On Monday 19 at 3pm there is a very important meeting at the Musicians Union head office in London which I advise any interested TM members to attend. The London production Of Les Miserables is transfering to a smaller theatre in about 10 weeks. There is a much smaller pit in the new theatre and the producers are using this as an excuse to cut the size of the band from 26 players down to just 9 musicians and a 'virtual orchestra' operator. This is in direct contravention of the MU agreement regarding West End shows and if it gets through could be a disaster for the thousands of musicians who depend on this work for their livelyhood. The loss of employment from this show alone would mean that about Â£500,000-00 of work per year would simply disappear! Multiply that by the 10 or 12 shows currently employing musicians and you have a massive shrinking of the music industry. A much smaller pie to be carved up between the same number of players. Do not make the mistake of thinking that if you are not employed in the West End this does not affect you. There is a trickle-down effect whereby all levels of the industry will suffer because there is less work to go around. When a guy in a show asks me to cover for him I may pass on an out-of town concert to a colleague, who may excuse himself from playing in a function band that evening and fix a guy who has to excuse himself from a jazz quartet gig in a local pub, who calls his student to cover for him, who then gives you a call and asks if you would like to fill the jazz trumpet chair in his regular rehearsal band for that evening.... which might go on to be your lucky break because you get a lift home with the pianist that you have never met before who calls you three months later to ask if you fancy taking a job on a ship cruising the mediteranean for six months this summer. Whilst on that cruise you fall in love with a beautiful croupier with long red hair who.........etc So , PLEASE get down to the meeting, whether you are a student, a come back player or an old pro like me - it is VERY important. In America the musicians on Broadway faced a similar situation - took a stand and prevailed. If anybody in TM land knows anything about this please come back and share your experience here or PM me. Thanks in advance, Noel. PS. If you are not a member of the MU, or cannot attend, or live abroad but want to express solidarity with your fellow musicians then contact me for details of E-mail address and fax number so that you can register your support for this battle against 'progress'.