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Ged Gibbons v Jonny Walker

City centre boss meets the busker with a beef

Published on July 9th 2012.


Ged Gibbons v Jonny Walker
 

THE TV cameras were rolling, the microphones were on and the buskers were saying it loud and clear.

Liverpool City Council's new policy on busking was rolled out today - but in case anybody hadn't heard about it, musician Jonny Walker was determined to put that right - with his many friends.

As revealed exclusively in Liverpool Confidential last week, Johnny, who made a 500 mile round trip to be in Liverpool for the second time in five days,  is calling on Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to think again and repeal what he calls a coercive new regime. A petition, here, has already garnered more than 2,000 signatures in a week.

From today all street entertainers will be required to:

*Prebook their pitches
*Shell out for a £20 permit
*Pay up to £100 for public liability insurance
*Perform only in designated spots around the city.

The raft of new rules will also require all acts to be over 18, hold a UK work permit and lots more.

But today there was a peaceful protest outside Primark, a communal busk "to celebrate Liverpool's vibrant and living street culture"

City Council officials also turned out and here is Ged Gibbons, CEO of City Centre BID which works with the big retailers in the city centre. He argues the toss with former trainee barrister Jonny. By the end, one of them has got not so much a chip on the shoulder as...

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200 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2012.

They do say bird droppings are lucky...

AnonymousJuly 9th 2012.

I can hardly hear them for the racket in the background. There's someone abusing a cat with a microphone.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2012.

Epic Sax Guy (Can't be bothered signing in)

ANONYMOUS, there were no cats present - Your argument is therefore invalid

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

What's that horrible noise then?

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

Epic Sax Guy (Can't be bothered signing in)

If you were present then you would know

AnonymousJuly 11th 2012.

The Environmental Health Department should be sorting it out.
Why should thousands of passers by and hundereds of workers suffer?

AnonymousJuly 13th 2012.

Epic Sax Guy (Can't be bothered signing in)

[Insert sarcasm here]

That is not suffering - ANONYMOUS you do not seem to understand any of the main points that are being made here

AnonymousJuly 13th 2012.

I can assure you that it IS suffering.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2012.

great video with the corporate versus the creative. It's easy to see who has the passion and who is the pen pusher, and if I didn't care about the sides in this, I do do now

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 17th 2012.

AAAAGH!

I am wounded by your rapier wit...

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

It's easy to see who is the pseudo-hippy fantasist,

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

Epic Sax Guy (Can't be bothered signing in)

It's easy to see who is the prejudiced one here

AnonymousJuly 11th 2012.

It's easy to see who the nutter is

AnonymousJuly 13th 2012.

Epic Sax Guy (Can't be bothered signing in)

I'm allergic to nuts.............

So that must be you

AnonymousJuly 17th 2012.

AAAAGH!

I am wounded by your rapier wit...

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

These aren't proper buskers he's talking about, they are people with amplifiers who are too tightfisted to hire a function room or a club for a proper gig.
They know that no-one would actually pay to hear their self-indulgent dreary old nostalgic rubbish

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

Epic Sax Guy (Can't be bothered signing in)

I have seen, and know, several buskers who use various electronic devices to perform and they have made a lot of money

Are you a busker ANONYMOUS because you do not sound like one and are being stereotypical to buskers who utilise various electronic devices

AnonymousJuly 11th 2012.

But are they paying their income tax?

AnonymousJuly 13th 2012.

Are gifts and donations taxable?

That's my input on this

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

A "500 mile round trip"? Why not listen to local people who can't afford such ostentatious travel arrangements?

Darth FormbyJuly 10th 2012.

As usual, it's Sligs doing the dirty work for Glukkons, and the Mudokons get the shit.

Juan ManbandJuly 10th 2012.

I was ready to jump on the have a go at the council trying to extort more money argument but after seeing this, I am not so sure. I'm afraid Mr Gibbons comes across as the one with the sensible coherent argument and Mr Walker is all over the place. Mr Walker has a romantic view of busking, which is fair enough but I don't think it's the reality. I think at one point Mr Walker concedes that those with amplifiers should be regulated and this seems a sensible compromise the council could reach. It is those with amplification that are the real intrusion. I admit my own predjudices in this, in that I can't stand walking by somebody with a guitar amp and mic doing a cover of Don MacClean (American Pie not Crackerjack) or Oasis/Beatles numbers, whereas I have no problem with the people playing whistle, fiddle and accordion, in fact I enjoy that. That does bring colour. But listening to somebody knocking out those tired old songs that you can hear on the radio constantly is a bore and as I go by all I think is "oh shut up" And although many have a reasonable singing voice, I don't particularly want to hear it and not if it is loud enough to be an assualt on the ears as I go by, let alone if I worked in close proximity and did not have the choice to move away.

But I wouldn't want to stop them performing or see them treated unfairly. I think the proposals as they stand are unfair and defeat the object of busking. By all means regulate the amplified ones but be a little more relaxed about the accoustic musicians (unless it's some bloody awful full blast lone Saxophonist, which quite frankly has no entertainment value)

The argument used constantly by Mr Walker and others in support of all busking, with no regulation, that you have the choice of moving away, that you don't have to listen, is not entirely valid. It is exactly the same as when you get these anoying people on trains or buses that want to "share" their musical tastes with the rest of the passengers. You are stuck with it or you end up in a confrontation.

Anyone who requires amplification is not in my view a traditional Busker. They are doing a street performance and I think this should be looked at differently. It should be regulated. The public liability insurance seems going a bit far, for just standing there but it seems perfectly reasonable to have designated pitches and slots for amplified performances. All those in support of the buskers keep saying we have the choice to move away and not listen, well they have the choice not to use amplifiers.

Finally, although it may have been a selective and unrepresentative clip, the few moments I saw on the local new about the protest did the busker cause no favours.
A crowd of them doing a terrible off key rendition of... yes, a Beatles song "Hey Jude"

I hope a compromise is reached but on the evidence of this feature, and until the busker cause can put together a sensible realistic and coherent argument, other than; "we should be free to do what we want, cos it's art and it's like stifling the kids creativity and chances, man" then Mr Gibbons wins the argument. And I don't really want him to win the entire argument but I could sense that a compromise could be reached in a proper balanced and realistic discussion.

And before anyone says I am anti busking, I can tell you I have done busking myself. I only do the one song and have a strap on bass drum. My song is "We all live in a yellow submarine" Perfect for the Bass drum and I can keep going for 3 hours at a time. If you don't like it, move away.....but I'll follow you, if you pull faces at me.

Boom, boom, boom,boom
A booma-booma-boom!
A Booma-booma-boom
A Booma-booma-boom!

7 Responses: Reply To This...
Sheez Garraticketter rah-hahhhdJuly 10th 2012.

Well said!

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

Excellent points well made.

Peter GlazeJuly 10th 2012.

Maclean?

Don MacleanJuly 11th 2012.

I had a bath this morning.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

I respect the fact that you have a preference against Beatles renditions and amplifiers. I would venture to suggest that many of the thousands of tourists who visit Liverpool each year might not have the same opinion. Like it or lump it, the Beatles legacy is a big part of the city's attraction as a visitor designation. I have been invited to play at two Beatles festivals in Europe this year by people who saw me first on the streets in Liverpool. I can't help or apologise for the fact that the Beatles were the first band that I fell in love with and I still love playing their songs, along with my own.

As for the argument about amplifiers not being traditional busking I see this in the same way as power saws not being part of traditional joinery. The technology exists for battery powered amps. They save your voice and mean you can play finger style and be heard on a busy street. The main issue is what is coming out of the amp. If it is a pleasing sound and at a considerate level then it might even be less obtrusive then the Rhianna tune blaring out of Topman.

You say I have a romantic view of busking. Perhaps I do, but I am a pragmatist too. That's why I contacted the Musician's Union for their opinion on Liverpool City Council's policy. They found it to be unduly prescriptive and restrictive but offered to work with the council and street performers to come up with a policy that works for everybody.

If you take the time to visit the campaign website http://keepstreetslive.com you will see that this is not about "we should be free to do what we want, cos it's art and it's like stifling the kids creativity and chances, man". It is about a vision of city life that embraces public spaces as places of community interaction, performance, spontaneity and don't just represent the narrow view of an unelected administrative body.

Injured EardrumsJuly 12th 2012.

Now you are trying to move the goalposts.

If you were as good as you claim as a 'performer' a crowd would surely gather to listen attentively.

Using an amplifier to inflict unsolicited noise on uninterested normal people going about their lives is as offensive as being deafened by your hated "chart music" in fashion shops.

In fact it is worse, because we can avoid going into the noisy shops. We can't avoid walking down our own streets, and WHY SHOULD WE?

This is nothing less than aural BULLYING.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 13th 2012.

'Injured Eardrums' this debate keeps going down the side-alley of amplification which I recognise divides opinion. However, the council policy applies equally to unamplified musicians, accordion player, pavement artists, and anyone else who chooses to perform in the street.

I don't like a vision of city life where performers are compelled to carry photo id cards, pay for £5 million insurance and ask the BID for permission before they go into the streets, which are, after all, one of the few places left that are genuine public spaces for all.

Once they are there, then of course they should show consideration for other people which includes keeping volume at a considerate level, and respecting others who use the shared space of the city centre.

I respect your opinion nonetheless, but think that there is a wider issue at stake.

Darth FormbyJuly 10th 2012.

Actually, in this case it was the slig who got it, but you know what I mean.

Jack McVitieJuly 10th 2012.

And take the stupid Peter Cook hat off.

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

But he's muso, maaaaan...

Sheez Garraticketter rah-hahhhdJuly 10th 2012.

After seeing pictures on the Echo website I think this Walker bloke is the very loud, tone-deaf one outside Primark whose painfully off-key racket echoing around School Lane prompted me to comment on the original Liverpool Confidential story!

Still this commotion is his bid for fame I suppose. A pity his performing is so bad though.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

And so VERY LOUD

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

Agree with all your comments, but Jonny Walker is not the tuneless busker who relentlessly ruins the well-loved canon of Beatles, Dylan etc. The council needs legislation that can curtail his overamplified din yet at the same time allow a diversity of genuine quality busking to continue. The African kora player we used to hear was brilliant without having to pump up the volume.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

I think I'm being mixed up with someone else so I'm sharing a video of me singing one my own songs and then you can tell me if I'm the 'guilty' party: http://youtu.be/V1qvOVvvjDU

AnonymousJuly 13th 2012.

It's not you

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

This is about more than busking. It raises the issue of WHO owns the city centre, the people of Liverpool, or an unelected, undemocratic, unrepresentative Business Improvement District.

They say they represent hundreds of businesses in the city centre. In the initial ballot in 2005 there was a NO vote against setting up a BID, so they sent in the troops, had a re-run and got the go-ahead, but the turnout was low. They seem to elect themselves, get reasonably well paid, some would say exceptionally well paid, they don't meet in public, or publish agendas or minutes of their meetings.

Essentially their committee is made up mainly of the big shop owners. Hello, the shops don't own the city centre. The BID people can do a good job, marketing and promotingh the city centre, b ut as things stand they are an army of occupation in the way they have taken it upon themselves to be the 'street police'. Some yuears ago the city council passed ownership of a large selection of city centre streets to Grosvenor.

They insisted on control as part of building Liverpool One. Now access by the citizens to a large part of the city centre (ie Liverpool One) is in the gift of Grosvenor. They have the legal authority to eject anybody they dislike. Grosvenor's ownership of part of the city centre was highlighted on BBC Radio Four just last week in a programme about the way increasing controls were being made in city centres.

The consensus of the programme was the need for city centres to freely belong to 'all the people'. The Liverpool ONE state of affairs won't last for ever, as the council had the foresight to impose a time limit, well 1,000 years.

So some time in the next millennium the citizens of Liverpool may reclaim their streets.

In the 1960s the police were hounding the flower sellers and barrow boys. Sir Trevor Jones won a legal referendum to allow the people of the city to decide whether we, the people, wanted flower sellers and barrow boys to trade in the city centre. There was an overwhelming thumbs up in what was a legal and proper democratic exercise.

As you can see, this is more important than buskers. Though in a place like Liverpool, you would have thought the free spirit of busking would be encouraged.

If there is a perceived problem, why didn't the city council work out a voluntary code of conduct for buskers.

I have my doubts about the providence of some of the responses on this site. I am not a busker, nor have any links with busking and respond as an ordinary citizens concerned at yet another erosion of our freedom to be citizens of this city.

The continuance of the heavy-handed BID organisation depends on support from traders (and the big department stores and shopping centres predominate), yet they really have hi-jacked our city centre.

Think about what we have let them do by saying nothing.

If the BID people are to control the city centre shouldn't the people of Liverpool have a say in whethher we want a BID. Sadly there is now no true democracy in this city.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

I too am suspicious about the way big business is taking over town centres but then, as the hardline pro-buskers are saying, if you don't like the shops, you can go elsewhere!

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

As the petition-organiser can I say that I don't fit into the category of 'hardline pro-buskers' whatever that means. We want to help the council come up with a policy that works for everyone. The policy that has been driven through is very poorly thought through. Check out http://keepstreetslive.com to see why...

AnonymousJuly 13th 2012.

The hardline pro-buskers are saying that we can't just have the nice buskers - we have to have the awful, noisey, nuisance ones as well - or they'll take their ball home.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 14th 2012.

No 'anonymous', the council are clamping down on all buskers and street artists in the name of clamping down on a few nuisance buskers. We are saying that you deal with the nuisance buskers individually and leave everyone else alone.

Lifelong LiverpudlianJuly 14th 2012.

DUH!
You cannot see can you?

Buskers are new and dispensible and like other beggars and nuisances before them they will be cleared as soon as someone in the Council develops a backbone. Accept this.

Also, by criticising the shops whose staff and cuptomers you annoy you are biting the hand that feeds you. The shops attract the crowds with money in their pockets that you lot prey on for your "honest living". You are cutting your nose off to spite your face.

I blame the Tories for 'care in the community'.

The GoodiesJuly 10th 2012.

Is nobody going to sing
"Do The Funky Ged Gibbons"?

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

Noise causes STRESS! Even pretend hippies must realise this!

Darth FormbyJuly 10th 2012.

Every penny given to a busker, is a penny missing from our till!

Darth FormbyJuly 10th 2012.

Church Street belongs to Primark now!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Paddy McGintyJuly 10th 2012.

Well 'tis an Irish firm, so it is!

Rafferty (Not Gerry)July 10th 2012.

Irish? Well that gets my goat.

Paddy McGintyJuly 10th 2012.

How is your motor car, Rafferty?

Is it still forty shades of green?

Mr RigsbyJuly 10th 2012.

Oooohhhhh Vienna !

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

I rarely shop in the city centre, cos it's shite mainly because it is full of chain stores. There are hardly any interesting, small shops. Now Chester is different, a real joy, with loads of quirky little shops. They should change the name to Liverpool ONCE cos for many people that's how many times they will visit it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Culture VultureJuly 10th 2012.

The so-called 'Liverpool One' is not Liverpool.

Chester closed down and demolished its only professional theatre to build more chain stores. That's the kind of place Chester is.

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

I like the idea somebody mentioned above of a public referendum on busking. Let the ordinary people decide.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

Quite right! Not just online pals of those who would tell us how to think!

They could survey the people who have to use Church Street every day. The terrible racket will make their minds up for them.

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

The survey would have to be worded so as to distinguish between proper buskers who are OK and noisy, unpleasant ones with amplifiers and/or saxophones.

Jd MoranJuly 10th 2012.

Why this obsession with what other cities do? I used to live in Leeds and it was near enough devoid of buskers. Whether this was due to intervention from the council or a lack of appetite for it is moot. Liverpool is known as a city with a strong musical heritage and this is evident by the number of buskers and performers out in town on any given day. Let us make our own way for a change rather than striving to be that identikit city some would love us to be.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Sheez Garraticketter rah-hahhhdJuly 10th 2012.

The thing is that at no point does "Liverpool's strong musical heritage" feature busking. Even the Beatles had to play in unlicensed cellar nightclubs, church halls, etc. This busking lark is a completely new phenomenon in Liverpool.

Jd MoranJuly 11th 2012.

I'm only 31 so can only speak from my own experience over the years.

I'm not entirely sure the present-day council would approve of performances in unlicensed cellar nightclubs though.

Sheez Garraticketter rah-hahhhdJuly 12th 2012.

Unlicensed as in not able to sell alcohol, as per The Cavern.

Purple AkiJuly 10th 2012.

I am pleased to see he wants to have a 15 year-old boy writhing about in the street 'street dancing' as I would like to watch this too

7 Responses: Reply To This...
Akinwale ArobiekeJuly 10th 2012.

Think you're funny do you?

Purple AkiJuly 13th 2012.

That's torn it!

Darth FormbyJuly 13th 2012.

Ouch!

PaulJuly 13th 2012.

does anybody realise that this" purple aki"has named himself after a convicted murderer/molester of boys..whoever you are mate,you are neither funny or clever..you are a puerile idiot.

PaulJuly 13th 2012.

i am a busker and want to dispel some myths..a councillor on tv said we make up to £400 a day....complete b.s. where exactly councillor did you get your information?..during this so called "consultation"?...i dont know one busker who was consulted.as a charity busker £400 is a( vague possibiltity),but as a regular,realistic payday its bloody hilarious.if a busker claimed they had made this amount,they are either deluded or arrogant fantasists.

Fred WestJuly 13th 2012.

Not declaring nto the income tax or dole then?

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

doesnt anyone realise who this (hilarious) "aki" has named himself after?are there any administrators on this site?!

WagJuly 10th 2012.

I happen to think a lot of the buskers in Liverpool are pretty rubbish. But that's buskers everywhere. The nature of the beast.

A lot of the performers in bars and clubs are equally shipshod but we do not take this same attitude of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. We all have to start somewhere and the buskers bring life to the city.

The fantastic eastern European bands that we have enjoyed in the last few years will be seen no more as a result of this policy which is a bunch of clueless suits making up ridiculous rules to appease the managers of Primark and M&S who are their paymasters.

Nobody, I think, Juan Manband, assumes that £20 permits is a cunning plan to swell the coffers of the city.

No, the real lucre comes from the big stores that City Centre BID serves. Each of these retailers pays a big wodge of cash to keep the likes of Ged Gibbons' umbrella carrier in a job and it is they who are complaining, not the casual shopper.

Whatever you think of the quality of the performaces this It will kill spontanaity. It stops the likes of the falconer from showing off his birds of prey and the fiddle and squeezebox players.

Forget all this minutiae about amplification, this is just a red herring. I do not want some corporate people telling me what I can and cannot do or hear in my own streets.

Sheez Garraticketter rah-hahhhdJuly 10th 2012.

In one of the videos Venya Krutikov said that cities need spontaneity. There’s nothing spontaneous about an amplified and a microphone stand.

That’s just the premeditated murder of old songs.

The accordionists are indeed brilliant but you can’t hear them anyway because of all the too-loud howling and yelping of the amplified karaoke ‘buskers’.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Mr RigsbyJuly 10th 2012.

Oohh Venya

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

the accordionists are brilliant..what?!..the same old polkas churned out everyday.and the godfather theme repeated ad nauseum..you,d rather have these people edge out local buskers?music is definately a subjective thing it seems.

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

and by the way its VIENNA.

D. SharpJuly 10th 2012.

I agree with the WAG.

I once saw a brilliant Russian folk band outside the Tesco Metro in Parker Street who had popped over for the day from the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen to play in the street and sell a few cassettes of their songs. They were extremely good and performed completely without amplification.

I fear that the new regulations will prevent such serendipitous opportunities for Liverpudlians to hear proper world music of such quality.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 17th 2012.

And that will be all thanks to Jonny Walker and his insistence that there is no difference between proper musicians and the amplified karaoke crowd.

People have been quietly adding colour and pleasant atmosphere to our city's streets for a couple of years now and there was no trouble until the bedroom mirror fantasists turned up with their amplifiers and spoiled it for everyone by creating a noise nuisance.

Now they will ALL be banned because of Jonny Walker.

Money talks, buskers walkJuly 10th 2012.

Of course this is all about money.

The BID people would like you to think that they are just shifting people about and removing the noise nuisance from Church Street. What is actually happening is that there will be four designated amplified pitches on BOLD ST instead.

Presumably the likes of News From Nowhere don't have the same clout with the BID team as Dorothy Perkins or Top Shop and will have to put up with this infernal racket, fourfold, while all is now blissfully quiet on Church Street.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Mike DJuly 11th 2012.

Bold St issue is a very fair point. This will definitely be looked at in the review.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

I think the 'review' will be happening sooner then you think. The policy as it stands is so poorly thought through that it is unworkable. It has been put together by people with a narrow vision of city life and with a highly limited understanding of the many different forms of street art and performance.

When it's gone, it's goneJuly 11th 2012.

By the way, more than half of those Drummond books have now flown out of News From Nowhere, folks.

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

It proves 1984 has finally arrived in Liverpool. We are controlled more and more. What next, tape over the mouths of babes to stop them crying in the streets. Do BID people have a logo on their uniforms?

1 Response: Reply To This...
MancunianJuly 17th 2012.

Liverpool behind the times as usual.

Reader XxxJuly 10th 2012.

Great to read the rants, but having read them it's clear to me that amplification is the problem. M & S and Primark could surely tolerate unamplified performers - and so could the shoppers - even when the performers are not very good. And the city would side-step the 1984 jibes.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

I reiterate my point that amplification is a red herring. Unamplified instruments like trumpets, bagpipes and drums can be more noisy then an amp at a considerate level. The issue is what is coming out of the amp and at what volume. Performers don't need to be 'tolerated'. Many of them are very good, and could even be 'celebrated'. In either case, the real issue is who do our public spaces belong to, all of us, or just who the Business rate payers are prepared to tolerate?

AnonymousJuly 12th 2012.

But they are not used at a considerate level.

Street entertainment that qualifies as 'performance', 'creative' and 'artistic' does exist but it is an occasional event, such as the Brouhaha Festival.

A barrage of amplified noise every day or week is not creative, artistic or musical - it is a nuisance.

The only thing that will be celebrated is the confiscation of amplifiers so that we can all hear each other again and choose to listen to those talented and charming buskers who add to the vibrancy of our street scene; rather than those loud bullies who force their oppressive noise nuisance upon us all.

Earache on Church StreetJuly 12th 2012.

Amplification is not a red herring and you will never understand any of the logical, reasonable arguments being used until you desist in this fanatical belief of yours that you are doing God's great work in turning Church street into a canyon of reverberating noise and no-one should ne allowed to oppose you.

You are ruining it for the proper buskers.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 13th 2012.

ALL street artists and performers whether amplified or not are adversely affected by the council's new policy, whether amplified or not. That is what I mean by 'red herring'.

I maintain that consideration for other people and variation is key. If volume is at an inconsiderate level, whether amplified or not, then it needs to be adjusted or turned down. No one is saying that there aren't issues.

However, the council scheme seeks to impose a coercive licence and booking scheme on ALL performers, whether they are plugged in, acoustic, or whether they are pavement artists. Furthermore their scheme is being spearheaded by unelected officials acting on their perception of what big retailers want. You don't like amps on Church street? How about 4 amps on the much smaller Bold Street?

I respect your opinion on amplification, though I believe it to be a bit 'one-size fits all'. But the wider issue is, are our streets just highways to plough through on the way to the next shop, or are they places for the wider community, where not everything that happens has to be planned for and controlled. And why should a body like the BID dictate what happens in the whole of the city?

Jonathan WalkerJuly 13th 2012.

PS are you Don Pfhartridge?

Darth FormbyJuly 10th 2012.

A friend of mine worked in Top Shop during the eighties, when they had an in-store DJ. He would spend all day dreaming up ways to assassinate him, and get away with it, because he hated the crap music getting played.

The shop nobbies who are complaining about this, play cack all day inside their shops. The cack they play is special cack though, which conforms to their own, expensively obtained, vision of pocket emptying ambiance. They have now been allowed to extend their control out onto the street. It's actually quite shameful.

8 Responses: Reply To This...
Miss Tree SchopperJuly 10th 2012.

Well that is a case where choice can be made. If I walk into any shop where they have some moronic DJ clone or are blasting out music, I turn right around and shop somewhere else.

Mike DJuly 10th 2012.

Tell you what Darth - I'll give you a quid for every shop on Church st and Lord st that plays muzak. Will leave it with confidential folk to give to a charity. But for every shop that doesn't you give a quid.
Fair?

Darth FormbyJuly 10th 2012.

Well it's not your demographic these particular shops are after then, is it Tree ?

Sorry Mike, but that doesn't excite me. I donate what I can to charity and switch them every so often. You can go ahead and conduct you own survey though. LC can let us know how much you raise.

My point is that the shops who complain do so because they see the public space outsitde their shops as an extension of the retail environment and believe they have legitimate control over it. That belief has now been confirmed. So has the element of racism I suspected..checking on UK work permits indeed!

Liverpool is now just another sweaty English city, but wth Liverpool accents. The scouser is a thing of the past.

Mike DJuly 11th 2012.

Find me a shop manager who has got time to want to control what happens outside their shop? You truly have no idea if you think that is the case.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

The Business Improvement District team clearly believe they are able to control and sanitise the street environment amongst their many other duties.

Mike DJuly 11th 2012.

Since the BID are neither enforcing this policy nor judging the performers, what evidence do you have for that statement?
I salute your passion Johnny and if we had more buskers like you then this situation wouldn't have arose.
Fact is, you perfrom here once a month so I would argue your views are somewhat skewed to the realities of what goes on here.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

Mike, I refer you to the summary of our major objections here: keepstreetslive.com/…/summary-of-major-objections…. Ged Gibbons was a major part in getting this policy in place and was on the radio defending it, so presumably believes it to be enforceable. The booking system is part of that enforcement.

As for me not playing in Liverpool, well Mike, the powers that be have been a little unfriendly towards buskers here lately! I have the freedom to travel to other cities too. But, this policy, in the words of Ged Gibbons,

'will greatly enhance Liverpool's ability to attract the very best buskers and will add a new dimension to the visitors experience'

Mike DJuly 12th 2012.

Got your email. Thanks.
By the way, there's a difference between enforceable and workable. It's the latter that matters. Hence the whole review issue.

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

Busking should be an accoustic act.

RobertJuly 10th 2012.

Go-Go, Go Jonny Go, Go-Go!!

Err, what do our cousins on the continent do with buskers? An answer from the council on comparative cities might be in order...do your research first before showing your repeated lunacy!

How to sanitise and erode a vibrant European city feel.
It's one step forward for the city and one step back by the council.

SoniaJuly 10th 2012.

Darth has hit the nail on the head

Mike DJuly 10th 2012.

For fear of sticking to some facts, the policy has been drafted by the city council - not the BID.
Secondly, this new policy will be reviewed in 3 months time by the council and hopefully will involve all parties.
The bottom line is that too few buskers hog the main spots in the city centre, some for hours on end, so denying other buskers the chance to perform - and earn.
This is not about having less buskers, it's about having MORE.
This system may not be perfect - but no UK city has a perfect system for buskers / street entertainers.
As to the BID - it is pro street entertainemt. It's even paid for a bandstand in Williamson Square over the summer hols for people to perform/busk on.

8 Responses: Reply To This...
Darth FormbyJuly 10th 2012.

Did you help to draw this plan up Mike? You seem very defensive!

By the way, surley you mean fewer buskers, not less buskers don't you, or are they objects?

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

He did, and you have impressive grammatical skills Darth

Mike DJuly 11th 2012.

Less. Fewer. Hey you got me. But then I'm guessing you are not a sith lord from leafy Sefton either.

Either way - no is the answer. But instead of giving you my verdict 1 day after a policy is introduced I'd prefer to give it the 3 months and then make my mind up.

But then I am a fair minded Jedi.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

This policy is a joint effort between BID, City Centre Management and Liscencing. The only aspect lacking was a consultation amongst the artistic and cultural community in the city. Now, each element of the council suggests that the more contentious points were not their idea. This is interesting.

Mike DJuly 11th 2012.

Johhny - there was a consultation it's just that your points seemed to have been not taken on board by the council.
As you acknowledged no system is perfect - which many will accept this isn't either - which is why it will be reviewed in 3 months time.
BTW - the BID's role lies solely with the booking system.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

Mike,

I strongly believe the review needs to happen before that timeframe. The council cannot ignore the strength of feeling that this issue has raised up, nor the offer of the Musician's Union to mediate and help come up with a genuinely workable policy.

You will find that we have genuinely workable suggestions which would be not difficult to put into place quickly.

Mike DJuly 11th 2012.

Johnny, not got your details to take this further. Can you drop me a line. Thanks.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 12th 2012.

I did drop you an e-mail, but sadly got no reply.

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

Hear hear Darth!

Don PfartridgeJuly 10th 2012.

I started out busking and I didn't need amplification, but then I had half an orchestra strapped to me. Anyway I have been reading the comments and thought I should re-write Rosie my greatest hit from 1968 in the hope it helps to put this debate in perspective.

"NOISY"
By Don Pfartridge

Noisy, oh Noisy
I'd like to shove that amp right up your crack
Sometimes when I'm busy
I sigh when I look up and hear you’re back

You’re just an irritation
With 60 watt amplification
And the songs you choose get right under my skin
Your singing is dreary
I don’t want you near me
But I can’t escape the bloody awful din

Noisy, oh Noisy
Why should I have to walk the other way?
Noisy, oh Noisy
Your volume really ruins a shopping day

Though you’re an irritation
If you turn off the amplification
I really wouldn’t mind you playing here
The songs that you murder
Are fine, if I’ve not heard yer
And it’s not like an assault right down my ear

Noisy, oh Noisy
I wish you’d just stick to paper and comb
Noisy, oh Noisy
Why not just keep your talent safe at home.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Don PfartridgeJuly 10th 2012.

By the way the P is not silent especially if it's in a tin bucket.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

I think you have some rudimentary ability as a wordsmith, but you too often resort to the obvious rhymes. Perhaps we could meet up for a jam on my 60 watt amp? I could help you write better lyrics and we could sing Beatles songs together. To finish, we could go shopping together and enjoy the instore music provision at Primark?

Don PfartridgeJuly 11th 2012.

Well that's the last time I try and help.
Rudimentary! Obvious Rhymes! Help me write beter lyrics! I bet you wouldn't have said that to Pam Ayres when she was touring with Bob Dylan. She wrote his two of his biggest hits, "My Bunny Rabbit" and "I wish I'd looked after me teeth!" Both crammed with "obvious rhymes"

I mean Lennon, when writing Imagine, didn't even bother to look for a good rhyme.

"And I'm not the only ONE
I hope some day you'll join us
and the world will live as ONE"

He uses the same word!
As far as I concerned that's a cop out.
If it was me it would have been

And I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
For a pot of tea and a buttered scone"

It's friendlier, gives people something to look forward to and a reason for gtting rid of all the things we don;t really like much.
And it would have laid to rest the stupid arguments about how to pronounce scone.

It's SCON. Lennon could have done us all a service if he'd put more effort into it.

Anyway, good luck to you, I'm mostly on your side you know. Even if you have cruelly shredded my confidence as songwriter.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 11th 2012.

Well you've shattered my confidence as a street performer so fair is fair. And I'm with you on Imagine anyway. Fanciful, wet, utopian drivel. Long-haired pseudo-hippy wanna be rebels...Hate them all!

Charlotte StreetJuly 12th 2012.

If the yachting cap fits...

Donald PheasantsJuly 10th 2012.

BRAVO!

AnonymousJuly 10th 2012.

So the BID people (see Mike D above) are now realizing how stupid they are by passing the buck to the city council. If you read the rules of engagement The BID people were handed control of enforcing/policing the busker thing. They DO NOT own our city, they represent Large Stores whose aim is to extract as much money as possible for their shareholders, often based or living abroad, and avoding taxes. The BID people, as expected, have become too big for their jack boots. If Mayor Anderson had any sense he would shelve this, go back to the drawing board and re-think things through properly, demonstrating that he recognises the city centre belongs to all of the citizens who voted for him and not a highly paid select view who think thejy own the city centre.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Mike DJuly 11th 2012.

Sorry. Wrong on almost every point. Although you are right - the BID do not own the city. Nor can they nor would they.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 12th 2012.

The BID also have a short-sighted and limited understanding of what consitutes a vibrant street culture, and the intangible benefits that a lively street scene has for the wider economy.

For a city like Liverpool with its world-renowned reputation for fostering the arts and culture, and for being the spiritual home of a pop music revoltuion that changed the world, to clamp down on street life in the name of managing a few minority nuisance buskers is indefensible.

Mike DJuly 12th 2012.

Jonny - see below.

Darth FormbyJuly 11th 2012.

I was just thinking...Edith Piaf started out by busking, and she was about twelve or thirteen years old too.

These people would criminalise Edith Piaf, and have her off the streets, before anyone got to hear her sing. There's a bit of a thought!

Tricky wooJuly 11th 2012.

The last Anonymous above is entirely correct. Who do these people think they are?

Darth FormbyJuly 11th 2012.

No, I'm not a Sith lord form leafy Sefton Mike. I'm the unacknowledged love child of Darth Vader and George Formby.

So under these rules, Edith Piaf would get arrested, so would Paul Robeson. Presumably so would Blondie if they did their Union City Blue vid at Cammell Laird. So would Gracie Fields, And George Formby. I could go on, but, by gum, I'll leave to the great man himself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWHHKMFY4yc

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 11th 2012.

That's hilarious!

Akinwale ArobiekeJuly 11th 2012.

He's my dad!

Darth FormbyJuly 11th 2012.

No he's not, he's mine!

Mike DJuly 11th 2012.

If this was a 'no busking at all' policy we'd be in agreement. The fact is it's not, so we're not.
As to Blondie. Now I know you're a joker. Must have got that from George's side.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Akinwale ArobiekeJuly 11th 2012.

As my name suggests..I can be serious and comedic in parallel, Mike.

Darth FormbyJuly 11th 2012.

caught me out having a little joke with someone else there. Ooops!

Purple AkiJuly 12th 2012.

Aha!

Darth FormbyJuly 13th 2012.

It's a fair cop!

Harry OrgansJuly 13th 2012.

Take him away, sergeant!

WagJuly 11th 2012.

Mike, if the BID team has nothing to do with this then why was Ged Gibbons being interviewed by every media outlet in the land (apart from the strangely absent Echo) on Monday?

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Mike DJuly 11th 2012.

The BID covers the main part of the city centre and agreed to set up the booking system.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 12th 2012.

The BID have agitated for this policy behind the scenes because street performance is an aspect of city life that does not conform to a narrow range of easily controlled variables. Ged Gibbons is no champion of cultural life. He's on the record saying, the European Capital of Culture was in 2008 and that was great, now it's time to clamp down on the buskers who he compares to chuggers.

An interesting point in law is do the council have the power to act against buskers without resorting to obtuse threats about prosecuting street performers and artists for trespass, or asking police to arrest people for 'causing an obstruction' at a time when budgets are at full stretch and the police and council have many, many better things to be doing. AND they know it.

Mike DJuly 12th 2012.

Jonny - got your email and you'll get a reply tomorrow. Casting aspersions is going to do you no favours. You genuinely don't know Ged nor what BID does. If anyone cares about this point go to http://www.citycentralbid.com or just come to the city centre this weekend where BID have co-funded/supported/commissioned events ranging from Brazilica, Brouhaha, City Steps and Ping - with a whole lot more to come including the city centre's furst bandstand all the way through to the Bold Street Festival in September.
Jonnny, I know you are not happy but stick to what you know. I'm half with you on some of what you've said but this. You are way, way out of line and off the mark.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 13th 2012.

I heard Ged talking to Pete Price, and he was prepared to lump all street performance in with 'chugging and touting' because of the poor practise of a couple of performers.

It's great that the BID are supporting cultural events in the City Centre, as they should be. But to do that, alongside clamping down on spontaneous street art and performance is to send out a mixed message at best.

Why spend £10,000 on a band stand in Williamson Square when there are tons of people already performing all over the city for free. If the BID want to disown the coercive and restrictive aspects of the new policy then they need to do that quick...

Listening to Ged talk to Pete Price was extremely revealing. Mr Price nearly lost his voice last night shouting down the phone at me when I called his program to attempt to give a more balanced account of what the new policy consists of. Buskers were basically tax-dodging beggars. Well that's an open minded opinion. What about the tax arrangements of Church Street denizens like Vodafone, Topman and Primark? Paying close to the minimum wage to the majority of staff whilst shifting profits abroad to shelter them from the prying eyes of the taxman. Who are the real tax dodgers?

He basically said, and I'm paraphrasing, 'We've had 2008 Capital of Culture. It was good to have street art and entertainment then, but now it's time to move on. Buskers are like chuggers. He said that some performers even come from outside Liverpool to perform in the city! How terrible that performers should want to play in the city that gave the world a pop music revolution! Let's regulate and control them, and take them off our flagship shopping streets so rate-paying retailers can have a sanitised environment outside their shops. Let's relegate them to smaller streets where the business owners might have less of a voice then the likes of Primark, Topman and Marks and Spencers'.

Mike D, I'm sorry, but street performers and artists are the softest and easiest target going. People with the intellectual capacity of Pete Price seem to think that street performing is the reason why retailers are struggling. They fail to understand that we are going through a profound economic crisis with the very future of the High Street at stake. This is the very worst possible time to be clamping down on 'unauthorised' street culture. If the BID are as creative and dynamic as they purport to be, let's see them champion a low-cost, high-value street culture scene that is the envy of all other cities, rather then a reactionary, Kafkaesque botch.

AnonymousJuly 17th 2012.

Indeed, if you make the high street a noisy hell-hole shoppers will go elsewhere or stay at home and shop online.

You do not have a divine right to give people headaches with unsolicited cacophony and ruin other people's livelihoods.

PunterJuly 11th 2012.

There used to be a lovely young Russian lady called Nadia working the streets with her squeezebox, I haven't seen her for for a while. Be interesting to get her to dip in.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Charlotte StreetJuly 12th 2012.

Nadia was last seen in Brooks Alley trying out someone's piccolo.

AnonymousJuly 11th 2012.

There is going to be a review after 3 months. Yea, if you say so Mike D. It's one of those, here are the answers now what is the question thingies. In any event the BID people represent the shop and business owners NOT the people who visit the city centre. Don't you get it Mike D - You Do Not Own Our City Centre. We do, ie the people. You people, no doubt quite well paid, have hi-jacked the streets off us. You dare not listen to Mr Walker as you have already made up your minds. Here's a challenge. Scrap any charges for permits, let the BID take out a universal indemnity cover and agree a sensible and workable scheme for busking. For instance there could be an understanding of working say for a few hours then moving on to let somebody else have a go. Give people in suits a bit of power and it really goes to their heads. It need not be so.

7 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 11th 2012.

What colour is the sky in your world? All this crap about the people and what they own, since when did the people own someone else's real estate? Hippy nonsense

Mike DJuly 12th 2012.

Hi-jacked? Really? With whose army?
Look, people are listening to the criticisms. There will be a review.
End of.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 12th 2012.

No need for talk of armies. That is foolishness. This is a debate about who our public spaces belong to and what they need to be used for. On the one hand we have those who believe the streets need to be tightly managed and controlled, on the other we have those who believe there is room for spontanaiety and freedom in public life. The Council and BID know that this new policy is a PR disaster for the council. Ged Gibbons was on Pete Price last night spinning a rhetorical web of self-contradictory nonsense with the help of some of the poorest, most sycophantic broadcast journalism I have ever been unfortunate enough to listen to. The council plan is unenforceable, unwanted and unwarranted. They know it, we know it, and they know we know it. Ignore the talk of reviews. There will be people on the streets, and they will be playing music and they will not be ordered away by men hiding behind grandiose job titles and PR spin operations.

Knowwhere ManJuly 12th 2012.

But if they now know it and we now know it, and they now know that we know they know it. How do we know that they know that we know that they know it?

Mike DJuly 12th 2012.

Jonny - you have such a black and white view of this, which is way too simplistic - which I suspect suits some of your arguments. Sadly, it's 50 shades of grey. And blue. and red. and green....That's life.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 13th 2012.

On the contrary, I think I see the picture more clearly then most Mike, and I think you know that.

AnonymousJuly 14th 2012.

It is obvious from your inane blethering and contradictory arguments that you can see very little at all.

When you are in a deep hole, stop digging.

AnonymousJuly 12th 2012.

nanny state want health and safty to be king.
stop this intrusion into our lives.
what next? a party tax.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Mike DJuly 12th 2012.

And god forbid your grandma/da/mother/brother/child trips over an amp or its wires and breaks their hip/shoulder/arm/nose. What then?

Jonathan WalkerJuly 14th 2012.

Thankfully we still have free health care at the point of delivery here so they will get treatment.

Don't let anyone mislead you anonymous. The Keep Streets Live team recommends that everybody who performs on the streets regularly joins the Musician's Union or Equity so they have liability cover. We fail to see the need for a 70 year old Penny Whistler to have £5 million worth of liability. The real issue here is CONTROL.

AnonymousJuly 14th 2012.

The negligent owner of the object that caused the injury will be liable. That's why everyone's workplace has public liability insurance and why the Council has to have every litter bin, lamp post and street sign insured.

The NHS will be claiming the cost of treatment back. You might have to sell your amplifier (Result!)

AnonymousJuly 14th 2012.

"We fail to see the need..."

You fail to see lots of things.

Sheez Garraticketter rah-hahhhdJuly 12th 2012.

Busking is NOT creative or artistic, it is begging a tax-free income from gullible tourists who want to hear the same old greatest hits rubbish as they pass through without stopping!

Neither has busking anything to do with "community".

An essential part of being part of a community is being considerate to your neighbours and not subjecting them to unnecessary and health-damaging noise nuisance! It's also paying your way with regard to taxes and rates.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 12th 2012.

And volume does not equal quality or talent, usually the opposisite.

So many of the arguments in favour are so spurious it is like tryiong to deal with religious fanatics.

Darth FormbyJuly 12th 2012.

Taxes, rates, Quick, someone give me more restrictions and rules. I love them!
Why can't they fit meters to our noses and charge us for breathing? Then I'd be able to report other people to the precisely correct authority for breathing through their mouths.

Another pair of conformist without a cause. Sheez!

Sheez Garraticketter rah-hahhhdJuly 12th 2012.

Breathing costs nothing even under a Tory government.

Maintaining cities and their streets and the services that make them habitable and usable cost money. It's only fair that everyone pays their wack.

Especially those that can make £300 per day on our streets.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 12th 2012.

Sheez, I'm trying to surpress my suspicion that you are a BID representative hiding behind a false name, and I'm going to try to engage with your arguments, such as they are.

I am a busker and I pay tax, I have done for 6 years. I know other buskers who do pay tax, and I know other performers for whom busking is a hobby and they don't really earn enough to warrant a tax return. I wonder if even the tax-less buskers are the real issue on our high streets. How about Topman owner Philip Green's complex off-shore tax arrangements, or Vodafone's cosy deal with HMRC?

Having spent 12 years on the streets of the UK, performing in many towns and cities, I can only shake my head in despair at your ignorance of what busking consists in. I have befriended countless homeless people, given thousands of people directions to shops, intervened to stop fights, been a police witness on many occasions, and met people from all over the world. Wherever there are people there is the opportunity to build communities. Some buskers are rubbish and annoying granted. This is not enough reason in my view to surrender yet another layer of power to men who hide behind job titles and health and safety directives.

Jonathan WalkerJuly 12th 2012.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFFKLtA64WY

Darth FormbyJuly 13th 2012.

Sheez, come on mate! £300 per day. I really don't think so. Christmas is the big earner for buskers, especially well established and recognisable ones and £300 per day even then would be beyond kecks soilingly good. Do you also believe that all Issue sellers turn up for work in a chauffeur driven Bentley?

NadiaJuly 12th 2012.

In Old Country Nadia learn much from dear blind babooshka about the squeezing of the box in all situation.

On dark nights whole family Arsenov of Ulyanovsk gather around glittering candles and listen as Babooshka tell story of entertaining whole Red Army choir with this skill of deft, and soon muscle strength of squeezing box all day the legend make her among the singing soldiers.

Then highest honour when the General Igor hears of all mans who come! She is order to attend him and he puts happiness and his Balkans entirely in her expert hands.

Nadia have much skill on Ural flute and would like to demonstrate to the Ged Gibbons and the Rolf Harris in town also, who likes to burst into two little boys.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Aleksander Vasilyevich AleksandrovJuly 12th 2012.

My humble balalaika comes alive in your gifted hands, Nadia!

AnonymousJuly 12th 2012.

Does anyone else note the striking facial similarity between the aforementioned Ged "you won't get a word in edgeways wit me lad" Gibbons, and the invisible bloke in Randall and Hopkirk (deceased), he was also Ray who lived in a caravan on Brookside yonks ago?
Are they one and the same?
I think we should be told

1 Response: Reply To This...
Barry NormalJuly 12th 2012.

Kenneth Cope. He was also Jed Stone in 'Coronation Street' and Vic Spanner in the film 'Carry on at your Convenience'.

AnonymousJuly 13th 2012.

Yes

AnonymousJuly 13th 2012.

The rights and wrongs of busking is a side-show to what is more important - who owns the city centre. The BID people are not elected, they don't meet in public, we

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 17th 2012.

The noisy, amplified so-called 'buskers' aren't elected but presume to deafen citizens with their noise then blame everyone else for the consternation this causes.

AnonymousJuly 13th 2012.

The rights and wrongs of busking is a side-show to what is more important - who owns the city centre. The BID people are not elected, they don't meet in public, we have no say on those who serve on it. It is an unelected quango, yet they feel they can control what happens on the streets of the city centre. Let them represent the shops, market the city centre, but that's what they should stick to. End of (as the obvious servant of the Bid) Mike D likes to say. End of indeed, the overpaid plonker.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Darth FormbyJuly 13th 2012.

Yes indeed anon. Mikey D seems to be reverting to some type of grunting functionary, a bit like the impression I got from Ged Gibbons in the above vid.

AnonymousJuly 14th 2012.

If Mikey D is seriously concerned about people tripping over amplifiers, cables. What about litter bins, street furniture, bus stops, newsvendors, street stalls, some of the boring shite BID presents as its own street entertainment. Let's sanitise the whole soddin lot of Mikey D can sleep at night.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Pavement PersonJuly 17th 2012.

All street furniture is indeed insured for public liability in the event of accidents or injury.

Darrell Doo-MeeJuly 14th 2012.

I do like the way the word "sanitise" is used as some sort of perjorative term, what's the opposite of sanitised? Polluted, infected, unclean, impure, contaminated?
Hmm, apply those to the audio bilge pouring out on Church St and maybe sanitisation is just what we need!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerJuly 14th 2012.

Dareell Doo-Mee,

I have the feeling your multiple online identity disorder is kicking in again, better reach for the pills...

AnonymousJuly 14th 2012.

Yes Darrell,

Perhaps Walker wants to bring back the aggressive and incontinent winoes and the shitty market stalls that were the previous pestilences visited upon Church Street before it was "sanitised" on previous occasions?

They certainly deserve each other though I think that the current plague see only their fellow middle-class boys - playing with their expensive equipment - deserving the right to rule the Street; presumably they are expecting to be protected from aggressive tramps and drunken vagrants?

Lifelong LiverpudlianJuly 14th 2012.

At public expense, naturally.

Darrell Doo-MeeJuly 14th 2012.

Thanks for the useful diagnosis Dr Jonny, but you're off the mark - now get back to your own efforts to save the planet, bring harmony to chaos (Stop that fighting now, I command you as Jonny the libertarian busker!) and get back to your paranoia about who is who on this august organ.
Ps, your posts are easier to read when you keep em brief, keep up the good work
XX

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 17th 2012.

Libertarians are far right-wing nutcases.

Darth FormbyJuly 14th 2012.

You've really duffed Johnny up there between you. He must feel like he's gone ten rounds with Charles Hawtrey!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Darrell Doo-MeeJuly 14th 2012.

See Darth, that's the sort of good humoured banter and quippery we need here, not Jonny's earnest diagnoses and judgements!
Nice one
Here's a chap I saw earlier in St John's serenading the clientele
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfKGoP6KEpw
Cheers!

Bunty CrumpetJuly 15th 2012.

j

AnonymousJuly 15th 2012.

Sorry, but I'm glad Liverpool has got Jonney Walker. It means he's not torturing us here in Hebden Bridge with his full blast cheesy cover versions for up to 6 hours in one spot at a time. I feel for you Liverpool, but please keep him.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerJuly 16th 2012.

I'm enjoying the different variations on the spelling of 'Jonny'. It is interesting also to see the many 'Anonymous' who bravely put their heads above the parapet to execute lame rhetorical take downs without engaging in the issue of councils granting themselves extra powers to police what, at its worst, is a minor irritation. In addition, the council's policy affects all examples of street culture, whether it consists of a long-haired, amped-up, 60s cheesy covers merchant, or an acoustic harpist, or a pavement artist, or a penny whistler.
I'm amazed at the number of progressive people who are happy to surrender another layer of control over the use of our public spaces.

Pavement PersonJuly 17th 2012.

YOU miss the point. The complaints aren't about penny whistlers, harpists, accordionists, etc., they are against the noise nuisance of the amplified dirge gang.

But you and your gang of fellow nuisances with delusions of grandeur won't acknowledge the acoustic performers are innocent and will suffer because you are determined to take them down with you.

Bunty CrumpetJuly 15th 2012.

Johnney Walker needs to appreciate that most buskers are simply doing Karaoke, often way too loud and for too long and for many of the people in the environs it is pure torment. At least passers-by have a choice of where and when to shop, but if you're working or living in town you're a sitting duck. It may be "free entertainment", but it's free entertainment that's been forced down the public's throat whether they like it or not. Johnney Walker's example of George Harrison being a one time busker in Liverpool is not only 50 years after the fact but is a nonsense point. George Harrisons only come around once in a lifetime and the majority of buskers, including Mr Walker, are no George Harrison.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerJuly 16th 2012.

Hi 'Bunty',

Happy for another round of engagement with your slightly melodramatic ramblings. To me 'pure torment' is child poverty, bereavement, suffering and/or death, not having to listen to bad version of Oasis in the streets. Most shop-workers are already listening to Rhianna's latest offering on an in-store loop. If they are annoyed by the busker outside, there's nothing to stop them asking the performer to move in a polite and civil way. Unfortunately we live in a culture where we don't like to engage in those kinds of face-to-face interactions...It's easier just to call the council and complain, or post endless streams of comments under a pseudonym on online articles.

The point about George Harrison was that he was 15 when he joined the Quarrymen, and 17 when the Beatles toured Hamburg. It relates to the fact that under-18s are specifically banned from playing in Liverpool under the new proposal, it does not attempt to compare every aspiring under 18 to the level of a George Harrison.

Martha and the MuffinsJuly 17th 2012.

Under-18s are only banned from performing in the street under the new Council measures.

I think you'll find that the Beatles never played in the street, they performed at dance halls, social clubs, church halls etc.

Bunty CrumpetJuly 16th 2012.

Market stall holders have to pay for their pitches and shops have to pay rent and rates, so why should Johnny Walker be allowed to pitch up for free as and when the fancy takes him?

AnonymousJuly 16th 2012.

Jonathan/ A few of your posts reference the issues around anonymity, as though an anonymous comment is somehow less valid than one written under a frequently-used but totally made up pseudonym? That's just ridiculous, and completely daft!

The philosophical debate around the finer points seems to have run its course now, but one key point is that you are in a minority, while purporting to be defending something of importance to the majority. Could that something be your own egotistical desire to perform in public, no matter how unwelcome?

I am tickled by the idea of approaching someone who's annoying you in the street with a polite and civil request to stop.........how charmingly quaint!

AnonymousJuly 21st 2012.

To be against the noise and nuisance of busking doesn't automatically mean you're in favour of some kind of police state. Johnney appears to be demanding 'rights' for himself, whilst trivialising the rights of those working in town who have no option but to be subjected to a noise nuisance that had spiralled out of control and needed to be reigned in by legislation. Had buskers been a little more considerate towards other citizens, there would have been no need for these rules and restrictions.

Earache on Church StreetJuly 22nd 2012.

I was in town on Saturday and sadly the accordionists and other proper musicians have been banished. There were two amplified howl'n'strum merchants though, one outside Primark and one (surprisingly) in Liverpool One outside W.H. Smith.

Much quieter than the old shower (thank goodness) but it is so sad that the more individual and interesting performers have gone because the untalented, amplifier-dependent cliché-pedlars ruined it for everyone.

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

c

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

to LIFE LONG LIVERPUDLIAN..i have occasionley busked in the town centre for twenty years.i play guitar and sing.i stand on my music.my intention is to entertain people.if people do not like my music,then all they have to do is ignore me.i do not play amplified outside shops etc,therefore i do not believe that i cause a nuisance.if any of the public enjoy what i am playing then if they feel inclined they can say thanks by giving me a penny or a pound..i dont regularly busk because of the stigma that stupid people have attached to buskers..eg.it is begging etc..you have to ask someone for money to be a beggar..i stand on my music,and have NEVER asked anyone for anything..i am a musician,NOT a beggar.

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

s

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

i,d also like to dispel the myth that buskers make hundreds of pounds a day,unless youre busking for charity..(even then its unlikely youre going to make hundreds),making that sort of money is nigh on impossible.anybody who believes that is a self opinionated fool,and any busker who claims to make that much is either delusional/insecure/too far up his own "£$!,or is ashamed with the stigma that is attached to busking and therefore has to justify what he does,by claiming to make ridiculous amounts of money..as for paying tax on earnings..i only occasionley busk anyway and do not make a living out of it.i do it in between jobs to get out of the house.my conscience is clear on that one.this tax argument is just another grievance from people who are unhappy with their own lot in life and think that everyone should be the same..

The CorinthiansSeptember 21st 2012.

Paul, can you stop sending us all these letter please?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

if you mean my single letter posts..ive been sending these cos my pcs on the blink.if you mean stop sending anything then the answer is no.

The CorinthiansOctober 5th 2012.

Sorry, it was a joke.

You know, Paul's letters to the Corinthians...

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