KSL Official Consultation Response to Newcastle City Council’s Authoritarian PSPO Proposal

KSL Official Consultation Response to Newcastle City Council’s Authoritarian PSPO Proposal


Newcastle City Council’s attack on street culture


Please sign our petition against Labour-led Newcastle City Council’s proposals to make it a criminal offence to busk anywhere in the city after 8pm and to fine beggars up to £1000 and give them a criminal record as well as making it a criminal offence to raise funds for charity too ‘assertively’.

In 2015 Newcastle City Council published a document entitled ‘Vision for Culture’ which had the ambition of creating a city buzzing with creative spirit, offering opportunities for everyone to play their part in creating our culture – continuing to make ours one of the most vibrant cities in Europe. This laudable ambition jars with an authoritarian proposal that would make it a criminal offence to play music or sing songs anywhere on the streets of Newcastle after 8pm, despite clear evidence that buskers make the streets safer and less alienating places, especially at night when genuine antisocial behaviour such as physical violence is much more likely.

What can be done?

The Keep Streets Live Campaign exists to advocate for public spaces that are open to informal offerings of art and music and other community uses. We are against measures that criminalise destitute and marginalised people, and believe that Newcastle’s plans, whatever the council’s underlying motivation, will have a devastating impact upon some of the most vulnerable people in society, whilst also criminalising important cultural activities such as busking. The council are running an online consultation about the proposals which closes on February 8thand it is vitally important that as many people as possible complete the consultation and inform the council that these draconian and authoritarian measures do not have public support.

You can complete the online consultation on the council website here:


We have completed our submission to the consultation and are publishing our responses below for the public record. Please feel free to use our responses as a reference/guide when you complete your submission. It clearly explains the reasons why we are opposed to this PSPO.

If you can, please take a few minutes and complete this consultation, it will make a big difference, and your voice does matter.

KSL Official Response to Consultation 

  1. What do you think of the first set of potential things covered in the PSPO? Please tell us your comments on begging:


I am the founder and the director of the Keep Streets Live Campaign, a not for profit company which exists to advocate for public spaces which are open to the arts and other community uses. We are opposed to the use of a PSPO in its entirety in Newcastle because the powers are too wide-ranging and open to misuse. We will indicate separately why we oppose each different aspect of the PSPO in each section, Including begging in the PSPO will impact the poorest and most vulnerable members of society in a disproportionate and manifestly unjust way. The vast majority of people who beg are highly vulnerable and often destitute and are reduced to begging in order to obtain food and shelter. The proposal would mean that a person sat down, without causing any issues to any other person, could face a criminal fine of up to £1000 and a court action which would, in itself, be costly and would in no meaningful way change their behaviour because they would now have a fine that they could not possibly pay, as well as a criminal record which would cause them to be more marginalised and isolated from society. Additionally begging is already illegal under the 1824 Vagrancy Act which gives the police ample powers to seek to prosecute persons for begging if it was deemed to be in the public interest. Instead of giving an enormous range of new delegated powers to council officials which could see a large number of fixed penalty notices given to people with no ability to pay them and a resultant rise in costly magistrate’s court hearings and the mixing up of vulnerable people in the criminal justice system, the council and the police should focus purely on the small minority of people who combine begging with genuinely aggressive and intimidating behaviour and use existing legislation to target those individuals rather than creating a new criminal offence.

 2.) Please give us your views on assertive or aggressive (commercial or charity) collection or soliciting for money on the street (this is sometimes called ‘chugging’):

Once again the wording of this prohibition is dangerously vague and open-ended and creates a potentially ambiguous criminal offence of ‘assertive’ charity collection. What objective standard of ‘assertiveness’ or ‘aggressiveness’ is being proposed to evaluate an offence which carries a criminal record and fines of up to £1000? Why is existing public order legislation such as the Public Order Act 1986 which created the offence of causing ‘alarm, harassment or distress’ insufficient to address a situation where there were concerns about the approach of a charity collector? What standard of evidence will be used to establish that this ‘offence’ has occurred? This has been poorly thought through and is most probably unlawful, and would be open to legal challenge.

3.) Please give us your views on busking after 8PM

All mention of busking should be removed from the PSPO.

The Live Music Act 2012, introduced to support the UK cultural economy and promote live music allows for unlicensed performances of live music between 8am and 11pm. The proposal to make busking after 8pm unlawful in Newcastle city centre creates a totally unnecessary and arbitrary criminal offence which will affect the cultural life of the city and puts Newcastle’s regulatory approach at odds with well established norms across the United Kingdom. Busking in the evening creates a sense of colour, atmosphere and place in cities and makes the streets safer. People who walk alone on city streets in the evening report that buskers make them feel safer and make places more welcoming. Additionally there is a wide array of existing legislation such as the Environmental Protection Act 1990 that can be used to address noise nuisance, regardless of the time of day or night. Including busking after 8pm on the PSPO would mean that a busker could be committing a criminal offence just for playing after 8pm, even if no nuisance has been caused to any person and no complaints have been made. This is an arbitrary and perverse outcome and will undermine respect for the rule of law. Newcastle City Council should work alongside the Musician’s Union the Keep Streets Live Campaign to introduce new guidance for busking, designed to promote good practise for buskers regardless of the time of day, and set out clear guidance for resolving disputes amicably. This has been and is being done successfully in Liverpool, York, Chester, Canterbury, Birmingham and elsewhere.

4. Please give us your views on continuing the existing on-street alcohol ban:

Whilst the proposed powers could in theory apply to a young couple who had bought a bottle of Prosecco for an impromptu summer picnic on the green, these powers could easily be and will most probably be used to target vulnerable and marginalised persons, such as homeless or vulnerably housed persons, or people with mental health problems. Whilst no one could reasonably object to a person facing enforcement action if their behaviour causes alarm, harassment or distress to others, this measure, in contrast allows council officers to target people solely on the basis that they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe that they will use an intoxicating substance within the PSPO area. This power would allow officers to seize legally purchased and unopened bottles containing alcohol, even if the person wasn’t drinking the alcohol at the time. As such, it is an unwarranted interference with the personal freedoms of individuals. Also there is no clear mechanism for an officer to establish beyond doubt that a so-called intoxicating substance has not been obtained lawfully and for a lawful, medicinal purpose. The PSPO creates a blanket power which is open to potential misuse. It would be better for the council and the police to focus upon known individuals whose actual behaviour is having a detrimental impact on the local community. These known individuals could be targeted rather than a blanket power which applies to every person, even if their behaviour is having no detrimental impact on any person.

5. Please give us your views on the taking, sale and / or provision of NPS (new psychoactive substances, sometimes called ‘legal highs’):

See above (4) for main response.

In addition, national legislation on this issue is coming into effect this year which the PSPO, at best, duplicates without the safeguards contained in the Act of Parliament.


 6.) Are there other things you would like to see included in a PSPO that you feel are detrimental to the quality of life for residents or people visiting Newcastle? Please give us your views:


7.) Do you have any other comments about this?

The Keep Streets Live Campaign believes that the use of Public Space Protection Orders is fundamentally problematic because they are open to misuse and create a high risk of criminalising vulnerable people unnecessarily. They create arbitrary new criminal offences from activities that are not, in themselves, harmful, and are, in fact, often beneficial such as ‘busking after 8pm’. They allow council officers and PCSOs to hand out Fixed Penalty Notices on the spot, removing due process and meaning that, a destitute and homeless person fined for begging for example, could end up in a magistrate’s court with a fine they cannot hope to pay, trapping them further into a cycle of deprivation and criminalisation. In addition, the PSPO duplicates existing laws by including offences that are already illegal under existing legislation. This is unnecessary and counterproductive. The council should not implement a PSPO in Newcastle and should, instead, focus on known individuals whose are causing persistent antisocial behaviour and take targeted enforcement action against those persons using existing legislation. With regards to busking and chugging the council should work alongside buskers, professional bodies such as the Musician’s Union to develop a code of practise which establishes clear guidelines and expectations for harmonious relations in the city. 

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

176 Comments on "KSL Official Consultation Response to Newcastle City Council’s Authoritarian PSPO Proposal"

  • Derek Gough says

    Perhaps you so called councillors should try living rough by sleeping where you can for at least a month before you Ho mm making any decisions regarding homeless people or indeed people busking on streets. If you care to look at some very famous people who have busked on the streets before they become famous you may be surprised. At the end of the day no one in their right mind would wants to be homeless if they had a choice.

    • About 10 years ago I spent more than a few months ‘homeless’ & sleeping in a tent, in a ‘field’ ( Sandwell Valley – a greenbelt/nature reserve in North Bham! ).

      Believe me Derek ‘a normal’ ( authentic ) person who esp. thru’ genuine ‘misfortune’ ( or injustice! ) finds themselves out in the cold, sleeping rough will ‘naturally’ & quite instinctively do everything they can not only to ‘survive’ but to ‘actively’ ‘escape’ that situation!.

      My ‘strategy’ of ;active; survival was pretty straightforward 1. foraging for food ( eg, ‘local’ supermarket bins, cake shops etc ) 2 Tapping ‘backyard’ Water 3. A job ( in my case temp’ work on the ‘twilight’ shift at a local Steel Factor – Steel Fabrication Firm to be exact!. )

      It was by getting access to some ‘money’ that I was then able to get some ‘temporary’ lodgings!. ( Nb the most ‘painful’ part of this experience byetheway was not indeed the living outdoors but an ‘accident’ at the Steel Firm where I nearly lost a finger on the power press! ).

      Forget Councillors Derek, I can tell you from honest ‘personal’ experience that many of the so called ‘homeless’ ( the seemingly ‘helpless’ variety! ) are not that at all ( despite often very ‘persuasive’ appearances! ), what they are in fact are ‘malingerers’ ( some of them very clever ones at that! ).

      The most important ‘moral’ lesson you can learn about ‘homelessness’ is to learn to distinguish between what can be called the ‘geniune’ & the ‘disingenuine’, believe me I’ve found this distinction to be a valid one!. I’ve also found that it is the ‘genuine’ category that tends to get overlooked by both public & media.

      You see the 400,000 ‘hidden’ homeless in this country ‘sofa-surfing, living in sub-standard accomodation, living in hostels are neither by virtue of their ‘hiddenness’ deemed an ‘urgent’ priority by politicians nor such a ‘glamourous’ option ( i.e ‘dramatic’! ) news item as apparantly menacing ‘drug addicts’, or alcholics by the press!

      • Society has no ‘moral’ obligation towards ‘malingers’ learn to distinguish between them & the ‘genuine’ homeless & then maybe a ‘truly’ fair policy ( & set of ‘workable’ just priorities emerge. )

        Our minds are so ‘programmed’ to think poor, unfortunate victim whenever the word ‘homeless’ is brought up or mentioned. I’ve experienced ‘homelessness’ in its various guises more a ‘few’ times in my life & I implore you to take a look at the ‘complex’ picture ( its not black & white, a fact that should’nt be swept aside in the name of practical common-sense & ‘justice’ if nothing else! ).

        You’ll find I’m sure that the kind of ‘homelessness’ policy solution required for eg. sofa-surfers etc will be very different ( on ‘moral’ grounds ) to the kind of just solution with regards long-term ‘drug’ addicts, alcoholics & the like.

        Economics is alos a very serious issue here, the ‘money’ available a great limiter on what we can really do ‘priority-wise’ in terms of funding full-scale ‘re-habilitation’ schemes etc, thats why we’ve also got to be very ‘creative’ in our social problem-solving too!.

        • Please believe me Derek, I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet on this whole issue, just blow the whistle! ( & not in some ‘phony’ grande expose fashion either, just attempting to give a little ‘toot’ in the right ‘moral’ direction! ).

          • Unlike many ‘actual’ Whistle-blowers I know ( out there on the streets, right now! ) & I hope this does’nt go un-noticed!, ‘I’ will actually try & vary the tune a little bit, better still provide a ‘wholly’ complete set of ‘well learned’ tunes!.

          • For further points, argument, & if not always actual discussion certainly insightful ‘comment’ reply See Below. Remember the Devil is in the detail ! .

  • Phil Underwood says

    Hi Jonny I have completed the survey with comments opposing the PSPO proposals.

    • Jonny says

      Thanks Phil!

      • Street People as Malingerers ? ( &/or malingerers in life ? )

        Or if the ‘term’ Malingerer to describe ‘many’ of those on the streets is a little too harsh then more ‘objectively’ ( more accurately? ) looking at these ‘groups’ as being composed of otherwise ‘alright’ people who have happened to get ‘hooked’ on substances. ( or indeed people ‘prone’ to addictions )

        The thing is being an ‘addictive’ personality type still does’nt get you off the ‘moral’ hook tho & it must be ‘faced’ & owned up to that this kind of behaviour ( ‘personal’ drugs practice! ) tho’ at core ‘motivated’ by merely self-centred ( self ‘orientated’ ) drives & ‘desires’ has its ‘unintended’ social consequences & no they’re are most definitely ‘not’ good ! .

        Thats the problem with straightforward human ‘flaws’ ( not necessarily malicious acts of ‘conscious’ callousness! ) they tend to ‘blind’ one, render a person, an individual, totally ‘ignorant’ of what they do, particulary in terms of that which is ‘outside’ themselves, other people, wider society !.

        Again if the use of the term ‘malingerer’ comes across as a little extreme, indeed outright ‘suspect’ to some ( ‘intelligent’ casual Readers, ‘poltical’ activists etc ) particularly in the ‘context’ of our consumer capitalist ‘hierarchical’ society & the fact that ‘many’ individuals ( ‘energetic’ ones even ) for various reasons wd not want to work for The Man & justifiably. I further argue that rather than jettison the ‘word’ altogther, lets recognise its still important ‘value’ as a ‘useful’ term to decribe the actual ‘human-conditon’ of certain ‘street’ folk ( &/or ‘escape’ artists !) & the ‘realities’ of their wider predicament .

        In this sense, if not ‘malingerers’ in the common-sense of the word i.e. in the work-place, or ‘jobs’ market eg. slackers, idlers, layabouts, shirkers, then ” malingerers in life ”, yes they ( street folk et al ) being malingerers in life ( a healthy, ‘meaningful’, happy life !. ) .

        • Prophecy

          But what if some ‘individuals’ did manage to wake-up, more conscious of the ‘pitifulness’ of their condition, to their ‘fate’ as a ‘stronger’, more steadfast, ‘directed’ human being ? .

          • Bad Eggs

            Then tho’ there is the possibility of a few ‘bad eggs’ amongst even them, the sort who cd ‘tarnish’ a whole group, give everyone a bad name, perhaps lead the flock amock ? .

          • Yeah, theres more to life than working in The ‘Cookhouse’! ( tho’ this is where most ‘black’ folk end up, in places like Bham i.e washing dishes in kitchens, waiting tables etc, nevermind yer Chavs n’ reconstituted druggies who if you don’t see selling the Big Issue alongside yg Roma Gypsy girls, you’ll find ’emptying’ bins for if not the local council, for the local ‘jobs’ agency at a much ‘lower’ rate per week ! )

            Having said that this is how ( after many yrs on ‘welfare’, on the dole ) I managed to raise the ‘cash’ eg. £1,000 plus pounds for the ‘proper’ equipment to go ‘busking’ for a living.

            Who’d have thought it that one Sunday afternoon, 5 or so years back, after entering a Cafe/pub in the ‘tourist’ canal-boat district looking for a job playing ‘folk’ music ( singing Ballads, fingerstyling ‘instrumentals ) on a battered ole’ acoustic guitar, I’d be leaving the place, the same day, ‘contracted’ to run a small ‘breakfast’ bar ‘annexed’ to the ‘listed’ building.

            Which I did for the next 14 months or so, 12hrs per day, 7 days per week, no time off ( ie. no weekend leisure! ), no holidays, & you know I hate cooking & have no interest in ‘haute-cuisine’ at all ! .

  • Denise Morgan says

    To hear music being played on our streets in my opinion it gives a welcoming effect. If someone is sleeping on the streets, find them a home. It’s not always their fault that they are homeless sometimes circumstances come into play and they are homeless through no fault of their own. If you hold your council meetings in a large building perhaps there are some empty rooms that could be used for a homeless person. They could sleep there safe and warm this winter.
    As for the £1000 fine you want to hand out, how can someone who doesn’t have a roof over their heads afford such a rediculous amount

    • Thanks for your support of busking & ‘music’ in our public spaces so as to ‘fill’ or in some cases actually improve or ‘enhance’ the the street mood & city-centre environment.

      I hope all this issue about ‘homelessness’ does’nt confuse ( or indeed ‘hide’ ) the fact that there are problems of ‘aggressive’ begging & demoralising ‘malingering’ in our ‘town-centres. Much of it created not by ‘genuine’ homelessness ( which I’ve experienced myself alongside more than a ‘few’ others I know ! ) but by ‘addicts’, alcholics & ‘malingerers’ pretending ( or appearing ) to be homeless.

      Or lg-term ‘rough’ sleepers ( incl addicts ) but also those suffering mental illness! ( See Exeter Blogs & I discuss the phenomenon of ‘the Lurker’ mentally ill folk who go out ‘begging’ at night despite being adequately housed & on benefits! ).

      Check out the Exeter Blogs for discussions ( ‘comment’s) on the ‘real’ solution to these problems, again there is a problem I argue it just depends on finding the ‘right’ ( fair ) method for dealing with it. Good ‘policing’ rather than PSPOs, On the spot fines etc I urge is the best & most ‘reliable’ solution to city-centre harrassment & petty civic ‘anti-social’ behaviour!

      • I know I keep beating the drum about this particular ‘organisation’ Denise, but really do please check out the London based charity ‘Thames Reach’ as well, they have the best ‘programme’ I’ve yet to come across for helping the homeless!.

        • * ThamesReach v The Chester Buskers Association

          As for other ‘organisations’ ( fleetingly cropping up! ) with supposed ‘agenda’s for helping the homeless ( See Chester Buskers Association ‘additional’ campaign – Link via ‘The Busking Lady’ twitter site ) I suggest they note ThameReache’s ‘wise’ philosophy towards giving ‘money’ on the streets i.e. Beware! lest your money be spent on ‘alcohol’ & ‘drugs’!.

          Interesting how Chester Buskers state ( list! ) how they agree/disagree with proposed PSPO’s in the town in their homeless ‘campaign’ ‘on-line petition’ eg. Agree – Ban the use of ‘legal’ highs in the town, eg. Disagree – Fining homeless for being homeless when the current provision of services are inadequate etc .

          As a ‘regular’ ( jobbing ) Street Performer specifically concerned about Buskers ‘rights’ in places like Birmingham & Stratford upon Avon may ( I’m an ‘independant’ voice tho’ sharing the ‘rationale’ of many! ) I suggest adding to your list of ‘dos & don’ts’ the following ‘statement’,

          eg. Agree – councils please use at least some form of ‘authorative’ moral control to deter Junkies, Drunks & other supposed ‘street’ people from actively ‘coveting’ the money openly displayed in the guitar cases of buskers, placing their ‘thieving’ hands in them & attempting to steal it – in fact leave Street Performers/Entertainers alone all together – Thankyou! .

          ( See Below. for further ‘comments’ on Chester & The Busking Lady under title ” Street Photography – An Analysis in Black & White ” )

          • Nb

            With an ‘attached’ clause bearing in mind ‘freedom’ of choice of course, since some ‘kind-hearted’ folks out there prone ( with a bent ) to taking pity on the ‘drug-addicts’ & the thieves ‘dominating’ the streets may wish to hand over their change when approached, & with an ‘endearing’ ( saintly ) smile say ” here you go, go & get yourself a ‘can’ of Tenants & a ‘nice’ fix! – & besides its you’re lucky day today, cos I’m also a member/supporter of the legalise cannabis/marihuana campaign ” ( ha! ha! ha! ) .

          • Plus I can ‘afford’ it, that is, donate my ‘hard-earned’ money ( cash ) to ‘dopeheads’ & ‘street’ spleens ! )

          • The Crystal Ball

            Byethway I’ve got a question for you, its addressed to anyone who can help tho’ perhaps the Busking Lady can ‘best’ answer it if not thru’ prayer her ‘crystal’ ball! .

            Q. Whats the difference between Gypsy Jazz & Western Swing?

            ( I tell you why I ask this, theres a ‘gig’ going on at the Coffee House in Shrewsbury this Weds & I might go along, myself being into Manouche Jazz n all that. However I note the ‘soloist’/guitarist performing Chris Quinn – infl. roots,folk, Gypsy Jazz is travelling in from Austria & thus I’m a little confused! ).

          • Oh Chesters ‘Busking Lady’ check out ( albeit briefly! ) her Twitter feed, where she cites not watching ‘live’ TV in 5 years, and getting her ‘sofa’ entertainment from watching ‘vintage’ film DVDs & you’ll soon realise, very clearly, that this is a woman who does’nt spend much time in the ‘real’ world !.

            She claims to get her ‘factual’ news from odd radio & news sources ( incl. ‘friends’ – Mr Peewee no doubt ‘the street Puppeteer! ). Ok she’s out & about in Chester town centre alot, found regularly performing outside the ‘train’ station, perhaps persuading the casual ‘onlooker’ that this is one of those rare ‘creative’, ‘centred’ yg females of today, intelligently living in ‘concrete’ reality .

            But don’t let ‘appearances’ fool you i.e. that shes ‘with us’ in the conventional ‘material’ sense in any way . No!, as she explains in her many writings ( or should I say ‘prose’ platitudes ) – yes she’s ‘just’ started writing a Blog ! – all this apparant ‘outside’ activity ( as it looks to ‘us’, the public etc ) is really her ‘parlance’ for ‘ living in The Now ! .

          • An ‘idea’ no doubt that came to her one day as ‘spontaneously’ as her Carrie Grant/Ginger Rodgers ” I’m Singin’ In The Rain ! ” dance routine .

  • Phil S says

    Busking is a valuable source of public entertainment. There is already a wealth of law that restrict activities (where they are causing nuisance etc.) so why seek to criminalise it? These people should be encouraged to perform & entertain – consider giving them permits / performance locations etc.?

    As for aggressive behaviour – whether it be from charity collectors, beggars or anyone, this should be discouraged via social education rather than criminal prosecution, which should be a last resort

    • Thanks for the support of busking Phil especially as a ‘legitemate’ means of public entertainment. I have to tell you though as a ‘jobbing’ Street Entertainer & a person who has experienced homelessness.

      It is so easy to become ‘criminalised’ even when you’re one of the ‘genuine’ homeless ( i.e. not a drug addict, alcoholic or ‘malingerer’ etc ) eg. I was once apprehended by a Pub Landlord who stumbled in on me taking some ‘soap’ for personal use from the toilets.

      If he was a petty-minded & mean spirit he cd have called the Police & perhaps had me ‘arrested’ luckily he was’nt ( not completely cos’ the situation did take some ‘persuasion’!) & thru’ honesty & a little courage I did manage to talk my way out of it! ( or should I say provide a ‘moral’ explanation! )

      • An important act of ‘self-discovery’ & dramatic moral insight ( all around! ) ie. its all a matter of finding the ‘right’ checks & balances until a ‘just’ long-term solution can be found!.

        • So ‘Council’ Authorities think twice before say closing ‘public’ toilets down cos’ they can be a valuable source of ‘convalescence’ for the ‘genuine’ homeless.

          Yeah keep them ‘open’ ( & free of charges if possible ). Of course there is a social issue here that won’t just go away. Eg. In Stratford upon Avon where I busk its ‘common-place’ to find the local ( or ‘travelling’, seasonal! ) ‘hobos’ simply ‘hangin’ about the public loos.

          And no not convalescing in the ‘warmth’ ( this is ‘mid’ – Summer! ), just hangin around by the doorway, sometimes actually ‘blocking’ the entrance & getting in everyone elses ( moms, dads, kids etc ) way. A case for ‘good’ policing I wd say!.

          • Surprise, surprise not the case ( nor solution ) to be had in Stratford upon Avon where no they have’nt introduced PSPO’s & on-the-spot Fines just ‘charges’ i.e. ‘tax-paying’ members of the public ( not just ‘hobos’! ) are now expected to ‘spend a penny!’ ( well 20p to be exact! )

          • As for the public ‘showers’ ( used by misc ‘travellers’, campers, traders alike )? They’ve simply just ‘closed’ them down i.e. ”currently out of use”!.

          • Civic Priorities ( & busking culture )

            You know if there is to be any ‘civic’ prioritising at all, then let the ‘streets’ be prioritised for those who have thru’ the ages ‘traditionally’ used them eg. the ‘poor’, flower-sellers, & ‘old’ school street musicians eg. the gypsy, the ‘committed’ street Artist & the like.

            Not as we now see happening in London i.e. ‘wanna-be’ Pop Musicians ( some calling themselves ‘independant’ Artists! ) who are seemingly granted the privelage ( i.e. ‘licensed’ underground, ‘auditioned’ overground ) to play in what are effectively not ‘street’-corners but ‘live’ outdoors stages eg. See. The SouthBank scene/’set-up’ .

            The problem here with this contemporary ‘cultural’ type being allowed to ‘dominate’, granted hegemony in ‘choice’ spots, is the issue of where are the ‘rest’ i.e. the actual ‘street’-centred poor, street traders, & ‘authentic’ street musicians going to ply their trade, eek out their living, in what is becoming ‘diminishing’ public space !.

            I say No! to the take-over of the public arena by the Pop Music Industry & those who clearly ascribe to its ethos & ‘values’ ! ( wherever possible ‘fight-back’ & Resist, yes this is rapidly becoming a ‘non-negotiable’ situation! ) .

          • Where ‘street-performing’ ( ‘natural’ busking! ) its ‘vital’ cultural energies sucked out of it ( Nb. tho’ this ‘homogenising’ process suits some personalities who it seems are willing to ‘voluntarily’ put ‘themselves’ thru’ this type of pop ‘enculturisation’ in anticipation of the certain ‘rewards’/pay-offs it brings ! ) is inevitably placed on the ‘lower’ rungs of the pop ‘consumer’ hierarchy, & thereby ‘functionalised’ i.e. ‘reduced to a kind of ‘dross’ tourism, ‘gold’-fish bowl style of entertainment .

          • Yes, this is ‘largely’ busking in London today, we don’t want this to be the North! .

  • Trevor Arrowsmith says

    Jonny – keep up this good work!
    Thanks for publishing your response – it speeds up my support. Happy to complete this for each authority who raises these issues. Time well-spent.

    • You know Trevor theres a lot more that could be done by some of the ‘long-term’ homeless themselves eg drug addicts, Alchoholics & ‘malingerers’ if only they cd change ( i.e. improve! ) their ‘attitudes’!.

      • Particularly their attitudes towards ‘work’. And organisations like Thames Reach are just the right kind of ‘outfit’ to link them ( i.e. the converted! ) to companies ( or indeed ‘co-operatives’ ) with the right kind of ‘attitude’ towards employing them!

        • And even if that does mean sometimes working for ‘free’ eg. having the good manners & gratitude to ‘wash the dishes’ ( or at least offer! ) for the ‘free’ food kitchen that has just fed them!

          • Trevor please check out some of these organisations they need your ‘urgent’ support!.

          • Plus please take the time to ‘read’ the cultural studies book ( classic ethnography! ) ” Life on the Kibbutz” ( or is it an essay? ) by Saul Bellow!.

          • Whilst forgetting your ‘typical’ Gov ‘training’ programmes ( of the past! ) & the more recent ( tho’ now defunkt) New Labour ‘New Deal’.

            Cos’ these more ‘cynical’ schemes are ‘truly’ part of the ‘dehumanisation’ process ( & the reality of ‘welfare’! ) that merely attempts to break ‘the will’ ( of the unemployed! ) sending them ( truly ‘unfortunates’! ) in the direction of ‘no’ choice, misery & ‘exploitation’!.

          • On Rehabilitation ( a forgotten creed! )
            Q. Coming to think about it whatever did happen to the idea of ‘rehabiliation’ in the discourse of the political mainstream? ( I don’t mean for the psycho’s, narc’s, the irredeemable, but you know for yer common ‘loser’, the ordinary fallen, you know the ones where you say it cd be you or ‘I’ out there now sniffin’ round the ‘shop’ bins? )

            A. Gone out of fashion no doubt alongside with the whole notion of ‘prison-reform’ i.e. too expensive, surplus capital, an easily expendible nuisance, so a ‘simple’ case of get out of town or ‘lock’ em up ( all of ’em! ), yeah a kind of inverse ‘Wild-West’ solution!.

          • Q.’s about how we treat the ‘unemployed’ ? Q’s about how we allocate work ? How ‘alien’, distant, & yes ‘Corporate’ the local ‘high-street Supermarket seems these days ( nevermind the 7 storey city-centre Bank, Insurance Office etc ) to even the ‘common’man yet alone the ‘homeless’ person sleeping rough on the street ( the ‘natural’ social distance/human’bubble’ this cultural process this creates ! ).

            Not a simple case of ‘waltzing’ in off the street either & beseeching the ‘compassionate’ deputy Manager for a job ( ‘rarer’ & rarer to find a ‘kind’ & friendly ‘local’ shop on the corner ethos operating in these cirmumstances! ) , even decent ‘occupation’ stacking shelves these days demands CV’s, Computer Access, selection via personnel ( HR ) at Head Office ! ( a whole raft of human resources beauracracy to get through & then theres the criminal record check ! ) .

          • They want your ‘private’ details, family names, schooling, hobbies, every little detail save your ‘sex-life’ ( tho’ I understand this is changing! ) just to land a job placing tins of beans on a row of shelves! .

          • So yeah I have ‘some’ sympathy for those who don’t want to work, or at least not ‘conventionally’, i.e. for the Man ! .

          • And then theres the ‘complex’ question of Deviance & the causes of crime, thank God the question of when & when not to sympathise with ( & show ‘appropriate’ leniancy towards ) an actual criminal act is not so difficult. Not for the av. rational ‘sane’ human-being anyhows, in my experience most people do manage to get this ‘moral’ question right, in most cases anyhow! .

          • The one exception being Race of course, where ‘race’ is concerned, again in ‘my’ experience anywhow ! .

  • As most of the rough sleepers have either come out of care or are ex service men & women. I think that the council should show more compassion. Perhaps the council could consider using containers as temporary housing. Brighton has used containers to ease the housing problem and it has been a great success. Many rough sleepers have been housed. They also have hostels to help as well. Come on Manchester it’s the 21st century not the 19th century.

    • The London based charity ‘Thames Reach’ have a very good record for ‘turning’ soldiers who have found themselves ‘homeless’ for various reasons.

      In fact check this organisations website for some ‘telling’ street story’s by the homeless themselves including an ex-squaddie with ‘drink’ problems!. I can’t applaud the work of this charity enough & their stated aim i.e. their ‘mission’ being no less than bringing about the ‘end’ of homelessness altogether, yes as a social phenomenon!.

      • Byetheway a just as pertinent an issue i.e. to do with ‘busking’ & my criticisim of Jonny Walkers seemingly ‘messianic’ attempt to spread his so called ‘ Good Practice Guide’ everywhere ( See Below! ).

  • * On Why I Don’t Support Streetslive.orgs so called ‘ Good Practice Guide ‘

    A ‘jobbing’ Street Performer myself ( Birmingham, Stratford upon Avon ) before I ‘comment’ on the situation in Newcastle first some suggested Further Reading ‘ On Why I Do Not Support Jonny Walkers ‘Streetslive.orgs’ Good Practice Guide! ‘. Check out the following Blogs on this site:

    1. Blog ” KSL Offical Response To Exeter ” ( eg. a few insightful ‘comments’ on ‘genuine’ v ‘ disingenuous’ ( fake v ‘real’ ) homelessness issue! )

    2. Blog ” Exeter City Council PSPO Proposal ( eg. a ‘clarification of my position plus my own experiences of ‘homelessness’ & ‘mal’-dealings with ‘ward’ Councilors & their ‘relatives’! )

    3. Blog ” Stop Swindon Councils Attack On Street Culture ” ( eg. the hypocrisy of Busker On Busker Violence! )

    4. Blog ” KSL Offical Response To Chester And Chester West ” ( eg. a short debate ‘run-in’ with Jonny Walker over ‘conflict’ in Stratford upon Avon! )

    5. Blog ” Clampdown/PSPO Consultation In Birmingham ” ( See. bottom 4 or 5 comments for eg an ‘alternative’ busking code for Bham! )

    6. Blog ” Gravesham Borough Council Join The Attack On Street Culture ”( e.g. various comments on the London’s SouthBank Scene or Buskings Gt Expectations! )

    • Andy says

      Why do you put almost ‘every’ other ‘word’ in ‘inverted commas’? It’al almost as if you’re not convinced by your own rhetoric.

      • Ha, ha, ha! I see you’re a man of ‘hard’ logic Andy!. I tell you what if you’re not easily impressed by grammar, parenthesis, & other ‘tropes’ ( or is it schemes I don’t know? ) then I suggest you consult other expertise on the matter or alternatively simply ‘overlook’ the poor ‘sentence’ construction ( not my strong point admittedly, you see I’m not a Flaubert yet either! ), cease carping & patiently check out the arguments i.e. the content of what I have to say!.

        • *See Below – as a good starting point ( taking into account the explanation under the comment Nb! )

          • Then go on to read the comment ‘Night Busking’ based on busking ‘experience’ gathered over the past 3 or 4 years!

    • Nb.

      Please note some ( quite a ‘few’ but by all means not ‘all’! ) of the ‘comments’ contained ‘underneath’ these ‘various’ Blogs cited here & found dotted around the Steetslive.org website are ‘quite’ long. But I do ‘beg’ your patience here & beseech you to read on, they may go a long way to explaining to you ( clarifying for you! ) some of the poignant ( in some cases ‘hidden’ ) truths about busking in the UK today!. The bottom-line is they do ‘furnish’ you with some pretty ‘powerful’ arguments supporting my ‘reservations’ ( critical evalutions! ) of Streetslive.org & the streetslive ‘agenda!’.

      • Nb 2 ( * Importantly Remember! )

        You don’t need ‘government’ intervention to tell people not to play louder on the streets, you don’t need government intervention for people to take heed when playing nr ‘residential’ property late at night.

        You only really need government intervention when certain ‘street-performers’ ( true busking bullies ! ) threaten to ‘cut the fingers off’ yg teens, ‘rape’ their mothers etc when in ‘dispute’ over access to public space & in this instance that intervention should take the form of a ‘Black Mariah’ & the police!.

        ( See. Bham Mail Article ” Birmingham Busker Who Terrorised Teenage Rival Gets Suspended Jail Sentence ” 27 Oct 2015 )

        • On BID Wardens/Town Hosts ( Added ‘Causes’ of Conflict Not Its Resolution ! )

          As for any notion that so called Busking ‘Guides’, BID Wardens or Town Hosts offer any real ‘underlying’ solution(s) to street/busking conflicts in our town/city-centres I’d say it is a fool-hardy notion at that.

          The truth is ( & going by honest ‘personal’ experience! ) I assert that BID Wardens & the like tend to exacerbate problems when they turn up rather than offer any ‘real’ resolution. An added layer of town/city ‘bureaucracy’ to the Police basically whose civic function is to ‘pacify’ & control Buskers & the like, I tend to see them as a ‘stumbling’ block to peace, an ‘unwanted’ interference rather than any ‘real’ solution to conflicts that ‘sometimes’ do arise between people eg. street performers & shopkeepers, office managers etc ! .

          Personally I’d like to see the back of these kinds of substitute ‘secondary’ police & a return to the notion of ‘direct’ democratic citizenship & ‘good’ professional city-centre policing, lets do away with the middle-man/’civic’ tier altogether & ‘improve’ /work-on our direct communications & sense of individual common-sense ‘civic’ responsibilities ! .

  • * On Night-Busking

    Before going into the ‘politiks’ ( thereof! ) a few ‘comments’ on the ‘morality’ ( & I must say ‘traditional’ popularity of ) ‘night-time busking’.

    With the exception of the Summer ( eg. ‘entertaining’ the theatre crowd in Stratford upon Avon ) or perhaps during the traditional Christmas Season ( eg. Bham’s German Xmas Market ) I personally tend not to do much busking during the evening, to be ‘frank’ I don’t need to ( eg ‘financially’ ) plus I don’t ‘feel’ the need to i.e. for me no ‘functional/moral ‘ necessity to do so.

    However I’ve always instinctively felt that the ‘night’ time busk per se was ok at anytime of the year for anyone, but with one important ‘stipulation’ i.e. you do so ( i.e.street perform at these hours! ) at your ‘own’ risk!.

    Whilst many might ‘consciously’ avoid busking past 6pm nevermind 8pm, I know a few ‘performers’ who neverthless ‘love’ playing quite ‘late’ into the night & genuinely ‘romantically’ so.

    Eg. A saxophone ‘associate’ of mine always go’s out at night & ‘unflinchingly’, for him its the ‘natural’ hour. Many ‘street’ people too ( & ones who ‘genuinely’ play, ok albeit the ‘tin-whistle’! ) I note also have a tendency to play at night, obvioulsy cos’ the streets are ’emptier’ then & there is more ‘competitive’ space for them to play & make a little bit more ‘money’ than otherwise eg during the day!.

    There are also those who have ( in a semi-legendary sense! ) made night-time playing their ‘own’, seemingly managing to have ‘transformed’ it into a bit of a street performing art-form, that african guy featured in that BBC documentary regularly performing at ‘night-club’ hours springs to mind here, whats his name, thats it nicknamed ‘Melo’, even tho’ he was apparantly attacked by ‘racist’ thugs, that did’nt seem to deter him i.e. playing in the ‘traditional’ bohemian hr of the musican not just ‘flaneur’, pick-pocket & street prostitute!.

    Of course there is another ‘type’ I’ve noticed from experience who may appear on the streets at night & thats the ‘egotistical’ busker ( theres no other way to describe ’em! ) eg. the ‘street’ strummer, sometimes ‘oasis’ crooner ( why I a pre-deliction to sing oasis, a good ‘popular’ band I don’t know! ) who unceremoniously will from time to time ‘pop-up’ on the street, ‘night’ club street hrs at that ( the unearthly hours ) for example on Broad Street if it were my home city of Bham.

    Often sticking out ( seemingly purposeley sticking out! ), irritatingly so to some, a rather ‘imposing’ figure perhaps getting up quite a few peoples noses, they can ironically ‘often’ draw a ‘crowd’ ( an ‘ego’ projecting one! ) what with their requests ( rugby-like! ) & noisy sing-alongs. Of course this ‘type’ & all the sing-along & hoo-ha on the street can & does attract the ‘police’ & there can be a tendency ( perhaps ‘insinctively’ so, subconsciously so! ) for such blue ‘authorities’ to ask such characters to move on. But this is where they can ‘often’ go wrong ( the police that is! ) & consequently important lessons are here for ‘them’ ( our boys in blue! ) to be learned.

    You see the simple ‘truth’ is & yes perhaps going against all ‘instincts’ ( moral/ethical ones that is! ) being an ‘egotist’ is not a crime. These people may annoy you in ‘many’ ways ( & yeah deep down! ), they may loom so large so as to appear to be actually ‘blocking’ the highway ( the luminary city-centre ‘night-time’ public mis-deed ) but often when you stand back & view the situation ‘objectively’ you can more clearly see that ‘frustratingly’ they are’nt in ‘reality’. Its just them, their gross ‘human’ shadow ‘naturally’ cast across ( thrown across ) the street you’re picking up upon & however unfortunately it may be, an ‘affront’ perhaps to your own ‘sense of justice’, in all truth that too is not a crime!.

    City Councils, local authorities, town management note too ( & beware! ). Its not a matter here of PSPO’s, anti-social crime or whatever in fact theres only 2 ‘authentic’ ways of dealing with this kind of ( more appropriately defined ) ‘ difficult’ ( not ‘criminal’ ) character. From a ‘civic’ town management point of view, there are in fact only 2 ‘real’ choices here eg. either 1. ignore Him ( tho’ cd be ‘her’! ) or 2. just that i.e. resist the impulse to ticket or ‘arrest’ instead get out the ‘Manual for Dealing with Difficult People’ & yes rigidly follow the instructions!.

    *Further Reading

    1. ‘ The Manual For Dealing with Difficult People ‘ ( Anon)

    • Nb ( Some ‘sample’ instructions! )

      Please note here are a few ‘sample’ instructions from the ‘street’ classic eg. ‘ The Manual Of How To Deal Effectively with Difficult Buskers ! ‘ ( Chapter 6 ‘ Night Buskers’ )

      Instruction no 1

      eg. ” Will you please turn your ‘amp’ volume levels down preferably from notch 10 to notch 4, as you’re drowning out the ‘whole’ street & disturbing ‘other’ party revellers ambiance! ”

      Instruction no 2

      eg ” Will you please move to another ( more suitable ‘alternative’ ) street location as you are now playing not only too loud but too close to he vicinity of ‘town-centre’ residences not the ‘new’ developments’ ( i.e. ‘luxury’ flats! ) but the local ‘Salvation Army’ Headquarters & ‘cheap’ digs!

      ( extracts from ‘ The Manual Of How To Deal Effectively With Difficult Buskers ‘ 2016 )

  • Richard Anthony says

    It is not acceptable to keep hounding the homeless – blaming the victim for the crime. If Osborne’s proposed benefit changes go ahead there’ll be even more people on the streets. Sweeping the problem out of sight will not solve the problem, just salve your guilty consciences.

    • They’re not all ‘victims’ Richard especially some of the long-term homeless eg. the addicts, alcoholics, ‘malingerers’ etc. In this context I found it very worthwhile to begin to ‘distingush’ between what may be regarded as the ‘genuine’ homeless & the disingenuine sort!

      In fact a significant number ‘the types you tend to see ‘aggressively’ begging slap,smack, band in city-centres are not ‘rough-sleepers’ at all but rather ‘ostensibly’ homeless!. ( See. The London based charity ‘Thames Reach’ Website for ‘various’ good information & stats on this issue! )

      • Plus talking ‘world’ poverty for a minute its also worth considering what many of the ‘poor’ people in countries like Mexico, Afghanistan are going to do if we were ‘en-mass’ to go about ‘rehabilitating’ all ‘addicts! & along with it ‘eradicate’ homelessness! ( cos that what it wd really take Richard the ‘end’ of drug addiction if you really wanted to solve the ‘homeless’ situation – if not much of the ‘aggressive’ begging that goes on in many of our city-centres! )

        The simple fact is there are other ‘folk’ much worse off than us, today leading a much more miserable existence than ‘all’ of us ( yeah park-bench sleepers included! ) & these ‘global’ unfortunates may depend on the ‘international’ drugs trade for their very ‘survival’.

        If this ‘is’ the case then there is a ( not too insane, nor immoral for that matter) argument for keeping ‘voluntary’ drug addiction in this country going alongside its many ‘unpleasant’ consequences eg. ‘homelessness’! ( in the ‘context’ of current realities anyway! ).

        • You know Richard I lived with some unruly ‘students’ once & they were finally gotten rid of ( by the Landlord ) for not paying the rent ( they left owing over £ 2000! to the ‘family’ that owned the property ).

          This in ‘reality’ is what happens with ‘junkies’ when they takeover a property, not only do they not pay the rent they end up ‘trashing’ the place. This is how more than a few of them no doubt end up homeless ( dished out onto the streets by Landlords, Bailifs etc! ). Bytheway Richard have you ever visited a ‘Crackhouse’?.

          • Finally Richard you can’t ( & the Hard Left need to understand this! ) simply dismiss all ‘landlords’ as ‘Landed’ Rich exploiting the poor peasant’ these days either’

            You know the the ‘small’ family renting out the ‘spare’ property as an investment, a nest egg for retirement etc need to be respected also on this matter.

            To the ‘rogue’ students, ‘druggies’ trashing these properties, getting ‘negligently’ into arrears with the rent ( everyone can fall behind at times, me included! ) I say look Mrs Jones & son are left with the responsibility of paying the ‘acutal’ mortgage plus they’ve got to make a little mony, a likkle ‘runnings’, a likkle ‘donzie’ too ya know!. Cum on be fair! Respec’!

          • Nb. Bytheway for a ‘possible’ alternative how about the ‘concept’ of the ‘responsible’ Drug User? ( See. Exeter Blog(s) for further comment!. )

  • * Social Rejects

    Whether you agree or not with PSPO’s & recent Anti-social behaviour proposals eg. On-The-Spot fines ( I don’t! ) for ‘controlling’ what is deemed as ‘nuisance’ ( indeed criminal! ) activity in our city-centres what you must begin to appreciate is why not simply the ‘homeless’ ( thats a ‘propagandistic’ over-generalisaton ) but drug addicts, alcholics etc either pretending to be homeless or many of them rightly percieved as a kind of ‘malingering’ rough sleeper are justifiably ‘rejected’ by society.

    ‘Junkies’ as they are commonly known tend to be viewed as untrustworthy ‘thieves’ & layabouts therefore of no ‘use’ socially or economically, not to be trusted they are in turn generally viewed as a ‘drain’ to be rid of ( certainly no precious ‘tax-payers’ money to be ‘wasted’ on them! )

    Seen as a ‘moral’ drain also 1. they’re simply deemed unworthy i.e. of aid, support, any ‘help’ whatsoever by many 2. as a ‘bad’ influence on the environment ( See Below ) 3. I argue elsewhere ( See Exeter Blogs ) that because of this very ‘truism’ that a ‘tipping point’ can be reached in our town-centres where these ‘dark’ characters due to their ‘presence’ alone can start to have a ‘negative’ ( evil! ) effect on a place, an ‘public’ environment.

    In this instance people can begin to justly feel ( myself included! ) that ‘enough is enough’ & regardless of affairs, a line has to be drawn barring all the eg. ‘junkies’, alcholics ‘malingers’ strewn across the town-centre & laying about in sleeping bags.

    For me its all about what is the ‘right’ method to combat the problem as & when it crops up. Not PSPOs’ & Fines I say but rather ‘Good’ civic Policing is the answer ( ‘practical’ solution ) to this sort of problem. ( As a corrollary to this argument, does anyone out there really believe as a matter of ‘urgent’ justice that we as a society begin to change our ‘perception’ of Junkies, Alcoholics & the ‘malingerer’? If so state it right here & laying out your reasons why? )

    • Solutions

      The ‘Police’ working along organisations such as ‘Streetslink’ ( & Thames Reach ) I’d say are the best ‘solution’ to homelessness ( including the more ‘disingenuine’ variety! ) & its associated problems such as ‘aggressive’ begging, public harrassment, & the negative ‘demoralising’ ( morally corrupting! ) effect these can have in ‘our’ public spaces ( i.e. on people & the environment ).

      • Of course there is a case for some Social ‘preventative’ medicine here too i.e. taking a strong look at how both ‘structure’ ( & agency! ) combine to ’cause’ these kinds of problems & a ‘serious’ discussion as to the most ‘effective’ political action needed to resolve them – particularly how to ‘break up’ the whole ‘negative’ cycle commonly known in social policy circles as the ‘ Black Magic Roundabout ‘ ( See Exeter Blog for further ‘comment’ & suggested solutions ! ).

        • * A Fools Charter ( John Harris, Guardian Columnist )

          To conclude here just a few ‘reflections’ on a ‘Guardian Article’ written by John Harris I came across recently. It is ‘topical’ & titled ” In An New Era Of Official Nastiness Its Suddenly A Crime To Be Homeless ” ( published 10 March 2016 ) .

          Crikey it seems the ‘broadsheets’ are now in full motion jumping on the ‘homelessness’ bandwagon busy printing pieces like the above but interestingly not with any necessarily ‘fresh’ thinking on the matter. No, just the same ‘ole’ predictable ‘left wing ( Metropolitan! ) platitudes.

          I could’nt help note how Harris refers to the ‘moral character’ as a cause of homelessness argument as ‘right wing . Yeah, as a ‘reader’ you know I could’nt help but respond with gross amazement at the ‘stupidity’ of this guy, thinking ‘oh really?’ ‘laziness’ is ‘not’ a universal human ‘flaw’ that we’re all prone to from time to time, but in truth ( in all reality!) merely a ‘fascisti’ concept.

          I could’nt help but laugh too ( in dismay of course! ), reflecting ( a touch more deeply than this idiot columnist! ) how from my ‘actual’ experience of ‘homelessness’ ( the ‘unjust’ variety! ) & how after many ‘practical’ years on the dole’, that in actual fact its both ‘ the system’ plus ‘moral” character’ weakness that more often than not ‘conspires’ to not only bring people down but also ‘keep’ them there yes, down on their knees, living in a cardboard box, out in th cold on the streets!.

          In other words it is two ‘key’ factors i.e. systematic beauracratic ‘dehumanisation’ in the form of the ‘welfare’ state & ‘natural’ human tendency towards lethargy that ends up destroying the ‘individual’ spirit, in the ‘context’ of Capitalisms inevitable ‘down-turns’ ( Nb it does have its upturns & worth recognising this ‘economic’ phenomenom too! ).

          I tell you I stopped buying The Guardian years ago ( it was once my favourite ‘weekend’ Sat read! prior to Tony Blair, Gordan Brown & New Labour! ). Today I can’t even take it at face-value as a ‘serious’ newspaper, to me these days ( & after reading articles by the likes of John Harris ) this ‘metropolitian’ rag is no more than a ‘ Fools Charter! .

          • Truth is for more than a few ( & I personally know folk in this predicament ) the streets are not just a ‘lifestyle’ choice, they have become a kind of ‘comfort-zone’! ( & yes this ‘notion’ is a vulgar contradiction of human ‘reason’ & common-sense! ).

          • Yes people often need help ( & ample kindness! ) but it only really works for them when they are able to face up to ‘duel’ human ( & life ) realities ie. that no matter what & to truly ‘grow’, to honestly better themselves it is’nt necessarily going to be easy!.

          • From this little ‘fact’ there is no ‘escape’!.

          • * Contemporary ‘Cynics’ ( Diogenes the dog! )

            Having said all this I do concede to the ‘argument’ & very ‘real’ possiblility that there may be at least a ‘few’ genuine ‘conemporary’ cynics living amongst us & for whom ‘the streets’ have become a more or less ‘permanent’ home i.e. its ‘morally’ contingent upon us to be aware of the urban existence of modern-day ‘Diogenes the Dog’! .

            Of course there always has been ( over 2000 yrs old & stretching back to Greek antiquity ) a ‘moral’ case for such a way of Being ( albeit for some ‘degenerate’ way of life ! ), & theres a strong argument for society leaving these types of human-being, human wilderbeast ( tho’ some may more accurately use the term ‘human’ pig to describe these individuals! ) alone.

            Friedrich Hayek makes this kind of case ( not the human-pig one! ) in his economics classic ‘ The Road To Serfdom ‘ stating that man ( ‘the individual’ ) freely living in this world does have the ‘choice’ of becoming a kind of Hermit in it but ‘we’ (i.e society! ) are not ‘obligated’ to practially support this way of life or particular ‘chosen’ path ( No!, ‘responsibility’ is morally placed back on the person who makes this kind of lifestyle decision for somehow ‘surviving’ & taking care of themselves! ) .

            I guess ‘to give’ ( or charity! ) in this almost philosophical ‘aesetic’ context in turn becomes the ‘choice’ (not obligation! ) of ‘the giver’ & in this instance dependant on their ‘honestly’ held values, sympathies & other such ‘sentimental’ leanings! .

      • A ‘Democratic’ Buskers Front

        Finally I think the real ‘hope’ ( a necessary, ‘mature’ pt of the ‘real’ solution! ) against the process of ‘criminalising’ Buskers currently taking place ( or if not being attempted by quite a few local ‘councils’ & their dubious alliances ) in this country, is thru’ the formation & positive ‘growth’ of a united Buskers ‘democratic’ front against such ‘unjust’ socio/cultural measures& ‘negative’ politics.

        For me this should entail established ‘organisations’ like Streetslive making more ‘progressive’ efforts to reach out to ‘freedom’ loving individuals ( ‘working’ Street Performers ) like myself & forming new alliances( I ‘truly’ believe in maintaining the liberal ‘principle’ of a genunely ‘shared’ public space & one not totally controlled by ‘property’ interests, shops & their ‘management’ control culture but in the wider ‘interests’ of the many! ).

        Of course this wd involve Streetslive for example learning lessons from earlier ( what I wd argue are ‘destructive’ or at least seriously damaging ) ‘mistaken’ ( ‘flawed’ ) ways & means of forging contact with Buskers in differnent places. Often creating ‘links’ up themselves with the most ‘dubious’ of street performing individuals.

        Eg. the case in Birmingham comes to mind of ‘you’ publicly supporting one individual Busker not only resonsible for causing a lot of ‘egotistical’ noise nuisance problems, incl drowning other performers out! – the source of much complaint!

        But also for aggressively ‘smearing’ other ‘outdoors’ players ( eg. me! ) or indeed violently threatening, harrassing even yg ‘female’ Buskers ( eg. Demi Marinner i.e. threatening to ‘cut her fingers’ off, rape her mother etc during a ‘dispute’ over busking spots! ( See Bham Mail 27 Oct 2016 ” Birmingham Busker Who Terrorised Teenage Riveal Gets Suspended Jail Sentence ” ).

        Walker its time to put aside your ‘own’ percieved busking ambitions ( seemingly being that of ‘sole’ ‘Saviour’ of Busking in this country & simply out to publicise your ‘own’ guide etc ) & be more open & ‘willing’ to work with people such as myself in certain instances ( & places where ‘alternative’ limited codes may suffice !). Nb. I myself stand for ‘freedom’ of access to public space, keeping the principle that by liberal definition it remain ‘shared’, I also identify with the values of ‘sponteneity’ with regards street-performing.

        I certainly don’t see myself as answerable to Wardens, Town Hosts etc who are in ‘reality’ on the payroll of local shops & businesses & working for their ‘narrow’ ( often ‘petty’ ) interests & I don’t wish to be rendered ‘victim’ ( including criminalisation/’criminalised’ ) by whatever ‘control’ culture they ( these particular ‘ventures’ ) decide ( unjustly, undemocratically ) to set up!.

        I think its time to ‘join’ forces wherever necessary ( tho’ not necessarily as pt of a ‘social’ movement eg. as a Corbynista nor cynically ‘media’/celebrity driven campaign & jump on a Guardianista type bandwagon. Tho’ I think we would & should take ‘genuine’ & importantly informed ‘outside’ intelligent help/support ‘seriously’ & where we can do so with ‘deserved’/gratitudinal respect! ).

        Yes, the times, ‘real’ political conditions ( the very real ‘threat’ is growing & ‘cropping’ up everywhere! ) call for a ‘re-think’ ( & ‘positive’ action ) in terms of how Buskers, Street Performers ‘organise’ themselves in the ‘civic’ arena & defend themselves i.e. do politics!.

        • An Example ( or petty ‘towns’ interference! )

          An example of the ever pervasive ‘control’ culture being touted by some Retailors/shop-keepers via ‘street’ officials ( Town Hosts! ) in eg. Stratford upon Avon involves getting away with ‘dictating’ what kind of ‘set’ a Busker actually performs.

          The local shops ( or ‘interested’ retailors ) for a ‘few’ years now have had their very own ‘private’ security force ( hired ‘civic’ police! ) in the form of Wardens or Town Hosts financed & ‘managed’ thru the local BID office quango ( or Businesss Improvement District – so called! ).

          The typical ‘argumentative’ platitude ( management/shop rhetoric! ) being used ‘nowadays’ against buskers ( via Town Hosts etc ) & as a ‘reason’ to reduce playing hrs on a busking spot to 1hr ( over restrictive! ) instead of the currently ‘agreed’ 2hrs ( reasonable for making ‘money’! ) is the dubious notion that ‘nuisance’ is being created by performers who muscially ‘repeat’ themselves i.e. play the same ‘piece’ more than once during a set.

          I retort that the shops, staff or management or accompanying Town Hosts have ‘no’ business telling Buskers what they should or should not play ( or ‘repeat’ for that matter! ). The public for one are most entertained when a street performer can/does perform one of their ‘requests’ & this process does include often repeating ‘classics’ eg. in my case most popularly Cavatina, Receurdos de la Alhambra, Concerto de Aranjuez.

          Now I know in that many public ‘requests’ are in fact ‘ego’ projections, however much genuine pleasure is to be had from having ‘requests’ satisfied & from the performers point of view in satisfying them. ‘The problem’ today is however that even ‘simple’ cultural practices such as this are being ‘interfered’ with ( possibly rendered ‘criminal’! ).

          And this by ‘petty’-minded towns-folk/officals who really should not be spending much time ‘listening’ to whats going on ‘outside’ entertainment-wise on ‘the streets’ but closing their ‘shop’ doors & getting on with their own day to day work ‘inside’ i.e. the business of ‘serving’ customers! .

          • In fact its with regards this type of everyday ‘petty’ towns-folk interference that a ‘mature’ & ‘united’ Democratic Busking Front could prove most practically useful & effective ( we need to be single-minded at ‘ a grass-roots’ level combatting this sort of thing as much as ‘fighting’ the Big Fight on the broader national level! ) .

          • ‘Solutions’ on both the ‘grande’ & petit scale are needed ( urgently required! ) when it comes to healthy ‘spontaneous’ Street performing & the issue of protecting democratically ‘shared’ public space in this country!.

          • I even had ‘Town Hosts’ ( yesterday! ) asking me when I was coming back into the town yesterday ( I was the only one in town & so had ‘legitemately’ played for more than 2hrs on one spot i.e. too ‘cold’ to move too! & without ‘troubling’ anybody! ). In response to ‘their’ enquiries as far as I was concerned it was/is none of their business when I’m back in town ( I don’t plan my busking ‘activites’ around them! ).

            They were even trying to press on me ( bully & harrass I would aptly describe it as! ) the fact of ‘meeting’s going on & ‘businesses’ calling for ‘reductions’ on busking playing times etc. I don’t view myself as ‘answerable’ to these ‘interested’ petty officials in this way, but I do ‘voluntarily’ support current ‘busking’ arrangments eg. the 2hr ‘revolving’ spot code. ( not highly ‘questionable’ moves to ‘regulate’ & reduce it !)

            Now it this kind of ‘civic’ abuse that we as ‘working’ Street Performers cd unite on & in turn fight back against. This is for me the ‘just’ civic liberal ‘Solution’! .

            ( from, ” Calls For A ‘Truly’ Democratic Buskers Front Against ‘petty’ townsfolk tyranny & ‘Unreasonable’ Local Authority Interference ” )

          • * Note

            Whilst I do talk here of ‘petty’ townsfolk & local authority interference it is worth mentioning that from my busking ‘experience’ in places like Stratord upon Avon that the ‘Town Hosts’ ( BID emplyees not ‘council’ workers ) do have a tendency to ‘over-exaggerate’ problems & also over ‘generalise’ the concerns of shops/businesses.

            You know what when they ‘confront’ you & go on like this on the street i.e. with their ‘petty’ officious chatter, its as they all they’re really trying to do is ‘justify’ their existence ( to both you & ‘shops’ who pay their wages thru’ an extra ‘tax’ levy! ). A very ‘dishonest’ civic practice this, yes very unscrupulous on ‘their’ behalf! .

          • * Note 2 ( eg. On Public Requests or ‘ The Concierto de Aranjuez )

            Just a brief note on the issue of ‘public’ requests, justified ‘repetition’ of popular standards, & the more important issue of not what ‘shopkeepers’ think but what we as street ‘Artists’ ( Public Musicians ) think & how in this inevitable process you as a busking performer can avoid the greater cultural street ‘sin’ of eternally reproducing cheese, kitsch & ‘pastiche’!.

            First of all its about making ‘informed’ decisions about how you respond to a request eg. if ‘vaguely’ asked for Bach its worth asking the question what do you mean by this request ? ” Air on a G String ” or a guitar version of one of Bachs beautiful & ‘free’ flowing ” Violin Partitas ” or something more ‘pastoral’ cafe ( perhaps Salon )?.

            As far as Rodrigo’s ” Concierto de Aranjuez ” goes ( my 2nd most requested ‘tune’ ) its also worth clarifying what folk on ‘passing’ mean ?. Eg. I’ve got 4 versions of this piece at present & currently working on a 5th ( hopefully a ‘definitive’ street version i.e. ‘gypsy-like’, spontaneous, & including some nice guitaristic technique ).

            Bear in mind that ‘versions’ I’ve come across run from lauche ( & tackyish! ) arrangements of the basic 2min ‘theme’ tune ( i.e. the pop ‘amor’ style street arrangement ) to a full on replication ( expressively & tastefully done! ) of the 10 minute long original ‘2nd’ movement or ‘adagio’! ( more ‘stagey’ tho’ truly ‘poetic’ on the street or in the ‘open’ arena if played with right feel & artistic attitude ) .

          • * Notes 3 ( On Pub Landlords Requests or the ‘ Receurdos de la Alhambra ‘ )

            Where it can really all go wrong ( dishonest, distorted & skewwhiff! ) when putting together a ‘popular’ romantic classical guitar set for the streets is when you start including a little too much Andrew Lloyd Webber, start pandering to class & the ‘bourgeiose’ ( or percieved ‘good’ taste! ) or get too emroiled in or are swayed by ‘pop’ values – & thats why I don’t care much for nevermind shops but ‘Pub Landlords’ ( pub manager types! ) requests either.

            For a while I used to get pestered in Stratford upon Avon when playing on the Bancroft Gardens by the River Avon to play Tarregas ‘Recuerdos de la Alhambra’. He did’nt know anything about the musics background or Composer but would just insist on showing me a YouTube Video of his mate playing the piece on guitar & go onto urge therefore I play it too.

            Its a ‘classic’ gutiar piece, a little ‘hackneyed’ too, but despite the cultural ‘homogenisation’ ( putting me off! ) I’ve found an ‘interpretation’ ( which yes I have ‘copied’ ! ) that rhythmically & feeling-wise does manage to make a great ‘street’ sound & I which I can happily busk ( I cd’nt do it otherwise ! ).

            Never trusting pub manager types ( esp. ‘franchise’ managerial supervisers ) & their music ‘requests’, I noted how during the towns Sept Food Festival he had a ‘hired’ 1950s pub rock ‘covers’ band to play outside the pub, stopping me from playing in my ‘usual’ spot. They were good ( ‘tight’! etc ) but failed to get an ‘outside’ audience. When they stopped later in the afternoon I started playing & drew in a ‘huge’ crowd in the process ( bigger than usual, in fact much larger than usual, me & my type of ‘act’ generally being about mood, atmosphere & ‘flow’! ).

            When I finished ‘early’ that evening, as usual I popped into the pubs loos & upon coming out, noted a girl ( female singer ) in her early 20s playing ‘pop’ covers in the main bar, ‘good is’nt she? ‘ he stated on coming over. Yes I thought, nice ‘pretty’ looking ( in an innocuous w/c way ) a cutish singer, blonde & yg enough to be ‘your’ daughter. More interestingly still convincing enough to be the possible talk of the town as a local X-Factor Contestant, yes perfect ‘entertainment’ I thought for ‘you’ ( the manager! ), the ‘rugby’ lads out having a pint & the ‘couple’ at the corner table!.

          • *Notes 4 ( ‘Old School’ Street Artist & Culture v The ‘new’ Busking Community )

            Anyway that night, off I went, ‘exiting’ the ‘pub’ ( & ending Stratford upon Avons Food Festival Weekend ) whistling a ‘tune’, & rather jauntily walking towards the train station whilst ‘meditating’ on the nature of busking & street entertaiment these days & realising how I belong to that ‘old-school’ style of Street Performing i.e. the community ( if you can call it that, its very ‘indivdualistic’ at its heart! ) of the ‘street’ corner Gypsy, the monkey & the OrganGrinder.

            These ‘new’ cultural formations’, busking ‘community’s if you will – ‘pop’ in character, slippery & ephemeral in ‘content’ & will – ( Nb. in reality ‘ more often than not’ , even when containing some ‘nice’ folk, a ‘few’ good performers etc, essentially if not ending up as ‘narc’ in-groups in ‘practice’ & on experience – See Bath ) are not for me or at least only to be acknowledged on ‘passing’
            & on the way to ‘freer’ pastures found elsewhere ( just down the road wd be nice! ) .

            Although very ‘critical’ I don’t of course call for the ‘banning’ or ‘destruction’ of these new ‘formations’ ( nor their closed ‘audition’ set-ups! ), that really would be louche, & a ‘real’ bore. As a liberal ‘Outsider’ I not only recognise but also tolerate the existence of such busking ‘tribes’ esp. in ‘other’ areas.

            All except for maybe their ‘self-elected’ Kings &/or ‘Queens’ & key Bloggers – see the South Bank London. Oh yes as essentially curious ‘Outsider’ looking-in, it wd be great ‘tourist’ entertainment & grisly ‘authentic’ too wd it be to see their/her head(s) on a pike outside the Tower of London for the ‘amusement’ of everyone i.e. for distant ‘onlookers’ & every passerbye to see & with a ‘local’ Sheriffs ‘notice’ pinned to their/her mouth explaining their/her ‘crime’ & the ‘penalty’ for it!.

            ( Nb. Ok this latter comment maybe in ‘bad’ taste, I’m only joking!, only joking!, ha! ha! ha!, yes I’m ‘harsh’ here but you must understand it had to be said & hopfully you get what I mean!. Especially in a ‘context’ where such busking Royalty are found to be in the business of forging ‘links’ in places like Birmingham with ‘select’ street-performers, inviting these folks down or at least ‘patronising’ them, in effect letting them ‘in’ & doing that at the ‘exclusion’ of others who in turn they wd like to keep out! ( & on an ‘unfair’ & prejudicial basis ! ) in the lg-term creating dishonest ( ‘false’ ) busking hierarchies for everyone else esp the ‘minstrels’, troubadours & other ‘errant’ wanderers amongst us ) .

          • * Extracts from Chapter 8 ” Memories Of A Summer Night In A Guitar Tresillo Bar In Barcelona ( fr Gaudi to Rodrigo ) ”

  • On Busking Schemes ( the ‘spontaneous’ order )

    I speak as a ‘Classic’ Liberal not out & out ‘Libertarian’ when I argue that the best kind of ‘civil’ busking scheme that should pertain for ‘most’ or all of the towns & the cities in the UK & in the ‘democratic’ spirit revolve around Economist & social philosopher Friedrich Hayeks ‘genius’ concept of the ‘spontaneous’ order.

    The basic ‘practical’ tenet espoused by Hayek is simply that all you need are a ‘few’ rules which when applied to ( coupled with! ) peoples tendency to functionable ‘moral’ behaviour will ensure all the ‘desirable’ social order you need. No need for ‘excessive’ outside ‘interference’ in fact too much meddling can be harmful, ‘destructive’ for the working of healthy ‘civil’ society

    ( For a ‘fuller’ discussion on this pervasive ‘idea’ see. The Economist Article ” In Defence of Spontaneous Order – Democracy in America ” Sept 29 2014. Then read Austrian Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s classic book ” Mans Search For Meaning ” on how such an social ‘order’ can be realised in the ‘fullest’ occupational sense!.)

    In fact this kind of ‘state’ is what exists in Birmingham ( my ‘home’ city! ) at present with regards the ‘busking scene’ & I have to say as a ‘new’ phenomenon ( well not around for a long-time & under ‘changed’ conditions! ) pretty successfully!.

    On the question of which is the best busking scheme for other places eg. Newcastle, Stratford upon Avon, Liverpool, London even, 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! ) & the rest of the country.

    No need for ‘auditions’ on the Tube even ( where a highly beauracratic ‘auditioning’ scheme has been establised See. The SouthBank also ), 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! ( See Article ” National Gallery Plans To Demand Trafalger Square Buskers Leave So It Can Create One Of Londons Great Parks ” . 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 & not radical ‘social’ cleansing that is the most ‘effective’ ( & fairest ) solution here. And this should more rightly involve where necessary, the control’ of no’s ( eg. protection against ‘over-saturation’ etc ) not necessarily quality.

    Remember this is the ‘streets’ & open to the general public ( over gentrification & ‘privatisation’ should be resisted! ). Also note there is ‘no’ evidence that the ‘tipping’ point as yet has actually been reached just a lot of ‘media’ scaremongering & whipping up of public frenzy on this issue!.

    Also 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 ( as in Newcastle, Liverpool etc ) you can have 2hr spot rotations ‘ruling’ the public space 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 & ‘authorities’ alike, not used to this form of modus operandi, & ‘Fear Not’ cos’ this way ( practical method ) of doing things can & does work i.e. ‘on balance’ & in fact the best way of actually working I ‘truly’ know & have experienced!.

    • References

      1. ”In Defence Of Sponateous Order – Democracy In
      America” ( Article, The Economist, Sept 29 2014 )

      2. ”Mans Search For Meaning” ( Classic Book by Austrian
      Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl )

      3. ”National Gallery Plans To Demand Trafalger Square
      Buskers Leave So It Can Create One Of Londons Great
      Parks” ( Article. The Independant, Tues 16 Feb 2016 )

      • Notes

        Please note. Comparing the London ‘ Trafalger Square ‘ situaton with the ‘reality’ in Bham that before Xmas for example, the situation was threatening to get more ‘seriously’ out of hand, here in the the midlands! ( the 2nd city ) but I testify post-Xmas there are nowhere nr the over=abundance of ‘statues’ as there was.

        So for sure the state of affairs has balanced out, & quite ‘naturally’ ( tho’ thinking about it perhaps with a ‘little’ help from the council? I can’t vouch for that! ) . Anyway if the situation changes, for certain I will keep you posted via ‘commentary’!.

        • Notes 2 ( London ‘ the busking truth’! )

          Of course the ‘political’ truth about London is that in reality very little ‘space’ is granted for what you might call ‘real’ busking. In fact ‘authentic’ street entertaining seems to be barely tolerated at all!.

          Dig beneath ‘appearances’, scratch below surfaces ( eg. the london underground ‘set-up’! ) and what you see ( have here ) are basically a series of beauracratically organised oudoors ‘showcase’ stages that may pose as ‘street-performing’ facility but again in ‘reality’ are more suitable for particular kinds of ‘mainstream’ popular act or should I say ‘potential’ ( perhaps ‘experimental’?) ones i.e. ambitous ‘pop’ wannabees ( or if all fails, ‘independant’ Artists! ).

          Any ‘sponsorship’ that pertains here, mayoral support etc an ‘industry’ ruse. Sorry folks ( the true ‘busking’ community! ) but I have to say it, they’re trying to make ‘Suckers’ of us all!.

          • And in these kinds of ‘circumstance’ ( given this ‘contextual’ socio/cultural reality! ) nevermind an ‘artistic’ street community eg. ‘real’ or ‘organic’ ‘folk’ based ( by this I don’t mean performers running around ‘fingerstyling acoustic guitars & singing with a ‘Cornish’ accent but the ‘co-alition’ of genuine creative artistic impulse! ) what does a broad-based ‘political’ ‘street’ community ( i.e. a complex of ‘strategic’ alliances! ) mean?.

            The answer is Zilch! if in reality theres not even a ‘shared’ ( evenly shared! ) cultural agenda!. We just end up with one side ‘suckering’ the other, in ‘key’ areas ( see London SouthBank, London Underground v the rest of London & from an interesting wider ‘national’ perspective versus the ‘freedom’ available in the rest of the country eg. Birmingham & its ‘spontaneous’ order!. Thanks to those who bytheway helped save, or should I say ‘free’ the 2nd city from the shackles of ‘evil’ i.e. culturally ‘destructive’ authority & beauracracy! )

        • Bytheay I can live with the ‘reality’ of aspiring ‘pop’ wannabees taking to the streets, & using up ‘public’ space so as to ‘showcase’ or indeed ‘market’ themselves ( even under the ‘mask’ of independant Artists! ). This is fine as long as this kind of cultural phenomenom is identifed & clearly defined for what it is i.e. not ‘authentic’ busking as such!

          Likewise I can also with reason live with all the ‘fringe’ show-offs, lunatics & idiots that have a tendency to show up on the ‘open’ road ( & can if left unchecked ‘takeover’ ) our streets, towns & city-cetres. But what I don’t like, really can’t stomach is when all this cultural ‘deritas’ & flotsam threatens to push ‘true’ artistic aspiraton or even genuinely well meaning ‘public’ musicianship aside. No, what often manifests ( often insidiously! ) as a form of ‘cultural degradation’ I am willing to ‘struggle’ against, to yes ‘fight’ all the way. Long live ‘true’ beauty & art!.

          • End ( notes )

          • * Postscript ( Buskers or Post Brit Pop ‘outdoors’ Festival Goers Acts ? )

            The ironic ( & sad ) truth is that in the main, the ‘contemporary’ images ( ‘mainstream’ publishing, social media, London, Liverpool led ! ) of Buskers you see banded about in the publicsphere these day’s are not of ‘real’ Street Performing Artists at all but more like ‘post’ BritPop summers ‘outdoors’ Festival Goers Acts ( of the kind you might hear or ‘see’ featured live on a Jo Wiley BBC ‘seasonal’ radio 1 show ! ).

            If they’re not ‘bands’ actually self-consciously ‘posing’ as Buskers, they’re in ‘commercial’ fake popular media fashion, presented as such!. This brand of ‘pretentious’, cynical, marketing pop tourism being just that, merely another brand of ‘high’ street summer market tourism involving the naked ‘commercialisation’ of busking.

            I’ve no desire to jump into bed with these kind of act or performer masking as they do the underlying cultural truth that ‘proper’ ( old school ) Street Performing eg. the ‘spontaneous’ Gypsy on the street corner, the Monkey & Organ Grinder, the likes of myself are being forced out, brushed aside, rendered extinct in more ‘traditional’ busking locations & spots as part of London ( or London like ) programmes of social cleansing & pampering to the new ‘develpment’ class & billionaire rich right across the UK.

            Of course the ‘new’ busking community ( performers, activists alike! ) todays social media savvy independant Artist freshly ‘auditoned’ & willing to join in, are all part of this rather dubious ( & stultifyingly regressive ) cultural process. All seemingly quite prepared to fully exploit the ‘publicity’ to be gained by taking part in the pretty underhand advertorial practices of contemporary ‘consumer’ capitalism! .

          • * A Typical Band Line-up ( i.e. Post Brit Pop weekend ‘outdoors’ street Festival Act )

            – Double Bass
            – Banjo
            – Electric/Acoustic Guitar
            – Violin/Fiddle ( optional )
            – Harmonica ( optional )
            – Tambourine ( optional )
            – Vocals

            Nb. Stage presentation either Standing up at a ‘weekend’ market place spot or ‘Hippy Style’ seated ‘cross’ legged outside an ’empty’ shop on the street ( or adjacent to an open ‘open’ field dirt-track at a Uk Summers ‘festival’!) .

          • * The BBC ‘One-Showification’ of Busking

            Talking about the ‘commercialisation’ of busking, I picked up the ‘trailer’ end of a tv article on local news ( Midlands Today ) the other day ( ‘last’ Friday ) in fact about a Guiness Book record attempt of 25 hrs non-stop busking by a couple of teens ( yg guys ) from Shrewsbury – one on yeah you’ve guessed it, vocals/acoustic guitar & the other on ‘flamenco’ drum ( or cajon ).

            No mean feat this ( I thought to myself! ) to stay up all night ‘strumming’ n’ banging a drum dusk til dawn. Then a more perhaps ‘telling’ thought entered my mind ( suddenly ‘struck’ me ! ) ” yeah no mean feat this, but I bet these kids could’nt sit down & do 2hrs ‘concentrated’ serious music practice tho’, no!, not for all the tea in China! ” .

            Yeah, ” welcome to the ‘new’ busking community ” ( Ann & Nicks words not mine ! i.e I don’t recognise this ‘new’ cultural phenomenom as I don’t all these so called ‘busking’ guides being banded around at present by some ( possibly a ‘tribe’ ?) of the so-called ‘contemporary’ StreetPerformers of today!. )

            On a positive tho, for me the only ‘one’ positive note ( as an aspiring musician I ‘do’ like to ‘end’ on them ! ) is that all the ‘money’ raised at least thru’ this type of ‘local’ endeavour, will go to a ‘good’ cause ! .

          • ” This is the land of lost content,
            I see it shining plain,
            The happy highways where I went,
            And cannot come again ”
            ( A. E. Houseman ‘ A Shropshire Lad ‘ )

  • The Artists Path ( Artistic Value On the Streets! )

    While I argue on the principle of the ‘spontaneous’ order & keeping the streets for various morally ‘good’ reasons open access for everyone ( the ‘crap’ included’ tho’ within reason of course i.e. not ‘aggressive’ beggars using busking as a ‘front’! ).

    I am a supporter of having good if not ‘excellent’ performers on the street, indeed I argue that this should be ‘actively’ encouraged as a matter of social ‘balance’ plus ‘rational’ civic entertainment & health!.

    On the ‘theme’ of 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!.

    • The Artists Path ( Work Plan ! ).

      Here’s an ‘idea’ ( drawn from ‘memory’! ) of what it actually takes to get thru’ a typical ‘music’ degree course. Its the daily ‘itineray’ of London Music Student & erstwhile Busker Natalia Wierzbicka ( or violinbiscuit as she ‘charmingly’ nicknames herself! ). Now imagine that if this the ‘daily routine’ of the ‘average Music Student’ what a terrific hard grind it must be to become an actual ‘musical Artist’!.

      Eg. A Music Student ( Daily Planner ).

      6.30 am – Preparation for the Paganinni Quartet Recital
      7.30 am – Breakfast & shower eg. Honey Nut Cornflakes
      8.00 am – Off to School on the Tube ( do a little busking on
      the way !)
      9.00 am – Meeting with the head of Cello Studies ( the
      ‘handsome’ world-stage Cellist, now college
      Professor Mario Gabbannini ) in the gentlemans
      drawing room suite ( private rooms! )
      9.30 am – Instrumental tuition from that very Professor
      10.30 am – Ensemble studies with the ‘student’ Bach choir
      11. 30 am – Cadenza class with Miss ( 65 yr old ‘Hungarian’
      Spinster ) Henrietta Kadinski.
      12.30 pm – Lunch at the Old Fiddlers Arms
      1.30 pm – Career Advice with Deputy Head Master of
      Richmond ‘primary’ school Mrs Rosalind Smythe
      2.30 pm – Rehearsals with the Jazz Dept Big Band
      3.30 pm – Student Study rooms & ‘Dog-Fight’ Score
      Reading Excercises
      4. 00 pm – Theory & Harmony lecture with Mr Beagle.
      5. 00 pm – End daily classes, Quick Tea-break in student
      5. 30 pm – Extra Curriculem Class with fellow ‘student’
      Michael Shoehorn Jr ( son of the very Michael
      Shoehorn senior eg. Operatic legend &
      today leading West End Maestro )
      6. 30 pm – P/t job helping out ‘cleaning’ in the campus
      computer rooms etc with Jazz Student David
      Lloyd Henri aka ‘Gabby’!.
      7.30 pm – Leave the building & catch theTube, do a little
      busking on the way back home to my ‘dig’s’
      where I share a bed with my best ‘friend’ & fellow
      music student Sally Barker. Well it saves on the
      rent, living in ‘central’ London in a 1 ‘small’ room
      bedsit at £785 each!.

      • The Artists Path ( painters of the ‘holographic’ Universe i.e. ‘reality’! )

        Bytheway ‘ Natalia Wierzbicka ‘ ( aka violinbiscuit ) is not a ‘hologram’ shes the ‘real’ thing!. Q. ” But are’nt we all holograms? A. Ok what i mean shes not an image of a hologram, she’s a real one as percieved thru’ the senses Q. But are’nt we all mere ‘reflections’ of the image that is a hologram? A. Ok in strict ’empirical’ terms shes the ‘directly’ percieved image, of an image, of a hologram, projected from ‘ideal’ reality somewhere in the nether regions of outer-space!. Inital Questioner ” Ok I can accept that!.”

        ( extracts from an ‘interview’ – not ‘audition’! – conducted between a ‘representative’ of the fledgling ‘contemporary’ busking community & a highly respected Art Critic or should I say member of the culturatti, or even more correctly a London Guardianista from Hamstead! )

        • * Note ( Further Discussion! )

          For further discussion on this type of topic/theme please ‘consult’ or indeed take a look at various other ‘comments’ found elswhere on this website.

          Eg. ” The Great Songwriters ” ( aka Singing, Songwriting & The Streets ) See. Gravesham Blog. ( * If you do have difficulty finding this particular commentary, search under the main theme title ”Emily Lee” or ‘The Case Study Of A London Busker ‘ ! ).

          • Note 2 ( For Even Further Discussion ! )

            Byetheway in ‘celebration’ of Arts & culture & of this the the ‘post’-modern age! ( & in recognition of an ever burdgeoning popular ‘mass’ culture’! ) I’m about to put together a ‘complimentary’ piece ( or should I say commentary? ) paying tribute to the 21st centuries great studio technicians, engineers, & producers ( & not forgetting the millenia’s many fine ‘photographers’ too! )

            Yeah perhaps an essay, ( ‘opinion’ piece ) paying, much deserved, hommage to these wonderful bunch of ‘creatives’ also – or as many today refer too ( incl. top ‘critics’ ) as actual ‘magicians’, yeah celestial cultural magicians!.

          • By ‘definition’ this is where ( & in whose ‘marvellous’ hands! ) ‘Pop’ culture performs ( creatively manifests itself! ) best i.e. as a shiny finished, well mastered, radio ( radio 1! ) friendly, CD. In the ‘context’ of the streets, ‘pop’ music really does tend to sound rubbish ( yeah quite empty & ‘inauthentic! ).

          • Note 3 ( Yeah! even more discussion! )

            Funny listening last night ( Sat ) to a ‘contestant’ on the BBC TV talent show ‘ The Voice ‘ ( * Nb. now minus panelist Tom Jones! ) quoted as saying how although she did go out ‘street-performing’, she did’nt want to be a Busker all her life. Rikki Wilson ( of Kaiser Chiefs fame! ) her ‘show’ mentor replied ( referring no doubt to the quality of her youthful ambition! ) with a statement on how he liked her ‘spirit’!.

            As a ‘jobbing’ Street Performer myself ( aspiring ‘artist’ as Public Musician to be exact! ) quite right I say ( & very wise thinking for a yg woman! ) as a wannabee Pop Performer your ( her! ) place is certainly not on the streets.

            However if you are ( like me! ) looking to belong to an ‘organic’ folk community of fledgling musical artists then the streets ( cafe quarters, public squares, pallasades ) can be ‘authentically’ said to be in many ‘good’ ways your ( my! ) home!.

          • Oh & forget panelist Paloma Faiths ( again last nights ‘early evening Saturday viewing! ) talk ( cultural ‘platitudes’! ) about her being a ‘pacifist’ & disliking ‘contest’ ( if so, what on earth is she doing on this show i.e. a mainstream pop ‘talent’ conest? ), No, in this context I think she a sop!.

            Truth is as an ‘Artist’ you have to fight ( seriously struggle) to simply ‘become’, just to be, to fully ‘realise’ who you are!. And even more importantly once that identity has been courageously arrived at & ‘formed’ you have to bravely ‘compete’ ( & pretty aggresively so ) to simply then exist!.

            To thrive? well in ‘reality’ & for a truly ‘aspiring’ musical Artist, that can mean embarking in what can only be described as ‘all out war’, albeit a highly wrought, hit & run, guerilla campaign!.

          • ( ‘extracts’ from Chapter 11 ‘ The Artists Path & The Streets – A Post-Modern Perspective from Gypsy Cafe to Esther Turner ‘ )

          • *Afterword

            Viva la resistance! ( a ‘new’ cultural resistance! )

          • Against the manufacture of culture & the ‘serious’ marketing of songs that professional songwriters & ‘honest’ craftspersons throwaway on a daily basis!.

            Long may the ‘true’ Artists path reign – along with it all the lessons to be learned, bumps & crannies to be travailed along the way!.

            Long live ‘true’ art, genuine fulfillment & ‘real’ happiness!.

          • Plus the seeds of a ‘new’ authentic culture, ‘eclectic’ blend of modern Art, ‘pop’ & romance See YouTube ” ATENEA – PANDORA – 5 – 2012 ” Barcelona dies, up rises Madrid ! .

          • ‘Cafe Cultural Maria Pandora’ ( Madrid! )

          • & ‘post’ EuroVision continental youth subculture ! .

          • ( fr Chapter 16 – London & the Contintental Scene – A Contemporary ‘Street’ Cafe Culture in England?

            ” A year ago I met Emily Lee, a few months later I met @ Ccampbellmusic & then @ KarinaRamage ( French Singer Songwriter). Its been a good year! . ” ( by Daniel Mendes, April 2nd, 2016 ).

            Nb. ‘true’ Busking fan, ‘taste’ policeman & ‘talent’ spotter, Daniel ( or Crazydude as he likes to be known! ) is an ardent frequenter of Londons SouthBank. Check out his Twitter Site @ Crazydude10Dm for more of his interesting ‘cultural’ observations!.

          • & yeah photograph of the year! .

          • Bytheway 9 days on from writing the ‘comment’ above I note Daniel Mendes ( such a ‘sweet’ boy! ) has finally ‘come-out’ on his Twitter page by admitting that he actually fancies London Southbank busker Emily Lee. Get the word out on the streets will yer ” hands off shes mine!” ( ha! ha! ha! )

            See. Emilys angry ‘Guest’ Blog ( Online ) about her being regularly pawed, touched & mis-handled at gigs by men & my retort ( comment below ) that she learn a few ‘stage’ lessons from Tom Jones & after gigs fast exit via the back stage-door – afterall thats what its designed for! – whilst picking up & taking all their ‘lobbed’ off Y-fronts with her ! ) )

          • Taxi-ready ready outside to ‘zoom’ her off into the moonlight! . ) .

          • Byethway I can’t for the life of me understand why someone like Emily would play at a gig like this anyway, tho’ I understand she did recently eg. Barfly, Camden April 26 & dressed in German ‘ Bavarian’ Danube ‘ hunting shorts ( See. Scott Peacocks ‘London & Uk Buskers Facebook Page for ‘photos’ ).

            Shame cos’ I always had her down ( acoustic guitar in hand, harmonica in mouth! ) as an up & coming ‘female’ Woodie Guthrie, or indeed ‘rising’ Billy Bragg not an itinerant country singer! .

          • I also hear there was a good ‘event’ line-up, ‘bottom of the bill’ i.e. first on stage, the ‘excellent’ girl sythpop band ‘ ‘Viven Glass’ See YouTube Video ” Awake My Sleeper ” Behind the Photo – Shoot ( yeah, very photogenic too! ). I’d say there was a ‘gig’ nights ‘injustice’ here, this band should have been allowed on-stage at least 9pm ( not at 8 ! ) so that ‘more’ music lovers cd have got to see them ! .

          • ( See YouTube Video by Vivien Glass ” Awake My Sleeper ” Behind the Photo -Shoot )

  • * Street Photography ( Commentary/Analysis in Black & White )

    Not only a ‘beautiful’ London Southbank ‘photograph’ this ( Daniel Mendes with Karina Ramage, with Charlotte Campbell & Emily Lee below! ) but an ‘important’ one too in the very relevant statement it makes about ‘passion’ not just in life ( you know what I mean! ) but in relation to Art too! i.e. as a ‘driving’ force behind creative ‘action’ & in the guise of ‘human’ motivator, what evokes it, &/or what ‘kills’ it too ( see. passion killers! ).

    I thank Daniel ( the consumate ‘busking’ fan! ) for posting this photo on Twitter because what comes out here together with his enthusiasm for getting ‘out there’, going walk-bout ‘n experiencing Londons sights is how this beautiful image genuinely re-encourages, re-excites a person such as me’s ‘taste’ ‘n urge for street-performing.

    Don’t mis-read me here (i.e. ‘don’t be cynical, resist the wittisisms! ) the urge is not simply displaced ( Freudian ) sexual energy, cos’ my viewing of Daniels photo’ for the first-time ironically coincides with me ( after nearly 4 years desparately trying ) finally ‘fully’ awakening my ‘passion’ for ‘music’ & being able to ‘finally’ decide on a ‘clear’ musical direction ‘guitar-wise’ not only for the ‘streets’ ( I’m genuinely & ‘realistically’ into ‘street-performing cafe culture’! ) but for indoors ‘gigs’ as well.

    So impt to find a way to release this otherwise ‘potential’ kind of ‘passionate’ energy dormant within us esp. if as a ‘potential’ Artist you are to do all the necessary work to acquire the skills, the ‘musicianship’ & the techniques, nevermind ‘true’ creative powers to become a fully fledged musician in this respect !.

    Besides ‘Daniels’ photograph’, the other most recent, what I wd call ‘beautiful’ street image(s), I’ve come ( stumbled! ) across are of Chester Performance Artist, Clare Marie Wall ( ‘ The Busking Lady’ ). A tragic note runs thru my ‘observations’ here tho’ ( & ‘colours’ my albeit ‘distant’ standpoint & view ! ).

    First she ( Clare ) reminds me of a ‘out-there’ female character called Lydia I knew busking in Stratford upon Avon a few years back. Lydia ( not herself a busker & most definitely ‘Borderline’ – annoyingly so!) I recall one Sunday afternoon telling to ‘f..k off!’ & leave me alone, when she characteristically started vying with me for attention & messing around when ‘I’ was playing. I always thought she wd make a great ‘actress’ performance artist if only she was ‘sane’!.

    Secondly ( & tragically too ) I detect a ‘culture’ of sentimental religiosity, faux socialism & heady ‘romanticism’ ( kinda pre-raphaelite in nature ) having permeated the busking community in Chester & sadly tainted ‘The Busking Lady’ too. A bit like a ‘fallen’ Nun or is it bi-partisan Joan of Arc are the pics I’ve seen of Clare on her Twitter feed protesting on behalf of the homless with organisations like Soul Kitchen in the town. A sad sight this, such blind ‘ego’-masochism, slave/master ‘pre’ transcendance! ( Nb. tho’ as a woman you are forgiven Clare for such still ‘standard’ gender sentimental practices in our society! ).

    Finally ( thirdly ) I read recently I can’t remember where ( oh I think it cd be by a ‘patron’ of this site ! ) anyway some confused ( philospically! ) tosh about human ‘ontology’ & the primacy of love. Ontology a common philosphy category ( i.e. theory of being ) is also ( more commonly! ) a concept/term you usually hear cropping up in ‘specifically’ Existential speak ( i.e. as an existential term ). Here I puzzlingly noted it being used out of ‘context’ to express a fairly ‘predicatable’ brand of Christian essentialism i.e we’re all born loving creatures.

    I contest such obviously ‘false’ ( fake ) christian conjecture, even Kierkegaard the theological existentialst wd contest such a ‘wrong’ ( ‘experientially’ misguided! ) human understanding. For me its both ‘true’ and natural that human-beings, ‘moral’ elastic creatures as they are are both capable of good & evil both from the off & throughout life.

    When you look closely at human relations ( group, family even! ) what may indeed look like ‘bonded’ love & affiliation is in reality often ‘acted’ out strategy for survival. And yes despite the ‘strongest’ apparant affiliations children may in certain ‘conditions’ kill their parents, & parents who are very capable of killing their children doing just that ie. killing there offspring whether sons or daughters. Switch on the ‘evening’ news ( not for kids! ) & you’ll hear a story like this every other week ( if not every week! ) .

    Survival ( or indeed the ‘urge’ to grow & thrive ) not love appear to be the ‘real’ primal ontological drives ( if there are indeed any & we’re all guilty of misplaced ‘essentialism’ here! ) behind ( at the core of ) human behaviour!. I even disagree with Rousseau here, who I believe is spot on about the ‘corruption’ of human innocence but whom I think may have got it wrong, quite wrong about the question of human nature ! .

    ( Nb. Everything I’ve said in this photograph ‘commentary’/analysis can be generalised to include all human formations & groups eg. Q. Busking Community? A. Yes, Artistic ones based on ‘shared’ values but No! in terms of ‘projected’ Christian-type ‘manufactured’ ones where in reality varying ‘degrees’ of affilitiation ( closeness & ‘distancing’ ) exists between people, individuals, & in the case of buskers coming together perhaps only at times of ‘extreme’ political’ upheaval, wide ‘common’ interest, & social stress!. ) .

    Anyway back to Daniels photograph & thankyou, my ‘passion’for music is now fully re-awakened/focused & ‘real’ plus importantly ( despite the ‘passion-killers’ eg. religiosity, faux socialism, ‘false’ idealism’, pride/vanity plus pettiness & cultural ignorance ) so is my enthusiasm for Street Performing & ‘authentic’ outdoors entertainment ( the other most recent inspirational ‘image’ being the SouthBank sounds ( pure poetry! ) of a West African ‘Kora’ player & the beautiful ‘feline’ rhythms of stylish woman walking past & evocatively captured in a ‘video’ snapshot by Portuguese Singer Songwriter Susana Silva ). Viva Susana ! .

    ( *Reference, Daniel Mendes @ Crazydude 10Dm, April 2nd, Twitter Photograph Compilation featuring Singer/Songwriters Karina Ramage ( French ), Charlotte Campbell, & Emily Lee on Londons SouthBank )

    • Nb ( or what the truly ‘camera’ loves ! )

      An important lesson to be had here on the topic of natural/art ‘aesthetics’ & photography, transcendant beauty ( or what the ‘camera’ truly loves ! ) .

      The camera loves ‘human’ quirkiness, body ‘radiance’ ( or physical charisma ) & the yes ‘beauty’ of ‘theatrical’ persona found in dance, mime, ‘various’ stage arts/performers etc. The camera also loves ‘faces’, the natural symmetry of the human face, the ‘Greta’ Garbot style beauty that when ‘captured’ from the ‘right’ angle ( a bit like the ‘sweet spot’ on in classical guitar, jazz guitar ! ) seems to ‘light’ up the screen/photographic image! . ( see Garbots hollywood ‘test’ screen shots on vintage video footage ).

      Its a fact of life ( fortunate when you think of it esp. in evolutionary terms, biological ‘variety’ etc ) that people are not usually ‘blessed’ with both of these kinds of beauty & if they are its in ‘aesthetically’ gradated form. So ( all things being unequal! ) the solution is to develop a ‘self’ awareness of your body/personality type either way & begin focusing on developing or enhancing what you have got i.e. very ‘physical’ beauty, body ‘radiance’ & personality quirkiness or ‘natural’ beauty like that of Greta Garbot.

      Where it all goes wrong is when the ‘human’ ego gets in the way, perhaps ‘foolishly’ influenced by the ‘dominant’ culture ( often merely popular ‘surface’ consumer ‘fashion’ trends ) & wanting it all. These ‘factors’ then start to get ‘personally’ ( subjectively! ) out of balance i.e naturally beautiful performers start playing down their beauty in the ‘vain’ ( misguided’ ) hope they will be taken more seriously for their art or as a ‘musician’. Beautiful artfully quirky performers descend into bulemia, anerexia nervosa, ‘photo-shop’ & instagram colour correction strategies, as a means to resolving problems ( often ‘manufactured’, illusory ) of self image!.

      I propose that the solution is age-old & a ‘classic’ one ( & it always will be with regards issues/affairs concerning man & the human condition! ) & that is to first in ‘Art’ & life to know thyself & regardless of cultural conditions ( often ‘shallow’, petty social ‘norms’ & expectations ) align yourself & your art/craft accordingly.

      Afterall I think it was Mathew Arnold who said ( see Culture & Anarchy ) that Art is ‘criticism of Society/life’ & other cultural critics before & after him who have said that its all about ‘authenticity’ – true beauty that is!. I go on to say ( after a brief period of self reflection! ) that this is what the phrase ( or commonly uttered folk wisdom ) ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder” truly means i.e is really all about ! .

      • ( Notes. The Ancient Greek Aphorism ”Know Thyself” is one of the Delphic maxims and was inscribed on the pronaos ( forecourt ) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to Greek periagetic ( travelogue ) writer Pausanias – See Wikipedia) .

        • ( Epilogue. So yeah ‘ Know Thyself’ then play to your ‘strengths’/passions in life!. Now thats what you call ‘transcendant’ power, thats what it means to live in ‘style’ ( beauty & health ) ie. to naturally dance thru’ life ! . )

          • ( Appendices. If Lydia ( see above ) were another ‘neurotic’ personality type she wd have turned around & ‘scolded’ me for abuse, when I told her to unceremoniously ‘f..k’ off that Sunday Afternoon. And if I were another personality type in this instance you might be justified in ‘labelling’ me a masochist, whilst accusing ‘me’ of playing ‘kick-me’ games.

            As it stands I’m not, tho’ i say my outburst ‘was’ ‘out-of’ character & I don’t often react like this. So yeah out of ‘tragic’ sympathy ( & perspective! ) I do apologise for my behaviour its just that ‘women’ like her can be so damned annoying! ( * plus to be ‘honest’ there were other very ‘trying’ & outstanding reasons of personal ‘justice’ to do with why I did what i did that day & what I said, however this is not the time or ‘space’ to go into it! ) .

          • Yeah so annoying despite their quirky, feminine ‘virtues’!.

          • )

          • Yet perhaps a man could & maybe should ‘love’ her still if nothing else as a ‘ludic’ friend & make ‘heroic’ strides to avoid cruelly leaving her to herself ( her worst nightmare & punishment ! ). As for that other ‘neurotic’ personality type, female ‘narc’ or ‘Harpy’ as thru the Ages & still today shes commonly known, ignore her siren calls & yes let ‘her’ perish in the emotional ‘wastelands’ of time ! . )

            ( a reading from the ‘ancient’ Oracle of wisdom )

          • Street Photography & Busking in Birmingham

            Bytheway any ‘photographers’ coming to Birmingham & wanting to capture the ‘true’ nature of busking in the city-centre heres not a ‘guide’ but a fairly ‘accurate’ description ( personally experiential! ) of whats going on in the place with regards street-performing at present ( i.e. now! ) & quite naturally i.e. without any ‘interference’ from others.

            Busking in the city is ‘open’ to anybody who wishes to play ‘freely’ in the public space & what exists at present is a kind of ‘spontaneous’ order where performers using their own common-sense simply find a ‘pitch’ & start playing & not according to ( ‘official’ busking guides etc ) but in accordance with the ‘spirit’ of the law of the land.

            Of course don’t necessarily take my word for it come & find out for yourself! .

            ( more readings from the ‘ancient’ Oracle of wisdom )

          • Yeah, hopefully you’ll see everyone gets on just fine! More importantly with those who don’t act ( perform! ) within the spirit of the law i.e. too noisy, harrassing others etc soon ( or at least eventually ) brought into line ! ( ok as a ‘photographer’ you may not chance on the occaassion but in fact I witnessed one such ‘group’, & an individual, both out of order, recently get dealt with by city-centre police! & in this instance amazingly in a ‘fair-handed way ! )

            ( a ‘revelation’ from the streets of contemporary Birmingham )

  • The ‘New’ Busking Community ( A North/South Divide? )

    I’m aware Streetlslive ( & its founders i.e. Jonny Walker ) talk of ( use the terms ) sponteneity, democratic access, informality when describing ( eg. in interviews etc! ) the busking values that shape the Street Performer/Artists ‘organisations’ philosophy ( theology? ) & vision!.

    I too share these ‘values’ ( with no doubt many ‘sensible’, creative & freedom loving others ) but I do have my doubts ( as I’ve stated elsewhere See comments above ) about any process that involves the Christian & often ‘thwarted’ political aspiration ( See David Cameron & the ‘early’ Tory Party Agenda ) to ‘create’ ( I say ‘manufacture’ ) community amongst local people & cultures.

    The truth is that while its quite ‘natural’ for people to seek ‘communal’ bonds ( for some it appears a desparate need! ) & perhaps ‘friendship’ like all ‘social’ realities ( incl busking ones ) the so called ‘community’ that does exist really amounts to an uneasy set of complex relations, of varying degrees of ‘closeness’ & separation. Furthermore the ‘groupings’ or ‘common’ formations that do emerge ( exist ) seem to me ( as often is the case ) to be merely lowest ‘common’ denominator ‘tribal’ ones & fairly ”ruthless’ ( See ‘narc’ in-groups eg. Bath ) poltical & exclusionary ones at that!.

    Again I state I fully endorse the values of sponteneity, democratic access, informality when it comes to the practise of ‘busking’ for me they actually ‘define’ the nature of street performing. Here once more I am in agreement with Streetslive, however I don’t share the ‘apparant’ enthusiasm for so called busking ‘guides’ ( See Good Practice Guide Liverpool, York ) devised in ‘consultation’ with Local Councils ‘cos beside the plastic, ‘mass’ cultural ‘tone’ of these kind of buskers/gov pamplet.

    ( * Yuk! so ‘consumerist’, CAB, 1980s ‘Cosmopolitan’ Magazine in idea & conception! ) they merely represent ( albeit indirect, surrepticious ) another smothering, pretentiously ‘parental’ attempt at control eg. See the York Good Practise Guide – touted as a ‘model’ by Streetslive! – with its ‘patronising’ maxims/guidance on when & where to take a ‘break’ & eat your sandwiches – pathetic! )

    True ‘sponeneity’ for me being the public/political act of allowing people, the ‘demos’ ( incl Buskers ) to be fully grown adults ( not repressed ‘children’, nor herded ‘animials’ eg. cats! ) & make their own on the spot moral ‘decisions’ without prompting or ‘external’ guidance!.

    No! I support ( argue for ) ‘real’ sponenteity ( see Friedrich Hayeks ‘ Spontaneous’ Order above ) with buskers ( as it is the case in Birmingham today! ) ‘responsibly’ & successfully sorting out their own affairs ‘on-the-spot’ in the streets & around a very ‘common-sense’ basic morality & relatively ‘sparse’ human ‘rule’ framework.

    ( * As far as any supposed up & coming Birmingham busking ‘guides’ are concerned whilst they may be relevant & ‘legitemate’ for Streetslive.org & their ‘members’ perhaps to make note of & even abide by – afterall one of the ‘core’ trouble makers in the city-centre, now a ‘convicted’ criminal eg. 2 yrs suspended jail for harrassment of another yg ‘female’ Busker is a key member/’link’man of the supposed street ‘organisation’ – I for one & ‘others’ don’t recognise- & will not be in the future, as & when they ‘crop’ up – ‘recognising’ them ) .

    So forget talk of a ‘new’ Busking Community ( along ‘streetslive’ lines anyway! ) because on top of the ‘schism’ represented here ie. Streetslive Liverpool/York/Birmingham Member ‘amendmant’ Good Practice Guides v ‘other’ majority ‘free’ busking performers ‘sponteneous’ order. I’m detecting a further, perhaps much ‘deeper’ conflict of ‘values’ & the emergence of a serious ( fundamental ) North/South divide on the issue of Busking Schemes & Busking ‘practices’.

    In London & despite the Entertainments Act 2003 rendering busking ‘nationally’ unregulated we have already witnessed ( Camden Council November 2015 ) the introduction of the most ‘draconian’ busking legislation in recent years, with not only the ‘introduction’ of licencing, but its questionable ‘administration’ ( many ‘legit’ Buskers applying & not getting licences nor ‘explanations’ & losing money eg. £ 47 ? ) plus now the ‘criminalisation’ of street performers ( See The Independant ” Freddy Beats And ABH Beatbox ” Sat 5th March 2016 ).

    I further ‘comment’ that the situation in London regards busking is misleading to ‘outsiders’ in general anyway & any notion that ‘free’ sponteneous, democratically accessible & informal street entertaiment culture exists in the capital is largely ‘illusory’. The truth is ‘real’ ( proper ) busking, ‘street-performing’ aka The Gypsy Musician ‘violinist’ on the street corner, monkey & the Organ-Grinder ‘popular’ tradition is barely tolerated by London authorities at all. Instead what you have are a limited ‘series’ of beauracratically ‘controlled’ ( formally auditioned? ) very artificially ‘staged’ ‘outdoors’ performance schemes eg. the London Underground & of course TheSouthBank ( with its highly ‘restrictive’ n’ ‘cramped’ 1hr ‘revolving’ spots/permormances!) .

    Speaking of which ( the London SouthBank busking set-up that is! ) we now have the potential ( actual! ) ’emergence’ of a North/South divide when it comes to Busking ‘values’ & practice. Take a look at London Busker Charlotte Campbells ‘Social Media’ ‘rantings’ ( or should I say big Sister in the bedroom, private ‘diarising’ & friendly ‘intimate’ words’ ! ) & you’ll know what I mean ( & fear! )

    Heres for example is a quote from her ‘new’ ” Ask The Busker ” Part 1 ( Q & A ) video series featured on her Twitter Site,

    ” Hiiigheee! my hair looks like this because its raining ( blah! blah! blah! ) ……. I’m a Busker, I feel its become a very big part of what I do now….. people are very curious about it so I thought I’d do a Q&A……..Q Why did you decide to start busking? A. I decided to start busking because no one was watching my YouTube channel! …my first experience was terrifying but it turned out to be alright & people were really nice to me…….Q. Whats the best thing about being a Busker? A. The Freedom to play my music to whoever I want & whenever I want! ………Q. ‘Events’ busking spots appear to be ‘oversubscribed’ is that the case? A. Yes, they are, …there are days like that .. we’re all ‘licensced’ performers so theres only a set no of performers that can be down there… but at the same timetheres still a lot of us, a lot of people waiting ( blah! blah! blah! ) ” .

    ( Extracts from Charlotte Campbell Q & A – Ask the Busker Video )

    • * Busking A more ‘traditional’ Approach ( or The irony of ‘Victorian’ Values & Freedom! )

      My approach to busking tho’ very modern ( truly ‘contemporary’ ) politically i.e. about ‘real’ existential’ human ‘creativity’ & freedom concerning culture! ) is seemingly ‘contrary’ to Charlottes philosophy ( on the surface 1970s/60s BBC kids programming ) quite traditional & simple yes ‘Victorian’ even in both essence & ‘practice’! .

      I take the approach of the ‘excellent’ Amateur by that I mean yes ‘jobbbing’ ( I earn my living this way! ) but in a Gypsy-like, Victorian ‘serious’ hobbyist way. Yes I ”do’ aspire to be a ‘serious’ ( & complete! ) musician on the streets ( & indoors the ‘cafe’ etc ) but without all the ‘professionalism’ of todays music industry eg. fake PR, homogenisation, beauractratic ‘order’, qualifications etc.

      Like Charlotte I too may wish to ‘project’ a positive image ( or at least ultimately too! ) & yes be ‘successful’, but for me that means in the spirit of ‘values’ like the classic ‘olympic’ ideal ( see Cuba, Russia etc – without the ‘state’ interference !) not todays more ‘typical’ utilitarian commercial sales/marketing ‘business’ methods & e.commerce. I’m happy making ‘money’ but thru’ trading ‘directly’ in ‘real’ artistic ‘aesthetic’ natural content not superficial surface simulcra or other ‘post-modern’ pop ideals

      ( * I genuinely like to meet people direct, & trade ‘honestly’ face to face on the streets. The picture of Russian Classical guitarist Yevgeny ” Classical Guitar Virtuoso ”YouTube selling CDs on the Street in Nice is the example I hope to follow. Noting that where ‘imagrey’ is used it is very ‘natural’, & expressing musicianship & ‘real’ musical content )

      Its funny I talk of the BBC ‘One-showification’ of busking in comments above, trying to express my concern – the very real ‘danger’! – of it all becoming reduced to a series of consumer ‘guides’, & platitudinal ‘regional’ culture – ‘busking’ that is! . Well bring back ‘Nationwide’ I say ( on of my ‘favourite’ tv programmes ) with its rich, eccentric news ‘narrative’ of English anthropolgy & true local ‘colour’ & culture.

      ( * Boy if the ‘resurrection’ were true ( theres not even any ‘real’ evidence that Jesus existed bytheway! ) or possible, then right ‘now’!, I’d kneel down & pray I’d to raise characters like Fred Dibnah from the grave. He had his faults i.e. a little misogynsist perhaps, no doubt a little ‘racist’ in an English Northernly way but his endearing qualites of almost child-like innocent ‘enthusiasm’ & ‘inventiveness’ in what he did, towards his passions/hobbies – what he loved!, his ‘down-to-earth’ infectious natural zest & ‘drive’ remain with me & ‘in’ me i.e. he was truly spriitual !. )

      Oh how I bemoan the loss of the likes of ‘local’ characters like Fred, you know I cd write an ‘Ode’ to it, these feelings of contemporary cultural, Post-modern sadness & loss. There again ( I feel an ‘epiphany’ coming on! ) , you never know, perhaps we will meet again ‘televisually’ in the next life, & the next & the next!. See. ‘Modern’ Continental Philosophy, Friedrich Nietsche & the concept of ” The Eternal Occurance).

      ( fr Chapter 11 – Freedom, Culture, Victoran Values & a Tribute to Fred Dibnah ! )

      • Ask The Busker ( an alternative Q & A )

        ( Nigel its 3 or 4 years now since you’ve been ‘busking’ as a ‘day’ job in places like Birmingham & Stratford upon Avon, heres a question for you!)

        Q. What wd you say is the most important quality a Street Performer cd have ( indeed develop! ) to not be not only succesful in their ‘chosen’ field but also perhaps more importantly, happy ( indeed fulfilled! ) in their Art ?

        A. Moral integrity, without doubt ‘moral’ integrity & ( that plus ) a sense of lg-term commitment to both the music that you love & its ‘craft’ ! . I wd also add ‘support’ not from ‘other’ buskers or the public necessarily ( tho’ in other ways this is essential! ) but from the establishment ( actual ‘existence’ ! ) of a ‘real’ external Artist culture in this country ( a bit like the Cafe Chantant in 19th Century Paris, the cafe cantante in Spain ) & ‘truly’ inspired by the likes of great ‘continental’ musicians of the past like the Romanian violinist Georges Boulanger ! .

        • ( * Chapter 12 – A tribute to Georges Boulanger, The ‘Paris’ style Salon & the concept of the Cafe Chantant )

          • Adam Smith & Scottish ‘Englightenment’ Liberal Economics

            As a follow on from the ‘alternative’ Ask The Busker Q & A ( see above ) I wd say the 2nd most impt quality a ‘contemporary’ Street Performer cd have on top of a ‘particular’ appreciation of the ‘traditions’ of Art Cafe Culture is a ‘general’ liberal arts education. And given the ‘trading’ nature of your business ( i.e. street busking! ) you can’t go wrong with a study of the subject of ‘economics’ & yes a deeper ‘objective’ understanding of the ‘true’ nature ( & theory ) of liberal capitalism!.

            What with all the recent ‘scandal’ about ‘tax’ evasion by the super-rich & the existence of ‘dodgy’ overseas bank ( or money! ) accounts in places like Panama alot of ‘critical’ attention has been placed on what has commonly been labeled by ‘various’ experts ( so called! ) & ‘media’ commentators as ‘neo-liberalism.

            George Monbiot for example has an ‘article’ out in todays Guardian ” Neo-Liberalism – the ideology at the root of all of our problems ” . Interesting as this piece is it is typical of Guardianista type propaganda ‘posing’ as expose ‘truth’ in the form of ‘economics’ essay & polemic.

            I’m no ‘economics’ expert but I am well read enough to know that Monbiots attack of Friedrich Hayek ( modern classic economics thinker ) as the theorist puppet master behind the growth of ‘neo-liberalism’ over the past few decades is spurious in the least.

            Monbiot here is very mis-leading because Hayeks classic book ‘ The Road To Serfdom ‘ ( under fire in this article ) in fact cd be just as much interpreted as a straightforward ‘liberal’ text closer in spirit to the ‘moral’ economic philosophy of Adam Smith than so called Reaganite economic policy of the 1980’s USA.

            Issues ( bias, politically motiviated, media ‘articles’ ) such as this render it so important that readers of this sort of stuff if they can help it ( or help themselves! ) should read with the backing of a good ‘liberal’ education ( Nb. they don’t necessarily need economics ‘qualifications’ just a good background reading of ‘liberal’ economics ).

            In other words the sort of personally studied ‘self teach’ education one can ‘safely’ draw upon before reaching any conlusions, making any ‘erroneous’ judgements on such impt matters/current affairs ( i.e. falling victim to typical political platitudes & left-wing ‘media’ cliche or should I say ‘dogma’! ) .

            One place I wd strongly recommend any ‘interested’ ( concerned ) readers to start are with Alan Macfarlanes series of ‘excellent’ Social Theory lectures on YouTube.

            In fact why not start with Alans ( Professor of Anthropology Kings College Cambridge ) lecture on ‘Adam Smith’ himself, yes its a ‘real’ eye-opener & a fine introduction to the classic theory of ‘liberal’ Capitalism where ‘making’ money incidentally is seen as a ‘healthy’ human pursuit, a quite ‘producutive’ way to spend your time i.e. not the devil or an ‘idle’ occupation of the ‘filthy’ rich ( as folks like Monbiot or folks at The Guardian Newspaper might make out in ‘articles’ like this out today! ).

            ( fr Chapter 17 – Liberal Capitalism, Adam Smith & ‘Healthy’ Busking Economics )

          • * Afterword

            Well its the ‘devil’ when working class people ( & the like ! ) want to do it – make ‘money’ that is & take responsibility for their own ‘lot’ & life improvement.

            Plus who is George Monbiot, what is Socialism, the ‘true’ nature of the Labour party anyway? If not a ‘collective’ of individuals who think they know whats best for ‘ordinary’ working people better than ‘ordinary’ working people do for themselves! .

          • A contradicton ( i.e. moral ) you might say ? Not really, not when you really think about it, I’d reply! – ha!, ha!, ha! .

          • Heres a sample ( ‘free’ ) from Professor Macfarlanes ‘ebook ” Adam Smith & the Making of the Modern World ”, of some of the ‘key’ ‘economics’ issues explored by the likes of Smith & his contempraries ( themselves ‘key’ thinkers! ) back in the day ( i.e. 18th Century ‘Renaissance’ Eurpope ! ) Eg.

            1. ( Pope ) yes the poet & satirist on the question of the ‘battle’ between ‘self-love’ or selfishness & social virutes, constituating the central ‘tension’ in the emerging ‘capitalist’ world ( see Essay On Man ) .

            2. ( Bolinbroke ) the philosopher who spoke of the orderliness & ‘fixed’ laws which lie behind the apparant chaotic flux of events ( see Invisible Hand ) .

            3. ( Hume ) he needs no introduction & who elegantly outlined the problem! ie. the tendency to use ‘growth’ in wealth or technology to increase centralised power & social inequality . He provides an ingenius set of arguments explaing how the ‘trap’ once had been avoided.

            Yeah a ‘liberal’ arts education ( ‘freely’ & enthusiastically self acquired ) the ‘civic’ prerequistite of a ‘contemporary’ street performer I wd contend & very useful for the ‘common’ reader too ( i.e. ‘all’ readers of not only the ‘popular’ but the so-called ‘serious’ Press too ! . )

            ( Ref. See. e.Book ” Adam Smith and The Making of The Modern World ” by Professor Alan Macfarlane, Kings College, Cambridge University )

          • Chapter 2 ‘Stasis & Growth’ ( my read of the week! ) In fact its a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday Afternoon this, reading Professor Macfarlane, the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations ( my usual ‘busking’ location! ) being on in Stratford upon Avon this weekend & me deciding to spend the time relaxing at home in bed ( having recieved a ‘polite’ letter/email from ‘ex’ BID Manager Marion Morgan ( neigh Fleetwood, niegh Morgan? ) that all the ‘spots’ are being ‘re-commissioned for local community acts over these ‘few’ days! – nothing new this happens every year! )

            In fact ( or anyway! ) I’m flipping thru’ my ‘favourite’ chapter ( Chapter 2 ‘ Stasis & Growth’ ) right now!, electronically of course, on the big screen, glass of wine in the ‘left’ hand, ‘controller’ in the right. Once more, a fine book this, & like all ‘good’ reads something within its pages for everyone. Yeah very fond of it, & highly recommended, so one ‘free’ afternoon, why not check it out for yourself ! ( Nb. whoever you are this is a rhetorical question ! ) . )

          • * A Happy Note

            On a happy note Miranda Lewis ( Cellist, Saxophonist, Artistic Doodler! ) @ RandaLoretta Twitter ‘pictured’ on the London Southbank with friends ( incl the irrepressible Jazz Mino! ) one fine sunny afternoon 1 Sept 2015! .

          • Plus on a more serious note very happy to see ‘new’ trading routes opening up on the London busking scene. See. Scott Peacocks Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/londonukbusking/ for a view of singer/songwriter Enne j in Kensington busking outside Boots .

          • Bytheway ‘opening’ up new ‘trading’ routes can be a ‘risky’ business! Q. Are you insured?.

            For those of you out there who find busking as an occupation a little scary, & are uncomfortable ( ‘anxious’ ) about the ‘prospect’ of going out & not knowing what you will ‘earn’ I strongly recommended getting yourself a ‘nice, clean-cut boyfriend’ that should make you feel a little more ‘secure’!.

            Same for guys thinking about busking as an actual ‘job’ ( or career! ) first search around you incl ‘next-door’ & get yourself a smiley-miley, squeaky clean ‘nice’ girl ! .

          • Guys If all else fails look up a tree – you might be able to find one up there ! .

          • n’ singing ( sshhh look, hush listen I can hear one now ! )

            ” jonny b goode, one day your name will be in lights, play your music when the sun go down, Jonny B Goode tonight ! ” .
            ( Jonny B Goode, Chuck Berry )

          • * Post Script

            Town Hosts ( i.e. town-centre wardens ) in Stratford upon Avon are being ‘pressed’ by their ‘management’ ( BID ) to be more ‘confrontational’ with Buskers.

            No ‘good’ reason for this since the 2hr ‘revolving’ spot scheme is generally adhered to ( ‘voluntarily’ ) & there’s no ‘direct’ complaint from shops etc, everyone involved on the ‘surface’ is happy. Except it seems for the Town Hosts who are upon my ‘observation(s) ‘ going about ‘manufacturing’ problems so as to ‘justify’ their own existence ( their ‘jobs’! ) .

            One Town Host ( an ex-Band Member & ‘late-night’ Radio 1 DJ John Peel favourite! ) approached me recently in the town & said ” Nigel I know you, you just don’t like being told what to do! ”. I replied ” its not merely that tho’ as an intelligent human-being I do like to be able to reach my own decisions & use my own judgement from time to time.

            Plus don’t get me wrong i’m not some kind of ‘misanthrope’ fueled by some irrational malevolent’ ‘grudge’ against authority ( I do listen to some ‘experts’ on matters, I acknowledge ‘real’ skilled talent, knowledge & experience ) what I don’t like, indeed at times I hate ( along with many ‘reasonable’ others! ) is ‘bad’ authority! .

  • Streetslive, ‘Busking’ Guides & The Anthony Scott Scandal

    On the topic of ‘bad’ authority I’ve always had my ‘doubts’ about ‘busking’ guides esp of the kind ( i.e. ‘good’ practice guides ) arrogantly touted by so called ( self-proclaimed! ) ‘activists’ organisations such as Streetslive. To me its not just the ‘content’ i.e. pedantic tone eg. see Yorks advice on when & where to eat your sandwhiches ( talk about neurotically overbearing ‘micro-management’ ! ) , its the plastic ‘consumerist’ design – ughh, yuuk!. Yes ‘tacky’, they all manage to come across as merely Local Council ‘hack’ PR, pastiche CAB advice pamplet ( containing a fake ‘ethics’ code & ‘para-legalism’ ! ), or a ‘glossy’ 1880s style ‘cosmo’ type magazine ‘advice’ column.

    The ‘wider’ truth ( despite ‘surfaces’! ) is there is ‘no’ need for these busking ‘guides’ at all. In fact the current ‘busking’ situaton in Birmingham provides practical ‘proof’ ( evidence ) of that with its healthy & ‘just’ spontaneous order & ‘street-performers’ ( ‘new’ & experienced, yg & old ! ) successfully, ‘morally’ ( i.e. around a reasonable ‘common-sense’ code of ‘courtesy’ & mutual respect ) managing to ‘police’ themselves without ‘outside’ help.

    The ‘real’ problem for busking & ‘public’ justice for that matter is not coming up with ‘guides’ but how to stop the likes of Tony ( Anthony ) Scott from bullying & harrassing others ( incl ‘rape’ threats involving ‘defenceless’ females, intimidation threats to cut off fingers, ‘spitting’ on amplifiers during disputes over spots, attempted post-incident ‘online’ social media smears etc ! ). As you may or may not know Scott ( Streetslives Bham Link-Man quoted as ” my friend from Bham ” etc ) recieved a suspended ‘prison’ sentence from Bham Magistrates court for what amounts to a ‘criminal’ offence ( his 2nd ‘harrassment’ conviction! ) ( See. Bham Mail 27 Oct 2015 ” Birmingham Busker Who Terrorised Teenage Rival Gets Suspended Jail Sentence )

    The ‘other’ problem I add here is how to stop ‘activist’ groups from supporting such people as Scott – a guy who incidentally ( perhaps ‘no’ coincidence ! ) has been accused of ‘noise’ nuisance ( i.e. excessively loud amp volume levels ) in the city-centre on more than one occoasion. In the context ( appallingly so ! ) Streetslive & ‘supporters’ activism to get a ‘busking’ guide introduced in Birmingham can be seen in the ‘true’ light i.e not an act of ‘civic’ responsibility & ‘problem’ solving but in ‘reality’ not only unnecessary but wholly ‘morally’ inappropriate.

    In fact the whole affair smacks of ‘blue-sky’ thinking in the ‘negative’ sense i.e.cynically ‘enacted’ to either to make others feel ‘excluded’ ( predominantly ‘streetslive’ tribal buskers, council officials, new BID managers ‘actively’ taking part in the ‘guide’ process not the ‘majority’ of actual Bham Buskers ! ) or cover up ‘incompetence’ ( the ‘authorities’ had known about Scott for ages, he’d been identified as a persistant ‘noise’ nuisance problem too on ‘several’ occasions & no direct ‘visible’ action taken by the Environmental Officer – truth is I think he was looking to get ‘amps’ banned altogther, yes creating further injustice & ‘scapegoating’ the rest of us but making his job alot easier ! ). Streetslive knew about Scott too, the ‘issue’ raised 2 years earlier in one of their Liverpool meetings but out of ‘poltical’ ambition it seems decided to ‘ignore’ warnings, the complainent made to feel very uncomfortable, dismissed & treated lightly i.e. like an unwanted WhistleBlower. ( See Express Nov 5 2013 ” Blue Sky Thinking …And Other Office Jargon ” ) .


    Yes let ‘activist’ organisations like Streetslive.org & their busking ‘tribe’ of followers have their ‘guides’ but let it be just that i.e guidance produced ‘internally’ for themselves. Let them come up with a guide & ‘post’ it on their ‘website’ for all their members incl. Tony Scott to peruse. As for the rest of us ( by that I mean in this case specifically Birmingham Buskers! ) they have no right to expect ‘other’ reasonable Buskers incl myself to take their ‘public’ guides seriously nor adopt them for themselves. I for one do not ‘recognise’ any so called ‘Good Practice Guides’ emanating from this group.


    • I say no! to not just ‘authoritarian’ council proposals but also remain highly critical of ( suspicious to the point of ‘now’ practically avoiding!) what I regard as the ‘potential’ enemy within ie. extremely ‘despotic’ buskers tribes ( see ‘narc’ in-groups ) & ‘activist’ groups all of which in their own way can ‘degrade’ our ‘liberal’ politics & public space & in the process dangerously undermine our ‘natural’ freedom !

      • The ‘major’ problem with Streetslive et al ( my & ‘others’ serious issue with you ) is that you seemingly ( factually! ) have a tendency ( politically ‘motivated’ fashion ! ) to ‘rush-in’ to situations, without ‘conscience’ or foresight back ‘bullies’, petty criminals & then go onto to use ‘Jesus’ as a get-out clause ! .

        • Ken Loach & Putin’s Gangster Capitalism V Birmingham Style Busking Gangsterism ( film metaphor/social reality )

          Social Realist film Director Ken Loach described the contemporary Russian economy ( Putins Russia ! ) as a form of ‘Gangster’ Capitalism on last weeks BBC1 ‘Question Time ‘ ( him a ‘panel’ guest on the political show this week addressing a Gloucester TV audience ).

          Its worth stating that the streets of Birmingham during a ‘significant’ phase a year or so ago ( see ‘period’/phase above’ ) was ‘host’ setting to a ‘creeping’ kind of ‘busking’ gangsterism, or many ‘cases’ approaching that description eg. ‘female’ buskers having their ‘amps’ spat upon, intimidated & then socially media bullied ( ‘smeared’ ) over busking spot disputes, the incidence of little 2 or 3 man ‘narc’ clicques forming around particular best ‘spots’ & them ‘manipulatively’ ( selfishly ! ) seeking to dominate them via ‘mobile’ phone links/connections etc, buskers arriving at spots first ( myself incl. ) intimidated, threatened, bullied by eg. being attemptedly ‘brushed’ aside on the spot, set up on & played over etc .

          In Stratford upon Avon this summer there were even intances of ‘busking’ bungs being passed around ( yeah ‘Chigago’ politics style ‘cash for spots’ ) wherebye ‘select’ street performers ( obviously vulnerable to the take ! ) were approached & payed ‘moneys’ for their ‘space’ !. This ‘dodgy’ nasty little practise creating a kind of ‘petty’ corrupt atmosphere, a moral ‘tone’ running counter to the ‘democratic’ spirit of the relatively fair busking ‘code’ set in place in this ‘busy’ Tourist town.

          Just like Ken Loaches ‘comments’ on Q.Time & the ‘hidden’ truths revealed by his latest film on the state of the Welfare System ‘ I, Daniel Blake ‘ ( i.e. what some argue are the ‘state’-like swindles currently operating in the Welfare state what with benefits ‘sanctions’, & disability assessments aside from the expert examinations & ‘witness’ of medically trained GPs & community Drs ) what goes on in the social basement that is sometimes buskings dark underbelly has to be spoken out about too ( & indeed spoken against ! ).

          Things are not all ‘rosy’ on the streets of Bham I tell you ( & no doubt in other UK towns ) there are ‘weeds’ in the garden, & not a few ‘toxic’ exotic plants ! .

          • Note ( Other City/Town Busking Codes & ‘Actual’ Practices )

            See under London ‘Blogs’ on this website for ‘Comments’/explanations of other city/town codes ( & ‘actual’ busking practices ! ) elsewhere in the UK eg. Stratford upon Avon .

          • How in fact ‘busking’ in this ‘popular’ Tourist town ( despite what it says on the Stratforward BID website formally ‘welcoming’ Buskers ) revolves around a a 2hr ‘revolving’ spot scheme not the 1hr one as ‘advertised’ ( without ‘consultation’ re-worded by last years ‘new’ Manager, herself now left, & replaced the current new Director ! . )

          • Edit ( inset ) ” ….& replaced ( by ) the the current new Director ! ” .

          • ( Source. ” Birmingham Busker Threatens To Chop Off Fingers Of Teenage Rival After City Centre Pitch Row ” Birmingham Mail 14 Oct 2015 )

          • ( I tell you theres some people better be thankful we’re not living in Saudi Arabia !. )

          • There again coming to think about it maybe not, they’re a man ! )

  • Buskers Get Happy ( or 3 long breaths ! )

    Byetheway to those who think I’m going out of my way ( with these ‘sorts’ of comments eg. see above ) to ‘paint’ a deliberately ‘negative’ picture of busking then think again.

    No I simply want everyone at the end of the day, to be ‘genuinely’ happy. So come on right now, don’t be spoilsports, think of 3 ‘nice’ things that happened to you today, thats right now hold them vividly in your imagination & then ‘patiently’ take 3 long breaths. Taking care to breath gently in & out thru the ‘nose’ ( or more ‘technically’ nasal region ! ), now release. Aaghhhhhhhhhh !.

    Thats it Q. Now how yer feeling ? A. Happy ? ( Yippeeee!, now back down yer ‘rabbit’ holes ! )

    • * Notes

      Oh & Once you’ve become aware of & ’emotionally’ digested some of the ‘horrors’ of busking in a place like Birmingham ( see. comment above ), then please do take some time out & watch/listen to Vanessa Kings Tedx talk ” The Ten Keys To Happier Living” downloaded for ‘free’ on YouTube.

      Perhaps then may you ‘consult’ some of the ‘other’ ‘comments’ on this ‘streetslive.uk’ website, for example the ones found under the very informative ‘London’ Blogs eg. ‘ Repeal Londons Anti Busking Laws’, or ‘ Response To Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Consultation ‘ etc.

      • Newcastle good luck & thankyou !.

        • Oh & remember one act of ‘kindness’ goes a long way !.

          • ( Source. Vanessa King ” The Ten Keys To Happier Living ” Tedx Talk YouTube )

          • ( Now read Bham Mail Story Again eg. ” Busker Threatens To Cut Off Teenage Rivals Fingers ” Q. feel better ? ).

          • Q. Still happy ? A. If so you must have the ‘ego’ state of an 8year old & the heart of a ‘predatory’ psychopath ( or if not a ‘prissy, selfish & ambitious erstwhile ‘prig’ ! ) ).

          • No, I’m not ‘indirectly’ referring to the ‘victim’ in this particular newspiece ! )).

          • Subject to quite ‘irrational’ rage & psychological violence I don’t know how much ‘money’ she was earning that day but let me get on my ‘public’ soap box & say ( shout out loud & clear ! ) I doubt her hands were ‘tainted’ with [inset], ‘privelage’ & gold !. )).

          • ( * See. York ‘Minster’ Blog [ Bottom Page ] for further ‘related’ comments. The story of another this time London Buskers ‘musical’ journey i.e. another journey into the ‘abyss’ or in this case at least, a very nr miss ! )

          • Ref. ‘happiful.com’ magazine article by Jake Hamiltion 16 March 2017 ” Four Musicians Who Are Crushing The Stigma Of Mental Health ” Personally I don’t think simple ‘Counselling’ methods are useful in some of these cases, in fact this sort of one on one threapy may only serve to ‘compound’ the problem ! )).

          • ( * See. Streetslive.org under ‘Campaigns’ for more ‘recent’ busking developments & further comments ie. not just mine. Check out Blogs to do with ‘issues’ & happenings all over the UK eg. Romford, Oxford, London etc. Google website & access ‘home-page’ & begin your ‘search’ & exploration there if necessary )

          • Read Johan Galtung ‘founder’ of Peace Studies. Nb. ‘Structural’ Violence v Individual ‘Moral’ Agency, being one of the key debate(s) pertaining here ))

          • [ *See. ‘Exeter’ Blogs for further ‘related’ comments on this issue ]

          • [ *See. Liverpool Success Success Blog & Swindon Stop Attacking Street Culture Blog with reference to comments below ]

  • Northern Lights ‘ Aurora Borealis ‘ ( or A Star Is Born But By ‘Trickery’ or Design ? )

    You know theres nothing more ‘beautiful’ than the human body, take a close up ‘microscopic’ look as I did recently ‘via’ YouTube video ( not ‘anatomy’ class ) at the ‘internal’ workings of the ‘female’ reproductive system & you see something awe inspiring, more breathtakingly ‘complex’ ( sophisticat ) than any work produced by ‘mortal’ human hands.

    Not a single presence of ‘design’ in this natural process either, no as contemporary Scientists ( 500 years on from Galileo ) will tell you no need for that. Every bodily tissue, every fissure & minute cell a self-contined living kinetic ‘factory’ unit in its own right, each molecular block having its own unique ‘purpose’ in the overall scheme, yet just that, the ‘fact’ is, there is no purpose, there is no scheme here at play. But a joyus natural ‘frolic’ there be, the whole subliminary affair a marvelous working of sponaneous genetic mutation.

    The Northern lights ‘ Aurora Borealis ‘that’ wondersous sight i.e. ‘ a clashing of of gaseous particles in the Earths [ Icier ] atmsophere ‘, a spectacle to fantastically witness, & lift the spirits aloft, to gargantuanally raise the soul & yes very much from the dead. Nothing by nature more hard won & wrought nor more divinely devised.

    Hooh, hoooh, hooh ! those ‘mystic’ oars row, that litany of long boats in the North by North Westward Ho, the giant waves can ‘smash’ us crash into the starboard hull, but nothing can stop us on our perilous journey or halt us onward towards our ‘sacred’ tribal goals. No nothing can harm us save……….The JESSARA ( aaaggghhh ! ).

    • Note ( s )

      But then 7 leagues later & 5000 men dead, just there on the top of the ‘hill’ see it, that ‘feint’ light, whats that flickerng a ‘campire’, a mysterious ‘figurine’ light ?

      • Futher Notes ( s )

        Hold on a minute, I know that man, I’ve seen him before, stumbled upon him in secret once, him alone ‘practicing’ in the woods, dressed in ‘womens’ clothes he was & dancing a ‘merry’ dance. I hear he shoots from the hip !.

        • ( *See. Diary/ Journal 2017 Notes – ‘ The Kid is dead but there in the distance glows…………’ )

          • ( *See. Diary/ Journal 2017 Notes 2 – ‘Thoughts on reading one of the greatest Fables of our times…………. ‘ )

          • ( *See. Diary/ Journal 2017 Notes 3 – ‘What else is there to say, that Art supercedes religion, that ultimate ‘value’ is not to be found in a name. I ‘say’ no more…………’ )

          • ‘Except let ‘lifes’ sorry yet seemingly neverending Saga continue’ ).

          • Where I am nothing, I know nothing, I feel yet I stand alone, alive yet both ’empty’ & still. Now to the quick, ‘ancient’ celestial duty !. ).

          • It beckons, its ‘ancestral’ voice calls ! ).

          • With such a ‘sweet’ voice & a melodious song too ).

          • Way out yonder, cross the horizon of the ‘Meridian’ ).

          • Where ‘my’ next ‘words’ will be written in blood ).

          • Foresworn & not forlorn as some long forgotton common Writers etiquette ).

          • Chapter 2 ………….

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