Gravesham Borough Council join the attack on street culture with new PSPO proposal

Gravesham Borough Council join the attack on street culture with new PSPO proposal

Protect Street Culture: Have your say on Gravesham’s PSPO 

We are campaigning against Gravesham Borough Council’s proposal 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 without permission or if you stand in the wrong place, for the wrong length of time . 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’ as well as riding bikes down certain streets. The proposals will have a hugely disproportionate effect upon vulnerable and dispossessed people in Gravesend, 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.

Gravesham Borough Council are currently carrying out an online consultation on the proposals which ends on November 15. It is vitally important that people participate in this consultation whether they are  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:

http://www.gravesham.gov.uk/services/council-and-democracy/consultations/public-space-protection-order

Link to the petition against the PSPO:

https://www.change.org/p/gravesham-council-don-t-punish-your-homeless-don-t-criminalise-your-buskers-cyclists-and-bird-feeders

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 to a selection of questions on the consultation 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

 

Do you support the use of a Public Space Protection Order to introduce No Alcohol Zones in the areas outlined above? (This would include streets, green areas and other public areas but not public houses, licensed premises or pavement cafes)

No

This proposal would give public officials and police officers a summary 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.

Do you support the use of a Public Space Protection Order to deter people using or carrying items used to administer Legal Highs in public spaces in the area marked on the map

Don’t know.

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. People who are not causing harm should not face enforcement action.

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.

 Do you support the use of a Public Space Protection Order to deter people lying or sleeping in public spaces without prior permission in the area marked on the map?

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.

Do you support the use of a Public Space Protection Order to deter the unauthorised collecting of money in public spaces and streets in the area marked on the map?

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 people begging who 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.

These measures will clearly affect the most vulnerable 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 deal with this already exist.

In addition, persons issued with fixed penalty notices who are subsequently prosecuted in a magistrate’s court face a mandatory court fee of £150 which has led to the imprisonment of destitute persons in some jurisdictions. This proposal is unethical and wrong. This measure would also catch buskers who busked without ‘prior authorisation’. This wrongly criminalises a cultural activity and is an infringement on Article 10 rights to freedom of expression.

Which of these options do you support to deter inconsiderate busking in public spaces in the area marked on the map?

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 Gravesend Crucially, enforcement action under the code of practice approach would only be directed at those persons whose behaviour had caused actual harm to others, unlike the requirement to ‘have permission’ which would create a new and arbitrary criminal offence of ‘busking without permission’. 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.

The Code of Conduct could include designated sites for street entertainment which are intended to fulfill criteria such as: ensuring a good spread of sites throughout the town centre, minimizing obstruction of the highway and minimizing any potential impact on businesses and residents.

Do you support the idea of having designated sites/spots for street entertainment that could be regularly reviewed?

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. Proposed sites could leave out many spots that are currently popular for busking and may not include many spaces suitable for acts such as circle shows. 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.

Do you support the use of a Public Space Protection Order to deter the feeding of pigeons in public spaces in the area marked on the map?

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 pigeons 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 which creates an unnecessary criminal offence.

Do you support the use of a Public Space Protection Order to restrict the riding of bicycles in the gated pedestrianised area of New Road, Gravesend, as marked on the map below?

It should not be a de facto criminal offence to ride a bicycle anywhere provided due consideration is shown to other road users at all times. “The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required. cyclists must give priority to pedestrians and must take the utmost care in areas where pedestrians hold sway. According to the Department for Transport’s Code of Conduct, cyclists need to weigh up whether there’s a critical mass of pedestrians: “In pedestrianised areas, only ride your cycle if there aren’t too many pedestrians about; otherwise dismount and push it.” Existing guidance is more than adequate. The PSPO would potentially criminalise people who are causing no harm to other people.

Do you have any other comments regarding the Public Space Protection Order?

The PSPO proposal wrongly conflates busking, rough sleeping, begging, riding bikes 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 Gravesend is like and what kind of place 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 Gravesham Borough Council 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. The consultation exercise provides Gravesham Borough Council with a valuable opportunity to reflect upon what kind of place it wishes to be; the kind of place 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 place 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 street culture.

End of Consultation

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

143 Comments on "Gravesham Borough Council join the attack on street culture with new PSPO proposal"

  • Lorraine Rooke says

    The penalty of criminalisation and /or fining is out of proportion to the acts the order is trying to make illegal.

    • Hell On Earth ( Busking in Bexley Heath )

      You’re right of course Lorraine any proposed ‘criminalisation’ of Streetperforming or ‘busking’ could end up outrageously disproportionate to any ‘percieved’ public misdemeanour commited. But before we tackle this pressing issue in more detail, get angry & perhaps get too carried away with the issue, it might be useful to first garner a little ‘perspective’.

      So before I begin my commentary, may I introduce you, ( & the interested ‘reader’ ), to a particular vision of ‘Hell’ ( busking ‘hell’ ! ) I had recently . Ok one ‘captured’ on film, quite spontaneously one afternoon, by veteran Busker Tim Parfitt & subsequently ‘downloaded’ in video-form onto YouTube ( Eg. See. ” Busking in Bexleyheath ” by Tim Parfitt YouTube ) .

      • Scott Peacock ‘London & UK Busking ‘ ( False Info About Buskers Needing A Licence To Play )

        The busking ‘hell’ is certainly exacerbated by the likes of Scott Peacock a supposed busking ‘fan’/supporter who has set up a Facebook Fan Page called ‘ London & Uk Busking’ & is giving out false/’misleading’ ( confused! ) information to the effect of a SouthBank Busker recently obtaining a licence to perform therefore advising all Street Performers/Buskers ( quite wrongly! ) that they need a licence to perform too.

        This guy ( Mr Peacock ) seemingly ignorant of the whole Camden ‘licensing’ debacle last year ( Nb. Camden, London being the first ‘local’ Borough in the country to formally introduce such a ‘draconian’ scheme .See Nov 2015 ‘New’ Camden Busking Licence Scheme ) needs a ‘subtle’ reminder ( neigh ‘legal’ education! ) from the ‘right’ quarters that busking is in fact ‘unregulated’ across the UK & is legally so in line with the 2003 ‘Entertainments’ Act ! . He needs to be told to stop ‘misinforming’ would-be Buskers about this matter, that he’s doing alot of potential damage here & that the ‘truth’ is that anyone is ‘free’ to busk in British ‘public’ space, no ‘formal’ permits needed ! .

        • A ‘Copy’ of Peacocks Facebook Fan Page

          Heres a ‘copy’ of Peacock’s Facebook Fan Page & the misleading ‘statement’ he makes about ‘licensing’ & busking ( see below )

          ”Happy Satursday everyone hope everyone is having a great weekend, I had an inbox message by one of my fans wanting to busk without a licence, Just to remind those who wants to start out as an artist, please dont get into trouble with the law, it is illegal anywhere in the UK & Wales to busk without a licence, Our artist had to apply for an licence to perform on the Southbank and there has been incidents where performers without a licence has been arrested by police, so please go to the London Borough council and protect yourself by applying for a licence, More Detail for this law is at the following link https://www.gov.uk/busking-licence ” ( from London & UK Busking Facebook by Scott Peacock )

          In fact looking at his facebook page again ( & as ‘you’ can now see ) Peacock is making some pretty erroneous ‘generalisations’ about Busking & ‘licensing’ eg. here he appears to be falsely suggesting that ‘all’ Buskers across the UK need a licence so as to avoid arrest, he then urges everyone to obtain one.

          Again this is nonsense, I’ve been busking in Birmingham, Stratforward Upon Avon & other places for a few years & state more accurately ‘ no licences neccessary ! ‘ . so No, do not get one. In fact I just operate within the actual ‘ law of the land’ i.e. I watch the noise decibels in ‘sensitive’ spots & avoid harrassing others ! .

          • Note

            You know he, Peacock quite wierdly – or is it his ‘perverse’ humour, an act of devilish mishievousness? – describes himself as ‘Admin’ each time he makes a comment on his Facebook Fan Page. Now this is an interesting factor worth pondering upon i.e. spending half-hours ‘critical’ analysis teasing out the signifiers ! .

          • Busking In Willesden Library ( Video By CK Golding )

            Check put this ‘hilarious’ rendition of ‘My Way’ by a self-described ‘old school’ drunken Busker in Willesden Library by ‘roaming’ Photographer CK Golding.

            ( * See. ‘ CK vs Drunk Man in Library ‘ on YouTube. )

          • Nb. I admit I have my ‘reservations’ about CK Golding, & am suspicious of all so called ‘Content’ Creators, but having said that ‘technically’ he’s not a bad Photographer & if you check his social media eg. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc you’ll see he does succeed in capturing some ‘useful’ & every now & then genuinely ‘interesting’ public/ social footage !.

          • ( *See. Photographer CK Golding @ Twitter, Facebook, YouTube )

          • I.e The man who has taken so many ‘selfies’ he looks as tho’ an I-Phone fell on his face ! ).

          • & kinda reminds me of a ‘Reporter’ I once knew ( * name not supplied ) way back in the 1990’s whilst working on a local ‘freebie’ paper called the Soho Star in Handsworth Birmingham. Last time I saw him was in a ‘Cajun’ style Restaurant called ‘ The Old Orleans’ on city -centre Broad St ( one of those ‘fake’ theme USA Southern, Louisiana Restaurants that were cropping up everywhere, back then approx 7 or 8yrs ago, around 2007/8 ). From what I cd gather he was working as an Asst CAB Officer, a ‘black’ man of the type you always see hangin’ around public library’s alongside the FE Students, Asian Boy /Girl couples, ‘studious’ & ambitious recent Immigrants & ‘other’ Talmudic Scholars !.

          • I know a lot about the ‘quality’ of the place ( city-centre Cajun ‘theme’ Restaurant ) cos’ I was ‘working’ in it at the time & ‘vouchsafe’ all the food was ‘pre -processed’ & not cooked from ‘fresh’ ingredients as misleadingly ‘advertised’ or at least by customers ‘naievly’ presumed. Many bytheway ‘staff’ from Heart FM Radio just up the road !.

          • Of course I don’t know whether my popular & ‘professional’ ‘Insider’ ( ok I was a ‘cook’, yes P/T 6.30am -9am Breakfast Cook not Chef ! ) ‘culinary’ experiences pertain to contemporary Londons so called ‘ Blues Kitchen’ cited on her Twitter site as one of SouthBank Buskers Emily Lee’s favourite haunts. Where apparantly she was complimented on her ‘dress’ the other day when out ‘eating’ i.e. Fri lunchtime ( or was it ‘afternoon’ ? ) Feb 24 2017.

            Nb. See Chester KSL Blog ‘final’ comment for further ruminations on the ‘topic’ of Dress Sense, Dress’s & Their Timely Removal )

          • ( See. Article ” Four Musicians Who Are Crushing The Stigma Of Mental Health ” by Jake Hamilton & featured in the Therapy Magazine Hapiful.com i.e SouthBank Busker Emily Lee on Busking, Depression, Relationships & HIV )

          • Eg. Out for a meal ? in these days of ‘terror’ ? constantly looking under the table for the ‘planted’ denotator ? Think I’m getting rather paranoid ? Well think again, esp. if out on a date with Emily Lee, it may turn out that you’re ‘dining’ with the ‘female’ equivalent of a ‘walking’ ( talking ) timebomb ! .

          • So remember guys beware but no ‘trigger’ fingers tho’, keep it cocked but at this stage no ‘lock n’ load’, yes thats right taking ample time to scour the vicinity first, making sure to keep the ‘safety’ catch well on ! )).

          • Now there she stands before you in her shadowy radiance, tall & indiscreet, like a ‘Demon’ thats trying to greet you as a friend.

          • ( * See Swindon ‘ Stop Council attack On Street Culture ‘ Blog. For further related ‘comments’ on Busking & the nature of ‘good’ & ‘evil’ )

  • Phil says

    Our country is known as a refuge, we won`t become cruel overnight!

    • * Carpenters Son

      A ‘Carpenters son’ by ‘nature’ I feel blessed by my ability ( honest ‘preparedness’ ) to do the ‘humble’ jobs in life that many others might ‘sneer’ at. I have no fear of others turning their noses up at me & being frowned upon. Perhaps that in part is why I am a Busker, a Street Performer by ‘trade’!.

      During my many years of unemployment ( most of my ‘working’ life! ) it was’nt a case of laziness & I was never too proud to take the ‘agency’ vacancy as a Postman, Warehouse Worker, factory assembly line worker.

      I’m a ‘romantic’ at heart with a ‘poetic’ sensibility, the pastoral ideal – the simple life of the Shepherd, has always ( even unconsciously ) appealed. Despite the risks i.e. failure of full self realisation, I’d be quite happy doing a 9 to 5 job ( 6am to 2am even! ) as a Park Ranger, Shelf Stacker in a Supermarket ( Aldi’s! ), or ‘lone’ Street Sweeper – if only once I’d got the job ( been taken on ) they’d leave me alone!.

      Ah! theres the rub, ‘cos the fact is they never do. The ‘eternal’ Scapegoat – its always a matter of, starting on Monday & within a fortnight ( sometimes a ‘few’ days ) ‘I’m targeted, bullied, humiliated, ‘ in-trouble’ & invariably ‘fired’!.

      Such is the lot of an intelligent, ’empathetic’ individual in a ‘ruthless’ socio/economic world. I’ve found that the same ‘patterns’, social tendendicies ( game! ) exist in Busking – the difference being that as a Street Peformer you’re self-employed so therefore not so easily ‘controlled’ & brushed aside.

      In this context Council PSPO’s & the like are to me very much the ‘local’ authorities attempts ( surreptitously ) to introduce ‘factory’ conditions to the public sphere ( i.e. independant ‘street’ workplace ).

      Much is at ‘personal’ stake here because if they are successful at doing so eg. ‘labelling’ Buskers in general as ‘anti-social’ etc, they not only have the powers ( like ‘earlier’ employers ) to ‘drive’ the likes of me away, the sentence meted out is more like ‘death’ i.e. they can effectively ‘crucify’ me!.

      • Gravesend ( Emily Lee )

        Its a tough job busking, it really is, especially this time of year, late Autumn, approaching the cold winter of Christmas – ha!, ha!, ha!. In fact, so gritty, so tough, sadly, it can prove the ‘gravesend’ for some, such as that erstwhile ‘spirit’ that used to grace the SouthBank, for example, London Busker, Emily Lee.

        Described on her ‘website’ ( EmilyLeeMusic ) as a songwriting ‘firebrand’, this little cookie is proving not to be such a tough inspiration when it comes to song battling it through the frosty seasons of January, in fact its only mid-November & it seems she’s already decided to hang up her gloves upon the wintry ringside.

        Of course it all ( these kind of busking events ) begs the question Q. Is Emily Lee a bit of a ‘sourpuss’ really? A. On her Facebook fan page & Twittersite she has ‘posted’ a video explaining her current absence on the Southbank to her ‘followers’. She cites the ‘cold’ & its effect on her voice as the main excuse, I’m not a fan but am tempted to respond ( rather than with pity & remorse ) ok I understand its important to look after your ‘precious’ voice but realise it does’nt seem to stop those other busking ‘yahoo’s ( Minstrels? ) eg. Jonny Walker et al @ Streetslive from making their appearance in the Autmnal/Winter months.

        I note Walker has even managed to get himself in the papers ( now an annual occurance! ) after a dispute with the ‘official’ Father Xmas Act in York i.e. the Santas Grotto. It seems now resolved by him promising to sing some actual ‘christmas’ songs this time of the year, on what is ok now ‘occupied’ by Santa Claus, but otherwise ( i.e. at other times eg. the Summer season etc ) a ‘regular’ busking spot. Believe me, the temperature is gradually dropping to minus figures, but it does’nt seem to stop Walker and the like, bless ’em ( him! ) despite the ‘difficult’ cold conditions they’re ( he ) appears to be in full song!.

        Oh its a pitifully sad sight to see Emily featured in ‘her’ video, wrapped up in bed ( not in curlers I admit ) in her nightscarf ( obligitary artist in poverty holes in it! ) & nightie, & with a ‘tone’ of slight nostalgic yearning even mention her ex-boyfriend in her ‘facebook’ monologue. I notice the bed-space is ’empty’ by her side, perhaps indeed she does miss at least a little male sympathy & a warm cuddle

        ( * Nb. Apparantly according to her Musicians Diary he was the one who ‘paid’ ( forked up the money ) for her ‘first’ demo, however they soon afterwards ‘split’ up when the final recording turned up according to her all wrong & not to taste. From what I gather he took this pretty badly & soon after left!. )

        Sour grapes or ‘true’ ambition? I don’t know! but Emily further remonstrates how she is’nt beset with ‘busking’ anyhow that her ‘real’ dream is to hit the ‘big’ stage therefore making her a ‘real’ musician. My common-sense understanding tho’ as a Busker & ‘aspiring’ artist has always been that it is best to be a ‘musician’ ( a proper one ) first & it is that skilled ‘status’ that will then ( if you so desire it ) get you into the larger ‘indoor’ arena.

        Ironically having a few ‘above’ average musicianship skills eg, sightreading, transcription etc are what can get you through the ‘hard times’ as a Street Performer too ( my ambition is to be a ‘proper’ Public Musician or Artist as ‘excellent’ Gypsy! ). Being able to ‘sightread’ a whole selection of Xmas Tunes, ones I’ve ‘personally’ worked out, is what is enabling me to ‘survive’ ( thrive to some extent ) on the Birmingham Xmas Market right now! ( its currently 4degreescentigrade ).

        Emily ( & others reading this ) I’ll let you in on a ‘secret’! ( a ‘busking tip’ if you will! ). I earned the most ‘money’ I’ve ever earned as a Busker in ‘one’ day, 3 years ago, during the worst UK winter in a 100 years, whilst performing one December afternoon in a ‘snow’ blizzard on this very German market. It does’nt happen all the time, but I hasten to add it would shock you what I earned that day, in 3 or 4 hours the equivalent of a weeks ‘buskers’ salary.

        And it was’nt merely out of pity & empathy of me playing in the winter rain, it was the little extra work that I’d put into some relatively ‘easy’ transcriptions of Bach that paid off for me that day.
        Simplified pastiche’s really but enabling me to play extra ‘expressively’, the feeling I was able to musically conjour up that day was ( culturally ‘ambiantly’ ) pretty powerful i.e. big magic & it paid huge dividends ( a real Xmas bonus! ). Importantly, I state it here again, I could’nt have done this without some ‘real’ musical skills, just a few ‘above’ average qualities of ‘true’ grounded musicianship.

        * Note

        Given the greater & greater absence of ‘wannabee’ pop musicians from ‘busking’ spots on the South Bank this Winter would the ‘auditioning’ authorities consider opening up ‘places’ ( busker spaces ) to actual ‘seasoned’ Street Performers i.e. the street professionals. Public space is getting tighter & tighter, in fact all year round for some ‘Buskers’ the pond, quite cruelly & unfairly is threatening to freeze up.

        • * Further Notes

          In the meantime Emily on a more ‘upbeat’ note I recall picking up from your Twitter site earlier in the year that ‘you’d’ purchased a classical Flute last Summer from a 2nd hand Music Shop & that one day ‘ hoped to learn to play it’!.

          Well, ‘girl’, nows the time to begin i.e. in between the call-centre shifts, burger bar hours, theatre box office evenings ( yer old job! ), commit to practice, practice, practice in preparation for next year, next Winter.

          Perform Christmas Flute ( with ‘taste’ not kitsche! ) on a spot like the Genrman |Market & I guarantee you double the ‘money’ ( busking takings ) than you’d earn selling Ann Summers underwear ‘door to door’ even!.

          • * Further Notes 2

            And finally what of that relatively recent ‘cultural’ phenomenon of folkies ‘n ‘pop’ star wannabees ( * Nb. these days no real difference! ) hitting the streets to busk?

            A few ‘handsome’ chaps amongst them, but the rest are they really the future of pop or just over-enthusiastic ‘fans’ ( ‘aping’ followers! ) ? Any ‘natural’ beauties amongst their ranks? From what I can see, ‘Plain’ girls most of ’em ( ok a few plain pretty ones! ), who thru’ skillful use of ‘social’ media ( ‘manipulative’ use? ) manage to put themselves through some quite amazing ‘makeovers’. Yes, almost miraculously transforming themselves into instant stage ‘Stars’ ( or at least the ‘staged’ image of one! ). Madonna, or should I say Lady Gaga, eat your hat!.

            Of course let the Council have its ‘stipulations’ ( & ‘select’ no-go zones! ) but I tell you, I don’t know about ‘code’ schemes, but ‘best practice guides’ won’t stop ’em. As in the case of them ‘scrambling’ no holds barred to get an ‘arena’ ticket, these over ‘zealous’ personalities they will do anything, stoop to anything, to get a busking spot.

            No the only way to stop ( get rid of! ) these modern day madonnas ( & not to be sexist Dorian Gray’s! ) is to simply pay them ‘no’ attention, ignore them!.

          • Well, as a Busker thats one of the ways I’ve learnt to manage my immediate vicinity these days. That or by simply popping over & saying Hello! ( or more politely ” Hiiiiiiigh luv yer music!” etc etc )

          • If its a guy, I resort to my tried & tested ‘ how to manage difficult people’ method, i.e. he just gets a kick-in the nuts!

          • Only in ‘camera’ free zones tho’, if its a heavily surveilled areas I’ll just walk up him daintily & whisper sweet nothings into his ear! ( I’ll leave my actual script to your imagination! )

          • Yeah ‘Surface’ People, what to do with ’em!

          • Some say ” action is the antidote to despair! ” ( Q. what all year round ?, come ‘summer’ rain or shine? ).

          • And as for the ‘winter’ blues Q. Buskers ‘depression’? A. Nah! ‘hatred’ turned inwards!

          • ( * extracts from Chapter 7 ‘ Meditations On Emily’ – A Case Study of A London Busker )

          • * Edit

            An example ( * ‘insert’ paragraph prologue !)

            ” I was up early the ‘other’ day to do my ‘early’ morning excercises ( Tai chi ‘plus’ HIIT this time ! ) well for me I thought it was ‘early’ eg. 6am ( rather than 6.30 ) zing up!, rise & shine!.

            However as I opened the blinds ‘slightly’ to let in some ‘street-lamp’ light I noticed that the car-park of the Co-op Supermarket was already a hive of activity – loaves of bread being passed hand to hand off the back of the big ‘articulated’ lorry.

            At first I was ‘truly’ impressed by this ‘picture’ ( romantic image even ) of ‘noble’ w/c labour ( no doubt beginning at ‘dawn’! ) until i caught a glimpse of one of the ‘Till staff ( come in early? ) standing on the corner having a puff on a cigarette & then ‘casually’ passing her ‘fag’ on to a work colleague for a quick drag as they reached the end of the line of what cd have appeared like ( been mistaken for! ) a long ‘trail’ of bread!.

            The life lesson ( literary insight ) ? . How a man ( many a people ) may rise at the ‘early’ hrs of ‘dawn’ only to go on & do a lazy days work ( well the ‘poplular’ 6 til 2 shift anyway! ). I tell you what, they’d certainly be in their element busking on Londons Southbank, thats if they were prepared to join ( wait around in! ) the ‘busy queue i.e. for the 1hr slot!. )

          • I guess the biggest challenge here ( in both cases ‘ Supermarket’ & Busking on the SouthBank! ) is getting thru the interview!… ( ‘no sweat’ if you’re a w/c ‘white’ woman from a respectable area in South Bham, no sweat at all if you’re from a plush ‘plum’ town like ‘Cheltenham in ‘leafy’ Gloucestershire! )

          • Ref; See. EmilyLeeMusic Twitter 17 Feb 2016 ” when you’re up at 5am & can’t wait for bedtime already, would it be wrong to snooze at my desk? possibly I wd enjoy the nap ”.

          • As for a ‘fuller’ discussion on the ‘genius’ of Friedrich Hayek & the socio economic/’life’ philosophy ( concept ) of the ‘spontaneous order’! – See The Economist Article ” In Defence of Spontaneous Order ” ( Democracy in America! ) Sept 29 2014.

          • Then read Austrian Psychiatrist Viktor Frankls classic book ” Mans Search For Meaning ” on how such a ‘social’ order can be ‘realised’ in the fullest ‘occupational’ sense!.

          • Please take ‘note’ that In fact this is the kind of ‘state’ that exists at ‘present’ in Bham with regards the busking scene & I have to say pretty successfully!.

          • End ( edit )

          • 2nd ( edit )

            ( With reference to the classic 6 to 2 Shift! ) Of course working full out, giving your all, attempting to find any ‘pride’, self worth at all in the ‘work-place’ can be a ‘mugs-game’, esp. if you’re only on £6, £7, £8 per hr & treated by the ‘management’ like a divvy!. Well at least at ‘some’ High-Street Retailers i.e. ok maybe not Aldi’s! ( thats if you’re a Super-market Worker? )

          • End ( edit 2 )

          • *’Musings On The Great Songwriters’

            In-terms of actual ‘musical training’ its impt to note that Lennon & Mcartney did’nt have music degrees yet came to be regarded as one of the best pop-writing partnerships ever (I don’t like ’em much or their music, too ‘sugary’ for me, too ‘pop’ cocky! Tho’ I guess everyone can ‘cite’ a Beatles tune that at they at least ‘almost’ like!).

            The ‘great standards writers’ eg. Jerome Kern were indeed classically trained tho’ usually in ‘academy’ standard ‘Harmony & Composition’ deciding ‘individually’ to focus their ‘artistic’ ( creative’ ) careers on Tin Pan Alley or the Theatre Stage writing ‘show-tunes’!. ( excellent they are too, beautifully constructed 32 Bar AABA pieces & I love Stella By Starlight, My Romance etc particularly the ‘Jazz Flamenco’ interpretations by guitarist John Mclaughling! & his wonderfully ‘expressive’ soloing, quite ‘heady’ at times & yeah very romantic! ).

            Interesting in this ‘context’ to see the recent ‘growth’ of specifically ‘pop’ songwriting as a ‘higher’ education discipline i.e. music degree. I have to say tho’ along with the appearance of general Pop Degrees, rock guitar degrees, ‘marketing’ degrees etc plus all the ‘ole’ Poly’s becoming Universities I remain very sceptical.

            What with Berkley Online style streaming courses springing up everywhere rather than ‘real’ educational freedom & ‘opportunity’ energetically provided I detect educational ( & intrinsic business/commercial! ) ‘hype surrepticiously working here. Once more I strongly believe that ‘real’ practical, lg-term successful training & ‘vocational’ education programmes can be found elsewhere.

            At nearly a grande ( £1000 ) a go for some of these ‘courses’, only ‘todays’ generation of Cameron/Gove ‘programmed/’conditioned’ youth wd fall for paying such ‘inflated’ prices & lumbering up the lg-term debt attendant to this kind of course ( lets face it an ‘industry’ whizz the whole batch of ’em! ).

            No, call me ‘old’ fashioned but I’m backing the true cultural ‘underdogs’ struggling out there those men ( & women! ) with the emotional verve, musical passion & spiritual gumption to stay out the musical dark ‘triangle’ & ping! go it alone! ( & like Paul Mcartney – not formally taught but nevertheless ardent ‘muso’s, willing to, & succeeding succesfully in teaching themselves! ).

          • Come on Emily, Come on Susan, Come on Jazz, you can do it!.

          • And so can you Turner if you were to concentrate more on the ‘song-writing’ & less on the ‘extra-curricula’ activites ( ie. ‘the partnerships’ etc! ). Byetheway I’m looking forward to the next ‘snippet’!.

          • So yeah come on, you can do it, you really can! & don’t forget the ‘diet’ girls ( & ‘guys’ if you’re reading this! – tho with the possible exception of Turner, shes a pony, a lean gazelle! ) cos’ those ‘burgers’, those fizzy drinks, those deep-fat fries are ‘killing you’ !, they’re feckin destroying you!.

            Oh yeees!, realise that ( & contrary to what you may think, been brought up to believe! ) you’re not indeed ‘entitled’ to physical health ( nope no ‘entitlement’!).

            Even more succinctly I came across these ‘wise’ words somewhere that stated, once you realise your body is degrading day by day, from the day you’re born to the day you die you’ll go, ” oh dear I’m not ‘owed’ health & I’d better get over there, better get this & that, better get running, better start lifting weights!”.

          • ( from Chapter 9 – Singing, Songwriting & the Streets ‘ The ‘new’ Generation! ‘ )

          • Appendix – Emily Lee ‘ The Case Study of A London Busker! ‘.

          • A working title? eg ‘ Healthy Diets ( & health entitlement(s)! ) ‘ or perhaps more formally ‘ The Relationship between ‘ Natural Health Entitlements And A Healthy Diet! ). Mmmmmm yesss! can’t quite make up my mind, I’ll have to ‘meditate’ on that one? ( tell u wot tho its all very perplexing, its driving me nuts! ).

          • *Notes Underground ( or Buskers Immortals’! )

            Boy here I go again comment, after comment, after comment. Anyway I hear Notes Underground ( the ‘radical’ buskers publication featuring various London street ‘performers’ ) are busy preparing for the publication of a book ( * Nb. Not Penguin Classics by MA Publising Students! )

            Heh perhaps I should get in touch with them & supply them with a ‘quote’ ( or 2 or 3! ) ?, there again coming to think about it maybe not!. What get myself ‘immortalised’ as an artistically ‘petty’, intellectually empty, rather ‘vacuous’ public fake!. No thanks!.

          • Double jeapardy! you know ‘bad’ company rubs off!.

          • * A ‘Nightmarish’ Afterthought

            Gosh!, I can hear it now errant discord & response ranging from ”bloody cheek!” to outright rage, indignant screams & shouts!.

            Better watch what I say, keep at least a ‘bit’ of a ‘trap’ on it. Oh yeah I shudder to think, listen to that ‘shrill’ voice n’ almost ghostly anger. Crikey, bloody ‘ell, thats a real ‘ballbreaker’!! ( aggghhh! ).

          • A ‘raw’, quite natural, untutored ‘high’ pitched scream that cd shatter 2 wine glasses at 200 yards!.

          • See. Emily Lee Pop Cover ”Limbo” by Rosie Vanier ( YouTube Video!. ).

          • Boy that girl can sing, got the ‘voice’ of a ‘trained’ yg church ‘castrati’, will send you crashing to the rocks! ( with an otherworldy, quite unearthly ‘feminine’ wail! ).

          • * The ‘Real’ Thing ( the ‘untutored’ feminine voice! )

            Emily, speaking as a man of ‘worldly’ experience, please don’t take what I’ve said as an insult, no please don’t, cos’ what I’m trying to say here is, you’re the ‘real’ thing, yes the real thing!.

          • *A Quote ( from Emily Lee )

            In her ‘own’ words ” I’m officially a quote ” & taken from her very own Twitter site, in all its ‘telling’ & insightful charm & now featured in ‘Notes Underground’ ( the ‘radical’ magazine for Buskers printed in their spare-time i.e. lunchtime break, by a bunch of ‘non-descript’ MA Publishing Students et al ! ) the actual ‘quote’ itself.

            ” I set up, switch on my equipment & the moment I open my mouth to sing & faces turn towards me, its just incredible that freedom, that power, YOU have to do that. Its such a high ” ( Emily Lee – Notes Underground )

            And then ( if I was the sub-editor I might add! ) she gave out on almighty & long ‘feline’ scream, ‘orgasming’ for full on i.e. 3, 4 minutes like a pent-up yg leopardess on summer heat as the first ‘stranger’ ( man with briefcase & Times newspaper, woman in the Dallas shoulder suit & carrying ‘files’, a Mother & child with pushchair ! ) give her the first gaze, the first look of caring ‘attentedness!’ of the day as they hustle & bustle past, towards the escalator & the ‘exit’ out to the street ( e.g. Oxford Circus, Notting Hill, or on most ‘busking’ week-days Tooting South! ).

          • Edit ( End )

            Various ‘ideas’ & theme extracts taken from ‘ Emily Lee – The Case Study Of A London Busker ( Chapter 7 ) ‘.

          • A Natural Born Killer ( Born Bad Cover by Emily Lee )

            On a ‘positive’ note tho’ I do like Emily Lee’s version of ”Born To Be Bad” as performed in her recent gig ( complete with ‘full’ band! ) at the Barfly in Camden. I know shes’ been ‘depressed’ of late & a little depleted concerning ‘busking’ & her continuous performances on the SouthBank.

            I’d say that perhaps busking is not really her forte & that she perhaps ought to concentrate on her ambitions to be a stage-performer. The ‘Born To Be Bad’ cover does demonstrate she has ‘some’ potential here, not just ‘music-wise’ but also in terms of ‘stage’ vocalist persona to match. I really do think her future ( if she can truly ‘work’ it, its not ‘god’given ! ) is on the blues/rock stage.

            Yeah its time to ‘ditch’ the Mcdonalds fries ( Emily ‘wake’ up!, really they’re ‘feckin’ killing you! ), take her ambition seriously, reduce the calories to 1300 per day, HIIT excercise 3 days per week & really get into part i.e. that of a physically attractive, charismatic, theatrical performer !.

            I have to say she gets a half decent ‘tone’ on the ‘harmonica’ too ( see the early ‘female’ Woody Guthrie Stuff on her current CD – personally the ‘song’s are not my cup of tea! ) & if I was based in London wd be calling upon her skills & for her to ‘double’ up & work with me ( on nylon string solo guitar ) in the ‘alternative’ Cafe Brazil Choro , Spanish Cantante scene ! .

          • Nb. Bytheway drop me the ‘no of your ‘stylist’ Emily will you, those ‘Bavarian’ hunting shorts are if indeed if a little risque yep most definitely ‘seexxxy!’ – if not a signed ‘photo’ will do ! . ( there again maybe not, let me just admire at a distance, * this is ‘not’ a ”kick-me” game. No, & I don’t want to be drawn into the kind of crowd ‘trouble’ that I understand occured during the gig!. See Scott Peacock ‘London Buskers’ account ) .

            ( Reference. See. ” Games People Play ” eg. Rapo, Lets You & Him Fight, by Eric Berne ) .

          • Notes

            To lose 2Ib in weight per week is ‘easy’, nothing to get down about. Its all about ‘state’ of mind – planning & taking action.

            My diet when I went thru’ a phase of losing weight was . Breakfast – porridge oats, skimmed milk, honey, 1 poached egg, apple & orange. Lunch – 2 wholemeal Pittas with sardines in mayo & lemon sauce plus fruit Dinner – wholemeal pasta, tuna, mayo, sweetcorn, brocolli/carrots with black pepper & butter plus greek yogurt, raisins, orange, banana. Approx 1900/2000 calories ( 500 calories less than male RDA ), I lost 2Ib per week without trying & without ‘starving’. This plus HIIT, Weight training, & regular busking activity did the trick ! .

            Jumping on & off stage at gigs, open mic nights is an ’empty’ practice & does nothing for your self-esteem. What you need is ‘real’ culture & then to ‘connect’, to truly be fulfilled. If that ‘way of life’ does not exist then you must ‘join’ with others & make strides to create it, This is the road to ‘real’ happiness ! .

          • Happiness ultimately tho’ is ‘a state of mind’ & its available to you right now, in this very moment. Extra ‘skills’ or getting more aligned with ‘who you are’ etc can & do bring with them more ‘confidence(s)’ but happiness at its most simple & ‘natural’ is available to you right now. It really is just a ‘state of mind’, a gift just there ready to be taken ! . If only you ( the most beautiful, living, human ‘potential’ ) would do just that i.e. take it, my God then you would ‘grow’! .

          • So right now develop the positive ‘habit’ of thinking & feeling yourself into a ‘good’ state ! ( just do it ! ) .

          • & outside the ‘radar’ & attention of others. Easy for most people but the real ‘challenge’ is for some i.e. to stop depending on others ‘approval’ or indeed disapproval for their sense of well-being. Yeah digging real deep, retrieving that something perhaps now buried deep within, that ‘barely’ exists even & learning once more as a human-being to just Be! ) .

          • ( * End of Notes on ‘Natural Born Killers Born Bad Cover by Emily Lee ‘)

          • Oh the ‘junk’ foods, the junk states one can end up ‘addicted’ too ! .

          • Junk ‘rewards’ too !. Rousseau was right ” Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains ” still pertinent today, the 21st Century.

            ( End Notes 2 on ‘Natural Born Killers ‘ Born Bad cover by Emily Lee ‘ )

          • Notes 3 ( Natural Born Killers ‘Born Bad’ Cover by Emily Lee )

            The cultural ‘toilet’ – addicted to the idea that you can get a lot of ‘good’ something for relatively very little ( & no I don’t mean ‘money’ ! ). The ‘advertiser’s have got you hooked ! .

            ( End of Notes 3 )

          • Emily Lee ( words of wisdom )

            Emily Lee – ” A twirl & orange squash. The breakfast of champions ”

            Daniel Mendes – ” Yeah, got the ‘ass’ of a champion too ( & I’ve got the ‘photos’ to prove it ! )

            Emily Lee ” Stalker ! ”

            ( Emily Lees Twitter Feed ‘extracts’ taken from Jazz Mino Twitter Site. Sun Aug 19 2016 )

            Emily Lee – ” Uberbitch! ”

            ( Date, time & location ‘withdrawn’ ! )

          • Me – Hi Daniel., bytheway ( Nb. we’ve never actually met, don’t formally know each other ! ) that ‘pic’ of Emily, is there a ‘copyright’ on it, cos I wd’nt mind using it as not a ‘cover’ but an ‘insert’ in my ‘new’ CD ?

            ( Email communique sent at some later ‘Autumnal’ date )

          • On Fame, Money & Katy Perry ( * Recommended Reading ! )

            Just saw a video of Katy Perry ( Russell Brands ex ) at the 2017 Brits dancing around a bunch of MTV style ‘staged’ houses promoting her ‘new’ song incl. guest Rapper eg. ” Chained To The Rhythm’ what with its ‘revolutionary’ cultural undertones of us all being ‘Zombies’ etc leading ‘closeted’, enslaved consumer lives’

            Interesting ( if indeed essentially a little vacuous ! ) ‘viewing’. So on the deeper ‘topic’ of modern fame, money & cultural power here’s a little recommended reading for you Katy eg. ‘ Go Tell It To The Mountain ‘ by James Baldwin.

            ( A Response To A Remark On Emily Lees Twitter Site eg ” Being Famous In Social Media Is Like Being Rich In Monopoly ” )

  • Richard says

    Jonathan Walker’s petition on Change.org has the wrong town in the title. It should be Gravesham, not Gravesend which is in Kent.

    Good luck with the petition

    • Talking about one foot in the grave I think it pertinent to mention here that any ‘homeless’ persons reading this blog should contact ‘StreetsLink’ for help & support. If ‘you’ know someone ‘sleeping rough’ please call 0300 500 0914.

      Remember the charity ‘Thames Reach’ also, the country’s foremost scheme for ‘transforming’ the lives of those living on the streets. Again worth mentioning ( & if you have’nt heard of them before yourself finding out about! ) because this is an admirably ‘ambitious’ organisation with a long-term strategy & ‘mission to actually ‘end’ homlessness!.

      • Back on the question of which is the best scheme for busking in London ( See above ‘ The spontaneous order! ) I state if this kind of ‘ordering’ principle can work in a place like Bham it can ‘now’ work for the ‘whole’ of London ( i.e. the capital! ).

        No need for ‘auditions’ on the Tube even, just ‘first come first serve’ & maybe a few basic ‘common-sense’ checks for ‘obvious’ nuisances eg. busking as a cover for ‘aggressive’ begging etc.

        It does’nt matter about ‘quality’ either, just let the public decide i.e. if you’re ‘no good’ then less or ‘no’ money!. As we know ‘some’ crap street acts can have their ‘entertainment’ value ( indeed a ‘function’! ).

        Again its just a matter of ‘tipping’ points & ‘liberal’ checks & balances i.e. control’ no’s ( eg. ‘over-saturation’ etc ) not necessarily quality, remember this is the ‘streets’ & open to the general public ( over gentrification & ‘privatisation’ should be resisted! ).

        And for gods sake remember the ‘streets’ are a potential ( & possible healthy! ) creative space that can & does include’new’ or yg beginners plus any other person ( of any age! ) for that matter who genuinely & passionately desires to grow as a ‘serious’ Artist or Musician! ( eg. the likes of me!)

        Just as importantly remember that the ‘streets’ are not the ‘professional’ stage or theatre! ( let Britains Got Talent, The X-Factor & other Media centred so called ‘talent’ shows sort that end out ie. the ‘moral’ career of ambitious ‘popular’ stage performers! ). Then let the streets ( with a ‘few’ ruling principles ) simply take care of themselves!.

        • Q. Variations on the ‘theme’? A. Well as a potential artist & musician I have to say yes!

          Eg. in London you can have 2hr spot rotation aka York or ‘fixed’ spots 2hr rotation aka Stratford upon Avon, or like Birmingham & Liverpool play anywhere for any length of time, just use your ‘common-sense’, stay alert to ( ‘morally’ aware of ) the ‘signals’ ( importantly outside of yourself! ), & don’t over stay your welcome or over-do it with the volume levels!

          Again as a general rule ‘positively’ adapt to circumstances! ( the ‘real’ human social conditions & circumstances in which, you as ‘an individual’ street performer/Busker find yourself! ).

          Importantly Buskers not used to this form of modus operandi & ‘authorities’ alike ‘Fear Not’ cos’ this way ( practical method ) of doing things can & does work i.e. ‘on balance’ the best way of actually working I ‘truly’ know & have experienced!.

          • Please note that altho’ I do talk about ‘tipping’ points etc as far as the issue of Trafalgar Square goes where there are ‘accusations’ of ‘swamping’ by Gedi Statues etc coming from such ‘unlikely’ quarters as the National Gallery ( well perhaps given the ‘snobbery’ that always has pervaded the Arts & its institutions I take these words back! ) I for one have not seen any ‘concrete’ evidence yet that firmly establises this as a fact.

            Reports I’m getting are the contrary, that altho’ there are quite a ‘few’ statues etc daily in the square the place is not over-populated as such yet!. By contrast In Bham before Xmas for instance the situation was threatening to get more ‘seriously’ out of hand, but I testify post-Xmas there are nowhere nr the over=abundance of ‘statues’ as there was. If the situation changes, for sure I will keep you posted via ‘commentary’!.

          • The Artists Path

            Finally as for Buskers as ‘would be’ Artists I think it is ‘possible’ to grow into such a role whilst performing largely on the ‘streets’ but in all honesty ( & ‘reality’ ) it is extremely difficult, esp. if its to be done ( achieved ) properly & without ‘cutting corners’ so to speak.

            The truth is ‘music’ as a ‘subject’ discipline makes for very challenging study that not only are very few actually up to but in the case of many, don’t need to embark on esp. in an age where it is so easy to get your ‘personal’ fixes ( attention needs ) thru ‘cheat’ means & contrived on-line media. And of course ‘attract’ the merry band of ‘followers’ ( for whatever ‘neurotic’ reason! ) to go with it ( for many not merely the ‘icing’ on the cake but the acual ‘cherry’ on top!.)

            I find that even many ‘music’ academy students may not be quite all they seem eg. learn the ‘treble’-clef at the age of 5 – with of course the love & support of ‘proud’ parents ( & private tutors! ) & yes you may have a ‘career’ for life. Ok not as Yehudi Menuhin, Lang Lang or Joanna Macgregor but as a Primary School Teacher, Secondary ‘Music’ Teacher, or a bit part in the BBC Top of the Pops Orchestra or a ‘strings’ recording session with an actual ‘pop’ band!.

            No ‘real’ music industry is a tough game ( an extremely tough game! ) to play physically, mentally, spiritually ( in terms of ‘motivation’ & the will! ).

            Actual Art an ‘arduous’ mountain climb & not for the ‘feint’ hearted, no bullshit, to rise from a highly ‘polished’ mediocrity on ‘social’ media to an ‘authentic’ Artist is ‘do=able’ but only at great personal cost, ‘sacrifice’, time & resources.

            That said ‘enouragement’ on your personal artistic journey & genuine love ( & goodwill1 ) to all those with the ‘will’ & courage to try, your contribution is welcomed & it ‘is’ valued, ‘highly’!. Good luck!.

          • A ‘qualifying’ point i.e. ‘some’ followers may in fact be genuinely nice & ‘supportive’ people, in this case more ‘onus’ on you ( ‘apprentice’, Journeyman perhaps but not yet master! ) to live up to ‘expectations’ & become the ‘real thing’ ( an Artist that is! ).

          • Plus its the best way to ‘pay-back’ all the love, all the attention, all the ‘money’, all the support thats come your way. To give back to your ‘fans’ ( some no doubt ‘adoring’! ) the respect ‘they’ deserve. To be quite frank anything less is a form of ‘abuse’!.

          • If you ‘claim’ to be an Artist, you say you’re a craftsman/woman then you ‘owe’ it to everyone to ‘strive’ to become that thing, to truly work your hardest to achieve that ‘status’. Know it now that nothing less will do!.

          • Today, right now, in this instance, take ‘courage’ & truly commit!.

  • This November as every November we have paid our respects for brave men and women who stood up to the oppression of Nazi Germany in World War 2. Let us remember their sacrifice and not start to legislate by incremental steps on the same path that led to that state of affairs. It is easy to legislate for things we see as inconvenient or not to our liking but we should always remember that any interference with the liberty of others is a grave step in the wrong direction. It is by co-operation and resolve to find ways other than prohibitive criminal legislation that the liberties those men and women fought and died for are preserved and their sacrifice honoured.

    • And please God – a prayer ( & yes call this a memorium if you will!) Q. Dear Lord are there any ‘true’ musicians left amongst us? If not please will you do us the utmost grace & kindness & ‘beam’ us one down!. Even if it is in the form of a ‘hologram’ ( a petit, chic, ‘elite’ one at that – & dressed in full ‘nazi’ regalia including black beret & leather boots! )

      • Or whatever is the closest ‘continental’ equivalent!.

        • Or rather the closest ( & sexiest! ) continental equivalent! i.e not too upfront! ( still thwack! ”you naughty little boy!” )

          • And no I’m not a ‘masochist’ just a poor ‘Rentier’, a poor rentier boy from up north! searching for somewhere to lay his cap & rest his bones!.

          • Bytheway heres a ‘quote’ of the day for you or what I now call ( I’ve coined a phrase for it! ) ‘Lee logic’.

            ” Hitler was an Artist & a vegetarian so lets forgive him, come on all of us, let us join hands together & forgive this ‘creative’ soul his sins ”.
            ( by a Jezzara, Shamise, Cuckuboro’ Hen & life-long fan of Judee Sill )

          • * Quote Of The Week ( perhaps quote of the month! )

            ” Music has no Fatherland; its homeland is the whole universe ” Happy birthday dear Chopin! .

            ( by Natalia Wierzbicka aka ViolinBiscuit )

          • Aggh yeess! February in the capital, perhaps the ‘whole’ of London, in Gravesham even, a time of ‘dream’ & romance, & of ‘transcendant’ humanitarian ‘world’ vision!

            Ok, there again coming to think about it – given the ‘real’ state of affairs in Camden what with yg, talented, ‘award’ winning performers being spied upon ‘Gestapo’ style, reported to the ‘authorities’ & subsequently summoned to court for busking without a licence – I guess its down to earth with a bump, ‘love affair’ over!

            ( Aghh! love ‘unrequited’ as if it really did ever quite get off the ground in the first place, its plant seeds from the off trampled under foot, loves decay set adrift, back to life & existence in the dreary Thames smog! ).

          • ( * See. Spanish BeatBox Champion Fredy Garcia 24 & ‘runner-up’ in the UK BeatBox ‘Tag-team’ Competition Alex Hackett 23, currently up before ‘ the Beat ‘ at Highbury Magistrates Court to face – extremely pettily i think – criminal ‘charges’ over illegal Street Performing – in ‘StreetsLive’ Activists Jonny Walkers words, ” charged with the crime of busking without a license in Camden!
            ” ).

          • Bytheway Streetslive are going to have to adopt a much better, more clearly thought out & ‘effective’ strategy than their last one ( i.e. take Camden Council to court on a ‘human-rights’ rap – yeah! so PC, so short-sighted, such a waste of ‘public’ donations! ) if they are going to make any ‘just’ inroads into fighting this, now highly ‘personalised’ & individually creatively destructive ‘Local’ Authority action!.

          • Q A ‘new’ Activists strategy ? A. Perhaps its time for Buskers to get ‘organised’ in such a fashion as to make eg. Camden Councillors ( or officials! ) lives more ‘uncomfortable’ than they are presently made by the local Gestapo ( or the minority of petty ‘irate’ residents & complaining few – the ‘Busybodies’ if you will!. ).

            Then you ‘may’ find that ‘elected’ representatives ( edged on by ‘officials’! ) start making a few ‘decisions’, acting out a few policies in Street Performers favour. Just a thought!.

  • Margaret Tracey says

    The first 2 comments were filled in automatically by the petitioner; I am not against no-alchohol zones per say but am not qualified to comment on this town centre. I am very much in favour of not feeding birds in public places; however, I suggest that it would be easier to start with local highlighting of the health reasons for this and…..do you have a seagull problem?…..the dangers, if so, to small children of attack by these birds. (I have certainly noticed a great increase of these birds inland.) Furthermore I would wish to emphasise that it is imperative that homeless people have somewhere to sleep that can be monitored on CCTV for their own safety.

    • The Economic Reality? The resources simply are’nt there at present to spend time ensuring ‘ drunks, druggies, & malingerers are ‘resting’ comfortably in their sleep. And I state once more society has ‘no’ moral obligation to the malingerer, non whatsoever! ( See Exeter Blogs for further comments on this issue).

      Its time for a more ‘well thought’ out, ‘progressive’ social policy. The present one is ‘out-moded’ ( past its sell by date by virtue of its ‘pettiness’ alone! ) & the burgeoning ‘left’ are still very much ‘asleep’ on this matter. No, its time to wake up! ( to reality! )

      • In fact it cd be ‘time’ to raise these kinds of people eg. councillors, political consultants, trad ‘activists’ from the dead! ( * but there again coming to ‘think’ about it there are always a ‘few’ exceptions to the rule. Yeah we cd ‘all’ be better off leaving ‘them’ to dwindle & dither in their graves!. See Below. )

        • Its true many of the old ‘hard-left’ are ‘political’ consultants now, hard-core ‘free’ marketeers to boot & not the types to shy away from the ‘cult’ of celibrity either.

          As for ‘buskings’ Gt Expectations why is it that when I observe the ‘various’ performers ‘lording’ it up ‘out’ there on the SouthBank they always ‘strike’ me as ( their ‘sets’ & musical approach reminiscent of ) Acoustic Guitar Magazine/Guitar Shop ‘Types’ & ‘mezzanine’ Function Muso’s. Their highest ‘artistic’ ambition? To sell a CD to every kid in the country under 10yrs old!. Yeah, Pop/Mass pulp at its country ‘cringiest’ satin slick best! ( & with a bit of continental David ‘soul’ thrown in, or is it Telly Savalas, ya know ‘Kojak’ !).

          See Below!

          • Happy Valentines! ” All The World Loves Lovers ” by Prefab Sprout ( ‘perfect’ Pop! )

  • * The Death of Free Speech & Comment ( Mark Thomas )

    Check out comedy ‘activist’ Mark Thomas’s ‘new’ website cum’ news blog eg. ‘ markthomasinfo.co.uk, yeah you’ll confirm its kinda got a nice design n’ looks good!. Don’t be over enthusiastic with the ‘comments’ though, ‘cos’ like myself you may find yourself ‘blocked’, & like myself after a ‘relativey’ few of ones own ‘satirically’ discursive jibes ( *Nb. not extreme vitriolic stuff, no ‘serious’ insults intended! Just a few genuine ‘reflective’ responses to issues raised in ‘his’ blog articles! n’ ok a little bit of tongue in cheek leg pulling ).

    There are 6 or 7 blog ‘categories’ cum’ themed articles, downloaded onto Thomas’s site, I’ve commented under 4 or 5 of them. The most recent was under the blog article titled ” Cuckooed in New York ”. I simply made 2 ‘brief’ replies, was about to add ‘a further note’ this morning to those ‘short’ paragraph comments ( not all my ‘responses’ are short, in truth fully considered ‘opinion’ can’t necessarily always be that i.e. the Blog authors desired length! ) to find my words rejected & that ”comments have now been closed” ( * Nb. the 2nd time now I’ve experienced this kind of thing, the other on a StreetPerformers Blog in Bath, the so called ‘ Diary of a Musician ‘ )

    The comment I refer to here was in response to a blog ‘article’ by Thomas promoting an up & coming show of his in New York, my first response was titled ” The New York Show ( Congratulations! ) ” a fairly inocuous snipe at the ideas of Sayyid Qutb. Here is the 2nd Comment ( still on the blogsite ), followed by the ‘intended’ further notes.

    * On Being Cuckoo’ed ( the solution! )

    In terms of ‘global’ politic, the solution to not being cuckoo’ed as a human race? Well its time to face up to the challenge of Human personality, the flaws of greed, pride ( & indeed those couplet ‘weaknesses’, that laziness of thought & complacency that often goes with it! ). That plus importantly the nature of ‘power’ & the ‘subjugation’ of people by means no other than religion ( a ‘wrathful’ God & his representatives ) & consequently ‘fear’ of the most extreme & terrible forms of imaginable violence!.

    Nb

    See ‘Gangsterism’ as the ‘secular’ variant to the above.

    Edit

    * Further Notes ( my intended ones that is! )

    ” Some Philosophers ( &/or philosophical commentators for that matter ) eg, Jean-Jacques Rousseau have touted the use of ‘religion’ as a useful political tool in bringing about the common good. Echoes of Ancient Greek Philosopher Plato here who infamously justified ‘rulers’ eg. politicians, philosopher kings etc, lying to the people to bring about the ultimate value that is – The Good!.

    We all know ( us Westerners, Europeans that is ) the popular argument bandied around by religous pundits that the ‘new’ testament & its message of love ( the philosophy & ideas of Jesus Christ – Son of God! ) transcends the ‘old’ i.e. Old Testament.

    What I argue for here is that whether its love or hate being preached by ‘religion’ ( eg. Theism in all its forms! ), today in our contemporary world this sort of cultural practice should be shunned ( another idea prevalent these days in our part of the world! ) whilst simultaneously viewed as an ‘outmoded’, old fashioned concept by the ‘wise’ general public. In turn quite logically ‘religous’ means should be rejected outright as a political tool by todays ‘rulers’.

    Despite what they tell you, today’s politicians eg. Old Etonian PM David Cameron ( an avowed Christian Evangelists See Guardian Article ” David Cameron I Am Evangelical About Christian Faith ” 16/4/14 ) & his tory Ministers eg. one time Education Minister Michael Gove with his insistance on placing ‘religion’ at the heart of the ‘national’ curriculum, The Church is not the source of our ‘morality’ these days ( perhaps in many ‘real’ ways it never really was! ) ‘natural’ human common-sense is!. Plus theres the real ‘truth’ – a social fact! i.e. nobody goes to Church on Sundays anymore, not in ‘enlightened’ country’s like England any way.

    No I say to all this ‘old-fashioned’ nonsense plus I argue that ‘religion’ be seen an ‘outmoded’ social instituion in general, no longer ( if ever ) justified as a manipulative political tool serving any brand of ‘self-interest’. Whether promoting love or hate what ‘religion’ ultimately means is denial of this the natural ‘real’ world, zeal in the destruction of the ‘authentic’ self, an ‘artificial’ life in the spiritual bubble & no less the semi-comotose existence of a herd of evil benign cowmunchers.

    PS

    Please pass these ideas, values, contentions & ‘new’ beliefs onto the rest of the world!. ”

    • * Further Notes ( An image in time! )

      Everything But The Girl – Love is here where I live ( Official Video )

      • *Nb

        A wonderful & rhythmically poised pop song containing some ‘humanly’ divine lyrics & much womanly wisdom & natural ‘common-sense’ i.e. honest feeling, sensation & reason, experience, knowledge & understanding!.

        • *Nb 2

          The ‘opening’ lines popular religious folk imagery used in a subtley wry & ironic way. ( paying homage to our linguistic culture whilst at the same time discarding it, throwing it away ).

          Holistically, a song wrapped up in a language of pure pop poetry, yes a classic ‘modern’ ballad, a ‘model’. Beautiful!.

          • * Nb 3

            Ok a qualifying statement ( edit insert ) ” well as beautiful as pop music, as an art form, can ever ‘truly’ be i.e. the closest it can come to real poetry! ”.

          • New Powers ( & the spontaneous ‘busking’ order! )

            To back up the ‘proper’ working of the ‘spontaneous’ order with regards busking ( see above ) I propose that some ‘new’ formal powers may help in the process eg. thru’ the introduction of ‘on-the-spot’ noise volume decibel reading in ‘desgnated’ areas i.e. if Buskers play over the publicly ‘agreed’ volume limit then as performers they are warned by the ‘public’ authority, then if they persist to play too loudly, then asked to ‘switch’ off their ‘amps’ etc & move on! etc etc!.

          • * Please note, not only a ‘London’ solution but a ‘national’ solution to noise ‘volume’ problems – & one of the fairest ways ( not only effective proposed methods! ) to keep spontaneous busking alive on our streets today! ( & give the ‘public’ authorities actually something worthwhile to do! ).

          • Impt ( Presevation of ‘artistic’ moral/aesthetic choice incl. setting of ‘volume’ levels! )

            I stress ‘ these new powers’ to be used in strictly designated areas, & in agreement with ‘all’ buskers. So impt to avoid the unnecessary, over-beauracratic, stifling of creativity ( incl ‘personal’ judgement & ‘free’ will or artistic ‘moral’ choice with regards the setting of personal ‘volume’ levels! )

  • * The Death Of Morality ( or ‘moral’ relativism! )

    Yes take heed, but don’t worry, don’t unduly panic, cos’ heres some more ‘womanly’ wisdom ( & hopefully light! ) this time on the tricky ‘modern’ question of ‘moral’ relativism & for some the ‘problem’ that is the death of morality!.

    Theres much to love ( & indeed fascinate one ) about Philospher Mary Warnock ( both ‘Atheist’ & Anglican i.e. regular churchgoer! ). Heres, Mary at her typical best, with a retort to Jean Paul Sartres notion of ‘absolute’ freedom, I quote;

    ” Well, honestly, when you get up for breakfast in the morning, what would you ‘choose’, Scrambled Egg or coal? ”
    ( Mary Warnock, Philosopher )

    I know you can’t help but both love & ‘admire’ this woman!. You know with a statement like this you can’t escape the fact that ‘morality’ is afterall rooted in what can only be described as ‘organic’ common-sense!.

    • * Nb

      Thus spake Helen Mary Warnock!

      DBE, FBA, FMedSci
      British Philosopher of morality, education & mind
      Writer on Existentialism
      Mistress of Girton College Cambridge
      Honorary D.Litt Degree Uni of Bath
      Dame Commander, Baroness of the city of Westminster, Life Peer until ‘retirement’ in the House of Lords

      plus Mother of 2 sons & 3 daughters by Geoffrey Warnock Vice Chancellor of Oxford University.

      • * Nb 2

        Perhaps her ‘lesser’ achievments!

        • The DBE, FBA that is …honorary Peership in the House of Lords!.

          • Ooh I love Mary Warnock. My kind of woman this, ‘introvert’, intelligent yeah ‘naturally’ shy!. Not a bad looker too, a very attractive combinination of ‘idiosyncratic’ beauty & ‘organic’ health i.e. naturally body fit.

            She may not ever have managed a 250 pounds bench press but I reckon she could have done 20 or 30 pull-ups on the living room door frame when she was younger ( 91 years of age today bytheway! ). Plus 100 press-ups & 15 pistol squats on each leg, putting most ‘men’ I’ve ever known to shame!

          • Serious study of the life of this both ‘interesting’ & inspiring woman will pay-off for both genders. Guaranteed to transform a sad man with a van into a proud man with a plan ( and in the not too distant future a Ferrari, Porsche ‘turbo’ to match! ).

          • Ok 2 ‘nobel’ prize winning books & ‘few’ holiday’s each year in Florence, ‘Paris’ & Provence!.

          • In the meantime I must dash, currently got a view of the London Eye in front of me, ‘n the Freud Bots are comin’, just caught a glimpse of the uniform. Can’t be anything I’ve played, must be something I’ve said!…..

            Real Life or Imagination? Fiction or Non-Fiction ? A ‘reliable’ & accurate representation of my ‘personal’ experience (s), I reply. As for the ‘concrete’ verisimilitude of this extract, I think I’ll leave you guessing, for now!.

          • ….Approaching ‘portside’, ready to dock, but lock n’ load, cos here they come. Yeah, ‘the Freud bots’ are after me again!.

          • Then as if in a dream ( or is it really just a beautiful apparition! ) – a ‘strange’ rescue!

          • Actually its a regular ( a regular Busker that is! ) who has turned up on the spot. Seems shes already booked the spot, a week ago to be precise, to sing Xmas carols.

            Ah Well, every story has a happy ending, here we go, ( both guitars pulled out! ) all together now, ‘ Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, Oh what fun…….

            You know what, seems like a nice girl, ( & got a natural instinct for ‘harmony’, without me telling her she holds back whilst I play the ‘solo’ instrumental. Rhythm & rhymes like a Parisian Chorus Girl! ) might give her a lift home later!

          • Back to reality! ( en route to the London Eye! ) , ” the ‘FreudBots’ are comin’ , the FreudBots are after me again …”. Or is this too merely a dream fantasy? Perhaps the ‘paranoid’ rantings of a ‘street’ madman?.

            Sadly no, this is the harsh reality of ‘mainstream’ culture in Britain today. Lowly aspiration to a genuinely intuitive ‘gypsy’ street entertainment, nevermind high art & ‘truly’ open expression, cruelly, quite ruthlessly kept down!.

          • Quite naturally, I’m a man with a plan ( & this man ain’t for turning! )

          • Thanks Mary!

          • And to all ‘you’ other would be ‘life philosophers’, planners, cassandras, & would be Moses – Wet Dreams !

          • And in the words of that ole’ Devil California singersongwriter Miguel

            ” Cos I’m comin’ for yer babe, comin’
            for yer babe, I’m gonna ride that
            wave, ride that wave, I’m comin’
            for yer babe, yeah comin’ for yer
            babe, yeah gonna ride that wave ”.
            ( Miguel, ‘Wave’ )

          • Of course the Devil does’nt really exist, a bit like Jesus, you know theres no real concrete ‘evidence’ that he really existed either!

          • Southbank Whingers ( the Jesus People! )

            Of course it comes as no surprise that the biggest ‘whingers’ this time of year eg. Xmas, are ‘the Jesus Freaks’ ( Nb from my observations the Busking type currently dominating Londons Southbank ).

            I’ve already spoken of ‘firebrand’ Emily Lee & her seasonal ‘disppearance’ i.e. too cold for her! ( See above ) but what of those other brides of Christ eg Charlotte Campbell, Susana Silva?.

            Whilst Campbell seems to be trying her usual zealous ( if a little zany! ) best ( albeit for some she the kids presenter from Hell, Zippie’s little helper, a kind of ‘entertainer’ cum human elfin! ) with an xmas carol or two, I have to say cheer up Silva ( Hosanna Susana! ), afterall I thought you’d found Jesus?.

            Her Xmas video on Facebook ( Susana Silva Music ) is the most dour of viewings, in fact I’d rather watch the Queens Speech after Top of the Pops. Goin’ on about how hard its been this year, how next year she’s going to get out of the black etc ( moan! moan! moan! ).

            She claims on her MTV page profile that she got her ‘ gift from God’. I say thats shes very lucky to have such vocal tone & would do well to stop whinging & make the best of it. If she worked a bit harder she would indeed have a gift eg. the voice of Maria Callas, Mafalda Arnauth, Barbara Streisand.

            Ironic, all this talk about God & his gifts, also so boring, so morally ‘frustrating’ , cos’ if it was’nt for her ‘religous’ mutterings & ‘confused’ spiritual meanderings I’d say she was a ‘natural’!.

            Byethway on your video ( christmas message ) you talk of 2 polarities those celebrating it as Jesus’ day & those simply out to party. Big gap in your thinking tho’ here luvvy, a touch too black & white!.

            Never heard of Charles Dickens? Check him out on Wiki ( better still switch off the Bond Movie & read one of his books! ) cos’ it was him that invented it. So cheer up, catch a mince pie, take a sip of mulberry wine, take a look out of the attic flat window as you await the arrival of your first dinner guests/friends, & gaze onto that ‘festive’ London street. See no smog!.

          • PS

            Now sing it, altogether now, ” Meu Fado Meu! ” ( after Xmas lunch! )

          • Feeling a little exhuberant now? Then its time to put on the latest YouTube video by London ‘street’ eccentrics ‘Jazz Mino and Natalia’ n’ start dancing around the living room with yer friends/guests.

            Reaching a climax with this years No 1 by fiddleplayer/singer Natalia Wierzbicka eg. – Second Chance ( Shinedown Cover ). Merry Xmas you party pickers you, ” bytheway cum on lets open up another botte, ‘red’ please! ”.

          • * The South Bank Set-up ( & Other Chicanery ! )

            Once you reach Londons iconic busking spot by the Thames its easy to see why the ‘regular’ street entertainers can get down ( & depressed! ) – you arrive loaded down with trolley & equipment only to face a 2hr wait.

            Yes the South Banks ‘queueing system’ leaves a lot to be desired & can leave you feeling down, very down, if not isolated, lonely & ‘vulnerable’ too. The ‘pressing’ predicament is that even if you do manage to stave off recruitment into the local Jesus Cult to stave off the misery, the loneliness, you may find yourself tempted by other forms of busking chicanery.

            You see you find not only the Jesus People here amongst street entertainers on the SouthBank but also ‘followers’ ( ”follow the follower” thats the game that prevails here! ) of that other street ‘earth’ Mother philosophy which if not quite popular has come to the fore in recent years.

            I won’t state outright the title of the book or should I say ‘alternative’ street Bible ( or is it compatable? ) here, but I will say that the author ( authoress? ) claims to have metamorphosied the simple act of ‘asking’ into an art! ( if fact this is her ‘new’ philosophy ‘ the art of asking ! )

            I have’nt purchased the book but I do know the author does claim to offer very useful ‘advice’ for the Street Entertainer & Busker. Very practical methods too, if for no other reason than she managed to raise a ‘million bucks’ in a month using ‘simple’ internet marketing tools ( I guess originally charity techniques ) such as ‘crowdfunding’ etc.

            Her book certainly raises some important issues for me eg. Q. The Art of Asking or good ole fashioned ‘ Theres a Sucker Born Every Minute’ ?
            Or Q. How to exploit the ordinary ‘everyday’ goodwill of people ie. take advantage of ‘natural’ human generosity?. I guess the answer depends on your point of view ( ‘moral’ opinion that is! ).

            It kinda reminds me of tho’ of why I got into busking ( street entertainment ) in the first place i.e. not to become a travelling ‘medicine’ show, confidence trickster nor snake-oil salesman thats for sure.

            ( Nb. The Author or should I say authoress claims to have drawn upon her experience as a street Statue with regards the ‘revelations’ featured in her book. She talks of – rather patronisingly! – of providing the public with the opportunity for ‘connection’, I’m guessing this is her ‘sales’ point!.

            I can only laugh at such a supposition, for example I look at the Robot statues ( & ‘levitation’ acts ) that populate our town & city-centres today & I say that the main point of street ‘connect’ these days is between these Star Wars Characters & yg children eg 4 or 5 year old kids. A great source of ‘passing’ amusement for them & their parents!

            So indeed yes, from a current High Street Point of view you could say that her ‘advice’ is already out of date
            ( a Publishers nightmare! ) however for me the notion of an ‘art’ statue standing there with flowers in hand on the ‘high’ street was always a ‘pretentious’ idea, a rather flowery concept from the off! )

            Back on the SouthBank, I stand alone, only to gaze in wonder at the marvelous sights around me. I ask myself Q. Why don’t more people ( incl Street Artists & Performers ) take more in & more notice of ‘the wonders of Science’ ?. Look around & you see such architectural icons as the London Bridge, the London Eye, even the banks of the river Thames are a great ‘engineering’ feat & if you look, ‘seriously’ look, very much a sight to see.

            Perhaps the truth ( albeit ‘tragic’! ) is that science is simply too difficult for them, or is it that to turn away from ( deny even! ) the beauty & wonder that is science & the ‘real’ world around us, sadly represents that kind of very poor ‘habit’ picked up from early schooling by many of us. A kind of ‘programmed’ ( encultured ) intellectual human ‘recoil’ that in turn brings with it, its own kind of mental, spiritual nevemind ‘material’ deprivation.

            No it seems, they’d rather turn to ( run to! ) star-gazing & other fanciful ( tho’ not necessarily as awe-inspiring & beautiful! ) ‘imaginary’ philosophies; Gaia springs to mind or what is becoming a fairly common contemporary school of thought, that ‘sister’ eschatological system eg. world apocalypse!.

          • Nb

            Echoing the words ( tho’ maybe not the style ) of the art critic n’ Poet Baudillaire, & his comments on the ‘art-scene’ of early 19th Century Paris, I say most of todays Buskers are like ‘spoiled’ children!.

          • Oh style!, aghh for some literary panache, ‘voice’ gallant, how I long for some kind of health, wealth, work, ‘earth’ balance too !.

          • In the words of an old French Chanson ” Ne Me Quitte Pas ” ( Edith Piaf )

          • But as for that all too pervasive kind of ‘busking’ culture that I see glimpses of on the SouthBank, the ‘dominant’ way amongst more than a few ‘self’ prominant performers who regularly ‘situate’ themselves there. Its a ‘clear’ case of Wrong Attitude – completely the wrong attitude !.

            I sense ( & indeed ‘spot’ ) a kind of thinking, ‘negative’ value, yes ‘distorted’ ethos that points in only one direction, that ‘rationally’ can only lead in one direction i.e. Bedlam!. Q. The London SouthBank Busking Scene & what it represents to me i.e. an ‘experienced’ Street Performer of sorts , from another town & with an ‘alternative’ perspective? A. The Road to Bedlam!
            ( from The SouthBank Scene or The Road To Bedlam! )

          • But then what do you expect ? We are living in a world where even ‘success’ ( i.e. not just climbing ) is a charade !.

  • * Rememberance of Christmas Past ( Leicester Square! )

    A busking campadre of mine, made £300 last week busking in Leicester Square. The place heaving with Xmas Shoppers I’m told, & positively responsive to the ‘quality’ public entertainment that can be found there this time of year.

    I hear Birmingham busking Diva, Esther Turner, too was out last week, on a ‘flying’ visit to London. On her own journey of discovery no doubt, in the in the very same spot & location. And who say’s the streets of London are no longer paved with gold? The good times resurrected I say!.

    • *Nb

      Now Esthers got the kind of smile that can ‘genuinely’ light up a room ( a bar, a restaurant, a cafe, for that matter a whole street! ). Love or loath her music ( I find what she does, kinda charming, kinda endearing!, ok I’m a big kid at heart, call me Pooh Bear if you will!. )

      There again perhaps it is just ‘her’, her ‘artistic’ approach would have some serious drawbacks for me!. Anyway!, when this performer turns up, she simply just brightens up the day, yes shes quite capable of brightening the whole day!.

      • *Nb 2

        Of course she was’nt always like this, only 2 years ago this rather pleasant, endearing yg woman was a teenage goth from hell. Boy! ( as any drained & tethered father will now doubt tell you! ) what a difference a ‘few’ years can make!.

        • * Nb 3

          And today, what of today?

          • Esther Turner ( the ‘new’ Becky
            Sharp? )

            Byethway Busking Bobby protege & ex busking hubby of Tony Scott ( Bhams very own Bluebeard! ) Esther Turner ( from Birmingham, well ‘Halesowen to be correct & yes there is a difference! ) is playing down in London’s Leicester Square these days,& out promoting her soon to be released first ‘single’ Close! no doubt.

            What with some rather out of character ‘bookish’ references to Thackerays ‘comic’ classic Vanity Fair cd this be the event of something fresh & new in ‘Turners’ itinerary of verse & lyric. In fact word is out on the street ( & amongst A&R , industry ‘scouts’! ) that what we cd have here is the ‘new’ Becky Sharp!.

          • * Please note that this ‘comment’ is re-printed ( ‘re-surrected’ ) under the Exeter Blog ( the 2nd one! )

          • * Further Notes. Please recognise of course that in ‘reality’ Turner indeed cd simply be a yes ‘ambitous’ but yg, very ‘talented’, up & coming musician courageously trying to make it today in the very capital ( the ‘urban’ centre ) of that predatory ‘jungle’ that is the pop industry!

            Either that or as willing ( & conscientious ) ‘independant’ Artist or more accurately voraciously ‘struggling’ pop artist that is! ( she is! ).

          • And very ‘popular’ on the streets too, amongst ok not exactly Londons ‘in-crowd’ but the every-day crowd of shoppers, tourists, passersbye, i.e. not City ‘elites’!.

          • * A Beautiful Mind

            Byetheway check out Esther Turners ‘cover’ of the Hattie Briggs song – ” A Beautiful Mind ” ( I think you’ll agree she manages to bring out the subtle ‘nuances’ & contours of this lovely piece of music pretty well ! ) .

  • * Death of the Arts? ( The German Xmas Markets Up North! )

    Esthers an ‘in-demand’ kind o’ Busker of today alright, tis’ both true ( & interesting! ). But turning ones attention to that other temple of of mass n’ popular culture eg. the German Xmas Market in Birmingham…

    Surprise surprise, after an hour of playing ‘Jingle Bells ‘ etc last Sunday afternoon & relatively not making that much money, I ‘spontaneously’ switch to playing a ‘new’ piece I’ve been working on i.e. ‘El Diablo Suelto’ by Heraclio Fernandez & yeah!, the money starts dropping into the case in droves.

    Its South American Art Cafe Guitar played during English Winter time , ok the ‘folk’ syncopated rhythm has its ‘natural’ popular appeal, & I’m standing up performing ( i.e. serenade style! ) very popular with the ladies.

    But you would’nt guess the biggest vibe feeding back to me at this time of year? Yep, just as I ‘intuited’, theres a very real & ‘deep’ hunger for Art & Culture that still exists ( persists! ) today amongst the general British Public. That plus an honest ‘romantic’ yearning for the ‘higher’ kind of consciousness that goes with it!.

    I’m not religious, not cynicaly commercially driven, & not even particularly ‘family’ orientated these days but I have to say that its both a ‘individual’ pleasure & a kind of blessing this time of year to be able to perform as a kind of cultural conduit, middleman, representative ( I am still learning! ) of some of the most creative & imaginative human minds of the past few centuries. Whilst in turn being able to pass on so much joy ( albeit transient ) & interest ( albeit on passing ) to so many others. Wonderful!.

    • * Nb 2

      In the spirit of one of the most ‘creative’ minds of the 19th Century i.e. Charles Dickens ( perhaps one of the greatest ‘imaginative’ spirits this country has produced, alongside Shakespeare of course ) its could be time to hit the South Bank, London, ‘myself’ with some Xmas Tunes.

      Of course like the Bard, Dickens was a great Humanist, a generous ( albeit ‘flawed’ ) human being, a man with great heart & warmth & I state again that its as a ‘Romantic’, an ‘idealist’ like Dickens that I go out this time of year with a book of yuletide arrangements under my arm. Its simply the most certain way, most assured method of lifting the Winter smog this time of year!.

      • * Nb 3

        Of course, as an ‘aspiring’ Artist, I like to take a risk!.

        • And yeah!, not just for the music, the art, but to ‘break out of the bubble’ & in the ‘process’ potentially meet other ‘would’ be Artists. Extending both ‘character’ & consciousness on the way to ‘reaching’ the very highest levels of ‘life’ awareness, the higest point on the journey, the highest of consciousness i.e. the self-realistion that there is ‘no’ God.

          Thats right no great fantastic Being, Deity or other supernatural phenomenom responsible for all this, nor running the show. Then who or what? you may ask what is the answer?, the answer being well something(s) else, the ‘truth’ simply being we do not exactly know!.

          No Gods tho’ something more ‘natural’ than that ( tho’ this is not Pantheism ) the ‘evidence’ contained within the statement ” Have you not lived?” ” taking aside the fact of war, 9 million children die every month, of disease, malnutrition, their parents prayers ‘not’ answered! ” ( this is not Agnosticism either! ).

          • ” We have to talk about liberating minds
            as well as liberating society ”
            ( Angela Davis )

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