Support the Keep Streets Live Campaign’s petition against the criminalisation of street culture in Romford

The Keep Streets Live Campaign has set up a new online petition against plans to criminalise buskers in Romford which you can support at this link

:

https://www.change.org/p/havering-borough-council-don-t-ban-romford-s-buskers-don-t-criminalise-the-destitute

When a video of 15 year old Alfie Sheard busking went viral in February 2017 it took him from the streets of Doncaster to the studios of Burbank, California where he was invited to play in front of millions of viewers on the Ellen Degeneres show and presented with a guitar by his hero Ed Sheeran. Under controversial new proposalswhich are now under public consultation online, from Havering Borough Council to ban all busking with any amplification in Romford and to restrict it to designated spots using a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), Alfie would have been committing a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £1000.  These draconian proposals, if implemented, would turn Romford town centre into a no-go area for busking and would do immense damage to the grassroots cultural life of the town at a time when opportunities for young artists to perform and audiences to encounter live music are being greatly diminished by the closure of live venues.

Many contemporary street musicians and artists use some amplification to support outdoor musical performances. Some use quiet instruments or music technology which can’t work effectively without amplification. These include keyboards, electric violins, mandolins, guitars as well as loop pedals which are an increasingly common part of contemporary musical performances. Instead of criminalising all amplification in catch-all proposals, the local authority should target enforcement action against those performers who have caused a persistent issue with noise nuisance, whether amplified or unamplified, using their existing statutory powers such as the power to issue noise abatement notices and confiscate musical instruments under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. A blanket ban on all amplification in Romford would also potentially criminalise residents who used a loudspeaker or microphone during a peaceful protest thereby infringing their rights under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Romford’s draft Public Space Protection Order would also criminalise ‘begging and the seeking of alms’ in proposals that have come under strong criticism in a letter sent to Havering Borough Council from leading Human Rights advocacy group Liberty because of the impact these new powers will have against the most vulnerable and destitute people in Romford. Anyone caught begging or seeking ‘alms’ (A term which is left undefined in the draft proposals) could face an on-the-spot fine of £100 rising to £1000 if unpaid. At a time when homelessness and destitution is rising across the UK, these new powers will do immense damage to the most vulnerable members of society as well as representing a waste of public money as the fines will not be able to be paid and the cost of processing people through the courts does not represent good use of scarce public resources. The police and council already have a wide range of existing powers that can be used to target aggressive begging or busking that causes a genuine nuisance. The new powers will criminalise people who are doing no harm.

My name is Jonny Walker and I am the founding director of the Keep Streets Live Campaign, a not-for-profit organisation that campaigns for public spaces which are open to informal offerings of art and music and other community uses. We have campaigned against the use of PSPOS to criminalise busking and homelessness  across the UK and have also advised the mayoral Busk in London taskforce on how to make the Greater London area more busker friendly. In Oxford and Chester the local authorities made significant changes to PSPO proposals to avoid criminalising the homeless and the most vulnerable whilst in Birmingham, one of the biggest local authorities in the UK, proposals to criminalise all busking with amplifiers using a PSPO was replaced by new busking guidance jointly agreed between the local authority, business and residents groups, the Keep Streets Live Campaign, Musician’s Union and Equity. This collaborative new approach, also adopted by Liverpool, York, Chester, Canterbury and other cities targets enforcement action against the small minority of buskers who cause persistent nuisance, whilst encouraging street artists and musicians to make the public spaces in those towns and cities welcoming and vibrant places.

I know from personal experience that Romford is not always a welcoming place for buskers because I was nearly arrested there in December 2015, before I had even played a note, because a police officer wrongly believed that busking constituted antisocial behaviour. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the highly sociable role that busking plays in our town centres by bringing people together and creating a vibrant and welcoming public spaces. The use of a so-called Public Space Protection Order to criminalise a sociable and beneficial community activity is entirely misplaced. The Keep Streets Live Campaign now publicly calls on Havering Borough Council to remove their plans to criminalise busking with a PSPO and to instead work alongside the Keep Streets Live Campaign, Musician’s Union and Equity to bring in new busking guidance allowing swift enforcement to be taken against buskers who cause a real nuisance whilst street art and music to flourish. We also ask that the council remove the clause on ‘begging and seeking alms’ and to concentrate scarce resources at a time of rising homelessness and desitution on protecting the most vulnerable instead of prosecuting them and to use existing powers to target only those whose behaviour genuine causes alarm, harassment and distress to others.

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

51 Comments on "Support the Keep Streets Live Campaign’s petition against the criminalisation of street culture in Romford"

  • Stratford Upon Avon ‘ River Festival 2017 ‘ ( Buskers as Health & Safety Problem, Security Risk, Crowd Management Problem, ‘Criminals’ or Consistent Rule Breakers & Other Such ‘BID’ Management Nonsense ! )

    Whilst I’m not a ‘member’ of Streetslive.org nor necessarily like this self-formed ‘activist’ gp, their modus operendi nor ‘solutions’ when it comes to tackling ‘general’ Street Performer issues I do join in with them in support of any ‘action’ or struggle against the ‘criminalisaton’ of Busking in the UK.

    Please ‘believe’ me ( & ‘others’) & based upon much ‘street’ level experience, that the ‘negative’ ( & undemocratic ) forces that wd like to see all ‘outdoors’ entertainment ultimately regulated ( in other words ‘shut’ down by See. Coventry, Camden ) eg. Anti-Social Behaviour law in ‘this’ country are in ‘reality’ very much out there & ‘alive’ & kicking & in the form of Gordan Browns ‘New’ Labour creations eg. BIDs ( or Business Investment District ‘Quangos’ ).

    I went out to busk for the 4th year now in Stratford upon Avon ( I regularly busk here in this ‘well’ know tourist town in Shakepeareland, as I do Birmingham ) this weekend 1-2 July 2017 during the towns now ‘annual’ River Festival. Its a ‘big’ event not quite huge enough to challenge Glastonbury but does attract thousands of ‘visitors’ ( day or should I say Sunday Afternoon trippers ) & in the ‘glorious’ sunshine incl. all sorts of ‘families’ & kids & very much so since the event is ‘free’.

    This year, not surprisingly I suppos ( i.e post Manchester etc ! ) I turned up ( ‘earlier’ than usual ) to find my usual ‘morning’ spot on the ‘ampitheatre’ Bancroft Gardens adjacent to the ‘bridge’ by the River Avon, manned by loads of ‘new’ ‘Secrurity’ personnel. These ‘yellow’ jacketed ‘heavies’ ( acutally some quite yg & noble’ employees ) no doubt ‘contracted’ in by the council. In fact so many you wd’nt think ‘austerity’ was a problem in this country at all or at least it had disappeared literally ‘overnight’ as a political issue ( Nb. the town council is a Tory one here ).

    Anyway as I usually do under such ‘cirmcumstances’ I introduced myself before ‘setting’ up & playing. Politely explaining my presence & got no problem with my busking in the vicinity i.e. a long established busking spot. So I began at 10.30amish to busk ( Nb. slightly earlier than usual, normally the ‘clock’ begins at 11am & is ‘counted’ for 2hrs until 1pm i.e. we Buskers have a 2hr ‘revolving’ spot code in Stratford upon Avon ).

    As I began ‘busking’ about 15 mins in I was approached by a Security Supervisor warning me that I might be ‘moved on’, I took it as a ‘misunderstanding’ & further explained the current ‘code’ telling him that I’d played on the ‘spot’ as ‘morning’ public ‘warm-up’ for the last 4 years curing the Festival weekend without trouble. ( Nb. the ‘actual’ festival site is over the other side of the bridge in ‘parallel’ parlkand there along with Bandstand & ‘New’ Big Wheel ).

    I told him to leave any ‘issues’ with me & Town Hosts to deall with & if they turn up I’ll speak to them & clarify any concerns. They did, the Town Hosts soon appear that is, one ‘female’ who told me that this ‘particular’ busking spot ( I noted contradictorarily ‘no’ others ? ) had been ‘suspended’ for the weekend. She cited ‘Health’ & Safety reasons, ones that I as a ‘regualr’ Busker had not be forewarned about nor agreed with.

    I then told her ( indicating the ‘scene’ around me ) ” look theres relatively no one around at present, I’m just ‘warming’ up & I’ll be ‘vacating’ the spot in 2 hrs ”. She did’nt like it, but she went off, leaving me to it, & I then carried on playing. Although I also spoke once more to ‘security’ who again were ‘ok’. They sensibly took their own look at the situation & agreed with ‘my’ position i.e. I have a right to ‘access’ to public space, was doing a ‘good’ entertainment job & posed no health & safety risk at all.

    I lost more than 30 mins playing time due to the ‘issue’ so decided to busk to 1am. I then ‘next’ got caught in a ‘good’ conversaton with a Biker/ Photographer in town who I remembered from last year 2016 & on the topic of music, festivals, ‘live’ gigs & Spain. Then a ‘new’ Bath Busker in town turned up & enquired about the spot ( Eg. Q. Should I play here or by the Fountain Spot the opposite side of the Bancroft ? ). He seemed like an ok enough guy ( & intelligent ) & he also joined in with our conversation.

    All in all I’d lost a fair bit of time in actual busking & was just about to finish at 1am when the Town Host turned up on the spot this time with the Stratforward BID Manager Joe Baconnet. The first time I’d met him face to face ( I’d spoken to him ‘unsuccessfully’ on the telephone recently ) & he was charactersitally ‘confontational’. Hectoring in fact I’d describe his behaviour, he was ‘over’ officious & blatantly bullying. It was ‘bad’ timing the situation compounded by the further fact that another Bath Busker ( now playing in Stratford upon Avon for a year or so usually for 2hrs on Henley Street ) totally unexpectedly turning up on the scene himself looking for the spot.

    I was set upon by both of them, I’d just told our Bath ( Henley st ) Busker I was finishing when Baconnet walked up to me & ‘tete a tete’ accused me of ” consistently breaking the rules ! ” . Putting me on the spot, obviously trying his best to ‘humiliate’ me he gave me little time to ‘retort’ ie. justly defend myself when he started ranting about ” it was his call ” & that he’d suspended the spot for the weekend. He pointed to a small print ‘placard’ ( you wd’nt no it was there attached by ‘string’ to the bridge behind ) hanging on the back of the ‘bridge’ ( blowing in the ‘slight’ warm breeze ) giving ‘notice’ of the spot suspension. The reasons ‘claimed’ were security & crowd management risks.

    I was about to ‘retort’ to him that Buskers ( & esp. ‘myself’ ) neither pose an ‘objective’ security risk nor crowd management problem & that ‘I’ was not going to accept such labels when he just went on, not allowing me to talk. I was going to tell him that the ‘real’ problem was him & his management style ( both unnecessarily ‘aggressive’ & conflicting ). That on his appointment ( he’s a relatively ‘new’ BID Manager) he seems to have ‘irrationally’ embarked on a relentless campaign to both wrongly ‘vicitmise’ Buskers & unfairly rubbish busking in the town ( so as to leverage ‘unjust’ power for himself – the BID are a ‘private’ Quango set up not accountable to the ‘wider’ public interest ).

    I was going to say to him that I’m neither a ‘criminal’ ( he’s been touting using Anti Social Behaviour law to isolate & ‘target’ indvidual Buskers with CPO’s i.e. Community Protection Orders ) nor am I a healthy & safety risk ( the ‘evidence’ this morning was I’m clearly not, no in ‘reality’ quite the opposite ). Neither are other Buskers a threat to security, they’re simply here to entertain & yes make ‘money’ i.e. earn a fair living in line with ‘public’ expectation ).

    I was also going to ‘strongly’ point out that he was a ‘liar’ over the telephone eg. the ‘original’ agreed code was 2hr not 1hr spots as he claimed ( Nb. I have an ‘original’ copy of the code devised by local folk musician then BID Dep. Manager Marion Morgan ‘Fleetwood’ also ‘original’ organiser of the River Festival ). I was also going to stress that press reports that busking is ‘out of control’ in the town is a lie. A gross deception & that most Buskers are well behaved and happily abide by the established 2hr busking code which ‘he’ ( not me! ) wants to consistently ‘undermine’.

    It was then that our now ex Bath now Henley Street Busker ( a ‘familair’ Multi-Instrumental Pastiche John Martyn Street Act for Gloucester ) joined in. He told me to shut up & started talking to Baconnet himself ( in a ‘creepy’, faux ‘reasonable’ tone trying to make me look like the ‘unreasonable’ person in the discusson ). Not surprisingly I guess ( Nb. a classic ‘freudian’ self defence mechanism ) since this was a guy who on first days Saturday busking appearance in the town ‘punched’ another Busker ( fellow Bath one ! ) in the face following an ‘altercation on the opp. side of the Bancroft him claiming he was being drowned out.

    ( Nb. He was ‘drowned’ out but that did not ‘justify’ him solving the problem by physically assaulting the culprit & of course police arrested him & formally ‘cautioned’ him for the brutal act. I tell you he was lucky he did’nt end up in Magistrates Court ).

    It was only by my ‘shouting’ then in a relatively loud voice ” can I speak ! ” that the ‘game’ was broken up. I was then going to suggest that the only way to solve ‘serious’ busking problems wd be by an open ‘democratic’ public meeting. That I’d spoken to the local Press ‘Stratford Herald’ on the issue in response to a ‘story’ they printed on a local 18 year old Grammar Student ex Busker Thomas Woolard who called just for that very thing. eg. to ‘resolve’ any problems do it ‘fairly’ & out in the open everyone invited. Me ‘adding’ & under ‘fair’ jurisdiction & ‘public scrutiny ( Nb. The council can’t be trusted on this point either what with ‘bias’ towards property developers, certain local business’s etc i.e. to reach a ‘fair’ & reasonable judgement ).

    Theres also a problem with ‘cronyism’ I wd have said ( if I cd get a word in edgeways ! ) & not just to do with big ‘commerce’ & business but some Buskers too eg. unfair treatment, ‘divide’ & rule games played by Town Hosts etc. For example our Henley St Bath Busker is currently getting ‘load’s of criticism for blocking busking space in his own interests on Henley Street. Arriving ‘early’ eg. 8.30am to beat competition but not playing until mid-day, sometimes 12.30pm or later. He claimed to me that he lets performers in at eg, 10 am to play to 12 mid-day & then he ‘starts’ playing but last Sunday during the River Festival a duo from Coventry told me that they approached him at 10 am ish & he said he was just about to play, they then later noted that he was actually playing at 1pm that sameafternoon in other words he ‘manipulated’ them, he ‘lied’ !. ( Nb. I argued he was possibly saving the ‘space’ for his mate from Bath – he did ‘yesterday’ Sat before ‘unusually’ turning up on the Banccroft followed by Baconnet himself ! ).

    One point I have made to Baconnet over the telephone is that if any ‘amendments’ are to be made to the code they should not be about ‘reducing’ spots to 1hr that wd only ‘discrimate’ against Cafe’ or Walkbye acts who also need a ‘fair’ chance to make ‘money’. No more ‘wise’ to maintain the status quo & instead ‘target’ breaking up the busking ‘bottle’ neck created on Henley Street by our relatively ‘new’ man in town from Bath. Codyfying that all ‘acts’ ought to start by 11am in the morning ( Nb. believe me 11am – 1pm on Henley street is a ‘lucrative’ playing time at weekends in Stratford upon Avon, so no need to be too overbearing nor ‘greedy’ ! ).

    As for me supposedly breaking ‘time’ rules, I was accused of this by both Baconnet & our Tom O’ Bedlam, I generally do ‘not’, I assert I ‘generally’ go with the 2hr code, & request wheres the ‘evidence’ ?. I support the established busking code & I ‘know’ it works relatively well in the town, if I do go over limits ( on ‘rare’ occasions ) its for very ‘good’ reasons. You know not only Baconnet but some Buskers seem to want to try every ‘trick’ in the book to stop others gaining reasonable ‘access’ to public space. I tell you this my pre-occupation at present is not ‘breaking’ rules its stopping the likes of these & if necessary in their tracks

    ( Nb. Q. My advice ? A. If you turn up on Henley Street & are faced by a huge batch of equipment on a trolley & our Tom o Bedlam just sitting there by the telepone box & its 10 or 11 am. Just set up & start playing i.e. do your 2 hours cos he certainly does’nt ‘control’ nor does he ‘own’ the public space !. )

    • * Notes ( & References )

      1. ” Meeting Will Discuss Buskers Code Changes ” 11 May 2017 Stratford Upon Avon Herald

      2. ‘Comments’ Under ‘ Oxford Letters ‘ Streetslive.org Blog

      3. River Festival 2017 Stratford upon Avon

      • 4. Current Discrimination Legislation

        ( * Nb. Tho’ I guess this is more for the likes of me, given the ‘evidence’ that ‘I’ in particular am being unfairly targeted by BID Manager Baconnet.Of course ‘all’ Buskers are ‘easy’ targets when it comes to this sort of issue & this type of Manager.

        Anyway I straightaway noted as did others incl. members of the public that whilst one of my ‘favourite’ spots was supposedly formally ‘suspended’ during the Stratford upon Avon River Festival 2017, the ‘Magicians’ spot the other side of the canal lock ‘bridge’ was not.

        The ‘choice’ spot of another street’ act caught recently on video ‘striking’ a Busker during an altercation was left ‘un-policed’ by BID security regulation. Not that it should be ‘shut-down’ despite the ‘huge’ crowds some of these eg. theatrical ‘acrobatics’ acts etc gather ( i.e. they do so justifiably & without risk, well ‘public’ that is ).
        Again as far as ‘reality’ ( & ‘evidence’ ) goes no ‘breaches’ of Health & Saftey occured over the weekend here, no not in this vicinity either.

        • Public Speaking Writings & Courses

          All ‘minorites’ cd do no better then getting themselves ofe with ‘public’ speaking & fully equipped ( ‘scripted’ ) to defend themselves in the public arena.

          Today following not only the Grenfell Tower disaster ( their ‘female’ community spokesperson is excellent bytheway, shes the best I’ve seen in ages See. BBC Newsnight ! ) but also other recent lesser tho no less ‘poltical’ catastrophes, ‘ordinary’ people cd do well getting themselves an ‘education’ in Democracy & ‘debate’.

          In fact rather than ‘religous’ studies ( See. Michaeal Goves ) I’d say make ‘civics’ for example ( emphasis on ‘critical’ thinking ) the most impt compulsory part of an urgently needed ‘contemporary’ schools curriculum & hopefully in the long term an ‘improved’ & more ‘just’ civic society.

          When issues do come up, not just nationally ( See. BBC Question Time ) but locally, open ‘meetings’ should be called & all members of the community invited to take part in debate. Thinking of ‘busking’ in particular this means that not just ‘organised’ interest gps eg. MU, BId, Street Activists take part or should I say ‘dominate’ eg. ‘host’ or chair debate ( Nb. the proper word here being ‘control’ ! ).

          But ‘all’ folk eg. street cleaners, shopkeepers, Buskers, the public, yes everyone. Including ‘most’ especially the ‘intelligent’ voices, who in todays’ cynical politik are often driven away, kept out by over scared, incompetent, mediocre or ‘egotistical’ politicians.

          By ‘meetings’ & debate, I mean just that i.e. ‘not’ merely everyone be invited to give their POV to a ‘committee’ who then decide on the issue. But rather ‘opinions’ freely aired by ‘all’ quarters, & then freely ‘rubutted’, & then counter rebutted until everything is out in the open i.e. all ‘angles’ to be scrutinised by ‘all’ under a neutral ‘objective’ chair or commonly ‘trusted’ 3 person panel. I argue this is the ony true route to ‘common sense’, ‘fair’ solutions with regards not only busking but any truly social matter.

          In the long term ( my ‘eyes’ on mankinds future ! ) Its got to be better than the current ‘poltical’ situation wherebye self interested, relatively rich & ‘powerful’ interest groups consolidate their ‘one’ sided position via ‘local’ authorities & ‘arms’ length Quango’s i.e. in the case of Busking ( See BIDs ) & often via ‘dubious’ quite ‘aggressive’ if not ‘soft’ violent ( tho’ on occasion ‘hard’ ! ) means, such as ‘official’ managerial bullying, mal psychology incl. cultural brainwashing & duplicitous ‘control’ of the press or ‘mass’ media & of course security firms & the police

          ( Nb. You know what not all ‘police’ are bad, & secretly I think many of them wd like to se a more ‘open’, inclusive, fairer & indeed better ‘run’ society themselves. If nothing else it wd make their ‘jobs’ a little easier & by default their very lives alot more happier )

          • Public Space & Justice

            So again to conclude Q. Whats the ‘key’ problem here ? A. For me handing over ‘policing’ of the public space to essentially ‘Quangos’ with a ‘bias’ ( incl. security ) towards shopkeepers & property developers.

            Same with the ‘police’, what folk like me want are policemen & policewomen capable of adjudicating the civic space fairly ( albeit their main ‘remit’ is crime ) & not simply ‘act’ out racist & discriminatory games when called on to deal with related issues.

            This is the case in Birmingham where ‘twice’ recently I’ve arrived on a spot first, to then not only be drowned out by.Street Preachers ( a busking ‘duo’ most recently ! ) but further ‘victimised’ by police when they turn up on the scene.

            ” Oh they’re not that loud ! ” the police dishonestly say to me. Nb. the perpertrators ( true aggressors ) manipulatively turning ‘down’ ( way down ! ) on their arrival & then ‘turning’ back up again ( eg. volume 9 or 10 ) when they leave the scene.

            Its not just ‘free’ & open access to public space at issue here ( to all to many these days treated as some kind of ‘self’ entitlement anyway ) but ‘true’ democratic ‘justice’.

          • In the ‘Street Preachers’ ( Christian ! ) case ( See. OXford Letters Blog ) when the ‘policeofficer’ threatened to arrest me for ‘public’ order offences when I stood & blocked them from ‘drowning’ me out, I replied’ ” Arrest me then ! ”, I tell you if he did it wd be ‘him’ out of a job not me.

            Same with the latter Busking Duo, I told ( promised ) the ‘ignorant’ & totally self-centered ‘female’ offender that ” I won’t be so accomodating again ! ” when they ‘deceitivefully’ turned back up their volume after turning down & I ‘confronted’ them a 2nd time for ‘drowning’ me out. The ‘male’ party got the ‘message’ too & no if it happens again I’m not going to be playing any ‘games’ !.

          • I tell you we had some words, but on my behalf they were’nt criminal, you see there are ‘camera’s, witnesses in that vicintiy & if anybody try’s to make any serious ‘false’ allegations about me ( or anyone like me for that matter ! ) or turn me ( or the ‘wrong’ kind of person ) into ‘ a pig’, they’re gonna pay & pay dearly. Justice will be done !.

          • Or put it this way, if it is’nt ‘I’m prepared to do everything to bring it about, even prepared to ‘die’ trying, & accept I might one day have to, esp in a ‘corrupt’ state – are You ?.

          • Tho’ you know ‘true’ justice can & more often than you might think does ‘work’ ( or should I say in ‘fact’ come about ) in ‘mysterious’ ways !.

          • Not always but ‘sometimes’ ‘over-night’, or in a day, or in a ‘single’ afternoon even !.

          • [ Nb. You know theres a ‘reason’ why civic ‘conflict’ situations don’t have to get completely out of control esp. when a ‘person’ has clearly been wronged, the ‘response’ e.g. immediate bloodshed, & ‘annihilation’. Its a matter of ‘not’ getting the Ego ‘too’ involved. ]

          • No, these days I’ve learned to just leave that to our often willfully ‘incompetent’ authorites, you know some of our ‘crap’ Police. ]

          • Or the ‘few’ Busking Street Mentors that can & ‘do’ crop up out there & may try to ‘intervene’ what with there own ‘deluded’ form of public dominion & often ‘spiteful’ authority. ]

          • Of course by ‘logical’ ( or ‘moral’ rational ) extension its worth pointing out the ethical ‘principle’ render another persons life meaningless & your life may be rendered ‘meaningless’ too. ]

          • ( * See. Writings In memory of Nelson Mandela tho’ not necessarily his ‘political’ solutions )

          • ( * See. Classic & Contemporary Writings on Democracy incl. the need for more ‘directness’. ‘greater’ inclusivity & openly ‘fair’ public Justice )

  • Essex Girls, Essex Guys, Posh ‘Do’s & Functions

    Don’t know if the same ‘cultural’ comparitors apply to Romford Buskers, as they do Stratford Upon Avon ‘Street’ Performers tho’ I guess they must do since we’re talking Essex here, you know ‘ Essex Girls, Essex Guys, Posh ‘Do’s’ & Functions ‘.

    Anyway what I mean is that ‘I’ for one ( its the Summer Season ) am inundated at the moment with requests to perform at ‘folks’ weddings & summer ‘parties’ & the like. I’m turning them ‘all’ down in droves too, since I’ve no intention these days ( I did in my first year busking & plenty ! ) of performing any ‘Functions’.

    No not interested at all in this particular genre, & just busy focusing on all things ‘street’ & Art. I’m not myself ‘snooty’ about such things its just that despite the ‘money’ ( eg. £ 300 – £ 500 a session ‘locally’ for ‘popular’ Classical Guitar ) my ‘focus’ & serious ambition is elsewhere. So as for eg. Palchabels Canon, Air on a G String, Bachs Bouree Suite sorry no can do ( Nb. & thats despite my last 50th Birthday Bash performance i.e. 3 yrs ago being one where certain ‘guests’ arrived via ‘red’ carpet eg. flying in by ‘private’ helicopter & adjacent to the resplendent Marquee, itself pitched on on plush ‘private’ farming land ).

    Bearing all this in mind, & calling all like-minded people, buskers, performers out there like myself, here’s 2 spots ( ‘exotic’ locations ) one must definitely avoid eg. 1. St Lucia 2. Dubrovnic ( where my ‘favourite’ Aunt & Dads eldest Sister Ann spent her ‘honeymoon’ ). Both quite ‘beautiful’ ( indeed ‘tourist’ brochure ‘stunning’ ) locations, being the wedding ‘capitals’ of the world ( if you want to do it in style that is, ‘posh’ resplendant style ).

    The other place to avoid is Dubai ‘gold’ capital of the world ( of ‘todays’ international ‘jet’ set that is, the ‘traditional’ 50’s & 60’s one eg. St Tropez I am set to visit soon ! ) & a place where one ‘girl’ I know ( See. Dostoevsky”s ‘Double’ Oxford Letter Blog ) performed regularly with her then ‘partner’ in a ‘cruise’ pop function band.

    Thats before she met her ‘current’ boyfriend that is i.e. the ex bass player with Bham Death Metal band ‘Napalm’ Death ( & who I incidently went to school with & who I’d say most ‘authentically’ suits her ). Yeah a marriage made in heaven wd be this, & perhaps the only one I’d actually ‘play’ at these days, if called upon that is, yes if invited.

    • # Romford, Essex, Function Music, Fake, Official, Weddings, Italo Calvino, London Band Scene, Classics, Fiction, Orwell, Dubai, Bach, Dostoevsky, Oxford Letters Blog, London Liberty Blog, London Portobello Rd Blog, Archives, Castries St Lucia, The Jet Set, Dubrovnik, The Adriatic, St Tropez.

      • # 2 Karina Rowbottom, Ms Karina Bottomley, Karina Palmer Tomkinson, Karina I’ve never done a days honest work in my life, The Violin Trio, Salt & Pepper Singing Duo, The Quarter Finalist from New Faces Talent Show 1983, Tony Slackburns Mobile DJ, ‘ Don’t sleep, don’t sleep, don’t sleep, don’t sleep, we’re gonna get your Tiger feet ‘, ‘ Rammadammadingdong ! ‘, Big Top Garden Marquee, Silver Service Waiter/ Waitress Service, The Wedding Agency 28 Rotherside Street, Margate, Kent or 2A Princess Street, Farnham, Surrey.

        • # 3 Karina I’m so young, I’m so fresh, I’m so ‘It’, I’m so French so how comes you speak as tho you’ve got a plum in yer mouth, oh sorry ‘dear’ its your ‘nob’ boyfriends cock ( & from what I can gather he’s the ‘wedding’ groups drummer ! ).

          • ( See. London Liberty Blog comment ” Stalkers On The SouthBank ” for further ‘comment’ & exposition )

          • ( See 2. Liverpool Blog ” Success, Justice Prevails ” for more remarks further elucidation )

          • ( See 3. Chester Blog ” KSL Official Response ” i.e. words below for even deeper probing & ‘analysis’ ! )

          • Incl. notes on that very current & ‘growing’ cultural phenomenon popularly known as ” love bombing ! ” )

          • Plus can I suggest reading/ ‘watching’ that ‘classic’ Greek Play now over 2000 years old eg. Medea for a shocking yet seriously ‘critical’ take on that other popular ‘notion’ banded around today, in secular ‘counselling’ & pastoral christian circles etc i.e. the concept of ‘unconditional’ love. As with many human ‘myths’, it does’nt in reality exist, everything has & always has had its pre-requistite ‘standards’ & conditions ! )

          • Theres ‘is’ such a thing as a ‘good’ listener tho’ ie. a genuine all round human communicator & even possible ‘peace’ maker in if not all many ‘real’ circumstances ! )

          • As for long-term ‘relational’ human love rather like writing ‘a’ genuine ‘good’ song ( nevermind a ‘consistent’ string of ’em ) it can be a lot harder than you think. For many, at times, demanding an ‘external’ craft, discipline & rigor ( nevermind ‘active’ imagination ) impossible to sustain. That is they simply can’t do it, not even true lovers & ‘enthusiasts’, tho’ you ‘may’ respect them for trying ! )

          • Remembering finally that as ‘ the wall of reality ‘ hits this type of person ( &/or performer ) & they ‘do’ start to break down, on the ‘surface’ depressed, that many of the so called ‘professional’ Councillors turned to for help these days, suffer from the same or if not worse underlying problems as their ‘clients’.

          • Recommended Viewing

            ‘ Makoto – I Don’t Wanna Wake Up ( feat, Karina Ramage ) ‘ YouTube. Out now & ready to watch & guess what, not just another ‘walk in the park’, the ‘girls’ got her ‘true’ mojo back !.

          • Please don’t faill to notice her latest projects accompanying ‘advertising’ & sponsorship too incl ‘music’ promo ‘strapline’ & ‘script’ i.e. ” its a ‘hot’ & sweltering day in the Summer & its time to take that much needed work break in the mid-afternoon, so without guilt & with much pleasure find your ‘favourite’ quiet & relaxing spot, then simply just let it pour & take a long, cool sip of ‘London Pride’ ! ”

          • Ok just ‘joking’, only Day’Dreaming !.

          • ( * See. Oxford Letters Blog for further comments on Busk In London & the captials ‘private’ membership busking schemes )

          • ( *See. The Independant news article ” Fredy Beats and ABH Beatbox Camden Prosecutes Champion Beatboxers For Busking ” Sat 5th March 2016 plus ‘comments’ below on the London boroughs ‘controversial’ new busking licence scheme )

          • ( *See. The Independent news article ” National Gallery Plans To Demand Trafalgar Square Buskers Leave So It Can Create One Of Londons Great Parks ” Tues 16th Feb 2016 plus ‘comments’ below on Bosses hopes to clear Buskers from squares North Terrace )

  • The Arts Council Of Great Britain ( & USA Style Roots, Rubbish & Blue Ridge ‘Rinse’ Mountain Banjo Culture )

    Got no time for the Arts Council oh no, no time at all for much so called ‘official’ Art in this country. However given all I’ve said thus far ( See above ) I’ll never stand persuaded that ‘public’ taxes & money be re-directed away from e.g. Opera ( a major state subsidy ! ) & towards other ‘minority’ creative pursuits such as USA Style ‘Roots’ Music, you know the sort eg. Blue Ridge ‘Rinse’ Mountain Banjo Culture & the many ‘barn’ dances & how downs cropping up today in mainly ‘church’ halls across the Uk.

    Q. You want to know the ‘truth’ about the very ‘real’ demise of the ‘folk’ club circuit in England, Wales, & Scotloand et al, well despite the abberant influence of AcousticGuitar Magazines, American Pop Culture, Neo Liberal Consumer Capitalism & the implosion of the British Education System & such like ( Nb. unless you gain a scholarship its a ‘cool’ £50,000 plus to do a ‘decent’ music degree eg. not one those faux ‘pop’ degrees seeming to suddenly appear & also take ‘root’ in recent yrs & i.e. the ‘key’ qualification these days to being if not a studio ‘session’ musician, a ‘function’ one ) the ‘honest’ to God cause of indigenous English Folk musics decline over the years or since the its rise post 1950’s ( as the ‘true’ artist insiders will tell you See. the ‘few’ autobiographys/ Biography’s ) is 1. the ‘folk’ purists 2. left wing rent a gobs who have always tried to ‘hijack’ the folk scene ( Nb. Ewan MacColl ) 3. the succesfull commercialisation & ‘standardisation’ of popular musice via the ‘masses’ i.e. mass ‘control’.

    So no, don’t believe the publishing ‘hype’ of a recent book out ( & claimed ‘popular’ scholarship ) on the British skiffle ‘craze’ of the 1950’s & the exagerrated ( ad & marketing ‘hyperbole’ ) that it ‘ changed the world ‘. Don’t check for the ‘parallel’ Guardian ‘critical’ back up either ( yes many writers & National Newspapers exist in an uncannily mutual ‘parallel’ universe these days too in this the 21st Century ) snce you must realise the ‘real’ muscial/ cultural revolution took place after skiffle ie. many of the more ‘intelligent’ practioners ‘growing’ up, & hurrying to get away from it to ‘real’ cutural pastures new. No. not exaclty Jon Savage this either ( who’s classic cultural journalistic book on ‘punk’ I highly recommend bytheway ), just more essentially ‘celebrity’ self validation ( & in many ways ’empty’ self promotion ) this recent ‘popular’ music publication ( oh & bytheway you can work out the ‘name’ & identity of the ‘author’/ Writer for yourself ! ).

    Back to the ‘issue’ ( Q. )The best & possibly only ‘valid’ way to support Roots ‘culture’ in this country ? ( A ) Well then get yourself a ‘monthly’ membership & get back to ‘officially’ joining ( & perhaps performing in ) the traditional ‘folk’ clubs again. That plus getting involved in ‘real’ art & cultural ‘creative’ pursuits. That is not simply knocking out a quick set of ‘bland’ pop key songs backed by ‘major’ 3 chord tricks but putting ‘effort’ into developing an honest ‘Cornish’ accent ( not Joni Mitchell i.e. male & ‘female’ included ! ) yes that plus the accompanying ‘open’ tunings ( See. open’ G tuning for beginners ).

    • ( * See. reference ” Slap In The Face – GrassRoots Music Venues Face Closure As Funding Bid Fails – Arts Council England accused of favouring ‘high’ culture over initiative to help small clubs ” The Guardian July 25 2017 )

      • ( * See Oxford Letters Blog ‘comments’ below for a take on Shrouds Hattie Briggs a ‘real’ Folk Singer Songwriter & for the that matter possibly Englands only ‘true’ Cheer Leader – A rose ? A. not quite yet, but she’s close, getting ‘honestly’ quite damned close to it & with the right ‘inspiration’ I think she’ll do it !. )

        • ( See. Besides the ‘works’ of Music Journalist Jon Savage try dipping into ” Making Culture, Changing Society ” by Tony Bennett N.b. tho’ no longer Professor of Sociolgy at the O.U. nor ‘his’ course series featured on the current ‘university’ curriculum ! ).

  • The New ‘Female’ Dr Who ( or ” Congrats On Ruining Dr Who, Feminists ” ? )

    Cultural history in the making as the BBC just announce the 13th series & the ‘creation’ of the 1st Female ‘Dr Who’. Fans are already ‘divided’ & I note on one fairly prominent London Female Buskers Twitter Site the response ” We did it ! ” , itself a Tweet response to another more critical Tweet eg. ” Congrats ruining Dr Who, Feminists ! ”.

    Of course I’ve been reflecting on the issue ( Nb. I’m not at ‘my’ age a serious viewer of the programme plus on Saturday evenings these days I’m 9 out of 10 practically always out busking ). & yes whilst I do have some sympathies with the ‘fan’ critics, do ‘I’ indeed think feminists have ruined Dr Who ?.

    No not necessarily I argue, the PC BBC may have albeit ‘temporarily’ ( tho maybe in the ‘long’ term ) ‘destroyed’ the pleasure of many regualr viewers ( ie. ‘people’ not just men watchers ) with their poltically correct ‘casting’ decision & yes in particular the harpies & ‘femme’ narcs out there, will of course squeeze as much ’emotional’ capital out of all ‘men’ now painfully ‘barbed’ by this issue regardless.

    For me tho’ i.e. a sympathetic male ‘liberal’ feminist ( if not ‘radical’ eg. I support Test Tube Babies ) the question is not whether there should be a ‘female’ Dr Who or not but if so why a ‘white’, middle-aged, middle class one ? i.e why choose Jodie Whittaker to play the part ? ( ‘main’ role in the show ? ). In series 12 for the first time, we saw a ‘mixed’ race female actress Pearl Mackie play the Dr’s ‘Gay’ Assistant role. As far as I’m concerned she wd have been a great choice for the starring role of The Dr, she certainly wd have been the most ‘colourful’ & interesting choice & for sure represented more real objective social ‘progress’ i.e a much ‘truer’ kind of equality.

    Which brings to the fore the more ‘insiduous’ nature of beauracratic PC culture & thinking & how. in reality it merely serves to mask rather than solve impt issues such as social inequality. It also tells you alot about the BBC as an institution on the ‘surface’ seeming to tackle ‘gender’ injustice yet in a ‘deeper’ sense reinforcing via its programming both class & ‘racial’ social divisions.

    This is the problem I believe faces ‘society’ at large incl. the attittude of yes many ‘female’ buskers who wittingly ( or unwittingly ) appear to overlook this side of the coin & run away from ‘class’ & race agenda’s all together ( or more sinisterly wish they remain no doubt out of some ‘twisted’ form of ‘self’ interest ! ).

    Either way neither this brand of new ‘street’ culturatti nor the BBC top brass appear ready for a ‘person’ of race ( albeit ‘mixed’ race & a woman, of course forget ‘a man’ God forbid ) to take centre stage or come to prominence in anything whether as a mere Busker & Street Performer nevermind iconic TV Star.

    • ( * See SouthBank Busker Charlotte Campbells Twitter Feed July 16th 2016 Eg. Row ” I Stopped watching Dr Who but now I’m going to start watching again ” Charlotte Campbell ” Me too I can’t wait for this series now ” )

      • ( * See. Popular Comedian Lenny Henry & how in the case of this particular ‘Uncle Tom’ from Dudley, in the Black Country, my ‘comments’ about TV Icons & ‘ethnic’ exclusion are in themselves excluded. Check out ‘further’ comments under the Oxford ‘Letters’ Blog for an explanation of this impt issue )

  • Busking, Public Space & Identiy Politics ( or Spain, The Mediterranean & English Romanticism )

    Am I Spanish ? Is my Mother Spanish ? Whats your name, oh Nigel thats not very Spanish is it ? These are some of the questions that frequently come my way when I’m out busking,

    Am I pretending to be Spanish ? etc etc raising the ‘personal’ question Q. How do I lend an ‘air’ of ‘authenticity to what I do street performing esp Classical ‘Romantic’ Guitar?

    Well the honest answer for me is not necessarily tru’ shared cultural influence & the ‘English’ love of Spain eg. holidays in the Costa Brava etc ( tho’ I don’t sneer, honest! ) but thru the spirit of English Romanticism or the English Romantic tradition with which I share a ‘natural’ sentiment & yes ‘artistic’/poetic world view & most importantly ‘feeling’ attitude eg. curious ( ‘naturally’ not morbidly ! ), adventurous, poetic, culturally knowledgable & with a passion for the ‘exotic’, southern Europe & warmer climbs such as the Mediterranean.

    [ N.b What people have really got to get is that if & when ‘I’ play romantic spanish guitar its as ‘art’ music, I’m not tying to be ‘Spanish’ in the sense of playing the ‘castanets’ in a London West End Spanish wine bar or for that matter on the Costa Brava ( i.e. ‘real’ Spanish ! ) tho I do think playing eg. Gypsy Kings to backing tapes on the British High Street is ‘valid’. If anything links eg. 19th century ‘romantic’ music together ‘stylistically’ its not ‘nation’ as such but one individual eg Chopin who was an ‘ouvre’ Polish Pianist Composer living in Paris, the then centre of ‘classical’ academy & ‘serious’ Western music culture. Also the European ‘pleasure’ resort of not so serious ‘lighter’ entertainment ( * See. Belle Epoque above ) ]

    So I’m very much a ‘romantic’ at heart ( plus a ‘moderne’ See. below ) & its this emotional ‘orientation’ that validates for me what I do, what with my particular ‘music’ tastes & various influences. I cd go on ‘rather’ pretentiously about this particular ‘outlooks’ irony ( historically ) & how ( politically, academically etc ) it further represents a ‘global’ humanist ‘attitudinal’ stance that very much transcends ‘nation’ state & is ‘internationalist’ in perspective. That is my attention or should I say ‘perception’ is outward yet tempered by an ‘inner’ subjective reflective soul feeling that centres & intensfies my my being. But I won’t, in fact I’ll spare you that rhetorical ‘bullshit’.

    Its also ‘true’ that I have a very ‘North’ African look & physique albeit ‘mediated’ by Viking height & ‘tall’ build i.e. my ‘blonde’ English Fathers ‘genetic’ influence & cd be referred to, viewed by ‘some’ eyes, as a kind of contemporary ‘Moor’, my St Lucian Mother of course being West African in origin, but I’ll resist that pretension too. But only partly, since my genetic coding, ‘hair’ type, & subsequent ‘styles’, when ‘authentic’ ( or should I say adequately authenticated by eg. Hardressers & the like ! ) will ‘naturally’ tend to the Moorish Eg. either lg ‘corkscrew’ ( Gyspy Andalucian ) or ‘short’ Algerian/Libyan hair cuts i.e. those that suit me best & bring out my ‘protean’ natural qualities. Conversely medium styles, pop indie/Italian stylised hair don’t ( & ‘I’ instinctively avoid them ! ).

    Which is why I’m so ‘angry’ at my hairdresser for giving me front ‘bangs’ ie. so ‘continental’ Italian. So despite my love of ‘true’ indie pop Artists ( or those who get very close to that ‘identity’ i.e. at the end of the day or should I say ‘afterall’, nobody is perfect ) & ‘great’ Actors ( & yes stylists ! ) & ‘fine’ Interviewee’s like e.g Italy’s Robero DellEra ( See. ‘ Intervista La Roberto DellEra ‘ YouTube & esp. his ‘spin’ on Mickey Greaney’s ” Out In The Morning ” plus his own eg. ” La Meraviglia ” ) I strongly believe my Bham hairdresser as a ‘curl’ specialist should have known better & his ‘expt’ if that what it was has certainly failed ( stylistically ‘backfired’ ! ) on me & after nearly 2 yrs as a ‘loyal’ client I don’t think I’ll be going back.

    So back to the question related to Classical Romantic Spanish Guitar playing etc I honestly have to say that I’ve really found my ‘thing’ here. [ Nb. tho’ yes a fresh ‘visit’ – for ‘artistic’ renewal /’Idealism’ reasons – to Florence Italy is long overdo & I must say just ‘beyond’ Kitsch ‘popular’ classical guitarists like Justyana Maria Janikzak I do like & cd do with her likes ‘inspiration’ at present ] The more Iberian genre includes for me Spanish Cafe Cantante music eg. Flameco characteristically mixed with ‘Tango’, & Balkans sounds. Yes, would you you believe it a fairly recent ‘discovered” passion ( albeit quieted & ‘directed’ by an educated & earthy ‘stoicism’ ). My ‘newly’ & now first ‘street’ guitar experiments attempting to go beyond the simply ‘popular’ Populare ( the issue being art v mass culture yet without rather snottily dismissing that ‘vital’ important element eg. ‘entertainment’ plus the artistic fact that all Classical Guitar with a ‘few’ exceptions cd justly be ‘categorised’ as popular ).

    Plus with a ‘bit’ of work ( & ‘serious’ practice ) I hope to go beyond ‘earlier’ popular Cafe/S.American influences & ‘focus’ more on S.American Art Music in general, with ‘select’ pieces working great for say busking ‘outside’ eg. Knigtsbridge Tube Station in London ( Nb. I’ve been researching this area/ ‘zone’ a lot recently ) ; both ‘rhythmically ‘syncopated’ & urban moderne, heres a ‘musical’ package the will sound great in the street ( or larger public spaces of the ‘capital’ ). This ‘stylistic’ approach to be complimented by a French ( you cd say ‘Parisienne’ ! ) Cafe sound eg. A. Lauro ( * Nb. his ‘works’ perform just as well in the Italian Neopolitan Cafe subgenre ! ), Pernambuco/ Nazareth Choro, Villa Lobos ( whom as a ‘guitarist’ I love & who’s music ‘I’ find work in many musical ‘contexts’ incl. Cafe ).

    Plus not withstanding ‘gypsy’ music tinged with a ‘Hungarian’ violin ‘salon’/ cafe vibe for ‘smaller’ spots ( or more ‘intimate’ locations ) e.g Carnaby Street ( been ‘researching’ this place/ ‘spot’ too ! ) i.e. for a more ‘popular’ Gypsy sound featuring eg. Latin pop. Again very ‘French’ tho’ in this case with a hint of Russian Gypsy. If in every instance tinged with a characteristic English ‘folk’ artistic expression i.e. in my sense & understanding more Bert Jansch ( not so much Davey Graham tho in a way yes ) type influence(s) here finding a ‘street’ outlet.

    [ Nb. Plus I’d say after ‘observing’ others e.g. Sebastion Diez the guitarist from ‘Fernando’s Kitchen’ its got to be ‘Eastern’ European virtuosic ‘circus’ ethnic folk for the larger spots & public spaces such as ‘Trafalgar’ Square. }

    As well as this theres another Spanish music perspective I’ve at last begun to find my ‘vibe’ with eg. the Segovian tho’ also Ida Presti type ( one of my favourite classical guitarists stylists ) ‘poetic’ spanish classical guitar sound of the ‘post’Tarrega period ( involving an impt ‘movement’ of Guitar Composers ). Then theres the Barcelona/ Madrid sound incl. Rumba Flamenco, performed alongside say late classical/’early’ romantic composers like F.Sor ( an ‘eclectic’ if unlikely guitar Art mix that can & does work ) .

    So today & upon much ‘research’ ( & ‘reflection ) its whilst falling under the ‘huge’ influence or should I say cultural hiatus & ( not ‘hero’ worship/ ‘cultic’ ) ‘spell’ of the ‘social’ realist Francois Truffaut style art movie YouTube videos of eg. Columbian maestro ‘Gentil Montana’ i.e. him performing ‘street’style In Paris ( & at age ! ), that I begin my ‘new’ journey with the guitar. Now this is the ‘direction’ I’m about to go ( all things being ‘equal’ ! ). Believe me, what I say, what I express here, cos the ‘feeling’ is powerful & real, yes very real & prefigures some serious ‘action’ on my behalf, some ‘active’ ‘repertoire’ building & devoted ‘practice’.

    • * Notes

      My current ‘romantic’ cafe set ( tho’ now becoming more & more an ‘evening’ Cafe sound eg. Piazzollan ‘romances’ & guitar arranged popular ‘folk’ love ballads ) still remains the same. Tho’ its worth mentioning here the significant musical ‘extensions’ or should i say ‘contrasts’ now woven into my ‘usual’ street set. For example a more ‘specific’ ‘late’ afternoon/ early evening Art ‘Commuter’ Belt sound or art ‘guitar’ music is ‘consciously’ evolving. Yes 2 or 3 or is it 4 yerrs in & ‘my’ repertoire is in the ‘process’ of becoming more #artistically centred ( i.e. performance wise ! ) on the ‘works’ of Paraguayan Guitarist/ Composer Agustin Barrios Mangore ‘. See. Oxford Letters Blog.

      Oh yes very ‘Bohemian esp. so for this time of the day or should I say ‘late’ afternoon, neigh ‘early’ evening. Afterall its ‘not’ Ponce ‘siesta’ music we’re talking about here, no more so a highly ‘romanticised’ European ‘classical’ salon music ( N.b. I have no wish or desire to play actually in the Paris Salon ). Ok its ‘choice’ selection of this Artists ‘ouvre’ that ‘works’ on the streets i.e. not everying or ‘anything’ the he wrote. In fact this wd be my ‘favoured’ material if & when ‘busking’ in a place like the Southbank London esp. along the tree-lined ‘boulevards’ of the River Thames & on a ‘warm’ Summers evening or ‘romantic’ Autumnal ‘starlit’ night ).

      Tho’ again See. Oxford ‘Letters’ Blog, I also favour brazilian jazz tinged exotic’ sounds like ‘The Dolphin’ as arranged by flamenco guitarist Nino Josele. I had one of my ‘best’ evenings busking ever, one August Sunday, performing on the Bancroft ‘ampitheatre’ spot in Stratford upon Avon, with my rendition of this ‘beautifual’ & evocative tune. A very ‘faithful’ accurate one ( ‘cover’ ! ) I might add with all the nuance & feeling ( if now ironically ‘forgotten’ ! ). Yeah what a wonderful ‘musical’ adventure & romance expressed in this ‘piece’ i.e. where Spain meets jazz n’ of course Africa !.

      • ( *See. Diary/ Journal 2017 notes & reflections on ‘ Busking, Public Space & Identity ‘ )

        • ( * See. Newcastle Blog No1 below for ‘notes’ on Male Identity & Gender & hints at the legitemate ‘spiritual’ exploration of the ‘feminine’ both ‘dark’ & ‘light’ )

          • ( * See. London ‘Liberty’ Blog for further related comments esp. modelling on the catwalk at the gay nightclub Heaven. Note however my view on contemporary fashion concepts E.g. ‘Metrosexy’ which for me are definitely out, as are all forms of infantile ‘gay’ narcissism. Esp. of the sort often ‘subtley’ expressed in writings of today & often ‘lauded’ by the ‘serious’ media. Yes all part of the cynical ‘fashion’ conspiracy or should I say popular ‘commercial’ culture. Yes David Beckham eat your hat !. )

          • ( * See. London ‘Portobello Rd’ Blog for comments on George Michael & his untimely – or ‘timely’ depending on your perspective – death. With reference to one of the most ‘poetic’ & evocoative songs & video of one of my favourite Art Pop bands Eg. ‘Goldfrapp’ )

          • Here I attempt that seemingly impossible ( today PC ‘unspeakable’ ) task of unraveling the mystery of those ” in between boys & girls ” on an honest, albeit slightly ‘satiric’ psychoanalytic level that is ).

          • I’m talking about the ‘personality’ structure of the homosexual man not the ‘general’ culture of ‘male’ homosexual practice which is a ‘separate’ subject See. Classic Greece ).

          • Tho’ just as fascinating ! )

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