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PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!

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Nemesis 05 Feb 03 - 03:08 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 03 - 03:14 PM
DMcG 05 Feb 03 - 03:18 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 03 - 03:35 PM
Nemesis 05 Feb 03 - 03:43 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 03 - 03:49 PM
GUEST 05 Feb 03 - 03:53 PM
Nemesis 05 Feb 03 - 04:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 03 - 06:05 PM
Nemesis 05 Feb 03 - 07:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Feb 03 - 08:24 PM
Nemesis 05 Feb 03 - 08:51 PM
The Shambles 06 Feb 03 - 02:01 AM
The Shambles 06 Feb 03 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,vectis 06 Feb 03 - 09:40 AM
The Shambles 06 Feb 03 - 09:51 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Feb 03 - 11:23 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Feb 03 - 11:59 AM
The Shambles 06 Feb 03 - 12:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Feb 03 - 01:13 PM
The Shambles 06 Feb 03 - 02:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Feb 03 - 02:25 PM
The Shambles 06 Feb 03 - 02:31 PM
The Shambles 07 Feb 03 - 12:45 PM
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Subject: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Nemesis
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 03:08 PM

Message dated 05-02-03

"It is looking likely that we are going to have Culture Minister Kim Howell on Monday nights Lamacq Live on Radio 1 (8-12pm).
We are currently accepting your questions via email which we will put to the minister about the bill and how you may feel it will affect live music.
Please email your questions for Mr Howell to jimmy.devlin@bbc.co.uk"


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 03:14 PM

Tonight?

Tonight is Wednesday!


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: DMcG
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 03:18 PM

I've posted the question I asked him on the Guardian Webchat a few days back ... you know, one of the ones he didn't get round to answering, mentioning that I'd asked it before.

Perhaps others who submitted questions might like to try again, as well.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 03:35 PM

I hope this chap is clued up on the issue and how to deal with the likes of Howells, a bit more than the others have been.

We can't control that but perhaps we can just make sure the questions are good ones?


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Nemesis
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 03:43 PM

Well, tonight got your attention Roger!! :)

Here's my longwinded question:

Worthing is a prime example of what happens when a community has no Arts resources and very few premises with PELs – drunkeness and rowdiness makes the town centre a no-go area with adolescents spilling out from super-pubs or those screening satellite TV, vomiting in the gutter, assaulting and maiming each other and innocent passers-by, vandalising properties all along the routes home (because even taxis are reluctant to go into the town centre). I suggest you consult our Chief Constable before you further legitimise this sort of prime anti-social behaviour and criminalise a string quartet for playing to little old ladies, in a premises with no PEL.

I help run Fringe Festival events in my home town of Worthing. How can householders in all confidence make a charge albeit small for a grass-roots community event in their own home? Already, with a premises conforming with all Health and Safety regulations (being run as a publicly open therapy centre) a publicised event was stopped by PEL officers and the owners threatened with a £60,000 fine for not having a PEL.

Assuming that they applied for and were granted a temporary events notice under new legislation, this surely would mean they would be unable to hold more than 5 events a year?

With a dearth of venues available to communities to put on grass roots community events (there is no Arts Centre in our town and the Borough has an Arts development budget of £4,000 pa) – it is quite likely that the facilities this particular premises offers could be utilised more than 5 times a year.

How do you seriously envisage an average type of event such as had been held before this premises was clamped down on ie:

A string quartet
A solo performer
A children's entertainer with a guitar
A '40s re-enactment theatre company including singing and recorded music being played
(all of which were either raising money for charity or with a small entrance fee)

.. how do you seriously envisage a philanthropic business owner working hard to stimulate grass-roots events not being penalised under the new legislation proposed?

They would need to apply for a PEL surely?
A PEL application would need to satisfy additional Fire/ health and safety regulations/ Police and the neighbours etc in addition to the existing HASAWA and Health and Safety regulations to which the business already conforms.

How do you expect grass-roots community events to be organised by communities when in one instance they might have to find a minimum of £150 before they even start?

Please answer as fully as possible as there are many people here and also in Brighton (with the one of the biggest Festival's in Europe) who are awaiting your answer with keen interest.
---------------------------------------------
With regard to Schedule 1 of the License Bill eg., below

(2) The first condition is that the entertainment or entertainment facilities are
provided— to any extent for members of the public or a section of the public,

(4) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)(c), entertainment is, or entertainment
facilities are, only to be regarded as provided for consideration if any                         30
charge—
(a) is made by or on behalf of any person concerned in the organisation
or management of that entertainment or those facilities, and
(b) is paid by or on behalf of some or all of the persons for whom that
entertainment is, or those facilities are, provided.
---------------

Put that in your pipe, KIM ILL SUNG - the Unbeloved Leader of Anti-Kulture


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 03:49 PM

Well given time for a typical long-winded answer from Howells, that's the show over........*Smiles*


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 03:53 PM

With due respect, Hille, I doubt your 'long winded' question would strike a chord with Radio 1 listeners


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Nemesis
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 04:11 PM

Sigh! Probably right .. but then what about grass-roots community events that they might wish to stage? Mass dance-in's (what DO young people want .. mine wants to skulk in his bedroom and play Nirvana painstakingly on his guitar through a cranked up amp **G**)

I reproduce a press cutting I have kept for several years (can anyone pinpoint date?)

ART WILL DO YOU GOOD, POOR TOLD

Tessa Blackstone, the new Minister of State for the Arts, has launched a drive to encourage poorer people to take an active part in the arts writes Vanessa Thorpe.

In a marked departure from the Government's early emphasis on simply broadening audiences and reducing ticket and admission prices, Blackstone wants to ensure more ordinary people get involved in making art.

Blackstone said that a top priority of her Ministry would be to encourage community arts projects with children, patients, the elderly and prisoners, "Opportunity, access, social inclusion, participation will all continue to provide the foundations on which much of our policy will develop in the coming years. But increasing access should be more than just being an audience member."

"It should be about increasing access to participation in the arts," she said, adding that the four key factors in her initiative to bring the arts into ordinary lives would be "excellence", "access", "education", and a recognition of how "vital" the creative economy is to Britain.

Blackstone also said the arts had a key role in helping to improve understanding of Islamic culture, particularly during the present terrorist crisis.

She added she was instinctively opposed to "heavy handed" government censorship of artistic responses to the conflict, including drama and even comedy.

The arts, while valid for their own sake, were a way of reaching excluded groups in society, she concluded. But the arts are not a cure-all for society, she admitted. There was still a danger that 'access to all forms of participation will not significantly change if we cannot the problems that underlie why certain groups of people feel excluded from participating in our cultural life".

----------------
This was printed in a national newspaper and is a couple of years old at least


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 06:05 PM

Here is the question I have just emailed to jimmy.devlin@bbc.co.uk

Probably too long - but I'd love to see him put in a corner with that quote. Maybe a few more questions incorporating it might encourage the programme to put it to him:

A question for Kim Howells:

Talking on the Mike Harding show on July 17th last year, on Radio 2, you were asked whether people would be able have singarounds and music sessions in places which didn't have a licence covering entertainment. You promised that: "As long as money isn't changing hands, then there's no reason why they should have to have a licence." And when Mike Harding checked that was the change in the law would mean that would no longer be illegal to have sigarounds and sessions in pubs which didn't have entertainment licences, for example, you confirmed that, saying "Yes, absolutely".

But the Bill doesn't say that. It says that if we play music in any public place where there isn't a licence we'll be committing a crime. Are you planning to put an exemption in the Bill so that it doesn't say that any more? I'm not the world's greatest musician, but I don't think I deserve to be sent to send to jail just for playing a guitar.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Nemesis
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 07:02 PM

:) Brevity will win the day !!


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 08:24 PM

Here's a briefer form - would somebody like to send it to jimmy.devlin@bbc.co.uk ? I think this quote needs to be hung round his neck.

Why did you say "As long as money isn't changing hands then there's no reason why they should have to have a licence", when you were asked about music sessions and singarounds in pubs on Radio 2 last summer - and then go on to make it illegal to make music in any public place, without there being a licence to allow it.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Nemesis
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 08:51 PM

Just done that McG!


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 02:01 AM

There is lots of ammunition and support for questions to be found on the following site.
http://www.does4you.co.uk/REPLY.htm

The following is a usful extract.

19.1 Broadcast entertainment on satellite or terrestrial T.V will be exempt from the licensing regime. This is for a number of reasons, including that the Bill is deregulatory and does not require the licensing of any forms of entertainment that are not currently licensable. It is also the case that no professional bodies responsible for public safety have approached the Government arguing that it is necessary to licence such activities under the Bill.

But the Association of Chief Police Officers objected to the exemption on crime and disorder grounds, and tackling anti-social behaviour was the government's main selling point of the Bill.

19.2 In the Bill we have identified entertainments that need to be licensed in their own right. For example, music and dancing because of, among other things, noise and drugs culture and late night refreshment because of disturbance. Watching television – which almost every citizen does every day of their lives – does not in itself give rise to the need for licensing.

The Association of Chief Police Officers comment to the DCMS was:

"Televised Sporting Events: The televising of live sporting events, generally upon large screen televisions, within licensed premises is a further matter of concern. Very often such events, usually football matches, are accompanied by drinks promotions, they attract large crowds and are quite frequently the source of disorder. We note that the televising of such events does not fall within the definition of entertainment. Because of these issues we are of the opinion that the applicant for a premises licence should be required to specify the intention to host such events within the operating plan. This would allow the licensing authority, taking into account police representation, the opportunity to impose conditions on the premises licence pursuant to the licensing objectives.We are cognisant of the fact that appropriate definition of the terms 'sporting event' and 'large screen television' may pose a challenge for those drafting the legislation, but do not believe the problem to be insurmountable."


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 08:29 AM

Billy Bragg IS on tonight Thursday 6th Feb, on BBC TV' Question Time.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/question_time/

It is coming from Dartmouth. I wonder if there is anybody going who could ask a question about the Licensing Bill?


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: GUEST,vectis
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 09:40 AM

Brief question sent for all the good it will do.
I'm getting very sure that this bloody silly bit of legislation will go through and mass disobedience will be the only recourse left to us.
Mary


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 09:51 AM

For circulation:

Message from Hamish Birchall - briefing notes for Monday's BBC Radio 1 live
Q&A session with Kim Howells.
Be aware that their target audience is likely to be generally beneficiaries of the proposed changes, ie involved in small-scale specialist venues concentrating on hot-housing young bands.

Fair enough, but that's no reason to sideline the kind of venues that more roots-oriented and informal music needs. It still is a question of there being no possible justification for declaring live music unsafe per se while on the other hand deeming all pre-recorded entertainment and big-screen tv events to be so safe as to not need a licence.

It's not merely the licence that is at issue, but the unspecified extra regulations that automatically get called up by the local authority in order to qualify for the licence.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 11:23 AM

Note that the BBC site
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/question_time/ has provision for watching Question Time live (and in archive form, at least until the next programme comes along) if your computer connection is ip to it, no matter where you are and there's a provision for making interactive comments and feedback.

If the question can come up this could be the best chance so far to get it to the attention of people who don't read the posh papers, given the fact that Billy Bragg knows about what is involved.

It's on at 10.35pm our time, which means 4.35pm on the East Coast of America, I think. Messages to the programme saying this is putting you off coming to England for holidays might be helpful...

Of course I imagine the questions that dominate the programme will be about the war and the shuttle disaster, and the House of Lords, but I think there's a fair chance the Licensing Bill might get a look in. And if it doesn't, the we should make sure that it gets a fair crack of the whip in the feedback to the programme.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 11:59 AM

I've just emailed the programme via their site feedback facility. with this:

I hope very much that one of the matters the panel discusses tonight (6th Feb) will be the government's Licensing Bill, which makes it illegal to make music or sing in any public place which does not have a licence covering this. (Billy Bragg knows all about this.)

Whether they take any notice of emails like that, I don't know, but it doesn't do any harm, and it's free. If they had a bunch more on the same lines from all over the world it might even help - I've never been to Question Time, but I suspect that there's some process beforehand in which the presenter throws out some possible topics as suitable for questions, so maybe a bunch of emails to the programme could help get the liensing Bill included among these topics.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 12:44 PM

Local story with Billy Bragg

http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=79373&command=displayContent&sourceNode=78925&contentPK=3967639


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 01:13 PM

I've just started a separate thread on this, since it gets lost under Kim Howells here. (I'm pretty sparing in starting PEL threads, in view of that huges blue list at the start of the them, but I felt this one was needed.)


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 02:15 PM

On that subject. I gave the URL for one of the threads and the person I gave it to wrote back to say the link did not work as all they could see was a list of thread titles...............

This local press campaign is interresting. From the Western Morning Press.

DON'T LET MINISTER SILENCE OUR MUSIC

09:00 - 01 February 2003

It takes a special kind of ministerial incompetence to draft a new law which threatens to make criminals out of the two blokes who sing and play a bit of guitar down at the Dog and Duck every Friday night. But it looks like New Labour, and its Minister for Culture, Kim Howells, may be more than equal to the task.

Because the Government's proposed overhaul of the Licensing Act, which covers public performances in pubs, village halls and other venues, will do just that, making even the most modest musical performance illegal without an expensive licence, effectively killing off live music at the vital grass roots level.

The changes to the Licensing Bill, which could come into force as early as next year, will have a devastating impact on live events, introducing a totally unnecessary set of new regulations that will threaten hundreds of performers and do untold damage to the Westcountry tourist business. They will also deliver a kick in the teeth to many community shows and threaten fundraising charity concerts.

The only public performances that the Government has apparently conceded can take place without a costly licence are an impromptu burst of Happy Birthday, a spontaneous singalong in a pub or club, and the hymns in church. But, given New Labour's record for wanting to legislate against anything people actually enjoy, who knows what might be next for the statute book?

The legislation, now making its way through Parliament, would abolish the regulations which allow up to two musicians to play in a pub without a music licence. And it would also force hundreds of village hall committees, which currently escape costly licences for putting on charity shows and community concerts, to pay heavily for the privilege.

This is more than just an annoying piece of new bureaucracy. This is a full-blown assault on a long-standing tradition which could have a genuinely damaging effect on a region like the Westcountry and seriously stifle creativity.

Live music is an already threatened commodity in our pre-recorded, video age, with what passes for entertainment available at the press of a button or a flick of a switch. Yet the tradition of the folk duos, the pub singers, the pianist in the corner tickling the ivories and the rowdy busker bashing out requests, lives on in many of our pubs and clubs.

Long may it continue to do so, since it is the breeding ground for the singers and musicians now recognised and rewarded as superstars. It also gives enormous pleasure to the audiences of countless performers who have no ambition higher than topping the bill in the local saloon bar.

What on earth does the Government hope to gain by putting all of that in jeopardy? Kim Howells rejoices in the title of Minister of State for Culture, Sport and the Media. If this Bill goes through Parliament in his name, then he will have no right whatsoever to the Culture part of that title. Culture, as Mr Howells surely understands, doesn't begin and end at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the opera house and the ballet. It is as much about ordinary people entertaining themselves and each other with a few songs in their own communities, whether in the pub, the community centre or the village hall.

Why put that at risk with this change in the rules? For the Treasury, the extra licensing fees won't amount to much more than a drop in the ocean. Yet the cost to an individual pub or a village hall committee is likely to be enough to persuade the landlord, manager or chairman to conclude that the live music has got to go.

That cannot and must not be allowed to happen. That's why the Western Morning News is today calling on readers to sign our protest forms and send them back to us, so that we can pass them on to the Minister. Acclaimed singer Billy Bragg, who made his first musical forays on the pub and club scene, has made his opposition to this change in the law very clear. Equally angry are the dedicated musicians from Crediton-based touring group the Pennymoor Singaround, who are backing our campaign.

If the Government believes this legislation is a good idea, then it is more out of touch with ordinary people than we thought. And if it didn't foresee the impact such changes would have, then it is just plain incompetent. Either way there is still time to stop this law from being enacted. And with enough support we can do it.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 02:25 PM

That's good. Things are bubbling up from below. I think that there is a real chance that pretty soon Kim Howells is going to get called into the Headmaster's Study and told to cut it out.

I don't suppose anyone live in Sedgefield, Tony Blair's constituency? Or Dulwich and West Norwood, which is Tessa Jowell's, who is Kim Howells' immediate boss? You need to be a constituent to have any chance of the MP responding to a emal or a fax or a letter.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 02:31 PM

For circulation from Hamish Birchall

Culture Minister Kim Howells is to answer emailed questions about the Licensing Bill on Lamacq Live
BBC Radio 1, Monday 10 February, 8-12pm. See:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/features/licensingbill305.shtml
For ideas about questions to ask, see under Questions below. To avoid misunderstandings about the Musicians' Union position on the Bill, go to:
http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/articles/two_in_a_bar07.shtml(More info under MU position below).

Some supporters of the Bill argue that increased licensing control is good for public safety. The Department for Culture says licensing allows for the prosecution of musicians who trail 'bare cables' through an audience - not mentioning that this is already dealt with by public safety legislation. See Health and Safety - bare cables below. Noise is also dealt with by separate legislation. This is comprehensively covered on the MU website at: http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/articles/two_in_a_bar17.shtml and scroll down for the Noise heading.

On Thursday 20 February, the National Campaign for the Arts has organised a Licensing Bill Seminar at the Wigmore Hall, London, 2-4pm. Andrew Cunningham, the civil servant at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) who is responsible for the Bill, will be a speaker. To reserve a free place call Jackie Clayton on 020 7333 0375, or email jclayton@artscampaign.org.uk.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights which strongly criticised the Department for failing to provide adequate justification for increased licensing controls, is now considering the government's response. The Committee will publish its conclusions on Monday 10 February. The Committee's office can be contacted on 020 7219 2797.

Parliamentary Timetable
The Bill is still in the Lords. There are two more stages of Lords debate before it goes to the Commons: Report stage and 3rd reading. Report stage will begin on 24 February, and 3rd reading could be concluded as early as mid-March. The MU is working with the Lords in order to re-present amendments at Report stage.

Questions

Since the Bill exempts big screen broadcast entertainment (Schedule 1, para 8) that could be hooked up to a powerful sound system, why is it necessary to criminalise even small-scale public music-making unless licensed?

The government launched the Licensing Bill as a Bill to tackle anti-social behaviour. Why did the government reject the representation made by the Association of Chief Police Officers which argued against the broadcast entertainment exemption because televised sporting events '...attract large crowds and are quite frequently the source of disorder'?

The Minister has written that he 'does not accept that acoustic music is never noisy' to justify licensing unamplified performance. Can the Minister provide up to date statistics which show the number of noise complaints arising from live amplified music or live unamplified music? If so, are they publicly available?

The Bill contains an exemption (Schedule 1, para 7) for the playing of recorded music that is incidental to other activities that are not licensable entertainments or facilities. Does this mean a pub jukebox is exempt no matter how powerful the sound system, provided no-one organises any singing or dancing?

Can the Minister identify specific deficiencies in public safety, noise or crime and disorder legislation that would mean a performance by a string quartet in a hotel lobby, or a jazz trio in a bar, cannot be adequately regulated without licensing?

Since public safety and noise legislation is UK-wide, and in Scotland live music that is secondary to the main business of pubs and bars is automatically allowed during permitted hours, why can we not have this regime in England and Wales?

If under the new regime a pub obtained permission for a duo on Friday and Saturday night, does this mean it would have to apply to vary the new 'premises licence' in order to put on live music on another day of the week?

Clauses 134 and 137 of the Bill mean that musicians are open to criminal prosecution if they don't first check that premises hold the 'appropriate authorisation' for their performance. Why is this necessary?

The Bill defines premises as 'any place' (Clause 188). Will buskers always have to check with a local authority first if they want to busk in a public street or square, or indeed any open space?

If those places don't hold a 'premises licence' for live music, would the busker have to obtain a Temporary Event Permit?

Could the Minister confirm that only five such permits can be granted per year for any place?

If a pub provided a piano for public use, would this be illegal unless licensed?

I am sure you can think of many more.

The MU position
Nothing so far said by the Minister or published by the DCMS suggests the MU should alter its position concerning the potential scope of the Bill's definitions as worded. Clarifying amendments, reflecting the Minister's assurances, are required. Independent legal advice, and expert licensing lawyers support us.

They agree, for example, contrary to the Minister's statements, that carol singers on front door steps, and private events where performers charge a fee are caught.

The MU has welcomed the government's proposal to cap licence fees and to set them centrally - where licensing is necessary. Specialist premises already licensed for public entertainment will benefit. Many do pay exorbitant annual fees under the present system. They could save considerably under the new proposals.

It also makes sense to rationalise the disparate licensing regimes, although it is unfortunate in many ways that essential reform of public entertainment licensing should be pegged to deregulation of pub opening times. The Licensing Bill applies to regulated entertainment irrespective of whether alcohol is sold.

The MU also welcomes the government's announcement that means churches in London will enjoy the same entertainment licensing exemption that currently applies outside London, and that church halls and community premises in London will get the licence fee exemption that currently applies to these premises outside London.

The MU accepts that there is a case for licensing premises whose main business is music, or music and dancing. It may be easier to enforce certain measures at such premises (such as the provision of chill out rooms) through licensing conditions than through safety legislation - although experts argue about this. These premises may also have a far greater impact on residential amenity than a typical bar or restaurant, and the importance of public consultation is consequently greater.

The MU's prime concern is for over 100,000 smaller premises that will lose the long-standing licensing exemption for small-scale entertainment by one or two live performers.

Many MU members rely on work in this sector, as solo or duos.

Currently only 5% of 110,000 pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants etc in England and Wales hold annual public entertainment licences allowing more than two performers to work. There is also concern about the implications for private events. Where these are raising money for charity they become illegal unless licensed; this also applies where a charge is made for admission.

It is unlikely that obtaining the 'necessary authorisation' will be a simple matter of ticking a box. The Local Government Association has already indicated that it would like to have information such as a maximum number of performers, where in the premises they are to perform, and when.

Even if licensees are prepared to jump through all the obligatory administrative and consultative hoops (police, fire service, environmental health dept, local residents, and finally the licensing committee), and even if the conditions are less costly than at present, if a permission is granted for, say, a duo on Friday evening that will be the limit of their live music permission. If they wish to host a trio, or to provide live music at any other time they will have to apply to vary their premises licence, going through the whole process all over again. This is clearly over-regulation. There is nothing like it in Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Finland, Denmark and France.

A thriving grass roots music sector cannot exist without flexibility, freedom for musicians to sit in, informality and an intimate music-making environment. The Licensing Bill seems almost deliberately designed to kill this off.

It is a potential straitjacket for this kind of music-making which was, after all, how folk and jazz was born. As Mike Harding and others have already pointed out, the burgeoning folk scene of the 50s led to the pop explosion of the 60s and 70s.

Health and safety - bare cables
When considering public safety or noise issues in the context of the Licensing Bill don't forget that the exemption for broadcast entertainment (Sch 1, para 8) means that you could set up a bank of big screens and a large PA, invite people to bring their own beer, and provided the entertainment falls within the broadcast entertainment definition, this is not licensable under the Bill.

In its recent statements justifying licensing controls on safety grounds, the DCMS has failed to mention the wide-ranging powers already available under health and safety legislation. These apply irrespective of licensing. The paragraph below is from the latest DCMS justification of the Bill which has been distributed to MPs and the wider public. Beneath it in blue are my comments.

"24.2 The penalties provided in the Licensing Bill are maximum penalties and, as with all offences, the courts would decide on the appropriate punishment depending on the facts of the case. Severe penalties might be appropriate in some cases, however rare, for instance where a musician put lives at risk by trailing bare cables through an audience."

Having bare cables trailing through an audience in, for example, a bar would be a health and safety offence in any case. The employer and the musician responsible could be prosecuted.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 (HSWA) the employer on site has a duty to create and maintain a safe system of work not only for employees but anybody else who might be affected. If the workplace is a pub, the employer is effectively responsible for the safety of members of the public as well. This undertaking would cover activities ranging from repairs to the provision of entertainment ('entertainment' or 'practice or presentation of the arts' are already defined as activities for which local authorities have a statutory duty to enforce the HSWA in workplaces).

Bare cables trailing through an audience, or trailing through a group of people milling about, could result from a number of plausible scenarios: musician with amplifiers, the use of an air compressor for a bouncy castle, a workman undertaking repairs. If injury or even death resulted from such bare cables, two prosecutions could be pursued: one against the employer and one against the musician or other person responsible for the equipment (as a self-employed person) under sections 2 and/or 3 of the HSWA. The employer, or self-employed contractor, are under the same duty to provide a 'safe system' for people who may be affected.

A prosecution brought under s2 or s3 of the HSWA carries a maximum £20,000 fine at a magistrates court. If the magistrates court considers that their powers are insufficient, for example where a fatality or serious injury has occurred, the prosecution goes to the Crown Court where there is there is no limit on the potential fine. A Bill currently going through Parliament (Health & Safety Offences) is seeking to include imprisonment as an additional sanction.

The duties imposed by the HSWA are widely publicised by the HSE with plenty of published guidance, both hard copy and online. Since 1974, public safety and noise legislation has applied UK-wide. The Scottish example demonstrates that where live music is secondary to the main business, and is confined to permitted hours, no additional controls are necessary.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Feb 03 - 12:45 PM

This question to Radio 1.

Dr Howells in his statement 03/ 02/03, thanks a number of groups who have raised their concerns, which have resulted in the tabled
ammendment for the recent exemptions.

This is in some contrast to his unhelpful and rather petulant response to other equally concerned and informed groups and individuals.

Will Dr Howells now also be speaking to other groups such as the Musicians Union and the English Folk Dance and Song Society and others, to address the remaining concerns for the effects of the Bill?


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Feb 03 - 03:25 PM

Any questions for Dr Howells on Clause 174?

Clause 174 confers on an 'authorised person', the right to use reasonable force to enter premises in order to establish whether any music-making is being, or is about to be, carried under an authorisation.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Nemesis
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 06:31 AM

Shambles: re. your question .. yes, exactly what is an authorised person?

Currently only Customs and Excise can enter a premises without a warrant ...the Police can enter a premises with a warrant

I'd missed this point .. new powers to authorise PEL officers?

What is exactly "reasonable" force?

I was left black and blue after a sub-Postmaster used "reasonable" force to exact a citizen's arrest and to throw me to the ground and drag me along by my wrists when I left his shop after a minor row (about a bloody postcard!)
NB: it turned out it wasn't the first time he'd been spoken to the Police about his "attitude" - he also regularly verbally abuses the pensioners who go into the sub-POst Office - altho' on a purely technical point (he "believed" I was leaving the shop with a 20p postcard!) he was entitled to make a Citizen's arrest.

So, "believing" an offence might be taking place gives carte blanche to beat up small women!


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Feb 03 - 01:43 PM

This from The Publican.

6th February 2003

The case of a Welsh publican who saw the cost of his entertainment licence rise by a whopping 572 per cent, has sent alarm bells ringing throughout the trade.

Terry Rodford, who runs the Feather Inn in Ruthin, Denbighshire, said he was "disgusted" at the plans to hike his current public entertainment licence (PEL) fee from £250 to £1,430.

Denbighshire Council denies that it is making profits from the new charges, claiming the money will be ploughed back into the community to combat noise and disorder.

But the situation is being viewed as a warning of things to come when licensing control switches from magistrates to local authorities.

Mr Rodford (pictured) told thePublican.com: "My licence was £250. Now my basic charge is £156 plus £182 for each day I open – which is seven days a week.

"At the end of the day it adds up to £1,430. That's almost six times as much as I'm paying at the moment, it's ridiculous."

But defending the council's decision, Ken Ewing, head of public protection, said: "We are not profiteering from the extra costs. The problems that late-night venues are causing our community cost us a fortune in noise enforcement and disorder and we will use the money to combat these.

"Publicans need to ask themselves if they need a PEL. Some licensees are applying for them because they want to open late, not because they are putting any entertainment on."

Mr Rodford argued: "We hardly ever have any trouble in Ruthin and only open until 11pm. We must be paying the consequences of the local nightclub. I dread to think what will happen when the council takes over licensing because it will have the last word."

Denbighshire is not the first council to be accused of profiteering from licence fees. Indeed, publicans' biggest concern about switching to local authority control is the potential price hikes, based on their current experiences with PELs.

Under the new Licensing Bill, which is due to be introduced in 2004, fees will be set centrally. It is hoped this will put an end to this practice and ensure that all licensees pay the same. However, there will still be some regional variations.

"Kill the bill" campaigner Stuart Neame, of Kent brewer Shepherd Neame, said: "Local councils are ripping off licensees even though they are not allowed to make a profit."

Gareth Johns, spokesman for the Licensed Victuallers' Association Wales, was shocked at the news.

"Good God, it's scandalous," he said. "It's simply not justified. The policing costs should be covered by the rates.

"The government is suggesting that the one-off cost for applying for a premises licence will be between £100 and £500 under the new bill, with an annual charge of between £50 and £150, so how can the council justify this? In Wales, the costs for PELs range from £70 to £1,600."

Chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations Tony Payne agreed.

He said: "Councils should charge the cost of administration. Licensees pay their rates which is supposed to cover policing and things like that."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said details of the fees and the guidance were still "under discussion".

It is understood that they will be available later this month.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 03:51 PM

The show is on now.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/features/licensingbill305.shtml?OMSID=503814697265624903778076171874


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: ET
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 04:05 PM

Just listened to Howells on Radio 1. Didn't listen to all of it but heard him say "in my 14 years as an MP I have never had a complaint about acoustic music, folk or similar but plenty about piped music and amplified music. What I want is construction not criticism. In answer to the questioner "I am willing to think again about acoustic music". (to listen to all he was saying I would have had to listen to 4 hours of hip hop - maybe someone will and record full transcript.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Nemesis
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 06:32 PM

WEll, I switched on at just gone 8.30pm .. and listened until 11.30pm and he didn't appear to say anything else or even feature in the rest of the show!


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 08:58 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/features/kimhowellsc306.shtml

You can listen and read what was said on the show. Although the transcript is not exactly the words said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/features/kimhowellsprint306.shtml

In the reference he makes to complaints, the transcript has him refering to 'loud bag pipe music', when what he said was 'piped' music. *Smiles*


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 11:20 AM

Howells on Radio 1
10 February 2003

Why have you decided to change the laws regarding live music now and what will it entail how will it be different?

KH Can I tell you what the law is at the moment? You can have two musicians playing in bar, but you can't have three. It's called the two in a bar rule, that's what exists at the moment. It is an absurd law and we are going to get rid of it.

Say you wanted to open a pub or a night-club, something like that, It could happen to any of us. You would go along to the magistrate's court and you would apply for one and you would pay a fee for this, whatever it is? If you then want to put music on, you've then got two choices. If there is not more than two people involved, you do not have to have an entertainments licence.

If you want to have more than two people, so that's virtually any band that is playing now, you have got to have an entertainments licence. That's two and half thousand pounds please. And you have got to pay it, you have no choice, they set the fees and they can do it on an arbitrary level.

So what you will do from now on is you will go along to your local authority and ask for a premises licence. That is the licence to sell alcohol. That will last for the lifetime of the club, restaurant or whatever, that is a one-off payment

Every year from then on, you will have to pay £50 - £150 to cover all the inspections which happen anyway. So you don't have to pay any extra to put on music. We then control how much they can charge you as a fee and there will be a maximum and a minimum and they won't be allowed to charge any more than that.

Have you got any idea what the maximum is?

KH £50 - £150 that's it.

I think what possibly rubs a few people up the wrong way is, they see this as a little bit of an attack on live music and are also a little bit confused about who it will entail? Who is actually going to be affected by this and also the premises as well. John Ashley who runs a small record label in Manchester asks: if you use rehearsal space does the law require you to pay money for this?

KH I'm afraid disgracefully that is another scare that has been put around. If people are rehearsing in a room or a teacher is teaching piano let's say, in his or her home, they do not fall under this.

OK, let's clear up a couple of things. Does this cover paying performances or all performances, say in a pub?

KH No, it covers paying performances.

If you don't pay to get in do you need a licence?

KH No you will need a licence, just like you will now as things stand now, if you have more than two musicians in a pub.

Say no one knows Norman Cook's turning up in the boozer and I have two decks in the corner, do I need a licence?

KH Not if there is only one person in there.

So the two in a bar rule goes, but two decks are OK?

KH Yes laughs

Two decks is cool, OK. I think one of the reasons that people have seen this Bill and thought that this makes no sense, is for the sake of argument. Coldplay can play free in a church, because churches are exempt from this performance licence but Chris Martin couldn't get up in a pub and sing on a Friday night?

KH Yes he could certainly get up and he wouldn't require a licence on a Friday night. If however there were adverts all over town saying, come on over the pub, Chris Martin is on, then you would need a licence. So spontaneous music, in other words, people just suddenly playing a gig together, without any advertising, or not even word of mouth around the place, that's not covered. But if it's a ploy by the owner of the licence, to attract more customers, he needs a music licence.

So you believe this new live music law will help bands, rather tan hinder them?

KH Well, I hope so, I have no intention whatsoever in doing anything that's going to jeopardise live music or indeed new bands coming up. A lot of my colleagues in Parliament and in the country at large, don't realise that this is an industry that is probably worth a lot more than the steel industry is. Laughs   

Absolutely, we have an email here from Johnnie Gee who says that: given that Digby Jones Director general of the CBI feels that right now, it is especially important to stimulate British exports. And of course that the music industry is Britain's third biggest exporter, how does the Government justify a Licensing Bill that will suppress the grass-roots of an industry that relies on creative input from live music, in all its forms?

It also goes on to say that, if the Bill does become law, I would like to be the first person to invite the minister to an unlicensed performance of 'God save the Queen', outside Buckingham Palace. And by that I think he means the national Anthem rather not the Sex Pistols.

KH Well, he could play outside Buckingham Palace, they wouldn't need a licence for that.

There you go – you mentioned the Musicians' Union earlier on and this is from Hamish Birchall from the MU, who would like to know why televised sporting events, which can always generate more noise than acoustic performances, why aren't they included in this Bill?

KH Well he is quire right to ask that, because it looks a kind of unfair comparison I think. And the reason is that we don't want to extend licensing into anything that isn't licensed at the moment, and it isn't. We want to take licensing requirements off, not add them.

And it is why I worry and have worried a lot about the two in a bar rule. I don't want to be seen as a minister who imposes a licensing requirement on that. When I would really like to see, make it easier, in that sense not to have a licence on a small number of musicians. But the advice that we've got so far, and what the police say to us and everybody else is that this is the easiest way of doing it. Now I'll keep looking at it, and I can give you that pledge and if there is a better way through this then we will adopt it.

OK, well there is one or two people saying, couldn't you make acoustic performances exempt, they don't make music noise?

Yeah, I have been looking very hard at that actually as I cannot say that I've ever had a complaint, in fourteen years of being an MP from a folk group or anybody else playing acoustic music. But I've had lots of complaints from very loud televisions, very loud piped music, it is an unfairness, were have got to try and address, I think.

Would it be fair to say that you are still taking opinions and still formulating some of this?

KH Yeah, absolutely, and I've said all along that what we need is for people to be constructive it really. We don't need the kind of 'fibs' that were put out where people were told for example that if a postman was going on his rounds and he whistled every day that he would need a licence to whistle in the street. Or that you would need a licence to sing 'happy Birthday' to your grandmother, you know in a restaurant. That kind of stuff, doesn't really help anyone, and I hope that people really will be constructive about helping us form the best kind of legislation in the future.

I'm sure the MU will have something to say about that – but from us thanks very much for coming in.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Pied Piper
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 11:47 AM

So he doesn't "want to extend licensing into anything that isn't licensed at the moment", just out the door of the pub or club to EVERYWARE.
What a lying hypocrite this self-serving bastard is.
PP


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 02:14 PM

No doubt that may well be true. But that's not what matters. Calling him names, however well deserved, doesn't do anything to get rid of him.

What has to be done is keep pushing him to live up to what he has promised, previously and in this broadcast. "I hope that people really will be constructive about helping us form the best kind of legislation in the future." That's what he said, so we need to make sure he, and his boss Tess Jowell, gets that constructive advice. Again and again and again, until they listen.

And we also want him to understand that if he doesn't take it, this is going to hang round his neck, like a live and angry albatross, for the rest of his political career - and it could be very embarrassing and uncomfortable for him. ("That's Kim Howells, 'the man who killed live music' - do you know, at one time people thought he might get somewhere in politics.")

("Why don't you take a running jump, you self-serving lying hypocrite bastard" does not count as constructive advice. There's not much chance of his following that kind of advice, perhaps unfortunately, so it's a waste of energy.)


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 03:05 PM

This may be one way of getting shot of the LHB. You can still listen to what he actually said. Compare this (and my transcript) to the following BBC (printable) version. Which is what he may have wanted to say - but didn't...............????

Kim Howells interviewed by Steve Lamacq

There's been much said about the forthcoming changes to the
Licensing Bill and how it will affect live music. To get to the bottom of this sticky subject Steve Lamacq spoke to Kim Howells - the
government minister involved with the bill.

SL Why have you decided to change the laws governing live music
now?

KH Under the law at the moment you can have two musicians playing in a bar but you cannot have three. It's an absurd law and we are going to get rid of it. Let's say you wanted to open a pub you'd go to a
magistrate's court and apply for a licence. If you want more than two
people playing, and that'd virtually any band now, that [could be]
£2,500. [The local authorities] set the fees and you've got to pay it on an arbitrary level.

SL And under the new law?

KH You'd go to your local authority and ask for a premises licence (which lets you sell alcohol). That lasts for the lifetime of the pub, club, restaurant, or whatever and it's a one off payment. Then you'll have to pay between £50 and £150 [every year] for all the [health and safety] inspections that have to happen anyway. So you don't actually pay any extra to put on music. We [the government] control how much they [the authorities] can charge.

SL Some people are confused on who it will affect. For example does
it affect rehearsal rooms?

KH If people are rehearsing in a room, or if a music teacher is teaching piano in their home, they do not fall into this.

SL Coldplay, for example, can play in a church because that's a
religious venue but could Chris Martin just get up in a pub and
sing on a Friday night?

KH He could certainly get up and he wouldn't require a licence. If however there were adverts all over town saying Chris Martin was going to be performing on Friday night you would need a licence. Spontaneous music is not covered. But if it's arranged by the owner of the premises to attract more customers they need a music licence.

SL Do you believe this new law will help bands rather than hinder
them?

KH I hope so. I've got no intention of doing anything that will jeopardise live music or new bands coming up. A lot of my colleagues in parliament, and the country at large, don't realise how important the music industry is - it's probably worth more than the steel industry is.

SL Why are televised events which can cause more noise than
acoustic performances not included in this bill?

KH It's right to ask that because it looks like an unfair bill. The reason is we don't want to extend licensing to anything that isn't licensed at the minute. We want to take licensing requirements off not add them. That's why I've worried a lot about the two in the bar rule. But the advice we've got so far, and what the police have said, is that this is the easiest way of doing it. I'll keep looking at it and I can give you that pledge. If there is a better way through this I'll adopt it.

SL A few people have suggested that acoustic performances should
be exempt as they don't make as much noise.

KH I've been looking hard at that because I cannot say I've had a complaint in fourteen years as an MP from a folk group or anyone playing acoustic music. But I've had lots of complaints from very loud televisions and bag pipe music. It is an unfairness and we've got to try and address that.

SL So are you still taking on-board opinions and formulating this?
Absolutely. I've said all along what we need is people to be constructive about it. We don't need the kind of fibs that were put out - like you'd need a licence to sing 'Happy Birthday' to your Grandmother in a restaurant - that doesn't help anyone. I hope people will be constructive and help us form the best kind of legislation in the future.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 03:11 PM

The site has updated and the printable version and the web site written account is now not there. The link I provided above to the printable version still works for me. can you let me know if it works for you? I thought it may just still be in my cache?


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 03:21 PM

I doubt if he did actually intend to say bagpipe music and corrected the transcript to show that. Much more likely it's a cock-up by the BBC.

But it could be a good mistake for getting media attention. Angry pipers demanding to have details of these many complaints about loud bagpipe music which he has gone on record as having received.

This could be better than the Somerset Folksingers gaffe, if handled right.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: ET
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 05:05 PM

As an occasional Small Pipe Player I take strong issue with the notion of complaints about bag-pipe sounds. Complaints about the quality and accuracy of my music maybe but not the volume. Think it really is a cock up and should be piped music.   Have written to Howells - get no response from e-mails now other than the automated thing so trying snail mail. Have posed it on the main thread.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 08:24 PM

With respect the bag pipe mis-quote is not what I am refering to. This is supposed to be a transcript of what was asked and answered.

This printable version misses out whole questions and answers. Some of the answers that are missing are very interesting ones, for they were wrong answers.

Howells actually and very clearly said: That's two and a half thousand pounds please. Not (could be) £2,500.

Where is any mention of the Q and A on 'paying performances'?

Two decks are OK are they? Where is there even any mention in the transcript of the qustion about Norman Cook's decks?

Or of the answer?

Or of the word 'ploy'. Or of the astonishing concept of 'people just suddenly playing a gig together'? The word 'spontaneous' is again mentioned and now advertising, not words I see in the Bill. Or indeed now in the printable transcript.

Where is Johnnie Gee's entire and very serious question?

And where is the wrong answer? It is OK to sing outside Buckingham Palace without a licence, is it? We know where to hold all future demos then.

The MU were mentioned twice and Hamish Birchall by name but the TV question is not attributed to them.

The good Dr's very own invention the 'whistling postman' appears and then vanishes.

Where is the last comment? Again the MU were specifically mentioned, but not in this transcript.......?

I accept that am not the best audio typist in the world, although I have had a lot of practice recently, but the show can still be listened to. See if you can make the printable transcript fit what you hear being said.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 09:08 PM

Maybe he was playing by Hansard rules, where they are allowed to fake the record if they say anything in Parliament which they wish they hadn't said.

I think that maybe, now Parliament is televised, some organisation should take over the job of writing and publishing (on the Iternet) an accurate record. It'd be incredibly boring, but it would really get up their noses. And the papers would probably use it in preferance to Hansard, since it would give fruitier quotes, especially when the MPs were sozzled.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Mr Happy
Date: 14 Feb 03 - 04:59 AM

Howells howlers


Howells on Radio 1
10 February 2003

Kim Howells interviewed by Steve Lamacq on radio 1



SL. OK, let's clear up a couple of things. Does this cover paying performances or all performances , say in a pub?



KH. No, it covers paying performances

SL. If you don't pay to get in do you need a licence?

KH No you will need a licence    

just like you will now as things stand now, if you have more than two musicians in a pub.



????????????????


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Subject: LYR ADD: Kim the Minister
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Feb 03 - 05:26 PM

Here's a new song what I just wrote (rather anticipating the day he gets the boot maybe?). First draft:

We'll never find a better friend than the Minister of Culture.
They may say that he is round the bend, from Westmoreland to Wiltshire,
But every time we sing a song, and the licence is not handy,
We'll think of Kim the Minister, from the land of Tonypandy.
Oh Kim we will remember you, who ever could forget you.
You're the man who tried to silence us, except, we never let you.


Well he promised this and he promised that, but he never could deliver,
"If there's no money changing hands it's diffeent altogether
Oh you can hold your sessions there's no reason for a licence."
Did he think a fine of £20,000 might calm us into silence?
Oh Kim we will remember you, who ever could forget you.
You're the man who tried to silence us, except, we never let you.


Oh the bells were ringing in the church, and the dancers on the paving,
And the Minister of Culture was very close to raving.
Oh he blamed it on the Union, for grave misinformation,
But the Minister of Culture now is a joke through all the nation.
Oh Kim we will remember you, who ever could forget you.
You're the man who tried to silence us, except, we never let you.


(Yeah, I know Westmoreland as a County was supposed to be abolished years ago. But you can't abolish a County in the real world.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Feb 03 - 04:38 PM

This from Hamish Birchall.

Please circulate:

On Monday evening, 10 Feb, Kim Howells was interviewed about the Licensing Bill on BBC Radio 1 by Steve Lamacq ('Lamacq Live'). The BBC website provides a printable transcript:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/features/kimhowellsprint306.shtml

Note that the site does not say 'edited transcript'. However, comparison with a recording of the interview reveals that at least two interesting sections are missing in the BBC's printable transcript. In the recording, Howells appears to confirm that under the new rules no licence will be required for Fat Boy Slim to turn up in a pub that has 'two decks':

SL: Say no one knows Norman Cook's turning up in the boozer and I have two decks in the corner, will I need a licence?
KH: Not if there is only one person in there.
SL: So the two in a bar rule goes but two decks are OK?
KH: Yes [laughs], two decks is OK!


Since the publication of the licensing White Paper in April 2000 the government has maintained it must remove the two performer PEL exemption for one reason: because 'one musician with modern amplification can make more noise than three without'.

The potential noise output from Fat Boy Slim and other DJs, however, escaped their attention. Expert licensing lawyers, and the Performer-Lawyer group agree that DJ's playing in a bar are indeed exempt, provided no-one is dancing and there is no dance floor (see recorded music exemption Schedule 1, para 7).

A second section missing from the BBC transcript concerns an invitation to the Minister from listener Jonathan Gee to join him in an unlicensed performance of 'God save the Queen' outside Buckingham Palace:

SL: [Jonathan Gee]... goes on to say that, if the Bill does become law, 'I would like to be the first to invite the minister to an unlicensed performance of "God save the Queen" outside Buckingham Palace'. And by that I think he means the national anthem, not the Sex Pistols.
KH: Well he could play outside Buckingham Palace. He wouldn't need a licence for that.


On this point licensing lawyers and the Performer-Lawyer group believe Howells is wrong: such a performance would require a licence.

In the interview, contrary to all the independent legal opinion, Howells denies that rehearsals are licensable and suggests that arranging a gig in a pub without any publicity could escape licensing. He does not mention at all the potential compliance costs of obtaining a licence for live music.

However, when asked about the exemption for televised sporting events, he does hint at the possibility of reconsidering an exemption for acoustic music.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Feb 03 - 04:44 PM

I'm rather pleased about this comment of mine which they've just put up on BBC Wales's Hall of Fame website feature about Kim Howells - because I suspect he'll actually read it:

"Speaking on Radio 2 on July 17th 2002 he said in regard to music and song sessions in pubs 'As long as money isn't changing hands then there's no reason why they should have to have a licence.' He is now steering through Parliament a Licensing Law which makes it a criminal offence to make music in any public place in England and Wales unless there is a licence."


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Subject: RE: PEL: Howells on BBCR1 TONIGHT!
From: Nemesis
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 03:51 PM

I sent him this letter .. which no doubt he will not answer ..

Dear Dr Howells and Mr Cunningham,

Re. the new License Bill

With Red Nose Day coming up and 100,000s of ordinary people and children organising events to raise money for charity .. will MCM Research UK or any other unbiased(?) Government-appointed research company be reporting back:

- on the likely effect on voters at the next election once those people realise (from summer 2004)
- they face criminal prosecution and face fines up to £20,000 and/ or 6 months in prison
- for singing outside a supermarket or for playing a guitar and singing a number of songs in the middle of their comic routine without a license?
- Or the likely effect on fundraising once people realise they may have to apply, pay and satisfy Fire/ Police/ Health and Safety/ the neighbours etc for a license to hold a charity event?

Comic Relief has raised over £1billion - how much less once cash starved local authorities have taken over the issuing of those licenses?

Personally, I think the image of yourselves together with the impact of this bill on ordinary people's efforts to help starving children, will be one even more indelible than Thatcher the Milk Snatcher
Yours sincerely


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