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PEL's: News Blackout!

30 Jan 03 - 05:59 PM (#878658)
Subject: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

There's recently been public demo's against the PEL proposals or in favour of amendments   to the wording of them.

And yet there's been no mention whatsoever of these events in the national media!

Is this a cynical plot or what?

Comments please.

30 Jan 03 - 07:34 PM (#878722)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Leadfingers

Photo and four column inches in Times on Mondays do and a whole lot of stuff in the Grauniad as well. We were blanked out mostly by the Iraq stuation I think

30 Jan 03 - 07:50 PM (#878733)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: McGrath of Harlow

The things they will do to keep us out of the papers. Start a war even...

I hope other people have written to Tim Cummings who wrote that Guardian article on Tuesday congratulating him and telling him you hope the Guardian will keep covering the story - at

National papers have funny ideas about what is and what isn't news. Sometimes people up the top get a bee in their bonnet, and reporters are told to chase up stories about it. Other times it's reporters who get the bee in their bonnet and recognise that an issue could be worked up into a running story.

It's a lot easier to get things into local papers, where there isn't so much news around. And if stories keep on cropping up in local papers, that can be a lever for the nationals to get interested.

Even when letters don't get published they are part of the process of getting papers to start to see an issue as newsworthy. It's important to write and keep writing. After all, it's no harder than posting to a thread here to email a letter to a local or national paper.

30 Jan 03 - 07:59 PM (#878741)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

Only 4" in the Guardian? & Bugger all for yesterdays do!

What do we all have to do to be noticed??

Chain a bodrhan player to the railings of 10 Downing St?

Handcuff massed piano accordianists across the doors of the BBC?

do like the democratic serbs did in Belgrade-Occupy the local TV studios?

Perhaps I could gather support to storm Granada Studios in Manchester &/or Liverpool for a mass trespass protest sinaround?-

They'd probly enjoy that for the local news- almost every bulletin they produce is about some sort of SIN!

30 Jan 03 - 08:06 PM (#878746)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Nemesis

I wish it WAS easier to get things in our bloody local paper (she moaned gloomily) .. it's easier to get interviewed on international radio and have the national press calling me on this than for the local to print this story .. they buried it in the Parish pump villages news last week .. then in their freeby delivery version , which they called up to proof read tnrough with me, they just didn't print it at all! So, that's 3 local papers over 3 weeks .. 3 different events/versions etc meeting / demo / future implications / a letter .. all lost out to the local dog doo problem! Typesetting endless letters on sh*t is easier than typesetting painstakingly constructed and time-consuming individually tailored press releases!

30 Jan 03 - 08:19 PM (#878756)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: McGrath of Harlow

You saw the full page article by Tim Cummings in Tuesday's Guardian G2 supplement didn't you? That was first rate.

Remember though, a very short time ago this wasn't a live issue. Virtually impossible to get anyone, even in folk clubs or sessions, to believe there was anything to get excited about. People have an amazing ability to shrug off problems that don't immediuately affectvthem - a session or a folk ckub elsewhere had been shut down? They must have done something wrong, we habven't ever had any trouble.

The Shambles here constantly starting up threads and keeping them going with very few other joining in, and really getting up some peoples noses.

And now here we are, largely thanks to a combination of Kim Howells, the Shambles and Hamish Birchall, with editorials in the Telegraph and the Times, full page articles in the Telegraph and the Guardian, items on news maqazine programmes.

None of that means being satisfied - it's pathetic how unimaginative papers have been about picking up this whole issue. But we should feel encouraged rather than discouraged.

Now about those chained bodhran players. That's got possibilities. I'm sure a lot of us could nominate a few...

30 Jan 03 - 08:22 PM (#878757)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

Mc Roth, hear hear 2 that!

30 Jan 03 - 08:33 PM (#878762)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: GUEST,Ralphie

Look Chaps...
Lets keep our spleens firmly in place...
I'll do me best Friday on the Johnnie Walker show.
Ranting never worked...
and after all....the music, song, and dance, that we loved has survived for centurys...It will still be there long after we're feeding worms..
Chill People!!
Love R xxx

30 Jan 03 - 08:55 PM (#878773)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

wanna bet- the relatively recent evidence is clear, after all in the 1950's the skiffle craze started off in coughie bars- but then the 2 in a barn rule came in-killed it stone ded![could it b a coincidence that the Elvis-type stuff was simultaneous with this?- replacing diy music with u-pay-thru the-nose-commercial stuff!]

i don't kno any caffs or cofee bras where they do sessions at all & u gotta break the law 2 do 'em in pubs!

folkin about's a minority sport & our very own Dept of Culture seems set on keeping it that way, even to the extreme of exterminating it altogether!

y? oh, y oh y? [for big prophets 2 b gained of coarse!]

where there's shite, there's brass!

31 Jan 03 - 03:44 AM (#878910)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Richard Bridge

I think Kent on Sunday will be covering this in depth againthis weekend. It did a nice article last weekend based on potential problems for the Broadstairs festival, nad they ahve been on for my lastest stuff to the Joint Committee on HUman RIghts and the beginnings of my reply to the 3-page standard Howells Letter to MPs with the 12 page standard DCMS note.

I think I have caught Howells in an outright error or worse in his letter to the Joint Committee, and from a constitutional law position that could have repercussions for him.

31 Jan 03 - 04:43 AM (#878926)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

Things are certainly much better than they were. Getting The Times leader, when there is a war, cannot be bad. One of the problems is that the media don't know if it is an arts story, a news story or a political one.

The best stuff, so far has been from the arts people, but is only read by those that are interested.

It was front page on The Stage

Perhaps it is up to us to make it news or political? Richard is doing his best. BTW What IS a 'laguna'? I know it is where 'Lily' came from........but?

31 Jan 03 - 05:22 AM (#878947)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

The Times leader 21 January 2003

31 Jan 03 - 07:17 AM (#878999)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: McGrath of Harlow

I suppose what we really need to get it treated as a news story is for Prince Charles to make one of his carbuncle type speeches about how modern bureaucracy is set on destroying our traditions...

31 Jan 03 - 07:37 AM (#879013)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: JudeL

Ok, so who's gona write a letter to Charlie ? Mind given the media preoccupation with the female form I thought that woman in fishnet tights and showing clevage on the demo on Monday might have got the story into the national papers.

31 Jan 03 - 07:41 AM (#879016)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: DMcG

Wha wouldna write to Charlie?

31 Jan 03 - 03:10 PM (#879344)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

That reminds me.

Last week in the Independent there was a photo of Howells and Prince Charles. There was no article but the caption said something like 'Prince Charles warming to Dr Howells over his 'Turner Prize' comments.

31 Jan 03 - 05:29 PM (#879474)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Liz the Squeak

Hmm chained piano accordionists to the railings at No. 10..... Can I nominate please?


31 Jan 03 - 06:37 PM (#879558)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: GUEST,Gerry.

31 Jan 03 - 07:02 PM (#879581)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: McGrath of Harlow

Well what Howells said about the Turner Prize was fair enough I felt. Even a stopped clock is right twice every day.

Anyone got Charlie's address?

31 Jan 03 - 07:04 PM (#879583)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: GUEST,Gerry.

The turnout for the PEL demo in London was very thin, not even
the 500 reported, if this bill was proposed in Ireland thousands
would have protested.
The general public in England have no interest in folk music, and
this form of entertainment is the reserve of a dying breed of old
I'm sure Mr. Howells slept well, fox hunting attracted more than

31 Jan 03 - 10:07 PM (#879723)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

well i guess joe public didn't/doesn't kno about it.

what's needed, i think, is for some big name popularist genre 'stars' to get involved & speak out publicly about it.

having 'big names' from the folk & fringe isn't so good cos general public have never heard of them- like watersons/carthy, billy bragg etc.

if someone like SIR Paul or Ringo, sir cilla black,or mick jaeger etc or some other popular idol were to proclaim on behalf of 'the cause' the impact & publicity might be greater.


07 Feb 03 - 04:41 AM (#884601)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

another example of 'PEL's: News Blackout!'- the Newsnight prog. on BBC with Billy Bragg-not a dicky bird about the proposed licencing laws!

07 Feb 03 - 05:20 AM (#884612)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: McGrath of Harlow

That was Question Time with Billy Bragg. But not a word about the Bill.

07 Feb 03 - 05:29 AM (#884616)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

sorry, i meant Question Time

07 Feb 03 - 04:30 PM (#885008)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Folkiedave

In fairness Liza Carthy has been great and Mike Harding also had a letter in the Grauniad pointing out that it would not happen in Ireland.

And to be fair we have not done too bad............

Keep up the good work is my message,,,,,,,,,,,,,on here, BBC message boards............with MP's etc.........local radio..........and so on.........


07 Feb 03 - 04:40 PM (#885014)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: McGrath of Harlow

We are doing well. Got to keep chipping away. And if the Bill goes through without the modifications that are needed - which are not at all great - keep on at it.

Right now it's all made much more difficult because we're up against a rather enormous story in the shape of the looming war, which takes up rather a lot of room in the media.

08 Feb 03 - 01:39 PM (#885622)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

This in the Publican.

08 Feb 03 - 05:06 PM (#885717)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: McGrath of Harlow

I was going to email that story to Kim Howells - but when I checked on the list of MPs I found his email address isn't there. I'm sure it was there the last time I looked. Interesting.

09 Feb 03 - 08:12 AM (#885993)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: JudeL

In the Sunday express today there is a piece about William Hague joining the protest against the new bill. It's angle is against charging for performances in churches and church halls but it refers to the prposed legislation being described by ministers as ridiculous

09 Feb 03 - 08:20 AM (#885994)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: JudeL

Oh and Guest Gerry, it was around 500 of us. What you might or might not attract in Ireland is another matter entirely but on a weekday in England on an issue that the media appeas to be trying to ignore 500 wasn't bad.

09 Feb 03 - 09:40 AM (#886022)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

This from David Mills on the EFDSS list, on Tessa Jowell.

Have just listened to the lady on Radio Three (now 12 -35)

She had a gentle go at the MU but said that "We're absolutely determined that this promotes music.. um.. live music in pubs and other.. you know..restaurants, know.. the whole /range/ of places um in which music now takes place; that this will not limit it". She is prepared to look at very carefully at all the fine print to make sure that "it's made easier not more difficult".

She then reiterated the line{s}about beaurocracy and cost and ease of

Next came the classic piece denying the idea that she and Howells got into the office one day and decided that that days task was to shut down music in pubs and clubs...I paraphrase!

The interviewer made tha point that "muisc is such a fluid, casual activity that you're legislating against it in effect"

Tessa Jowell replied to this by saying that she doesn't want to see the situation where six people are sitting around in a pub (with or without a guitar) and start singing together and are stopped because there isn't a licence. "That would be patently ridiculous"...The lady's own words.....

"It's wonderful when music is made in that kind of spontaneous way."

She is going to "make absolutely sure (as is Kim Howells) that the
legislation supports, rather than undermines, live music in pubs"

There was some blurb about the scrutiny of the Bill, parliamentary process and ammendments that will improve the Bill.

She was left with the last word:
"Everybody should be absolutely clear that our objective is to ensure that live music in pubs flourishes"

David Mills

PS The announcer then pointed the audience to the discuusion on the BBC Radio Three website. Trouble is I keep forgetting my login name and password;-)

09 Feb 03 - 09:47 AM (#886029)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

The 'Music Matters' message board is here

10 Feb 03 - 03:20 AM (#886574)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

Jowells & Howells- Sounds like a comedy double act!!

'course comedians will be exempt- but which is the straight man?

10 Feb 03 - 07:08 AM (#886668)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: McGrath of Harlow

I think a transcript of that interview would be very useful - especially the bit Shambles paraphrases as: "Tessa Jowell replied to this by saying that she doesn't want to see the situation where six people are sitting around in a pub (with or without a guitar) and start singing together and are stopped because there isn't a licence. "That would be patently ridiculous"...

My feeling here is still that we aren't up against a cleverly worked out plan by politicians to zap us. I think it's a cock up by people who know bugger all about this whole thing. The central focus of the bill is about drink, not about music, and the people who drafted it didn't do their homework.

The whole assumption was surely that this was a routine and non-contentious bit of legislation, where any opposition would come from people who weren't keen on extending drinking hours. A populsar bit of legislation that wold help those involved up the greasy pole. But they hate making concessions and admitting mistakes, because that's the way politicians are wired up.

If they can find a way of getting out of the corner into which they have painted themselves without getting paint in their shoes, I predict they'll take it. And on the basis of that summary of Tessa Jowell's interview, if I were Kim Howells I'd be watching my back.

11 Feb 03 - 05:50 AM (#887471)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

The Tessa Jowell show can now be heard on the following site.

12 Feb 03 - 04:58 PM (#888883)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

The Western Morning News is running a fine campaign and could do with our support.

13 Feb 03 - 05:32 AM (#889291)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

This from one who was invited to attend the radio 2 Folk Awards. Who for good reasons, would rather not be identified.

Thanks for all your hard work in sending me details about how the campaign is going! I thought you might be interested in the following:

Just in case you were beginning to think that all the pro and semi pro folkies were ignoring this whole situation - here is what happened on folk award night last Monday.

Mike Harding started off with a whole load of put downs about Kim Howells and said that "He had invited the minister to come along, but he was obviously too afraid of the response" ... or (words to that effect), the mere mention of Kim Howells' name was met by a wealth of pantomine-like boos and hisses from the great and good in folk.

Introducing the award for Roy Bailey and Tony Benn as best live act, Tom Robinson finished with the phrase "and these two won't be able to play in a pub if the current government has their way" (or words to that effect).

Finally Eliza Carthy on recieving her second award appealed to the whole audience to sign Graham Dixon's petition with tears in her eyes ... I know this means a lot to her.

If you heard the radio broadcast you will have noticed that practically all (apart from Tom Robinson's comment) were completely edited out by Smooth Operations, the company who put on the annual show and who are also responsible for The Mike Harding Show.

I am appalled and dismayed that they didn't use what small part of the market share in national radio they have responsibility for to represent what the presenters and performers obviously
feel so strongly about (as everyone in the folk scene does) - they also missed out other political statements like those made by Christy Moore in response to his message from the Irish Prime Minister.

What I'm trying to say, Roger, is don't think all the people in the professional side of folk are ignoring this point. It is just incredibly difficult to get your point accross when the only bit of media attention on folk censors all the poignant facts out.

I would be grateful (for selfish career reasons) if you wouldn't link this information with my name if you choose to distribute it to others. But I would be only too happy for others to know how two faced Smooth Ops are for doing this sort of thing at the same time as cashing in on a bit of extra
listning figures because they get an interview with KH.

Anyway I've ranted enough.

Keep up the good work - I really appreciate it.


13 Feb 03 - 07:36 AM (#889353)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

This does not seem to be on the paper's website, linked to above.

Western Morning News 12 February 2003
Bill 'infringes' human rights.
Paliamentary committee attacks changes to licensing laws.
By Paul Andrews

The Government will "infringe individuals' freedom of expression" if it continues with its proposed shake-up of licensing laws, according to a parliamentary committee. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHS), a body consisting of senior members from the House of Commons and House of Lords, says freedom of expression may be "incompatible" with the proposed change of law.

If the Government's Licensing Bill became law in its current form, all kinds of performance would be illegal unless licensed, which musicians and landlords fear would lead to the death of live music in pubs.

The JCHR report states: "There is a significant risk that the blanket licensing regime proposed in the Bill would give rise to an incompatibility with people's right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"The proposed blanket requirement for all premises to be licensed before any live performance takes place in them, regardless of whether there is a real risk of noise or nuisance, the nature of the premises, or the number of performers and spectators, is somewhat heavy-handed".

"We note that the licensing regime under the Bill would not cover the use of amplification for recorded music, which would seem to present health and safety risks similar to those caused by electronic amplification of live performers."

The committee also criticised the Government's recent U turn on the exemption of churches from the proposed legislation. Church music was set to be licensable, but this was later retracted by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The committee said: "This apparently random exemption for places of religious worship might tend to undermine the argument for the rationality of the blanket licensing regime as a whole, and could engage other human rights issues by appearing to discriminate against occupiers and users of non-religious premises."

Campaigners have labelled the report a "major victory". Hamish Birchall, a spokesman for the Musician's Union South West said: This report utterly vindicates the campaign against the Bill. If premises don't need a licence to provide big screen broadcast entertainment with a powerful sound system, why must even small-scale acoustic performances be a criminal offence?"

The Bill, which could be law by next year, would abolish the "two-in-a-bar rule", which allows a landlord to stage one or two musicians in their pub without needing an entertainment licence. landlords would need to apply to their local authority for a new premises licence to stage any musical performance, however small.

But because of the expensive conditions which may be insisted upon by fire and police, there are fears landlords will be unable to afford to provide any live music. Mr Birchall said: "Of course we want venues to be safe and local residents to be protected from noise nuisance. But there is already adequate legislation in place to deal with these concerns." "At grass-roots level musicians need to be able to seel work and exchange ideas." "And it seems senior political figures agree."

The report will now be forwarded to the DCMS. A DCMS spokesman said: "We will consider our response to their specific concerns once we have studied it in detail." "As our amendment on churches proves, we are prepared to listen and will therefore give full consideration to the committee's conclusions."

One band who have graduated from the Westcountry pub circuit are Show of hands. The Exeter-based duo who have played all over the world and twice sold out the Albert Hall, believe the Bill would deny young musicians the chance to break through.

Singer-songwriter Steve Knightley said: " The grass-roots level is crucial to young talent. When you start out you need any gig at all, and it might be the only chance you will get. The two-in-a- bar rule provided us with that chance."

" If your set works in a small pub, where you are face to face with unforgiving audiences, it will work anywhere. You can't hide, so you learn to handle a crowd and build up a rapport."

"The Irish and the Scots have a living musical culture, they play at their own weddings and parties. The English don't really have that. So we are dependent on music-loving landlords who want to offer people an alternative."

The WMN campaign to challenge the Licensing Bill has now received over 1,400 protest forms from readers. Along with the petition forms published yesterday these will be handed to Minister for Culture Kim Howells, demanding that live pub music is protected.

Mr Knightley said: "There seems to be an assumption at Government level that we have no vernacular culture worth protecting – but they are wrong." ENDS

Law would encourage live music – minister

Culture minister Kim Howells was fiercely criticised by Westcountry pub landlords yesterday after he claimed the Government's Licensing Bill would encourage more premises to put on live entertainment.

Dr Howells said that more than 9,000 premises currently held permanent entertainment licences, with a further 37,000 temporary licenses being issued each year.

And he claimed that the new combined licence would make it easier – and cheaper – for pubs and other premises licensed premises to put on entertainment as it would be governed by a "single premises licence" covering both alcohol and public entertainment.

Joe Duthie, chairman of the West of England Licensed Victuallers Association, said: "Of course Mr Howells is going to make these claims." "He is responsible for the legislation and therefore has a political responsibility to defend it."

"But I an sure he knows it just isn't true." "He is just obstinately digging his heels in" "When any aspects of licensing laws have been handed to local authorities in the past it has always resulted in massive hikes in fees. That is an historical fact."

"I have not spoken to one licensee who welcomes these changes." "Everybody is fearful because ultimately it will be landlords and their customers who will lose out." " The Government gets involved more and more and each time it just adds another level of expensive bureaucracy."

In a written parliamentary answer, Dr Howells insisted that the new combined licence would cost "no more" than an alcohol licence. he said: "The Government expects that the removal of the cost deterrent in applying for permission to provide entertainment, along with the provision of a less bureaucratic system and measures to prevent unnecessary conditions being attached to licences by licensing authorities, will encourage many more premises to take the opportunity to provide public entertainment."

Landlords who have experience of applying for public entertainment licenses are also unconvinced by Dr Howells. Viv Wilson, who has run the Lime Tree in Paignton for the last three years said: "The idea that these licenses are easy to get just isn't true."

"They may be cheaper but the conditions that are placed on applications make them impossible to obtain, especially for small rural pubs." "we applied for an entertainments licence some time ago. We just wanted to put on the odd bit of music." " but because of a few objections from local residents that was it." "In the end we were so deflated by the whole experience we just left it."

14 Feb 03 - 07:09 AM (#890191)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

This answer from the producer of the Radio 2 Awards.

I edited most of the awards show programme and so take
responsibility for everything that was edited out. The show ran for
two and a quarter hours on the night and I had to cut it down to
87 mins. I had to drop one full piece of music, heavily edit John
McCusker's tunes and cut quite a lot of everyone's speech.

I did not take out any political references deliberately, was just a
practical problem of physically getting the show to time and
making it sound reasonably natural. If I remember correctly there
were three references to the PEL. I cut out two and left Tom
Robinson's comments.

There were many other comments during the evening that I regret losing. There is no question of political censorship, it was purely a decision of cutting the speech down to the bone or dropping more music or even one of the awards.

However, all the speeches are on our web site where they can be
accessed at any time and heard in full, and a number of times
during the programme we directed listeners to the web site. John
Leonard, Producer.

14 Feb 03 - 04:45 PM (#890567)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

For circulation

On Sunday 9 February, during an interview on 'Music Matters' for BBC Radio 3, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said the Musicians' Union Licensing Bill campaign was a 'campaign of misinformation'. This was, of course, a day before the Joint Committee on Human Rights published its report vindicating MU concerns. The Committee concluded that the 'blanket licensing regime' proposed in the Bill carries a 'significant risk' of infringing people's right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention.

The MU will respond to the Culture Secretary's allegation on this Sunday's edition of BBC R3's Music Matters, starting at 12.15pm (16 Feb). You can listen on

The growing body of legal opinion in support of the MU analysis of the Bill's implications includes a specialist licensing QC. In additions, the Performer-Lawyer group, which also shares MU concerns, has published a 19-page dissection of the 24-point DCMS document published last month, concluding that much of the DCMS analysis is either inaccurate or misleading. It is available on:

My own annotated version of the DCMS document on the MU site:

23 Feb 03 - 04:11 PM (#896829)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles,6903,900793,00.html

Billy Bragg The Observer 23 February 2003

What do you think makes more noise? A pub full of people watching a live football match or a pub in which a handful of unamplified musicians are playing and singing a few songs to an attentive audience? I ask because the Government is planning a new law which requires pub landlords to apply for a licence to allow musicians to perform while exempting sports or music broadcasts.

The DCMS (Department of Culture, Murdoch and Sport) claims this is necessary because of noise generated by public performance in pubs, despite the fact that most complaints are about rowdy customers at closing time. With the new extended opening times included in this Bill, it is likely pubs will show more live sport beamed from across the planet, leading to car doors slamming and engines revving at 3am.

Meanwhile, local musicians performing for music lovers will be penalised. Getting a gig in a pub means finding a sympathetic landlord. That was how I started out, playing for beer money on a quiet night at the local. If providing live music of any kind requires consultations and inspections by police, fire service, environmental health department and local residents, the landlord will be more likely to rely on a jukebox, which - get this - will also be exempt.

The message to any young person who wants to get a record on that jukebox will be clear. Forget writing your own songs and performing them before a live audience. Better to attend those Pop Idol TV auditions.
Even having a piano standing unplayed in the corner could make the landlord liable to a £20,000 fine and six months in prison. If someone organises a sing-song around that piano, the licensing inspectors could have a case for prosecution.

How did we get to this sorry state? It began when the Government decided to do something about the licensing laws that had evolved over the past century. Under the old rules, you did not need a licence if there were only two people performing. That law, the so called two-in-a-bar rule, was felt to be ridiculous and difficult to enforce.

The notion that the Government was to modernise this rule was welcomed by musicians and landlords alike. For years, performers in England had looked with envy at Scotland, where no licence is required for public performance, provided that it is secondary to the main business. Our hope was that the new rules would bring us into line.

Shockwaves ran through the performing community when it emerged that the Government planned a none-in-the-bar law: a blanket ban on unlicensed performance on premises open to the public. This covered not only pubs and clubs but churches, village halls, schools, cafes, car parks. As the ramifications for community events began to dawn, the churches and the WI began to voice objections.

The DCMS had to rethink and quickly. Churches are now exempt and village halls will have their fees 'waived'.

When you go for a drink, would you rather be confronted with a pub full of football fans or a few musicians having an acoustic session in the corner? Write to your MP demanding, at least, an exemption for unamplified music or, better still, the adoption of the Scottish system. Landlords are subject to enough noise and safety regulations to protect residents. Do not let this new law kill live music in pubs and clubs while making the world safe for Sky Sports.

25 Feb 03 - 07:20 AM (#898141)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

Western Morning News 25 February 2003.

The region's strength of feeling against the Licensing Bill, which threatens effectively to outlaw live music in our pubs by imposing new and draconian regulations on live entertainment, should make the government and, in particular, Minister for Culture Kim Howells, sit up and listen very attentively. By yesterday, we had received 1,466 signatures on 'Don't Kill Our Live Music' petitions and 3,478 on the campaign forms printed in these pages.

Such a response does not reflect the views of 5,000 dedicated pub-goers, folk-music fans and participators in bibulous singalongs, any more than, for example, all those who defended foxhunting counted every spare moment lost which was not spent in the chase. On the contrary, many of those who have felt compelled to state their objection to the Bill wish to record only their antipathy to an apparently unceasing trend for government to interfere in every aspect of our lives, and particularly in our enjoyment, and their sorrow at seeing yet another vital aspect of our culture under threat.

They - and we - have no wish to see safety prejudiced by overcrowding, over-excitement and inadequate access or egress, but there are adequate regulations already in place to ensure that crowds remain, within limits, orderly, and that fire-regulations, for example, are adhered to.

Last week's horrific inferno on Rhode Island, caused, it seems, by overcrowding, confinement and the use of powerful pyrotechnics indoors, is a world away from the familiar British scene of a well-lit, well-supervised, spacious public bar, dotted with tables to prevent excessive congestion, in which two or three entertainers regale drinkers with gentle or amusing songs and occasional jokes.

Putative risk, and the scope for impertinent legislation founded upon such risk, are almost infinite. Actual risk, however, although always hard to estimate, must surely be demonstrated before livelihoods and age-old customs are destroyed.

The legislators, of course, claim that noise-pollution is their principal concern, but, again, there is more than sufficient law to prevent such a nuisance beyond the walls of the pub itself, and, within the premises, punters will vote with their feet. It is a very small minority of pub-goers which wishes to be assailed by raucous rap or heavy metal whilst enjoying their pint of best, and most of these would surely prefer the ambience of the rave - often illegal and unregulated - to that of the King's Arms or the Bull and Bush.

The restrictive, standardising consequences of globalisation and mass-production were never better or earlier demonstrated than in the performing arts. Throughout history, people have gathered to tell tales and to sing the songs which at once express and identify their tribes and pass the lessons and experiences of the past to the present generation. Throughout recorded history, too, people have not been content to rely upon communal renditions of partially remembered and inexpertly performed texts and songs, but have engaged expert storytellers and minstrels to pluck at their heartstrings or convey history and news. Each such performer, as all live performers must. adapted the remembered text to the dialect, mood and terms of reference of a particular audience.

Once, then, such a storyteller or minstrel was a valued, even venerated, star in his or her community. He or she was a focal point, and, in lives often of drudgery, the person trusted to inspire joy, forgetfulness, nostalgia or frenzy. Until well into the nineteenth century, musicians in particular still enjoyed that status. Then came the phonograph and, soon afterward, the radio.

The local fiddler or singer whose ability had once set him as far above the common run as an angel above an earthworm was now compared with Caruso or with Jolson, with Heifetz or with Reinhardt, and was found wanting. The highly skilled few might find jobs in orchestras. The remainder were all but redundant, save for the teachers, the buskers and the brave few who formed bands and toured public places of entertainment.

Yet from this last group have come whole musical styles - jazz and blues, swing and folk, rock and roll and punk - and most of their greatest exponents. Today's one-off, slick and forgettable hits may be created 'by numbers' in the studio with high-tech wizardry, but all our finest innovators and performers - and the same, of course, is true of comedy - served their apprenticeship by performing gigs before unpredictable live audiences.

Despite these pressures, those unpredictable audiences and those innovative performers have persisted. What the global market cannot achieve, however, legislation, as so often, yet may. If this Bill is allowed to become law, not only will the nature of a good night out be needlessly changed, a whole layer in the texture of our culture be removed and many honest entertainers put out of business, but one of the most remunerative, prestigious and populist of British arts and crafts will be denied its life-blood. Keep the protests coming in.

02 Mar 03 - 09:17 AM (#901646)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

Article in the Western Morning News 1st March 2003.
Keep this music live and untamed
Neil Young

Fingers hot-skipped over fiddles, and guitars, an accordion, whistles and a banjo swelled out the sound that seemed to envelope every pocket of air, and in that packed sideroom of Johnny-Joe's, people who had never met before squeezed limb into warm limb over Guinness and cigarettes and sang together as if they were intimate friends. Some started solo then others joined in, even those who only half-knew the words. I murdered a version of the Foggy Dew, but still was met with roars of approval and a thumping full-on kiss from a girl across the table who I never saw again, but if she's out there now….

Just another Saturday night in Cushendall, Antrim. On Thursdays the youngsters of the village joined the veteran musicians – their fathers, mothers, uncles, grandfathers – and their music merged in a fusion of seamless experience and the improvising practice and skill of the newly-versed. I asked where this music came from that seemed so familiar in its themes and yet was unscored. And the truth of it was that it came from no place you could touch. It was passed from one generation to the next, like a whisper in the ear along a link that had never been broken, like something filtered through the bloodstream that gave this place and its people the gift of sound and intonation that was their own native tongue.

And so to Auld Lammas fair in Ballycastle, where you trip over the corpses of three-day-drunk farmers in the middle of the road, and the riot of music pours out of backroom windows. A great ape of a thing who looked like Johnny "Mad dog" Adair's ugly brother cast me a look that would slacken the staunchest of bowels. The scrawnt singer on the guitar barked something indecipherable in his direction, and Madder-than-Mad-Dog melted into a smile.

And here too, even a big sea apart, in scattered places, unsuspected corners, back lanes, from down-at-heel Plymouth to rain-soaked Mevagissey, or where a couple of people meet and fumble for song, a violin case is opened, a harmonica pulled from a jacket pocket, a piano lid battered open, I've found that same spirit that binds and brings strangers together who moments before might have shied from conversation or shifted for space on their stools. They too are swept up in spite of themselves. They too find common language in the words of others, the clumsy rhymes, the seductive melodies, when their own solitary tongues might stumble for expression.

There are places even in this city where songs stretching back to the First World War, words and themes that belong to folk memory, can be head belted out from voices that know their lines too well to those croaked or ragged to care but simply hanker for to enjoin in the shared shedding of inhibition. Songs that glimpse of times and lives long gone , jumbled up with the cheesiest pop, the Sixties or Seventies nostalgia-blasters, the singer-songwriter standards, the folk classics and protest anthems, the end-of-the –night slow burners.

They can all be found in pub or a room or a turn-of-the-corner away. Here too, in England and Cornwall, where the culture police want to license the weekend drumkit thumper and his mate on the mike with an eight chord repertoire on the guitar. Here, where the worst offence of noise pollution is an overdose of the Beatles songbook, the din of traffic, or the throbbing night-club rhythms that reach from street to street, but where the starched-knickered moralisers from the Ministry of New-Lab Culcha want to straitjacket each vibrant and authentic thing that flits across their radar.

Only in England, we say, it could only happen here, but whether or not that's the case does not detract from the surge in censoriousness to which this Bill – so small and inoffensive a word – the Licensing Bill, belongs. It belongs to the legislation obsession that is colonising so much of our private and public space. It belongs to a mindset that is addicted to interfering and intrusion – "for the public good. in our own interests, because we know best what is best for you" – that drop by drop drains the well from which we shake our thirsty spirits, or revivify ourselves.

The pub that is silenced, or where loud voices are tut-tutted into a tamed huddle, is like the wild ground with a sign instructing us to Keep Off the grass. It's like throwing someone out of church for praying too hard. The pub as social centre, focal point for ribald humour and debate, is no pub at all when the edgier points of society are squeezed out. The pub that knows no lock-in is a dry and abandoned place. And the pub that has no singers, be they lonesome folkie with an amp, Sunday jazzman, brazen band, or a few stray Cornish choir singers who can't resist the temptation to lift their voices, is a place best suited to alien parts where they like their culture scrubbed clean.

Not here, not here. Not in Ireland, Scotland, England or Wales, nor the windy outreaches of Cornwall. The emphasis of the music is on LIVE because it's a living thing, that is part of our language, our native speech, from its everyday to its best – from the pokey Plymouth pub to the lifeblood of the musicians of Cushendall.

10 Mar 03 - 01:39 PM (#906712)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

Western Morning News 08 March 2003

The WMN campaign against new licensing laws will next week be taken to the heart of Government.

On Thursday petitions and coupons signed by more than 10,000 readers in support of the campaign will be presented at 10 Downing Street by a special delegation organised by the WMN.

Petitions and protest forms have flooded in from people across the Westcountry, demanding that the Government amend its Licensing Bill, which threatens the future of live pub music.

Thursday's presentation will be led by a procession of musicians and landlords. A band has been created for the occasion and will perform a specially-composed song protesting about the Licensing Bill.

Hamish Burchill, a spokesman for the Musician's Union South West, said: "This overwhelming response is a clear sign of a serious misjudgement by the Government. Music is not insignificant or a political issue but a fundamental part of people's lives."

Trevor Jones, landlord of the Waterfront Bar in Falmouth, said: "This Bill came about because the powers that be found themselves another avenue for raising money. They are trying to squeeze extra revenue out of traditions which have existed longer than the political system itself. We have to make them think again."

The Licensing Bill, which could be law by next year, would make many forms of live performance illegal unless licensed. The proposed legislation would also abolish the two-in-a-bar rule, which allows one or two musicians to play in their pub without a landlord needing an entertainment licence. Landlords would need to apply to their local authority for a new premises licence to stage any musical event, however small.

But because of expensive conditions which may be attached by health and safety and the fire service, there are fears many pubs will simply not bother to apply for a licence - and lose traditional live music performances in the process.

Mr Jones said: "If the Government wants to raise money it should realise that more music means more drinking and more drinking means more tax for them. Where will this sort of social control end?"

Harry Fulcher, a professional musician from Sidmouth who has played alongside the likes of Robert Plant, said: "These proposals are ludicrous. It would have a devastating effect on our culture. Doors will close because of this. Young people need to test their ability, but this would cut a swathe through aspiring talent. People like to play, people like to listen. Where exactly is the problem?"

The WMN campaign has received more than 4,200 protest forms from readers, and a further 5,900 signatures have been sent in on petition forms.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said yesterday: "We welcome any contribution to the debate and are prepared to listen to all views. We have already taken action where we think the Bill can be improved, by exempting places of religious worship and village halls from the new fees. Culture Minister Kim Howells and John Smith, General Secretary of the Musicians' Union, had a productive and constructive discussion about the Licensing Bill and its impact on live music earlier this week. Dr Howells acknowledged all of the concerns and agreed to work together to ensure the new legislation significantly increases opportunities for performers to perform."

As well as all the petitions being presented directly to Downing Street, North Devon MP and Lib Dem Culture spokesman Nick Harvey is hoping to highlight the campaign on Monday, during the Department of Culture's question time in the House of Commons.

He said: "WMN readers have shown what a hornet's nest the Government has stirred up. The message is loud and clear that live music should not be burdened with unnecessary cost or bureaucracy."

The campaign against the Bill has already forced the Government to U-turn and make village halls and churches exempt from fees under the new regime.

The House of Lords has also successfully lobbied for an amendment excluding acoustic music.

Hamish Burchill, a spokesman for the Musician's Union South West, said: "All now depends on what happens when the Bill enters the House of Commons in the next few weeks.

"They have to listen to the demands of the people. The Government thought the Bill was politically expedient, but that was a huge error."

11 Mar 03 - 01:30 PM (#907510)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

BBC Radio 4's - You and Yours - 11 March 2003, can be heard on the following site.

12 Mar 03 - 08:45 AM (#908142)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

Anne Perkins, political correspondent
Wednesday March 12, 2003
The Guardian

Liberal Democrat and Tory peers blasted a hole through the government's controversial licensing bill last night, forcing an amendment exempting all small premises from licensing for performances of live music.

Peers, backed by the Musicians' Union, have inflicted nine defeats on the legislation, which liberalises drinking hours but extends the scope of licences to include all live performances.

Last night's defeat by 150 votes to 120 would mean that smaller pubs and restaurants would be able to offer live entertainment as long as their capacity was below 250 people and the entertainment finished by 11.30pm.

The Lib Dem peer Lord Redesdale, a champion of folk music who has spearheaded the assault on the bill, said: "This is not just pandering to the Musicians' Union. We believe it will lead to the renaissance of live music."

He was backed by the Tory peer, bandleader and union member Lord Colwyn.

But Lord McIntosh, for the government, called the amendment drastic and said it would exempt "huge swaths" of entertainment from all licensing, and could result in children under 18 being allowed to watch sex films.

After the vote a Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman attacked the opposition, saying: "They have voted for eight-year-olds to watch the unexpurgated Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

"They have voted to remove the rights of the police to step in if an unsuitable person tried to lure in children by setting up a disco. This is a disaster for kids and will do nothing for live music into the bargain."

12 Mar 03 - 09:26 AM (#908166)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Doktor Doktor

Oh Dear Oh Dear!

The Laird McIntosh plays the paedophile threat card - this is Good News as it means he's run out of sensible arguments.

Of course, he can only get away with this (or rather his evil servants can write it so he can say it) as Tony's busy & the press don't care. The only way to get a headline on the Bill this week would be to get Saddam & Rumsfeld to sing an (unlicenced) duet in Cerne Abbas.

13 Mar 03 - 05:46 AM (#908893)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

I am working on the Cerne Abbas duet idea. But why Cerne? There is already a big cock-up there.

In the meantime this is the BBC online news.

14 Mar 03 - 09:57 AM (#909922)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

Western Morning News 14 March 2003.

The WMN presented a petition from 11,000 of their readers to No 10 Downing Street and spoke to Dr Howells.


The concern of more than 11,000 WMN readers that plans to change licensing laws will threaten the future of live music in pubs are "wrong", according to Culture Minister Kim Howells.

Speaking exclusively to the WMN yesterday, Dr Howells claimed that proposals laid out in the Government's Licensing Bill would allow live music to "flourish".

Despite overwhelming opposition to the Bill from musicians, landlords, the Licensed Victuallers Association, politicians from all parties, the Joint Committee of Human Rights and senior peers, Dr Howells insisted that the move would actively encourage live pub music.

He said: "The response to the WMN campaign has been very impressive, and it proves that people care deeply about live music. " But they are wrong to believe that if this Bill becomes law it will be under threat. "I am a big fan of live music myself and I would not be part of something which would diminish the number of venues available."

The WMN Don't Kill Our Live Pub Music campaign was launched on February 1. Reader protest forms were published every day , and campaign petition forms were published weekly. Each day the campaign- spearheaded by Westcountry based musician Billy Bragg – has featured pubs and musicians from across the Westcountry, all concerned about the Bill's impact on live music.

Campaign posters published in the WMN are on display in pubs across the region.

But Dr Howells blamed criticism of the Bill on "misinformation" and defended his plans to abolish the two-in-a-bar –rule, which allows up to two musicians to play in a pub without the need for a entertainments licence. He said: "When the Bill becomes law there will be a year for it to be implemented. All pubs will apply to their local authority for the right to serve alcohol, and tick a box saying they also want live music. It won't cost any more. "Currently, if you want to put more than two musicians on you need to apply for a public entertainment licence. "These can cost thousands of pounds, but the new licence will not cost a penny more than people already pay. "The two-in-a-bar-rule is itself restricting the flow of musical talent, It distorts live music and is a nonsense."

But campaigners against the Bill have argued that abolishing the two-in-a-bar-rule will force pubs to apply for an entertainments licence which could make them subject to extra costs and additional health and safety measures.

Dr Howells said local authorities would not be able to place unnecessary restrictions on applications for the new premises licence. He said: "No local authority will be allowed to impose any additional conditions on the venue itself. We have to tighten up things up. "Once this change is made everybody will see it as a benefit to live music, and not to its detriment."

The WMN campaign has received the backing of many hundreds of Westcountry pubs which believe that their long-standing tradition of offering small-scale live music to pubs is under threat.

But Dr Howells brushed off their concerns. He said: "Musical tradition is exactly the same in South Wales. And publicans already deal with these terms in the existing regime. "I can assure your readers the only difference will be a question of just ticking a box on an application form. "We have to balance what musicians want with the needs of local residents, businesses and the police. We have to ensure public order."

The government had key parts of the Bill overturned in the Lords when peers objected to Dr Howells' plans. They insisted on exemptions for "unamplified music" and small pubs with a maximum capacity of 250. The Bill will shortly move to the House of Commons to be considered by MPs – an ideal opportunity for the Government to consider the points made by the critics of the legislation.

Dr Howells said: "We will consider the Lords amendment. But the exemption for premise holding less than 250 people is ridiculous. It sounds like a great idea until something goes wrong."

Despite overwhelming criticism of the Licensing Bill, Dr Howells refused to accept that the government had made a mistake. He said "There hasn't been the level of opposition people believe. I don't think the public would object if they knew the truth, but they have been misled. "This will not go away. We have to be serious about this and what we want for live music in the future."

14 Mar 03 - 02:22 PM (#910137)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

Kim Howls said:

"There hasn't been the level of opposition people believe. I don't think the public would object if they knew the truth, but . they have been misled

if they knew the truth- with the almost total news blackout, the DON'T KNOW!!

they have been misled: TRUE!!

14 Mar 03 - 02:26 PM (#910139)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: Mr Happy

& the misleading on the part of Howls (of outrage/laughter/outrage/disbelief)seems stubbornly set to continue.

sham, hamish et al whatever shall we do??

14 Mar 03 - 02:46 PM (#910161)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

Trust in the Lord[s]........... For the moment any way.

I just spoken to my MP and he confirmed that starting the Bill in the Lords was a problem, as the Government cannot use the Parliament Acts to overule the Lords. I asked if this was a mistake and he confirmed that they did not see the Bill being so contentious and it was a way of getting the legislation through quickly.

15 Mar 03 - 08:23 AM (#910608)
Subject: RE: PEL's: News Blackout!
From: The Shambles

Western Morning News 14 March 2003.
FRONT PAGE and photo.

11.000 voices join protest for live music.

More than 11.000 objections from WMN readers to new laws which threaten the future of live pub music were delivered to Downing Street in unique Westcountry style yesterday.

A delegation of musicians, landlords and politicians put every response to the WMN campaign against the Bill in the hands of the Government.

David Vaughn, a clarinet player from Holsworthy, North Devon, who formed part of a specially formed band, The Downing Street Dixielanders, to present the petition , said: "If this becomes law it would be monstrous. Had it been introduced 30 years ago I would not be here playing an instrument today. I would have put it down years ago.!

By forcing landlords to obtain new licenses to stage any musical event, musicians fear the number of venues available to them will drop dramatically.

Speaking exclusively to the WMN yesterday, Culture Minister Dr Kim Howells said: "The response to the WMN campaign is extremely impressive. It serves to prove how deeply feel about live music."

Western Morning News 14 March 2003.
Page 2 and 3 and 4 photos

The day we made out protest heard.

The WMN campaign against the Government's Licensing Bill reached a climax yesterday as a delegation from the Westcountry took their message to save live pub music direct to Number 10. WMN reporter PAUL ANDREWS who has co-ordinated the protest, reports on the mood in Downing Street and tackles Culture minister Kim Howells on the issue.

The sound of the Downing Street Dixielanders was enough to grab the attention of a preoccupied Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon yesterday as he emerged from a cabinet crisis meeting. He wasn't the only one to do a double take. Cameras flashed an tourists gawped as the eight-piece band played traditioanal jazz along one of the most famous streets in London.

Specially formed for the occasion, the band of Westcountry musicians entertained passers-by with examples of foot-tapping traditional music they were in the capital to protect.

It had been a long journey. Having set off from the Westcountry at dawn, the band would have been forgiven for beginning to flag as the hour of their Downing Street appointment approached. But under clear blue skies and against the stunning backdrop of the Houses of Parliament, they gave a performance to remember.

Impressed American tourist Val O'Donnell, from Santa Barbara, California, said: "It all sounds unbelievable. "In America we are in awe of your country's history. You are so lucky to have these ancient traditions. I went to Cornwall many years ago and it was like a living museum. Politicians, though, they seem the same all over the world."

Joined by Westcountry Lib-Dem MPs Andrew George and Nick Harvey, the band trooped up to the black door of 10 Downing Street to present every one of the 11,000 signatures received in the campaign against the Licensing Bill. Although disarmed of their instruments – Downing Street apparently felt that jazz music was not a suitable backdrop to government deliberations yesterday – the band of protesters made their voices heard.

Chloe Watson, a fiddle player from Weare Giffard, North Devon said: "Music is a priority in people's lives. It is one of the most important parts of our heritage and culture. Playing live music in pubs is a social forum, and should not be considered or treated on a political agenda. "Why penalise musicians and those who wish to listen to them? Politicians are once again proving themselves to be completely out of touch with Westcountry life."

The Licensing Bill, which could be law by 2004, would make nearly all live performances illegal unless licensed. The proposed legislation would also abolish the two-in-a-bar-rule, which allows one or two musicians to play in a pub without the landlord needing an entertainment licence.

Publicans would be forced to apply to their local authority for a new premises licence to stage any musical event. But because of the expensive conditions which may be insisted upon by health and safety, musicians fear landlords will be unable to afford live music.

Dowing Street Dixielander Graham Trevarton, a cornet player from Newquey, said: "Music has always been developed from pub sessions. if they are lost, where will things like jazz and folk be found? When you start out the one place you know you can get a gig is in a pub. They are fundamental to the music industry. "We are here because we are staggered by this Bill. The cost and rigmarole of it is ridiculous. We need to send a positive message to our youngsters that if they take the time to learn an instrument there will be outlets for that."

Fellow band member John Blackburn, a folk musician from Bideford said: " When it comes to music laws we should be setting them for sensible people. To encourage talent, we need a liberal approach, not restrictive one."

North Devon MP Mr Harvey, who is Lib-Dem Culture spokesman, said: "This response has been fantastic and a real achievement by the Westcountry. "The Government is clearly recognising the weight of resistance to this Bill, and has back-tracked again and again. "But we must keep up the pressure and ensure that the Commons sustains our demands."

Mr George, the MP for St Ives, said: "Placing such a huge response in the hands of the Government is a wonderful achievement, but it also marks the time for continued pressure."

The Bill now moves to the House of Commons, when it will be discussed by MPs on March 24.

But for the Downing Street Dixielanders their work was – for the time being at least – done. Having delivered a lesson to Londoners on the power of live music, it was back to the Westcountry – where even more appreciative audiences await them.