KSL official response to Chester and Cheshire West Council’s Public Space Protection Order Consultation

KSL official response to Chester and Cheshire West Council’s Public Space Protection Order Consultation

We urgently need people to complete Chester and Cheshire West Council’s online PSPO consultation and to express their opposition to the police and private business group Chester CH1 BID proposals to criminalise street culture

The Campaign against the Criminalisation of Street Culture in Chester


Nearly 7000 people have so far signed our petition against the proposal of Chester and Cheshire West Council to introduce a ‘Public Space Protection Order’ (PSPO) which, amongst other things would make it a criminal offence punishable by a £1000 fine to play music or sing songs in the street if you stand in the wrong place, for the wrong length of time and do not meet a quality assessment administered by the private business group Chester CH1. The proposed PSPO would also make it a criminal offence to ‘lie down or sleep in any public place‘, to feed birds and to beg using ‘verbal, non-verbal or written requests’. The proposals will have a hugely disproportionate effect upon vulnerable and dispossessed people in Chester, particularly the homeless and vulnerably housed as well as representing a direct assault on the spontaneity, informality and democratic access to public space for the arts and street culture that the Keep Streets Live Campaign exists to protect.

Online Consultation 

Chester and Cheshire West Council are currently carrying out an online consultation on the proposals which ends on October 15. It is vitally important that people participate in this consultation whether they are Chester residents, visitors, tourists, buskers or people who care about civic freedoms, public space and social justice. The more people who take part in this survey and express their constructive opposition to these damaging proposals, the more chance we have of ensuring that they do not go through. The consultation will take between 10/20 minutes to complete depending upon the amount of detail you go into it. Your response will make a big difference to this campaign, so please find the time to do it if you can!

Link to the online consultation:


Link to the petition against the PSPO:


The PSPO proposal 

The consultation covers seven entirely separate proposals, each of which would create a new criminal offence in the defined geographical area of the PSPO.

1.) Measure 1 – Introduction of a controlled alcohol zone

2.) Measure 2 – Deterring the use of intoxicating substances

3.) Measure 3 – Deterring public urination/defecation.

4.) Measure 4 – Deterring rough sleeping

5.) Measure 5 – Deterring begging

6.) Measure 6 – Restricting the feeding of birds

7.) Measure 7 – Deterring inconsiderate buskers

As you will see, many separate issues have been lumped together under the ever-expanding category of ‘anti-social behaviour’. The busking proposals are on part of a wider ‘catch-all’ approach to the oversight of Chester’s public spaces. The Keep Streets Live Campaign has not taken a public position on whether Measures 1-3 should be included on the PSPO though we have expressed a view on those measures. We are strongly opposed to the inclusion of Measures 4-7 on the PSPO for reasons we make clear later.

In general the PSPO is an authoritarian and clumsy ‘catch-all’ piece of legislation which creates the potential for arbitrary criminal offences to be created with will have a disproportionate impact upon the most vulnerable members of society. Our considered view is that enforcement action should only ever be taken as a last resort against people whose actions were causing genuine harm to other people and who had refused reasonable requests to stop.

We strongly encourage people to take part in this online consultation and to answer the questions as they see fit. We are publishing our answers as a reference for people and to explain our reasons for opposing the PSPO clearly. Please feel free to use our answers as a framework for your own responses. A text summary follows each screen grab for ease of copy/pasting .

Keep Streets Live Campaign official response to Chester PSPO consultation 

Page 1

PSPO consultation

PSPO consultation

Text Summary

As mentioned above I am the Director of the Keep Streets Live Campaign, a not for profit organisation which advocates for public spaces which are open to informal offerings of art and music. We work alongside local authorities to develop policies that support and sustain street culture and campaign against policies which criminalise cultural activities. In addition to this role I have been asked by members of Chester’s busking community to represent their interests throughout this consultation process.

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Screenshot 2015-08-28 13.03.16

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Page 4

Screenshot 2015-08-28 13.33.53

Text Summary

People Being Drunk/Rowdy

My answer would have been neither positively or negatively, a choice that was not made available. In every town or city in the UK there are groups of people who are boisterous on a night out. There is a clear line between high spirited behaviour and behaviour that causes alarm, harassment or distress to other people. Most of the time people who are merry and high-spirited don’t cause genuine antisocial behaviour and I wouldn’t want people to be singled out unfairly for behaviour that wasn’t causing any real harm.

People using legal highs/behaving erratically 

Once again, any behaviour that causes alarm and harassment or distress to others should be dealt with appropriately and proportionately whether it is influenced by legal highs, illegal drugs or alcohol. I believe the resources of the police and local authority should be directed towards individuals that cause genuine harm to other people and that persons whose behaviour is not causing harm should not be a priority for enforcement. ‘Behaving erratically’ is a vague and nebulous term and is legally ambiguous. People who are not causing harm should not face enforcement action.

People urinating/defecating in public 

The lack of public toilet facilities is a growing concern, particularly for vulnerable groups of people who are homeless or vulnerably housed and find it difficult to find places that allow them to use the toilet. There is a difference between a person on a night out who urinates in a public place and somebody who is homeless who lacks adequate places to use the loo. I would hope that any enforcement action would not be directed at vulnerable persons and also that the local authority would prioritise the adequate provision of toilet facilities in public places.

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Screenshot 2015-08-28 13.33.58

Text summary

Rough Sleeping 

I have had many conversations with homeless people in Chester and have been impressed by the courage and resilience of this highly vulnerable group of people. They sleep in the public spaces of Chester because they are well lit and they feel safer there. There is a community amongst rough sleepers which is not always replicated in precarious temporary accommodation.

I would like to see social provision made for homeless people that makes it less necessary for them to sleep on the streets but I have never been affected negatively by a rough sleeper and would never support coercive measures taken against them.

People Begging

The vast majority of people who beg are vulnerable and destitute and are begging in order to survive. Whilst I don’t give money to people who beg I always offer to buy them food and have positive interactions with beggars in Chester who have been very grateful when I bought them food and have spent time talking to them and finding more about the difficult situation they find themselves which is a visible reminder of the poverty and hardship faced by a growing number of people in UK society. They have always been grateful for someone interacting with them in a kind and non-judgemental way. I would not support coercive action taken against vulnerable people for begging in a way that doesn’t cause any harm to other people.


Buskers providing musical entertainment

My experience of musical buskers in Chester, both as a performer myself, and as a tourist has been overwhelmingly positive. Chester is a world-renowned destination for street artists and performers and has a hard won reputation as a city which attracts a wide variety of street performers who are clearly part of the attraction for the millions of people who visit Chester each year. Musical buskers of all abilities add to the vitality and sociability of the city’s cultural life. Chester’s busking scene is also a great way for students and young people to gain performing experience. They are an asset to the city.

Other street entertainers (e.g. sand sculptors, fire eaters, jugglers, human statues, balloon sellers)

Chester, like York, Covent Garden and Edinburgh is one of the UK’s premier destinations for ‘circle acts’, the kind of street performers that tend to attract larger crowds and perform circus skills like juggling and riding unicycles as well as telling jokes and providing free entertainment to people of all ages. They are a dynamic part of Chester’s cultural landscape and one of the many reasons that I visit Chester. Balloon artists and human statutes also provide entertainment to families and cause no disruption or nuisance of any kind.

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Measure 1

Measure 1

Text Summary

This proposal would give public officials and police officers a discretionary power that would be open to potential misuse if there were not clear guidelines attached and I would be concerned that enforcement action would be targeted at vulnerable groups of people and leave them open to criminalisation/marginalisation. Would a police officer challenge a family picnic where Prosecco was being drunk or would they target a group of vulnerably-housed people who were drinking canned lager instead? Any intervention or enforcement action should always be directed only at people whose actions are causing genuine harm to others, not arbitrarily.

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Measure 2

Measure 2

Text Summary

I am concerned about the impact of this measure against vulnerable people leading to criminalisation and marginalisation. The police and local authority have adequate powers to use against people whose behaviour causes alarm/harassment or distress towards other people. They can also use CPNs (Community Protection Notices) to target individuals whose behaviour is having a detrimental effect upon other people. I believe that a targeted approach, based on harm reduction and providing appropriate support to persons with addiction/mental health problems, is much better than blanket ban provisions of the sort proposed.

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Measure 3

Measure 3

Text Summary 

I would want clear guidance to accompany any proposal that ensures that enforcement is not directed against vulnerable groups of people. The fixed penalty is fixed at £100 rising to £1000 if it goes to court with a criminal record. If a person is urinating because they are homeless and have no place to use the loo I don’t believe they should be criminalised or given a fine that they will be unable to pay. This is a different matter entirely from someone who is on a night out and urinates in a public space.

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Measure 4

Measure 4

Text Summary

It shouldn’t be necessary to complete an online survey to explain why these proposals are not only wrong, but also highly unethical. People who sleep rough are amongst the most vulnerable members of our society and subject to violence, harassment alongside the many other difficulties they face on a daily basis. Many choose to sleep in well lit public places because they feel safer there and are amongst people they know. Criminalising rough sleeping in the defined area may well cause people to find other, less safe areas where they could be subject to assault and victimisation. Furthermore, there is no evidence that coercive measures are an effective way of getting people to engage with support services. Some people might ‘choose’ to sleep rough because they feel unsafe in their temporary accommodation or because they are trying to get away from people who are using drugs or alcohol. There is absolutely no justification for enacting a PSPO which incorporates rough sleeping. The local authority should concentrate on providing adequate support services for all people, but even if there were safe and available beds for all homeless people (there aren’t), it would still be unethical and, unlawful, to criminalise people for sleeping rough.

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Measure 5

Measure 5


Text Summary

These measures will clearly affect the most vulnerable in Chester and should not be included in the PSPO. People asking for food or money because of desperate poverty should not face criminalisation and punitive fines that they could not reasonably be expected to pay. The proposed measure is ‘catch-all’ in nature by incorporating ‘verbal, non-verbal or written requests’. This will affect people who cause no harm or interference to other people. Enforcement action should only ever be directed against persons who behave in a way that causes alarm, harassment and distress to other people. Adequate powers to already exist.

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Measure 6

Measure 6

Text Summary

Under these proposals Mary Poppins would become a criminal for feeding the birds with the children she is looking after. Would they also be in breach of the PSPO? Would a father who hands a piece of bread to his 9 year old son to feed the ducks become an accessory to the ‘crime’? Adequate signage in appropriate areas, explaining why it is harmful to feed birds in certain places, coupled with non-coercive engagement from public officials would clearly suffice. If certain individuals persist in causing an issue by feeding the birds, existing powers are adequate to deal with them. There is no justification for a blanket ban.

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Measure 7

Measure 7

Text Summary

The proposed PSPO would make it a criminal offence to sing or play musical instruments without permission, in the ‘wrong’ locations, and for the ‘wrong’ length of time. Under the proposals you could be committing a criminal offence, even if your actions were not causing any harm or annoyance to any person. People could face fines of up to £1000 and a criminal record just for singing on the street. This is arbitrary and constitutes a misuse of the law. It would damage spontaneity, deter high quality travelling performers from coming to Chester, deter students and young people from starting busking in the first place, damage relationships between police and the wider community and create an irrational obligation to enforce against people who are not causing any harm.

The option that asks the council to work on a new Code of Practise is a much better way of building good relationships of cooperation between local businesses, residents and the busking community. It would preserve the informality, spontaneity and democratic access to public space that is so intrinsic to busking whilst setting clear expectations for all those busking in Chester. Crucially, enforcement action under the code of practice approach would only be directed at those persons whose behaviour had caused actual harm to others. This would enable the local authority to target inconsiderate buskers whose actions not only cause problems for businesses and residents, but also other buskers, without creating a blanket ban which affects ALL buskers, regardless of harm caused. The council can use Community Protection Notices (CPNs) to target individuals whose behaviour is unreasonable, persistent and having a detrimental effect on the locality. This collaborative and targeted approach is much more appropriate for the oversight of a cultural activity such as busking, and, crucially, would have the consent and cooperation of the busking community and professional bodies such as Equity and the Musician’s Union.

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Designated Pitches

Designated Pitches

Text Summary

Designated sites would make it a criminal offence to busk anywhere other than those sites and for that reason alone should not form part of the PSPO under any circumstances. The proposed sites leave out many spots that are currently popular for busking such as the central part of Northgate Street and don’t include many spaces suitable for circle acts such as the central part of Eastgate Street. Designated spots impose an undue rigidity upon the fluidity and informality of busking as well as having the unintended effect of concentrating complaints about busking outside specific premises often leading to those pitches being closed down and even less pitches becoming available. Instead of designating fixed pitches the code of practise should make clear that busking is allowed in public places provided that a) No obstruction is being caused b) the performer is mindful of surrounding premises and other users of the street and makes approbate adjustments to their act upon reasonable request. Enforcement action should be directed only at performers whose actions are causing a genuine nuisance and who subsequently refuse to comply with a reasonable request to adjust their performance.

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Final Comments

Final Comments

Text Summary

The PSPO proposal is a fundamentally misconceived attempt to deal with specific issues such as the widespread disruption caused to Chester on certain Race Days in a catch-all fashion. It wrongly conflates busking, rough sleeping and feeding birds with ‘antisocial behaviour’, a term which is expanding its meaning to incorporate ever greater spheres of human interaction. It targets the vulnerable and marginalised through its provisions on rough sleeping and begging. It targets the cultural and artistic community in its provisions on busking and creates new ‘criminal offences’ which send a damaging message to the UK and beyond about what Chester is like and what kind of city it is. The provisions  on bird-feeding are silly as well as draconian and betray an over-regulatory mindset which overlooks the crucial principles of policing by consent, equality before the law and proportionality. The council and the police have the use of robust existing legislation such as the 1986 Public Order Act to deal with genuinely antisocial behaviour. It is already a criminal offence to be drunk or disorderly or to cause alarm, harassment and distress to other people. Under the Police, Crime and Antisocial Behaviour Act 2014 the police and local authority have additional powers to use Community Protection Notices (CPNs) against any person whose behaviour is unreasonable, persistent and having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the community. Used as a last resort, the CPNs enable the police or local authority to either issue Fixed Penalty Notices or fines of up to £2500 against persons who breach them. A far better approach to dealing with antisocial behaviour in Chester would be firstly to separate activities like rough sleeping, begging, bird feeding, and busking from consideration altogether. it was wrong to include these categories in the first place. Secondly, for issues around drunkenness, legal highs, and alcohol the police and local authority should identify those persons whose persistent actions have caused alarm, harassment and distress to other people and targeted enforcement action against those individuals using existing powers. This targeted approach could be achieved by drawing up clear guidance for officers and public officials on how to engage with vulnerable people what the real priorities for enforcement really were. My feeling is that the PSPO approach is about administrative convenience above all else. If an activity is named on a PSPO it becomes an offence by default, even if it is not causing harm or inconvenience to any person. Fixed penalty notices of £100 could be issued to people for sleeping on benches, feeding birds, or singing songs. The fine could rise to £1000 and a criminal record if it goes to court. This punitive and disproportionate response will do little to improve genuine community safety and will come at the expense of freedom of expression and association, freedoms that are intrinsic to life in an open and democratic country. Unlike Fixed Penalty Notices under a PSPO, prosecutions under existing legislation or through the use of Community Protection Notices require the police and the local authority to gather evidence that the person being targeted has caused a genuine issue. This is a protection against arbitrary outcomes and the potential abuse of power. The police and the local authority have an essential role in upholding pubic safety. It is vital that their scare resources are directed towards activities that are genuinely harmful and impacting upon the community, rather than in a scattergun approach against rough sleepers, buskers and bird feeders. Nonetheless the PSPO consultation provides the local authority with a value opportunity to develop a code of practise for busking that has the consent and full participation of the busking community, to examine the provision of services to homeless people, and to develop clear guidance for engagement with vulnerable groups on the part of the local authority. it provides the city of Chester, and the surrounding areas with a valuable opportunity to reflect upon what kind of city it wishes to be; the kind of city where people are made to feel welcome and included, whether they are a wealthy tourist or an impoverished and vulnerably housed resident, or whether it wishes to be a city where people face a criminal record for singing songs in the street and where, at the time of national housing crisis and widespread cuts to hostels and benefits, it becomes a criminal offence to sleep rough. It is greatly to be hoped that the opportunity to reflect upon these issues created by the consultation results in the wholehearted rejection of any measures that would criminalise the vulnerable and damage the vibrant street culture that is such an important part of making Chester the wonderful city that it is.

End of Formal Response to Consultation


Thank you for taking the time to participate in Chester and Cheshire West’s PSPO consultation and to read the official Keep Streets Live Campaign response to it. The more people that can express their opposition to these proposals, the more chance we have of successfully challenging them. Please share this consultation response and our petition with anyone you think might share our concerns about the attack on civic freedoms in Chester.

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

162 Comments on "KSL official response to Chester and Cheshire West Council’s Public Space Protection Order Consultation"

  • Sheila Callaghan says

    Thank you for putting forward the opinions of Most humane individuals ! The Council as i see it close their eyes to whats happening in Chester and are only concerned with giving planning permission to big conglomerates ! They should open their eyes and not just think of fast track ways to improve the City and their pockets ! Embrace our unique city and those who are vunerable ! help them less fortunate and in turn they will help us ! Give them a chance ! Give them somthing to do! Let them perform and they may not need to beg!

  • bladerunner says

    What a brilliant response. Thanks! I’ll use this as a template and expand with my own personal points! Fantastic! Let’s hope we can persuade the Council to protect the vulnerable and keep our buskers. What must be running through their minds? Did a Labour council really consider these measurements?

    • Although it is a Labour council these proposals were first introduced under the last Conservative led administration and were part of a police backed report about anti-social behaviour.

      A lot of the pressure for this proposal is coming from the police and the Chester CH1 BID company, not the Labour group, but they need to be held accountable regardless because only the local authority can actually put these proposals through…

      • Local Resident says

        Well said concerning the Conservative administration behind this consultation, Jonny Walker. The present CWaC leaders came into office this summer, bucking the national trend by being elected as a Labour council. I hope they will think hard before acting. I myself am not affiliated to any political party, but the present leaders are genuinely decent, caring people who are having to carry the can for many objectionable things that their predecessors, a hard-hearted ‘leadership’, had started before the new council took over in June. That including mass redundancy-makings and also money-wasting reviews and ‘public consultations’ of which no notice would be taken. The Tory councillors had recently removed the clause in the Code of Conduct requiring councillors ‘to show respect for others’, thus allowing for personal abuse in meetings. What does that tell you about them – and this present ‘consultation’?

        • The ‘ Labour ‘ council certainly does need to be held accountable here, so don’t be fooled here by ‘statements’ nor appearances. In this current ‘political’ culture ( see Camden, Oxford ) ways of cutting the police budget ( eg using ‘control’ tools such as of PSPOs as a ‘deterrent’ in town/city centres ) will always take precedent over ‘good’ civic policing ( & the desire/need for ‘liberal’ freedom & justice in our Society ).

  • G Toland says

    It is not enough to criminalize the normal functions of humans such as lying down. How much more humane to provide them a place to lie down.Especially when they are physically spent from living on the street.

    If your society has failed them leaving them homeless, then the solution is not to punish them for your failure. I know some will immediately retort that I am laying all the responsibility for this problem on society; yet this is precisely what society does regularly to the homeless and other vulnerable people. You place all the responsibility upon them thus relieving you of culpability. My point is that neither the society or the individual bears 100% of the liability for the problem.

    Certainly, each case is unique with a full spectrum of distribution of responsibility. Some people make bad choices and suffer the consequences; sometimes, societies have unjust policies that create insurmountable disadvantage for many of their citizens. To chose either of these as a blanket explanation is simplistic, stupid and obscene.

    To try to address complex issues with a simplistic policy that punishes one party off hand is not only cruel but wrong-headed. Citizens have a right to demand more intelligent and nuanced responses to social issues. Come on civic leaders! Man up!

    • Toland, to be honest, your ‘apparant’ balanced structure/agency argument, where nobody is 100% responsible for their bad predicements in Society to me sounds a little to clever for its own good.

      For example you make the point that ” some people make bad choices sometimes & suffer the consequences sometimes etc etc” in the process missing the whole point about ‘moral’ responsibility ie. the damaging effects ‘individual’ lack of it has on ‘others’ lets forget for a moment the perpertrator.

      A ‘heroin’ addict, one typical of the sort you may stumble across sleeping rough on the streets may not only destroy himself by his ‘choices’ but also his family eg. parents, brothers etc, his wife/partner, his children – gosh how many ‘junkies’ I’ve spoken too who have kids sorely affected, hurt, destroyed by ‘their’ addiction – the community – how many have had homes trashed & broken into, personal ( ‘treasured’ ) belongings stolen so that these drug users can raise the ‘cash’ to feed thier addictions – the panapoly of suffering ( of innocent ‘others’ suffering! ) goes on.

      Our society is decadent enough ( much too much so to be let off the hook! ) , too many ‘spoilt’ children populating it already, & we downplay the importance of ‘individual’ responsibily at our peril, because it is ‘we’ who stand the great chance of suffering the real ‘negative’ ( painful ) conequences.

      One thing I hope for in the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon, is that the ‘new’ Labour leadership lives up to its promises & takes a more ‘serious’ ( accurate ) look at key social problems – those swept under the carpet by New Labour & Tories. I’m encouraged by plans to put together an ‘index’ on poverty & homelessness, enabling us to get a truer, more vivid picture of who exactly ‘is’ sleeping on our streets, the true nature of their predicment ie, so that we ‘ordinary’ people ( shoppers, passersbye, the public ) can more clearly distinguish between what is ‘real’ & what is mere appearances with regards the streets.

      One thing I hope Corbyn will avoid is the mistake of projecting what is a common form of ‘christian’ sentimentalism &/or ‘faux’ egalitarianism onto problems like ‘homelessness’. A case in point is Jonny Walkers claim ( see above ) that most people on the streets are destitute etc, he uses this as a ‘rhetorical’ point in his ‘blog’ argument against PSPO ‘control’ proposals in Chester.

      The truth is that this kind of ‘platitude’, empty rhetoric, does’nt end up helping anyone, the public or ‘true’ homeless & just perpetuates one of the persistent myths about a key issue to do with the streets that of ‘begging’ & homelessnes. No his argument does’nt help but merely obscurates the truth & blocks ( gets in the way of ) a possible fair resolution of the problem.

      For example in one town that i ‘busk’ I can say hand on heart that not one of the apparant ‘homeless’ guys ( 4 or 5 regularly ) begging in the town are in actual fact homeless. No on the contrary they’re ‘all’ in fact happily housed, got a good roof over their heads. In fact one guy, I speak to him often, someone on & off the gear for years, has through ‘social’ mediation just got himself ( been awarded! ) a 2 Bedroom Housing.Association Flat ( & at £90 per week, good rent for a town endowed with London property prices! ) These days he does’nt beg & everytime he walks past me he drops some change in ‘my’ case.

      Good luck to him ( & thanks for his gratitude & generosity! ) however I only think it fair to mention ‘social’ facts like this, bring them to the ‘surface’ out of I guess a kind of democratic duty & the wider public interest. ‘Mindfulness’ i.e. awareness of the environment around you is not only a practically good thing, one of the keys of personal happiness !, its so important ‘ethically’ & core when it comes to creating ( fighting for ) good ‘social’ policy..

      In the ‘context’ ( on the topic ) of ‘choices’ & their consequences I argue then for the right of the public to be more fully ‘socially’ informed about who they are approached ( confronted ) by & ‘giving’ to when ‘begged’ from in the streets. I don’t think begging should be ‘banned’, nor do I support beggars being ‘criminalised’ via anti-social behaviour law but I do think people should be given the right to ( the ability to make ) a better ‘informed’ choice – about their giving & who they ‘choose’ ( not pressured ) to give too.

      Afterall if Aunt Lucy knew ( was aware ) that the guy with the dog & battered ole acousic guitar sitting outside Sainsbury’s was not in fact homeless but sharing a pretty nicely furnished suburban house with ‘others’ to boot in the nicer part of town, would she still be inclined to drop him a pound?. I hope Corbyn et al get this kind of message, & true ‘social’ justice stand a chance of coming to reign lest their brand of Socialism, like practially all other socialisms end up being merely a brand of watered down secular christianity ie. Empy, hollow ‘misguided’ sentiment!

      ( You know theres so many other ‘deserving’ perhaps more deserving cases out there in our Society. Hundreds of Thousands ( 100,000’s ) of ‘working’ people suffering ‘hidden’ homelessness exploited by ‘high street’ Landlords & living in ‘substandard’ flats, houses across the country whose plight ought to be, is calling out to be addressed !)

      • Toland its not a matter of ‘manning up’ here, its a matter of ‘wisening’ up!, So yeah wise up man!

        • A Punch Up In Llangollen ( ‘Wit’s Over Brawn )

          Yes Tolland even in the ‘field’ of life its sometimes a matter of ‘Wits’ over say Brawn (Nb. noting that a person does have to stand up & ‘fight’ at times in ‘real’ life ). I learned this lesson many years ago at around the age of 14 when on a ‘school’ camping trip in your part of the world eg. nr ‘Swallow Falls’ just down the road from Llangollen, Snowdonia. N Wales. On leaving the ‘local’ village hall 8pm that Summers night, amongst a ‘small’ school party & Teacher, & having just watched a ‘projector’ film version of the then blockbuster sci-fi movie ‘Rollerball’ in this makeshift ‘amateur’ village cinema, I was ‘confronted’ by a small gang of ‘local’ lads looking to beat me up. I managed to wangle it so as to ‘delay’ the beating by ‘tete’ a tete psychology in this instance i.e. heading off an actual ‘fight’ until ‘police’ arrived, which the fairly soon did, whisking the wd be attacker off in a ‘small’ police van & to the ‘local’ station. I was lucky on that instance e.g. I cd have easily fell victim to ‘a kicking’ from this gang esp. given my ‘minority’ status here & the youngish ( mixed aged ) class & Tutor ( albeit A ‘Games’ Teacher ) I was with. About 15 mins later ‘older’ reinforcements did arrive from alt. day trip to Rhyl that day ( via the ‘late’ train ) but in this situation it would have been too late. This kind of situation also always reminds me as does John D Slaters comment below how as a ‘general’ pattern in the ‘weak’ ( & vulneralble ) are commonly ‘targeted’ & if possible exploited by the strong ( whether that be ‘governments’, corporations, or any ‘organised’ gp or formation).

          • * Edit

            ”…..how as a general pattern [ delete ] the weak are always exploited by the strong ( whether…….”. Thats why I think like the Jack Russell Terrier, ‘lone’ individuals in ‘reality’ & myth are often by counterpoint present as singley strong people. This being a compensation for otherwise ‘human’ ( animal-like ) vulnerability.

          • Actually coming to think about it was it Rollerball that was showing at Llangollen Village Hall that evening or was it something else ?. You know I may have got my ‘dates’ mixed up here, the ‘confrontation’ certainly happened tho, along with a few other ‘firsts’ which I remember maybe not so suprisingly quite well.

  • It’s often the case with councils that they will target those who have the least “clout” in society in order to show the voters that they are doing something; they did it with the circuses – who had little or no power to fight back. It has always been thus that bullies pick on the most vulnerable onlt to be praised and lauded by their cohorts and supporters.
    Antiscocial behaviour comes in the main from alcohol loaded people; so why don’t they close the pubs and off licences?
    OH NO! They won’t take the drinks trade on because they provide huge amounts of cash in rates; unlike the street entertainer who provides nothing but pleasure for those who pass by.

    • There are a lot of ‘authorities’ out there ( incl, many self-appointed individuals! ) who wish to ‘dominate’ others with their ‘artificial’ scenarios. Natural ‘spontaneous’ communication & ‘negotation, hell as like, these are the kind of people ie, jobsworths ( passive aggresives ) who would rather beat you on the head with a laminated 30 page ‘rule’ booklet ( put togother in conjunction with the Councils ) than sort things out ‘amicably’ on the spot through ‘mutual’ common-sense & self interest!. Often like state institutions ( & culture ) Bully’s through and thru’ these kind of ‘jerk’ idiots!.

      • On a ‘positive’ note though I do believe that it is possible for even the most ‘fixated’ of pedants, ridged of philistine types to be ‘turned’, & miraculously so. That together with its moral ‘index’ corollary i.e logically a most ‘natural’ human understanding & healing, followed & ‘imbued’ by the experience of a deep ’emotional’ resolution taking place.

        • The key point tho is that ‘many’ Councils are not doing their supposed ‘liberal’ job of facilitating democracy, instead an insidious form of ‘cronyism’ dominates, from my point of view a phenomenon thats practically taken over ‘local’ politics.

  • T.Arrowsmith says

    This attempt to exclude and limit is entirely contrary to the notion of public spaces and a democratic society. Existing powers are sufficient especially when combined with on – going and genuine partnership approaches which involve all sections of the community. We should not follow the callous and neglectful example set by this selfish Tory government.

  • Its been brought to my attention that on the streetslive ‘activist’ front the name of Birmingham has been raised more than a few times in discussions concerning the Chester Campaign. The ‘current’ situation there being cited as an exemplary outcome with the hope that as the city council drops its plans to ‘ban’ busking amplification likewise Chester West following ‘consultuations’ will decide not respond to ‘calls’ to introduce PSPO busking/begging controls in its town centre .

    Regardless of what decision the authorities make in Chester ( I hope theres a genuine ‘positive’ or should I say importantly ‘fair’ resolution for all parties ) I can only say that as far as Birmingham is concerned that as one problem is diminisished another arises, And as far as I’m concerned I will not rest until ‘the Daeeesh’ ( the Busking Daeeeesh! ) are driven out of the city ( or at least ‘driven’ far away from ‘interfering’ in my busking realms, my area of livelihood, my ‘working’ life! ).

    I note Jonny Walker is already boasting on his ‘Facebook’ Page about the ‘brilliant news ‘ from Birmingham, with reference to the meeting he and MU Officials ( Stephen Brown ) have had with Birmingham City Council. He even arrogantly cites his ‘plan’ to work as part of ‘a taskforce’ to develop a new busking policy in the city in the spirit of ‘ openness, spontaneity & cooperation ‘.

    Some people have said to me my God that guy ( with his statement ) has got a lot of audacity for ‘ a jerk!’. I simply respond he just does’nt ‘really’ know what he’s talking about. The fact is openess, spontaneity & co-operation already currently exists amongst the now ‘many’ Buskers in the city. The truth is that where you would only a year or so ago find 3 maybe 4 ‘busking ‘acts on a ‘stretch’ such as New Street, I the other week counted as many as 18 as well as 8 Public Statues. Believe me Birmingham city centre busking today is very much open, spontaneous & cooperative.

    What is striking is that everybody seems to be getting on just fine despite the increase in numbers & that includes the many Romanian Acts ( some very good ones! ) that now populate the city. No need for any help from anybody including Jonny Walker ( nor Streetslive ), a ‘natural’ spontaneous order exists, Buskers are happily ‘policing’ themsselves without any ‘outside’ interference.

    Jonny Walker, Streetslive, The Music Union, & the Council could do well just leaving people ( Buskers ) alone, just stay out of affairs, you’re not needed, your ‘controls’ are not necessarily nor on ‘real’ inspecton desirable. You lot to me you’re ‘functining’ here as nothing more than a Busking Daeeesh!.

    Better still if you do feel the need to develop a code, then make it one designed just for yourselves i.e. your very own ‘tribal’ code. Afterall as far as I see it most of the real ‘nuisances’ ( including noise problems etc ) generated in Birmingham city centre over the years have been by Streetslive Members/Affiliates. So don’t bother about policing everyone else, my advice is you lot ‘police’ yourselves!.

    • * Post Script

      I cant help but find it very amusing to observe officials from Birminghm City Council paying host to a so called ‘national busking spokesperson who in fact is here representing a relatively small group of buskers who I through experience ( ‘direct’ ) have come to regard as a ‘bunch of so & so’s’, a tribe in reality, containing some really ‘nasty’ individual so & so’s, who simply don’t, who in no way represent the ‘true’ heart & soul of busking in the city today ( a place that Jonny Walker describes as a ‘teeming’ metropolis, yeah sycophantically so , another Walker style platitude, marketing speak having just met city officials! )

  • Morning Nigel,

    After a successful summer campaign against the proposals to impose a PSPO against the busking community in Birmingham which would have criminalised the use of amps and ‘loud’ acoustic performances we are grateful that Liberty have now joined the campaign against this authoritarian legislation that allows unaccountable power to be used against the most vulnerable.

    I cannot take your rhetoric too seriously when you compare a small advocacy group which campaigns against the criminalisation of street culture to a fanatical terrorist organisation.

    • Birmingham City Council ‘officials’ entertaining Jonny Walker? Drowning out other buskers, provoking trouble, egostically causing ‘noise’ nuisance with loud volumes, selfishly riding rough-shod over ‘working’ busking schemes in other towns mainly for ‘self-publicity’ reasons, embarking on ‘smear’ campaigns labelling other buskers as ‘bullies’ when they themselves are the bully, acting as ‘flying monkeys’ in such ‘spiteful’ campaigns, dominating meetings etc etc etc..’authorities’ such as Birmingham City Council ( Councils everywhere ) would do best with coming up with ‘ Policy’ that would finally sort you ‘b……s’ out as far as I’m concerned.

  • So far this year the keep streets live campaign has campaigned against PSPO/antisocial behaviour act proposals in Chester, Canterbury Oxford, Bath and Birmingham. This has seen the council withdraw contentious plans in Bath, Birmingham and Canterbury, amend them significantly in Oxford and we await the result of the consultation in Chester where we have a meeting this Friday to discuss their busking policy.

    We have worked alongside York, Liverpool and Canterbury council to introduce a framework for the oversight of busking that is non-prescriptive and involved the full participation of the local busking community in each of those cities.

    Our goals and values are clear, namely to advocate for public spaces that are open to informal and spontaneous offerings of music, to challenge policies that criminalise busking, to work alongside local authorities wherever possible in a cooperative way.

    This weekend I was in Solihull which I remember you writing about in a previous thread as a place with a highly restrictive policy. Indeed, the written policy states that buskers need to book one hour slots through the BID up to a week in advance and pre-register with the council prior to performing. These measures are unduly rigid and stifle spontaneity.

    These measures were apparently put in place after an influx of ensembles that played repitiously and at excessive volumes and was a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Whilst performing in the town I had no issues with officials or BID wardens having explained to one of them that the policy was very restrictive but I understood why they had put it in place. However, there are better approaches to the oversight of busking in many other places.

    At a time when the socio-political threats to the legal status of busking in this country are real, it is sad that a person of your capacity and intelligence is left carping from the sidelines at people who are challenging damaging policies and advocating for buskers. You’d be better to channel your energies constructively.

    • My my Walker you are a ‘Busy Bee’, are’nt you?. As for myself I’ll be concentrating ‘all’ my energies on doing things a tad more wholly & properly, light relief from the rather ‘facile’ action of running around, at first glance seemingly spending alot of energy, but on ‘closer’ observation not really doing ( nor achieving ) anything.

      In the absence of any legitemate ‘grievance’ procedure with regards your organisation ( I don’t see one attached to your website ) I suggest there is only one ‘decent’ alternative. I don’t think we need to resort to the kind of ‘debacle’ that occured in Stratford upon Avon last week where a Busker ( an ‘organisational’ ‘right’ hand man of yours I understand, accompanying you in both Chester & Bath ) was ‘punched’ in the face by another Busker ( Loopy Tom Mcnair a Bath Streetperformer ) for deliberately ‘drowning’ him out.

      Neither do we have to reduce ourselves to ‘scrapping’ on the streets, nor duffing eachother up in a bar-room brawl. However that leaves the one & only good old fashioned remedy , gentlemanly way, of sorting this kind of thing out eg. either in ‘the ring’, or better still ‘pistols at dawn’!.

      • RE: Stratford one thing I have learned is that there are two sides to every story.

        RE: you and me having a duel

        I have no quarrel with you! I enjoy reading your social, political and cultural reflections on this various comment threads on this page.

        I enjoy what I regard as your quite unfair criticisms less but I think it’s healthy to air disagreements!

        So the duel is postponed!

        • Pretty good is’nt he Loopy Tom, bit too good tho’ for the likes of you n’ yer affiliates heh Jonny? – yer jealous of him!

          So yeah ‘duel’ postponed, n’ keep up the ‘good’ work, you n’ yer colleagues keep building the busking community! ( Got a sneaky feeling tho’ theres more than a few out there who no longer welcome you with ‘open’ hands in Bath )

  • Loopy Tom is a superb musician although I don’t think he handled the situation in Stratford as diplomatically as he might have done.

    I would also like to add Nigel that I don’t think it’s fair of you to hold me personally responsible for the actions of every person who has ever shown an interest in the work of keep streets live. We are an advocacy network and seek to support buskers on the basis of need, but each busker needs to take responsibility for their own conduct and face the consequences if they don’t.

    • You feign ignorance Walker, you know what happened, ‘no smoke without fire! ‘ -a series of manouvres, common to the ‘strategic’ style of your organisation ( it ‘affiliates’ ), deliberately designed to provoke conflict & undermine the ‘rational’ working scheme already ‘set-up’ in a place.

      Your ‘man’ deliberately ( calculatedly! ) positioned the direction of his ‘speakers’ ( an ‘amplified’ Bose PA System ) so as to antagonise, spoil, drown-out another Busker & his performance when he was about to play on another ‘official’ ( agreed ) spot. The whole ‘episode’ captured on Public CCTV camera & the reason why Tom only got a ‘caution’ for his actions which were provoked on the day.

      • Plus I don’t think ‘you’ handled yourself very well ( very nicely! ) at all when ‘contextually’ unprovoked you but up a YouTube Video on your Facebook page ‘chastising’ a black guy playing the steel drums outsid the shopping centre.

        Deliberately designed to ‘humilate’ the guy ( a ‘fellow’ Busker ) you attempted to pour some pretty heavy ‘vitriol’ on him for setting up & playing ‘shouting out & claiming you had got to the spot first, filming this scene & then ‘calculatedly’ downloading it .

        Arrogantly ( & rashly! ) so, because this was despite the ‘fact’ that he had ‘booked’ the slot 7 days earlier. A case of ” fools rush in before angels fear to tread’ don’t you think Jonny?.

  • Having arrived in Solihull at 11:30 am on Saturday morning to busk I had been surprised and disappointed when another busker arrived and started playing metres away from me without introducing himself to me. It seemed like a hostile gesture which I did a short video blog to record. Having decided to stop playing and speak to him instead I discovered there was a wider context to what had just happened and established a rapport with my fellow busker. I recount the story in full here. I think it’s very telling that you represent this incident as unfavourably as you can when the outcome was actually one of reconciliation and connection:


    On earlier threads you have held up Solihull as an example of an overly restrictive scheme. It is certainly not legally binding. The busker I met in Solihull on Saturday had not realised that he did not have to book a pitch in order to perform a one hour pitch and that this registration scheme was a means of restricting access to public space in Solihull,

    Perhaps you can clear up any confusion Nigel. Do you support Solihull’s current busker registration scheme which restricts performances to one hour pre-booked slots by registered performers?

  • Oh what hypocricy , you’re manufacturing an ‘artificall’y constructed scenario here Jonny to wheedle yourself out of the ‘fact’ that the manner in which you approached this situation ( responded to the Steel Pan Player when he arrived ) was ‘far’ from diplomatic ( the issue here! ), far from it, your reaction was vitriolic &aggresively confrontational. Smart-phone whipped straight out ( no talks! ) & followed by a condemnational sermon, downloaded onto yer Facebook page asap!.

    Just as hypocritical behaviour as yer ‘man’ in Stratford upon Avon the week before, with his ‘drowning’ out of Loopy Tom. Yer Man himself had complained of being unfairly treated in the same manner by another ‘fellow’ Busker ( from Birmingham ) weeks earler, this too led to conflict, with ‘him’ accusing the Brummie Busker of ‘drowning’ him out ( doing exactly what ‘he’ did to Tom ). So he knew of the ‘potential’ ( yet ‘easily’ avoidable ) problem here because he before had ‘experientially’ suffered it himself.

    Not long back ( Mid-Summer ) I remember him approaching ‘me’ one morning to help him deal with a Trumpeter & Accordianist who had set up on the spot & who he felt was interfering with his act due to loud ‘noise’ volumes. Hypocrites the both of you!.. Oh & face up to ‘reality’, your ‘methods’ stink!.

    • And as far as the situational ‘problem’ that cropped up ( re-occured ) in Stratford upon Avon the other week, yer man knows very well how to ‘constructively’ resolve it, & that is in part by taking my advice & following the the more responsible, ‘conscientious’ Buskers who use that ‘particular’ spot!

      • Oh & ‘ Come back Loopy Tom ‘ ( altogether now, sing it louder! )

        • & I’m going to sound a little Daily Mail here ( you know the papers weather people ‘snapped’ me on the Bancroft Gardens during our Sept ‘heatwave’/Oct Indian Summer ‘inset’ title ‘Peaceful’ ) come back, bring back, the teaching of ‘manners’ again in our schools!

          • & for Buskers that means when ‘new’ to a place & Street Performers in an unfamiliar town ‘formal’ ( cordial ) greetings and when performing on the Bancroft, by the ‘Encore’ Pub with ‘others’ around, positioning your ‘ariel’ speakers at 45 degrees!.

          • & finally Jonny get over your ‘irrational’ fears of ‘black’ men, he’d ‘booked’ the spot in Solihull 7 days before you ‘arrived’ in town Saturday morning. You clearly jumped to ‘unfair’ conclusions about his ‘hostility’ here I think, not bothering to do the ‘natural’ thing & simply go over to speak to him when he arrived thus peacefully clarifying things. Hostility? All this sounds like a clear example of your hostile ‘projection’ to me Jonny!.

          • Could be interpreted as ‘you’ like yer man with regards Loopy Tom in Stratford upon Avon the week trying to ‘provoke’ him! ( find it hard to believe that you did’nt know about the 7 day booking scheme before you ‘visited’ Solihull that day )

  • * On Good & Bad Busking Schemes ( How to Handle Them! )

    Its a given ‘truth’ that busking across the UK is formally ‘unregulated’ ( ie. with a few ‘exceptions, legally you can play anywhere you like without a ‘licence’ etc ). However the ‘practical’ reality is that we all know that ‘market’ de-regulation does’nt not work again except on a few ‘rare’ instances eg. I believe the ‘conditionsl’ in Birmingham today! lend themselves to a ‘busking’ constitution of ‘benevolant’ anarchism.

    Yes ultimately you’ve got to be ‘guided’ by ‘your’ values eg. openess, sponteneity, & ‘fair’ accessibility, but you’ve also got to use your ‘common-sense’ judgement in sorting out the ‘good’ from the ‘bad’ busking arrangement ( a ‘graduated’ ethical reality! ) & how you go about handling/confronting these ‘varied’/relative busking ‘scenarios’.

    Whether you like them or not, I argue, you simply can’t go ‘waltzing’ into a town & ride ‘roughshod’ over existing ‘set-ups’ for the simple reason that if you ‘stopped’ for a minute & ‘rationally’ analysed the situation you’d come to the realisation that relative to some places, some ‘schemes’ are actually good, & ‘do’ upon rational reflection meet your own interests, individual benefits & needs eg. places & spots on which to perform played out in a spirit of ‘mutual’ sympathy & co-operation.

    Stratford upon Avon ( tho not ‘perfecty’! ) is one such town. A small but busy ‘tourist’ town ( ‘Shakespeareland’ ) attracting a lot of visitors ( & not too surprisingly many Buskers! ) has managed to come up with a relatively ‘open’ solution whereby performers just ‘switch’ spots every 2hrs. You turn up, play yer time, somebody else turns up either waits ( or in most instances looks for a ‘vacant’ slot elsewhere to return later ), ‘you’ finish & then in turn you ‘move’ ( you’re not pushed, by act of self-volition ! ) on to another ‘vacant’ pitch ( or alternatively ‘you’ unobtrusively wait ). I argue what you have ‘here’, what thise scheme illustrates is a ‘fair’ democraticly ‘open’ busking system, importantly a ‘workable’ one & importantly ‘particular’ to that town!.

    Its a ‘truism’ that other places ‘schemes’ ( usually ‘council’/BID ‘set-ups’ ) are not so good. Solihull is far too ‘restrictive’ yes!, with its 7 day notice booking system for a 1 hour slot. It needs to be ‘challenged’ but you’ve got to be careful how you go about doing it. No good ‘marching’ into a town, guns blazing, setting up first & when a ‘poor’ fellow Busker turns up, one whos actually booked the spot a week earlier, you start blasting him out with a busking ‘sermon, recorded on your ‘smart-phone’ & then downloaded ( in shame! ) onto the internet eg Facebook or Twitter. In this ‘context’ all you’re doing yourslef is ‘acting’ out some kind of revenge ‘crowd’ ‘punishment beating’

    Rather whats called for here is a little busking advocate diplomacy, ( especially when on a ‘shuttle’ visit to a town! ) just approach the fellow ( probably ‘brainwashed’, beauractratically bullied & cadjoled by the council anyways! ) & raise the issue, patiently talk things over, make the ‘initial’ constructive contact. Like you did in the 2nd half/part of your ‘foray’ into Solihull Jonny, more ‘deeply’ communicate with & get to know the guy. Herein this is where the true busking ‘education’ process begins!.

  • * On Really Bad Schemes ( i.e. the ‘exception’ that is Bath )

    There are good schemes, bad schemes & then ‘really’ bad busking schemes. The situation in Bath springs to mind here, where Street Peformers are compelled to meet up ‘early’ in the morning & by ‘lot’ ( picking straws ) are allocated a playing spot ( for half hr, an hour! ).

    Of all the ‘desired’ busking locatins in the country, Bath is rapidly acquiring the worst reputation, with accusatins of ‘narcissistic’ ingroups dominating the scene, some ‘performers’ turning up & marking ‘trees’/lamposts so as to claim spots for themselves, a kind of busking ‘nepotism’ & favouritism corrupting an otherwise spirit of ‘trust’ & openess between Buskers seems to ‘negatively’ exist.

    Its no surprise then that the 2 individuals in conflict on the Bancroft in Stratford upon Avon the other weekend ( Sat morning ) were essentially ‘Bath Buskers – the one who took the ‘right hook’ for ‘drowning’ the other one out, having ‘moved’ in on the town last year & not with his own brand of further conflict & fuss eg. recurring accusations of ‘noise’ nuisance/loud volumes, ‘dodgy’ busking practices etc.

    I don’t know what it is with Bath, but I picked up something ‘rotten’ in the place & with the busking culture there, long before ‘I’ started busking myself, detecting it in the Bath Buskers Website years ago & from the ‘experiential’ reports of ‘respectable’ others who had ‘visited’ the place. Anyway as far as this cathedral city is concerned I think the usual rules of busking diplomacy ought to be suspended ( rationally! ), thats is dropped!.

    I think its time with regards this place for some ‘direct’ confrontation, because what is in operation in that Bath, is to my mind a petty evil, calculated scheme to selfishly preserve the ‘rich’ soil of the city for themselves ( not necessarily ‘local’ city residents ) whilst callously keeping everybody else out. Bath has the least ‘open’, most selfishly ‘controlling’, politically ‘closed’ busking culture in the country! & it needs to be ‘directly’ challenged!.

    • * A Good Scheme ( or Whats so good about Stratford? )

      I read in an ‘online’ busking artlcle recently that its ” a ‘cardinal’ sin to play in ‘earshot’ of each other in Bath ”. Well in Stratford upon Avon things are not quite so ‘perfect’ but great strides were taken to ‘design’ a scheme ( an agreed, ‘rational’ layout of busking spots ) that put a stop to ‘conflict’ & ‘structurally’ reduced the possibility of Busker on Busker ‘noise’ interference.

      Playing in a town or city with ‘narrow’ streets, town corners, ‘town/city centre thoroughfares, cafe quarters & public sqares are one thing but playing in ‘open’ Parkland is another, you simply ‘can’t’ control all unwanted noise but you can make ‘fair’ strides to reduce it, & pretty effectively!
      In Stratford upon Avon on the Bancroft Gardens the busking ‘solution’ is called ‘ the Triangle’. Heres how it works;

      Imagine a massive ‘green’ ( or Parkland ) in turn compare this to a ‘giant’ green Snooker table,. Then picture a large ‘white’ triangle again similar to the one you find in the game of Snooker. Point A is the ‘apex’ of the Triangle, Points B,C are the base. Now simply map out this ‘busking’ area, The ‘encore’ pub is B, the fountain ( opp Barnabeys Fish & Chip Shop ) is C, The ‘ampitheatre’ is A ( the other side of the park, by the River Avon, nr bridge & lock ).

      Busker & Busker ‘noise'( volume ) interference is reduced if everyone takes the personal ‘reponsibility’ to play along the ‘line’ trajectories of the triangle, all ‘sound’ converging on the centre. In fact the apex A – the ‘ampitheatre’ where I tend to play, takes the bulk of ‘overspill’ sound, 2 ‘trajectories’ of sound ‘travelling’ your direction. Within ‘reason’ I personally ( & consistently ) ‘tolerate’ this situation ( a ‘reality’ you can’t do much about! ).

      The problem occurs when either though selfish ‘oversight’ or sheer malicousness a Busker performing on say point A decides to direct their ‘ ariel’ speaker along lines B to C therefore ‘drowning’ out the person busking on point C ( i.e.either unfairly ‘driving’ them out, to ‘distraction’ or indeed ‘manipulatively’ deterring ‘them’ from using that spot in the first place! ).

      My conclusion? Well do you get my point, the ‘set-up, the scheme, the code is ok in principle, the rest is down to Moral Character, ‘manners’, ( & ego! ) !. Get these ‘person’ elements under control & the solution is relatively simple i.e. when performing on point A of ‘the Triangle’ by the Encore Pub & Ice Cream Boat ) reposition your amp to 45 degrees, ‘trajecting’ your sound to the centre, or otherwise point it ‘backwards’ to the pub & ‘entertain’ the punters sitting happily outside & having a ‘nice’ drink!.

  • * Stratford upon Avon ( ‘Loopholes’ & ‘Imperfections’ )

    As I mentioned above the busking ‘set-up’ ( spontaneously ‘mutually’ agreed! ) in Stratford upon Avon is ‘good’ but ‘not’ perfect, there are ‘loopholes’ that can be exploited with regards the ‘fair’ working of the scheme. I’ve just explained one of them ( see above ) & its solution, but heres another example;

    When playing in ‘open’ Parkland, on the Bancroft Gardens, the ‘apex’ of ‘the triangle’ point A is ‘vulnerable’ to attack ( & I mean ‘malicous’ attack not merely ‘naieve’ or ‘ignorant’ sound spillage from other performers which you can ‘negotiate’ or patiently ‘tolerate’ but attack! ) in the form of Busker on Busker noise ‘interference’.

    eg. You can be deliberately ‘drowned’ out from ‘the bridge’ behind eg by trumpet & accordian, or singer & acoustic guitar &/or you can also be ‘targeted’ from just over ‘the bridge’ in front of you, over the ‘lock’ nr the ‘spot’ where the magicians & other ‘circus’ performers tend to busk.

    * A Case Study
    I myself found myself in such a position, a few yrs back when I’d first start busking in Stratford upon Avon & ‘discovered’ the Bancroft ( or by ‘default’ being directed there in the ‘context’ of ‘other’ town spots being squeezed by the BID & organisations like the Shakespeare Centre ! ). Where In my case I found myself one Saturday ‘afternoon’ drowned out in a ‘pincer’ movement by an ‘accordianist’ to the rear & ‘accordianist’ in front.

    Twice I telephoned, the ‘Town Host’s to come & deal with the ‘antogonism’ ( as part of the ‘civil’ busking code! ), Twice I was ignored & so left to handle matters alone. A ‘conflict’ ensued where I was accused of ‘pushing’ ( not punching ) but pushing another person during the argument ( not ‘an accordianist’ but another Busker, a ‘magician’ who came running over & shouting how he’d given them permission to use ‘his’ spot, I’d merely been persuading ‘the accordianist’, himself ‘removed’ from the town, to ‘turn-down’ the volume or leave! ).

    Anyway Police later turned up & I was arrested, charged with ‘pushing’ ( yes ‘pushing him away! ) this guy ( other Busker, Magician ). I ‘denied’ the charges & was taken to Leamingon Spa Nick ( 15 miles away, the home of infamous ‘black’ Magician Alaister Crowley ). I still denied the charges was let go, & called back 2 or 3 times for further questioning, I still ‘denied’ the charges. 6 Months later at Leamington Spa Magistrates Court the charges were ‘dropped’!.

    So yeah, the Stratford upon Avon busking scheme is good but it has should I say its ‘imperfections’. So whats the solution? Well if I was in that position say again today, I’d say do these 3 things;

    1. Do not Leave the field

    2. Call the Town Hosts again ( tho’ often useless, relatively powerless, if they do turn up they can have some ‘moral’ power or act as ‘witness’s’ on ‘your’ behalf. If that fails, try calling the Police even!

    3. In the last instance ‘defend’ yourself, during the ‘first’ stages you may find ‘yourself’ on the dock, but take courage, be patient, let the ‘slow’ arm of justice take its course & ‘naturally’ unfold & then let the ‘truth’ be out!

    • * Note

      There are ‘structural’ solutions ( ‘scheme/spot design ‘ ), ‘moral’ solutions ( character, ‘manners’, ego etc ), to Busker on Busker ‘noise’ interference but I forgot to mention the most common-sense ‘practical’ solution eg. in certain ‘scenarios’ simply ‘turn’ down, yes turn-down the volume eg. when playing by the Encore Pub point B on ‘the triangle’ n Stratford upon Avons Bancroft Gardens just use enough ‘volume’ to cover the vicinity eg. pub, ice-cream boat, public seating area, walkbye & park thoroughfare!.

  • * On Fake Bloggers ( Buskers Beware! )

    I call on all ‘fellow’ Buskers to beware of the ‘latest’ internet phenomenon eg. Fake Bloggers!.

    Stumbling across a so called busking blog recently called the ‘ Diary of a Musician ‘ as a Busker ( Street Performer ) myself of 3 or so years I was ‘compelled’ to do the ‘natural’ thing a write a ‘few’ comments ( & really not many! eg. between 1 & 7 ‘serious’ & intelligent ‘responses’ ito each blog title eg. Busking Tips, Success, My First Busk etc ).

    Under the first category ‘ Hows the Music Going? ( my comment the same day, ended up in the ‘uncategorised’ section of the blog site! ) I spoke of how if I were to write an ‘honest’ journal on Busking it would be about the actual ‘struggle’ ( trials & tribulations ) of ‘becoming’ a musician ( a legitemate, full & proper one ) rather than that of ‘being’ a musician as such. I spoke of how only on ‘rare’ occasions these days do I get accused of ‘begging’ however ‘my response’ when this kind of ‘criticism’ does crop up is to rather than protest, defend or argue to ‘retort’ yes I am a beggar, now ‘f..off!’. I then in my ‘comment’ go on to explain the ‘pains’ of being in the ‘real’ common predicament where you’re still strides away from your ‘artistic’ ideal. All this ‘effort’ finding no reply ( Again this ‘comment’ finding its way into the uncategorised category ).

    I then ‘commented’ on the blog titled ‘Success’, drawing upon my ‘readings’ of a book ( a method book ) by Classical Guitarist Christopher Parkening & his ‘distinction’ between ‘ Excellence’ v Success. Despite him being a USA Christian Evangelist ( I’m not! ) I agree with him & ‘commented’ on the value of always putting ‘excellence’ before success. ( a little if not rather shallow ‘reply’ comment this time. Hi Nigel blah! blah! blah! ” I like your ‘ideas’ but …… )

    I went on to speak of the ‘internet’ cultural phenomenon whereby many people ( practically ‘con-artists ) of whom could be more correctly considered the ‘unfinished’ artcle are today ‘marketing’ themselves as the ‘finished’ product eg An Artist.

    I talked about how this is a ‘troubling’ trend ‘morally’ given the other sad reality that ‘there is a Sucker Born Every Minute & that in mainstream ‘pop’ culture today too many people are being ‘exploited’ via ‘affiliation’ & ‘belonging’ needs rather than legitemately via Art. ( I never said this but I strongly believe YouTube is full of what can only be ‘called’ cultural ‘prostitutes’, in some cases cultural courtesans & the ‘male’ equivelent, a kind of social ‘venus’ flytrap who in reality are ‘offering’ no more than fake company & friendship to the lonely & ‘vulnerable’! ).

    I wrote another ‘comment’ on the distinction between ‘the Artist’ & ‘The Pop Artiste’ ie. ‘real’ art conveying ‘complex’ meaning through advanced techniques v pop music with its shallow ‘pleasure’ principle & appeal to ‘baser’ appetites eg. gimmik,fashion & the rest! ). If you want to be an Artist I said & successfully appeal to higher virtues you may have to ‘tap’ into a high ‘liberal’ arts education discourse which in itself sadly to say wider Society might have to catch up. And are unlikely to do so what with cuts to Extra-murial & Adult Education these days, the ‘truth’ is good old-fashioned arts-appreciation courses today ‘rarely’ exist ( if they ever got fully off the ground in the first place ).

    It was in ‘the Songwriting’ blog that I appeared to really ‘touch a nerve ‘ though. Parts of it bearing an ‘iconic’, visual, communicative resemblance to ‘comments’ I ‘made’ about ‘songwriting art’ under the Camden,London blog on this Streetslive site. Her blog ( this is a female Busker Bloggers site I’m refering to here ) talks of the difficulties she’s had developing her songwriting & cites the inspirational ‘books’ she’s been reading, without giving the title.

    Rather than ‘spoon-feed’ my knowledge I gave a ‘comment’ of general encouragement eg. ” You’ve made the brave first steps now just ‘persist’ on your ‘journey’ until you finally understand the ‘nature of poetry’ and ‘ how music works’. I then asked Q, What drives You? The need to express yourself, communicate ?, For me its largely an ‘intellectual’ drive eg. natural ‘human’ curiosity & the need to know & understand, how a symphony works or the harmonic cycle in a Back Violin Sonata Partita.

    I then ‘expressed’ my love for ( & concern ) for ‘the lost art of accompaniment on folk acoustic guitar’ ( the female blogger claims to be a ‘folk’ musician as well as Songwriter ). I implored that on top of ‘strengthening’ the voice as a Singer, it would be really nice to see her get into the playing styles of the folk greats like Bert Jansch or Martin Carthy. ( Genuinely It would be great to see a ‘beautiful’ woman ( she is a ‘natura’l beauty, could be a Top Uk Model! ) promote this ‘lost’ tradition. I suggested she read the 2 Volumes written by Staffordshire Folkologist Michael Raven for ‘artistic’ guidance here. )

    Finally & it was this ‘comment’ that appeared to be the final ‘rub’!. I stated in a 3rd ‘comment’ that ” it is ’emotion’ that ultimately that drives human beings. How Do I know? By listening to romantic ‘film’ music on Classical Guitar eg. ‘Farewell’ by Sergio Assad ” .

    You know I woke up this morning, on the off-chance decided to look at the Blog site & found that all my ‘comments’ had been wiped off! With just a ‘couple’ of comments to do with Christopher Parkening left remaining under the blog entitled ‘ Success ‘!.

    Ok I had writen a ‘few’ other busking one-liners under the ‘title’ ‘Busking tips’ for example in responding to ‘her ‘advice’ to take a flask of Tea & Hot Lemon & Honey on yer first busk, me stating how as an ‘instrumentalist’ ( sitting down & playing classical guitar all day ) you’d be on & off the toilet if you took that advice. Pretty inconvenient if theres no one around to look after your equipment when you ‘need’ to dash. To pack up & go, from ‘experience’ a sure way to lose your spot!. Though at Christmas & when out in the ‘colds’ of Winter a small ‘flask’ of ‘rum’ would’nt go amiss!

    Ok I made a ‘few’ other comments under the ‘ My First Busk ‘ blog, like ” I’ve just been listening to the work of Ben Drummond ( friend of Brummie Busker Spence Cater ). Heres a ‘tip’ for you ‘Girls love ‘smooth’ voices ”. Or ” Following on from the comments of Baudrillaire on the Paris Art Scene of the Early 1800s. Todays Buskers, Street Performers & the like are like ‘spoilt’ children ”.

    As you can see pretty ‘harmless’ little comment ditties on an important topic that I’m both passionate & concerned about, but nevertheless obviously grossly offensive & ‘obrusive’ to the Blogger. Q Wheres this Busker from? Well as you can guess the cathedral city of Bath. I ‘attempted’ to write back this morning, I won’t name names but to the effect of ” Amelia, a very ‘democratic’ & open blog I see, You’ve taken down most of my other ‘comments’ , so you might as well ‘remove’ the remaining ones ( or should I say two! ) ”. However the message to my knowledge ( immediate awareness ) did’nt get through!.

    • * Nb

      You know I like Jack, a ‘handsome’ chap too, & his duo partner one of the few ‘female’ buskers I’ve met who you can have a ‘serious’ deep coversation with. Very enjoyable too!

      But whats going on? The other weekends ‘debacle’ on the Bancroft & other busking ‘incursions’ & conflicts at that. More important still, Jonny, whats going on in Bath? That city, that place, built on 7 hills like Rome, the most beautiful ‘ Georgian ‘ architecture in England yet you know somethings not right?

      • Gosh another ‘comment’ has sprung to mind, one which I wrote under that Diary of a Musician blog the one, titled ‘ Tips For Anyone Considering Going Busking ‘. Oh yeah that was it,

        ” If all else fails have you ever considered becoming a Primary School Teacher – a ‘good’ one!. Why is it that every other Busker I stumble across these days comes across as a ‘nauseatingly’, egostical, overzealous Primary School Teacher? ”.
        ( A Busking Tip from The Diary of a Musician )

        • And another, under the blog ‘ A Bag of Hearts ‘ me meditating upon ‘natural’ beauty & how not to ‘waste’ it, The 17th Century Dutch Masters & their ‘themes’ of Vanitas ie. painterly ‘representations’ of the ‘brevity of life, How ‘female’ beauty has the ‘average’ life-span of a Mayfly, How what ought to lead us are our true natural ‘strengths’ & passions, The example of Liverpool ‘Supermodel’ Abbey Clancy & how I admire the ‘Spartan Warrior’ in her, eg. her stoicly walking straight past a French Patisserie in the West End & herself commenting ” would’nt it be nice if we could ‘all’ stroll in when we’ve got the munchies? ” & how having conquered her ‘natural’ human weaknesses ‘fear’ & ‘laziness’ & following ‘hyper’ catwalk success she’s now ‘truly’ on the ‘ascendancy ‘ presenting her own ‘inside’ view of London Fashion Week for BBC2. Me commenting further ” When you were born Amelia I bet it was a case of ooh look, look what the ‘fairies’ have brought in, especially to a small, semi-rural, ‘folk’ community based somewhere in Portsmouth. They loved you, nurtured you, truly cared for you but now its time for them to let go, release you, to become ‘who you really are ‘ i.e. A ‘serious’ Model with a top Uk Agency I would say ( but thats me, what do you think? ) ”.

          ( Musings from The Diary of a Musician )

          • I don’t know you, you don’t me, so thanks for allowing me to comment Amelia, in this the universe that is the internet ‘blogisphere’ perhaps our communication will not be insignificant, thats all I said, thats the ‘honest’ spirit in which I responded to your reply under your Blog title ‘Success’, no need to ‘cut me off’ so! Ok if maybe there is a subtext then all I’m really trying to say is in all my days busking your’e the most beautiful Busker I’ve ever seen!
            ( Reflections from The Diary of a Musician )

          • And finally there was my ‘comment’ on the issue Q. Do Sales = Success? & How the ‘artistic’ truth is yes, but more than often ’empty’ success! ( that being the ‘essential’ cultural difference between Art & Pop, a heavyweight & a lightweight! )
            ( An Insight from The Diary of A Musician )

          • Back to Christopher Parkening’s important distinction between ‘Excellence’ & ‘ Success’ ( the two don’t necessarily always go together! ) as a Street Performer, a Busker ( & as I put it to Amelia, in her blog Diary of a Musician ) Q. What drives ‘you’ Excellence or Success?
            ( Meditations on the core issue with regards The Diary of a Musician )

          • * Correction

            Plymouth not ‘ Portsmouth’ ( See above! )

  • * On Fake Novelists

    ” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, 66 is under-educated, humourless & third-rate, says Novelist Martin Amis, also 66. He doe’nt even have the eager aura of the ‘autodidact’ adds Amis who according to an ‘online’ Biography ‘ read nothing but ‘comic books’ until his Stepmother Novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard introduced him to ‘Jane Austin’, whom he often names as his earliest influence’ ”
    ( Amis v Corbyn? I’m with Jeremy! by Peter Mckay, The Daily Mail )

  • * Why Do I Busk?

    A, Escape! Q. From the factory floor? A. Of a Sorts, from race, class, the ‘submerged’ individual, ‘white’ voodoo!.

    • And because of the hope & ‘encouragement’ provided by a little African ‘folk’ wisdom,

      ” When Spider webs unite they can tie up a Lion”
      ( An Ethiopian Proverb )

      • Plus to develop ‘individual’ qualties & build ‘strength’. If you can escape ‘ the sludge’, busking can be a great training ground, a ‘key’ set of steps on the journey to becoming a full & ‘proper’ Musician.

        • A ‘few’ actual ‘Public’ Musicians have ’emerged’ ( or at least ‘creative’ individuals who are clearly getting very close to that ‘valuable’ identity! ) yes, I’ve seen some. Others will no doubt follow in the near future & I very much desire to be amongst them!

  • * On Birmingham

    Jonny during your recent flying ‘visit’ you described Birmingham as ” a teeming metropolis ”, I’ve known Birmingham most of my life, truth is its ‘ a basin of junk culture, a mass ‘throwaway’ culture from the Pallasades to the BarclayCard Arena ‘ . This is a city that needs to be ‘re-transformed’!.

    • A city at ‘cultural’ loggerheads with itself, where despite the ‘postive’ cultural ‘surfaces’ ie. the ‘signs’ ( green shoots! ) of an ‘authentically’ new & fresh form of creative activity, a plethora of ‘real’ street music & entertainment that combines an almost Chinese-like post communist explosion of entrepreneural energy, we in ‘grim’ reality, end up with a kind of ‘Human Zoo’, an urban city-centre jungle ( too many mouths trying to feed from the same trough! ) where only ‘ the loud & brash ‘ survive.

      • Such is the ‘truth’ about Birmingham ( the Uk’s 2nd city ) & its ‘real’ status currently as a vast capitalist ‘economic’ ‘regional’ experiment. Yes, the 2nd city at the helm of, a vital hub for one big American style ( Philadelphia style! ) ‘neo-liberal’ commercial experiment.

        Furthermore, Its ‘national’ status ( related to its 1960s style ‘post’ colonial one ) that of being the ‘dumping’ ground for ‘all’ the country’s undesirables eg. from the recent ‘tenants’ being ‘socially’ cleansed from London ‘council’ estates ( *See ‘The Sweetwater Campaign’ ) to Romanian Gypsies ( tho of course Birmingham with its ‘good’ reputation as a ‘multi-racial’ centre may be ‘their’ natural destination of choice i.e. desirable location! )

        • * Correction

          Sweetsway Campaign ( See. Sweetsway Resists! )

          • * A Case Study of A BIrmingham Busker ( Esther Turner ).

            You know theres a lot more to Birmingham Busker ‘Esther Turner’ than there ( she! ) looks. Irononically, it was out of a characeristic impulse of ‘natural’ curiosity, rather than the ‘outdoors’ busking ‘promotions’ ( or Guerilla advertising! ) eg Facebook, Twitter emblazoned on her guitar case!, that I came to discover in a ‘true’ sense (pleasantly & surprisingly! ) that her ‘own’ songs ( i.e. ‘self’ penned stuff, not the ‘pop’ covers, ‘Saturday’ snippets etc all too regularly featured on her social media ) are pretty good.

            Songs like ‘Feeling Free’, ‘Wide Open’ & ‘Lonely Hill, demonstrate that she most certainly has a flair for ‘melodic’ shape & contour’ in her ‘songwriting, a ‘pop’ music that is postively ‘colourful’ & expressive ( ‘qualities’ that strike you immediately when you take time ‘to listen’ to these pieces, little ‘pop’ gems ). Yes, it soon becomes obvious here that she ‘does’ possess a rare ‘gift’ of taste, & very instinctive it is ( wonderfully so! ).

            As a busking case study I’ve come to the conclusion that Esther is a ‘prime’ example of how ‘busking’ can work more against the ‘budding’ independant Musician than for them ( him/her ). All the ‘pop’ favourties she ‘reguarly’ sings on New Street for me merely serve to ‘obscure’ her ‘natural’ talent rather than ‘enable’ nor promote it ( Nb. up until now I had her down as a ‘total’ airhead! ).

            Busking & its mileu ( incl. the ‘seductions’ of pop industry & mass culture ) serves to drag her down rather than as a ‘serious’ Artist ‘prop’ her up!. Well folks, thats my honest & ‘real’ social observation.

          • * Recommended Listening ( or Q.Englands Paris? )

            Calling all truly ‘cultured’ ( & cultivated ) individuals. Come ‘help’ transform Birmingham into ‘ the Paris of England ‘.

            Heres some further recommended ‘listening’ ( & viewing! ) for you ( for those requiring leadership & inspiration that is! ). Check out the ‘Catalina plays – Walter Abt’ collection of ‘videos’ on YouTube.

            Shes a phenomenon in social media at present, taking the webisphere by storm & heartwarmingly ( most endearingly! ) proving to be very, very ‘influential’. Or should I say thats how ‘I’ wished it would be, thats my my ‘idea’ ( image ) of the future!.
            ( See. ‘Catalina plays – Walter Abt’, YouTube )

          • Birmingham Art Gallery ( & Tea Rooms )

            In the meantime, Buskers take note that the Victorian Tea Rooms situated in the Birmingham Art Gallery is now a city centre ‘gig’ spot.

            Cafe consumers can now take in the high art ambiance & ‘pre-raphelite’ splendour whilst listening to ( being entertained by ) a different weekly set of delightfully ‘insipid’ top forty style pop music.

            If you know your ‘cultural’ theory of course ( see The Frankfurt School ) you won’t be surprised by such developments. As an establishment bastion of the arts institution the Gallery is merely functioning to fulfil one of its key roles i.e. that of ‘authoritative’ legitemator of ‘mass’ popular culture.

            A highly commercial ( & today! ) ‘advanced’ technological culture, that serves the needs of ‘dominant’ corporate interests, playing a major role in ‘ideological’ reproduction & in enculturing individuals into the dominant system of needs, thought & behaviour.

          • * Birmingham German ‘Frankfurt’ Xmas Market

            Q. Would I ever wish to perform at the Art Gallery, Victorian Tea Rooms ? A. No!, most definitely not an ‘environment’ suitable for me!. A few years back I played a wedding in the ‘adjacent’ Town Hall ‘ Banquet suite ‘ – it was the ‘first’ & I consequently decided for the ‘last time’ so stifling & emotionally wilting was the experience.

            I’ve ‘busked’ more than a few times on the now annual B’ham German Market tho’, attempting to musically evoke the true ‘magic’ of Christmas, with ‘taste’ ( not kitsch!) much to the chagrin & annoyance of ‘some’ market traders ( please note the Germans are a funny, uptight & often ‘miserable’ bunch ) & enjoyed that!.

            Why does an English Street Gypsy like me generally bother to perform at such public events? Well, its not for ‘maintream’ commercial reasons i.e. the American style ‘neo-liberal’ capitalist ones of Sir Albert Bore & his ‘economics’ team at Birmingham City Council. I say ( & mean! ) that despite the fact that 3 years ago, during a heavy winter snowstorm, I earned the most money busking ever in one day ( i.e. an afternoon! ), you’d be shocked at the amount eg. a weekly Buskers salary in 3 or 4 hours.

            Its not for religous reasons either, the annual ‘iconic’ display of baby Jesus, the manger & the 3 wise men somehow nauseates me, it sickens me! ( Bytheway did you know that researchers at Reading University have at last ‘scienifically’ exposed the whole Glastonbury thing, Joseph of Arimethea, Avolon, the buriel site of King Arthurs ashes etc as a cultural fraud. No evidence for any of them, seems the whole thing, sham narrative, is a myth, merely a commercial ploy by Monks! ).

            No, I do it, i.e. busk from time to time in the so called Xmas Market, for genuine English folk ‘romantic’ reasons, that is, I see it as almost my ‘duty’ to use what ‘creative’ skills I’ve got to artistically re-create the ‘Dickensian’ Christmas – Xmas as the ‘imaginary’ literary novelist, humanist & ‘warm’ victorian anthropological creation of Charles Dickens – a concept in which I truly believe & love!.

            If theres one way to do Christimas whilst avoiding being swamped & swallowed up by the cultural machinations of ‘the Culture Industry’ then its this way. Its through Dickens & his imagination that we perhaps discover the only ‘authentic’ way to lift the smog of a cold winters day!.

          • * Nb

            Ok, by a Dickensian Christmas I mean the ‘essential’ things ( values ) the day is about eg. family, mistletoe & holly, yes Church going & charity ( albeit as a perfunctorally seasonal functional activity * Today ‘few’ go to Church! ), & food i.e. Turkey, plum pudding & mince pies.

            Many of our other Christmas traditions – christmas trees, cards & crackers – do have their ‘origins’ in 19th Century industrial commercial interests i.e. ‘aspects’ of the traditional British Christmas found not in the ‘midsts’ of history but entirely as a product of industrialisation.

          • Oh and er! Stockings & ‘Carols’!

          • Of course culture is not ‘fixed’ it is an everchanging process, & its ‘true’ Xmas is still inventing ( & reinventing itself ) today!.

            In this spirit ( cultural context ) & as an up & coming Artist of the busking/street avantegarde I see it as my job ( authentic role! ) to ‘subvert’ the consumer – i.e. with Villa Lobos, Agustin Mangore!.

            Oh & byetheway I ‘ would ‘ in fact ( myself ) perform in the Victorian Tea Rooms ( Art Gallery ) but only if they got rid of ‘ the Tracy Emin crowd ‘!.

          • * Nb 2

            Please note that when I speak of ‘enjoying’ annoying some German Xmas Market Stall Holders with Xmas Tunes – The Germans are ‘ a funny, uptight, miserable bunch’ – I’m being satirically ‘ironic’ here. The ‘truth’ is most Stall Holders actually seem to like my rendition of ‘Jingle Bells ‘ etc.

            Besides one actual ‘German’ StallHolder the only ‘real’ problem I’ve had over the last ‘few’ years ( before was very different! Lots of conflict! ) was during ‘this’ year by an English guy from Manchester ( part German! ) who insisted on demonstrating to me with ( intimidating me with ) the ‘high’ watt sound system in his stall, much to the annoyance of his neighbours, who soon put a stop to that!.

            Another Irony? Well the number of ‘non-Germans actually running ( looking after! ) stalls ( or ‘connected’ with the market! ) eg. the ‘native’ Romanians working in the ‘sweet’ stalls & on/ the ‘street’ Beer Halls!. These small ‘franchises’ part of the corporate Xmas Market take over of Europe no doubt!

  • * Belief(s)

    You know ‘belief(s)’ drive people, human behaviour is ‘belief’ driven, & all beliefs carry with them consequences. Yes, beliefs ‘control’ our actions!.

    • * A Case Study in Belief

      Eg. Why would an ‘aspiring’ musician ( or someone who likes to ‘call’ themselves ‘a musician’! ), a ‘self’ defined ‘folk musician’/singer songwriter for instance, choose the ‘3 chord trick & strum’ rather than more ‘expressive’ forms of accompaniment eg Folk style Accompaniment?

      Well the ‘answers’ very simple 1. They don’t believe they ‘have to’ change ( ie. adopt that style! ), 2. They believe somebody else can do it for them 3. They don’t believe ‘they’ can do it i.e. they don’t believe in themselves!.

      • * False Sentiment

        Its true, I guarantee everything else you tend to hear on this subject these days ( as is the case with ’emotional’ issues & public life in general! ) expresses either a ‘shallow’ sentiment or ’empty’ platitudes!.

        • Nb
          Not forgetting ( from various ‘extreme’ quarters! ) some deeply intellectual ‘gobbledygook’!.

          • Or in many instances what can only be called street corner ‘dogma’!

          • Not to mention all the ‘poetic’ doggerel!.

          • In many instances ‘ balladised ‘ & sung i.e. misguidedly intended for ‘serious’ effect!.

          • [ Nb. Now I’m no ‘Highwayman’, as a Busker theres a ‘rational’ reason why. But I know that if I ever did fall into ‘serious’ Sin ( in the ‘human’ sense not ‘puritanical’ ! ) & ended up ‘today’ in a jail on a ‘life’ sentence ( i.e. not hung ! ) say thru ‘hubris’ or other such ‘fault’, then I may indeed in this one & only circumstance ‘string’ myself up. It wd for me perhaps be the only ‘true’ ‘noble’ way out unless I cd find perhaps a more ‘heroic’ way to ‘redeem’ myself. See. Logans Heroes The Sunday Afternoon Film. ( * Plus See. Below for further ‘comment’ on this issue ! ) ]

  • * On Street Music

    ” All sweet & meringue, no meat & potatoes ”
    ( Inspirational Words by Julian Bream )

    This was Julian Bream’s ( the 20th Century classical guitar Master of the musical phrase! ) ever so slight ‘criticism’ of guitar legend Segovia’s habit of embuing his ‘concert’ programme(s) with favourites & ‘requests’.

    The same accusation could be ‘fairly’ levelled at much ‘street music’, I for one argue this has got to change, for a key role of the ‘seriously’ aspiring Artist has got to be to ‘take risks’ in both ‘repertoire’ & life!.

    • Music is the goal! ( in all its ‘variety’ & colour ). Always think, ” music is a beautiful thing to reach an audience ”.

      • Never thought that I would find myself ‘stating’ the obvious, on the ‘comments’ page, of some ‘obscure’ Busking Website when I began my street-performing a few years back. But then we ‘are’ talking here about ‘life on the streets’, where often ‘bullying’ is the art, & abuse a form of craftsmanship.

        And where in publicly ‘free’ city-centres like Birmingham an ‘older’ male Busker will think nothing of threatening to ‘ cut off the fingers ‘ of a teenage girl, ‘ rape the mother ‘ of an 18 year old ‘music’ student, so as to drive her off, malicously ‘scare’ her from ‘his’ (self- proclaimed ) pitch.

        A ‘key’ member of Streetslive too, incredible ( tho’ not unbelievable! ), I await in ‘aghast’ eagerness for the ensuing ‘campaign’ to sweep this kind of brute off ‘our’ streets!. Come on Jonny, I’m waiting, when beginneth the ‘moral’ crusade?.

        • Nb
          Plus the ‘moral education’ ( incl. arithmetic ie. basic maths & trigonometry eg. noting the ‘key’ differences between an ‘equilateral’ & ‘isosceles’ triangle! )

          • Nb 2

            You know what the ‘current’ truth is ( as is the ‘reality’ in many contemporary UK cities ) places like Birmingham are rapidly becoming transformed into a ‘cultural’ ( or should I say ’emotional’? ) desert by our ‘modern’ day Planners ( Scammers! ), Cassandras & Moses!.

            Its ‘official’, how do I know? Well I’ve taken a peek through the Keough, had a sneek preview, & heres the latest tourist & marketing figures to back that statement up. And would you believe it, the ‘new’ Birmingham city centre Library is the most visited attraction with 2.2 million visitors last year.

            Imagine it, ” heh kids were off out on a day-trip to Birmingham tomorrow, first its Mcdonalds & then ( wait for it kids! ) me & yer Mom are taking to the ‘central’ library. ( Kids ” yippeee! )

            Ok yes an amazing response given the state of ‘illiteracy’ in todays society, but also, in perhaps a more leisurely sense, how sad!.

          • *Nb 3

            Of course as always theres another perspective ( perhaps a little more ‘positive’! ) the viewpoint that Birmingham is in fact setting cultural trends ( its not merely a ‘mirror’ sister USA city, some would say ‘zombie’, state, a Cadbury Philadelphia ) but a European style ‘2nd’ city & regional economic powerhouse very much at the forefront of, dare I say it, leading ‘taste’ & fashion!

            Eg. First Macdonalds, then the Library, & then the Tearooms/Coffee House/ or ‘avante-garde’ Cafe & read a book whilst listening to Lana Del Ray ( with of course a little help from her friends!).

            Its a key-note in history, Birmingham the site of, the preclusion to, the ‘inevitable’, emergent popular ‘cultural’ explosion!. Yes paving the way ( laying grass roots & foundation stone! ) to the boom year(s) just ahead!.

          • BOOM!

          • * Nb 4

            ” Every act of rebellion expresses
            a nostalgia for innocence, and
            an appeal to the essence of being ”
            ( The Rebel – Albert Camus )

  • Yeah if not romance, more of the actual ( softer side of! ) blues!

    • Nb 5 * L’homme Revolte,1951 – Albert Camus ( a literary lesson! )

      ” The only thing that stops the revolution is ‘ football’ & ‘ the national lottery ‘ ”.
      ( An old & once good friend of mine )

      You know what I think theres a ‘classic’ history lesson in this statement too, in addition to the pretty acute interpretative ‘insight’ on what is for many of even today’s ‘Culturatti’ a ‘modern’ classic!.

      • *See also ‘ Noam Chomsky on French Intellectual Culture & Post Modernism ( 3 of 8 ) ‘ YouTube Video.

        • For further enlightenment ( & for ‘some’ entertainment! ) i.e. nevermind ‘street music’, this short ‘interview’ extract, critiquing the not too distant past French Intellectual Establishment, sheds some actual ‘insight’ onto the reality of ‘politics’ on our streets today!.

          • When I say I’d like Birmingham to be Englands Paris, its not this kind of Paris that I’m thinking of i.e of the fashion aesthete & intellectual snob! ( i.e. culture as the ‘new’ religion complete with its own brand of clerisy & ‘hierarchical’ priesthood! )

          • No, I’d like to see a few examples of true ‘greatness’ on our streets ( in both the music & the politics! )

          • I’ve spotted one eg Linda Simpson. See ‘ A Life In Music ‘ Street I Am Blog.

          • An Interesting ‘moral tale’ here too by ‘the writer’. Featuring a ‘sister’ blog about how busking & the streets saved ‘him’ from ‘degeneration’!.

          • Honestly & drawing from ‘personal’ experience tho’, theres some truth ( albeit somewhat ‘in-direct ) in that statement. For some ‘creative’ individuals, some genuinely ‘joyful’ recipients, its ‘true’ busking ( street music! ) can save you!.

          • Yeah, bringing with it, sweetness & light!.

          • In a touching & rather endearing way, sweetness & light!.

          • That once ‘impossible’ dream – The Pentangle not the cross!.

  • Chesters Busking Lady ( aka The Lady With the Green Hat, Modern Millie, & now ‘Silly’ Spoilsport ! )

    Introducing Clare Wall or Chesters Busking Lady aka The Lady With The Green Hat, Modern Millie & now ‘Silly’ Spoilsport ( no not Sally as in Aunt Sally, or any such like name or thing, I repeat ‘Silly’ , yes ‘Silly’ Spoilsport ! ).

    As a ‘distant’ observer eg. via Twitter, YouTube, & her ‘Serendipity’ Website etc ( now ‘vanished’, kaput ! – temporary or not I don’t know, is she now ‘dating’ a ‘street’ Magician, a Shabolah, I can only hasten to guess ? ) I once ‘commented’ on one of her ‘dance’ display’s, to camera ( of course where else ? ) on the ‘streets’ of Chester one seeming Summers day afternoon ( or was it ‘lunchtime’ ? ) in the town centre.

    Since then, ‘That Bi-Parisan Joan of Arc’ I have called her, not only because of her ‘Ghandiesque’ philanthropic activity eg. charity raising, ‘consciousness’ raising etc also on the streets for the ‘poor’, the homeless of Chester. But because of her ‘videoed’ dance eg. 1920#s full on cha cha routine ( or was it the Charleston ? ) captured pretty well on her website. Anyway what ‘characterised’ the piece ( i.e. lending itself to my ‘renaming’ of her, & her ‘bi-partisanship ) was not simply the ‘musical’ rhythm ( all quiet ‘catchy’ & strident as it is ) but the actual ‘tempo’ marked wobbling of her ‘boobs’ full on in the eye of the camera ( held by 2 ‘enthusiastic’ amateur male film makers to boot ! ).

    I’ve recently tried to catch a glimpse of the video ( this scene ) again on her ‘website’, only to notice ( before the actual ‘site’ disappearing ! ) that the film had been, & I’d say in bad spirits, taken down, hence my now ‘renaming’ her ‘Silly’ Spoilsport ( as opposed to her ‘show’ title Modern Millie * Bytheway the ‘classic’ playhouse ‘show’ is highly recommended too ! ).

    Oh you killjoy, you Puritan Mistress, you ‘Silly’ Spoilsport, please, please, please upload your ‘video’ dance again, cos’ it is in actual fact very funny ( & expresses very well your natural ‘showtime’ character ! ). Miss Wall please upload it again, & consider if you need to take anything off, please not the film video, take off your ‘dress’. Yes please do !.

    • Note

      Oh & if you have the inclination Clare, feeling one day in particularly ‘good’ cheer, will you take of your bra & panties as well !. You know for all those ‘budding’ celebrities out there, giving a ‘new’ twist on the contemporary ‘ social’ media showbiz wisdom Q. Are you ‘camera’ ready ?.

      • Ok if you’re not comfortable with that then spare us the ‘Full Monty’ & do a quick Page 3 eg. leave your ‘panties’ on & just take off your bra, & then give us a quick ‘flash’ to the camera ?

  • The Chester Busking Associations ‘Serenity Prayer’ ( As Recited By Ann Marie Wall ! )

    ” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
    Courage to change the things I can
    And wisdom to know the difference ”

    ( Words recited by Ann Marie Wall on buying a ‘paintbrush’ from her local B&Q to not merely give her new High St ‘flat’ a ‘quick’ Spring clean but a brand spanking new ‘lick’ of paint. All it needs now is a vase of fresh ‘flowers’ eg. daffodils & a douse of living room ‘perfume’ preferably cherry blosom, purple lavender, or lilac ‘delight’ ! )

    • * Notes

      All thats need now is for that £5,000 ‘grant’ maintenance cheque to arrive in the First Class post not to fix the toilet cystern *& ‘leaky’ bathroom pipe, nor to replace a ‘few’ broken bathroom floor tiles ( all on ‘sale’ & easily purchased via the store on the High St ). But to replace the ‘whole’ boiler system thats been playing up ( ie. making off & on ‘irritatingly’ odd whirring noises & contstantly ‘breaking’ down this last ‘cold’ Winter ! ) plus the ‘whole’ wooden floorboard structure of the flat itself eg. recurringly ‘creaking’ under foot, of the ‘itchy’ ( allergically so ! ) 1970s ‘olive’ green nylon carpet, ever so loosely ( bodge up jobbed ! ) cut around the ( Eczema Skin causing ) cheap ‘wooden’ fireplace mantle & ‘loose’ boarded dusty, dirty ‘open’ chimney flue. Oh & then theres the ‘replastering’ job to be urgently done in the ‘rain’ soaked leaking kitchen & ‘brown’ stained bedroom corner, in fact all the walls cd be wood chip wallpaper ‘stripped’ & the whole ‘interior’ professionally skimmed over. Boy will I be ‘grateful’ for the ‘grant’ money when it ‘arrives’, but going over all this poor state of repair & the visible ‘stuctural’ damage to my ‘modern’ apartment, you know I don’t know if £5,000 will be enough.

      • ( See. Please now check out the ‘final’ comment under the Chester Blog ‘ Man on A Bench ‘ & York Blog ‘ York Minster Cathedral ‘ )

        • ( Nb. Whilst noting that this ‘comment’ was written in reponse to a 22/22/2017 ‘pic’ on Chesters Busking Lady’s Twitter site eg. of her sitting on an ‘toilet’ seat on ‘display’ & for sale, in her local B&Q DIY store. I’m currently living in Bham having lived for 5 years in a High St Flat in substandard accommodation ).

          • ( The ‘comment’ above this one was written in response to a ‘pic’ on her Twitter site featuring the vintage Black Hollywood Actor ‘ Harry Belafonte ‘ going thru’ the ‘aging’ process i.e. a ‘handsome’ Chap now in his 80’s. I as a Bham ‘Street’ Performer was recently ‘harrased’ on New St eg. ‘Valentines’ Day 14/2/2017 by the ‘newly’ appointed City -Centre Conroller on the basis of a ‘first’-time insubstatiated i.e. erroneous & ‘bias’ complaint. Post the ‘intro’ of a ‘new’ busking code created in collaboration with Bham City Council, MU, ‘Activist’ Gp’s’ & their ‘tribal’ support, without consultation nor ‘recognition’ of, the likes of I & ‘other’ actual ‘regular’ Buskers in the city i.e. those who are ‘not’ members of these in many ways irrelevant & ‘dubious’ organisations !. )

          • ( The ‘comment’ come & join me for a ‘coffee’ on day after ‘street’ performing in Bham, then back to my ‘flat’ & get your ‘nips’ nipped by a ‘Tick’ is in response to the Busking Lady’s most recent Twitter post ” Tick Warning ! ” )

          • Bytheway I ‘don’t mean to be ‘sexist’ I’ve got a ‘few’ of these gruesome little ‘creatures’, at least 3 or 4 of them currently ‘nipping’ at my nuts ! ) .

          • Ahhgh look heres one now, crawling up the side of my ‘leg’, in full pincer movement, here you go ‘little’ fella, breakfast, yeah ‘feeding’ time ! ).

          • In fact this ones a ‘female’, think i’ll give ‘it’ a bit more, no doubt got babies to feed ! ).

          • * Lesson – first ‘rule’ of literature ‘ show don’t tell ! ) .

          • Q. What makes the Busking Lady tick ? A. Woman thine is a ‘mystery’ to me !.

          • Q. What makes the Busking Lady tock ?
            A. Well that’ll be tellin’ !

          • ( See. My latest ‘article’ On 21st century Feminism in The Age Of Trump eg. ” Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner @@ ? ” 3/8/2017)

  • Chesters Busking Lady On International Womens Day ( or ‘ Guys’ need to talk too ! )

    International Womens Day is now over along with the usual boring pedestrian feminist ‘homilies’ ( most of which as a kind of ‘feminist’ myself eg. Radical Feminist believing in Test Tube Babies etc ) I agree with ! .

    ‘ Women are strong ! ‘, ‘Women stand up for yourselves !’ ‘ Women of the world unite !, ‘ Women burn your brassieres ! ‘ I support it all, both openly & curtly.

    Not sure about Chesters Busking Ladies contribution to the big conversation tho’ eg. her support ( indeed tweet ‘promotion’ ) of ‘Womankind Magazine’ well not wholly anyway & I quote this weeks ‘editorial’ agenda ( journalistic mission ! )

    ” In each edition we feature strong women who stand up and fight for want , what they believe in. Role models not models ”

    I agree with everything stated ( or should i say contained ) in this contemporary feminist maxim, save for the latter statement ” Role model not models ”. Q. Why ? A. Well because some ‘models’ ( eg. fashion, magazine, sports ) are ‘excellent’ models in both senses of the word !.

    Take London Girl up & coming musician, come stylist/ catwalk model ‘The Ivy Mae’ for instance. Shes one of the best examples I’ve seen recently of not only ‘external’ outward beauty, confidence & ‘charm’ but also bodily expressiveness eg. her smile, her posture, her ‘poses’ ie. all the things I lack – ha! ha! ha! ( not sure about the ‘voice’ tho, if that is her, featured in a recent London Fashion Week post ‘Interview’ video I saw of her, or someone claiming to be her, & uploaded on her Twitter site & YouTube the other week ).

    Ok all well & good on this point & International Womens Day, but what I really take affront to ( ok not affront but wd like to challenge notionally! ) is a recent or should I say ‘today’ ( i.e. March 8 ) Youtube video On Busking Lady’s twitter site to do with the issue of ‘male’ suicide eg ” Guys need to talk too ”.

    Now no denying, it is true the male suicide rate ( relatively high at present ! ) is a social issue of valid current concern. Not sure if the ‘talking’ cure ( i.e. councelling therapy ) wd work in every case tho’. But then thats if what we mean by ‘suicide’ is actually suicide in every ‘case’ eg as in the case of ‘suicide’ bombing or ‘The Suicide Bomber’.

    15 or so years ago I was in remand in Steelhouse Lane Police station in Bham on the charges of ‘assault’ ( a minor assault ! ) i.e. don’t be surprised ‘many’ men have been in the dock for assault at some time in their life. I was locked up all ‘weekend’ & appeared in court on the Monday. I ‘adapted’ fairly quickly to my 2 day captivity despite my ‘Sat’ night plans & simply slept thru most of the weekend. Yes in a ‘dark’ underground victorian cell & listening to the cries, bar banging, & shouting of other ‘remand’ prisioners across the jailhouse floor from cell to cell 12 to 16 hrs a day.

    On the monday morning before entre to the actual ‘courthouse’ actually situated ‘above’ the ‘remand’ prison complex, I was taken into a ‘guard’ cell under suspicion that I had tried to commit suicide i.e. according to them by ‘hanging’ myself in the cell. It was complete nonsense of course, unnerving to be accused of ( even suspected of ) such a thing, but from what I cd make out the wrong conclusions were being drawn from the fact that a stinking ‘woollen’ blanket that had been left on the shelf of the cell ( one there before I’d entered it ! ), a suspicious ‘item’ that had obviously finally been ‘detected’ by guards on my leaving it.

    Since then, not one for ‘suicide’, not by disposition a ‘depressive’ type even ( poetic by sentiment but not ‘depressive’ ) I’ve reflected fairly deeply on the subject of ‘folk’ taking their own life eg its nature, causes, effects etc. Drawing yes the still quite ‘violent’ conclusion that I for one wd never simply ‘commit’ suicide in any circumstance, I wd always if ‘cornered’ or that desparate be looking to take out, if its a person, a ‘dark’ other ( or dark ‘others’ ) the ‘negative’ force or cause with me.

    ( Nb. No, I would’nt just passively curl up & be ‘driven’ to kill myself by anyone, in fact theres only one very ‘unlikely’ ( tho ‘classic’ historical ) scenario in which I cd see myself going thru with it i.e do myself in !. No. I wd always be looking if pushed to take ‘people’ with me !).

    Its a bit like the ‘Suicide Bomber’, these often ‘religious’ perpertrators to my mind not committing actual ‘suicide’ at all, no the ‘terms’ is just an overused ‘media’ catch it all phrase. No they act out ‘of belief ( not the kind of ‘belief’ I wd ever have, I’m a non-theist ! ), in their minds the yes ‘destructive’ act a ‘heroic’ one, which brings with it divine rewards. To them its not ‘passive’ self obliteration, but a form of ‘attack’, the ultimate violence against a ‘hated’ enemy. A ‘self’ sacrifice yes in the limited ‘earthly’ scheme of things, but according to their ‘belief’ system ( or ‘world’ view ) in the lg term ( or ‘soul’ eternity ! ) a ‘just’ road to Heaven.

    Now while I have no intentions of ‘performing’ such an attack on percieved ‘rivals’, enemies or anyone or anything, if cornered, if now way out, if I knew my ‘life’ was over, the only kind of ‘suicide’ if you will, that I’d ever consider ( actually be ‘morally’ able to accept myself ) wd be this sort.

    In fact in this state & I cd only really ‘imagine’ it, contend it ( in the ‘moral’ ‘human’ sense ) on the battlefield, at a time of war, what I’d be looking for is not ‘therapy’ ( i.e. a ‘talking’ cure ) as such, but ‘courage’ i.e. the ability, the ’emotional’ strength & will to carry out such an ‘act’, knowing full well that it wd be my end & as a ‘non’ religious person ‘possible’ universal finale !.

    • * Note

      Bytheway I hope everything I’ve said here ( see. above ) can be taken in ‘good’ faith. And if it is’nt who cares, you know I’ve just taken a peak at a ‘newspaper’ article carrying ‘news’ about Jack Monroes ‘libel’ defeat of ‘Daily’ Mail Columnist Katie Hopkins in the High Court shes just been awarded £100,000.

      You know its a ‘rich’ mans game this, the ole’ Libel suite & as far as I’m concerned they’re both ‘fakes’ ( Nb. I remember a Guardian Article featuring Jack Monroe & Billy Bragg out busking in Camden a ‘few’ years back, my ‘honest’ first thought & ‘reaction’ being ‘ you know what this is not ‘real’ at all, this is just ‘not’ convincing’. My ‘opinion’ still stands ! )

      • * Further Notes

        ” Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties ”
        ( Dale Spender quoted fr’ Busking Lady Twitter )

        ” Be true to who you are – express your wild side, share your creativity, and remember its always ok to stand out ” ( The Ivy Mae Artist, ‘Model’, & Musician )

        • ( See. ‘Newcastle Blogs ‘, London ‘Liberty’ Blog ‘comments’ on the subject of ‘humility’ & accepting ‘guilt’ when its due & rejecting unfair ‘blame’ & scapegoating when its not !. )

          • ( See. Gravesham Blog too, depending on your ‘perspective’ a case of ‘Oh when Icarus soars ! ‘ & other life absurdities, or for others the royal road to freedom ! )

          • Thanks again to the Busking Lady for alluding to on her Twitter site the one classic ‘myth’ I wd argue is ‘timeless’ & relevant these days. Let me cast some ‘poetic’ if not romantic ‘light’ on the other !).

          • ( See. Roxy Jolene @ twitter – on a parting note check out TheIvyMae’s London ‘work’ colleague Roxy Jolene on her twitterfeed or see. Instagram. She’s one of the ‘few’ stylists I know who looks ‘hot’ in a pair of jeans n’ t-shirt ! ).

          • Switch your ‘eyes’ to the ‘left’ & spot on Ivy Maes arm what turns out to be Roxy’s fashion conscious hubby Richard Hadderz, yes I know what a ‘kinky’ couple they make !.

            This ‘handsome’ p/t rugby player who cd be mistaken for being an ex officer in the Coldstream Guards, is one of the capitals ‘best’ male voices, the Southbanks answer to Shakepearelands ‘operatic’ singer Karl Loxley ( who I know well !. ).

          • Soundtrack ” Little Dragon – Feather ( Live ) ” @ YouTube. ).

  • Buskings Wicked Stepsisters, Ugly Sisters & Other Dark ‘Female’ Pantomime Villains.

    You know the old adage ‘ flattery gets you everywhere ‘ well not necessarily, such is life ( &/or empirical ‘reality’ ) & I’m referring here to a ‘comment’ I made back in the first Romford Blog ( See. Romford Blog ) about ‘female’ Busker Esther Turner.

    Now before you PC crowd ( readership ) cry out ‘ sexist’ !, ‘male chauvinist pig’ ! etc, I know I refer to her as a Black Country Wench in a ‘blog’ comment but what you’ve got to remember ( realise ! ) is the common ‘slang’ term ‘Wench’ is used as a term of ‘endearment’ in that part of the world eg. Halesowen, Cradely Heath, Dudley etc.

    So please make note of the ‘context’ & its more ‘ironic’ linguistic inflective use here, as perhaps you may give me at least a ‘little’ regard ( & intelligent ‘understanding’ ! ) with my even more ‘subtle’ irony ( & yes ‘satiric’ use ) of the term here’. To tell you the truth if you really want to ‘insul’t a woman from say Dudley you wd’nt publicly want to call her a Wench’ anyways ( that may be interpreted as a male ‘come-on’ signal ! ) in ‘fact’ you’d best shout out, pointing in her direction on the street, ” Trollop !”.

    One thing I have noticed with regards Turner recently ( she also busks in London, tho’ recently did a ‘partnered’ busk – of the ‘fair weather’ sort or should I more accurately say ‘fly by night’ kind – in Stratford upon Avon ) is she’s in addition to her regular ‘ Sat ‘ snippets eg. Facebook/YouTube ‘Pop’ Song Videos etc started promoting ‘herself’ ( & her ‘act’ ! ) via ‘vlogging’.

    Funny I like her ‘vlogs’ ( generally ! ) i.e their photographic ‘colour’ quality, succinct story frame etc but when it comes to ‘detail’ I must admit I do find her ‘shots’ perhaps a little too simplistic. Yes she manages to capture herself pretty well ( at least ‘image’ wise ) along with her friends or co-actors ( or ‘co-conspiritors’ ). She is successful in showing them & herself in a ‘good’ light but when it comes to the ‘apparant’ spontaneous ‘walk-on’ parts of others ( them ‘totally’ unawares ! ) eg. ‘other’ bit-part players etc, featured in the video, well they don’t appear to come out quite so well, they certainly ‘do’ not shine ( not made too anyway ! ).

    In the case of the Birmingham Blog I have to say what a ‘gross’ misrepresentation of’ ‘one’ or if not ‘both’ of the other the ‘other’ busking performers in her video & I’m thinking ‘stylistically’ here not merely in terms of content. Her narrative i.e. leaving home, en route busking, arrival in city centre, meet up with ‘friend’ on busking spot, brief performance, return home ( ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ persona ), back to Moms, greeted by the family cat etc is captured & ‘framed’ well.

    However her ‘filming of the one Busker eg. ‘guitarist’ in Bham city centre ‘New’ St ( & I know ) on her ‘return’ journey out of the city, ‘shopping’ incl, really amounts to a smart phone video ‘distortion’ of reality. Again I’m thinking here of not ‘merely’ content but in terms of the ‘sound’ alone i.e. how that is truly ‘misrepresented’.

    Really objectively ‘otherwise’ quite ‘beautiful’ romantic classical guitar ‘tones’ are presented here as an relatively awful muted ‘chorus’ sound ( Nb. there is no ‘chorus’ effect on that amp ! ). The ‘music’ melody, ‘tune’ is rendered indistinct, no attempt is made to capture any ‘street’ melody performance here, just merely a ‘casual’ side music shot is given.

    The practical ( technological ) ‘solution’ of course is – ‘if’ you ‘honestly’ want to capture eg. ‘romantic’ guitar sounds right – to use a ‘smart’-phone with decent ‘mic’ ( eg. video ‘Rhodes’ ) attached. Its also useful ( if you’re ‘really’ interested in the ‘music’, or others street ‘music’ at all ! ) to film ‘solo’ guitar performance camera ‘angle’ soundboard on i.e. the point from which ‘strings’ sounds are naturally amplified & ‘projected’. So correct ‘editing’ is important here so as to do justice when videoing eg. ‘classical’ or art music guitar’ at all.

    On ‘reflection’ folk often talk about ‘street’ people being the real bane on the streets, the key ‘problem’ in our public spaces. I retort while thats partly true

    ( Eg. its the ‘petty’ criminals, drunks, & druggies that do tend to ‘dominate’ city centres with their antics, the other story ( ‘suppressed’ reality ) being that many ‘real’ rational, ‘good’ people are ‘unfairly’ made homeless yet remain hidden & are just that i.e. they make up what is increasingly being known as ‘ the ‘hidden’ homeless )

    there is in fact an even more ‘ruthless’ sort pervading our ‘public’ space, that today may more & more crop up on the streets & yes these are very much not ‘homeless’ but can sadly be ‘Buskers’, Public Performers etc, bringing along with them there own brand of ills, hangups etc !.

    One of the worst kinds of this case I’ve known was when I was set upon by the ‘Mothers’ of a boy ‘pop’ band who used to ‘busk’ from time to time in Stratford upon Avon. A bit like the ‘pushy’ parents of kids been ‘driven’ into Grammar Schools I remember the incredibly aggressive pressure of being ‘forced’ almost off ‘spots’ so as let their ‘sons’ in & do their thing. Even turning up with ‘Town Hosts’ ( quite unnecessarily ! ) once so as to ensure they got the spot !.

    Back to ‘Turner’ & her vlogs I can’t help but see a little bit of these Mothers, these ‘sons’ in her video ‘vlog’ antics & her perhaps using ( subtley ‘mis-using’ video ) so as to ‘promote’ herself while nakedly dissing others & by that once more I mean ( I stress ! ) their ‘sound’ not necessarily ‘visual’ image. I know for instance that ‘she’ was once ( self – described in her’social’ media ) an ‘ambitious’ Theatre Kid herself. Yes a paid up member of the ‘fame’ academy. Is a little bit of this ‘ambition’ ( perhaps today a little ‘dark’, turned a bit sour ? ) being ‘filtered’ here however surrepticiously thru’ her Vlogs ?.

    My ‘take’ on all this is that Turner in her ‘naievity’ ( own ‘incompetence’ ) may be just that i.e. a fledgling ‘videographer’ & perhaps a little ‘crap’ ( with ‘room for improvement’ ) with regards not ‘image’ ( esp, her own ), she does well here, but recording others ‘sound’ ( Nb. ironic as this might be, given that she likes to ‘present’ herself as not just a ‘performer’ but ‘songwriting’ musician begging the question Q. Is not ‘sound’, tone ‘reproduction’ important to her generally, as a ‘principled’ art aesthetic? ).

    However, if this kind of ‘film’ shennanigan is just that ‘mal’ photography & she’s delibertatey going out of her way to ‘diss’ other Buskers, musicians etc albeit their ‘sound’, then I’d be ‘pushed’ to describe her not as some kind of ‘developing’ Artist, Filmmaker or Musician but as one of Buskings Wicked StepMothers, or indeed Ugly Sisters.

    So yeah Esther Turner I can see it now, ‘future’ imaginings, the ‘name’ rings out, curtain opens, to rapturous applause, at next years Xmas Panto’ at the Bham Hippodrome. One time teenage ‘promise’, nr pop sensation, is todays ( New Year 2018 ) most successful Pantomime ‘Female’ Villain, well almost !.

    • * Note

      A comment written in tribute to the Acting Association ‘Equity’ for their contribution in ‘protecting’ Busking & the Public Space & their support for ‘historical’ town Chesters Busking Code ( or should I say street performing ‘policy’ ! )

      • * Further Notes

        Recommended viewing BBC 1980 Shakespeare Collection Version of ‘Hamlet’ starring Derek Jacoby.

        • * Even More Notes

          [ Oh thats ‘timely’ if not a little ‘interesting’ somebody’s just sent me a ‘pic’ busking on Bham New St last Sunday. Yes, now thats more like it, well not quite but almost. Some ‘camera’ truth to think about but yes a bit more street ‘cinematic’, n’ black & whte & importantly if not in content, stylistically ‘honest’.Plus unlike some ‘street’ performers I know eg. Stratford upon Avon I’ve not had to resort to ‘hair’ extensions, not yet anyhows !. ]

          • * And More And More Notes

            Finally I’ve been hearing recently a lot of ‘platitudes’ about how ‘ love will conquer all ‘. Yeah methinks, love of justice, love of wisdom, & then theres just downright ‘fair-play’ .

          • Oh & just a ‘conditional’ thought on the concept of ‘natural’ justice. To those more ‘sentimental’ humanists amongst us who think they ( ‘we’ ) can simply ‘love’ bomb the world into peace then think again ( Nb. of course those ‘few’ celebrities, pop ‘stars’ & politicians out to ‘exploit’, indeed capitalise on current public outcry & ‘collective’ emotion are already ‘clued’ up on this ! ).

            What the world needs right now is healthy ‘balance’ ( plus ‘catharsis’ ) i.e. love/ hate Q. whats the difference ?.

            I’m also reminded of Philosopher Mary Warnocks now ‘classicl’ retort to Jean Paul Sartre on his notion of ‘absolute’ freedom.

            Eg. ” If you were offered either scrambled eggs or a lump of coal for breakfast Q. Which wd you choose ?

            Yes I know ‘pure’ Liberal genius & one up for the wonder of ‘Nature’ ( yes we should ‘revere’ it ! ). Billions of years it takes for the ‘human’ body, brain & ‘intelligence’ to evolve, & in one spontaneous neigh ‘planned’ ( albeit ‘shallow’ in essence ) callous act, all that biological ‘magic’ & spirit substance wiped out in an instant. Truly terrible, & yes ‘tragic’ indeed.

          • As for ‘fixing’ all the ‘irrational’ hate i.e. ‘evil’ in the world . Remember some ‘people’ don’t want to be fixed !.

          • Any ‘good’, experienced, ‘practicing’, psycho-therapeutic Counsellor will tell you that !.

          • ( * Ref. Chester Busking Lady’s Twitter site ‘Anonymous’ Quote eg. ” Love Conquers All ! ”. Followed a few days later by a ‘consequent’ Quote by Eric Fromm eg. ” Love is the only sane & satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence ” )

          • ( * Ref 2. ‘Vintage’ TV programme Quote eg. ” Congratulations Anne Marie Claire welcome to Candid Camera ! ” )

          • ( * Ref B&Q DIY Store Shop Manager Quote eg. ” Yeah, this time caught with here knickers down ! ha! ha! ha! ” )

          • ( Ref 3. Guaranteed to cause a spasm or two in the ‘pelvic’ lattima region, yes unpleasant for her, but for me or should I say her boyfriend ” Mmmm Niiiiice ! ”. See. her latest Blog eg. ” Vaginismus Monologues ” – a pastiche or is it a ‘title’ steal ? of the contemporary classic play Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensla )

          • ( * Ref 4. See. [ below ] My ‘counter’ Literal Analysis, me pulling the ‘drawstrings’ well past the Lady’s ankles, & shedding further ‘light’ on her ‘subject’. eg. ” Mystery, tabboo ? ( The ‘female’ vagina ) You must be joking ! ” I retort. Delving deeper into the ‘storehouse’ ( more sordid ! ) of her mind, in therapeutic terms I ‘strongly’ shake her & shout ” Wake up, indeed ‘loosen’ up, from your ‘psychic’ slumber, cos this is the 21st century, no ‘secrets’ here & most importantly we now have the remedy ! ”. Then like any wise ‘professional’ ( ‘mind’ ) I take a ‘rapid’ step back, hurry out the way, since ‘we’ all know that the ‘patient’ post ‘therapy’ hates the source of his or ‘her’ cure & all their ‘repressed’ ‘bile’ & toxin can be venomously ‘projected’ their way. Theres a ‘technical’ ( medical ) term for this, oh yeah thats it, ‘ Transference ‘ .

          • In the ‘process’ ( ‘healing’ ) possibly foregoing my own ‘unconscious’ ( or perhaps not so buried ) dreams, ‘wishes’ & ‘desires’. Now thats ‘love’ for you, my Lady, or at least an ‘aspect’ of it, I say !.

          • Nb. Professional ‘issues’ i.e. degrees of ‘competence’ ? Well, many ‘pscho-analysts’ ( therapists ) really know what they’re talking about being fully experienced ‘parents’ too. ).

          • Of course as with ‘life’ n’ everything there are always ‘exceptions’ to the rule. If only you wd i.d. & ‘consult’ them, you never know, ‘stuff’ might just turn out ok !. )

          • To ‘conclude’ ( ok I have’nt made my full & ‘proper’ argument yet, just touched on some ‘brief’ personal testimony ) anyway here’s an interesting ‘proposition’ for you. Eg. Sometimes its ‘way’ better to be a ‘therapist’ than a lover, Q. Why ? A. Well that ‘awful’ dilemna, many a well meaning, ‘nice’ guy ( nevermind ‘B.s..rd’ ) can be left faced with by an ‘itinerant’ female eg. ” prove that you love me, by putting up with all my ‘madness’, crazy behaviour ‘n all. The poor guy desparately & in his own way ‘lovingly’ trying to do so but in this ‘process’ winding up ‘harpooned’, degraded & humilated.See. F.Scott Fitzgeralds Modern Classic ” Tender Is The Night ” for an ‘archetypal’ ‘novel story narrative on this theme. The lesson or ‘wisdom’ here ( & ‘contrary’ to the core contention of say dramatic ‘Tragedy’ ) forget ‘love’, belonging, togetherness sometimes in ‘fact’, separation, fragmentation & ‘division’ can be a good thing ( the very best thing in the ‘context’ ! ) for both society & the ‘indivdual’.

          • Pertinent to both ‘culture’ & politcs today & alluded to in a recent story ( front page ‘headline’ ) by The Daily Mirror with regards the latest UK 2017 ‘election’ results eg. ” A Coalition Of Crackpots ! ”.

          • A ‘valid’ & reliable ‘header’ & ‘strapline’ too, I’d say. Despite inherant & obious ‘political’ bias. )

        • Agghh #Sister Of Mercy be !. ))

          • [ See. Christopher Hitchens YouTube ‘documentary’ on Mother Theresa ” Hells Angel ”. He investigates whether she indeed deserves her ‘saintly’ image. ]

          • As for ‘me’ I’m going busking in Chester for the first time in a long time later this month, tho’ possibly July !.]

          • [ Yes i might be bringing somebody with me ! ]

          • [ In the meantime you ‘all’ its Monday – yer day-off – & you must be knackered. So go & get yourselves a ‘cup’ of tea, stretch your legs a little, put your feet up, yes you deserve it. Oh & Byeeeee for now! ]

          • [ * Monday ‘Refections’

            A Lady ? Chaste ? Humble?, Saintly in Deed ?, ‘true’ in Compassion, A woman of virtue who honestly lives up to her reputation ? I certainly hope so !. ]

          • [ Many Regards, OS ‘Snow’ Leopard 10.6.8 ‘Update’ ]

          • [ PS. & no hard feelings, whatever ‘path’ you take ‘real’ or imaginary, good luck to you ! ]

          • Whilst taking care to be beware of shallow ‘conservative’ reactionary’s ( i.e. ‘todays’ Goats – both male & ‘female’ ! ) dressed up as ‘cultural’ revolutionary’s. Yes another pervasively ‘wierd’ reverse phenomenon in today’s ‘neo-liberal’ ( i.e. in essence contemporary ‘fascist’ ) consumer society. ]

          • Yes, drink from the cup of love, go swim like ‘jellied’ eels in your sea of ‘mutual’ self loathing. ( * you know Wilhelm Reich was right See. his ‘theory’ of ‘body armour’. Nazism is ‘reductionism’ when you’ think about it, merely a ‘deceitful’ form of ‘psychic’ projection.

            [ Ref.. This is an OS Snow Leopard 10.6.8 Recording ]

          • ( See. ” The Life & Works of Wilhelm Reich ” i.e. strongly recommended reading. PS. Its funny the last time I saw Esther Turner was on the ‘streets’ of Bham when she stopped to have a chat, me busking in the city centre. She all of a sudden got rather ‘excited’ & then just as abruptly & about turn, suddenly announced she was about to release a ‘new’ video. Mmmm can’t wait do a ‘review’ ( or should I say film ‘analysis’ ! )

          • Check out York Minster Blog below for further related ‘comment’ ).

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