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!

More Media from Monday’s Celebratory Busk

More Media from Monday’s Celebratory Busk

Photo: Christian Eriksson.

April Armstrong–Bascombe from the excellent Seven Streets reported on the detrimental social and human cost of this policy’s implementation (‘Busker’s Fear End of Liverpool’s Street Culture‘). Armstrong–Bascombe spoke to performers whose livelihoods stand to be decimated by the new policy, an aspect of the policy which mainstream media outlets have thus far failed to recognise.

Bay TV sent their film crew to report on Monday’s celebration (‘Buskers take streets back in protest at new legislation‘). Unlike a similar report for BBC North West Tonight, Bay TV did not shy away from tackling the many real issues at the heart of Liverpool City Council’s absurd new policy.

The blogosphere was also alight, with standout reportage from Richard MacDonald and Matt Swift. It’s the continual support of individual bloggers like these which will really help to keep Liverpool’s streets live!

And a last big thanks to the MerseyMongoose for the following video, which accurately captures many of the performances of the day (but viewers beware: The views expressed by individual performers do not reflect those of ASAP! or the KeepStreetsLive! campaign as a whole):

 

Recent Press Coverage

Recent Press Coverage

Photo: Richard Parmiter.

We’ve manged to summon up a fair amount of press coverage over these last few days about our campaign, and have successfully raised awareness of the wider issues which Liverpool City Council is effectively ignoring in its launch of its needlessly restrictive new policy.

Beginning with an article in the excellent Liverpool Confidential (see here), we’ve now seen articles in Trinity Mirror’s Liverpool Echo (see here, and our response to one reader‘s questions here) and the always excellent and critical Seven Streets (see here).

Our very own spokesperson and Liverpool-born busker Jonny Walker has been presenting the busker’s view along with the pragmatic case against the draconian, punitive and absurd terms of the new policy this morning over on BBC Radio Merseyside, challenging the narrow case made by the policy by Ged Gibbons’, CEO of Liverpool’s business improvement district.

To listen Jonny’s lively petition to Liverpool council to get back to the drawing board on this policy, go here (beginning from the 2 hour, 25 minute mark).