hampstead Heath Ponds, or at a Turkish bath in Hackney, and let's get our kit off, kick back and have a chat about our how our day has been. Let's have a laugh about this together, appreciating and valuing each other as the wonderfully diverse and unique human beings that we truly are. And after that we'll take a bow to our audiences and really mean it when we smile for them. Older Post Home Newer Post