Needless Bureaucracy FTL (of live music)

Save our live music
Save our live music

Ordinarily I don’t concern myself with the goings on in London, there’s a mutual understanding there; they have no idea who I am, and I think they’re all insufferable gobshites. However, occasionally things start in London and go on to affect other places, which is why we need to nip this one in the bud.

I’m referring to form 696, or as I like to call it, the harbinger of death to live music.
Form 696 already applies in 21 London boroughs, and requires licencees to submit 8 pages of information on live music performers, including names, addresses, phone numbers and the ethnicity of it’s potential audience. Failure to comply will result in a fine and possible loss of licence.

The metropolitan police have stated that this is in response to incidents involving guns in 2006 and is designed to provide safety at the venues and pinpoint troublemakers, but almost instantly makes open mic nights impossible, and creates serious problems for small venues. I’m not a musician, but I would question why my privacy was at risk for performing live music, and a detterent such as this hardly encourages our musicians, which are sadly one of our few remaining exports.

Feargal Sharkey, of The Undertones fame is campaigning, as the head of UK Music, against form 696 and a petition has been started that I urge you all to sign. Furthermore there are fears this information allows the police to focus on music enjoyed by black and asian young people since the type of music and the likely audience needs to be disclosed. Mr Sharkey had this to say:

“In explicitly singling out performances and musical styles favoured by the black community we believe the use of Risk Assessment Form 696 is disproportionate, unacceptable and damaging to live music.”

4 thoughts on “Needless Bureaucracy FTL (of live music)

  1. Y’know what worries me most is why the fuck do the need to know the ethnicity of the likely audience? What exactly is that going to tell them? I can bet it’s not an attempt to supply kosher hot dogs to the burger van outside.

    There used to be a little pub my compatriots and I went to every week. It was tiny, barely enough room for 20 people but we went for two reasons. One, they sold a fine selection of real ales; two, they had a live piano act on every Thursday. This guy would systematically remove all the casing from the upright and play some of the best jazz and blues I’ve had the pleasure of hearing live. What’s even better is that he wasn’t paid for this, he got a few pints out of it.

    I can’t see this legislation being put into place for performances such as this, it appears the goal is to target potentially violent gigs. I don’t have a problem with preventing violence, but I do take issue with assuming it’s likelyhood is related to the race of the attendees.

    Surely the correct way to deal with this is for the police to keep good relations with venues. No event organiser wants a brawl at their gig, and I’m sure most already alert the police if they’re holding an event which may attract a few violent attendees. More legislation is not the answer to this problem, especially not one so ham-fisted as form 696.


  2. Ado

    Hmmm…. Yes it is and yes they are indeed.

    What a lovely picture it is too, the photographer must have some talent to make that quite below average guy look so cool…


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