Amanda Palmer Supports Camden Busking Petition

By Philippa Morgan Walker

Former street performer turned Dresden Dolls frontwoman and now solo artist, Amanda Palmer has shown her support for our barely-24-hours-old campaign via Twitter. To a million followers, she retweeted ASAP! Founding Director, Jonny Walker’s tweet calling for people to sign the new petition. The petition aims to collect signatures to support the KeepStreetsLive and ASAP! campaign against a draconian busking policy that Camden Council are threatening to rubber stamp.

Amanda responded to Mr Walker’s campaign directly:

“We are us RT @JonnyWMusic thank you for standing up for those of us who are still making a living on the streets. You are an inspiration…”

Mr Walker replied:

“@Amandapalmer when you are next in London we’d love you to participate in a mass, kazoo-led street protest against Camden’s new laws…”

Amanda is a key inspiration for the leading members of ASAP!, as a fellow agent in lending credibility to street performance and its many positive effects on the atmosphere of a neighbourhood. No-one quite sums up kick-ass artist extraordinaire, Amanda like TED Talks, who invited her to lead one of its famous conferences:

“The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle, made international headlines this year when she raised nearly $1.2 million via Kickstarter (she’d asked for $100k) from nearly 25,000 fans who pre-ordered her new album, Theatre Is Evil.”

There’s something wonderful about artists and like-minded people uniting and saying ‘hang on a minute’ to the powers that be. Blocking culture from taking place on the streets is a dangerous sign of things to come, unless we take notice NOW, and engage with the policy making process, our high streets risk becoming clone-like and dull at best and lifeless corporate shells at worst. Let’s clear up a popular point of tension; if a busker is causing a genuine threat or nuisance on the streets then there are many existing laws to tackle such issues: like the Public Order Act, Environmental Protection Act and Highways Act, to name but a few. Ring-fencing a public space with an empire of law and ‘order’ is a direct assault on grassroots culture, artistic freedoms and a basic human right to ‘get up, ‘stand up’ (to borrow from Bob Marley).

The Camden Keep Streets Live campaign is going to be one tough battle and we’ll need to draw upon a lot of support. The streets belong to everybody and, yes, that includes human statues called ‘The Eight-Foot Bride’, clarinet players, penny whistlers and beat-box groups – not just powerful brand names or the usual retailers we see up and down the country. Cleaning up the streets should refer to bin collection etc, rather than the forced removal of musicians and artists from promising paving stones. Camden Council are gathering suits and clipboards, so we need to assemble a more colourful crowd…

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7 Comments on "Amanda Palmer Supports Camden Busking Petition"

  • Nick says

    beautiful post guys :)

  • After 3yrs now of ‘serious’ street performing in Birmingham uk
    (and as a kind of ‘free’ journeyman – I feel I’ve put in my time now and can live honestly and comfortably live with the title ‘public’ musician ) I’ve come to realise that human connectivity is not only an art but an intrinsic human treasure – yes, one of the great spiritual treasures that ‘at times’ surpasses actual material gain and profit ( look I don’t want to sound over sentimental here! )

    And the key to this kind of authentic, ‘beautiful’ and yes deeply hungered for form of public communication is firstly methinks to
    successfully liberate yourself from other peoples expectations
    – as a guitarist/performer out there in the streets I am 100%
    happy with who I am, what I want to acheive and how I go about
    doing that – as for the ‘critic’ without – the ‘detrators’ out there ( or the critic ‘within’ for that matter – fears, doubts ) they can go to pot!

    Secondly I am fully aware of, and can now totally immerse myself in and completely ‘trust’ what I believe is the ‘natural’ cultural exchange that spontaneosly occurs between the best performers and theiraudience(s) when things do reach their peak – and all
    this without any guilt, self doubt or whatever!

    To me and echoing the sentiments of Amanda Palmer in her video ‘The Art of Asking’, the communicative nod of the performer towards their audience in this context is no more than a signifier of ‘permisson’ in what is quite naturally at this point a very public
    bond of mutual reciprocity and acknowledgement of each others
    worth in that particualr moment – a ‘priceless’ relational experience
    me thinks, one that at times can and does top the joy of money !


  • Street Performance is a ‘valid’ lifestyle choice in this the
    Post-Modern world.

    A ‘popular’ Street Performer in both Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon for 3 years my interests include: eg.

    Russian Literature, Modern Philosophy, ‘Radical’ History ( Romantics to The Beats ), ‘Progressive’ Education, Philosophy of Art, Cultural Theory and Musicology. Additional: Russian ‘Urban’ Climbing, Chinese Philosophy, Calisthenics and Mov’Nat’.

    Its true, ‘Streetperformers’ can help bring communities together, add some ‘colour’, entertainment, art and beauty and ‘spiritual’ upliftment in the everday, and otherwise ‘humdrum’ lives
    of people. Its also a truism based on ‘personal’ experience that ‘Street’ performing approached with the ‘right’ attitude and positive state of mind, can as a lifestyle be a ‘beautiful’ way of being.

  • Street Performance at its best is not only an art, for some ‘creative’ individuals out there, its is a valid lifestyle choice in this the Post Modern World.

    Thanks to Jonny and the ASAP for recognising the value and worth of Street Artists and Performers across the land. Theres a lot of human ‘potential’ going to waste in this country at the moment, and ‘busking’ is a great way of building it.

    Let our politicans and so called ‘authorities’ find ways to encourage and nurture ‘talent’ across the community not cynically stifle, hinder or possibly destroy it through petty mindedness and repressive ‘draconian’ policy.

  • ‘ The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n. ‘
    ( Milton )

  • Emily Lee SouthBank Busker ( & her cover of ‘ Walking In The Air ‘ from the film ‘ The Snowman ‘ )

    Its ‘London’ time, Xmas 2016 already, & erstwhile SouthBank Busker Emily Lee has just announced this years ‘seasonal’ cover eg. ‘Walking In the Air’ from the kids Christmas day classic movie ‘The Snowman’.

    To be sung by her & her bands ‘backing’ singers on Talk Radio later this month it is. For many no doubt, Facebook followers, Twitter fans alike, both this song & her ‘rendition’ of it, her up & coming radio appearance & performance, promises to be a real ‘tearjerker’ ! .

    Q. Talk shows ?, of course I know better, self described on her website, as a ” razor sharp firebrand of a singer-songwriter ..”, I know, in ‘reality’, her bark is a lot louder than her bite. Heres one of my favourite Russian Poems which I dedicate to her, tho’ more in tender spirit, than in personal sentiment ! .

    * I Loved You

    I loved you, and perhaps I love you still,
    The flame perhaps, is not extinguished,
    Yet, it burns so quietly within my soul,
    No longer should you feel distressed by it…

    Silently and hopelessly I loved you,
    At times too jealously, and at times too shy,
    God grant you find another who will love you,
    As tenderly, as truthfully, as I……

    ( ‘ I Loved You ‘ by Alexander Pushkin )

    • Note

      Emily Lee at Christmas, I know she ‘struggled’ last year, took a ‘temp’ job , gave up busking & this year, well in her own words ” I lost my last fiver, clearly this is’nt my day to shine ” ( Dec 3 2016 ). Oh Emily, don’t lose hope, afterall theres alway ‘next’ Xmas, & today well theres Talk Radio ! .

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