KSL Response to Newcastle PSPO proposal

KSL Response to Newcastle PSPO proposal

Please take a moment to complete this short, online consultation about a proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Newcastle which the Keep Streets Live Campaign is opposing because it could see vulnerable, homeless and destitute people facing criminal records and fines of up to £1000 and because it is unduly restrictive and vague in its wording.

https://letstalknewcastle.co.uk/consultations/index/206

We are publishing some of our reasons for opposing the PSPO which you should feel free to use for your reference. The deadline for the consultation is Friday 14th October

Newcastle’s proposed city-wide PSPO

The proposed PSPO is too wide in its scope and likely to criminalise behaviour and activities that are not, in and of themselves, harmful. The local authority should target enforcement against persons who are causing harm to other people with the proportionate use of existing powers rather than creating a new power that is open to misuse and is likely to be used against people who are vulnerable.

On begging

Including begging in the PSPO will have the effect of criminalising vulnerable and destitute people and trapping them further within a cycle of deprivation. On the spot fines of £100 which can rise to £1000 and a criminal record will enmesh people within the criminal justice and court system at great cost to the public purse whilst doing nothing to address the complex array of reasons which lead people to beg in the first place. There are a wide range of existing powers which the police can already use to target people whose behaviour causes alarm, harassment and distress to other people as well as people begging. The police and council should target their limited resources to enforce against persons whose behaviour is causing identifiable harm to other people. Many who beg are doing so because they are destitute or have complex needs, mental health problems and/or addiction. Fining and criminalising people who are vulnerable risks exacerbating these issues. This should not be considered on the draft order.

On Chugging

The proposed wording for this part of the PSPO is far too vague and ill-defined and drags activities and behaviours that are not harmful into the realm of the criminal law. There are existing powers that can be used to target any chuggers whose behaviour causes alarm, harassment or distress to any person or is any other way unlawful. The proposed PSPO would have the effect of criminalising people’s livelihood on grounds that have the potential to be completely spurious.

On ‘legal highs’

A PSPO is the wrong legal mechanism to address this issue. The new legislation relating to legal highs outlaws the possession, distribution, sale and supply of legal highs in public places. The creation of a new ‘catch-all’ power in relation to this issue is not necessary and might risk people being criminalised/fined when they are not actually using legal highs. What tests, safeguards or procedures would be in place to ensure that there was evidence that a person was using a banned substance? How would this be proved? What safeguards would be in place to ensure that vulnerable persons received the interventions and treatment that they need? This PSPO risks criminalising already marginalised and vulnerable people.

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

42 Comments on "KSL Response to Newcastle PSPO proposal"

  • Tessa gray says

    Keep streets normal, like real life.

    • Yeah, while leading a ‘rich’ interior life, enriched by the ‘genius’ that is the ‘imagination’, tho’ of course this is rare.

      • Nb. One of the things I like about busking is the ‘discovery’ you soon make, on it becoming your ‘day-job’, that ‘life’ really is of the mind. That really there is nothing to ‘fear’, that you can ‘exist’ really well, quite happily, in what to some may appear as a pretty ‘surreal’, outer social orbit !.

        • Its also why I love tracking ( not literally i.e. wierdly ! ) but observing at a ‘social’ media distance, some of the London Buskers cos’ a few of them ‘really’ are carrying out some interesting ‘life’ expts. Learning how to live successfully & ’emotionally’ fully outside the ‘norm’. ( I identify because if not by ‘default’ this is how I also intentionally live ! )

          • Jazz Mino, The Ivy Mae et al, I love these women ! ( as I very much ‘love’ myself ! ).

          • Now I know what your thinking, stop it, cos honestly I do not mean it that way. I really ‘respect’ these London Girls ( & others like ’em ) ‘ cos’ of who they are, or perhaps more correctly, because of what they’re trying to be !

          • One ‘game’ ( human ‘error’ ! ) I’ve certainly learned to avoid here tho’, in the busking sense that is, the ‘notional’ sense. Yeah thats right, the ‘common’ game of ‘ Copycat ‘ ( otherwise known as Follow The Follower ! ).

  • Steve Nicholson says

    Stop criminalising desperation.
    I’ve stopped voting Labour over other issues and this does not help.

    • The ‘True’ Cause of Homlessness ( Out of the babes mouth )

      No, don’t vote Labour Steve. Tories are about to ‘process’ a white paper for parliament, their biggest policy thus far to deal with the issue that is the housing crisis. Twas discussed ( revealingly ) last night ( Sun Feb 7th ) on a late night political show on ITV, & eveb promises to offer greater rights to ‘renters’ etc ( as you’d expect rural ‘greenbelters’ etc don’t like it ! ).

      Q. Want to know the truth about ‘homelessness’ ? or at least why there is such a huge ‘housing’ shortage ? ( a ‘social’ fact openly admitted by Theresa Mays appointed Tory Housing Czar – name not included ? ). A. Well the beans was finally spilled by another guest on the show, yes Labour MP Caroline Flint, but only after the TV interviewer pressed on her she was Housing Minister once.

      Looking slightly embarrassed, uncomfortable even, put on the spot by this ‘surprise’ question, she blurbed out ( on the defensive, slightly panicky & in response to the controversial ‘topic’ of building on sacrosanct green-belt land ! ) wds to the effect of,

      ” The big house builders & developers are currently sitting on 250,000 plots that already have ‘planning’ permission. the reason they are lying ’empty’ ( a scandal ! ) is because they ‘fear’ de-inflation of the housing market & shareholder values goint down ” ( Caroline Flint Labour MP )

      Arrgh now it all comes out, after all these years, the last 3 decades, including 3 terms of New Labour Government, the actual truth about what is indeed a ‘housing’ scandal.-At last out ( in full ‘commercial’ public mass media that is, albeit a ‘late’ Sun night politics show ! ). It also funny, rather uncanny, how post Brexit its a Tory Goverment proposing to at last ‘face’ the issue & put things right ! ( behind the scenes ‘sensitive’ discussions concerning ‘shareholders’ apparantly also underway ).

      What a surprise this ‘grand’ tho ironic ‘political’ turnaround involving both mainstream parties ( i.e. I remember Heseltines 80’s Environmental Bills & parliamentary measures in response to the then ‘moral’ panic about Squatters & ‘excessive’ Tenants rights etc ). The ‘surprise’ turn ( & ‘guilty’ panic ) also relates to the Labour Party of recent years.

      Afterall nevermind ‘housing’, Q. What did New Labour ever really do about The Railways, or fundamentally Education ?. They need to get another Labour MP on the show, to discuss this question eg. Dianne Abbot & put it to her. Problem is when called account & put on the spot, she has a tendency to turn foot & run away ( or at least ‘disappear’ into the corner of a room & hide ‘nervously’ in the corner! )

  • Ria Ulleri says

    Well researched and rather shocking. This just targets the vulnerable it seems to me.

    • Talking about ‘vulnerable’ targets, Bhams city centre ‘controller’ appeared on New St ‘Valentines Day’ giving me spiel ( i.e.bogshite ! ) about the ‘new’ busking code, offering me a ‘copy’. I more or less told him to shove it up his ass, got no time for ‘politic’ that wishes to ‘alienate’ & now ‘scapegoat’ actual ‘regular’ performers. Yeah appalling, this little yet ‘prominant’ busking group ( incl myself ! ), offered ‘zero’ consultation or involvement by the city ‘council’ concerning any ‘new’ so called busking schemes !. In fact we were all deliberatley bypassed, so likewise I’m bypassing the ‘new’ code, & sticking by the law. Got any problems ? Well then see you in court !.

      • Nb. Where no doubt you’ll try & tar me with insubtantiated ( i.e. ‘manufactured’ ) complaints !.

        • On top of you ‘unfairly’ ( unjudiciously ! ), in full public glare, pressurising me on ‘the street’ with them !.

  • Carol Stevens says

    Life is hard enough for any of these groups of people. Just leave them alone, give them a break and let us enjoy the entertainment what ever that might be. If you don’t like it move on.

    • Yes, Carol they should leave them alone & at least give them ‘reasaonble’ living if not ‘breathing’ space. I remember 2 or was it 3 years ago one Summer busking on the High St Birmingham. The city-centres ‘largest’ space by the way eg. Pan Pipe Players favourite spot, & today ‘dominated’ by Religious Groups with PA’s.

      Anyway I was happily set up, playing ‘classical’ guitar, eg. a ‘street’ romantic ‘spanish’ set of mine incl Asuturias , Alhambra, Malaguena, Popular Villa Lobos etc, when the city centre Bham Retail Manager on ‘passing’, decided to approach me ‘insisting’ I move my seating ‘position’, alter my ‘amp’ angle. play in a particular ‘spot’ etc i.e. attempting to what I can only describe as ‘micro’-manage’ me, & yes ‘unreasonably’.

      He was basically putting me on the spot in front of people & ‘picking’ on me, trying to humiliate me !. The guy ( still a city-centre manager See Below. ) clearly has both pathological ‘envy’ & control issues & to tell you the truth I for one am not going to put up with this kind of thing anymore, not from him or any other literally ‘office’ pygmy. Full stop !.

      • ( Nb. A few ‘case’ study examples eg. Christian Street Preachers, as messengers of peace ? A. Truth is these are some of the most ‘violent’ people you cd know !. Its not just a matter of ‘physical’, its the ‘psycological’ violence that strikes you here, as they ‘indiscriminantley’ assault Public passersbye through ‘amped’ up loudhalers. As for city-centre ‘officials’ I’ve personally experienced them more than is necessary ‘harrass’ not only Buskers, but Street People, Rough Sleeper too i.e. inflicting their own brand of ‘vicious’ officialdom on ‘innocent’ folk. Its also all noticably ‘one-way’ ( a one-way street ) so called civic ‘complaints’ processes as well ! ).

  • People are not generally on the steer because they have many options, and rather than expending man power to find and fine these individuals as a society with an element considered problematic would it not be more beneficial and produce a better long term solution to help these people out of the situation they find themselves in that has led to them begging on the street.
    To fine people who already have no money seems absurd, especially as many of these people will already be disillusioned with the systems and authority. This kind of behaviour will further alienate them from society, and give them more believe that they are living in a society that does not care about them.
    A society should be measured by how well it looks after its vunerable.
    Not all people can be interstates back into society with mental health and drug issues these people should be cared for as we care for our children and with a little love and support you may be amazed at the results.
    With hope yours sincerely Sophie McGrath

    • Trevor says

      I fully agree with your thoughtful comments, Sophie.
      Other (Labour) councils have found alternatives to this punitive proposed PSPO.
      Perhaps Newcastle could talk to them?
      If disorder is a real concern, then the drunken revellers evident every Thursday – Sunday night in the town should be the first to be targeted. How much is being spent policing these folk and treating the drunk and injured in A&E?
      Looks like double standards, to me!
      Thanks.

      • Mmmm ‘double’ standards, cracking down on drunken revellers, I remember one time Democrat New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani being heavily criticised for his ‘conservative’ eg. 3 counts & you’re out, ‘policy’ back in the day.

        Despite the NYPD being highly successful in reducing ‘major’ crime by concentrating on making accountable ‘minor’ misdemenours incl. drunkeness in public, fouling on the streets, lewd behaviour etc Giuliani was given a rough time by the ‘liberal’ press ( bytheway I’m a liberal, a ‘progressive’, tho’ not always in agreement with ‘liberal’ ideology’s so called press! )

        I remember only 3 or 4 years ago in Birmingham when a similar ‘policy’ was under way ( with the ‘security’ to back it up ) & there was practically ‘zero’ trouble ‘anti-social’ behaviour in the city-centre compared to my ‘experiences’ today.

        Funny change maybe underfoot tho’ I spotted some ‘new’ street security operating in the city-centre only yesterday ( Sat 11 Feb 2017 ) & they were very effective ‘handling’ a drunken beggar harrassing passersbye. The exacerbating problem was he was blatanly ‘sniffing’ gas too as ‘folk’ ( incl. shoppers with kids ! ) passed by!.

        Its also uncanny how today, what with Donald Trumps most recent Executive Order Airport/ ‘Moslem’ Immigrant debacle, the so called USA ‘sanctuary’ cities & their ‘local’ authorities incl New York & the NYPD are recieving much praise ( & publicity ! ) from the same ‘liberal’ press for standing up to possible Presidential humanitarian ‘crimes’. By promising targeted immigrants ‘immunity’ from persecution in their poltical borough’s or states !.

        Q. The lesson ? A. Blue Collar, White Collar, ‘Street’ Crime whats the difference, unless its a genuine act of ‘desparation’ i.e an Oliver Twist scenario, no ‘double’ standards, or ‘false’ sentiment should apply. Those who target the weak & vulnerable whether its little ‘ole ladies & their purses or genuine ‘assylum’ immigrants fleeing ‘crisis’ & war or simply desiring relative political ‘freedom(s) should feel the full brunt of the ‘civilised’ law. Historically this is progress !. ( & bytheway I speak as someone with ‘no’ natural affinity with the police i.e. class, race or otherwise !. )

        • Nb.

          Which ‘begs’ the question, for example Q. would I have given the police a cup of tea like some I know, during the most recent London Riots? A. No, under the ‘circumstances’, never !.

          Q. How wd I feel if I got a ‘brick’ thru’ my window ? A. Anxious, but I’d not necessarily have ‘angst’ with Rioters, in fact I’d pass the expense on to my ‘greedy’ Landlord, its about time he did some ‘proper’ repairs, he’s ripping me off enough with the rent !.

          As for B’hams current ‘new’ busking policy ( a further new city centre ‘control’ initiative ) what a ‘pretentious’ document. Its ‘guidelines’ on vacating a spot after 2hrs may make ‘reasonable’ sense in a town like Stratford upon Avon, but in this city the stipulation ( again based on ‘experience’ ) is nonsense & an ‘unwanted’ pressure !.

          Also city centre management hypocrisy at play here eg. Street Preachers ( the ‘biggest’ problem – to ‘authorities’ & public alike ! ) are allowed to sermonise & ‘wail’ thru amped up loudhalers & PA’s all day on the High St unhindered !.

          • Furthermore theres the ‘fact’ that the recent busking ‘code’ was put together without ‘consulting’ the actual Buskers who generally play ( i.e. regularly ! ) in the city.

  • Roger Hawkins says

    I value the street culture, make small but frequent donations to street musicians because they lift the spirits, and give cereal bars to people living on the street. I have no wish to see them made criminals.

  • parick says

    There was a time when town councils were part of the fabric of the local area, they were not career politicians, albeit people with political persuasions, but they had at heart the community they served. The current Jobsworths with nothing more that power thirst are the blight of our country, if not every country on the planet. Part of every living communtity is its diversity of oddballs, drunks, colourful, eccentric and downright unfathomable individules. They make up the rich fabric of any community, and in their own special way, they contibute to our daily lives. Wether that be by example, endeavour, they have a lesson for us, and our children. If everything we do not like is sanitised out of our view, we lose valuable experience in lifes experience. As far as buskers are concerned, if people do not like them or their music, they will not pay them, ergo they will go away never to return, no officialdom required. Unless of course you are that officialdom and fear that loss of power wlll diminish you and your role in life, in which case you have already lost.

    • You know Parick in Birmingham many ‘council’ officials, BID Managers do not actually reside in the city, but live in the ‘plusher’ surrounding boroughs’ like Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, or further afield. In fact one of the reasons the 2nd city is becoming more & more a ‘decultured’ zone, centred around ‘naked’ consumer ‘mass’ culture is that the M/C have ‘left’ the place in droves & no longer have a ‘personal’ stake in the environment.

      Believe when I tell you that despite the ‘tourist’ blurb & PR Bham is a place of ‘zero’ Culture & more & more these days more an ’empty’ human space, devoid of ‘real’ creativiy or authentic ‘alternative’ living. The Mac Arts Centre, Edgbaston lost its ‘bohemian’ flavour a few years ago when after a million pound plus refurbishment the actual ‘bar & courtyard’ an ‘attraction’ for local ‘Mosleyites’ ( Moseley Bhams ‘Greenwhich village ) was deliberately designed out by paid ‘architects’ working for the ‘new’ South Asian Arts partnership & their ‘family’ only policy.

      Heritage Bournville trust housing has closed its housing waiting list, Cadbury’s is now owned by the USA asset stripper corporate giant ‘ Kraft ‘ Industries. Moseley like Camden in London, is now a ‘new’ development area, rents approaching London prices & has ‘effectively’ destroyed its unique post 60’s counter culture. The ‘world’ famous CCS dept at Bham university was ‘politically’ taken out a decade ago, so was the adjacent Bournbrooke House ‘extra’ mural dept, meaning that true serious ‘adult’ education no longer exists in the city. The Co-op in south Bham suburb Hall Green ( where I live ) has ‘abandoned’ the area to PoundSavers despite ‘local’ protests etc etc.

      The Council & ‘local’ councillors have ‘zilch’ connect with areas & neighbourhoods, Bham being the largest constituency in the country, I for one could’nt even tell you who my local representative is, like many I have an almost total sense of ‘alienation’ from politics & community ( & I’m a ‘natural’ communicator & socialiser ! ).

      As for ‘living’ standards I live above shops on a ‘high’ st, in substandard conditions ( i.e. place in a poor ‘state’ of disrepair ) with few if any truly ‘enforcable’ tenants rights. For the past 5 years between 5pm – 12 pm I have lived with ‘music’ from the downstairs restaurant, invading my space.

      During the day-time its Indian Pop from the ‘new’ Hairdressers, prior to this business ‘opening’, it was Bangla & Indian subcontinent ‘satellite’ tv all day from what was the ‘Estate Agents’ ( no ‘work’ seemingly being done, the guy just arrives in the morning & switches on the goggle box for viewing 6 or 7 hrs a day ). Eventually ‘closing’, going out of business due to ‘gambling’ debts ( eg. addiction to the Gee Gee’s ! )

      The local ‘council’ & councillors simply don’t care about the quality of life of ‘ordinary’ tenants, we’re simply not on their poltical ‘radar’, not in their ‘focus’ group. All they’re really concerned about is first of all ‘themselves’ of course & then secondly ‘protecting’ luxury, those who live in ‘expensive’ new development flats, the ‘professional’ rich, seeing to the wishes of Estate Agents, Property Developers & ‘Shareholders’ !.

      As for ‘iconic’ structures such as the Bull Ring, New Street Station facade, the latter is really a kind of ‘consumer’ Brothel, sounds harsh but its true i.e. on the ‘outside’ impressive, contemporary ‘architectural’ skin, luring in, enticing the Shopper, but on the inside ‘basic’, so empty, pleasurably disappointing like any ‘av’ USA Texan Shopping Mall. Same with the latter, the ‘new’ design of the main city-centre ‘train’ station jus that a ‘facade’, it too an ’empty’ contemporary ‘plastic’ veneer, hiding an ‘interior’ eg. dirty, dusty, ‘smelly’ rail platforms, that have’nt been refurbished since first built in the 1960’s !.

      Birmingham ( like in ‘truth’ many UK towns ) is run by essentially ‘philistines’, a type of tory ‘anti’ art establishment. In my ‘experience’ many so called ‘labour’ wards are just that i.e. in ‘reality’ to the ‘right’ e.g. Tory ( Nb. the ‘whole’ country is ‘practically’ to the right of the political spectrum & despite the phenomenom of UKIP, in real ‘neo’ liberal spirit, there is once more ‘zero’ connect with the ‘poor’, relative poor, & generally less well off !.)

      • * Note

        Despite all this, its a kind of ‘noble’ poverty that I’ve endured or should I say lived under the past few years. Yeah, when at home i.e. ‘not’ busking, taking in the beautiful ‘afternoon’ light in my living room. Leading a kind of new millenia, post-Christian ‘spiritual’ monastic life !.

  • Undertakings were given in Parliament that PSPO’s would not be used for this purpose:

    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2015-02-12a.1353.2

  • A Smith says

    “The proposed PSPO is too wide in its scope and likely to criminalise behaviour and activities that are not, in and of themselves, harmful. The local authority should target enforcement against persons who are causing harm to other people with the proportionate use of existing powers rather than creating a new power that is open to misuse and is likely to be used against people who are vulnerable”…………

    …………..this is the perfect summary of what is needed, not the ridiculous,all-encompassing law being proposed.
    .

    • Be careful busking affairs don’t end up like the current situation in Birmingham tho’ A. Smith. A once relatively ‘free’ & open city-centre public space is now threatening to become one of the most ‘oppressive’ places to street perform in the country. Check out the ‘new’ code put in place by Bham City Council set up ‘without’ consultation with most of the acutal ‘folk’ who busk in the city.

      Don’t be fooled by ‘rhetorical’ surfaces ( i.e typical local authority PR speak ) either it masks a pretty ‘dodgy’ ( & unfair ! ) process wherebye Buskers are now prone to ‘persecution’ by complaint ( potentially 5 long drawn out stages of it !. ). Please believe me when I say the ‘council’ ( central ‘operational’ control ! ) is already looking for ‘targets’ !.

      • Nb. Birmingham is bottom of the UK league table for Social Care i.e. on record for being the worst ‘provider’ in the country, so why should management of ‘public’ space be any better ?. Therefore don’t be too surprised when I say the ‘new’ system ( i.e city Busking code & its ‘processes’ ) is already being abused !.

        • Nb.2. Newcastle BEWARE !

          • Cos despite ‘surface’ changes ( & ‘new’ busking code ! ) theres a ‘lesson’ to be learned in the ‘old’ city centre management still being in place in Birmingham i.e. incl.. a ‘manager’ who believes busking is ‘anti-social’ & supported its city centre ban, & is now quite clearly looking for ‘scapegoats’ !.

          • Not that I wd let the actual new ‘code’ itself of the hook. Scrutinising ‘details’ it strikes me ‘intrinsically’ as one of the most misleading & actively ‘ divisive ‘ schemes I’ve yet to come across !.

          • Remember we’re not dealing with a city-centre ‘manager’ in Bham who believed busking with ‘amplification’ when used unreasonably eg. with deliberate, ‘callous’ & persisistant ‘excessive’ volume is ‘anti-social’ behaviour. No he supported a total & ‘complete’ busking ban regardless of circumstance or ‘condition’ ( & ‘personal’ livelihoods ! ).

          • In its current form I’m against the new ‘code’ & the spirit that threatens to ‘destroy’ ‘spontaneous’ ( & actual goodwilled ! ) busking in the city !.

          • I hope that this kind of ‘negative’ busking scenario doe’snt take ‘root’ elsewhere, or for your sakes in your ‘town’ or city ( oh yes the beware the ‘details ! ).

          • Whether they come out of ignorance & naievity, ‘active’ evil or both. Now see. ‘satirical’ comment below !.

          • Perhaps more fully aware that the ‘image’ of city life incl. Buskers, Busking, ‘new’ codes etc presented to you ( ‘ publicly’ promoted ) by ‘authorities’ such as Bham is at its core a ‘hollow’ illusion !.

  • On PSPO’s & Legal Highs ( a busking anecdote ! )

    On the issue of ‘illegal’ highs I don’t agree on the use of PSPO’s to control them, its not just a matter of the ‘ethics’, nor ‘legal’ utility here ( i.e. wd the measure practically work ? ) put simply as as a ‘state’ solution, this kind of ‘action’ wd pose a ‘serious’ political contradiction.

    As some ‘commentators’ have pointed out ( incl. a busking acqaintance of mine from B’ham who talked of a ‘cull’ conspiracy going on in not just in the prison system, but also on our ‘streets’ at present with regards the homeless & the use of legal’ narcotics ) ‘legal’ highs in themselves ( what with their very ‘legality’ & huge presence on the streets, in ‘penal’ institutions etc ) are the ‘control’ solution for ‘percieved’ social problems. Synthetically manufactured, widely distributed & easily available ‘highs’ in themselves are the ‘policy’ solution for the collapse of the Welfare State, antiquated ‘prison’ regimes, housing crisis, economic ‘austerity’ generally.

    Having spent the Summer busking largely in Stratford upon Avon I was shocked, ( literally ! ) on returning to Birmingham in Sept to find a ‘favourite’ busking area in the city ( Cherry St by Pidgeon Park & Church – the 2nd Cathedral, in the ‘commercial’ Banking District ) had horrifyingly turned into ‘The Jungle’ ( you know the ‘notorious’ Calais ‘immigrant’ camp in Northern France ! ).

    I really thought that the kind of ‘calamity’ that had plagued Lisbon, Portugal, 2 decades or so back ( eg. the 80’s, 90’s ) had finally hit Birmigham ie. a full on ‘Heroin’ epidemic was taking place in the town. By the gates of the Church lay strewn lines of ‘rough’ sleepers, what with their ‘holy’ sleeping bags, lying around on the concrete, gravel, & grass. Ok disturbingly some of them not just lying, but ‘crawling’ around, foaming at the mouth on the ground.

    As it turns out it was not a Heroin epidemic at all but something in some ways worse i.e. the ‘new’ homeless crisis that had manifest itself in the city0centre over the last 8 or 9 months ( reported ‘regularly’ on local tv, in the press ) combined with a ‘Mamba’ ( Spice ! ) i.e. legal ‘high’ epidemic. The whole decrepid scene being acted ‘out’ right in the open i.e. not a ‘blink’ from Police or Local Authorities. ( in fact ‘tv’ footage exists of ‘homeless’ sleeping on the steps of the Council House, the Art Gallery etc, yes a ‘common’ sight now ).

    Within a day of busking, I think a Tues, at approx1pmish in the afternoon, my first ‘witnessed’ Mamba incident took place. A guy in his 20’s just collapsed on the floor with the shakes, openly bursting into ‘fits’ on the street opposite. A crowd gathered, I called an ambulance, as it was arriving his ‘mates’ turned up on the scene to carry him off, shouting ‘ ‘he’s ok its just the Mamba!’. It was like a scene out of the horror movie The ‘Living Dead’, being acted out in broad daylight, during the ‘peak’ shopping hour, for everyone to see ( right out in front of you ). Yes a ‘full’ on Mamba ‘fit, apparantly a ‘now’ common spectacle, popular ‘lunchtime entertainment, ‘real-time’ cinema !.

    I’m used to these crazy drug induced ‘episodes’ now, it only takes a week to ‘adapt’. One incident occuring at least every other day, when out busking & right up until Christmas. In fact a ‘couple’ of days before last Xmas ( gosh gone so soon, New Years 2017 now in full swing ! ) a well known P/T ‘townie’ sleeper ( well I’ve known him for yrs, he’s homeless/ in Hostels continually on & off ! ) stopped by to chat while I was playing guitar. After 5 mins a ‘friend’ of his turned up & 3 mins later both ‘collapsed’ onto the ground. I pushed him on his side, a big ‘potential’ problem here is ‘breathing’ difficulties ( of which there have been related ‘deaths’ in Birmingham ).

    I rolled him on his side ( his ‘mate’ simple rolled over, collapsed in on himself! ) & he began predictably shaking, going into ‘fits’, & foaming at his mouth. Luckily the city-centre motorbike ‘Paramedic’ turned up ( they have their regular ‘breaks’ on Cherry Street also a ‘cafe’ area ) & I flagged him down. He ‘radioed’ in for an ambulance, & then in short-time the police turned up ( ‘armed’ police ! ). The situation ‘calmed’ itself, the 2 police officers keeping watch over the situation & he ( the Paramedic ) ‘picked’ up a cigarette butt dropped by one of the ‘Mamba’ victims on the floor, as they unceremoniously dived into their ‘drugs’ stupor.

    ( With ‘reference’ to a point raised in the Blog above Q. Want to know how to check whether someone is genuinely ‘drugged’ up or not ? ( i.e. get evidence ? ) A. Then simply rip open their ‘dropped’ cigarette butt, observe & see !. The Paramedic did, & as he ‘broke’ up the tiny cigarette’, pieces of tiny ‘grass’ petals of Mamba fell out ( visibly ‘whole’ ).

    Q. A further useful statistic ? A. He told me, who him & the Ambulance services are currently dealing with 4 or 5 ‘Mamba’ cases a day in Birmingham city-centre, at a cost to the NHS of approx £200 a time !.

    It was then that the ‘ambulance’ turned up & the guy I know was ‘carried’ away, his mate all of a sudden getting up, stumbling up to his feet ( him seemingly having gathered his senses. or at least in part, ) & then quietly shuttling away, I then returned to busking on the guitar, whilst waving the Paramedic away, who’d now recieved a ‘fresh’ call, to another job, whisking him away on his motorbike, to the other side of the city!.

    • *Note

      See. London Blogs for further related comments

      • * See. Bath Blogs too eg. ‘Bath Abbey Letter Against Buskers’.

        • * See Birmingham Blog i.e. the ‘very’ bottom comment eg. ‘An Artists Manifesto’.

          ( Nb. The Birmingham City Council, MU, Streetslive.org Alliance I for one am 100% against. Also take a look at how ‘local’ Beauracrats are trying to ‘steal’ peoples area ‘identity’ in other ways. Check out YouTube Video ” Save Hall Green From The Boundary Commission ” by Weareb28 Chair )

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