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UK catters be useful TODAY

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Richard Bridge 19 Apr 02 - 10:48 AM
Noreen 19 Apr 02 - 11:43 AM
8_Pints 20 Apr 02 - 12:52 AM
Les Jones 20 Apr 02 - 02:38 AM
The Shambles 20 Apr 02 - 08:09 AM
The Shambles 20 Apr 02 - 08:21 AM
The Shambles 20 Apr 02 - 08:25 AM
The Shambles 20 Apr 02 - 08:30 AM
The Shambles 20 Apr 02 - 11:04 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Apr 02 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 21 Apr 02 - 04:36 PM
The Shambles 21 Apr 02 - 04:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Apr 02 - 05:05 PM
The Shambles 21 Apr 02 - 05:24 PM
The Shambles 22 Apr 02 - 02:52 AM
The Shambles 22 Apr 02 - 02:59 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Apr 02 - 04:24 AM
The Shambles 22 Apr 02 - 11:57 AM
vectis 22 Apr 02 - 07:44 PM
The Shambles 23 Apr 02 - 02:58 AM
KingBrilliant 23 Apr 02 - 07:58 AM
Skipjack K8 23 Apr 02 - 08:33 AM
KingBrilliant 23 Apr 02 - 09:10 AM
The Shambles 24 Apr 02 - 01:35 PM
The Shambles 24 Apr 02 - 02:38 PM
The Shambles 24 Apr 02 - 06:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Apr 02 - 07:08 PM
The Shambles 24 Apr 02 - 07:26 PM
kendall 25 Apr 02 - 07:54 AM
The Shambles 26 Apr 02 - 06:13 AM
The Shambles 26 Apr 02 - 01:34 PM
The Shambles 27 Apr 02 - 06:18 AM
The Shambles 28 Apr 02 - 02:16 AM
Wyrd Sister 28 Apr 02 - 08:36 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Apr 02 - 08:52 AM
The Shambles 29 Apr 02 - 02:53 AM
Skipjack K8 30 Apr 02 - 03:53 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Apr 02 - 05:10 AM
Skipjack K8 30 Apr 02 - 05:24 AM
IanC 30 Apr 02 - 06:39 AM
The Shambles 30 Apr 02 - 02:34 PM
The Shambles 01 May 02 - 07:23 PM
The Shambles 03 May 02 - 05:24 AM
Skipjack K8 03 May 02 - 05:53 AM
The Shambles 04 May 02 - 06:45 PM
The Shambles 05 May 02 - 06:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 May 02 - 07:44 PM
The Shambles 05 May 02 - 09:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 May 02 - 05:58 AM
The Shambles 08 May 02 - 06:36 AM
Grab 08 May 02 - 09:57 AM
The Shambles 08 May 02 - 01:24 PM
The Shambles 09 May 02 - 10:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 May 02 - 10:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 May 02 - 11:25 AM
The Shambles 09 May 02 - 12:12 PM
The Shambles 09 May 02 - 12:16 PM
Dave the Gnome 09 May 02 - 03:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 May 02 - 04:05 PM
The Shambles 10 May 02 - 07:22 AM
The Shambles 10 May 02 - 07:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 May 02 - 07:39 AM
The Shambles 11 May 02 - 06:19 AM
The Shambles 11 May 02 - 11:52 AM
Noreen 11 May 02 - 12:05 PM
Noreen 11 May 02 - 12:36 PM
The Shambles 12 May 02 - 03:26 AM
The Shambles 13 May 02 - 02:47 AM
The Shambles 13 May 02 - 04:42 PM
The Shambles 14 May 02 - 03:43 PM
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Subject: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Apr 02 - 10:48 AM

Every catter in the UK - do something today, a little thing every day, to save folk (including contemporary acoustic) music and dance. Annoy your MP, annoy Kim Howells, the minister. Details in my post (post 83, if you count the same as I do) on the "Help change music in my country" thread.

Don't just sit there. Do something.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Noreen
Date: 19 Apr 02 - 11:43 AM

I e-mailed my MP re the earlier debate and have still heard nothing back- doesn't encourage one to try again.

But yes, I agree, Richard.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: 8_Pints
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 12:52 AM

I think traditional music/folk thrives regardless of officialdom. It is the peoples' music after all.

Hope to be playing my pipes with John Routledge, perhaps later today.

Good luck!

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Les Jones
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 02:38 AM

I e-mailed my MP, Tony Lloyd, Labour, Manchester Central. This is his reply:

Thank you for your e-mail about singing in pubs.

Apparently it already is an offence. If more than two people are singing the venue is required to obtain a public entertainments licence.

In mid-February, in the court case of the London borough of Southwark v. Sean Toye, it was demonstrated that it was not only an offence for a performance to include more than two people singing or playing at the same time, but for people to perform sequentially. The liability rests with the managers and not the singers concerned. The British Institute of Innkeeping's "Handbook for the Entertainment Licensee's National Certificate" states:

"Where community style singing to music is encouraged to take place, the entertainment will be licensable. If, however, the singing is spontaneous the council is unlikely to take action, although technically there is a breach of the law."

I know the Government are trying to reform these archaic and plain daft licensing laws. The Queen's Speech promised new legislation but no date has yet been given. I have also written to Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. As soon as she replies I will let you know.

Tony clearly understands the problem and is in favour of a change in the law.

I am sorry, I have not followed this thread. Does an organised National campaign exist? Why has it become more of a problem recently?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 08:09 AM

The British Institute of Innkeeping's "Handbook for the Entertainment Licensee's National Certificate" states:

"Where community style singing to music is encouraged to take place, the entertainment will be licensable. If, however, the singing is spontaneous the council is unlikely to take action, although technically there is a breach of the law."

Dr Howells comments from a recent letter to Michael Portillo would contradict the above 'guidance'.

Although it would be inappropriate for me to comment on individual cases, I would like to take the opportunity to explain the relevant law. There is no current restriction on the number of musicians or dancers who may perform together in licensed premises if the licensee has first obtained an appropriate public entertainment licence from the local authority. However, under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 a public entertainment licence is not required if music or dancing is performed by less than three performers on licensed premises i.e. the 'two in a bar rule'. The rule is intended to apply to public performances put on by a public house to entertain the public and should not prevent ordinary people singing together or dancing in public houses.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 08:21 AM

HELP CHANGE MUSIC IN MY COUNTRY


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 08:25 AM

Addresses Kim Howells – kim.howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk - or The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Ronnie Bridgett – Ronnie.Bridgett@culture.gsi.gov.uk - DCMS, 2/4 Cockspur St, London SW1Y 5DH

Your MP – www.faxyourmp.com - or [name/constituency], House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

EFDSS - www.efdss.org - Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 7AY

MU - www.musiciansunion.org.uk - 60/62 Clapham Rd London SW9 0JJ FOR HAMISH BIRCHALL

MODAL - www.modal.co.uk - Centre for Popular Music, 6 Paternoster Row, Sheffield S1 2QQ


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 08:30 AM

See also, PELs Letters to important folk


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 11:04 AM

I am sorry Les, I forgot to thank you for efforts.

Apparently it already is an offence. If more than two people are singing the venue is required to obtain a public entertainments licence.

The S 182 exemption from the requirement is for two or less 'performers'. It does not follow at all that three 'people' making music without the premises holding a PEL, is an offence.

For if they are not considered to be performers, and there is nothing in case law to suggest that customers or "ordinary people", must be so considered, there are no performers and must be exempt, as no performers must be less than two performers.

Again this use of the word and concept of 'spontaneous' has no legal bearing at all. For 'spontaneous' or not it is still an offence, if it considered to be public entertainment i.e. music or dancing and not exempt. It just means that if the council is not aware in advance and it does not happen again, in a purely practical sense they can't do much about it.

Rather than asking our civil servants about hypothetical events, MPs really need to presented them with actual public music making activities and asked how these (like sessions and Morris), can continue without being placed at risk by being classed as public entertainment, now and under the proposed reforms.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 04:10 PM

"Why has it become more of a problem recently?"

One reason is that there is a prospect that there will a change in the law to sort out what everyone agrees is a silly situation - but there is a real danger that the change in the law may make things even worse.

At the same time there have been a number of cases where the existing law has been enforced and caused problems, and instead of just shrugging it off and finding another place to play, while we keep our head down, a few people have made a fuss about it. The existence of the Internet means information about this kind of thing is getting around more effectively than has happened in the past.

And another element may be that increasing travel may have made more of us aware that the laws in England on these kind of things are out of line with normal civilised practice. (As with opening hours etc.)


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 04:36 PM

There is a far more detailed discussion going on on UKMF.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 04:43 PM

As for discussion on uk.music.folk. Detail is not action, unfortunately.

The original exemption (1962) was specifically for a piano player and singer. It was a libralising measure, to enable music. No one really seems to know why or how in 1964 it was changed or broadened, logically if you view it as a liberalising measure, to two or less performers.

Quite why this exemption was strictly enforced to mean that three musicians were unsafe or a hazard to neighbours and automatically illegal, is a bit of a mystery to me. Maybe not to the 'official' mind?

It just seemed to roll, slowly and locally at first until all authorities seem to be under the (mistaken) impression that they have to enforce it strictly, no matter what problems it causes. The fact that they began to receive some challenges to this view, may have made them convinced that they could not change their view, even when they could find no case law support for it.

Perhaps we should not be too surprised that people with such power would be and are reluctant to give it up? Even when it is used totally against the public interest and serving the public interest is surposed to be their only purpose.

I would like to think that the reason it has now reached a head, is that we, the public have decided that enough is enough and we are not prepared to lose any more fine activities?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 05:05 PM

The fact that Noreen didn't receive reply from her email might just reflect the fact that email inboxes get stuffed with so much spam that it's amazing anyone ever finds anything. Well, that'd be my excuse anyway if I was the MP in question.

I suggest that faxing him or her, using faxyourmp.com is much more likely to get a result. There's an actual bit of paper that lands in the fella's in-tray, looking all neat and slightly ominous. Just enter your post code, type in the text, and bingo.

I doubt very much if all local authorities are doing much about consistently enforcing the present law, Shambles. If they were it would probably be better for us, because they'd build up a head of steam. It's done in a sporadic way, some local authorities, some pubs, and most of the time people shrug it off as a nuisance rather than a menace.

But it is a menace, which continues to do enormous harm to music in this country, even where the law isn't enforced. The existence of the law has the effect of discouraging publicans, and more especially the people who employ the managers in pub chains, from allowing any live music that might breach the strict rules. "Better safe than sorry" is how they see it.

We are dependent on the courage and generosity of publicans who have the nerve to say "sod the law", and though there are still some like that, there aren't enough. And sometimes they are unlucky enough to run up against the jobsworths.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 05:24 PM

I doubt very much if all local authorities are doing much about consistently enforcing the present law, Shambles. If they were it would probably be better for us, because they'd build up a head of steam. It's done in a sporadic way, some local authorities, some pubs, and most of the time people shrug it off as a nuisance rather than a menace.

The point is that they all believe that the law is saying that they should strictly enforce it against public music making. When it does not. The recent ruling seems to have reinforced this and the danger is that those few who may be trying not to see certain events (where are these?), will feel that they will now have to follow suit.

Could it is also be made worse by the proposed legislation intending to have no exemptions? Officers would welcome this simplification and may be anticipating this move, to some degree.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 02:52 AM

I e-mailed my MP re the earlier debate and have still heard nothing back- doesn't encourage one to try again.

Noreen I know what you mean, there have been many times over the past 15 months that I have been discouraged and wondered if all the effort was worth it. But do we really have any choice but to keep on writing and do all we can?

We could try other measures along with this, like a national folk protest day, but it is really unlikely that when you do eventually receive a reply, that this alone will change anything.

I don't think any of the replies I had received could be discribed as encouraging. The pressure needs to be constant and if possible, seen by our representitives and civil servants to be increasing.

Otherwise I feel that we will have demonstrated to them that we are the cheap political joke they have perceived us to be all along.............. Maybe they are right?

The general folk response seems to be, 'leave it to someone else who understands it and they will save us'.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 02:59 AM

Can I suggest that Richard's statement and sample letter is copied and these are distributed at all the festivals and events you may attend?

I really think that not many folk are actually aware of the problem. Can't really expect them to take action if they do not know the size of the problem.

So the first task is possibly to make them aware. Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 04:24 AM

I am very happpy for people to distribute my flyer!

Those who are trying - thank you. I am busy on paid for work for a day or so but will be back to this soon.

Can everyone try to persuade their local "What's On, Folks" or equivalent to carry my explanation and the sample letter, free, as a contribution to folk music?

THere are two things to keep in mind. FIrst, the present law. Second, the threatened change in the law.

As to the present law, there has been the recent case, Toye, mentioned above. It may perhaps go on appeal to the house of Lords. Until then, however, it is binding authority for the statement that all karaoke uses recorded music for the purposes of the present law - which makes it illegal. It is persuasive authority, not binding (you don't really want a whole article on the law of precedent, so you?) for the statement that the 2-in-a-bar exemption only exempts two or fewer performers over the entire performance period. There are a range of technical and human rights arguments that both of these views are wrong, but the way the law of precedent (and humnan nature) works, the enforcement authorities are going to try to enforce the law on the above basis, and the courts are going to hand out criminal convictions on the above basis - unless and until it all goes to the house of Lords (shich it might not) and the House of Lords sets out the law differently (which it might not).

Arguments about what the law should be interrpreted as being, or what it should be, may be right, but do not help. Sooothing statements by politicians about some things not being illegal are designed to stop protests and will not help your publican get off in court if he is charged, and many are being charged, or warned off by jobsworths.

Now, to the reforms (sic).

THe government white paper says all public entertainment on licensed premises (pubs) will have to be licensed. THere are other restrictions abuot unlicensed premises, but since most folk music is in pubs I'm looking at pubs. THat means all music. THe government spokesmen have made it very very clear that they do not at present plan ANY exemptions. THat means Two or one musicians are to be just as illegal as twenty. It means a brand new law with heavy penalties which WILL be enforced. No licence, no folk music.

THe governemt says the new licences will be quick cheap and easy to obtain. It estimates as little as GBP 700 (!).

If your pub had to pay GBP 700 to let you play there, would it?

THe govenrment says that a pub will only need to get the licence once - but to get a licence you first have to know you need it, and most pubs won't think of it to start with, and will have to aply again when they do realise. THey have to file an operating plan with an application and if folk music is not sepcified (as when, and what public order precautions are being taken, and so on), it won't be authorised.

Don't be soothed.

Don't be misled.

Protest!

THe minimum we need is for acoustic music (if otherwise legal) to be exempt from licensing.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 11:57 AM

This the sample letter etc from Richard Bridge.

I am trying to get a write-in campaign going.

I set out below first my explanation for folk club audiences and thent he letter that I am suggetsing be written, and finally some contact details.

GOVERNMENT BAN ON FOLK MUSIC THIS IS NOT A JOKE

The Threat The government plans a major change in liquor licences, gaming licences, and public entertainment licences. People assumed it would replace the "2-in-a-bar" rule* (which has been used to close down folk music) with something sensible. But it won't. It will replace it with something far worse. Spin doctors mislead by quoting approving comments that had not realised this.

The new law will make it a crime for even one folk musician to perform in a pub without a local authority entertainment licence. No exemptions at all. The only public singing in a pub that will not need a licence will be "spontaneous" outbursts such as "Happy Birthday to You".

Every pub with a folk club or session will need a local authority licence for public entertainment. The rule will apply to private members clubs like working mens' clubs, and so will probably apply even to private folk clubs (where you have to be a member for 48 hours to get in) held in pubs. The government has refused to meet the EFDSS to discuss an exemption.

The government says that the licences will be very cheap and benefit everyone. Yeah, right! The public entertainment licence will only be a part of the premises (liquor) licence. These will be controlled by local authorities. The pub will have to apply in advance (when it applies for its liquor licence) to the local authority with a full business plan for the entire pub operation including showing how often it intends to have public entertainment and of what kind ( so it will have to specify folk music) and what measures it is taking to prevent a public nuisance and to ensure public safety, and so on. We all know how helpful local authorities are, and how low they are likely to set their licence fees, don't we?

These licences are planned to last for the life of the business running the pub, and changes are planned to need an entirely fresh application.

If your club's pub (or club) does not get a licence permitting public entertainment including folk music your club will be illegal. Now imagine trying to start a new session or club or move your present one to a new pub.

What Can You Do? Write fax or email to your MP, write or email the minister Kim Howells, write or email Ronnie Bridgett the civil servant in charge (addresses and a sample letter on the back). Support the EFDSS. Support the Musicians' Union. Support Modal (a non-mainstream music organisation) DO IT NOW AND KEEP AT IT UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT BACKS OFF

*. The 2-in-a-bar rule says that all premises (licensed for liquor or not) need a licence for all music and dancing – but not for live music with only 2 performers (and a recent case says this means 2 throughout the entire evening, so one now and two later, or two now and one punter joining in the chorus is illegal).

Richard Bridge, Forge House, High Street, Lower Stoke, Rochester, Kent, ME3 9RD mclaw@btinternet.com

Dear MP/Minister

I write to point out the damage that the government's plans to reform licensing law will do to folk music and dance. In effect, the present plans will ban all folk music or dance without a licence. This was not expected.

What was expected were sensible rules and exemptions, prepared with more thought than the current "2-in-a-bar" rule, that would not penalise or regulate what did not need regulating. But the government has now made it very clear that ALL "entertainment" in pubs and clubs will need a licence and that it plans NO exemptions, not even for acoustic music (even sessions where players come to take part, rather than to stand out in front and entertain others), or for traditional dance like morris. It just plans (press release 12th April) "to simplify…the licensing regimes".

Licensing is never cheap quick and easy. The whole idea that folk music should need a licence is ridiculous. The "reform" will vandalise an important part of England's cultural heritage, close off the route for amateur folk musicians to become professionals in the music industry of such importance to the UK economy, and reduce the attractiveness of the UK as a venue for tourism.

This philistinism is completely unnecessary. Folk music and dance do not pose noise nuisances or health or public order hazards. Only an extreme control freak could ever have dreamed that they might. The fact that in February the government refused to meet the EFDSS to discuss the problem is almost unbelievable. An exemption of a suitable type is absolutely vital, and I suggest that one for music is easy. All it needs to say is that music provided by (say) up to 100 performers without amplification does not need a licence. Keyboards without external amplifiers or speakers should count as acoustic for this purpose. The general law about excessive noise can deal with extraordinary situations like 76 trombones.

Please confirm that you agree.

Yours faithfully

Addresses Kim Howells – kim.howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk - or The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Ronnie Bridgett – Ronnie.Bridgett@culture.gsi.gov.uk - DCMS, 2/4 Cockspur St, London SW1Y 5DH

Your MP – www.faxyourmp.com - or [name/constituency], House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

EFDSS - www.efdss.org - Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 7AY

MU - www.musiciansunion.org.uk - 60/62 Clapham Rd London SW9 0JJ FOR HAMISH BIRCHALL

MODAL - www.modal.co.uk - Centre for Popular Music, 6 Paternoster Row, Sheffield S1 2QQ


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: vectis
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 07:44 PM

I E-mailed my MP and got a reply saying he thought the law was stupid. He also sent me a full transcript of the debate. He's going to support reform.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 02:58 AM

Many thanks for that. It would be useful if you could post your MP's letter here.

Given the points outlined by Richard above, do you support this reform as it stands?

Maybe it is time for another letter?

I think it is probably less important what the reply says, just that you get one. MP's are really only interested in two things, what may gain them votes and what will lose them votes.

I think we just have present them all with as much concern, both for the current enforcement and the proposed reforms, as we possibly can.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 07:58 AM

I've just faxed my MP via the website suggested by McGrath.
It was a relatively painless procedure - and its a way of making your concerns known at a local level and with reference to the local music scene.
Thanks for the link McGrath.

Kris


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 08:33 AM

I've just sent this to Shona McIsaac, MP for my patch, and PPS to the Norn Iron Minister.

Two in a Bar rule

Dear Ms McIsaac,

Firstly, Id like to pay you the compliment of recalling that you came to see me after your election, rather than before. I was most impressed by this effort, in a non-election period, and would like to thank you for your trouble. You seem to be ready to stick up for your constituents, and so I am asking for your help on the Two in a Bar rule, which is apparently changing.

I am a folkie. Let's get the Kim Howells joke over with straight away, although I'd join him in fleeing three folk singers from Somerset. To be more precise, I am a folk musician, and every Tuesday night, I play a session in the Sloop (Waterside, Barton). We do a lot of Scottish stuff; drop in one Tuesday and enjoy the craic. We'll lay off the Fenian tunes in deference to your day-job! Anyway, it seems that this fairly inoccous pastime is to be licensed or banned. The license is rumoured to be somewhere about £1,000, but most landlords (and certainly the Sloop's) in Barton have the seat out of their trousers, and it looks like the session, and many others in the area will close because of this ill-founded license nonsense. It seems to have been precipitated by the Karaoke invasion, but our noise isn't amplified, and will endure well beyond the fad of Karaoke, if the Government hasn't closed folk down!

I know you have more on your plate than most, especially with your Norn Iron portfolio, but can you also put your shoulder behind our waggon when this one comes to another vote? Many thanks for your time reading this.

Name and address supplied

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 09:10 AM

I just read that purely recorded music doesn't need a PEL. SO - the simple solution is to pre-record our session contributions, and then all bring out little boom-boxes in the pub to play them on.
Not sure how to synchronise on the multi-player stuff, but it'd work fine for solo stuff.

Kris
(only joking......)


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 01:35 PM

David Heath MP, who led the debate in the House of Commons about two in bar, has put down an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for reform of this 'outdated and just plain daft' legislation in the next Queen's Speech.

The purpose of an EDM is to air an issue that a group of MPs feel strongly about. Interested MPs add their names in support. If a large number do this, it sends a strong message to the Government. This in turn can be very effective in gaining media coverage.

PLEASE WRITE OR FAX YOUR MP ASKING THEM TO SUPPORT THIS MOTION (see below for fax service):

Early Day Motion (EDM) 1182 was first put down on 23rd April 2002 by David Heath

That this House recognises the social, cultural and economic value of a thriving grass roots entertainment industry; notes that entertainment and music provision in venues ranging from pubs to village halls not only attracts vital custom but also encourages cultural diversity and growth; further notes that under the current two in a bar system it is illegal to allow, for instance, three folk singers to perform in a pub; agrees with the Minister for Sport that the current Public Entertainment Licensing system is archaic and just plain daft; and calls upon the Government to reform licensing laws to reduce the cost and bureacracy of entertainment licensing and promote the use of live music and singing in pubs and clubs; and urges the Government to introduce a Licensing Law Reform Bill in the next Queen's Speech.

PLEASE FAX (AND GET ALL YOUR FRIENDS) TO FAX YOUR MP DIRECT on: www.faxyourmp.com Or write: House of Commons London SW1A OAA


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 02:38 PM

Here is the interesting comment by Justice Munby, made during his judicial review of emergency contraception (in case you have not already seen it):

"There would in my judgment be something very seriously wrong, indeed grievously wrong with our system - by which I mean not just our legal system but the entire system by which our policy is governed - if a judge in 2002 were to be compelled by a statute 141 years old to hold that what thousands, hundreds of thousands, indeed millions, of ordinary honest, decent, law abiding citizens have been doing day in day out for so many years is and always has been criminal.'

Like making folk music?

For the full context go to:
http://www.doh.gov.uk/ehc/judicialreview.htm http://www.doh.gov.uk/ehc/judicialreview.htm


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 06:22 PM

Message By: Mick Woods

Once again the "Two in a bar law" rears it'e ugly head. I help run a small folk club once a fortnight, in a pub in Greenwich, SE London. Last year the landlord received a letter from the council telling him that, they had visited his premises and witnessed three musicians playing.

The letter warned him that he could face up to 6 months in jail and a £20.000 fine for allowing this sort of thing to take place in his bar. We have since tried to ensure that there are only one or two musicians playing at any given time during our session. Last week the landlord received a letter from the council saying, that they had again visited his pub and witnessed several musicians playing. This time they stated a time - 8.50pm. As our session does not start until 9pm what they witnessed were various musicians "tuning up".

The landlord phoned the council, but was told that even if the musicians did not actually play at the same time the Law was still being broken, as there were more than two during the course of the evening. They are now prosecuting. This is a tiny back street pub, the music we play is all acoustic. Has anybody else had any experience of this antiquated legislation?

The answer is unfortunately, yes....... Can we please get together and make sure that no one else has to?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 07:08 PM

So now tuning up is now counted as a form of entertainment...Curiouser and curiouser.

I think this could be the case we've been waiting for. It's simple enough for even the average MP and reporter to understand. And it lends itself to laughing at the jobsworths.

It's in easy range of the "National" newspapers, and the TV. (If it doesn't happen in London, it doesn't happen, unless maybe it's the right kind of murder.) And there is an actual prosecution involved, and it's on the daftest bit of the whole thing, the idea that more than two in an evening, even if they aren't playing at the same time counts as breaking the rules.

I've just faxed a copy of this to my MP via http://www.faxyourmp.com, as an example of how nasty and crazy the present situation is - and I suggest other people do this as well.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 07:26 PM

The prosecution bit was given in good faith at the time by MIck Woods, but in fact this pub (and another nearby one) have only been warned. Not that it changes much, other than not maybe being the test case we possibly need.

As far as I have been able to find out, they are carrying on, as a members only night. I am not too sure if they are intending to apply for a PEL or not.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: kendall
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 07:54 AM


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 06:13 AM

On 12 April Licensing Minister Kim Howells said at the MODAL music conference:

'There are those out there who think the [licensing] Bill is only about alcohol. It is much broader than that and will bring much greater flexibility to the music industry too. Keep spreading the message and we will deliver on our promises.'

Press coverage of licensing reform has focussed exclusively on the possibility of 24-hour drinking (with the notable exception of The Times of 13 April).

Today, Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, attended the 10th anniversary conference of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers. In the press release from her Department she says: 'Pubs are at the heart of our communities, both in town and country. They bring a great deal of enjoyment and social contact for people of all ages.'

She also said: '... Sales of alcohol of around £30 billion each year generate duty and VAT that buys our country's schools, roads, hospitals and puts policemen on our streets. ... I am determined that we deliver on our promises and bring forward our new proposals to modernise our licensing laws as soon as possible.'

The reforms of liquor and entertainment licensing were then itemised. Top of the list... the potential for 24-hour drinking!

And not a word about live music.

If you contact your constituency MP urging them to support David Heath's Early Day Motion (EDM 1182) which emphasises the value of live music, highlights the absurdity of the current two in a bar rule and calls for reform, you might mention the discrepancy.

Remember:

It would be a criminal offence tonight for licensees in over 100,000 pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels in England and Wales to host a live performance by more than two musicians - because only 5% of these premises hold an annual PEL

In bars without a PEL, the latest Appeal Court decision (21 Feb) means that only the same two people can sing or play an instrument throughout an evening's entertainment. The latest High Court decision (12 April) allows pubs to open for 24 hours during the World Cup.

Live satellite television does not require a PEL

But... encouraging 'community-style singing' in pubs is a criminal offence without a PEL, and spontaneous singing is technically an offence although councils are 'unlikely to take action' (advice courtesy of the British Institute of Innkeepers).


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 01:34 PM

Latest news is that the 'Early Day Motion' now has 15 MPs names to it. Up from yesterday' 9.........


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Apr 02 - 06:18 AM

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182

Is your MP's name there yet?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Apr 02 - 02:16 AM

http://www.faxyourmp.com/index.php3


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 28 Apr 02 - 08:36 AM

Thanks for the fax link. Have added mine.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Apr 02 - 08:52 AM

Done. Only took a few seconds.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 02:53 AM

All you need is your post code.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 03:53 AM

Did that one, too, Sham, but got this reply this morning from Shona McIsaac, my constituency MP

" Read Message

From: "MCISAAC, Shona" To: "'greg@johnwyattltd.co.uk'" Subject: RE: Two-In-A-Bar Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 21:26:51 +0100

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks for the email and fax.

Once upon a time, before I became an MP, I served on a local authority licensing committee for eight years. SO I fairly well acquainted with the rules and regulations on this issue. I must admit that when I was on the committee, I thought that some of the ideas on licensing were completely daft.

I am more than happy to follow this up for you. The last thing we want to do is destroy live music in pubs because of exorbitant licensing fees.

Will be in touch again when I get some answers.

As regards Tuesdays, I am usually ensconced in the open prison (Parliament)on weekday evenings. The whips couldn't possibly cope with MPs living real lives, now could they?

Cheers,

Shona"

Sounds like she's one of the good guys.

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 05:10 AM

Could well be. Maybe you could send her a follow-up fax inviting her to come along to a session during a parliamentary recess, since she rather implies that it's only because she's working on Tuesdays that she doesn't turn up. (Could be a good photo opportunity for her, and MPs like that kind of thing.)

And she hasn't signed the early day motion yet and that could be suggested too.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 05:24 AM

I've already replied, McG, and suggested same. I have sent her the fax for the EDM, so hopefully her name will appear.

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: IanC
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 06:39 AM

Here's a beware.

I did the fax-your-mp thing last week and sent it off with no problem. Spent some time doing a nice letter to my (con) MP. After 10 minutes, I got a message back saying that the fax couldn't be sent. No way I could get the original info back to send any other way. Best part of an hour wasted.

Moral: copy the stuff you've done somewhere before you press the [SEND] button! :-(
Ian


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 02:34 PM

It may also be the right time to try to talk to your local councillors - many are needing our votes now for the 2nd May local elections.

I have just had the satisfaction of making one of my candidates to do some work on our council's current policy on PELs, if he wants our two votes.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 May 02 - 07:23 PM

The EDM now has 22 MP's names. Is your MP's name there yet?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 May 02 - 05:24 AM

Please wake up all your friends to this, we really need ALL of the MPs to sign it.

This is important to anyone who loves this music. Please get invoved before it is too late?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 03 May 02 - 05:53 AM

Sham, my MP replied by letter today, but can't sign the EDM because she is a PPS.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 May 02 - 06:45 PM

The following to Dr Howells (Minister for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) - Oh no that was the title of the Taliban's Culture Minister.

Dear Dr Howells

Any music or dancing, including congregational singing of hymns (in churches and elsewhere) is public entertainment as currently defined by the 1982 Act. Will this still be considered so under the proposed reforms?

This music making is currently and specifically exempt from the PEL requirement, due entirely to the nature and context of the music, (music as part of a religious service), not because it is safe. Most of the premises (like old churches), where this takes place would not come up to scratch for any PEL safety inspection. Is this exemption also to be scrapped along with the 'two in bar' rule?

The fact that many of the tunes used for the congregational singing of hymns, were originally traditional folk songs, exposes the cruel irony of the current situation and of the one that will still exist after the Government's proposed licensing reforms.

Could you please confirm that the following four points are correct?

1. Any amount of people singing or playing such a tune (even amplified), in the unsafe and unlicensed conditions referred to above will exempt the premises from the current and future licensing requirement.

2. Currently, more than two people singing or playing the same traditional tune, non amplified, on safe and inspected licensed premises, simply for the pleasure of it (or for profit), will not.

3. Any number of people singing or playing this same tune, anywhere else, for the pleasure of it or for profit, amplified or not, currently and under the proposed reforms, will need the premises to hold and pay for an additional licence.

4. After the reform even one person singing or playing this same traditional tune, for profit or for pleasure, amplified or not, will not be permitted on safe and inspected licensed premises. Unless the licensee has paid for an 'entertainment' element and specified in advance that this particular activity is to take place.

As one who feels that the right to publicly sing/dance and play the traditional songs and tunes of my country for pleasure, to be no less important that being able to sing them publicly as part of my religion, I hope you will recognise that this right must not be conditional on a third party paying any fee to enable it.

The way to ensure this is to finally recognise that all music making on licensed premises cannot justify the need for any additional licence, fee or paperwork, the public's interest having already been ensured.

Other public premises should be made safe for whatever activity takes place, and no music should be prevented by local authorities calling all music entertainment in order to charge a fee, or risking any music making by classing it all as a noise hazard. One size does not fit all.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 May 02 - 06:49 PM

The following link is to a thread that is intended as a collection of 'horror stories' of PEL enforcement. Killed by the PEL system.

It should explain why we must ACT now! Before it is too late.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 May 02 - 07:44 PM

The idea of that thread is that it should be a place to post details about specifc cases of PEL abuse, especially cases where sessions or clubs have had to be wound up, because of the way councils have applied the law. This could be excellent ammunition - but it's no good having ammunition if it doesn't get used. We shouldn't be on ceasefire here.

Lobbying the government, and sending faxes to our MPs is necessary (and for people overseas, letters to the British Tourist Authority, and so forth). But there are also local councils, and I think they can be crucial.

What I would like to see happen is for a local council to adopt a charter which in effect sets out to decriminalise anyone who allows informal music making on public places for which they are responsible, such as pubs, coffee bars, restaurants etc etc. (Except where some kind of public nuisance can be demonstrated.)

If that happens the council involved can expect to get some favourable publicity. Other councils will follow suit. And government representatives will very likely declare that this is in line with what they were saying all along about the good sense of the system etc etc. And the legislation they are cooking up could be modified to be a bit more friendly to us.

Last week there were local elections all over the place. There are new councillors in many councils, and in quite a lot of places new people running the council.

There is a chance here for astute councillors to do themselves some good - they can present themselves as liberty-loving and open-minded, and patriotic to boot. At the same time they can portray their predecessors as stick-in-the mud Philistines, bullies and misery-guts. I'd say that is a tempting combination to any politician with any intelligence. (And for that matter there are a good number of people in local government who actually are "liberty-loving and open-minded, and patriotic to boot").


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 May 02 - 09:31 PM

The local authority route is a bit 'Catch 22'. Yes any authority would attract good publicity but before that happens, we need the publicity. We need to inform enough people so that councillors (and ministers and MPs) see that that they can attract this good publicity - and of course votes, which is of course their main concern.

As for "astute" councillors, I must admit to not having found any. Or any that will listen long enough to be informed. Generally they seem to know it all anyway and seem to think that they have a choice about what they involve themselves with, rather than taking their electorate's problems to committees, whatever their own opinions may be. I don't see that we have much choice but to keep on trying this route, but they seem to think the issue is dealing with noise objections and popularity lies with supporting those that complain.

We will just have to make more complaints than the objectors. Keep up the pressure, information and publicity.

Politics are also getting in the way. Labour has the major say locally, and they support the strict interpretation, despite having a Labour MP and Labour Government who say that councils should not hold this view. It should be possible to pressure my council into changing, but it is not very easy in practice as the real power lies with the officers.

After all this time, I am still surprised that there still so many people (apart from councillors), even those who are likely to be directly affected, that at not aware of the nature and size of the problem. This needs to change quickly, any ideas?

Are all your friends aware? How can we make them aware? It is festival season. why not print off and distribute Richard Bridge's information at every event you attend and see if we can get some momentum going.

I see the pro-hunt lobby recently managed to get press coverage by un-covering a Lady Godiva. Are we are back to naked Morris protests? Any volunteers?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 May 02 - 05:58 AM

Naked Morris. My God! That is an ugly thought.

I don't think the Catch 22 really applies. Local nespapers are always desperate for news, and it really would be pushing at an open door.

Of course that is another place where leverage could be applied - it'd be easy enough for a local reporter to plant the idea in the mind of a council contact with a view to working up a story.

I think the thing to do is try to avoid having the folk aspect in the limelight, because that is defined as a funny and ecentric, but to concentrate rather on the fact that the law penalises the good old pub piano singalong.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 May 02 - 06:36 AM

There are now 37 MP's names for EDM 1182.

Is your MP's name there yet? Have a look...........

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Grab
Date: 08 May 02 - 09:57 AM

My MP is Anne Campbell (Cambridge). Her name isn't on there, but I've sent her an email to ask her to support the EDM. I'll post any response I get.

First time I've checked her website actually - better coverage of her position than the crappy flyers you get every year! Seems fairly sensible, so hopefully she'll be another supporter. Since Cambridge is pretty good for folk music, I'd be surprised if she didn't.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 May 02 - 01:24 PM

Many thanks Graham, Skipjack and to everyone else. I think the key is to keep spreading the word. The momentum is slowly building and anything else you can think of to increase this can only help.

The distribution of Richard's letter and EDM information at all the events and festivals you attend will certainly help (in the absence of any volunteers for naked Morris protests).


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 02 - 10:44 AM

40 MP's names now.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 May 02 - 10:51 AM

I think the naked Morris should be held in reserve as the ultinate weapon.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 May 02 - 11:25 AM

Mine, Ian Stewart, ain't there yet but I did get a reply from him this morning in which he says, amongst other things, -

I shall certainly bring your concerns to the attention of the Minister and give very close scrutiny to the Government's legislative proposals when they are published.

Sounds fairy nuff to me. The minister he is refering to is of course Kim Howells.

Keep the Faith!

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 02 - 12:12 PM

Thanks Dave, maybe your MP needs a few more nudges? Can you get your friends to ask him as well?

How about circulating the EDM request and Richard's stuff locally?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 02 - 12:16 PM

I think the naked Morris should be held in reserve as the ultinate weapon.

Leave that protest for that well known typo, PUBIC entertainment?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 May 02 - 03:46 PM

Hey - just a thought. Seeing as how most local council meetings can be, and often are, held in public and even parliamentary sessions are televised and there is always more than two people performing (Well - sort of!) surely they need a PEL don't they?

How come Westminster coucil are not shutting the House of Commons down? How come officers from Weymouth are not threatening the councilors with fines and imprisonment?

They may well argue that it is not entertainment but surely we have enough clout to prove that lots of people are in fact entertained by it?

How about attending the public galleries and tapping our feet in time to someone droning on. Appluding and cheering after each speaker. Calling for an encore. Surely someone would have to act?

I would be willing to testify that I find parliamentary procedings very entertaining. In fact I regularly laugh so much I fall off the chair.

Come on Westminster council! Play fair. You cannot be seen to treating the Commons any differently than the local pubs. At least the pubs only try to encourage live music. The other place activeley invites ego trips, rowdyism and, on occasion violence! (Remember Michael Hesseltine and the Mace???)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 May 02 - 04:05 PM

House of Commons has exemptions for all kinds of licensing, that's how the bars can stay open all the time, and that's why they have all those late night sessions. Mind they don't have our kind of sessions.

Council meetings are of course open to the public, and they can at times be quite entertaining, so I think a case could be possibly be made for saying they need a Public Entertainment Licence. (You don't have to be making music to need one, just entertaining in a public place.) Whether they are televised or not is irrelevant I don't think you'd need a PEL for television, though there's probably some other licence you might need. You do for most things.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 May 02 - 07:22 AM

The following is a letter to Dr Howells (via my MP) and his reply dated 02/05/02.

04/04/02

Dear Mr Knight

Despite all this proposed major reform we still seem to be stuck with the definition of public entertainment, for purposes of licensing, as music and dancing. The proposed changes will not be a reform without a new and more sensible definition of what is or is not public entertainment.

That one form of art or expression should alone be singled out as only permissible after a fee is paid by a third party to a local authority is an unfair disincentive to music making, and not specifically addressing the stated goal of the licensing.

Ensuring the public's interests and making premises safe for whatever activity is to take place, or whatever future form this may take, can probably best be done with a general statement of that requirement, rather than attempting to specify exactly the nature of every activity.

If (some) music related activities are seen to present a specific problem, not presented by other forms of public entertainment, such as noise this is the area that needs to be (and is), addressed by other legislation.

The standard conditions applied to the current licences, and which I assume will still apply to the premises licence, apply to non-musical entertainment like hypnotism or pyrotechnics.

Many forms of musical activity do not in fact present any appreciable noise concern, but the current and proposed law makes no distinction. A licence refused or conditions made on the grounds of noise, will also prevent or affect music not presenting this.

Many forms of musical activity taking place in pubs, many of them provided by and for customers, not only do not present any additional safety concerns or appreciable noise concerns, but should not even be considered as conventional public entertainment. The current and proposed law makes no distinction.

Other non-musical forms of entertainment provided in pubs by licensees or by and for fellow customers are not subject to any unfair disincentive or to a third party obtaining an additional licence. Examples are quiz nights, darts and so on. Satellite TV, is also currently exempt from this requirement. As it is not music or dancing, will it remain so?

The current public entertainment licence is a tax or a music licence. If one art form or expression is to continue to be considered differently to others under reform, then this element should be honestly referred to as a music and dancing element (or tax). For that is what it is to be in effect.

Many of the 95% of licensed premises that do not hold PELs, are also currently providing safe premises, on a regular and on a casual basis, for small-scale musical activities. It will act as a disincentive for these premises to continue proving this, if they have to submit specific operating plans, make additional payments to enable music making to continue and are also subject to more official inspections and are then subject to pay for any alterations required. Many of which relating to noise, may not be necessary or applicable, as not all music presents noise concerns.

It could well prove to be that musical entertainment will still take place, unadvertised and on a casual basis, being driven underground and presenting more problems for the public and enforcement officers. A situation that will not be in anybody's interests, for making music is not a criminal activity, musical expression is a right.

It must be recognised that other existing legislation has made these musical activities safe and ensured the interests of the public. And that as in Scotland, no additional licence is required in pubs and bars.

Musical expression should not continued to be singled out and placed at risk by being used as a scapegoat, when the issues and concerns are noise, crime and other social problems.

The actions taken by many local authorities, to the detriment of musical expression, in strictly interpreting and enforcing current legislation, does not fill one with much confidence, when the whole responsibility for licensing is to be handed over to them. For the present Government has made it clear that the current rule should no be used to prevent ordinary people from singing and dancing in pubs but the Government is just watching while many councils, including mine, are doing just that.

The Government's intention can be overridden currently and also under the proposed legislation by councils declaring such music making to be public entertainment.

The DCMS's Ronnie Bridgett made the follow reply to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council on 04/02/02.

It is not planned that the new system will give an exemption to any forms of entertainment. The proposal is that all activities to be held on a Premises Licence (including non-amplified music) would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the licensing authority. The authority could only impose conditions on the Premises Licence which protect public safety and prevent disorder, crime and public nuisance.

The following question from is from Hamish Birchall and the more recent (03/04/02) reply from Mr Bridgett is of interest.

But the Government now proposes that, in addition to the risk assessments employers have a statutory duty to undertake (taking into account all activities in the workplace), 'all activities to be held on a Premises Licence including non-amplified music would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the local authority'.
Do you envisage licensees being required to declare whether or not customers will sing - unamplified - for their own amusement?

We do not anticipate that premises licences would have to include such an element.

This does seem to contradict Mr Bridgett's earlier reply given to my council. If it is the latest thinking it should be welcomed but needs to appear and be set in the Government's proposals. The problem being that without the principle, of the right to make music being established in the legislation, it still only needs one of our officials to claim the activity is public entertainment, for us to have go to court to fight it, exactly the same as now.

I accept that this Government is sincere in its wish to reform and improve the current system and its current failures and excesses. I would be most grateful if you could comment on and pass on this letter to Dr Howells for his comments.

Yours sincerely

Roger Gall

From Kim Howells 02/05/02

I share your constituent's concern about the current restrictions relating to the provision of entertainment in public places and can assure him that the Government's far-reaching licensing reform proposals will simplify and integrate the licensing regimes so that it is easier and less expensive for public houses to obtain the necessary permission to stage musical performances. As Mr Gall has rightly remarked, the main purpose of licensing legislation is to ensure public safety on premises, whatever the nature of the event may be, and to prevent undue disturbance to local residents. It is the statutory duty of local councils to take these factors into consideration when determining applications for public entertainment licenses. The current exemption from the normal requirement for a public entertainment licence, I'e. the "two in a bar rule" has widely been recognized as ineffective in preventing noise nuisance.

The Government would not accept that it is the case that certain types of music, for example acoustic, are never "noisy" and should be excluded from the new licensing regime. We would also expect other factors, such as public safety and the time of day or night that a musical performance takes place, to influence the decisions of local authorities on licence conditions. We believe that, under a truly fair system of licensing, local councils must take individual circumstances into consideration when determining public entertainment licence applications. However, to ensure consistency across the country, there will be clear and transparent procedures which regulate the licensing authorities activities, and licensing fees will be set centrally to prevent the excesses which have occurred in some local authority areas.

I can confirm that my Department has consistently stated that our intention is to properly regulate public performances put on by licensed premises to entertain the public. We do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of a licensing bill, or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime. The Government is aware of the importance of properly defining what constitutes a public performance and will ensure clarity on this point.

Finally, you may wish to know what the Association of British Jazz had to say about the Government's proposals:-

"Remarkably, these reforms could benefit everyone: the brewers and landlords, as well as the present and future employees in the industry; and of course there will be increased opportunities for entertainers, particularly musicians. The reduction in legislation, with consequent savings to brewers and individual licensees, should also mean that there will be more money in the system for the payment of entertainers at a proper level."

As you know, it is my intention to bring forward a licensing reform Bill as soon as Parliamentary time is available.

Is it later than we think?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 May 02 - 07:32 AM

My Mp also sent me the MPs briefing on this issue dated 24/04/02 MUSIC IN PUBS standard note SN/HA/1776.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 May 02 - 07:39 AM

A Swiss cheese letter. Full of holes. The important thing is to have some MPs who are able to understand the issues involved and who are willing to put in they workd to get the proposed legislation tidied up.

"We do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of a licensing bill, or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime."

That's a long way short of a commitment. "We do not anticipate" is the kind of phrase politicians use when they want to leave their options open. For example "We do not anticipate raising taxes" means we won't do it until after the election.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 May 02 - 06:19 AM

48 MPs have now signed Early Day Motion 1182 which calls on the Government put reform our 'archaic and just plain daft' public entertainment licensing laws in the next Queen's Speech.

Check whether your MP has signed: http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182

If you have already written, faxed or e-mailed your MP in the past few days please ignore the rest of this email.

If you haven't, please make the effort to contact your MP and urge them to support EDM 1182. Faxing is quick and easy - even if you don't know who your is. Go to: www.faxyourmp.com

Many thanks
Hamish Birchall


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 May 02 - 11:52 AM

I have not yet received a reply from Dr Howells on the question of whether the current exemption to the licensing requirement for music as part of a relgious service, is to be scrapped along with the 'two in a bar rule', but Mr Bridgett's comments from the DCMS, would appear to make it clear that churches and premises where this takes place will in future now have to come under the licensing regime.

It is not planned that the new system will give an exemption to any forms of entertainment. The proposal is that all activities to be held on a Premises Licence (including non-amplified music) would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the licensing authority. The authority could only impose conditions on the Premises Licence which protect public safety and prevent disorder, crime and public nuisance.

As music or dancing is the current definition of public entertainment, there is and needs to be currently a specific exemption for such music, under the Licensing Act 1964.

It looks as if all our old churches will now have to be inspected and come up to the high standards of safety required by pubs and other places where entertainment is held.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Noreen
Date: 11 May 02 - 12:05 PM

Try this link instead of the incomplete one above:

http://www.faxyourmp.com


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Noreen
Date: 11 May 02 - 12:36 PM

I have just faxed my MP, David Chaytor (whose name is not on the EDM list), again. Perhaps he will honour me with a reply this time?

Noreen


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 02 - 03:26 AM

Thanks Noreen. It is a question of sticking at our MPs. It is all about votes to them, being seen and also being seen to be popular.

We have to try and make sure that the issue is seen to be of concern to many and that the side of reason is going to prevail - eventually. The trick is to make them see advantage in supporting this and being seen to be on the winning side.

Getting them to suppoert the EDM is a vital start in the process, and this prsent number is a pretty good figure already for EDMs. This in encouraging but we need more names and we need to inform them also, That the entertainment part of the reform is ill-thought through and an afterthought, that will make the situation far worse, in its present form.

The next challenge is getting them to change the proposals, so that it is indeed a refom, not only of liquor licensing but manages in freeing music making from the clutches of our officials, once and for all.

We are only going to get one shot at this, so it had better be a good one............ PLEASE HELP!


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 May 02 - 02:47 AM

Commments on the first part of Dr Howells's reply

I share your constituent's concern about the current restrictions relating to the provision of entertainment in public places and can assure him that the Government's far-reaching licensing reform proposals will simplify and integrate the licensing regimes so that it is easier and less expensive for public houses to obtain the necessary permission to stage musical performances.

This is the Minister responsible for culture speaking about obtaining and paying for official "permission" to make music, under a so-called reform.

TheTaliban's recent equivalent would have been widely criticised for expressing similar views. Especially from his own side by permanently linking together alcohol consumption and music making. For the reform is also for premises where no liquor licence is present. This would include youth clubs and coffee bars where those under aged for liquor licensed premises could make music. This music making, without alcohol being thought to be automatically necessary, should surely be encouraged?

As Mr Gall has rightly remarked, the main purpose of licensing legislation is to ensure public safety on premises, whatever the nature of the event may be, and to prevent undue disturbance to local residents.

If it is the specific purpose of entertainment licensing legislation to do this, it may be a good idea to consider first, if in fact this aim has already been achieved. Certainly in the case of liquor-licensed premises and others where people are employed in a workplace, the public's safety has already be achieved by current health and safety legislation, risk assessment and inspection.

There only needs to be any action to prevent undue disturbance to local residents, if, when and where such a problem occurs, not blanket coverage of all premises, involving the prevention of any music, just in case this disturbance may possibly be a factor. Focusing on this must be the correct, cheapest and most effective way of dealing with noise, whether this emanates from music or not. All music is not noise and all noise is not music.

It is the statutory duty of local councils to take these factors into consideration when determining applications for public entertainment licenses. The current exemption from the normal requirement for a public entertainment licence, i.e. the "two in a bar rule" has widely been recognized as ineffective in preventing noise nuisance.

It is still the statutory duty of local councils to take these factors into consideration even when no such application is made and where music under the 'two in a bar rule' exemption is being made. Courts can place maximum capacity and conditions for noise concerns on current liquor licence applications. Officers choose the lazy and unacceptable way of dealing with this problem by the use of PELs (and the new premises licence) which risks music being prevented, if the licensee chooses not to apply. A method however, which does result in PEL revenue for the council.

Many premises providing some form of music, and currently exempt from the PEL requirement may, if these reforms are introduced, never choose to apply for the entertainment element. Any music made subsequently on these premises will automatically be illegal, although in fact may be perfectly safe and presenting no threat to the public's interest. Valuable officer time and increased resources will be taken up in checking, enforcing and prosecuting what before the reform was considered to be perfectly acceptable and safe music making.

The very real possibility exists that the new legislation will be ignored in many premises and music making will continue as a common underground criminal activity, to the benefit of no one.

The purpose of this reform is surely not to make and have to pursue yet more criminals? I fear this would be the result.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 May 02 - 04:42 PM

The following is from The English Folk Dance and Song Society and is addressed to all MPs.

Please support the Early Day Motion - 1182

Could you sing a traditional English song? Thousands exist - but many people who live in England have little exposure to them.

Traditional singers and musicians throughout the country wish to meet informally in their community to share and keep alive the stories, songs and tunes which are our heritage. This may be at a sing around in a folk club or can be a spontaneous occasion, such as at the end of a Morris tour. The Public Entertainment License laws have turned our traditional music making into a criminal activity.

The English Folk Dance and Song Society recognises that the Government is trying to reform these licensing laws and that consultation has been ongoing for some time. We feel strongly that developments in the legislation covering public performance need to take into account the social nature of our traditional music.

Much of this musical heritage is intended to be sung with people rather than performed at people. The Society is speaking on behalf of folk and traditional enthusiasts who follow this cultural pursuit outside of their daily professions.

Singing together is almost the equivalent of conversation - an exchange and a celebration of culture and ideas. It is passed on from one to another in a spirit which suggests that the music and songs are everybody's and not to be performed by a favoured few to the assembled masses.

We urge the Government to introduce a Licensing Law Reform Bill in the next Queen's Speech and actively encourage your support for the Early Day Motion (1182). Under the current two in a bar system it is illegal to allow three folk singers to perform in a pub. Because of the spontaneous nature of this activity, we would welcome a section of the Bill which addresses non-amplified music.

Please contact the English Folk Dance and Song Society for further details on 020 7485 2206.

Yours sincerely,
Rachel Taylor
Chair, National Council


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 02 - 03:43 PM

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182>/a>

50 MPs names now appear. Is your MPs name there yet?


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