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Exclusive: City faces legal action over busking rules

Law firm serves papers seeking judicial review over 'unreasonable, overbearing and unfair' decision

Written by . Published on August 9th 2012.


Exclusive: City faces legal action over busking rules

THE stand-off between Liverpool City Council and the city’s buskers took a new turn today when a leading law firm stepped in with a legal challenge. 

Merseyside-based Kirwans is backing the Keep Streets Live! campaign to overturn new measures by Liverpool City Council. Under the rules, street artists must obtain £20 permits and take out public liability insurance costing around £100 a year. They are also required to sign up to highly restrictive terms and conditions. 

'While arguably trying to make improvements Liverpool City Council has created a problem -
but it is not too late to fix it' - David Kirwan

News of the scheme was revealed exclusively on Liverpool Confidential in June, as was the subsequent fight-back, spearheaded by the Association of Street Artists and Performers. 

Now Kirwans, acting on behalf of Liverpool buskers and its client Siobhan McDermott, has given notice to Liverpool City Council of its intention to seek a judicial review over the “unreasonable, overbearing and unfair” decision.  

The full letter, addressed to Mayor Joe Anderson, has since been obtained by Liverpool Confidential sources and can be read here



Campaigners are urging street performers to refuse to sign up to the buskers “charter” which is part of a council Street Activity Management Plan, backed by Mayor Joe Anderson. Street artists face possible trespass charges if they do not co-operate. 

The controversial licence scheme gives police officers and council staff civic Simon Cowell powers to halt performers if they believe the entertainment is not of "satisfactory quality". 

He da man: Solicitor David KirwanHe da man: Solicitor
David Kirwan
People who spread blankets, sit on pavements, are under 18 or who use animals or power tools, will also be targeted by the council, according to the new policy. 

Solicitor David Kirwan, managing partner of Kirwans, said: “Entertainment is the heartbeat of Liverpool’s culture - it defines our city’s personality and gives us inspiration through good times and bad. 

“Liverpool is also the birthplace of popular music. I have witnessed the creative influence of street performers on our popular culture from the Merseybeat era of the 1960s through to the role it played during the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008. We need our streets buzzing in order to prosper. 

“This is an important campaign for our city and other towns and cities across the UK whose council leaders may be tempted to follow Liverpool’s poor example. While arguably trying to make improvements Liverpool City Council has created a problem - but it is not too late to fix it. A common sense solution can be reached to satisfy the council and benefit performers, traders and the public. 

“Some of the new measures are not only at odds with the spirit and culture of our city but also the law. We are seeking justice for the street performers by challenging through the courts if necessary.” 

Vanishing act since the new rules came in last monthVanishing act since the new rules came in last month

Liverpool-born Jonny Walker, 32, is leading the Keep Streets Live! campaign. 

 “Visitors to the city rightly expect our streets to be animated with art and music," he says. "The council is attempting to impose control and excessive regulation on one of the areas of city life where it is least needed. 

“We are delighted that Kirwans, a long established law firm with an understanding of Liverpool’s culture, will use their legal expertise to help us put right a wrong.”

 More than 4,300 people have so far signed the petition, both on paper and online here urging the council to review the policy.

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

Grace NoteAugust 9th 2012.

Art and music perhaps, but definitely not bad karaoke and strumming dirge merchants with amplifiers.

AnonymousAugust 9th 2012.

And who are the best arbiters of who meets your standard of taste? Perhaps the BID team could come out and decide what is worthy and what is not

AnonymousAugust 9th 2012.

On reflection the council and the BID are probably the last people who should be deciding what is good and what is not...

Grace NoteAugust 9th 2012.

The Council is elected and its officers appointed to run the city. Who would be better qualified?

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

I dont recall this being a manifesto promise, so where is the democratic mandate...

Grace NoteAugust 10th 2012.

ANd where is the democratic mandate for a few disgruntled public nuisances to to overturn a Council decision?

AnonymousAugust 13th 2012.

Ah but don't you see that in a democracy nothing should be banned unless there is support from the electorate for that to happen.

Grace NoteAugust 16th 2012.

So you'd bring back the death penalty? Time and time again polls have shown that most people in this country would bring back hanging.
It is only the moderating influence of our elected Members of Parliament that is preventing its return.

AnonymousAugust 9th 2012.

Run the city yes. But the city council do not own it, not the councillors, not the officers and deffo not the BID people. We the people own it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Tillie FernackerpanAugust 13th 2012.

Actually, I think you'll find that the city is owned by landlords, not "the people".

We live in a Capitalist economy, not a Socialist paradise!

AnonymousAugust 9th 2012.

The musicians, artists and street performers that are affected!!!!

Paul MurphyAugust 9th 2012.

These white collar, desk minders, board diners, should look over their shoulders. I don't care who they are making these new rules, but I do know what they are going to strangle, the streets liberty !!! Shops do not own the streets, they rent the premises, and fortunate to have their positions in Liverpool...Talent comes from our streets, business enjoys Liverpools success, erm, ie The Beatles;,...tourists come from the four winds to be here because we are a city of hope, freedom, expression... We, as people of education, dance, art and music should not be ignored, nor abused... White collar man/woman, go sing another song, the song that you get paid for, fix the cock up that you've made of the entire nation,... Meanwhile, I shall cheer my streets as best I can...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 10th 2012.

I'll have a drop of what you were on when you trotted this one out kidder!

AnonymousAugust 9th 2012.

Grace Note...are you Mike Doran in disguise?

Paul MurphyAugust 9th 2012.

Why be," anonymous ??" I am me, who are youse??

Grace NoteAugust 10th 2012.

Who is Mike Doran?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Mike DAugust 21st 2012.

Not you, Grace Note.

AnonymousAugust 10th 2012.

Buskers use "Power Tools" where do they plug them in? the Council members of this City would do well to remember, they work on our behalf, we do not work for them, we also vote for their services on the merits of what they offer, I don't recall ever seeing this on any Manifesto.
A huge part of this City has been built on its artistic talent, something the Council has never been shy to jump on the artistic talents of others in the past, something that has brought World renowned fame for this City, now they want to control how that talent is shown.
To the Council talent is not controlled, its inhaled and exhaled by its creator, take your money making schemes to a City were you are wanted, don't try and rip the art away from the greatest City on Earth.

1 Response: Reply To This...
A-Z at the readyAugust 14th 2012.

"A huge part of this City has been built on its artistic talent"

Oh yeah? Which part? A postcode will do.

What have jonny-come-lately buskers to do with artistic talent in Liverpool?

Grace NoteAugust 10th 2012.

Who is this 'we' you keep talking about?

(a) The paltry 4,300 (most of whom don't even live here) who signed this hysterical petition or

(b) the 450,000 residents of Liverpool?

And since when has busking with a guitar and microphone had anything to do with art?

Jonathan Walker got his way and now all those genuine musicians with unamplified instruments have been banished. I hope he's pleased with himself.

Jonathan WalkerAugust 10th 2012.

The Keep Streets Live campaign does not engage with spurious distinctions between categories of performers such as 'proper' and 'false' musicians as if the use of technology invalidates certain acts. This is nonsense and a total red herring. We are on the side of street artists and performers, whether they use amps or accordions, trapezes or trampolines. The council have tried to impose an onerous set of preconditions on ALL performers, not just the Kareokee singers you don't like, but EVERYBODY. Therefore, we are standing against this ill conceived policy and asking that the streets remain as a forum for performance and all kinds of community interaction.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 12th 2012.

"Acts"?

AnonymousAugust 13th 2012.

"Kareokee"

Eel be sorryAugust 14th 2012.

Red Herring? As I understand it the Council was forced to take action by the number of complaints that were received about over-loud nuisances with amplifiers who have recently appeared and were turning our principal shopping streets into tunnels of unpleasant, deafening noise.

Were any complaints received about the little old lady in Houghton Street with the accordion?

Thanks to the intransigence of the noise merchants who wouldn't turn down the volume and demanded they take everyone else down with them she has lost her livelihood.

Jonathan WalkerAugust 17th 2012.

With an Orwellian turn of phrase 'Eel Be Sorry' turns the blame for a badly thought out council policy onto the buskers themselves. The Council were not 'forced' to take action by anybody. However, they did try to 'force' buskers off the street, with dubious threats of trespass prosecutions and compulsory photo ID cards.

Once again you overlook what is really happening and act as second rate apologist for an indefensible policy which I'm sure you've not even read through, and which has very little impact on your life.

AnonymousAugust 21st 2012.

Your noise has a massive impact on many people's lives and they are suffering.

Jonathan WalkerAugust 10th 2012.

Grace note, I think you show a certain arrogance in disregarding 4300 people who felt strongly enough about this issue to support the petition. In an age when participation in the democratic process is in decline as the turnout figures from elections show, these people are not to be disrespected.

I'm also fairly certain that the remaining 445000 citizens of Liverpool are not expressing their tacit approval of the council's actions by not signing the petition, just as the 56,000,000 people who didn't march in London before the Iraq war were not thereby endorsing the US led invasion.

It's clear that whoever you are you dont like the use of amplifiers in the street and have a low opinion of buskers in general. I think you are allowing your personal prejudices and preconceptions to colour your judgment. If this issue had a direct relevance to your life, as it does to many people, you might be able to see more clearly why we have felt it necessary to constructively oppose the council's actions with this ongoing campaign.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

Delusional.

Jonathan WalkerAugust 16th 2012.

Anonymous by name, anonymous by nature

Pin BallAugust 10th 2012.

In light of this new legislation on buskers (and the associated ruling that any 'talentless buskers' should be stopped from performing altogether), has ANYBODY not realised that for the last 20 years or so, there has been a particularly 'talentless' busker who has managed to evade detection all this time and STILL plies his trade playing the same mumbled non-song (and the same four notes on his harmonica repeated ad infinitum) over and over and over again in the subway between Lime Street Underground and Main Line stations? I first came across him in 1988 and, incredibly, the guy is still there to this day......it is absolutely astonishing that he has lasted this long! You should check him out - he's usually there weekdays between 6am and 5pm.

Selwyn StreetAugust 11th 2012.

It's rather interesting that the leader of the 'campaign' is a middle class boy who lives in Leeds and the solicitor is from a Wirral firm.

Just sayin' like...

AnonymousAugust 11th 2012.

And what is your point exactly?

AnonymousAugust 12th 2012.

Perhaps they should do their dirt on their own doorsteps and leave Liverpool alone?

AnonymousAugust 12th 2012.

And Peel are from the Isle of Man and should do the same, by that token? FYI, Jonny is from Liverpool and the Wirral is hardly Bang-a-fucking-lore is it?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 12th 2012.

Language, Timothy!

AnonymousAugust 12th 2012.

This isn't really an issue about busking. It is about allowing unelected suits to run our city centre. Their task is to promote the city centre on behalf of the businesses, by enticing the public to head to the city centre to fill the coffers of the people they represent. There are some shops in the city centre I would personally banish, but they have a legal right to be there. If the stupid BID people win the War of the Buskers, what next. Oh and by the way, the BID people are unelected, they don't meet in public, they don't publish agendas or minutes. Eventually businesses will have the chance to decide by a referendum if they want the BID people to carry on. Let's hope the businesses give them their marching orders, preferably with Buskers singing a re-worked version of The Leaving of Liverpool (City Centre)

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

I don't remember electing any buskers to represent me.

Jonathan WalkerAugust 16th 2012.

Did you vote for the BID to represent you?

AnonymousAugust 12th 2012.

It's strange that 'Grace Note' feels the need to generalise, and pretend that all buskers are talentless. When I occasionally hear a bad busker I tend to keep walking - literally voting with my feet! By the way, this 'law' (which contradicts national law) will also affect balloon artists, jugglers, magicians and pavement artists, all of whom are virtually silent. But this is really about excessive control over a marginal issue. Take a walk through the city centre on a Sat/Sun morning and what do you see? The streets are paved with piss, vomit, bloodstains and broken glass. Bank holiday weekends, Paddy's night/week, the noise, filth and danger generated by our binge-drinking-friendly culture has made the city a no-go zone for families and the elderly. And they dare to call street performers a nuisance? Before they pick on entertainers - targeting the foreign ones first in a sickening exercise of cultural cleansing - they should consider the nuisance and weekly clean-up bill for all of us that their their bar-culture has created.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 13th 2012.

You need to actually read Grace Note's postings before posting your opinion of them. You won't look so silly.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

Anyone who has really lived in Liverpool for more than five minutes knows that the city centre streets have always shown the signs of the previous nights' drinkers' high-jinks on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

What has changed is that for some reason buskers are no longer told to shut up and move on and if they didn't they'd be thrown into the back of a police van.

And they are complaining!

AnonymousAugust 12th 2012.

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

If you don't like it that's tough. It's your own fault.

You should quietly leave.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 17th 2012.

You don't sound like the Epic Sax Guy in the other posts.............

AnonymousAugust 20th 2012.

Sounds exactly the same to me.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2012.

I've never seen (or more to the point heard) amplified buskers outside any of Kirwan's offices on a working day. Strange that.

Tillie FernackerpanAugust 13th 2012.

That might explain Kirwans' willingness to take on this case and gain a huge amount of free publicity as a champion of the supposed underdog taking on the hated public sector in the right-wing press.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 13th 2012.

The Daily Mail will love this, slagging off what they'd call 'town hall comissars' and making Liverpool a laughing stock in the national press again.

Daily Mail & Kirwan's - 2, Liverpool and busker Nil.

AnonymousAugust 13th 2012.

The council has made itself a laughing stock, don't blame the people because they won't sit idly by.

AnonymousAugust 13th 2012.

What are you gibbering about?

AnonymousAugust 18th 2012.

What about the Guardian article? I think the Council has received criticism from across the political spectrum...

AnonymousAugust 13th 2012.

What are you gibbering about?

Def IIAugust 14th 2012.

Of course, it they'd learn to sing properly they wouldn't need microphones.

But then the deafening racket they make appeases the same loutish machismo that makes inadequates drive around with their windows open and the stereo full on.

AnonymousAugust 14th 2012.

There are some great buskers in Liverpool... and there is some shite! The oriental girl that plays She's Electric through an unnecessarily distorted amp, and the short guy that sings She's Electric in the style of something off Southpark are the reasons people have complained about the poor quality of buskers. It's the decent buskers trying to make money for rent that I feel for... the ones that CAN'T afford a £220 amp and an electric guitar.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

Hear hear!

Bring back the accordionists and the trumpeters!

Pin BallAugust 14th 2012.

NONE of them though, are as bad as the one in the subway at Lime Street weekdays who has got away with playing the same NON tune for the last 24 years........he really has to be witnessed to be [dis]believed.

1 Response: Reply To This...
PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

im the bald guy who comes on after him.i hope you think better of me!

AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

Gracie Fields, George Formby, The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane,Vera Lynn, Paul Robeson, Blondie, Edith Piaf and many more are well known for impromptu street performances. Piaf started out busking as a child. These people would all be criminals inLiverpool today... for singing to people!

The idiots who keep posting conformist without a cause attempts at distraction. Could you kindly please go and boil your heads?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

They weren't busking though, most were one-off stunts. And not using amplifiers at street level.

Piaf was begging for food. Do you want us to go back to poor children singing in pubs? That's been illegal for a century or more.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

If you could arrange for any of those you have listed to do a turn in the centre of Liverpool they would be welcomed.

Unfortunately we only get deafeningly-amplified howlers and strummers.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

So if they get up on the roof, it's ok then?

AnonymousAugust 16th 2012.

'Do you want us to go back to poor children singing in pubs?'

Come on, you can do better than that.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

Ban amplified performance - problem solved.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerAugust 16th 2012.

it's 2012, technology has moved on. It is not amplifiers per se that are the issue, it is specifically how loud they are, and what is coming out of them. Without some amplification there is no place on the street for electric violins, classical guitar (Played audibly) or street dance performed to a backing track. There is a place for a far more nuanced discussion about this issue then has commonly been the case...

AnonymousAugust 16th 2012.

"Backing track"? That's not busking that's just nuisance at the flick of a switch.

AnonymousAugust 16th 2012.

Classical guitarists ARE audible if they are any good.
There is no place on the street for electric violins or noisy 'backing tracks'. The clue in in the lack of 13amp sockets and fact that it is outdoors where it has been known to rain. Water doesn't mix with electricity.
What's wrong with playing proper violins?

Jonathan WalkerAugust 17th 2012.

So a vocal minority object to any kind of amplification. I get that. I certainly agree that amplifiers divide opinion, but I think there is a very strong case for them.

I got an amplifier after I nearly developed nodules on my vocal chords. A wide range of street performers use SOME amplification to be heard above the level of ambient street noise, from Escapologists, jugglers and magicians who need to project their voices to an audience on a busy street.

On a bustling street the decibel level can be anywhere up to 83 dB. An amplifier makes it possible to heard over that ambient noise and is therefore a very valuable tool.

Acoustic busking tends to work well on less busy streets, or in subways, or in places with good natural acoustics.

You say:

'There is no place on the street for electric violins or backing tracks'

I beg to differ, and so do many others who make their living from street performing and many others who enjoy their performances. For instance the 1,800,000 people who have watched this clip of Ed Alleyne Johnson (From New Model Army) busking in Chester: http://youtu.be/vUO6kYLb6As

I suspect some would prefer to see busking as a marginalised aspect of city life, and expect performers not to make use of technology that enables portable battery powered amps to be easily used in a way that wasn't possible 40 years ago.

And acoustic instruments like trumpets (upper range 95dB), saxophones (115dB), drums (115 dB), acoustic violins (95 dB), bagpipes (110 dB) are all capable of being louder then a guitarist with an amplifier.

Amplifiers have volume controls and can be turned down if necessary. But they are not the blanket enemy they are often made out to be by people who often fixate on isolated examples of bad performers and then apply their reasoning to ALL performers. This is how real people make their living, at a time when jobs are scarce we will defend our right to make a living, especially against armchair critics who are generally poorly informed about the real issues.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2012.

Proper buskers arrived and were happily performing.
Then you lot arrived with your deranged sense of self-importance with your amplifiers causing complaints of noise which is why the Council, which could hitherto turn a blind eye to buskers, having
to act.

NOISE nuisance is a HEALTH HAZARD. Go and make it where you used to make it before you came to ruin our lives.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2012.

(YAWN)

AnonymousAugust 15th 2012.

Hooray!

Earache on Church StreetAugust 16th 2012.

The members of the amplifier gang are obsessed with tyrannising the public street with their own private noise. Noise is pollution and it has a detrimental effect on people's health.

This is antisocial. The countless people rightfully using the street are there because they are doing countless different things getting on with their lives, not because they want to be deafened or obstructed by amplified nuisances whose amateurish racket should be contained in their own bedrooms, soundproofed rooms in community centres or the back rooms of downmarket pubs.

The saddest thing is that these posturing prima donnas have ruined it for the more talented and original buskers who weren't so arrogant that they demanded to deafen everybodywith amplifiers. Their unobtrusive and rather charming presence has been swept from our city centre.

Streets are for all kinds of people doing all kinds of things, not just for the self-indulgence of fantasist, would-be stadium rockers.

These selfish noisemakers ought to book an actual performance venue. And see if anyone bothers to turn up to hear their ‘music’.

It’s called a ’reality check’.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerAugust 17th 2012.

You talk sanctimoniously about arrogance. I think it takes an enormous amount of arrogance to attack the livelihoods of people from the safety of your computer with your hyperbole and sweeping generalisations.

'Streets are for all kinds of people doing all kinds of things'

Exactly. They are places of community and interaction. They are not sanitised and tightly managed controlled spaces. If you object to particular buskers (Including me though I seriously doubt you've ever seen me perform), then fair enough. Talk to them, tell them what you think of them, offer them tips from your presumably vast experience of what constitutes valid cultural expression. But when you move from the posture of armchair bore/village cynic to attacking people's livelihoods, blaming buskers for the coercive and badly thought out actions of the Council, and consistently failing to engage with the real issues, then you start to become a little tiresome.

For the record, the unamped buskers whose absence you now mourn were frightened off by a City Council that saw fit to talk to accuse them of 'trespass' and requiring them to prove eligiblity to work in the UK, proof of residency, and to obtain £5 million public liability insurance. To blame buskers as a collective group for the badly thought out and coercive actions of a city council is a slur upon us all. The fact that this policy was agitated for by the Business Improvement District, an unelected Quango that represents private interests above those of the people should be another clue to you that there are bigger issues then a few poor buskers who play Oasis and have an annoying amplifier.

Performance venues are closing down by the dozen week-by-week along with the kind of independent pubs that appreciate live music. These are hard times for us all. Jobs are scarce, making a living as a musician can be a struggle at times. So we will defend our livelihood and our craft, especially against the uninformed cyber-rhetoric of people who side with a council policy so badly thought out it is subject to judicial review in the courts.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2012.

AMPLIFIERS = NOISE NUISANCE

Do I need to draw you a diagram?

AnonymousAugust 20th 2012.

(YAWN)

AnonymousAugust 16th 2012.

How about the religious zealots and their amplified, noise pollution mumbo jumbo, which I find considerably more offensive than a badly performed song?

I asked two of them if they had to apply under the same rules as buskers and they said they hadn't because... 'buskers are beggars, and we were told we automatically have permission because we are preaching the gospel according to the lord cheeses christ.' I told them I found what they were doing far more offensive than busking, and one of them contorted his face like a battered tin of spam and growled at me 'Jesus loves you' Yeah right!

I think we should all put a complaint in to the council. I am!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 19th 2012.

Well I wish they'd bugger off too, they are as big a pain the butt as the howlers and droners, along with the Socialist Worker bores, Miltant this that and the other and the Animal Rights Disneyheads

And Jonny, you're just boring us all now, If you and the rest of them are any good get a gig in a pub or club and clear off from our streets

Jonathan WalkerAugust 30th 2012.

Hello 'Anonymous',

I'm sorry that I bore you, but seeing as I have no idea who you are I'm not too concerned about that. I'm not so sure who the 'us' are that you refer to so I'll address you in the singular.

You seem to have a low tolerance threshold for most activities outside the range of your experiences and personal preferences. Your 'vision' of street life seems particularly devoid of any colour and seems to be a call to homogeneity and dull conformity

You tell me to get a gig in a pub or a club if I'm good enough as if that is some kind of benchmark of cultural validity. As it happens, the street predates the pub and the club by a few thousand years as a forum for public performances, so I'll carry on playing on the streets, as well as the festivals, the parties and the gigs that are the staple of the working musician. And I won't be told by an anonymous, keyboard hugging malcontent how to make my living and feed my family. Thanks though.

AnonymousAugust 16th 2012.

I should add that the standard of preaching was well below par!

kiacumbAugust 28th 2012.

What is new? The Picasso Sisters were hounded for providing fantastic music and fun in the city centre in the 70's and on. Plus Ca change...

Olde TymerAugust 29th 2012.

Aye, but that was the good old days when the Mathew Street Festival was a lighthearted Surrealist arts festival, before it was taken over by the Beatles graverobbing industry.

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

to anonymous..Piaf was not begging.she was BUSKING.theres a difference.she was using her talent to make money.

AnonymousOctober 7th 2012.

(a) The term busking didn't exist then,
(b) She sang along with her father's acrobatic act,
(c) She did not use an amplifier.

AnonymousOctober 9th 2012.

(d) It was still busking
(e) What difference does that make
(f) I bet she was loud enough without one

Noone InparticularNovember 27th 2012.

For those claiming to speak for all in voicing an opinion that less "savoury" busking acts should be forced off the streets - it might do well to remember that no busker ever returns repeatedly to a busking "venue" which appreciates their music so little, there isn't enough in the hat to justify repeatedly returning (excepting those poor souls so terribly desparate, that "there but for the grace of god go I"). Ergo, there must be sufficiently large sector of the shop-going public who feel their efforts are worth a coin or two, enough at least to encourage return performances. Perhaps the real solution should be to have such busking acts closely monitored and their patrons photographed in the act, whic patrons are then approached and identified by a special surveillance task force (perhaps drawn from the roster of failed applicants for Police/community support officers/et al - helping keep unemployment figures down in the process; they could wear a distinct uniform so noone can claim subversion - perhaps hard peaked hats, dark coloured jodphurs, bown shirts and ties, riding boots, and some sort of insignia worn on armbands to clearly advertise their office), whose job it would be to assist the council in drawing up a list of those members of the public attempting to subvert the will of the BID and Council, and thus provide a crop of suitable candidates who may then be invited (under penalty of a suitably installed council bye-law, and at their own cost of course) to participate in a newly installed Council-sponsored, BID approved pilot-scheme for social "reprogramming", where selected candidates are invited to participate in an upbeat new programme designed to assist society's unfortunates in once again marching in step with BID and Council mandates, indeed with society at large. A scheme such as this, which will no doubt meet with the support of the majority of Liverpudlians (which majority have no doubt found their champions on this forum), need not stop at targeting those with dubious personal predilections in street music, but may be rejoicefully extended to include all those poor souls suffering from any other manifestly undesirable outlook which someone else might suspect is contrary to the policy mandates of the BID, Council and it's supporters. Only by such philantropic methods of social assistance can it ever be hoped for a return to the glory days where once the destiny of our once great people was poised to extend the reign of its empire into eternity and beyond...

Seriously though, so what if the council wants to bring in licences, insurance requirements etc. - so long as he who brings the liability, bears the liability. Otherwise, it's simply an anticipatory fine for the non-crime of a practice whose essential liberty is preserved and enshrined, thankfully along with all our liberties, in too much history of precedent at common law, among others, to be arbitrarily swept aside at the stroke of an administrator's pen - unless that pen-stroke goes uncontested.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Peter Noone in ParticularNovember 27th 2012.

Something tells me I'm onto something good!

AnonymousNovember 27th 2012.

"Street music"? What's that when it's at home?

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