ASB and Policing Act 2014, PSPOs what do they mean for public space?

ASB and Policing Act 2014, PSPOs what do they mean for public space?

Keep Streets Live – protecting cultural freedoms and access to public space for the arts

Sweeping new powers hidden in the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 come into force on October 20th, and already local authorities are planning to use them against buskers. This act gives councils the power to introduce PSPOs (Public Space Protection Orders) which can be used to ‘ban’ activities in public spaces, even if they are not illegal. The Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods in Bath, David Dixon, has stated that PSPOs will be used against buskers in that cityafter the Rector of Bath Abbey Edward Mason brought an evening service to a halt because of the noise he claimed street musicians were making. I will be taking part in a public debate about civic freedoms and public space with Rev Mason and Councillor Dixon this Saturday at the Battle of Ideas event held at the Barbican in London. Tickets are still available. Keep Streets Live will be at the forefront of scrutinising these new powers and their impact upon cultural and civic freedoms in the months and years ahead.

Meanwhile it is a year since the Citizen’s Kazoo Orchestra and the Church of the Holy Kazoo were founded as a protest vehicle against Camden Council’s criminalisation of busking in that previously vibrant corner of London. Our ongoing legal challenge against that policy reaches the Court of Appeal on November 13th with a permission hearing. On Sunday 19th October we will be taking to the streets of Camden for an anniversary protest busk. Because busking is a sacred act for the Church of the Holy Kazoo, and our hymnbook is every piece of music ever written and performed, our protest busk falls under the exemption granted by Camden to ‘music that is part of a religious service or ceremony’. Join us on Camden High Street from 1pm onwards. This is a link to the facebook event: All are welcome! Camden, we are not giving up on you!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1474664902822738/

Keep Streets Live exists to promote good relationships between buskers, local authorities and all users of shared public spaces. Whilst we oppose the use of blanket powers against street culture that criminalise harmless activity we recognise that councils need guidance for the oversight of busking. We are proud to have worked alongside Liverpool City Council and the Business Improvement District to produce a Best Practise Guidance document for street culture. We are now part of a London Mayoral Taskforce for the oversight of busking where we have been sharing the contents of the Liverpool document with the Mayor’s team. We believe that the principles in this guidance provide a working template not just for Liverpool but for other towns and cities in the UK and beyond that want to encourage harmonious relationships between those who share our public spaces whilst preserving a vibrant street culture. In a free society, freedom of expression must be protected and this guidance is a clear and workable alternative to the criminalisation of street culture and the application of coercive legal powers that some local authorities turn towards all too readily.You can see that document here: http://keepstreetslive.com/uncategorized/2014/09/best-practice-busking-guide

Thank you for your continued interest and support. We hope to see you on a street filled with music some day soon!

Love,

Jonny Walker

Director Keep Streets Live Campaign

http://keepstreetslive.com
https://www.facebook.com/groups/keepstreetslivecamden/
http://facebook.com/jonnysongs

This post was written by
Singer-Songwriter/Professional Street Performer/Campaigner/Wandering Minstrel

59 Comments on "ASB and Policing Act 2014, PSPOs what do they mean for public space?"

  • Q. What does the Anti-Social and Policing Bill 2014 mean for me?
    A. Well as a person ‘seriously’ exploring the possibilities Art and Street Culture for plus the idea of Public Musicanship for myself and the public entertainment, along with what I identify as the other the other major detrimental ‘external’ forces of our times eg. Neo-Conservatism and ‘Utilitarian’ material mass culture, all brands of Religous Fundamentalism, and Labour Party style collectivist state politics ie. neo-Stalinism ( see Camden Borough Council ) the recent Tory introduced ASP & Policing Bill represents another potential obstacle in the way of leading a life of passion and freedom.

    In terms of ‘liberal’ democracy the Bill represents a step backwards yet another ‘cruel’ means by which such reactionary ‘ philistine’ forces can now more easily block an intelligent and potentially ‘creative’ individuals way to self expression and doing some possible ‘social’ good ( something these kind of forces don’t acknowledge or simply refuse to see ) . For me this new public legislation threatens to be a potent, indeed lethal weapon in the hands of the enemies of freedom, those who resent others ‘freedoms’, or as we often see is the case, fear and distrust it.

    I think the polical focus ought to be on ‘wealth’ creation not ‘regulation’. I side and affiliate with Scottish Moral Philosopher/Economist Adam Smiths defintion of wealth ” all things conducive to life eg. beautiful gardens, freedom etc ” ( *See Prof Alan Macfarlane Cambridge University You Tube ).

    And as a kind of ‘non-commissed’ Salesman ( this is in part how I see myself ), I value myself and what I do and accordingly demand the right to to work creatively in my own interest and the publics, without ‘interference’, in a socially constructively designed, ‘free’ market-place.

    • * The Introductary First Paragraph’ above rephrased ( See above )

      Q. What does the Anti-Social and Policing Bill 2014 mean for me?
      A. Well as a person ‘seriously’ exploring the possibilities of Art and Street Culture plus the idea of Public Musicanship in the interests of myself and public entertainment, I’d say along with what I identify as the other ‘major’ detrimental ‘external’ forces of our times eg. Neo-Conservatism and ‘Utilitarian’ material mass culture, all brands of Religous Fundamentalism, and Labour Party style collectivist state politics ie. neo-Stalinism ( see Camden Borough Council ) the recent Tory introduced ASP & Policing Bill represents another potential obstacle in the way of leading a life of passion and freedom and ‘good will’.

      • * Correction to final ‘concluding’ paragraph ( See Above )

        ……’Commision’ only Salesman ( insert 0….

  • Having just got through one of the most challenging yet ‘exhilerating’ Xmas periods to date in my career as a Street Performer I’ve got to put the question Q. What does a Public Musican do in the face of a ‘flooded’ labour market and the inevitable negative consequence of this ie. the rather dire prospect of ‘zero’ public space for a performer such as myself.

    Well we all know that flooded labour markets in general tend to have a ‘degrading’ effect, and given that Birmingham this Christmas appeared to have become a magnet for Street Entertainers from across Europe, it was a matter of personal pride ( not only ‘logic’ ) that dictated to me that first and foremost, to fight ( and thus ‘survive’ ) this very ‘threatening’ trend, the most immediate and effective method was to increase ones ‘competive prowess’

    Eg. In my case this meant getting up ‘pre-dawn’ at 4am in the morning and getting to my desired spot by 6am beating all other competition ( and I state it outright here not benevolant in any way but ‘predatory’ competition ). The strategy worked, I beat one particularly ‘competitive’ Romanian Musican ( if you can call him that! ), a Trumpeter & his apparent extended family ( sax player, accordian player, even one-legged Father Christmas act ) on each occasion to that busking location. It paid dividends, big rewards too, me earning record amounts of money for the day on the German Xmas Market.

    Sheer tenacity enabled me to shrug off all the tricks in the book ( some fairly ‘dirty’ ) to get me off that spot including eg mild abuse such as walking past gaping rapaciously at the money landed in my guitar case and spitting resentfully as they pass-by, mild coercion such as walking up to me and demanding the spot for themselves the next day as if by ‘right’, mild harrassment such as placing a ‘loud’ accordian player and sax player on either side in an obvious ploy to enviously drown me out etc etc etc.

    An interesting ‘context’ Jonny, I see on your Twitter page, ‘links’ critical about The Times Newspaper naming Nigel Farage as their ‘ man of the year ‘, I note some of the criticisms levelled at this broadsheet for doing this and I add that as a guy of ‘duel heritage’ ie. with an 1960s immigrant St Lucian Mother I’d be the first to speak out against any ‘racist’ persecution of immigrants. However I can’t deny the ‘Irony’ of my experience.

    You ‘retweet’ a link by a guy called Michael Deacon, who in turn cites a man, a letter writer who has written critically to the Times as ‘his’ man of the year. The man writes in a letter to the newspaper, on the subject of immigrants ” These are the people UKIP sees as only Benefits Scroungers; Farages party treats incomers in search of a better life like a farmer with a shotgun threatening tresspassers on his land ”.

    I retort well theres the rub, because in Birmingham my home town, ( and place of birth! ) , and city I’ve ‘freely’ busked in for the last 3 or so years there are now ‘newcomers’ ( a ‘strain’ of newcomer to the city ) who out of their own ‘self’ interests have taken likings to certain ‘areas/spaces’ in the city for use for themselves and who ironically now have a tendency to treat me ( and the likes of me ), native inhabitants of the city, after only a brief arrival and ‘occupation’ in the place, as a tresspasser(s) on what they seem to regard now as their ‘own’ space or land.

    Furthermore, I’ve found that when ‘I’ ( myself! ) and others through quite open and fair competition, get to desired locations first, and take that ‘playing space’ back, they rather hypocritically don’t like it, and respond quite openly resentfully and spitefully towards me and others ( a bit like common UKIP supporters are often accused of doing so to them for percievably taking up what is regarded as ‘host’ land here) ,

    And, yes in addition to that, to some extent, I pick up just a little bit, in the ‘negative’ response and ‘resentful’ tone of these ‘newcomers’, when they see the ‘money’ I’m making, ( I add quite fairly!) a touch, albeit just below the surface, a little smitten of ‘the racist’ in them ( just like what many critics of racism claim to pick up, when they talk of the zingoistic bigotry, found in the attitudes of supporters of UKIP towards immigrants appearing to do well, if not better than they are, in their own country).

    So yes the Birmingham German Market 2014, what a learning experience this year. The Security and Police perhaps the most ‘liberal’ policy towards ‘Buskers’ ( certainly the ‘best’ communication with regards Street Entertainers ) I’ve ever witnessed. An open door for all to street perform on the market, and I have to say in general a great success, a ‘win-win’ situation for all.

    But what a peculiar phenomenon with this one strain of ‘newcomer’, with their kind of grotesquely ironic ‘inverse’ forms of zingoism, bigotry, and yes even ‘bullying’ and in some instances definite hints of ‘reverse’ forms of racism. The greatest irony? Well the most open, liberal and ‘bohemian’ social force on the streets this Christmas for all appearances for me were the Security and I have to say once more The Police!.

  • On the subject of the relationship between ‘competitive’ prowess and poverty in general, I do note ( ‘critically’ ) the tendencey of many in the political establishment to want to blame the the Poor themselves ‘totally’ for their lot. Lack of qualifications, poor school results, low level skills, attitudinal culture of poverty are cited again and again as the ‘real’ reasons why the poor, the working class, the underclass fare as they do.

    Only the other day I watched a BBC News Item on the state of the economy that commented on the £36000 a year salary of those working in the University educated high technology sector compared to the measly wages of those in relatively unskilled. The news article suggested and in doing so simply perpetuated the myth that those unfortunates now this Xmas having to collect their christmas dinner from Food Kitchens well its ‘all’ their own fault.

    Of course this is nonesense, and I cite American Public Intellectual Noam Chomsky as a good example of a public speaker who in many of his talks clearly brings out how all this kind of thinking ( ‘un-educated’ in itself! ) about the ’causes’ of social penuary represents really an ‘ultra’ limited and distorted moral perspective that obscures the very real external ‘structural’ reasons for much economic poverty and misery in our society.

    For examply, Chomsky in one of his talks points out how historically in the Post War period up until the 1970s, America for instance experienced unprededented economic growth, a boom period, now seen by many as the ‘golden’ years of Capitalism. Whats interesting here is not just the countries general economic growth but how in this period the huge wealth created was distributed quite egalitarianly between social strata eg companies made big profits whilst workers saw significant increases in wages.

    However since the 1970s Chomsky illustrates how through government policy itself, ‘structura’l decisions and ‘external’ changes there has been an ‘opposite’ trend of an ever widening gap between rich and poor and a contraction of the real value of wages. And importantly he points out how it would be absurd to blame the ‘moral’ state of the poor for ‘all’ this ie for the demise in this latter post 70s period of their own wages.

    As a Street Performer, and without going into complex ecomonomic arguments about the ‘structural’ causes of poverty whether manifest in Housing Policy, European Labour Policy, Higher Education Reform etc, on a simple ‘grass-roots’ level its easy to show how the simple day to day workings of government policy create poverty and a lowered sense of individual well being.

    For example Anti-Povery Activist and Food Writer Jack Monroe in a discussion on Newsnight BBC2 recently pointed out how now their exists the very ‘real’ phenomenom of ‘the working poor’ eg its people in work ( no dole scroungers etc ) on super low wages who make up a bulk of the folk living under the poverty line in this counry England, the Uk these days. She also points out how 55% of those using Food Kitchens ets are not the feckless unemployed etc but real unemployed victims of ‘delayed’ payements by the Welfare State, The Job Agencies etc. She cites who over a million claimants now have been made subject to benefits ‘sanctions’. The government in a very real way can be shown here to be actively, through deliberate policy, creating otherwise ‘unnecessary’ hardship ( and degradation! ) of ordinary, decent, hardworking people.

    For me the ‘clear’ solutions here are the support and impementation of a £9.00 per week minimum wage plus a full social re-institution of the Welfare State. For me as a philosophical Liberal its a step backwards to start reintroducing the Church back into the fray to provide welfare functions, we’re quietly and gradually being led back to a pre-war Welfare State age of ‘Depression’ soup kitchens and the Victorian Workhouse. Yes Welfare is a huge cost to Society, but its one in all fairness we have to be prepared to pay for given the ‘real’ imperfections eg up and down cycles, periodic unemployment, crisis prone, risk nature etc of our economy. As a Street Performer its serves no real sense nor ‘self interest’ to have to work in a flooded market of Buskers who really can’t play and should be on ‘full’ benefits, looking for or being trained for more ‘personally’ suitable and rewarding forms of work.

    Of course their is something in the view, that people could do more to help themselves, I myself get a little impatient at times when various Street People approach me and say they ‘wished’ they had my talent on the guitar, they wished they could play like me. Often I’ll curty reply well they could if they wanted to just go to the library, search out the pieces, and practice them. Or if they feel they can’t do that then do something else, something that they could be good at, where their strengths truly lie and could be honestly developed. At the end of the day it does’nt matter what you do, if it has social value then its worthwhile and to be respected, if done at the fit and proper level.

    Full ‘reality’ perpsective though always reminds me as Chomsky again points out in one of his many ‘insightful’ talks on education, that the very ‘mindset’, the very productive, creative, ‘moral state of an individual – their very will and ‘motivational’ spirit, is subject to powerful external controls from the off, it is very much programmed and ‘structurised’ through early parenting and ‘schooling’ etc. And the simple truth is that school ( unless its a ‘public’ on or ‘private’ one ) is a social institution that tends to promote conformity, shallow thought and obediance to interested ‘authority’ rather than the kind of energised, confident, purposeful attitidude necessary for the self-sufficient individual. In other words ‘schools’ ( one of the key ‘structural’ mechanisms in our Society ) tend to produce followers rather than Leaders.

    *Postscript

    Back on the topic of ‘competitive’ prowess and my experience on the Birmingham German Market competing for spots on a ‘flooded’ labour market, reaching my spot at 6am ( not playing until the market opens at 10am – physically excerising and practicing ‘guitar’ technique in between ) if there is one thing that might alter the ‘moral’ state of a person like myself and send me plummenting into a dark mental recess of resentment and even ‘hatred’ it would be, if true, what one little bird told me, a ‘police officer’ in fact, that there are now plans afoot to ‘ban’ amplified music altogether in the city centre after the New Year.

    Wow! now thats an announcement to stifle ones competitive spirit if not ones whole sense of justices and moral fairness and bring one to a ‘moral’ rage. Its a move that if true would put me almost ‘totally’ out of the game, there is now way that I could survive street performing using Classical Guitar without ‘amplification. There is no way that |I could be heard, nevermind compete with the Trumpets, Accordians, and Saxaphones of the ‘newcomers’.

    As I contemplate the reason why someone in the local establishment, someone in the council, the City Environmental Officer would wish to put someone like me out of business, what purpose that would serve? I also begin to meditate on the real purpose of the new Anti Social Behaviour Police Bill with its PSPOs etc, do they really wish to see the end of, the ‘cultural’ genocide of Street Performers like myself along with almost the entire population of the established working class? I don’t know why me, I think they’ve got me wrong, ‘cos I’m no ‘Revolutionary’, I’m no ‘dogmatic’ religio/politico Upstart, yes I’m a classic ‘Liberal’ in my outlook and philosophy, and perhaps if pushed a ‘Radical’ but no |I’m not a Revolutionary.

  • Eureka! Theres an instrument that springs to mind, that does not require ‘amplification’ and that I reckon I could reasonably get to grips with within 2 or 3 months, that cd earn me ‘good’ money and be definitely useful for Street Performing in Birmingham in the event of any Council, Environmental ‘bans’. Yippee! No need to be defeated by ‘circumstances’ afterall.

    Furthermore, there is a flicker of hope of at least a little ‘co-operation over conflict’ with regards this whole flooded labour market issue in the city between ‘independants’ such as myself and the ‘new’ Romanian Gypsy Community. I’m waiting for the moment when I turn up at the spot at 6am in the morning for it to be already taken by a Romane performer half an hr earlier at 5.30am, perhaps a player even better than me. When this eventually happens I know that I will be in the presence of a ‘kindred’ spirit and thats when higher level co-operation, actual ‘intelligent’ conversation and the ‘reasoned’ sharing of busking locations can begin.

    • I think it was the Modern German Philospher Friedrich Nietzsche who stated that the formula for greatness in human-beings is ‘ Amor Fati ‘ ( love of fate ).

      You know theres an uncanny truth and ‘insight’ contained within this particular Nietzschen concept, because for me the job of the Street Performer is beginning to take on more and more the mantle of struggling Drs currently working in A&E departments right across the country. Yes responsible ‘frontline’ Service Sector Workers, toiling in tough and challenging conditions – the ‘Stormtroopers’ of Social Policy ‘.

  • https://www.change.org/p/canterbury-city-council-stop-criminalising-your-buskers-start-supporting-them

    See the latest abuse of the law against street culture as predicted by KSL.

    ASB powers to be used against buskers
    in Canterbury

    • Jonny please don’t worry , as a ‘one-man-street campaigner’ , and in a fittingly ‘stern’ letter to the Archbishop of Canturbury, I intend to raise a no’ of topics of concern.

      Notwithstanding the rather pressing issue of the Rector of Bath Abbey Edward Mason’s campaign of ‘villification’ of the towns Street Performers as a social problem, and calling for their complete expulsion from the town centre. I also intend to draw attention to the rather ‘jaundiced’ attitude of Canturbury’s Town Councilors to ‘Buskers’ and Street Artists there.

      i.e. the views expressed in the much too restrictive code of limiting busking performance times to 1hr and the even more ‘oppressive’ practice of banning musicians ( even the ‘talented’ , genuinely entertaining ones ) from playing outside the towns restaurants and cafes.

      Just importantly, whilst hoping to avoid the ‘conventional’ discussion on Jesus Christ and the meaning of the holy ‘crucifixion’, I do intend to speak a little bit about the great influence ‘some’ of the writings ( and ‘words’ ) of Cornel West have had on me – particulary some of his ‘ideas’ on the connection between fighting courageously for the expansion of ‘democracy’ and ‘ the art of living ‘.

      You see for West, the very art of living is ‘learning how to die’, that is if you’re really going ‘to live’ intensely. Something in you ‘everyday’ ought to die, whether that be some bad habit, some prejudice, some ‘faulty’ pre-supposition. So that you’re continually involved in ‘a struggle’ to better yourself, to become more mature, more compassionate, more courageous!.

      • * Talking of the inflences of Academics like Cornel Wests ‘Ivy League’ credentials and Phds and stuff, well they don’t by necessity have any ‘credence’ with me. A top Liberal Arts Education ( not available at Universities ) and high level research skills ( ‘self taught’ ) are all the ‘tools’ I need for what I have in mind.

        Its funny when I think of for example ‘wayward’ Will Selfs appointment of Professor of Contemporary Thought at Brunel Univiersity, to tell you the truth I’m not inspired, merely reminded of how the middle-class ( Londons Metropolitan Middle Class ) tend to look after their own.

        If you were a ‘junkie’ with a 3rd Class degree but from a w/c backround, you’d be more than likely to find yourself today: either on the streets, in jail, in the madhouse or dead, either that or working as a Manager in a Call Centre dishing out ‘Zero’ hour contracts.

        • ” The first human who hurled and insult instead of a stone was the founder of Civilisation ”
          ( Sigmund Freud )

  • Heh Guys! On a less ‘serious’ note, have you ever heard the one about ‘ the monkey and the Organ Grinder ‘?……

    • * Reflection – Q. Can we as people, we as human-beings ever feel good about ourselves without being a ‘Talmudic Scholar’?

  • Please don’t get me wrong by the above statement I don’t want to join the current trend of ‘Jew-Baiting’ supposedly blighting the UK ( or is this ‘idea’ in itself a fashionable myth propagated by the Media in order to detract from the Islamophobia today spreading across the country ) but as a ‘minority’ myself I am concerned with the health ( ‘mental’/spiritual ) of any ‘ethnic’ ( minority ‘cultural’ ) grouping, formation or indeed ‘community’ .

    In dealing with ‘Neurosis’, Freuds central concept was ‘insight’. Go back into the past , find the complex, and talk about it. Unravel the ball, find the knot, untie it. However, it was the great Psychoanalyst Afred Adler, who following Freud, rather cannily realised that being ill or ‘neurotic’ – i.e. not knowing what to ‘choose’, which way to jump, – can have its own ‘rewards’. It can stave off the day when we have to make a ‘decision’ or ‘to do’ something about our lives.

    What to-day’s Therapists recognise of course is that ‘Living’ is having some ‘choice’. I agree, that living is to have some ‘control’ over your life i.e. ‘ to be the billiard cue and not the ball! ‘. So given that this is the case ( part of the ‘real’ human condition ), & in the spirit of ‘contemporary’ healing Psychotherapy, here are some ways in which we can help other people ‘to cope’ ( i.e. deal competently with lifes ‘situations’ and ‘problems’ on the way to truly living):

    1. Listen to them – This gives them a chance to express their feelings about a situation or person, to talk abut the problem ( rahter than keep it to themselves ). By taking they may see it more clearly or even find a solution.

    2. Give them advice – We can point out ‘options’, clarify choices. We can’t force people to make a choice, can only help people see what choices are available. Give the best advice we can to that person in those ‘circumsances’ and ‘hope’ for the best.

    3. Tell them something encouraging or inspiring – Hearing about other peoples ‘experiences’ can sometimes help us.

    * Important
    And very ‘seriously’ remind ‘others’ not to not envy ‘Pop Stars’ ( or famous people ). Some of them are happy and some are not. The ones that are, remain ‘ true to themselves ‘ i.e. Its no good dining in the Ritz if your ‘soul’ has disappeared in the process of becoming ‘successful’. ‘Success’ is feeling at one with yourself ‘ a peace of mind’. Success is to be found in ‘all walks of life’, not just among the famous.

  • *On the Couch with Tom Crabtree

    ” I have no objection to any human being wanting to avoid obesity, wanting to be fit, to feel good; thats common sense. The pursuit of the ‘ideal’ figure is’nt.

    ( I don’t say that because personally I’m not attracted to fishing rods. I say it because I object to other people imposing ‘mythical’ standards of beauty on us and because women ( and men ) who pursue these ‘fictitious’ goals are prevented from relaxing and from making warm, close relationships..) ”
    ( Tom Crabtree – The Tom Crabtrees Guide to Coping )

    • ” And do you think that unto such as you
      A Maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew
      God gave a secret , and denied it me?
      Well, well – What matters it? Believe that too! ”
      ( The Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyam )

  • * On ‘Human’ Excellence ( and The Streets )

    ” Medicority will never do, you are
    capable of something better ”
    ( Gordan B Hinckley )

    I think it was Martin Luther King who said ‘ If a man is called to be a Street Sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say ” Here lived a great Street Sweeper who did his job well” ‘.

    Well Martin some ‘things’ are perfect, but not people, including you Martin Luther King ( * See FBI Files ). Look at a painting by Picasso, or a sculpture by Sylvia Shaw Judson, and to your ‘eye’ they may look quite lovely, perfect. And so do Chopins music, one or two poems by Charlotte Mew, one or two short stories by Italo Calvino.

    One can understand the striving for ‘artistic’ perfection ( one would even hope to witness some of it on the streets incl ‘great’ Street Artists & ‘authentic’ Street Performance ). What I am against is striving for ‘perfection’ in our looks, our figures, our friendships, love affairs, marriages and families. They’re all spoken about in an ideal, ‘mythical’ way. It does the confidence of each and every one of us no good at all. ( * Another little caprice incl. more ‘paraphrases’ courtesy of Tom Crabtrees Guide To Coping )

  • * On Standard(s) Confusion

    Q. What ‘standards’ ( evaluative criterion of Judgement ) do you apply to the world?

    A. Well theres the ‘Classical’ i.e. ‘perfection’, the beauty of balance, proportion etc, the ‘Romantic’ i.e. natural beauty, of organic form eg. a tree & the ‘marriage’ between symmetry & variation, or the sublime eg a gigantic, awe inspiring ‘mountain’ chasm, the ‘Modern’ ie. sponteneity, colour, expression, improvisation, jazz etc etc etc

    The great human error we as ‘consumers’ tend to make when applying the ‘standards’ messaged in advertising to ourselves is to confuse the great standards of classical beauty ie. perfect form – ok for ‘objects’ eg Statues, with the human and to go on to ‘project’ these object ideals onto people and other ‘organic’ forms such as animals.

    This kind of ‘error’ ( depending ) on your ethics may turn out to function well in the context of cultural practises such as ‘ pornography’ where ‘the body’ is desirably ‘objectified’ but not in ordinary, everyday, ‘genuine’ human relationships where the ‘dominant’ need is for ‘intimacy’, warmth and ’emotional’ connectivity.

  • ” It probably touches ‘low water mark’ in the ebbing evolution
    of ‘the God type’. God degenerated into the contradiction of life,
    instead of being its ‘transfiguration’ and eternal yeah!, in Him war
    is declared on life, on nature, on the will to live. God becomes the
    formula for every slander here and now, and every lie about the
    beyond. In Him ‘nothingness’ is deified, and the will to nothingness
    is made holy.
    ( from The AntiChrist by Friedrich Nietzsche )

  • * On Predatory Busking ( or On How ‘Wild’ Wolves Are Good For
    the Ecosystem )

    I mention above my experiences busking on the German Market in Birmingham last Christmas and the problem of ‘predatory’ busking behaviour I found myself confronted with on several occasions and by ‘more’ than a few others.

    Now human ‘rapciousness’ manifest as greed is one thing, and I’m very critical of it, but ‘natural’ predatary survival instinct human or animal is another, and a spontaneous naturally occuring phenomenom to which I’m more open. Even more so since the ‘benefits’ of the existence of a more ‘noble’ ( good ) kind of ‘predator’, detected ( and recorded ) in ‘nature’ is today backed by science.

    Having read some very interesting Articles on the matter, it is now clear to me and established scientific fact that such feared, indeed persecuted and widely hunted creatures such as for example ‘ Wild Wolves’ are ‘good’ for the Ecosystem.

    So good are these creatures, that a study has suggested re-introducing ‘wild’ wolves to the Scottish Highlands because they would help the local ecosystem. Wolves which were hunted to extinction in the 1700’s would help control the number of ‘red deer’. This would aid the re-establishment of plants and birds currently hampered by the deer population.

    Of couse the Unions eg The National Farmers Union in Scotland have argued that the re-introduction of wolves into the wild would present significant problems in terms of ‘sheep’ predation and therefore the proposed move is not popular amongst Farmers. However Scientists have pointed out that ‘Wolves’ do not go through and take out an entire flock, they will take individuals when they are hungry. Also Farmers when interviewed were not completely adverse to the idea provided they were adequately re-imbursed for lost stock.

    Any ‘re-introduction plan’ is still a long way from becoming a ‘reality’, however the study found that ‘wolves’ would prey on ‘the deer’ and would help ‘re-balance the ecology’, giving other tree and bird species a chance to establish themselves. Perhaps thats what we need Jonny, in the ‘real’ busking world, in fact it might do some good for your so called ‘ busking community’, i.e. a few ‘lone’ wolves amongst us, the existence of a small minority of ‘select’ natural predators, just so as to keep the system in check, to maintain the ‘natural’ busking balance.

  • Following on from his book ‘ Revolution’ stage-comic Russell Brand has decided to go the whole hog and ‘formally’ enter politics, & I note the ‘electoral’ publicity & marketing machine is now rolling.

    Its not all ( 1970’s American Evangelist ) ‘Presidential’ Style smiles & handshakes tho’!. No!, today you can by the ‘printed’ T-shirt, words boldly emblazoned on the front, ” Its not about me! ”.

    • Q.So what can us humble Street Performers teach those ‘poor’ folk below ’em, eeking out a living on the next rung down, in this the ‘Ant-Hill’ of life?

      A. Well, for example, a Macdonalds Janitor makes $5 dollars an hour. Mop out the toilets, clear the tables & wipe the tops whilst ‘whistling a tune’, & he can make $6dollars an hour!.

  • * Note

    On a more socially ‘serious’ note ( & concerning what is a ‘core’ Pschoanalytic theme ) Q. Is there one identifiable ‘outsider’ subculture/countercultural group whose ‘external’ ‘material’ culture is the clear manifestation of an ‘infantile’ narcissism?

    • * Oh! of ‘women’, statues & Supermen!

      • One answer to a ‘womans’ dreams, who could resolve all her ‘psycic’ tensions & other ‘repressed’ wants & buried needs – Ian Ashbury!. ( I saw him a ‘few’ times myself back in the 1980’s, at Birminghams then underground ‘alternative’ to ‘The Sanctury’ Nightclub on Bradford Street if I recall! )

        • * Correction

          Ian ‘Astbury’ ( Not ‘Ashbury’ )

          • A quote taken from an Article written back then by a Journalist from the Melody Maker, now working for the Guardian I think, or is it TheTimes ?

            It itself is an ‘extract’ taken from the classic text popularly known today as the ‘Fashionistas’ Bible;

            ” I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth ”
            ( Isaiah 42:16 )

          • Confused?

  • Jonny Walker on his Twitter page states ( rather comically to me! ) that ” Crap Buskers add ‘colour’ to our streets. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! ”.

    I reply ‘mediocre’ Narcissists can destroy a place ( & without even realising it! ). Best be ‘happy’ ( truly! ) and ‘grow’!.
    ( The Campaign For The Struggle Towards ‘Real’ Life Self Esteem )

    • I’m a fan of Russell Brands ‘True’ Party’ videos ” Find your own humanity, look for the humanity, & connection ‘you’ feel to other people ” ( Katie Hopkins Gets Her Dead Immigrants – Happy Now? )

      Great words Russell, as for ‘crap’ Buskers, I ofen do like ‘the honest ones’ ; down-to-earth, mildly self-deprecating, entertainment, can have its charms. We can forgive a touch of humorous human vanity too, a little bit of social attention is healthy & can can do a person good.

      No, in these times of ‘ Austerity’ ( & Contemporary ASBO’s ) let us not simply brush these kinds of people aside; on passing , crowd gathered, let us spontaneously ‘grab’ the broom off the onlooking Street Sweeper & do some ‘air’ guitar!.

      • Don’t agree with Russells ‘metaphysics’ though ( *See Video: ‘ Is There A God? YES! Stephen Fry Proves it ‘ ).

        Way before the advent of Christ there was Greek Philosophy. Plato for example was a great ‘systems’ builder & with amazing ‘internal’ logic to boot ( it contains Philosopher Kings, Theory of Forms, everything ). Problem is none of it corresponds with reality!.

        Q. The Mystery of Life ? A. To be truly ‘free’ you’ve got to know the limits of your own ignorance.

        Dance around your living room & repeat this little ‘mantra’, alternatively shout out loud & let all your neighbours hear, ” Liberation not theology!”.

  • Granted it could turn out that we are but the mere play-things of ‘Extra-Terrestial Beings’ more highly evolved than ourselves. But then how do we explain the ‘mysterious’ origins of these Gods?

    Deities, Divine Beings & the Supernatural, Q. Have you not lived ? The longer I exist on this planet the more I realise just how absurd, ‘infantile’ even such notions are. If you ‘truly’ ( & honestly ) feel, you know deep down, it just does’nt work like this. No!, the ultimate answer ( whatever it is ? ), is something else.

    In the meantime has anyone considered the possibility of a ‘spirituality’ without religon. Oh yes, Writer, Neuro-Scientist, & top Critic of Religion Sam Harris eg ‘ Waking Up – A Guide To Spirituality Without Religion ‘.

    Check it out, however beware, this book may expand your consciousness in ways that The Pope, ArchBishop of Canturbury, The Dalai Llama even ( a living God! ) cannot reach!.

    • Why do I write this? Because whilst individual ‘consciousness’ ( & awareness ) are important, I strongly believe that Street Performers, Activists & the like need to be connected to ( up-to-date with ) the very ‘cutting-edge’ of human research & knowledge.

      • Once more, along with many other fellow human beings, I find the ‘theist’ concept of God, to be dangerously ‘totalitarian’ ( as well as lacking in ‘evidence’ ) & as such in need of replacement by more ‘healthy’ spiritual alternatives!.

  • David Cameron is now entering his 2nd term in office as Tory Prime Minister & in a recent interview withThe Daily Telegraph has now ‘openly’ not only declared his Christian ‘faith’ but his ‘Evangelical’ belief in God.

    This does’nt come much as a surprise, he’s merely following in the ‘worshipping’ footsteps of recent political leaders like Tony Blair & George W Bush in his religous zeal.

    The Christian sentiments of our politicians ( albeit Leaders ) are one thing, the trouble is, culturally ( politically! ), ‘the whole country’ is now in ‘serious’ danger of being taken ‘ backwards in history ‘.

    The ‘control orders’ now available to local Authorities means that we are now entering the ‘stage’ of ‘ pre-revolutionary France’ ( i.e. nevermind Victorian style ‘welfare’ of the ‘work-house’, we’re literally back with the ‘enlightenment’ politics of the 18th Century )

    ( See ‘The Romantics’ ( Liberty ) BBC Video YouTube )

    • ” There is naturally something a bit adolescent & immature within ‘romanticism’, but then again there can be something rather heartless, cold, dogmatic, & arrogant in many aspects of ‘modernity’.

      One hopes this is’nt going to be the end of the story, that we may in ‘the future’ learn to soften the worse sides of modernity through the best sides of romanticism, in order to create a more ‘evolved’ alternative , what one might term, ‘ An Age of Maturity ‘. ”
      ( Romanticism – The School of Life; YouTube )

      • * The Franfurt School & ‘The Authoritarian’ Personality ( PM David Cameron – A Case Study! )

        David Cameron & the ‘Authoritarian’ Personality? Its easy to see why Mr Cameron fits as a person so well in the Tory Party ( the party of ‘deference’ & tradition ). No doubt ‘programmed’ into him at Eaton ( public school bastion of the English class system ) its just as easy to see why he is a Christian.

        Jesus Christ & the 12 Disciples – the ultimate ‘Master/Servant’ relationship!. The ‘son of God – the epitome of the authoritarian!. For many critics of religion such as myself, its one of the key ‘downsides’ of the whole Jesus myth.
        ( See The Frankfurt School, Theodore Adorno et al Wikipedia)

  • * The London Busking Scene ( v ‘National’ Busker Extinction )

    If the rest of the country were to follow whats happening in London today eg. The London Underground, The SouthBank with their X-Factor style ‘auditions’, its commercial orientation, & a street-performing scene dominated by ‘pop’ wannabees then I think it would be all over for ‘busking’, ie. the end of ‘authentic’, spontaneous street art & performance.

    In some places eg. Birmingham I used to see the value in at least a basic street-performing ‘proficiencey’ test given issues such as ‘aggressive’ begging ( busking as a ‘front’ ) that ‘seriously’ once plagued the city-centre. Today however I’m having second thoughts, I see locations like Camden neurotically ‘over-controlled’ with regards busking & I think of the oppressive, stultifying effects of the ‘micro-management’ style of the too rigid a personality BID Manager at Birmingham Retail.

    Furthermore in places like the South Bank I witness an irony ( a pretty grotesque absurdity! ) taking place, whereby good ‘traditional’ buskers are kept out & contemporary pop style Street Performers are not only ‘let in’ , but on passing an ‘audition’ rather than what otherwise might be the case i.e. them at best being labelled ‘mediocre’, are instead ‘magically’ transformed into, granted the the ‘status’ ( illusion! ) of being part of some artistic elite ( i.e. belonging to the emergent generation of ‘pop’ aristocracy! )

    And in the process rather stupidly falling right into the hands of the ‘mass’ media ( eg. BBC News ) who now it seems are ‘spinning’ buskers as a wealthy, ‘money’ spinning, legitemate sector of the music industry. That is a ‘new’ highly competitive professional entertainment class ( not Public Musician but ‘ambitous’ Pop Artist ) & ‘tax’ payer, ( upper bracket! ), whilst completely ignoring the wider political fact that not only in Camden but the rest of the country eg. Oxford, Chester, Birmingham etc, ‘street’ entertainment as we know it is under serious threat if not total ‘cultural’ extinction. The prospect of the bulk of these performer musicians being that they ‘literally’ end up on the streets, no jobs & zero money!.

    • Whats needed in London ( & elsewhere ) is not corporate sponsored ‘red-bull’ style, arenas for busking ( afterall pop already has the X-Factor, Britains Got Talent, The Voice etc as etablished ‘popular’ routes into the industry ) but ‘free’ & open public space for genuine, public spirited, street musicians & entertainment to emerge.

      Its also important that the media get ‘the message’ that the ‘everday’ Busker is not ‘minted’ ( or raking it in ) but simply another ‘struggling’ ordinary member of the community who also needs access to fair & affordable housing, welfare, health services & the like. In reality all under threat, all under pressure not only in London but throughout the country.

      • Yes down with Journalism!, down with ‘industry’ hype!, however I genuinely wish all struggling performers out there, whatever their chosen ‘genres’, well in their endeavours. I really do hope they ‘all’ develop the ‘strength’, toughness, creative imagination, & most importantly ‘moral’ character to finally become the ‘real’ thing!.

        • ” I’m not so ‘facile’ that I can accomplish or find
          out what I want to know or explore enough of
          the possibilities & a way of making a painting,
          say, in just one painting or two paintings ”
          ( Robert Rauschenberg )

  • * Busking As A Talent Show Contest ( A London Perspective )

    In London its seems ‘the powers that be’ eg Boris Johnson, the music industry & the media are intent on ‘framing’ ( & marketing ) busking as a form of ‘ talent’ show contest for up & coming ‘pop’ stars. Furthermore from this ‘perspective’ ( more & more a ‘neo-liberal’ one ) its very much seen as a ‘venture’ providing profit making opportunities based on commercial platforms such as corporate sponsorship as well as ‘tourism’!.

    I ( & many others ) however view busking quite differently. Yes it can be very much be a way of making a living ( indeed a ‘lifestyle’ or way of life! ) but generally for ‘Artists’ in the guise of Street Performers, those committed to the idea of ( an established culture of ) ‘street entertainment’. Performers ranging from the traditional ‘ one-man-band ‘, the cafe accordianist, the guy on the corner with the flat cap on strumming on his guitar & enthusiastically blowing into his harmonica, to actual ‘contemporary’ ‘professional-like’ ( excellent amateur ) Public Musicians.

    Another ‘popular’ image of busking ( one worth ‘preserving’ & for good contemporary reasons! ) is one that envisages the hobbyist, the ‘traditional’ amateur, the bedroom guitarist, yg kids into folk, indie, rock ( not pop ) being ‘ liberally’ allowed to enter the ‘public’ space with many folk coming out at the weekend to creatively ( & healthily! ) ‘express’ themselves. Perhaps nurturing their ‘talents’ inn this way as a ‘counterbalance’ to their otherwise unchallenging, humanly stultifying, dull week job(s) in the factory or office ( or even as simple ‘stress’ relief from the court chambers or boardroom for that matter! )

    • Oh and don’t forget the ‘street guy’ ( gal! ) with ‘the penny whistle’ ( & sitting slumped by the ‘recycling’ bins adjacent to the train station entrance! ). No job, no benefits, no home, these days in a city like London, this could be ‘You’!.

      • Nor don’t dismiss the growing & interesting array of ‘independant’ Artists out here, who don’t fit neatly into any pre-existing ‘mainstream’ categories but are still doing culturally ‘valuable’ things. Some real true ‘free-spirits’ & potentially artistically beautiful ‘hybrid’ flowers performing both on ‘the streets’ & in a burdgeoning ‘alternative’ gigging circuit! ( or at least in the experimental phase of trying to create one, open one up! ).

        • *BBC 6 o Clock News ( Analysis )

          So yeah!, what you see happening at present in London, what is presented to you through the lens of the BBC 6 o’clock News, concerning the South Bank, the London Underground & busking, is not really ‘busking’ at all ( not as you ‘ordinarily’ know it or might understand the term! ).

          No!, ‘real’ busking i.e. free ‘spontaneous’ arts performance in the open ‘public space’ is in fact,either generally banned at present or severely ‘restricted’ & controlled ( draconionally so! ). See the recently introduced ‘licensing’ regime in Camden.

          As an experienced Busker elswhere in the country & ‘outsider’ ( you could say alien! ) looking in, I’d say what you currently have going on in London in ‘reality’ ( See Camden ) concerning Buskers ( as we know them ) & ‘busking’ ( as we know it! ) is the same cultural/polictical process that ordinary w/c people, families are currently experiencing in the capital & that is in all truth, a form of ‘social’ cleansing ( See Sweetsway Campaign Blog ).

          ( * The true Current Affairs at present is eg. Buskers have been have been ‘swept’ aside in Camden by recent legislation & ‘ordinary’ families are being forcibly moved out of their homes on London social housing estates. However…..)

          What the recent BBC 6 o clock news presents as a contemporary ‘cultural’ phenomenom & ‘busking’ now a ‘professional’ career choice ( the London Underground set-up acting as successful ‘talent’ show for up & coming ‘pop’ musicians ) actually ‘masks’ the reality that what we are ‘really’ witnessing here is the ‘end’/ongoing process of a political ‘re-shaping’ of street performing ( a ‘spontaneous’ creative activity !) into something increasingly beauracratically ‘controlled’ ( See London Underground ‘auditions’ ) .

          In fact as ‘ a working ‘ Street Performer based elsewhere in the country & ‘curiously’ looking in, I’d say that ‘busking’ in London does’nt really exist today at all. That its as a kind of grotesque ‘self-fulfiling’ prophecy that ‘street-performing’ in the city has been ‘transformed’ ( for many ‘comic’ grotesquely!, Dickensianly so! ) into something more like a ‘talent’ show for up & coming ‘pop’ musicians. The recent BBC News ‘spin’ on this phenomenom merely serving to drum up the ‘envy’ of the general public rather than their support ( eg. by claiming that ‘Buskers’ in the capital are now part of a ‘multi-million’ pounds industry! ).

          Of course close ‘analysis’ of the true working of this kind of ‘media’ ideology ( thats what this BBC news story in ‘reality’ is i.e. ‘dominant’ ideology!. See Antonio Gramsci Theory!) shows that at the end of the day it does not serve the ‘interests’ of Buskers or busking at all.

          No, in the wider scheme of things its a process that simply more benefits a few ‘others’! ( while ‘your’ hard won, established benefits are in the process of being cut! ). You’ve got to get ‘clued up’ here ( don’t be fooled! ) because, this type of ‘new’s item ( story ) merely works in tandem with the interests ( & ‘perspective’ ) of ‘the powers that be’ eg. music industry, corporate interests, met police, Boris Johnson et al ( & not necessarily Buskers!).

          The true nature of their ‘restrictive’ City Byelaws, license schemes, Anti-social behaviour Law PSPO’s etc remain ‘hidden’, while the very ‘real’ campaigns currently in existance & struggling on out there, fighting against the ‘cuts’, the restrictions & over-regulation of our ‘shared’ culture are placed safely out of public view too!.

          Rather like how the ‘true’ results of talent shows like the X-factor, Britains Got Talent are not honestly presented to the public either. How for the vast majority of even so called ‘Winners’ the dream bubble is soon burst & they are quickly dropped from the record-label, by the 2nd ( if not 1st ) album, them being a ‘flop’, the show having failed to fully exploit the wave of marketing ( tv, press ) hype!.

          ( See BBC 6 o Clock News ‘ Busking in London ‘ 10/08/15. )

  • * On Busking, ‘Function’ Work ( & Art )

    If the ‘tradition’ of busking is to survive ( or take ‘root’! ) in a place like London then an important part of that process is to clearly distinguish between actual ‘busking’, function work, & whats happening on the South Bank, in the London Underground ( more & more like auditioned ‘talent’ shows for up & coming ‘pop’ stars! ).

    The ‘boundaries’ between what constitutes ‘busking’ ( or something else i.e. a different type of cultural activity altogether but mischievously ‘dressed-up’ as busking ) can be blurred,

    Eg. Birmingham has up until now so-called ‘auditions’ for street performing & the scheme up & running on the South Bank may on the ‘surface’ appear similar. However I would argue they are not & that a different ‘ethos’ is at play here where what happens in Birmingham despite the ‘auditions’ could still be defined as busking whereas the South Bank set-up ( like the London Underground ) could be reasonably said to have definitely passed a defining ‘tipping point’ whereby it no longer could’nt ( be defined as busking that is ). Being too ‘controlled’, beauracratically processed, performance here ( in this context ) simply does’nt allow for the kind ‘sponteneity’, freedom to be found ( desired! ) at the core of the cultural activity that you would honestly call ‘busking’!.

    As far as ‘function’ work goes I’ve done my fair share of eg Weddings, Restaurants etc ( especially at the beginning of my busking career ). In fact it is hard to ‘resist’ the offers of folk who approach you to play at their special event, restauranteurs who call on your late evening ‘musical’ services. Knowing more & more ‘who I am’ as a potential Artist though, I perform less & less of this kind of work, not out of ‘artistic’ snobbery but out of ‘true’ art spirituality ( & importantly morale ! ).

    * A Case Study
    I remember a few years back being invited to perform at a ‘Britain In Bloom’ event by Birmingham City-Centre Management ( now Birmingham Retail BID ). I did a successful ‘sound-check’ in the afternoon, turn up to play in the evening only to find my ‘sound’ cut at the beginning of my performance, the PA guys having disappeared for something to eat ‘upstairs’, me left stranded on stage with zero ‘volume’ & a VIP audience ( including Lord Mayors & Councillors ) from all over the country ‘watching/listening’ in front of me. I was compelled to get up & leave the stage in full ‘stage’ view ( ‘humiliating’! ) & seek help from the ‘sound’ crew.
    On reaching them they told me that my sound had been ‘pulled’ ( unplugged! ) on them recieveing a ‘complaint’ from one of the tables about excessive volume ( a table seating a group from a well known Yorkshire town ! ). I could’nt believe it, I spoke to the organiser ( the person who’d hired me ) who advised that I go back on stage & ‘mime’ the performance – which I embarrassingly did for 15mins & then walked off in disgust!. Of course the whole affair must have made ‘me’ look like a complete ‘nut’! too many in the audience!. Being ‘paid’ ( quite bit of dosh! ) at the end of the night did’nt make the ‘experience’ feel any better either!.

    If ‘Busking’ is to remain an ‘active’ tradition in this country we must ‘distinguish’ between this kind of cultural activity & other kinds of ‘commercial’ creations ( mischievous busking manifestations! ). As a matter of ‘status’ too ( nevermind ) ‘identity’, its as crucial as ever to truly ‘know who you are’, so as to be able to fight ( ‘struggle’! ) to be recognised & effectively respected for what you are ( if that is what you are, believe in & are committed to it ) eg. street performer & not something else ( often ‘defined’ for you by ‘vested’ interests, the media etc ) eg. an up & coming ‘Pop’ Star, function musician or anything else!.

    When I talk about ‘true’ free spirits out there, ‘genuine’ Artists ‘actively’ performing in the ‘public space’ & perhaps as a corollary attempting to open up ‘alternative’ gigging, I mean just that ( i.e. I don’t mean by that playing in recently ‘opened’ shopping malls, or ‘new’ wedding venues ), I mean creating, indeed contributing to the creation of a whole different ( parallel universe ) of performance spaces, playing stages & even ‘tour’ circuits. This is what it truly means to be an ‘independant’ Artist ( or belong to a working ‘network’ of them, ‘true’ Artists that is! ).

    • * Note

      One qualifiying point is that one thing I like about ‘street performing’ is the opportunity it throws up for ‘connecting’ with ordinary folk, not functionally but in my ‘own terms’ ( as an aspiring artist as Public Musician! ). In this context I’m quite happy to play at some ‘family’ events when requested including; weddings, garden parties, house warming etc.

      I see this kind of activity as forming a valuable part of a genuine ‘folk’ function that muscians like me can perform. In this sense I feel it to be quite natural for ordinary people to ‘spontaneously’ call on your services & for you as ‘aspiring’ public artist to positively respond.

      Whilst I don’t like much the superficial ‘pop’ sensibilities of many young teenagers, I really enjoy seeing Toddlers naturally responding to music, spontaneously dancing around & best of all without the ‘coaxing’ of their parents. Lifes ‘natural’ rhythms & flow, the ‘unfolding out of natural process, the metaphorical journey & higher meaning, those are the elements ( perhaps ‘archetypal’ ) that I pick-up & gain so much from, when ‘connecting’ out there, when out in public, busking!.

  • * Busking, The Road to Pop Stardom, ( & Ideology )

    The one-man band, cafe accordianists, guy in the flat cap strumming his guitar & enthusiastically blowing into his harmonica on the street corner, even the old-fashioned ‘monkey’ & organ grinder are not going to sell ( & make millions ) but I would argue they all have something of value to offer in terms of public entertainment, if only in terms of ‘light’ relief from a society ‘saturated’ by mass pop culture.

    Of course sniffing the ‘opportunity’ you’re always going to get the ‘ambitious’ aspiring Pop Artist turn up on the scene & using busking ( together with social media ) as a ‘marketing’ tool for self-promotion & perhaps ( according to ‘myth’! ) capture the attention of an A&R scout, of the ‘commercial’ pop music industry.

    The problem with the ‘media’ led ( BBC ) ideoligical process taking place today in London & concerning ‘busking’ is that the latter is being not only spun as factual phenomenon but ‘naturalised’ as the norm for actual street performing. This is how all the classic theorists on the subject have explained the intrinsic brainwashing ‘power’ of ideology i.e. it ‘naturalises’ its subject.

    Effectively what is ‘talent’ show pop culture taking part on the London Underground, the South Bank becomes ‘normalised’ as busking & actual ‘street-performing’ becomes gradually ‘marginalised’ as something wierd, if not outright crazy & thus threatening to mainstream ‘reasonable’ society & therefore to be ‘legitemately’ regulated, controlled & ie. clamped down upon!.

    I’ve picked up on ‘one argument’ just now, that states that the essential problem with ideology is that it works to ‘divide’ people. My response is that ‘ideology’ works as the ‘brainwashing’ tool of a dominant elite, ultimately to serve the ‘economic’ interests of those relatively few. Its all about getting certain ideas, beliefs, values into wider circulation that although not essentially true, are perpetuated as thus, because again, it profits the dominant ( ie. most powerful or ‘ruling’ class ).

    As for ideology ‘dividing’ say ‘street entertainers’ from aspiring ‘pop singers’ etc ( or Buskers from each other ! ). I argue that as part of the ‘struggle’ against the damaging effects of ideology ( esp. in the context of issues to do with ‘busking’ ) its important to ‘distinguish’ between these two ( & other ) sectors with busking. For ‘real’ street entertainment to survive i.e. a culture that is free, ‘spontaneous’ & creative, we must be able to ‘define’ it as such & thus ‘different’ from say the beauracratically organised ‘commercial’ cultural practices that have developed on the London Underground.

    I’m not ‘anti- the Pop industry ‘intrinsically here. For example as an ‘independant’ Artist if you were to find yourself selling more than say 10,000 CDs then its hard to imagine any other way than through more ‘industrial’ ( large-scale ) means increasing your production to meet demand, nevermind the packaging & distribution etc. What I’m insistent on here is honesty & importantly the ‘recognition’ of the existence of ‘different’ cultures with busking ( & with possibly ultimately very different values at play ).

    I argue that this ‘social reality’, which does involve facing up to the existence of ‘separate’ identities ( & culture ) – no, we can’t always be dancing happily around the May Pole together in Spring ( perhaps just living in a state of uneasy co-existance; which is ‘something’ to be happy about! ) – does’nt necessarily have to entail for their group/cultural survival, the ‘mutual’ destruction of each other.

    ( * Note. What might be ‘Heaven’ for an aspiring ( ‘busking’ ) Pop Star eg. being spotted on the street & offered the ‘support’ to say Boyzone at the 02 Academy would be Hell for the likes of me. Winning the love & enthusiasm of 5,000 screaming Teenagers in this context would again for me be totally meaningless. However if 2 young kids approached me in the street, looking as though they were about to ‘snatch’ a quid from my guitar case, but in fact ended up throwing a 10p in while genuinely ( albeit naievely ) asking me if I’d written the ‘Villa Lobos’ tune I was playing, then that would ( & has! ) made my day! )

    So, no need necessarily for ‘mutual’ busking destruction. What it does mean though ( & I emphasise! ) is the need for greater awareness, understanding & wider social adjustment that may bring ( lead to! ) common ‘mutual’ living ( & ultimately yes, in the larger scheme of things that may involve actually more ‘sharing!’ ).

    (* Note. The media need to disseminate ( & wider population need to know! ) what is really going on in eg. the London Underground with regards ‘busking’ but they also need to be aware of the cultural social cleansing ( including street entertainment ) that is going on in London, all in the throw of serving narrow ‘petty’ commercial interests. )

    I as a ‘street performer’ ( & aspiring Artist ) am willing to recognise the Pop World & its ‘mechanisms’ in this context ( you can’t actually miss it, it ‘saturates’ everywhere! ) but I want my culture & ‘busking’ values to be recognised too. Including, the importance of its survival & perhaps the need for ‘a revolution’ of greater ‘sharing’ to enable it to happen ( by ‘sharing’ I mean Councils, Property Developers & the like, leaving public space ‘open’ so that actual Street Performing culture, can ‘grow’ & yes, even thrive! )

    • The BlairWitch Project ( ‘ No Dust ‘, Conway Hall, London )

      The Post Brexit Debate

      Just watched ‘online’ the post Brexit ‘No Dust’ Evening at Conway Hall, London, struck by the performance of Chris Arning ‘stage’ poet cum’ Semiotic Brand Expert ( Warwick Universtity ) & Speaker at this event. My impression ? Stuart Hall must be turning in his grave ! .

      I also managed to catch a ‘featured’ public reading of the ‘poem’ by WB Yeats ‘ The Second Coming ‘, yes Yeats that Irish ‘poet’ cum’ Mystic, cum ‘obscurantist’ Theosophist or who WH Auden rightly described as ” that deplorable spectacle of a grown man occupied with the Mumbo Jumbo of magic & the nonsense of India ” .

      In this instance the person taken to the podium ( ‘self’ elected Street ‘Activist’ & founder of Streetslive.org ) came across in ‘unhinged’ voice as he described his life as a son of a C of E priest, his ‘family’ Evangelist childhood in South America & how he woke the morning post Brexit ‘seriously’ believing there had been a coup ( not a ‘national’ democratic referenda ) .

      In disjointed ( & incoherant ) fashion without mention of New Labour, 3 terms of Blair/Brown UK office & the stage by ‘political’ stage neo-liberal ‘economic’ alienation of a significant section of the w/c vote, he rather bizarrely ( & unconvincingly ) goes on to blame what he terms the ‘progressive’ left for the Brexit vote ! .

      ( Ref, ‘No Dust’ Evening, Conway Hall, London, 5/9/2016, featuring Chris Arning, Performance Poet, Semiotic Branding Expert, Public Speaker & Friends. Please note ‘Arning’ is a senior Lecturer at Warwick University, Dept of Cultural Policy Studies )

      • Contemporary Cultural Studies ( Today ! )

        A great new ‘research’ paper published in the newly launched ‘academic’ magazine ‘ Contemporary Cultural Studies Today ‘ by ex British Cultural Studies Lecturers, Professors et al, no ‘relocated’ ( exiled ! ) in the University of New South Wales, Australia.

        Fascinating ( & provocative ) stuff this article, read it now !, the ‘paper’ entitled ” The Blair Years – from Power Freaks to Black Hat Psychologists 1996 – 2010 ” . You may find yourself both ‘educated’ & entertained ( Nb. see footnote i.e. ‘essay’ by Antonio Gramsci in ‘index’ at back of book )

        • Jazz Mino ( Londons Busking Aphrodite )

          Just seen the ‘most’ beautiful photo to date of Jazz Mino, she currently taking a ‘well-earned’ break & Sept Hols in Turkey ( her ‘captured’ on ‘morning’ hotel balcony, no makeup, gorgeously ‘natural’ – tho’ this ‘post-pop’ aesthetic ‘may’ merely be a composite of ‘signs’ ! ).

          I understand tho’ that she had originally ( the day before the Turkey trip ) planned to go to Spain, her turning up at the airport, 6am, with spouse/hubby, only to find her flight ‘frustratingly’ delayed due to ‘political’ protesters blocking the runway.

          I’ve only got one message for Jazz , busking Aphrodite, beacon of ‘feminine’ freedom, ( & whilst ‘apolgising’ for the delay ), and that is ” Black Lives Matter ! ” .

          ( Ref. Jazz Mino on Hols In Turkey 9/9/2016 )

  • Photograph

    Cos we’d like to own your autograph
    The Angels try to have your photograph
    As if you were all sweet nascent light
    As fortune favours fools by candlelight

    Cos we’d like to own your autograph
    The Angels fight over your photograph
    Put your records on the phonograph
    You get your position on the map

    ( Air Photograph ( Live ) YouTube )

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