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Exclusive: Liverpool busking policy thrown out

'We got it wrong' says councillor as controversial plan goes back to drawing board

Written by . Published on September 21st 2012.

Exclusive: Liverpool busking policy thrown out

LIVERPOOL CITY Council is to scrap its controversial new busking policy, Liverpool Confidential can reveal today. 

The decision comes three weeks after campaigners applied for a High Court injunction, barring its enforcement, saying it was unlawful, unreasonable and irrational. 

Then the council suspended the policy while it held a review. Today it has gone one further and thrown it out all together, with one councillor admitting it was “never enforceable”. 

A whole raft of new rules to “benefit buskers” sparked an outcry when they were introduced in July

They required acts to obtain £20 work permits, compulsory public liability insurance costing over £100, a ban on under-18 performers and the Simon Cowell clause which would allow any civic or police official the power to pull the plug on a performance if they judged it not to be good enough. 


But rules are made to be broken, or, in this case, re-thought and now Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has called for silence in court. 

The policy will now go back to the drawing board after the Mayor blamed a pressing court timetable which, he said, was putting constraints on its initial review. “I don't want it to be rushed in any way.” 

He said: “The common sense approach is for us to agree not to implement the policy so that the unnecessary court proceedings, with the associated costs for both sides, can be brought to an end. And we can instead get on with working together to deliver a solution which will satisfy everyone.” 

Mayor Anderson added: “Contrary to some of the misleading and overblown commentary about the changes, it was never our intention to limit their activity. The aim was to put arrangements in place that would benefit buskers.” 

Merseyside lawyer David Kirwan spearheaded the legal challenge. His ten-page submission, on behalf of 19-year-old busker Siobhan McDermott, outlined three key objections to the council’s decision: specifically that it was unlawful, that the process was unreasonable, and that the terms and conditions were “irrational, oppressive and/or disproportionate to the extent that no reasonable decision maker, properly informed, could have arrived at them”. 

Steve MunbySteve MunbyLast month he urged Mayor Anderson to scrap the policy and avoid a costly court battle, saying: “Joe Anderson has the chance to put right a wrong by voluntarily overturning these new measures, and by doing so save the city the cost of defending what is indefensible.” 

City solicitors will now contact his firm to seek an order halting the proceedings. 

Councillor Steve Munby, the Cabinet member for Living Environment and Localism, drafted the policy in consultation with council officers and city centre stakeholders such as the BID team which represents retailers who had called for the legislation. 

He denied that public pressure had played any part in the decision, despite Liverpool-born busker Jonny Walker instigating the Keep Streets Live campaign in response to the legislation. It garnered over 5,000 signatures in a petition against the rules.

"I haven't seen a busking community behind it, just one or two very loud voices."

Ged Gibbons And Jonny WalkerHop it: BID Chief Executive Ged Gibbons and busker Jonny Walker in July

Instead, Councillor Munby insisted there were still many good points in the original policy and that a panel of interested parties would now be drawn together, which will include musicians, to come up with some new, workable ideas. 

 “Time slots, designated, pre-booked pitches, and permits and insurance are not unreasonable ideas,” he told Liverpool Confidential, "and the BID team has every right to lobby on behalf of its members for legislation.

 “You can see why we would put an under 18 rule in place, but now we will be looking at that, and also what we can do to allow performers such as the eastern Europeans to return to the streets.

Cllr Munby conceded: “The policy wasn't thought through properly and we ought to have realised at the time.

“Many of the regulations as they stood, were unenforceable. We had no team in place, no officers to go around checking people. 

“I hold my hands up and admit that on this occasion, we got it wrong.” 

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

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Steve Gumby.

Warren BradleySeptember 21st 2012.

I blame Lee Forde

Mike StoreySeptember 21st 2012.

I think it's quite noble for at least one of them to admit they fucked up. I wouldn't have

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ali GatesSeptember 21st 2012.

And you're now in the House of Lords. What a depressing country.

Mr PaceSeptember 21st 2012.

There should only be one rule: no amplification, and that goes for the shops also

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerSeptember 21st 2012.

On the off chance that this might be interesting to you, here is a section from ASAP's best practice guide to busking from the section on noise...the amp thing is a bit of a red herring...

Noise or Nuisance?

Noise is all around us. Ambient street noise of 70 Db or above is not uncommon. People, traffic, public works, sirens and leakage from recorded music played inside shops all contribute to the familiar sounds of the urban environment. A busker needs to be heard above the level of ambient street noise, within a certain radius, for their performance to be effective. It is important that performers show consideration for the other users of a shared public space by performing at a level appropriate to the setting and context.

Many of the complaints made about buskers relate to noise. In our experience, these are mostly about the intrusiveness of a sound and not it’s volume alone. Performances that are repetitive in nature are more likely to be experienced as intrusive and lead to complaints. An unpleasant sound can be experienced as louder then a pleasing sound which is actually at a higher noise level.

For performers:

-Be aware of the setting and context of the public space where you are performing. Noise levels in smaller and quieter places need to be lower then on busy thoroughfares with more ambient noise. Always show consideration for the other users of the shared public space and for other performers.

-Use variety in your repertoire. Avoid the repetition of material in the same public space. Be prepared to move between different pitches.

-Always show consideration with the sound level of your performances and be prepared to adjust your volume if asked. As a guide, your level should be just above the level of ambient street noise, but not intrusively so.

-Take regular breaks between performances. Continuous noise, however pleasant, can be experienced as intrusive.

-If backing accompaniment is part of your act it should be secondary and unobtrusive. Pre-recorded sounds can be experienced as intrusive. If you are not actually performing, do not leave a backing track running as the continuous noise can cause unnecessary irritation.

For local authorities/businesses/residents:

-If you find you are disturbed a busking performance, make yourself known to the performer and politely inform them of this fact. Ask yourself if a compromise can be reached. Could the busker adjust his location, or agree with you upon a time period for the duration of their performance? Could the busker adjust their act in any other way to reduce the potential for disturbance?

-Remain calm, remember that buskers can and will adjust their performance upon polite request. It is often not necessary to make a formal complaint, as buskers will often be happy to compromise. Feel free to draw a busker’s attention to this code of practice if you need to.

Lord StreetSeptember 21st 2012.

Hear hear!

Mind you I noticed that the buskers allowed to perform under he new rules were of the amplhified whiners and strummers brigade.

How can that be? They are the principal nuisances who cause all the complaints!

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Jonathan's argument falls flat when he justifies amplification by saying that busy city streets are uncomfortably noisy so therefore buskers must use amplifiers to make an even louder and more uncomfortable noise.

Stacey LaverySeptember 21st 2012.

Hope they don't come back to it! Love our variety of street buskers; shows talent, creativity & sense of humour (in some cases)

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

I think Steve Gumby might end up as chairman of UKIP one day.

Freddy LaytonSeptember 21st 2012.

Great news

Dirty BertieSeptember 21st 2012.

At last common sense has prevailed

Albie DonnellySeptember 21st 2012.

Oh great, Colin Frost can come back

1 Response: Reply To This...
Liverpool WagSeptember 21st 2012.

Albie, that has just made me spit my tea

Captain HogwashSeptember 21st 2012.

Well done Steve Munby; proper politics. It wasn't well-thought-through but it takes decency to admit it, and to put it right. Respect.

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 21st 2012.

It takes decency and the imminent prospect of an unwinnable court case...

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Now now then Jonathan. Let's have a little bit of graciousness here, young man

16 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerSeptember 21st 2012.

I welcome the council's decision, but to claim that it has nothing to do with the Keep Streets Live! campaign is a little bit disingenuous to say the least...

It is disrespectful of Cllr Munby to disregard the 5000 people who signed the petition, and the hundreds of street performers who have been involved in celebratory busks to raise awareness of the campaign. This was more then one or two loud voices.

Mayor Anderson's claim that this policy was not an attempt to limit buskers activity does not stand up to scrutiny either.

As I've said before many times, we want to work with the Council in a positive way, but this policy was a BID driven attempt to control public spaces, and represented the further encroachment of private interests on public policy...

Lord StreetSeptember 21st 2012.

You cannot "work with the Council in a positive way" until you admit that the buskers who generate all the complaints are the ones with amplifiers and that they ought to be treated differently from the proper acoustic buskers who are not a bullying barrage of noise and lend a charming atmosphere to our city's streets.

Scouse and ProudSeptember 21st 2012.

Still only a measley 5,000 people on your petition?

I trust it will stand legal scrutiny and all the signatories can be proved be real people who live, work, regularly shop and saunter within earshot of Church Street, and not just a bunch of mischievous bandwagon-jumpers on the Internet who live miles away?

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

"the further encroachment of private interests on public policy..."

What are buskers if they aren't private interests? They pay no overheads and keep their gross income like rich tax-dodgers. They are too greedy to pay a paltry £20 a year for a licence! That's only 5p per day!

At least the businesses in town, their employees and customers pay rates and taxes which can go to benefit the community AND they attract the crowds who pay the buskers.

Jd MoranSeptember 21st 2012.

As opposed to the tens of thousands of "real people" who were actively in favour of the council/BID's proposed policy?

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 21st 2012.

As I'm sure you are aware, this dispute was not about a £20 registration fee, it was about irrational, oppressive and unreasonable terms and conditions...

The old tax-dodging chestnut...

I, like many other professional musicians who busk, do pay tax as a self-employed artist. For many other people busking is an enjoyable hobby. It is a way of meeting people and gaining experience of performing on the streets. The money is a side issue...

But I ask you 'Anonymous', who are the real High Street tax dodgers? Buskers, or retail outlets that use complex tax arrangements to limit their liabilities and use holding companies based in Luxemborg to pay the bare minimum to the exchequer? Let's get real here...

People come to cities, not just to shop, but for the sense of community and to experience the many other things urban live has to offer aside from retail...

A city like Liverpool with a growing visitor economy and a world-wide reputation for music and culture is the kind of place should cultivate and support street entertainment...

Street entertainment does not detract from a shopper's experience, it actually makes people more time in the city, and boosts the local economy at no extra cost to the local authority...

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Like them or not, the Council was elected by people who live in Liverpool, that's democracy.

TownboySeptember 21st 2012.

People don't come to the city centre for a sense of 'community'!
They come for the excitement and the anonymity, otherwise they'd stay in the suburbs where everyone knows their names and young people feel oppressed.

The Man from The PruSeptember 21st 2012.

Every other business in the public streets, no matter how small, must have Public Liability Insurance in case of accident or injury to a member of the public. So must every sign, every pillar box, every litter bin, etc.

If face-painters, sweetshops and street traders have it and pay for it, why should buskers be exempt?

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 21st 2012.

Every individual bin has to have £5 million public liability insurance?

Are you sure?

Buskers are not businesses...they are engaging in a form of lawful public expression with no guarantee of any kind of reward whether financial or otherwise...

The Man from the PruSeptember 21st 2012.

They are expecting to take money from the public.

If a talented artist friend of mine offers her face painting skills to the public, she has to have Public Liability Insurance, and she doesn't litter public spaces with heavy speaker cabinets and trailing wires to trip the unwary.

She doesn't make a lot of anti-social noise either.

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 23rd 2012.

Busking occupies a unique territory in the cultural landscape. Most typically a busker is not paid directly for their performances. This is in contrast to performers or artists who are hired for a specific purpose and receive direct payment for their efforts. Many buskers are also professional performers who, in other contexts such as weddings, pub or club gigs and private parties, are paid for what they do. When a person busks, they are not typically being paid to be there, rather they perform with no guaranteed prospect of any form of recompense.

In essence it is the public element of performance that defines it’s nature. Busking happens in public spaces, amongst members of the public. For many buskers, the opportunity to express themselves in a public space is sufficient reward in itself. For others there is the realistic prospect that members of the public will demonstrate their appreciation for a performance by making a contribution, whether that be financial, or in the form of praise or other feedback...

I don't think your talented friend requires public liability insurance to do face painting. What legal basis does this supposed requirement have? It is yet another red herring, as is the spurious concern for people tripping over wires.

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

"Busking occupies a unique territory in the cultural landscape" - No it doesn't.

It isn't in the 'cultural landscape' at all. In the urban landscape however it is a form of begging.
Using loud amplifiers simply turns ordinary beggng that can be ignored by the law-abiding passers by into AGGRESSIVE begging because you are forcing your presence upon people simply trying to get on their lives and who never asked to be given tinnitus.

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

Jonathan Walker wrote: "Buskers are not businesses...they are engaging in a form of lawful public expression with no guarantee of any kind of reward whether financial or otherwise..."

In his numerous long posts over the last six weeks or so he has described busking as "an honest living", "income" and even a way to feed his family!

That makes it a business.

Proper voluntary workers don't expect me to put money in a bucket for them.

RumpoleSeptember 24th 2012.

It is now apparent why your legal career went down the pan.

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 24th 2012.

Capitalising the word 'aggressive' is an interesting move...

Your conflation of 'busking' with 'begging' is both ignorant and malicious and can be safely disregarded. if you'd actually bother to read anything I have written I have repeatedly said we don't have an issue with the council or police asking individual buskers to turn down their volume or move on if they are causing a genuine disturbance, what we object to is the introduction of a coercive and legally dubious scheme that affects all types of performances. But you know that already.

If you want to define busking as business you are welcome to. A few people make a full time living as professional street performers travelling between cities as I do. For many others, busking is an enjoyable hobby and is a way of gaining experience of performing and meeting friends. Either way it's clear we can't win in your eyes, we are either 'beggars' or 'businesses' or some hybrid combination of the two.

The wider role of street animation and spontaneity in public spaces is a further point to be made, but I know in your case it will fall upon deaf ears, especially if you've just been for a stroll on Church Street.

John H.WalkerSeptember 21st 2012.

Steve Munby's denial that public pressure had played any part in the decision, despite Liverpool-born busker Jonny Walker instigating the Keep Streets Live campaign in response to the legislation, is manifestly flying in the face of the facts. Of course that campaign had everything to do with this policy being withdrawn. And to say that he hadn't 'seen a busking community behind the campaign is gratuitous nonsense.

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

1. "Liverpool-born". Big deal! he doesn't live here now to suffer the noise. Peter Sissons is Liverpool-born, it doesn't justify his right-wing opinions.

2. "Busking Community". Hardly! Most are jonny-come-latelies who weren't here until a couple of yers ago.

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Oh well

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

The council still dont think it was a bad idea just that they didnt make a good job of drawing up the rules. They clearly have every intention of getting there own way on this and its quite possible that the end result will be something more expensive for the taxpayer to run which is designed to make the private businesses of the BID group more profitable.

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

The big shops are what draws the crowds who drop the coins into the buskers' hats.

You are cutting off your nose to spike your face.

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Plinka Plink would have turned in his grave

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 28th 2012.

.........if he were dead. I believe Plinka Plink is still very much alive, living in a nursing home.

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

I hope they bring in means to regulate smug and inappropriate triumphalism from non-residents, though. It's been the talk of the pubs that the council got this one wrong for weeks, and they've been sounding out a lot of local musical opinion. All very quietly, as they were gagged by the legal process. But Liverpool politicians talking to Liverpool people in Liverpool and ending up making the right call for Liverpool Council tax Payers, and holding their hands up over the intitial weakness of the policy: I can live with that. This Walker fella's a bit of an irritant, though. Bet he sings out of tune.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
TownboySeptember 21st 2012.

Previously Mr. Walker has said that he won't perform in pubs because they don't pay him the living wage he reckons they owe him.

Liverpool LouSeptember 21st 2012.

Most Liverpudlians are very welcoming to 'non-residents', who include overseas tourists from all over the world, people who live outside of the city but come to have a day out or shop, and exiled scousers like me who were shipped out of Liverpool by the slum clearance in less prosperous times but still love and visit the city of our birth. Liverpool has a history of welcoming people, you sound very territorial which is not a typical Liverpool trait! All these 'outsiders' spend money in Liverpool shops, restaurants, theatres, hotels etc and boost the economy of Liverpool. Rejoice oh sad one!

St. Michael in the OmeletSeptember 21st 2012.

Not at all, merely resentful of loud, opinionated, estuarine incomers who tell us how lucky we are to have them coming in and pricing locals out of the nice houses around the parks, filling all the places in the council crèches intended for deprived people, etc. etc.

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 23rd 2012.

I was born in Mill Road hospital and spent the first years of my life in a deprived inner city parish in Everton where my dad was vicar. I love Liverpool very deeply. There is a generosity of spirit evident in the city that is rare and not found in many other places.

My family moved away from the area, but my heart has never left Liverpool. I have to say that talk of 'incomers', 'non-residents' and 'Liverpool people' is unhelpful...

Liverpool is a city of immigrants and people fleeing persecution and poverty. At it's best it is a city unlike any other at welcoming the outsider. That is why it remains such an attractive place for people to come, to visit, and sometimes, to make a life...

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 21st 2012.

I don't mind being regarded as an irritant...

Liverpool is a global city, a cradle of music and culture that is famous around the world and rightly so...I am proud to have been born here and to have cut my musical teeth on Liverpool's streets...

The council made a bad decision and they have seen sense, and I welcome that. A bad local decision reverberates nationally and internationally. In the end, the legal challenge was a necessary way of forcing the issue and making the council reassess their priorities..

I think you will join me in agreeing that there are many more serious matters at stake in this economic climate then chasing buskers off the streets at the behest of the BID...mass unemployment, housing crisis, crumbling infrastructure, gang violence, endemic corruption to name a few...

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

That's easy for a middle-class boy whose guitar alone is worth about six months' Job Seekers Allowance to say.

Elaine KinsellaSeptember 21st 2012.

Is that a fact "ANONYMOUS" or are you just bitter because you're unemployed??
I would like to congratulate JW on all his hard, earnest, voluntary work to bring justice to the street performers of Liverpool and show that we do have a voice and ability to change things! Now let's do something about the closure of MELLO MELLO www.change.org/…/stop-lcc-from-closing-mellomello…

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 21st 2012.

I'm sorry for being middle class anonymous...

I'm sure my credentials and opinions would have added validity if I had ancestry that met with your approval, but I've had to deal with the hand I've been dealt given that this is the only life I'll be able to live...

Elaine KinsellaSeptember 21st 2012.

I agree Liverpool is a global city and thrives because of it! If it only contained LIVERPOOL RESIDENTS then it would have been left to rot under Thatchers rule!http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16361170 I have lived here all my life - and spent a good few years travelling near and afar in the midst of it - Liverpool really is a wondrous place and when people come to visit for work opportunities or to attend one of the many excellent HE facilities to better themselves - they tend to stay because there is no place like especially when it comes to live music, culture, personality and vibrance! We should all be thankful that someone actually gives a shit and stop with the bullshit playground politics ANONYMOUS!

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

That's right - mock the unemployed. Why don't you have a go at those disabled people in wheelchairs for getting state benefits too?
If there were no Liverpool residents there'd be no Liverpool for you to ponce about in and you'd have to go back to mummy and daddy in Buckinghamshire.
We welcome nice people, but not swaggering incomers who presume to tell us how to live our lives.

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 23rd 2012.

No one is mocking the unemployed 'Anonymous'...

Merely stating that Liverpool is a city with a well-deserved global reputation for music and the arts which makes it an attractive place for people to come and live. It has great universities and many of the people who come and study here choose to make a life here, and contribute to the city in many ways.

The original council 'street activity management plan' said that it wanted to make Liverpool 'one of the most business-friendly cities in the country'. It is council policy to attract inward investment to Liverpool. One of the few areas seeing growth is the visitor economy.

The attitude that 'outsiders' should have no say in city life is perverse and self defeating. We are all 'outsiders' really. It just depends on how far back you trace your ancestry. Irish immigrants, descendants of slaves or slave traders, normans, celts, saxons...we are all mongrels, even you 'anonymous'...

Elaine KinsellaSeptember 21st 2012.

By the way - just noticed that most negative posts on here are by ANONYMOUS people or people using alias's - Strange that init!

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

Oh yes? And you expect us to believe that's your real name?

Prof. ChucklebuttySeptember 21st 2012.

Oh Buskers! When I read a few months ago that the council were going to put an end to the terrible racket going on in the city, I thought they meant getting rid of Liverpool Direct.

Sadly they have joined the band.

I wonder what the X factor is?

Liverpool LouSeptember 21st 2012.

I'm delighted that we will still have the vibrancy and fun atmosphere that buskers bring to our sometimes dull lives. Anyone that goes into town does'nt go for the peace and tranquility. All the stores play muzak to a captive audience. At least in the street if you don't like it just walk away from it. I love the colour and character they bring. Well done Jonathan bye bye killjoys. Wander round the parks if you don't like buskers. This is a city with something for everyone! Long may it last!!

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

The shop is private property they can do what they like but you are not a captive audience, you can walk out of a shop.

Unfortunately then you have to walk into the street where untalented 'buskers' with big amplifiers impose their egotistical will on what is supposed to be a public space without consent.
And you can't easily walk away from a deafening racket that is reverberating down a quarter of a mile of street.

If your life is dull, don't come here with it an impose it on us like another antisocial busker.

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 21st 2012.

ASAP! welcomes the decision of Liverpool City Council announced today to formally drop their street entertainment terms and conditions. We are under no doubt that it was the legal challenge against the policy made by David Kirwan of Kirwan’s solicitors that has led to this outcome. The policy was irrational, oppressive and disproportionate. It would not stand up to proper legal scrutiny.

Cabinet member Stephen Munby said, "I haven't seen a busking community behind it, just one or two very loud voices." In fact, 5000 people have signed a petition asking the council to think again, and hundreds of artists and performers have spent the summer campaigning against the council policy in an impressive show of unity and solidarity. Mayor Anderson attempted to downplay the reasons behind the busking policy by saying,
‘Contrary to some of the misleading and overblown commentary about the changes, it was never our intention to limit their activity. The aim was to put arrangements in place that would benefit buskers.” This claim does not stand up to scrutiny. In fact, the policy was a response to intense lobbying by the Business Improvement District who wanted strict limits to be imposed on what was allowed to happen in our shared public spaces. Councillor Munby added, “...the BID team has every right to lobby on behalf of its members for legislation”. The kind of lobbying he is referring to is close to undue influence on the decisions of a democratically accountable public body.
Liverpool is a city known worldwide for fostering culture, music and the arts. We hope that in the future the council will take decisions that protect and enhance its hard won reputation as a European Capital of Culture and not take away from it.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerSeptember 23rd 2012.

Another 'anonymous' and parochial comment that fails to engage meaningfully with anything of substance.

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

Indeed it it and you haven't.

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

Jonathan wrote: "The kind of lobbying he is referring to is close to undue influence on the decisions of a democratically accountable public body."

Then it is your democratic right to ask your Councillors or Member of Parliament to intervene on your behalf...

...Oh, they're all in Leeds! What a shame.

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.


Now piss off back down South and fill in that tax return, there's a good lad.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Elaine KinsellaSeptember 21st 2012.

Why don't you go watch some more daytime TV!

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Because it's got people like you on it!

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 23rd 2012.

West Yorkshire is not the South, it is North East of Liverpool...

But as the citizen of a cosmopolitan, outward looking metropolis you know that already.

Liverpool LouSeptember 24th 2012.

Resorting to bad language because not everyone agrees with you!

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

buskers are liked rich tax dodgers!what planet do you live on?i busk for a bit of pocket money.if only it was as lucrative as some of these idiots think.id do it more often if i liked it..eg,i hate the stigma that has beem attached by stupid ignorant people who are unhappy with the taxes that they pay...puerile ,ignorant and judgemental.

LeoSeptember 21st 2012.

Seems like a fair outcome. Let's now see what the future holds. All this bickering is pointless and is actually undermining the image of ASAP. It makes me wonder what the real issues are.

People are entitled to their opinions, but this is counter productive.

JW, the buskers have won, for now. Isn't that enough ? Case closed. Go and celebrate. Why do you feel the need to be drawn into argument ? Your role in the campaign has been noted and appreciated, but let's not forget that it's a team effort. Shouldn't you move on ? All you're doing now is tarnishing the image and reputation of yourself and the campaign. I hope you'll embrace the campaign to save Mello with the same fervour and enthusiasm. Look forward to seeing you back in Liverpool on a regular basis to lend your support for that one. We all know how much you care about music in general and the other artists in Liverpool.

One last thing. Brevity (I'll excuse myself from this as it's the only post I'll make). With all respect, I start to wilt everytime you post a comment. Nobody wants to read massive chunks of text which say the same old thing over and over. Besides which, subtextually speaking, most of it seems to be about you. Why don't you thank all the people who have contributed to this effort and be grateful that the council has held up its hand, instead of blowing your own trumpet (no musical pun intended) and attacking our city leaders ? That's not the way to proceed.

Well done to all the performers who stuck it out and stayed on the streets. I'm sure there will be new proposals on how to proceed with street entertainment. I suspect some of it will be welcomed and some of it contested. I think the key word here is 'Compromise.'

At the moment the busking in Church Street has become a free-for-all. First come, first served. I've heard disturbing stories of some buskers being bullied off their pitch by others. This is clearly unacceptable. So we must await the outcome of future meetings and hope that a fair and practical solution can be found.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerSeptember 23rd 2012.


Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I don't feel triumphant because I know that it is only as a result of legal pressure that the council backed down from their policy. Their statements to the press are full of PR doublespeak and dissembling. I believe that the city leaders should be held to account for the decisions they make. That is democracy.

I recognise that there are many more issues at stake here then just busking. What are our public spaces for? Should private interests (namely, the BID) have a large sway on public policy? Where should local authorities best concentrate their resources at a time of austerity and cut backs.

I don't advocate a free for all in any sense. I don't like bullying wherever it occurs, but let's not use these one-off anecdotes as a reason to impose a huge set of restrictions on street culture. I would like to see a culture of compromise and cooperation emerge.

As for Mello Mello, this is an issue of massive importance and relevance. It goes without saying that the campaign against another perverse council decision has my full support.

Mickeydrippin'September 28th 2012.

I agree with your last paragraph Leo. A few months ago on Bold Street, I witnessed a busker who had just arrived, going over to another and kicking the money he had collected across the street. It was a pity that no police officers were around because, he should have been arrested and banned from busking.

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Jonny is an egotist, it's that simple

Read anything he's ever posted here, and it's all about him and his vanity

That's all

10 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

And I do realise that my comment is worthless cos I'm Anonymous

If I went as a fictitious name, I'd be validated :-)

Purple AkiSeptember 21st 2012.

No you wouldn't!

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Have I met you before Mr Aki? You have a familiar feel

PaulSeptember 21st 2012.

as a busker i hate to agree but mr walker is a shameless self-publicist.his modest comment recently annoyed me-"im one of the best known buskers in liverpool"..really!

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Spot on! I'd never heard of him until I read his self-indulgent whining in Liverpool Confidential. What a pity he didn't work hard enough to become a barrister.

Chewbacca CrosbySeptember 21st 2012.

Anonymous, have you been feeling Purple Aki?

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

Epic Sex Guy (couldn't be arsed signing in)


AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2012.

It was a purely reciprocal arrangement, but I was known as Mr Muscle back in those days

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 23rd 2012.

I wonder what is more egotistical. Let's consider two alternatives:

A busker, upon hearing that a local authority intend to bring in a highly restrictive and coercive new license scheme decides to devote time and energy to campaign against this threat to their livelihood and way of life.

An 'anonymous' person, who dislikes busking generally repeatedly posts negative comments beneath articles about an issue that does not directly concern them, and posts 'ad hominem' attacks on character of the busker.

Which of these persons is more egotistical?

And Paul, I'm sorry if I inadvertently upset you, it was not my intention. The council approached me because I was known to them as a busker. They wanted me to play at the launch event for the new policy so they could say that the policy had the support of 'the busking community'. I then read the terms and conditions carefully and realised that this was a wholesale attack on what busking is. Yes, I used whatever profile I have to campaign against the policy. Why? Because I was deeply convinced that the policy was wrong and damaging for all buskers, not just myself.

Liverpool LouSeptember 24th 2012.

Jonathan also has loads of positive things to say about Liverpool, unlike some of the mainly anonymous comments from people who think no one else has a right to come to Liverpool

Lord AuchSeptember 21st 2012.

Is Mello Mello under threat? Why haven't we read the story in a reputable news publication such as Liverpool Confidential?

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialSeptember 22nd 2012.

You will do Lord, we are sifting through the paperwork....

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 23rd 2012.

My other comments notwithstanding, Liverpool City Council do deserve credit for drawing a line under this episode. The Business Improvement District lobbied hard for a piece of legislation that would have had a detrimental effect on street culture in the city. There was an inadequate consultation and the resulting policy was unfair and damaging as it stood.

Thanks to everyone who campaigned against the policy, and the legal work of Kirwan's Solicitors, the council have gone back to the drawing board, and at least admitted they got something wrong. It is now to be hoped that we can all work together to enable a culture of cooperation and community to emerge on the city's streets with give and take on all sides, but without the legally dubious threats of trespass prosecutions and compulsory license schemes hanging in the background.

Black MariaSeptember 23rd 2012.

Liverpool city centre has been afflicted by successive plagues of incontinent alcoholic tramps, unsightly street traders that took over Church Street and hardly even paid their rent and now over-loud amplified karaoke nuisances who call themselves 'buskers' and are the cause of many complaints of noise nuisance.

It seems that as soon as one blight is removed and the city centre starts to look clean, safe and decent, another moves in to fill the gap.

Is it any wonder that the Council is trying to impose some kind of fair regulation?

It's not so long since anyone trying to sell stuff, busk or use the benches inappropriately was quickly swooped upon by the police and moved on or if they didn't move on, thrown into the back of a van without any discussion of 'rights'.

Those who feel their self-proclaimed new rights to take over the city's shop window streets are being taken away really ought to co-operate with the Council's efforts for a more liberal regulation or they might find themselves dealt with in the old-fashioned way.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan WalkerSeptember 24th 2012.

Your use of the word 'plague' to describe human beings is highly distasteful.

You may find that the 'old-fashioned way' of dealing with those aspects of city life that you personally find distasteful doesn't hold up to public or legal scrutiny...

Public spaces are places of community and interaction, not just extensions of shop fronts where the highest paying bidder dictates what is 'allowed' to happen. Your description of the now-abandoned council policy as liberal is risible.

Black MariaSeptember 24th 2012.

You ought to have tried busking in Liverpool twenty or more years ago, then you might be able to see things currently from a more realistic perspective.

You obviously weren't here then.

I was often stopped and searched by the police and I wasn't even committing a public nuisance with an amplifier. You really should have been there. We'd have enjoyed it.

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

The foot soldiers of the gentrification are out in force here aren't they?

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

No. I've lived here all my life, I've seen the city centre decline from being an exciting, varied, vibrant and interesting 'big city' environment you dressed up to visit to a crumbling, boarded-up, vomit-spattered place to avoid with grown men urinating on the street in broad daylight.

It's not a case of "gentrification", it is restoring some dignity to the city centre so I don't feel shame whilst showing visitors around.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Liverpool LouSeptember 24th 2012.

Liverpool is more vibrant and exciting now than it has been since the sixties. The shops, restaurant, hotels, nightlife, culture is thriving while the rest of the North is struggling. Why can't you be grateful of what you have on your doorstep? All big cities and towns also have their negative sides, it is what happens when there are people of all sorts. You can't stop human nature and you can't put locked gates on a city!

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

Only if you are fan of drunks urinating in Bold Street in full view of families and tourists alike.
The retail revolution is an illusion. We have fewer big department stores now than we had even under Derek Hatton which is supposed to be when Liverpool was at its lowest ebb. Liverpool One is OK if you want to buy faded denim and torn t-shirts from chainstores, but there's little else there.

Liverpool LouSeptember 24th 2012.

but I thought you did'nt want 'out of towners' in YOUR city! Or are you a different anonymous?

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

Off we go again with all the old re-runs

Liverpool ONE is so much more than you say. It's about the confidence of a city that feels good about itself and is proud to welcome visitors, tourists and out of towners alike
It's about business having the confidence too - enough to invest £££'s in permanent locations that are here to stay
And it's about Grosvenor estates coughing up a lot more than they needed to in order to add more than just bricks and mortar etc

yes there are some pop up type places that come and go, but come on, don't focus just on them!

I simply can't be bothered responding to Jonny, his obsessive mono-posts dried up ages ago

Darth FormbySeptember 24th 2012.

I've got to ask...is this last anonymous suggesting that Grosvenor Estates are acting partially out of some form of philanthropy?

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

Simply stating a fact, they did spend more than needed in order to add some additional, slightly whimsical details that you don't see unless they are pointed out

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2012.

It's nowt t'do wi'me!

Prof. ChucklebuttySeptember 25th 2012.

I'd be interested to hear Jonathan Walker's view on all of this.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Liverpool WagSeptember 25th 2012.

Ha ha!

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 25th 2012.

Grosvenor Estates primary concern is, I'm sure, return on investment. They are a private interest and they are, at least, transparent about that. Incidentally, they have a much more progressive attitude towards street animation then Liverpool Council (not that that is difficult mind you) and positively encourage busking, proof in itself that buskers are no blight upon the retail sector. Naturally the rents charged by L1 mean that only the usual suspects can afford shop spaces...

What is far more troubling is the attempt by the BID to turn the whole of Liverpool City Centre into their fiefdom with Baron Ged and his trusty sidekick Mikey D as the self-appointed feudal overlords. The undue influence that the BID have over public policy is troubling, as is the attempt by certain elements in the Council and the BID to 'flush out' those they feel are undesirable whether they be 'tramps', 'buskers', young people with skateboards and goth outfits, fundamentalist preachers, political activists or any other person who does not fit in with their idea of city centre life...

Public spaces have to belong to all of us. They are places of community, diversity and interaction. Attempts to impose an identikit dull conformity upon them must be resisted, as must be the attempts of private and democratically unaccountable bodies to subvert public policy. This is, after all, Liverpool, England not Dubai-upon-Mersey (can someone let Peel Holdings and Joe Anderson know that last point by the way?)....

Darth FormbySeptember 25th 2012.

Additional, slightly whimsical details that you don't see unless they are pointed out are usually the product of the architects vanity, Anon. I'll bet there were a few more too, which Peel knocked back.

I'm sure that Peel didn't spend a penny more than they absolutely had to. They have created a functional space in order to maximise profit. They could have spent more.

AnonymousSeptember 25th 2012.

One thing we're all agreed on is that Peel didn't spend much at all on LiverpoolONE!

What nasty people they are

Michael DoranSeptember 25th 2012.

Jonathan, Liverpool One audition buskers. That what you want to see city centre wide? Very interesting. Look forward to a grown up conversation when we hopefully meet during the review.
p.s. I take it you never saw the Bandstand the BID brought to Williamson Sq which showcased more than 100 local musicians during Jul/Aug? Or how about Light Night Market, Ping Festival, Big Dance Week, Brouhaha, Brazilica, Jubilee Live Art competition? Or will you be here for Bold St festival on Sunday. All funded through BID levy on businesses to animate the city centre, for everyone to enjoy. For free. And that's just this summer.

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 28th 2012.

Come on Michael, you know that auditions for busking city wide is a little bit of a silly idea. The point I'm making is that Liverpool One ARE a private concern, complete with private security guards in red jackets to turf out any undesirables. Liverpool City Centre, outside of L1, is a public space. It is the attempt by the BID to try to control what is allowed to happen in that public space, to the detriment of the overall well-being of the city, that I object to...

Mike, it's great that the BID help put on events in the city centre, and the bandstand was great as far as it goes, but why should they have the final say on what is allowed to happen in public spaces? Introducing a busking policy as restrictive and coercive as the one that has just been abandoned sent out a very mixed message indeed at best...

Mike DSeptember 28th 2012.

How can you applaud Liverpool One's progressive attitude to street entertianment in one post then berate them in the next one?

As to the busking policy. There will be a time and a place to discuss and debate its merits and shortcomings soon.

Jonathan WalkerSeptember 28th 2012.

I'm not berating them Mike. As far as a privately managed space goes, they have a fairly progressive attitude to buskers at L1. Whatever the rights and wrongs of leasing public spaces to one of the richest men in the world are, that is a debate that is over for the time being.

What I am saying is that our remaining public spaces are qualitatively Different from L1...they are public highways, there are no private security guards empowered to turf people off the land, and not should there be. The street activity management plan, championed by, and lobbied for by the BID aimed to control buskers, street preachers, political activists in an effort to create 'one of the most business friendly cities in the UK'. But Liverpool is not L1...the streets of the city are not just shop fronts, they are places of community and diversity, and the BID, a private interest, should not be allowed to exert undue influence on public policy.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 28th 2012.

Jeez Jonny, you keep trotting that out about places of community etc. The majority of respondents to this hackneyed topic object to having their peace and enjoyment of those same spaces disturbed by some tuneless no-hoper who creates the din that many of us class it as. There's a place for musicians, usually in music clubs where people go out of choice

Mike DSeptember 28th 2012.

Quite right Jonathan. It shouldn't. And it doesn't.
You have fair arguments about the workability of the policy, but your poor understanding of the BID and how it operates clouds your opinions.
You are looking for a bogey man that isn't there.

Jesus F ChristSeptember 28th 2012.

Of course Liverpool One wants some buskers (as long as they are the RIGHT SORT) to fit in with the theme park fakery of a bogus merrie olde Liverpoole full of adenoidal troubadors doing a 1960s 'tribute'.

Grosvenor will be collecting all the income from their 42-acre Liverpool One estate for the next 250 years with nothing going to the Council. It's of shoppers with money burning holes in ther 'designer' pockets.

Why not go and play at your quaint, picturesque minstrelsy in Liverpool One, Jonathan? You'd fit in much better. Or did you fail the audition?

Michael DoranSeptember 29th 2012.

Sorry to correct you Jesus (who'd have thought your middle name really was F?), but Grosvenor pay the council about £1m a year.

Cousin TroubleSeptember 29th 2012.

Oh, Anonymous, cut it out. I'm one of the loud, opinionated outsiders; another musician, too. Horrors! I came to visit Liverpool and fell in love with the city. And I'm not welcome? Then we can go to different parties.

Prof. ChucklebuttySeptember 29th 2012.

Well I still think some Buskers can be dangerous.

My mother warned me about running off in town as a few years ago a child let go of his mother's hand and ran off down Church Street. He wasn't looking where he was going and he ran straight through a harp.

Funnily enough, the harpist was playing part of the opera by Richard Strauss, Salame - which is what the poor kid looked like as they picked all the bits up.

My mother said they managed to stitch him together at The Royal Infirmary, but when he got undressed for PE at school it looked like he was wearing a corduoroy suit and the other kids laughed at him. Cruel swines! Anyway that's my gripe about buskers.

I saw some woman with a tin whistle stuck up her nose last week - came round the corner to fast and bang! And do you know, the bugger carried on playing it while waiting for the ambulance?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Prof. ChucklebuttySeptember 29th 2012.

Sorry I have just had a call from one-time conductor and waiter at the Royal Tandoori Orchestra, Simon Throttle, and he said the Opera is called "Salome" Still about sausages though isn't it. I said get yer hair cut Shirley Temple, and put the phone down.

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2012.

There was that time in the 70's when the kid fell off his dad's shoulders...straight down a giant Tuba too.

AnonymousSeptember 30th 2012.

Let us hope the BID people are kept away from this review. Don't they realise THEY are the problem, not the buskers. If they are involved it will be a case of ... here are the answers, not lets find the right questions. It was BID's belief they actually own the city centre, outside of Liverpool One (Grosvenor must be thinking Jeez that was a lucky escape) that sparked this off in the first place. Please BID people climb back into your little cage and don't be causing any trouble.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 1st 2012.

The vitriol directed at BID makes me suspect they must be good if they piss off all these unpleasant little Hitlers.

AnonymousOctober 2nd 2012.

How can they be the problem? They put their hands in their pockets to pay for entertainment in the city centre, that's more than you get off the so-called buskers.

John Steele.October 2nd 2012.

Sad to see. Liverpool city council still acting like a clue bunch of scallies, nothing changed since hattons days , if you ever have to have any dealings with the city council. It is a shocking experience. No wonder businesses fled the place in droves. , any one thinking of opening or starting a business venture. Must be crazy. , Typical scumbag scally councillors. Harassing everyone like thugs. Even the poor. buskers !!! . I brought relatives over from America. And they were shocked to say the least. About everything from the daily murders , shootings. And the decay and mess and run down businesses. , i will be glad to get away soon. And i hope the incompetant city council. Gets. Its come uppance soon. Nothing but ignorant thugs and scallies.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 4th 2012.

Yep, the daily murders get us all down.
the press don't report them either, shocking innit. Not like America, that haven of peace and law abiding loveliness. And look at that run down John Lewis place for decay and mess. Thanks Einstein

John. EvansOctober 3rd 2012.

I too. Have had the misfortune to own property and have dealings with liverpool city. Council. In a business which my family and i started and worked relentlessly for years which was the most sickening period of our family life , Absolute. Ignorant scallies. , we were owed money for over a year which should have been paid to us monthly. They came up with every excuse under the sun not to pay. Even the computers were broke. Which that excuse lasted 3 months !! Eventually we gave up as it nearly ruined us. Losing our own home , we shudder when we think of that period , thankfully. We got rid of our properties in Liverpool and move elsewhere. Where we deal with normal. People and who have morals even paying on Time!
It doesnt matter. What political party is in power. They keep the same scally. Civil servant employees. So not much changes. As its back to old habits and ways .
I too would recommend. Any aspiring business people to. Look elsewhere. And not join the liverpool night mare.
Some one in their little. Offices thinking who theybcan cause trouble for next !! Be careful. After the buskers. You may fall under their. evil. EYE,,!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 3rd 2012.

Oh well, bye then!

John. EvansOctober 3rd 2012.

Please amend to shudder !

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 3rd 2012.

I shoulder to see that that's the only edit you wish to make!

Two people on different names but same writing style, very suspicious

AnonymousOctober 3rd 2012.


How. do.you work that. out.?

AnonymousOctober 4th 2012.

Maybe it's the punctuation?

It's the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit!

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