ASAP! and the ‘Simon Cowell clause’

ASAP! and the ‘Simon Cowell clause’

Photo: pj_in_oz.

As the assembled crowd sang along at the ecstatic climax of Hey Jude, it was absurd to think that what we were doing was now technically criminal.

So observed Tom George about the campaign’s first ‘celebratory busk’ in a recent article in Seven Streets. Tom has been busy promoting the campaign, appearing most recently on Bido-Lito’s recent podcast to give his views. Skip to the 14:40 mark to listen:

Being the humble and obliging fellow that he is, Tom has given us permission to correct him on a small, but common, inaccuracy about the true nature of Liverpool’s policy: The so-called ‘Simon Cowell clause’ does not require performers to pass a formal X-Factor-like audition before they are granted a license. What the clause in question does state, however, is that police and enforcement officers are now entitled to stop performers on the grounds of taste alone. If they don’t like what they see or here, in others words, they now have the power to move performers on, potentially turning officials into a “poor man’s Simon Cowell”. Contrary to Ged Gibbon’s condescending insistence that the policy is about helping buskers, this clause would be the death of street performance in Liverpool.

But there was much truth is Tom’s article, much that we would do well to bear in mind three weeks after the policy’s introduction:

If we are to achieve a repeal of this law, it is vitally important for the campaign to build momentum from here on. A street performers’ group is being established that will give us the collective voice and weight to negotiate with council when they realise that street performers are not going to kowtow to their autocratic ways.

And what, you ask, is this group? The Association of Street Artists and Performers (ASAP!) launches this week.

Get in touch to find our how you can get involved!

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2 Comments on "ASAP! and the ‘Simon Cowell clause’"

  • phil newton says

    Beware of amplification.Amplification of any kind is self- defeating to this cause.
    Because it occupies an acoustic space in the streets which
    denies others around the corner to add to another different acoustic space.
    of their own.
    If a culturally rich and wide range of music is aimed for and a space of healthy
    diversity as it was with street vendors cries mixed with punch and judy etc then amplification can only escalate and turn busking into a form of acoustic
    competion,the last thing neede towards a cooperative street environment.
    Amplification can only be justified within an encloed and controlled acoustic space for a performance to passive audiences. Distortion and imbalance,if disregatded in a street context can only lead to a choke on creativity and spontaneity in the overall long run.

    • Jonny says

      We disagree and point you to our discussion on the many nuances of amplification. Speaking personally, using an amplifier has transformed my life, saved my voice from wear and tear and improved my guitar playing. Choosing volume appropriate to setting and context is key, and the same applies for the louder acoustic instruments…

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