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.”