Official KSLC response to Havering Borough Council’s proposed PSPO in Romford town centre

Official KSLC response to Havering Borough Council’s proposed PSPO in Romford town centre


Havering Borough Council are conducting an online consultation into their plans to introduce a Public Space Protection Order in Romford town centre which would criminalise busking and make it easier to target vulnerable people for ‘seeking alms’. The Keep Streets Live Campaign is asking Havering to rethink their proposals and this is our official response to their plans.

Please take a moment to fill in the online consultation and, if you agree with our criticisms, join us in asking them to think again.

You should feel free to use some of the points we have made below as a guide when making your response. The more people that get in touch with Havering Council, the greater our chance of asking them to rethink their proposals is. Here is the link:

Keep Streets Live Campaign response to Havering Borough Council PSPO consultation 

I am the founder and the director of the Keep Streets Live Campaign, a not for profit organisation which exists to advocate for public spaces which are open to informal offerings of art and music and other community uses. We started the online petition, so far signed by over 1500 people, asking Havering Borough Council to rethink its PSPO proposals:

We are have specific concerns about the scope of the proposed PSPO, particularly as it relates to busking and also ‘begging and the seeking of alms’. Our petition specifically asks that busking and ‘begging and the seeking of alms’ be removed from the draft PSPO though we have concerns about the overall scope of the PSPO.

We share with Liberty concerns about the lack of supporting evidence used to support the proposed introduction of this PSPO which they have made publicly available in this letter:

For the purposes of this online consultation we will be responding to specific parts of the proposed PSPO:

‘Busking only within areas designated by Havering Council’

The police and council already have ample powers to address issues of nuisance, obstruction or antisocial behaviour as they relate to busking making this clause unnecessary. The problem with this clause is that it would make it a criminal offence to busk outside designated areas, even if the busking was not causing any nuisance or obstruction. Busking in public spaces is a long standing British cultural tradition, and, provided that no obstruction is being caused on the highway and no nuisance is being caused, is lawful. The Live Music Act 2012 affirms that live music can be played in public places between 8am and 11pm but this proposal would make it a criminal offence to play music except for specific areas in Romford. This is a disproportionate and ‘catch-all’ attempt to address the issues that can sometimes arise from busking. It would also mean that the police and council would be diverting resources to prosecuting buskers for standing in the wrong place, even if they weren’t causing any issues. It would also mean that busking performances would concentrate in specific designated areas which could lead to an increase in complaints from those areas. We are asking Havering Borough Council to adopt a best practise guide for busking such as the one agreed between the local authority, Musician’s Union, Keep Streets Live Campaign and Equity in Liverpool, York, Birmingham, Chester, Canterbury, Worcester and elsewhere ( to the oversight of busking in Romford. The principle of this guidance should be avoiding creating blanket, catch-all offences but concentrating resources on enforcement against those performers who are causing a genuine nuisance. The council and the police have the powers to ban specific individuals and performers from pitches where they have been shown to cause a nuisance. They should target problematic individuals rather than all buskers because otherwise they will be criminalising people and activities that are not causing any harm.

‘No busking with amplified equipment’

Clearly this clause attempts to address the issue of noise nuisance as it relates to busking by creating a catch-all criminal offence of using amplified equipment. Once again, the problem with this clause is that it criminalises all uses of amplification, even those uses which are not causing any noise nuisance without addressing the potential nuisance of unamplified instruments like drums, plastic pots, trumpets, bagpipes or saxophones etc which all have the potential to cause nuisance. Many street musicians use a battery powered amp because they are playing quieter instruments such as guitars and need to be heard just above the ambient street noise for their performances to be effective. The use of microphones enables people to sing or speak more quietly and safeguards singers against vocal damage or trauma. Criminalising the use of amplifiers will mean that many of the most accomplished or professional performers will no longer be able to perform in Romford which will have the effect of making Romford a ‘no-go’ area for buskers. Additionally the proposed blanket ban on amplification risks the criminalisation of residents who use microphones or loudspeakers as part of peaceful protests in the Romford area which is a potential interference of the right to freedom of expression under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Once We ask Havering Borough Council to drop this clause and to adopt a Best Practise Guide approach to the oversight of busking in Romford with the Musician’s Union, Equity and Keep Streets Live Campaign along the lines already agreed in cities such as Liverpool, Birmingham, York and elsewhere:

Rather than enforcing a general blanket ban on amplification, the police and local authority could target specific performers who have been shown to cause a nuisance. The police and local authority already have the powers needed to confiscate equipment from people causing a nuisance and to ban specific individuals from using amplified equipment. By targeting enforcement against those individuals who are generating complaints the local authority will be able to improve the quality of busking in Romford and address the issue of noise nuisance without criminalising those performers who use amplification considerately and appropriately. We ask that Havering remove this clause from the PSPO

‘No begging or seeking of alms’

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, many suffering from complex needs, mental health and addiction issues and are often destitute and are reduced to begging in order to obtain food and shelter. The current proposal would mean that a person sat down, without causing any issues to any other person, could face a criminal record and fine of up to £1000. It is counterproductive to use public resources to impose punitive fines upon people who are very unlikely to be able to pay them and could face further marginalisation and destitution through their interaction with the court system.

The use of the phrase ‘seeking of alms’ is vague and ambiguous as well as being antiquated. It risks creating a new criminal offence without a clear understanding of what that offence entails. For example, does asking someone for food or a hot drink constitute ‘seeking of alms’? If so, are Havering Borough Council proposing to make it a criminal offence for destitute people to seek food and drink?

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. Oxford City Council amended their PSPO proposal to target ‘aggressive begging’. Whilst this is still problematic it has the advantage of targeting a specific behaviour with the potential to cause harm to others in the form of intimidation or harassment and is less open to misuse. We ask that Havering Borough Council remove the clause as it relates to begging and seeking of alms.

No unlicensed street trading or charity solicitation (chugging)’

Rather than a blanket ban on ‘charity solicitation’ the council should adopt a best practise guide which outlines expected behaviour from those working on behalf of charities and target enforcement against those individuals or groups that depart from mutually agreed standards. This clause, as it stands, could criminalise people who are acting in a responsible and considerate way which is problematic.

‘No consumption of alcohol outside of a licenced premises or designated drinking area’

This proposal could be amended to make it an offence not to surrender an alcoholic beverage when asked to by a police officer. In this way the proposal would address the issue of street drinking without criminalising vulnerable people who might be suffering from mental health/addiction problems. The current wording of the proposal means that anybody with an alcoholic drink in a public place in Romford would be committing a criminal offence which could have a damaging impact on vulnerable people.


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

88 Comments on "Official KSLC response to Havering Borough Council’s proposed PSPO in Romford town centre"

  • Pam Smithr says

    Busking adds to the vibrancy of shopping areas in towns- it helps to create an impression of activity and liveliness, and helps to draw shoppers in- particularly when they are good buskers!
    Busking is in a long line of traditional activity in our towns. Councils always seem to be wanting to destroy our local history and traditions- whether it be historical buildings or traditions or our countryside. They don’t seem to have any respect or pride for the places they represent

    • Pam I strongly agree with you about protecting our ‘local’ history, crafts, & cultural traditions. Problem is there is another ‘traditon’ that that has a long ( & strong’ ) & well established history in this country, its never quite gone away, & in the past findings it full Englsih tilt & ‘voice’ during the post civil war 17th century days of English Lord Protectorate Oliver Cromwell, its called ‘authoritarianism’.

      The other just as ‘resilient’ counter creative force in English Culture esp. since the days of the Industrial Revolution is ‘standardisation’ – a Capitalist ‘economic’ staple for ‘mass’ production eg. we see it in much Pop Music today & it is now working its way into Busking Policy, finding expression in the more recent ‘model’ approach, ‘cut’ n paste ( unlocal, invariant ) type busking schemes not ‘codes’ being developed for our towns & cites eg. Bhams ‘new’ Busking Policy is a case in point ( & not surprisingly given the 2nd city’s Quaker tradition ).

      Yeah its as amazing as the English ‘economic’ miracle of the early 19th Century/Late 18th Century that the 2nd city once had a 2 week ahead ‘appointment’ busking scheme & a variety of ‘good’ spots where you ( Buskers ) cd play ‘all ‘day, Less amazing that all this has been ‘degraded’ & reduced to ‘open’ access yes to the ‘same’ natural ( i.e. traditional ! ) busking spots but today under a 2hr ‘guidance’ stipulation.

      I & other ‘experienced’ regular Buskers in Bham are against such ‘authoritairian’ forces dominating busking as we are against its town by town, city by city standardisation which is what current ‘policy’ for me represents. Real ‘variation’, localism & ‘organic’ involvement is what its all about for me & yes with an ‘eye’ to ensuring ‘access’ to newcomers, all very achievable this as well, very acheivable.

      ( Nb. I’m glad in a way to see the ‘red’ tape auditions go tho’ but for certain not the playing times, quite unnecessary & unfair to ‘good’ musicians in the city ( stupidly we’re draconionly ‘penalising’ them ) that these ‘times’ should go i.e from ‘formally’ playing ‘all’ day to 2hr guidance. ‘Unnatural’ interference they represent in the cultural running of the town too esp given the ‘true’ nature of the city’s town planning & ‘street’ realities n’ all, See further comments below )

  • Martinez-d'Antonio Dominique says

    Musicians in the street are magic! I want they continue !

    • Note

      Yeah a little bit of ‘magic’ in peoples llives thats what we want ‘echoing’ from musicians & around folk as they publicly pass by & wafted into public ‘shared’ cultural orbit by performers playing on our streets. Art & culture thats what its all about. Obviously not guaranteed by ‘all’ street performers but certainly a ‘standard’ worth pursing. A few further ‘thoughts’ on this issue tho’.

      Thinking about the ‘old’ Bham Busking Code set-up again one ‘criticism’ levelled against the then busking ‘auditions’ is that they were ‘elitist’. I took a look at the Liverpool ‘good’ practice guide the other day & a passage cut ‘n’ pasted onto Bhams Busking Policy containing warnings about ‘repeated’ material & about performers having a ‘wide’ & varied set,. I thought well is’nt that in its way ( albeit indirectly ) ‘elitist’, afterall its all about ‘standards’ ?.

      I remember during my late teens going busking with one or two ‘busking’ tunes eg. ‘Knockin’ On Heavens Door’, ‘Light my Fire’, & a Mates song ‘Sunshine Woman’ yep thats all folks ( I admit ‘things’ have improved since then even amongst the yg ). So I have some ‘understanding’ & sympathy for yg kids today who go out ‘armed’ & enthusiastic with a ‘couple’ of Bob Dylan tunes & an Oasis song.

      To go down ‘officously’ on these kinds of youth, battering them down with some ‘guide’ does’nt that represent a form of ‘elitism’ if not a form of official ‘petty’ bullying ?, Whats needed here is more than ‘guidance’ we need to see some ‘variant’ conditions built into codes so as to ‘protect’ Buskers from this kind of thing !.

      Yeah more playing time for ‘jobbing’ Buskers working in lrge cities like Bham but not discouragement of the yg up & coming ‘street’ performer ‘space’ for them too ( & believe me no spurious poltical ‘petty fogging’ here, its there ! ).

      So I’m going to be out there & alongside ‘performing’ when the situation demands it ‘busy’ arguing, fighting for these things, this kind of approach, no excuses, no ‘random’ diversions !.

      • * Further Notes

        As for the related ( albeit converse ) ‘theme’ of ‘cultural’ nihlism, the cynical subversion of art & beauty convention ( often under the guise of political correctess tho’ also sheer ‘ego’ ) that does take place in busking & those hideous creatures now commonly known as the ‘people of the lie’ I begin to tackle this ‘subject’ elsewhere See. for example comment under the 1.Chester KSL Blog & 2. Oxford Letters Blog.

        • * Even More Notes

          The problem with the busking world ( Nb. possibly the post modern world in general ) is that it does contain those who wd twist the ‘partial’ truth that ‘ beauty is in the eye of the beholder ‘ to its ‘irrationa’l extreme. Where in their warped aesthetic & psychic ‘babble’ skein beauty becomes ugliness & ugliness beauty.

          In the 2nd ‘Newcastle’ blog I ‘comment’ on 3 common identifiable categories of beauty each with their own commone-sense ‘standard’ ( well if your’ an ‘honest’ feeling person that is, many busking folk obviously are’nt ).

          Eg. 1. Classic ( such as Greta Garbots Face, The Pantheon in Greece ) 2. Romantic ( such as Oliver Reeds Face, A Painting by Emil Nolde ) 3. Expressive ( such as a dance by Martha Graham, or a Charlie Chaplin grimace ).

          As for the latter ‘class’ of beauty beware. These days its very much the vogue ( see mass media, ‘select’ womens magazines, & related blogs ) to ‘label’ ( falsely ) even eccentric individuals with clear identity problems ( i.e. the clearly gross ) as beautiful.

          Yes PC gone mad, not in the basic social justice of affording deserved ‘rights’ to minorities, but in ‘projecting’ value on effectively ‘guru’s, charlatons & ‘fakes’ who don’t deserve it i.e. those who wd use ‘gimmicks’ & other gaudy trinkets to cover not ‘natural’ confidence but what is in ‘reality’ an easily bruised ‘ego’ & shaky esteem.

          No, like many before me ( incl. some of the most literary ‘incisive’ authorities in the field ), I don’t share these skewed ‘perspectives’ nor support such ill conceived interpretations, nor do I accept their ‘models’ & examples. What you wrongly call ‘confidence’ & beauty m’ Lady I rightly denounce as ‘ big ego & low self esteem ‘. Here as in life its very much a matter of keep digging methinks, cos its not over yet i.e. that long, difficult & very frustrating search for the ‘diamond’ within.

          • * Just A Few More Notes

            A big yes to the ‘idea’ of introducing a little ‘wonder’ into everday life & ‘daily’ routine, but don’t get too carried away with such a heady notion ( or ‘potion’ ).

            New Buskers esp. beware of all forms of ‘trickery’ & deception on this matter. Yes the old ‘adage’ stands ” Theres a sucker born every minute ”. We’ve seen it in our ‘banks’, its even happened via ‘consultancies’ at the BBC, now we’re witnessing it on the streets i.e. the ‘serious’ yet growing social problem of what many are ‘today’ calling ‘Cult’urisation.

          • Eg. Forget standing ‘still’ & statuesque on a ‘hidden’ stand for 10 or 15 minutes for abundant ‘coin’. No simply body paint yourself in if not ‘gold’ but silver ( i.e. colour symbol of the ‘contemporary’ Madonna, if not Mona Lisa ) & once you’ve drawn a crowd bend over & surprise a ‘public’ member ( touching their little heart ! ) with the gift of a flower e.g a rose ( & even if ‘openly’ caught in full public gaze sneaking off for a ‘cigarette’ every 20 mins ! ) you’re still likely ( more or less guaranteed ) to be received as some sort of public Artist.

            Q. Why A. Its called ‘lovebovebombing’ ( this kind of ‘street’ act being the more ‘physical’ version of it ! ) & be it in a church congregation or secular ‘arts’ street gathering its still one of the most effective ways to win the publics affections i.e. bytheway of creating the most powerful sense of personal sentiment & ‘belonging’ in the ‘recipient’ ( or lonely ‘victim’ !) incl. essentially ‘family’ members n’ all.

          • I promise you not only will the ‘coin’ drop into your ‘busking’ case, it will pour into your coffers via streamlining, artistic sponsorship & all other forms of ‘social’ media/ ‘online’ money raising chicanery.

          • Bytheway I ‘like the suspended ‘statue’ acts eg. Darth Vaders etc now commonly seen on our ‘high’ streets ( within ‘reason’ of course, so long as they don’t ‘grow’, proliferate & like some ‘unruly’ plant take over ) as they genuinely do ‘entertain’ the kids ( yes ‘kids’ love ’em ! ).

          • Them plus a pretty girl, with a bubbly personality & a nice ( ‘beautiful’ even ) smile.

          • So pure, so sweet, ones almost ‘tempted’ to recite on passing those famous lines of Hamlet { Act 3 Scene 1 ] to Ophelia in the play of the same name ” Get thee too a nunnery…. ” .

          • Not so pretty eg. ‘female’ arrogance, ‘ego’ projection, akin to a form of human grandiosity the taste ‘aesthetics’ of let us say essentially ‘Crap’ ( cut n’ paste ) Artistes like Hitlers pet campadre & PR expert Leni Riefenstahl .

            Tho’ ‘Art’ ( & ‘architecture’ ) of this type can sometimes be dramatically grande & ‘sublime’ in external appearances particularly in the ‘Gothic’ genre(s) !.

          • Of course ‘classic’ Church Art ( & ‘architecture ) is both ‘real’ & beautiful in expression !.

          • Which ‘could’ be said ( critically ‘argued’ ) of ‘some’ essentially Nazi Art but certainly ‘not’ the nauseating, ‘ego’ sick ‘cut n’ paste’ variety ( uggh damned ugly ! ).

          • ( See. Oxford Letters Blog eg ” Stratford upon Avon – A Midsummers Nights Dream ” for select ‘comparative’ comments below & a ‘naturalistic’ Art perspective )

          • Check also the Chester KSL Blog ‘comments’ below for a take on various ‘Editorial’ works from the towns one & only Busking Lady i.e. ” …that Bi-partisan Joan of Arc ! ” ).

          • Yeah ‘magic’ stuff this, her supernatural concoction of darkly ‘feminine’ railiery & muck ) .

          • Full Stop ! }})))

          • ( See.Romford Blog Comments Below on Black Country Busker Esther Turner i.e. ”…the girl with the Mona Lisa Smile ! ” for a take on her Busking, her muisic & her ‘wiles ‘ ! ).

          • Funnily enough a yg woman very much akin’ in ‘real’ context’.( you’d see once you’ve met her in ‘live’ person ) to the ‘Front’ Cover ‘woman’ re-contextualised & ‘featured’ in the Busking Lady’s 2nd Ed. online ‘feminists’ buskers magazine See. Chester KSL Blog.

            In her own ‘marvelous’ way both sexually & physcially ‘suggestively’ I tell you Turner ( I vouch you ! ) is very similar to the ‘gender’ ambiguous black woman pictured lying ‘front’ down on a bed uxtaposed to an ‘image’ of ‘ The Lady ? ‘ herself ‘prettily’ dolled up in curlers at the hairdressers, of course charismatic ‘stage’ light shining upon ‘her’.

            I’ve already directly or ‘indirectly’ hinted at what I think of both ‘ The Lady’ & Turner ‘characterwise’ but taking a look again at some of their photo ‘representations’ it ‘pains’ me.

            Ugly/beautiful they both tear me apart you know both of them cd be as beautiful ( & sexy ) as the ‘black’ woman on the 2nd magzine front cover ( ok no Naomi Campbell or anything like my ‘cousin’ Jessinta ! ) if they were less afraid & more ‘confident’ in promoting themselves in the ‘natural’.

            So please, please, please I ‘implore’ both of you to come on girls ( I say ” wooooooaahh Woman Glory be ! ” ).

          • A little bit of personal ‘stage’ magic & ( not too Godly ) transformation !. )

          • Magic wand please ! )

          • ( * See. Swindon Blog ” Stop Council Attacks On Street Culture ” for further comment esp. on how to to wish away the more subtler ‘darker’ energies of nascent Ego )

  • Catherine Noyce says

    Here in our Cathedral City of Salisbury, busking is ‘legal’ in the High Street and offers a pleasant lift to the spirits in a pedestrianised area. Buskers, musicians, street artists seem to be appreciated by tourists and townsfolk alike.

    I’m sorry that Romford is adopting this approach of excluding different types of people from its shopping areas. It will be Romford’s loss.

    • Yeah sadly the practice of using Anti Social Behaviour law ( designed for ‘policing’ delinquent kids on ‘dysfunctional’ council estates etc ) is scurrousily being used by some ‘councils’ /BIDs as a ‘management’ tool for city/town centres ( Nb. tho’ some say PM Cameron always had an eye for this kind of ‘adaptable’ law being used for other civil’ control purposes, despite the ‘across’ party, denials eg.” not for use on Buskers etc” ).

      One root problem ( a ‘democratic’ justice one ! ) is that BID managers their ‘office’ financed by local ‘retail’ tax levies may find themselves under quite a bit of pressure to do the bidding of more ‘unreasonable’ shopkeepers etc eg. those demanding ‘puritanical’ curtails on busking or eg. Estate Agents/ Property Developers with an interst in clearing an area in a town centre for just that i.e. ‘luxury’ residential developent.

      The end result is invariably ‘injustice’ & unfair attack & ‘criminal’ legislation against otherwise relatively innocuous public activities this incl’s busking but also skateboarding, cyling etc ( Nb.Check the use of PSPO’s in a place like Coventry for example ! )

      • As for any ‘critical’ comments ( nevermind ‘criminal’ intervention ) to do with say the actual’ ‘standard’ of busking & street performance on our ‘high’ streets ( & I’ve made some myself concerning not necessarily about terrible renditions but certainly ‘cliched’ interpretations of eg. Wonderwall by Oasis ) I suggest that this is Ok & valid points are noted. But please I don’t think actually ‘legislating’ against ‘mass’ culture ( no matter how dross ! ) is the ‘answer’ nor desirable.

        For one ( & of course the ‘cronies’ in City Hall won’t won’t openly admit it ! ) I think secretly the ‘establishment’, tho’ ‘culturally’ not thru ‘conspiracy’, i.e. lets not be ‘paronoid’ here !. don’t want it. How else wd local ‘authorities’, town planners, corporate retailers & the like induce ‘consumers’ into that kind of mindless ‘dream’ state so prerequisite to spending & shopping. Plus in ‘media’ terms the Advertising, TV & commercial Radio ‘corprates’ ( public ‘cults’ ) wd shut down tomorrow ( ‘presenters’, researchers, the lot of ’em out of a job ) if they cd’nt make their living out of the ‘national’ ( global ! ) ‘feeding’ of us with such pap.

        In fact in ‘news’ terms the ‘mindless’ & petty ‘conflict’, human illness, base contradictions, silly war(s) that wd cease as a ‘natural’ result wd leave us with very little left to ‘talk’ about, & yes very little what you may call ‘entertainment’. And this is my ‘view’ of the recent ‘ban’ by Danish Police of a Busker for his crap rendition of what I’d call an ‘over’ popular Oasis song. The ‘police’ need to re-examine their ‘consciences’ here, not ‘act’ in such circumstances & let the ‘public’ decide.

        I remember seeing one such ‘narc’ performer being bombarded with ’empty’ ( yes ‘lighweight’ ! ) coke cans for his ‘kareoke’ shenannigans on Birmingham New St. Ok not so ‘civilised’ I observed, but for some ‘folk’ ( incl. passersbye ) even more entertaining esp. while munchin’ on a ‘Donalds’ Beefbufger in the ‘left’ hand. An ‘effective’ form of most ‘natural’ & ‘ spontaneous order ‘ too I thought ( See. economist F. Hayek ), yes most effective & extremely efficient ( saving loads – it soon adds up – of official ‘police’ time & taxpayers money ).

        [ * Ref. News Story ” Police send Busker Home To Practice ; Wonderwall ” 23/8/2017. An article on how Danish Police recently banned a Busker for his ‘poor’ rendition of the Oasis song. ]

        • [ * Ref 2. Check out the ‘comments’ below this ‘news’ story incl. notes on the ‘common police rule book’ & how normally if a ‘loud’ narc Busker turns up on the scene making a row the usual practice is to simply tell him to ” turn down ! ” if necessary, not patronisingly order him to go home & ‘practice’ as Danish Police did here ]

          • [ * Ref 3. As concerned music critics & ‘human’ beings tho’ what the ‘police’ can do is suggest i.e. suggest he go home & practice his ‘vocal’ chops & guitar ‘strum’ but without bullying or ‘undue’ pressure ]

          • This sort of more ‘rational’ response wd also help break up the ‘game’ played not just by ‘poor’ Buskers causing a ‘rumpus’ but when many ‘professional’ performers produce not so good ‘albums’ & work(s). For example when an street/ professional ‘act’ is given a ‘positive’ review by ‘critics’ ( incl. the public ) the ‘comment’ is pasted all over their ‘websites’ ( See. Facebook feedback ) as ‘testimonial. But when there is ‘critique’ its often dismissed as merely personal attack i.e. ” All art is subjective etc ” ]

          • Gosh I’m now recalling Philospher Mary Warnocks response to Jean Paul Sartres notion of ‘absolute’ freedom when she put the Q. ” When you wake up in the morning what what wd you choose for breakfast, scrambled eggs or a lump of coal ? ”. A telling reply, ‘I’ say, to what are essentially clever philosophical ‘word’ games. Or what can turn out in ‘reality’ to be ie. a highly manipulative & not so cleverly created ‘human’ condundrum. ]

          • Such is the ‘illusion’ created via ‘social’ media & such like, we’ve now got some ‘self’ elected folk trying to set up a sense ( an ‘impression’ ! ) of busking ‘community’, by a series of photographs of course ! ( Nb. with themselves at the centre of this ‘imaginary’ community of course ie. really a loose ‘cultural’ formation. As a busking ‘fan’ some might say, tho’ to me looking more like some patronising ‘paternal’ father figure, that kind of ‘self’ important Jerk you often find manning our ‘train’ stations or our town/citycentre streets as BID hosts & wardens )

            No, it does’nt exist in ‘reality’ nor is it neccessarily desirable ( Nb. as neither does the kind of local community ex PM Cameron used to talk of or should I say politically ‘theorise’, or rather his ‘think-tank’ staff dreamed up !. *See. Blue Sky Thinking & The Daily Express ) ]

          • Beware the ‘worst’ kind of ‘critic’ ! ]

  • raggidman says

    It is an ancient tradition in this country that Bards are held sacred

    Begging and busking are totally different things. Buskers attempt to provide a service to the community by uplifting the morale of passers-by. Beggars often attempt to make people feel bad about themselves.

    I do not like begging – but where people are homeless there is sadly some justification for it.

    However those who beg dishonestly or seek to intimidate others can be dealt with by other means provided the will is there. Blanket legislation not only encourages those in authority to over-extend themselves and go beyond their remit, it also provides those with malicious intent in the general citizenry to commit criminal acts against the stigmatised minority.

    Further so many buskers are honest entertainers with families to support and career prospects that overt action risks harming and even destroying the lives of ‘innocent’ partners and children as well as damaging the prospects of companies that seek talented people in whom to invest.

    Another matter to consider is that there are a lot of ordinary people – citizens, voters who love busking and have great sympathy for street people


    • Some good points here Raggidman & I share some ‘mutual’ sympahty for ‘temping’ Beggars, Buskers ( Heh afterall I am one ! ) & those less fortunate than ourselves ‘living’ on the streets. You know ‘moral’ common sense is all I look for & desire with regards ‘street’ issues in general & busking specifically’.

      For example I bang on here in lieu of the current situation in Romford ( threatened bans etc ) about Bhams New Code & ludicrously how despite winning the ‘campaign’ those who took part in ‘post’ meetings end up giving power away to ‘officials’ ( now more powerful lthan ever ! ) whilst local’regular’ Buskers ( experienced with bags of ‘local’ knowledge like myself ) end up excluded from the policy ‘process’ & ‘degraded’ by ‘new’ policy’,

      A case in point is I talk about past ‘formal’ busking rights granted to Buskers to play all day on ‘certain’ yes but nevertheless ‘good’ spots in Bham city centre eg. 4, 5 or 6 hrs at a time on the High Street for instance ( Nb. Pan Pipe Players etc still do practice like this i.e. the set up on this ‘central’ street & play all day with no interference from ‘officials’, fact is theres no where else for them to play save a jaunt to the ‘other’ side of town. ).

      Point I make is that there always was ‘other’ off-piste spots to play on when the ‘appts’ scheme was around & some in ‘sensitive’ areas i.e. ‘offices’ & flats close by. The fair way to regulate here ( today ) is not to ‘penalise’ quieter, pleasanter. musicians with 2 hr guides but to ‘fairly’ discriminate between them eg. the penny whistler, classical ‘cafe’ guitarist et & the super ‘loud’ saxaphonist for instance or indeed ‘electric’ violinist & ‘regulate’ accordingly.

      #Eg. 2 hr guides ‘may’ apply to ‘loud’ Singers, or ‘noisier’ instrumentalists, quieter performers shd be recognised ‘formally’ ( conditionally ) however & ‘wavered’ in a busking code.. This kind of thing must happen for ‘true’ civic justice to take place, truth is ‘policy’ makers appear either too lazy or too ‘self’ interested to formulate ‘codes’ in this way.

      • Note

        I got talking to a ‘young’ local Bham/London Busker called Esther Turner the other week ( a pretty yg woman tho’ i emphasise even more very very sexy,& yes she can ‘move’ as evidenced on a recent music video of herds, She’s also in fact a ‘true’ creative & with the ‘right’ mentoring a possible excellent speciality contemporary ‘pop’ songwriter. A painter too & we in fact may be soon working togehter ! ).

        She’s been around a few years, & anyway stopped to chat & commented how the Bham scene was getting ‘lively’ again. I replied yes whilst thinking to myself ” but no where nearly as lively as 3 or 4 years ago when the place was ‘really’ opened up streetwise & creatively buzzing ‘. I’d like to see a ‘return’ to that ‘free’ street state myself & the kind of ‘real’ ‘cultural’ potential it carried with it.

        • ( Edit – ‘hers’ not ‘herds’ See 2nd paragraph above )

          • * Further Notes

            Anyway she eventally went on, back ‘home’ to Halesowen I presume

            ( Nb. shes or should I say more politely Esther is a ‘black’ country wench bytheway i.e. yes a ‘posh’ one this Pop ‘function’ Musician & ‘common’ Street Performer found ‘fairly’ regurlary playing on the streets of Birmingham & London ) whilst I got kinda ‘nostalgic’ following ‘our’ chat, her being the once ‘busking’ partner of Tony Scott ( See. Bham Mail Story above ) & us once having a run in in ‘Stratford upon Avon’ ( ‘they’d overplayed their ‘spot’ playing time & were beset by Town Hosts, then Police & not ‘my’ doing, but ‘shops’ complaining about the ‘noise’ or excessive volume levels plus ‘time’ limits – tho’ I was peaved about that too. Ref i.e the Stratford upon Avon 2hr revolving spot Buskers ‘code’ ! )

            & as she went on up the ‘street’ guitar in one hand ( & ‘shopping’ ) in the other, I’m left recalling back in the day in the city i.e a ‘few’ years back & busking in Bham under the then ‘booking’ scheme

            Yes now ‘gone’, the 2 week ahead planned ‘bookings’ & ‘play all day’ policy being now replaced by a 2hr playing guide, & all in the name of what some wd have us believe – ‘progress’ !

            ( See Oxford Open Letter Blog for ‘comments’ on the pro’s & ‘cons’ of busking booking schemes ).

          • ( See. Romford Blog ‘below’ for critical’ ‘comment’ – albeity ‘mild’ – geared towards ‘supporters’ of the ‘new’ Bham Busking Policy incl I presume Esther Turner. See 2nd Newcastle Blog below for further ‘comments’ on Tony Scott )

          • As for the ‘Stratford upon Avon’ debacle I said to Esther, meeting her again the ‘following’ day, thats all in the ‘past’ now, its all in the past ( & she herself seemed ‘eager’ to be forgiven ! ).

          • Ok ‘truth’ is I never stated this out ‘loud’ nor directly but it was ‘inferred’ !.

          • * Additional Notes

            Thinking ahead into the not too distant ‘future’, as for me come the Summer, its more ‘exotic’ climbs, a long road trip & Spain i.e. ‘guitar summer’ school, Barcelona & a possible foray to the South of France or St Tropez. Just hoping I’ve managed to ‘grow’ my hair back by then & I’m back in shape.

            But anyway for now lets get back to current busking affairs !.

          • See. Chester KSL Blog Comments [ Bottom ] for a ‘satrical’ take on buskings dark ‘feminine’.

          • Incl. Cheshire/ ‘Welsh’ Borders ‘street’ Dancers & yg ‘female’ Singer Songwriters from the ‘posh’ part of the Black Country !.

          • Whom – relating back to the ‘Bards’ issue/ ‘notion’ raised raised by ‘Raggidman’ – I’m sure have more than a ‘few’ bedtime stories to tell. Hopefully i can recite one or two of their most recent ones to you when I return back from an ‘up’ & coming ‘busking’ visit to the ‘historic’ town. Till’ then my ‘friend’ cheerio !.

          • You see ‘I’ have the golden ‘key’ & its ‘free’ to open ‘The Gates of St Peter’. No ‘mentors’, no CV’s, no cheap ‘promo’ videos required !.

          • ( * See. Swindon Blog ” Stop Council Attack on Street Culture ” for further comments )

          • For some further tales of ‘redemption’, the busking born again, ‘new’ attitudes, new music ( ok not so new ! ), ‘new’ videos, as ‘they’ ( ie. ‘Turner’ & partners ‘past’ & present desire to ‘impress’ on us they’re true entertainers now ). Plus like her travel ‘vlog(s) ‘some’ real ‘insight’ – or at least one ‘sad’ truth ? A. Ughh not again, an umteenth rendition of ‘Wonderwall’ like watching ( or the musical equivalent of listening to ! ) paint dry ! )

          • Supreme public ‘street’/ Kareoke entertainment plus school kids’ like it ? What this kind of ‘hackneyed’ rubbish, you know the type of ‘pupils’ with a bent towards this kind of stuff when ‘I’ was at school were called ( & rightly ) ‘thicko’s’ ! )

          • i.e. ‘Easter’ Leavers ! )

          • [ Nb. Ok to be ‘fair’ not all Easter Leavers turned out to be quite so ‘stupid’ & quite a few I know have made at least some success of their lives. But I repeat only a ‘few’ of em ! ]

          • Ok one must also take into account the likes of Michael Gove who by drawing upon ‘continental’ influences & creating the English ‘baccalareate’ has managed to reverse this sorry trend & more & more of these kinds of ‘pupil’ ( by law ! ) are staying on at school, some even getting into University ( ‘newly’ created ones & at the ‘right’ price of course ! ]

          • Oh & I bet theres a few ‘rags’ to riches stories & memoirs to be told here ! ]

          • Maybe even an Autobiography/ Biography or two !. ]

          • Yes a whole series of healthy & ‘successful’ Life Stories to be both devised & written ! ]

      • * Revision ( edit )

        Whoops sorry we’re talking Tony Blair & New Labour here See. above. Gove et al want to take us back to a 1950s style education of the kind ‘he’ had as a boy. Today the ‘political’ motto is ‘tough’ love & with the GCSE exams to match ( plus the ‘marking’ regime ! ). A good thing ( educational policy ) in a way, you know under current more stringent ‘conditions’ ex PM/ Eaton pupil David Cameron wd’nt get past the 5th form nevermind into the 6th these days. Well not without an equally tougher brand of ‘baby’ minding, ‘private’ nannying & heavy ( or even heavier ! ) ‘spoon’ feeding to match.

        • * Revison ( Edit ) 2

          Oh & another ‘qualifying’ point with reference to ‘Easter’ Leavers being known as ‘thicko’s’ back in the day See. Above. In fact there was another ‘tier’ below this ‘identifiable’ school stream back then I guess you’d call ’em ‘remedial’ learners ( or ‘special’ learning classes ) today. Back then we called this specialist ‘dept’ with its particularly challenging group of learners ‘ The Unit ‘. Again to be fair I don’t want to be seen as putting this social category down totally, you know ( & its the truth ) I knew a few ‘brilliant’ football players that ’emerged’ ( ok not ‘league’ successfully ! ) out of this lot.

          • * Revision ( edit ) 3

            One must’nt forget of course that ‘other’ perhaps more ‘ephemeral’ schools dept ( i.e. less easy to ‘educationally’ label ) eg. The Arts Dept. In my school apart from containing a ‘few’ ( & I mean 1 or 2 ) offical ‘Genuises’ i.e. those who cd actually ‘draw’ eg. usually sketched pictures/ ‘pop’ portraits of Bruce Lee or Clint Eastwood & hung with ‘pride’ along the assembly ‘entrance’ walls. Its funny in primary school I ‘experimented’ with drawing & by the ‘early’ ‘juniors’ loved to paint birds of prey ( birds along with ‘football’ grounds i.e. knowing & naming them my then ‘obssession’ ), lynxes & other wild animals, having been ‘spotted’, given much attention to & taught by a kind ‘new’ secondment ‘female’ teacher. She soon left for a ‘fixed’ contract job elsewhere & my enthusiasm for eg. painting by no’s – I had a passion then for the sea & ‘oil’ painting battleships – drawing etc waned & that talent ‘submerged’. By the 4th year Secondary School the Arts class was mainly ‘manned’ by well you know the ‘type’ i.e. not necessarily the ‘hardest’ workers in the school.

          • In this context tho’ quite possibly all of ’em ( i.e. the worldly wisdom here being never trust the words of ‘politicians’ nor their ‘policies’ ) quite ‘seriously’ & from what I can honestly see, nothing has really changed.

          • ( See. Noel Gallaghers ‘solo’ project work much better i.e. more ‘artistic’ than than the ‘old’ bands work. Problem is he can’t really sing, & most important when ‘you’ can’t ‘he’ does’nt have the ‘front’. Mmmm a bit of a damp squib, but still his Album Eg. ‘Chasing Yesterday ‘ 8/10 )

          • Plus please, please, please calling all you Buskers out there don’t ruin it, leave this ‘one’, a hint of a ‘true’ classic, where it belongs ie. in the studio )

          • Gosh I’ve got the ‘electric’ guitar out of the ‘dusty’ cuboard & I’m jamming along to the ‘solo’ of the first track now, for real )

  • Swoozie says

    I think it’s very sad that Havering are proposing these measures. It will have a very negative impact on the whole ambience of Romford. The police will be spending their time and efforts on enforcing the proposals when they could be better spent elsewhere. There seem to be no valid reasons for the council to implement the measures and surely taxpayers and local people would not want their money spent on signage and police time.

    • Yes Swoozie I agree & there is a name for this type of ‘bad’ magic’ effect, its called ‘voodoo’ politics. Romford Buskers I don’t usually do ‘advice’ ( not a USA style medicine show ‘motivational’ sales guy me nor vitupurant Preacher ! ) but please don’t be taken in by self defeating ‘false’ solutions & policy either.

      The truth is for example take the ‘new’ so called Bham Busking policy. Despite a successful petition against ‘amp’ bans etc we end up with a busking scheme that in ‘reality’ is not resolution & ‘real’ progress of any sort, but represents the ‘degradation’ of Buskers in the city & ironically increased ‘council/’Bid powers over performers & the crazy thing is its been agreed by those who took part in policy ‘meetings ( See. My further ‘comment’ below ).

      • * Note

        I’ve said this since they built they ‘re-built’ the Bull Ring & in the ‘context’ of town planning I think it now applies with regards ‘street’ culture & busking in the city centre i.e. Bham is now a place that is out of ‘balance’, its lost its ‘natural’ structural equilibrium!.

        • You know from a ‘tourist’ perspective ( yes Bham is fast becoming a ‘real’ holiday destination esp. for the ‘industrious’ & historico/ industrially ‘curious’ Chinese ). there are some unusual Interesting attractions to be experienced ( collectively gazed upon ) in the city,

          Visitors for example flock to see the ‘Pereguine’ Falcons pair nested for some years now above the ‘iconic’ Post Office Tower. For the likes of me however, indigenous to the city, lg interested in its culture, having a ‘personal’ stake in it, its as if an ‘Albatross’ is not just circulating ‘doom’ ridden aloft city skies, it really feels as tho’ it has landed, & according everything has gone skew whiff.

          • Of course who’s interests does all this really serve, I’m thinking about the ‘new’ Bham busking code here ? Not ‘regular’ local city centre Buskers like me now having to work under these 2hr guidlines. Tho it may suit the likes of Jonny Walker who can chair meetings, railroad ‘agenda’ thru the ‘few’ new Buskers attending the meeting, curious ‘onlookers’ who turn up once, ‘streetslive./ MU colleagues who don’t busk in the city anymore & a few others, Then he can ‘steal’ limelight, throw in a ‘quote’ & flit away forever never to play in the city again.

            It may suit ‘tribal’ streetslive members whom this kind of 2hr guide suits eg. acoustic players, pop singers etc & it may also serve to suppress knowledge of the ‘bullies’, intimi dators, mal practiioners one with a ‘suspended’ sentence & streetlive. credentials prior to ‘new’ policy. The MU benifits from this i.e. with its now ‘prescence’ in busking & ‘initiatives’ eg. conflict/ resolution schemes ( useful for ‘noise’ complaints that have reached the ‘punitive’ stage !).

            Most of all the gp that really benefits are the ‘council, officials & BID managers who now have greater powers than ever despite the loss of the petition ot ban ‘amps’ etc in the city centre.

            Again it does’nt benefit good, lg time, conscientous Buskers who end up ‘degraded’ by this kind of busking policy, no they don’t gain at all just get pushed ‘aside’ & further & further down!..

          • Truth is Bhams ‘new’ busking policy is a ‘guide’ written by ‘activists’ for ‘activists’ & fairly non-sensical to the likes of me eg. a ‘regular’ local Bham Busker used to much ‘freer’ & practical playing times & thats why I in all fairness ‘reject’ this policy !.

          • ( * See. Romford Blog 2 ” Petition Against Criminalisation ” )

  • Julie emerton says

    It is appalling that buskers are being labelled as anti social behaviour. They are budding musicians practicing and perfecting their craft for free.

    Romford will become a dull and boring shopping centre without buskers. The market is a quarter of what it used to be and it doesn’t attract top end stores.

    Buskers support the council by playing free of charge at council run events e.g. havering show, Raphaels park, fairkytes live, events that have celebrated and embraced budding artists, to ban busking will be a step backwards. Let the buskers show off their talent to an audience and help them to develop their skills rather than branding them as anti social

    • No never a dull moment busking I’ve spent the last week speaking to Jounalists, Stratford upon Avons BID Manager, & Other ‘interested’ parties following a ‘punch-up’ ( scuffle ) on by the ‘fountain’ spot on the Bancroft Gardnes the other week.

      Present in the ‘vicinity’ myself that ‘Sunday’ Morning, I’ve been certainly awoken out of the ‘fictive’ dream ( i.e. busking peace ! ) that generally permeates the place, & found myself arguing against calls for greater control of Buskers in the town following ( or more accurately ‘contained’ in ) a ‘press’ news story on the incident.

      The likes of myself via Journalists, BID Managers, Other Interested Parties calling for more ‘reasonable’ eg minor ‘ammendments’ in the code to suffice to tackle the problem, Certainly not CPO’s which have been banded around by the BID Manager as a ‘solution’ to ‘struggles’ such as this & what are on analytical ‘probing’ not only generally ‘unfair’ but wd’nt necessarily ‘directly’ address incidents that are partly the result of a very ‘solvable’ underlying busking issue ( some might say midemenours ! ) in the town.

      ( See. Oxford Letters For A ‘Full’ Account On This Issue or Exiting Moment One Sunday Morning In Stratford upon Avon )

      • * Note ( Edit )

        Eg. [ Insert ] ‘exciting’ for ”exiting”. See. Above.

        • * Notes ( Edit ) 2

          In the above ‘reply’ I cite examples of Buskers as not displaying ‘anti-social’ behaviour as such ( well not in the ‘strictest’ definition of the word ) but yet guilty of conduct i.e rowdy & physical ‘conflict’ bordering on the ( if not in actuality ) the ‘criminal’.

          In ‘direct’ response to Ms Emerton’s ( i.e. Julies ) good points about wd be ‘Artists’ honing their ‘craft’, I also state the ‘converse’ may be true ( in fact ‘often’ upon ‘practical’ experience it turns out to be the case ). That is there are indeed ‘pro-social’ Buskers out there the problem being that in ‘reality’ they never truly ‘grow’ ( appearing ) seemingly remaining forever stultified, ‘hypnotised’, if not ‘stupified’, into a kind of ‘everyday’ cultural stasis. ( Nb.I reserve the right to describe & explain this rather ‘negative’ & all pervasive cutural process, the ‘Arts’ equivalent of the ‘bad’ magic roundabout, elsewhere )

          • * Notes ( Edit ) 3

            Its also a ‘truism’ worth pointing out that ‘many’ of the so called ‘musicians’ practicing their craft for ‘free’ you speak of Julie, besides ‘not’ having what it ‘really’ takes, are in ‘reality’ not that by natural ‘volition’ i.e. by no means skilled & ‘aspiring’ musical performers but rather ‘victims’ ( ‘guiltless’ proponents ) of the ‘social’ media age. Yes very busy ( in this sense not ‘lazy’ ! ) aping their Pop Star ‘heroes’ & rather deceitfully ( & pathetically ) attempting to present an ‘image’ of ‘pop’ perfection. No, not highly crafted Artists at all but rather sad individuals ‘actively’ pursuing completely the wrolues’ !.

          • ….the wrong values !.

          • So what ‘transformed’ hip British bands like Oasis from B-list ‘Demo’ Tape no-hopers to what they finally became. Ok yes ‘image’ ( serious improvements were made thru time in this dept from ‘shit’ pop to Brit Pop ) but just as important was the ‘serious’ progress made back then i.e the ‘early’ 90’s, in eg. ‘tone’ ( i.e. Liams ‘voice’ ) & ‘colour’ ( Noels ‘melodies ). Yes in retrospect both proper & ‘recording’ wise telling ‘artists’ progress.

            Anyway as interesting as it is enough on this issue & back to the state of street performing today or should I say ‘busking’ in Romford !.

          • One more general musical point tho’, despite the massive pop success of a band like Oasis as mentioned I above ‘I’ still very much prefer the ‘solo’ work of the artist Brother Noel Gallagher. Its got me thinking ( & dreaming ) I wonder if 2017 will see the ‘resurrection’ of one of my favourite ‘indie’ gps of the period ( the 90’s ) eg. ‘Lush’ who actually ‘released’ a great single last year, check it out incl their YouTube video ” Out Of Control ”.

            Mmmmm methinks some timely lyrical irony indeed !.

          • ( * See. The latest single release ‘Out Of Control ‘ by Lush incl great ‘music’ video on Youtube )

  • * Beware Romford Buskers ( Resistance Grows Agains Bhams ‘New’ So Called Busking Policy i.e. Not Busking Progress But Backwardness ! )

    Good luck Romford Buskers I support ‘truly’ free & open access ‘reasonable’ busking ( & the right & fair ‘codes’ to go with it ) but as for Bhams ‘new’ Busking Scheme ‘resistance’ beckons, steadily grows tho’ not always quietly, against the new ‘relatively’ oppressive & poorly written ( nevermind conceived ) as they wd have it busking policy ( incl. empty ‘platitudes, unnecessariy paternal attitude & paltry advice & yes as you wd expect plenty of ‘unfairness’ & bad thinking on issues )

    The shape & form of this rootsy ‘protest’ takes is not necessarily directly ‘agressive’ nor verbal too but very much ‘public’ & ‘cultural so to speak & in the form of what you might call ‘cross’ European solo guitar in the centre of the ‘public’ square opposite the Mayors Office & Council House most weekends now & some ‘weekdays’..

    ‘Regular’ Bham Buskers like myself ‘excluded’ from busking talks plus the today ‘less’ decieved are certainly rallying against the ‘self’ defeating absurdity’ of only a few years back being able to book 2 weeks ahead ‘spots’ across the city-centre & then play all day to be told today that yes we have ‘open’ access to space but under a more ‘regulated’ 2hr ‘guideline’ & all this being described by parties involved as ‘progress’ !.

    The 2nd city can do better than this with regards busking, you know its not a small tourist town like Stratford upon Avon & ‘outdoors’ performance policy ought to get in more line with the ‘reality’ & organic ‘street’ culture of the city

    ( Nb. Stratford upon Avons ‘original’ 2hr revolving spot code a good one, it was ‘altered’ to 1hr last year by a ‘passing’ BID manager but is still abided by with regards Buskers in the small ‘tourist’ town ! )

    The ‘tradition’ here in Bham certainly lends itself to playing ‘mornings’ & ‘afternoons’ in some spaces coupled with ‘reasonable’ noise levels & playing ability with the ‘choice’ to play other ( perhaps less ) hours in ‘spots’ elsewhere.

    Time to create & work within ‘codes” that serve the needs of ‘actual’ long serving ‘regular’ good Buskers who perform in the city not the naieve, ignorant, nor self serving interests of those who ‘travel’ in to either play or make policy or simply hold office, attend meetings, & serve on committees. Nor of course should it ‘cover’ up the ill deeds of the ‘troublsome’ & badly behaved eg. bully’s, noise nuisances etc some in the guise of ‘activists’.

    There was a point ( if indeed a ‘hypocritical’ one ) about the ‘red’ tape eg. audtions etc connected to the old scheme but those who made that ‘criticism’ have certainly got it wrong about ‘playing’ times. To jump from its ok ‘formally’ to play all day to todays’ narrow 2 hr ‘guidelines’ policy is not only absurd its ‘unfair’ for many ‘good’ performers.

    Viva la Revolution ( i.e. the practical, commonsense, ever so ‘cultural’ one incl. intrumental solo ‘ street ‘ guitar playing ! )

    • Notes

      See. Newcastle Blogs & Oxford ‘Open Letter’ Blog for further related comment.

      • Further Notes

        I bring up these as ‘links’ elsewhere on this site but for interesting further comments please check out for example the London ‘ Liberty’ & ‘ Portobello Rd ‘ Blogs now located in the ‘ archives.

        • Eg. For some ‘reflective’ takes on 1. The London Scene eg. SouthBank Busking 2. The Stratford upon Avon Code & ‘busking’ here ( issues & ‘ideas’ soon to be updated ! ) 3. New Years 2017 & the ‘prospects’ for busking in the up & coming year..

          • A Summer Adventure & Romance

            As for me, despite the ‘poltics’ & as mentioned above, my ‘plans’ ( tho already ‘faltering’ ) are Summer ‘Road’ Trips, Spain, South of France, & yes ‘school’. By that tho’ I don’t mean sitting in some ‘class’ twiddling my ‘pencil’, thats not what I mean by ‘education’. No I intend something more ‘romantic’ than that, oh yes much more ‘authentically’ learned or should I say experientially ‘instinctive’, adventurous & romantic !.

          • This the August class of 2017 is gonna be no usual ‘holiday’, ‘no beach ‘dance’ workshop either, tho’ a little town ‘fiesta’ yes. So don’t forget your ‘cameras’ but bring your ‘notebooks’ with you also ( & who knows what kind of sun-kissed ‘success’ may greet you, fact is you may even achieve your first ‘street’ baccalaureate ! ).

          • Its ‘early evening Sunday just now in England & I’ve just recieved a ‘new’ street pic of myself ( some kind member of the public just sent me by e.mail ) & boy I’ve got some ‘work’ to do or ‘pre-training’ ! ( Gosh how did that happen in just 3 or 4 months ? ).

            Such is ‘life’, I’m back out ‘running’, a ‘beautiful’ sunlit night thru’ CannonHill Park, yes its Sunday & I’m now taking ‘brief’ respite on a ‘wooden’ bench adjacent to the Tennis courts whilst flipping thru a ‘few’ pages of Adam Hopkins ‘classic’ portrait of Spain ” Spanish Journeys ”, reflecting ‘craft’ & grammar will come later.

            Before I know it, once more its time go, so after wiping just a ‘spot’ of sweat from my brow I’m off back on my feet again, pushing thru my ‘lactic’ strained calves & ankles in the direction of home, 3 or is it 4 miles away just the other side of ‘suburban Moseley , via Sarehole Mill ( Tolkien Country ) & then onto the far ‘leafy’ side of Hall Green.

          • Woke up this bright sunny ‘Mon’ morning just after ‘dawn’ to a furher batch of my ‘core’ early morning excercises eg. ‘cardio’ Burpees routine & not ‘yawning’ but incredibly springing out of bed.

            But first a spot of ‘day-dreaming’ ( not before a few minutes ‘gazing’ at myself semi-naked in the mirror ) not of a return to booked ‘all’ day busking spots nor 2hr policy guides but awakening to the ‘natural’ call of a more organic ‘city-centre’ subculture that pertains eg. a more ‘harmonious’ work shift pattern compatible with the country’s 2nd city of eg. ‘mornings/ lunctimes, afternoons & ‘early’ evenings.

            For all this I’m truly grateful & ‘leap’ into ‘action’, begin the day with something more akin to human ‘joy’. In all of a 6am wondrous sky blue sea haze, set aloft to drift through with ‘purpose’ the returning Summer !.

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