Today's blogpost* is brought to you by a math problem (what happens when one works with geeks). *actually this is a repost of an old post cos reasons. But here's the math problem.

"How many gigs do The Proclaimers need to play to be within 1000m from every person on Earth?" know you're gonna anyway

The Proclaimers: I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

"When I go out, yeah, I know I'm gonna be,
I'm gonna be the man who goes along with you
But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door"

The Proclaimers have famously expressed that they would walk five hundred miles, and five hundred more to "fall down at your door". So let's say that this is not about Craig Reid's lover's (more likely a prospective one's) door – but falling down at the door of your idol.

The concert door.

Of The Proclaimers.

That'd be nice.

A fan that walked 500 miles, and 500 more to see The Proclaimers live. What if every person on Earth was a fan of The Proclaimers? How many performances would they need to be within a thousand miles from everyone on Earth – of course therefore giving all people the chance to walk a 1000 miles for the performance?

Let's find out.

The Proclaimers 2016 Tour

Since the Proclaimers aren't touring in 2017, we'll just use their tour from 2016. Here's a breakdown of what happened.

The tour kicked of in Australia's Perth

  • There were 5 other Australian dates,
  • 4 dates in New Zealand,
  • one date in Dubai before moving to their native UK.
  • In the UK there were 29 dates,
  • followed by 18 N-American dates.
    Which gives a total of 57 dates

The question is, do they need to perform more often or less often to be within 1000 miles of everyone on the planet.

Put simply: their 2016 tour was horribly optimised for giving everyone on Earth a chance to walk 500 miles and then walk 500 more to go see The Proclaimers live.

Concentrating the bulk of the events in the UK is no good, because a 1000m radius already covers the entire island of Great Britain. And the UK, and Ireland, all of the Benelux countries, Switzerland, Denmark, Lichtenstein and most of Germany and France.

It's like they're not even trying.

All UK dates drawn with a 1000 mile radius

As this map shows, these 29 UK dates overlap greatly with one another. With 29 dates they still only barely cover Western Europe. This would give us about 427M people.

Out of 7.415 billion people, this takes us just below the 7 billion humans to go. As we said, horribly ineffective for 29 dates, when one date could get pretty much the same result.

Spoiler alert. It doesn't get better.

Australia + NZ leg

So 10 dates cover the roughly 27M population in Australia, New Zealand + parts of Papua New Guinea.

However, a slightly better booked tour, with only four dates could cover the total combined population of Papa New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand.


Now we're talking Proclaimers. Just one event in Dubai, which scores about 210M people. This is much more like it


Again. Horribly ineffective. One event in Washington DC, should cover all of Canada's and the US's East Coast, or about 216M people. Moving the middle of the radius from Washington DC to the boarder of Tennessee and Kentucky though, should cover 250M people. Now that's good work!

The West Coast is hardly worth going to (only 70M). Much better would be Cancún Mexico, as that's another 200M (albeit some overlapping ones). But obviously not everybody can go to the same concert.

Let us propose a much better tour schedule, with much fewer dates.

No overlaps, and anything less than 250M tbh: kind of a waste of time.

Btw, super well done Europe on that Mercator projection. Good work. So in under 10 dates, The Proclaimers could be within a thousand miles of 67% of all the Earth's population. Nine dates to be exact. The numbers are rounded, because this isn't exact science people.

  1. Border of Tennessee & Kentucky, US: 250M
  2. Czech Republic, Europe: 600M
  3. Burkina Faso, Africa: 260M
  4. Border of DR Congo & Uganda, Africa: 270M
  5. Saudi Arabia, Middle East: 320M
  6. Indonesia, Asia: 350M (what is impressive, is that most miles would be covered walking on water)
  7. Japan, Asia: 320 M

Now, that's pretty good. With seven dates, The Proclaimers can be within reach of 2.370 billion people or 32% of the Earth's population. Now let's make it interesting with the last two:

  • 8. India, Asia: 1.3 billion people
  • 9. China, Asia: 1.3 billion people

With just those two extra dates, The Proclaimers could be within a thousand mile reach to an additional 2.6 billion people, or 35% more of the Earth's population (emphasis mine).

So with 9 performances, The Proclaimers could be <1000M from almost 5 billion people.

That's approaching 70% of the Earth's population.

But, what about everyone?

Let's find out how many it would take to be less than a thousand miles from all Earthlings. We're including Hawaii, but if there are some more isolated islands in the middle of an ocean, we apologise in advance for not including those.

8 dates would suffice for all of North and Central America

  • Hall Beach, Canada
  • Yakutat, Alaska
  • Rugby, North Dakota
  • Isle Au Haut, Maine
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • On some kind of a performance ship in the Gulf of Mexico
    (let logistics deal with it)
  • Uribia, Columbia
  • and of course Hawaii.
    They could pick whatever part of Hawaii they would like.

6 dates in South America

They actually share a date with Central America in Columbia, so we won't list that one again.

  • Macapá, Brazil
  • Turmalina, Brazil
  • Espírito Santo, Brazil (great part of the Amazonian Rain Forest)
  • Junín, near Buenos Aires in Argentina
  • Falkland Islands, British Overseas Territory (Empire!)

3 dates in Europe

Europe is pretty quick, with only three dates. It shares two important overlaps with Africa, one on Europe's side in Spain and one in Libya on Africa's side. They'll be listed with their perspective continents.

  • North Iceland
  • Velikiye Luki, near Moscow in Russia
  • Atienza, near Madrid in Spain

6 dates in Africa

  • Jakharrad, Libya
  • Timbuktu, Mali
  • Kutum, near Al Fashir in Sudan
  • Park National d'Odzala-Kokoua in the Republic of the Congo
  • Border town Moyale, between Ethiopia and Kenya
  • Parque Nacional das Quirimbas, Mozambique
  • by the Gutta lake in Botswana

13 dates in Asia

  • Thamud, Yemen
  • Kermanshah, Iran
  • Titan, Afghanistan
  • Atasu, Kazakhstan
  • In the Russian subarctic (there are no closer landmarks) x2
  • Chita, Russia
  • Ternistyy, Russia
  • Qinghai, China
  • Fujian, China
  • Balikpapan, Indonesia
  • Nakhon SI Thammarat, Thailand
  • Atpadi, India

And as we've already explained, four in Australia, NZ & Papua New Guinea. Btw, that's as many as the four Russian ones on just the Asian side. Don't forget there's also one in Russia on the Europe's side, so a total of five Proclaimer concerts in Russia. Dang, Russia's big.

The World Tour

The Proclaimers 2016 tour had 57 dates. The percent of Earthlings that could reach their live performance by walking five hundred miles and then five hundred more is by our best estimate 400M (UK, Europe) + 30M (Aus, NZ, PNG) + 200M (East Coast) + 70M (West Coast) giving us a total of 700 million people. That's not even 10% of the Earth's population.

We've already suggested an option with only nine dates that would let 67% of all Earthlings be less than a thousand miles from The Proclaimers. Which is obviously way better.

But to give everyone on Earth the opportunity to go see The Proclaimers live by walking less than a thousand miles, there'd be 40 shows total.

  • 13 in the Americas,
  • 13 in Asia,
  • 6 dates in Africa,
  • 4 in Australia, and
  • 3 in Europe
    or 40 in total


Like a good student, let's answer the original problem posed: "How many gigs do The Proclaimers need to play to be within 1000M from every person on Earth?"

Answer: 40 gigs.

But also – why are Marshall and Ted driving? It's like they're not even taking the song seriously.